Millennium Post

PM meets Ambani, Adani, other India Inc heads to discuss economy

New Delhi: Ahead of the annual Union Budget presentation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday interacted with top business tycoons to discuss issues facing the economy and measures needed to boost growth and create jobs.

Richest Indian Mukesh Ambani, Tata group patriarch Ratan Tata, telecom czar Sunil Bharti Mittal, billionaire Gautam Adani, Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra, and mining baron Anil Agarwal were among those present at the discussion.

Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran, TVS chairman Venu Srinivasan, L&T head AM Naik were also present, according to a photograph of the meeting released here.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present her second Union Budget on February 1 with an eye to reviving growth.

At an another event, Prime Narendra Modi said action against a few corrupt entities should not be seen as the government crackdown on the corporate sector, as he sought to allay doubts over his regime's intentions.

Speaking at centenary celebrations of Kirloskar Brothers, he said the attempt was to allow the industry to create wealth fearlessly in a transparent environment where there are no obstacles.

In this endeavour, the government is attempting to rid the industry of web of laws, the Prime Minister said, adding during the past five years his government has worked honestly.

The attempt has been to bring transparency, efficiency and accountability in tax system, and reduce human interface with the tax department, he said.

Also, corporate tax has been reduced to their lowest so as to propel corporates to invest, he said.

The Prime Minister asked industry to shun pessimism, saying the government will stand shoulder to shoulder with India Inc in its attempt to expand business in any nook and corner of the country.

He said the target to nearly double the size of the economy to $5 trillion is just a phase and the targets are bigger and higher.

The latest GDP data for the July-September quarter showed a significant further moderation in the pace of economic growth to 4.5 per cent - the weakest in six years, with a key contributory factor being a slump in manufacturing output.

The Modi government has undertaken a number of measures to arrest the growth slowdown. In September 2019, it announced a cut in the corporate tax rate to 22 per cent from 30 per cent. The government also lowered the tax rate for new manufacturing companies to 15 per cent to attract new foreign direct investments. The tax rate reductions bring India in line with rates in other Asian countries.

The government's other initiatives include bank recapitalization, the mergers of 10 public sector banks into four, support for the auto sector, plans for infrastructure spending, as well as tax benefits for startups.

But experts say none of these measures directly address the widespread weakness in consumption demand, which has been the chief driver of the economy.

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