VIT holds 17th annual discussion on Budget
CHENNAI: The seventeenth annual discussion of the Union Budget was organised by Vellore Institute of Technology on Sunday.
The discussion was presided over by Dr G.Viswanathan, founder and Chancellor of VIT and moderated by noted columnist and Editor of Thuglak, S.Gurumurthy.
VIT has been organising such discussions on the annual Budget for the past 17 years. Representatives of different political parties are invited to take part in the discussion and viewpoints from a wide spectrum are shared on the platform. This year, the discussion was held at the Chennai Campus of VIT.
Among the participants who spoke on the occasion included TK Rangarajan, MP and Central Committee Member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), D Raja, MP and national secretary of CPI, TG Venkatesh Babu, AIADMK MP, TKS Elangovan, DMK MP, Narayanan Thirupathy, Media Coordinator and State Executive Member of BJP, Swarnah Sethuraman, spokesperson of TNCC, A Venkataraman, Convenor, Economic Affairs and Taxation Panel, CII, Tamil Nadu and Chief Financial Officer of Grundfos India.
In his presidential address, Dr Viswanathan said the quantum of the annual Budget was increasing every year. While it was Rs. 21.4 lakh crore in 2017-2018, it had increased to Rs. 24.42 lakh crore during the Budget for 2018-2019. Dr. Viswanathan said that it was very important to increase the per capita income of people in India.
"In 1960, the per capita income in South Korea was US Dollar 158 and it is US Dollar 29,000 now. In China, the per capita income in 1960 was USD 891 and it is USD 8,400 now. In India, the per capita income in 1960 was USD 851 and it is USD 1,850 now," Dr. Viswanathan said.
He said India should continue to pursue a fast and higher economic growth to reach the per capita income of US Dollar 26,000 by 2035 and by then, the country's GDP would be an estimated US Dollar 36 Trillion. He pointed out that China's contribution to the global exports was 11.4 per cent, while India's contribution was 2 per cent.
Further, India spent US Dollar 160 Billion on its imports, mostly oil and that it left an adverse balance on the economy today. For India's contribution to increase significantly in global exports and economy, there was be a strengthening of the manufacturing sector and the Prime Minister's Make In India project was one such. He also said that in a recent survey, it was revealed that among Asian countries, India was among the top corrupt countries at 69 per cent, while it was only 1 per cent in Japan.
Stating that last year's Budget was presented after the Demonetisation and the present Budget in the aftermath of the GST, Dr. G. Viswanathan also recalled that the initiatives of the Centre had resulted in the increase in the number of tax payers in India from 1.5 per cent to 5 per cent.
Dr G Viswanathan, a former two-time Lok Sabha Member of Parliament, also said that economic growth was also resulting in economic inequalities and that a study had established that 1 per cent of India's people had in their possession, 73 per cent of the country's wealth. Calling for electoral reforms, he said there were over 1,000 parties, but only 30 parties were represented in the Parliament. He also recommended that simultaneous elections for both the Parliament and the State Assemblies should be conducted.