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Guest Column: It is a commendable Budget, grounded in pragmatism: Sudhanshu Vats

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Guest Column: It is a commendable Budget, grounded in pragmatism: Sudhanshu Vats

Sudhanshu Vats, Chairman, CII National Committee on Media & Entertainment and Group CEO, Viacom18 Media pens down an enthusiastic opinion on the Union Budget 2014 exclusively for exchange4media.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had the unenviable job of meeting the expectations of an entire nation. Personally, I think it is a commendable budget that is grounded in pragmatism, while setting the pace for course correction. At a macro level, the commitment to fiscal discipline – not just in this FY but coming years as well – is noteworthy. The call for expediting the transition to a GST regime by year-end is a welcome step. Some relaxation in FDI norms for defence & insurance sends out the right message to all stakeholders.

The leeway in personal income tax is a positive sign as the 'aam aadmi' should be able to spend on the fourth imperative i.e. ‘Roti, Kapda, Makaan aur Manoranjan’. At a sectoral level, the announcements pertaining to the setting up of a National Institute of Animation, a nationwide incubator programme, zero customs duty on LCD & LED panels (less than 19 inches), allocation of funds for community radio and the launch of Arun Prabha and Kisan TV channels are well-intentioned. We still need to look deeper into the issue of service tax applicability on broadcast and digital transactions. Some of the changes required by our industry are systemic in nature and cannot be addressed in a single policy document. All in all, I see this as the beginning of a new phase of 7-8 per cent growth over the next few years with a pro-active, inclusive and open government at the helm of the affairs. As responsible corporate citizens, we have to ensure that we gear up for this growth and continue to delight our consumers.

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