Zee Business’s ‘India Ahead’ summit, held in Mumbai on January 6 and aimed at throwing light on India’s economy, saw a good presence of corporate honchos. The ‘India Ahead’ initiative was conceived by the Zee Group with the idea of setting the economic agenda of the government in the New Year.
The forum was chaired by Finance Minister P Chidambaram and had Zee Group Chairman, Subhash Chandra Goel; Zee News Director, Laxmi Goel; and Videocon’s V N Dhoot as members.
The session witnessed Chidambaram speak in great detail on how tomorrow matters for India. According to him, India should be faster in interpretation of various ideas and reforms. “India in future should forge ahead with determination in attracting investments. My job is to promote investments and will try my best to do so,” asserted the Finance Minister.
“Past is a fact and one can’t undo the past, but one can definitely influence the future. Thus, collectively we should look forward to India growing at the rate of 7.5 per cent to 8 per cent. I look forward to India having massive new investments, passing of important plans that will shape the future of the Indian economy,” he added.
When the floor was opened to questions, Madison Communications Chairman and Managing Director, Sam Balsara, posed questions to Chidambaram on his thoughts on the role advertising could play in India’s progress, as even though advertising was an important function, it accounted for a mere 0.5 per cent of the GDP.
The Finance Minister replied, “For some, the Sensex is the centre of the world, and for some, it was advertising. In print, today there are more ads than there is news and on television, in fact, it seems that story interrupts the advertisements. Advertising indeed supports and promotes business, for instance, India will not play cricket matches were it not for the advertisements. But, I don’t know much on the subject and hence, can neither agree nor disagree on the comment that advertising is burdened with taxes and thus ignored as catalyst for growth.”
He also maintained that taxes were important and had to be collected, and even though indirect taxes on advertising might be high, the direct tax burden on collective basis was definitely lower than most of European and other countries.
The ‘India Ahead’ summit served as a platform for industry honchos to interact with the Finance Minister and present their expectations from the government. One of the biggest conclaves of its kind, the summit was promoted through television, print and online. The event was beamed live on Zee Business and Zee News.