Kolkata, 28 January: Categorically ruling out the prospect of any economic doom in the country, as apprehended by a section of people in view of the current slowdown,noted economist and the Professor of Economic Journalism in Delhi University, Professor Alok Puranik here today reiterated that the ‘Indian economy is strong enough to generate enough resources to face multiple challenges’.
Addressing members of the city’s premier Merchants’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) during his brief visit to the city here this afternoon, Puranik however felt that ‘ the country’s weak demand environment ‘needs strong and creative response’ from the union Finance ministry.
Highlighting the general expectations from this year’s union Budget for 2020-21, to be presented in Parliament by Union Finance minister Nirmala Sitaraman on 1 February, the Associate Professor of Commerce in Delhi University felt that ‘weak demand environment across the sectors has been impacting the financial health of businesses across all sectors, and weak demand cannot be boosted by interest rate cuts alone’.
‘Central Budget should take some steps which leave some extra purchasing power with public particularly with middle class,lower middle class and farmers of the nation’, he said and stated that effective implementation of Kisan Samman Nidhi, which gave out Rs. 6,000 to every farmer’s family, might lead to strengthening of demand of many businesses.
‘Creative mobilisation of resources should provide some room to the Finance Minister to offer some tax concessions to middle class and lower middle class taxpayers, while small extra purchasing power in the hands of taxpayers would lead to strengthening of demand in many businesses.
Dr. Puranik underlined that against a buffer stock norm of 21.4 million tonnes, the actual stocks of grains with the central pool currently stood at more than 75 million tonnes, which was 3 times higher than what the government needed to hold.
‘This excess grain stock can be sold at Rs one lakh crores without compromising the food security of India’, he said adding moreover, the sale of enemy properties’ belonging to Pakistani and Chinese nationals in India could generate another Rs. 1,00,000 crores, which was roughly a month’s collection of GST. Speedy settlement of tax disputes involving more than Rs. 6 lakh crores should also provide extra resources.
As such the coming Budget should be committed to creation of demand without putting extra burden on taxpayers by choosing new ways of resource mobilisation, Puranik felt.
Earlier, welcoming the guest Aakash Shah,Senior Vice President,MCCI pointed out that the Indian economy was now at the crossroads, grappling as it is now with a massive slowdown and escalating inflation.
India’s economic growth slipped further to hit an six-year low of 4.5 percdent in July-September, according to official data, he said adding during the six-month period of April-September 2019,the economy also plummeted to only 4.8 per cent compared to 7.5 per cent in the same period a year ago.
Later replying to queries from Hindusthan Samachar during an interactive session on whether the possibility of India becoming the most populous country in the world by 2030 with a population of 1,5 billion would hinder the chances of the country becoming a 5 trillion dollar economy by 2024,Professor Puranik was of the view that it was an inevitable process which might take a few more years beyond 2024.
‘But we have all the potential to go ahead with a much greater speed for a complete haul up of our economy during the intervening period’, he claimed.