A panel discussion on Union Budget 2017 was held at SJEC on 14th February, 2017 under the banner of PRUDENS 2017. The event was jointly organized by the Department of Business Administration and Press & Media Committee of SJEC. A first of its kind initiative, the panel discussion offered participants detailed insights and nuances of Union Budget and its influence on socio-economic condition of the Country. Dr T. Mallikarjunappa, Professor of Finance at Mangalore University chaired the session consisting of Shri Allen Pereira, Former CMD – Bank of Maharashtra, Shri Norbert M. Shenoy, Financial Consultant, Shri Henry C.F. Britto, President – Kanara Small Industries Association, and Shri Sumith Rao, Chief Executive of Olympus Refrigeration Inc., as panelists.
An audience numbering 400 and comprising of students, faculty, and invitees were provided an overview of the Budget 2017 by Dr T. Mallikarjunappa especially from the points of view of combining financial and railway budget for the first time since 1920 and budget post remonetization. Dr Mallikarjunappa called upon the student community to actively participate in the budget preparation by providing suggestions to the finance ministry through the online portal at least 3 months prior to budget presentation. Shri Allen Pereira in his opening statement provided an overview of world economy in view of the rising protectionism and de-globalization symbolized by recent US policies and BREXIT. Drawing from the economic survey, Mr Pereira provided an overview of Indian economy and termed the Budget 2017 as cautious, restrained and balanced, especially in response to the RBI bi-monthly policy statement. Considering the disruption of informal sector economy due to demonetization, Mr Pereira pointed to a lower growth in GDP. Explaining in detail the demonetization process, he pointed out that the governments expectations of a windfall gain was incorrect and any possible benefits was unclear. Mr Pereira also spoke of many issues including GST, digitization process, real estate pricing, retaining of repo rates by RBI, dwindling employment generation, influence of budget on banking sector, affordable housing policy, and budget influence on rural economy.
Mr Norbert Shenoy in his opening statement spoke of the Non-Performing Assets. Terming it as the elephant in the room, Mr Shenoy pointed out the presence of 6.75 Lakh Crores worth of NPAs which amounted to 4 to 5 percent of GDP and ~9 % of total lending by banks. Terming the overall Union Budget as good, he stated that the budget however failed in addressing the NPAs. Mr Shenoy cautioned against considering the response of the capital markets in rating the budget by claiming that the markets are generally agnostic to budget and hence the response does not reveal much. Calling the budget, a bits-and-pieces budget, Mr Shenoy, however mentioned that the pieces fell in place and praised the budget for leading financial consolidation.
Mr Henry C. F. Britto, himself an industrialist, offered a practical response to the budget from the viewpoint of Small and Medium Enterprises. Claiming that the SME industry has over the years developed systems to defeat the negative impact of budget, spoke about the disparity in treatment meted out to SMEs in relation to big corporations. Despite providing 40% employment 40% exports, and producing most economical products in the markets, Mr Britto stated that there was no level playing field when it comes to SMEs and suggested a separate SME bill. Mr Sumith Rao, also an industrialist, concurred with Mr Britto on the problems faced by SMEs and pointed out that in the budget 2017, the initiative to start 600 skill development centers was the only positive. Speaking about the existing discriminations based on caste and religion, Mr Rao called upon the students to be the change that they expect in the society.
The opening statements were then followed by discussions based on the queries raised by the audience and the session chair. Rev. Fr Joseph Lobo, Director – SJEC, Rev. Fr Rohith D’Costa, Assistant Director – SJEC, Dr Joseph Gonsalvis, Principal – SJEC, Dr Rio D’Souza, Vice Principal – SJEC, Dr Vincent Crasta, Dean – Student Welfare and Alumni Affairs, were the other dignitaries present in the event. Dr Prakash Pinto – Dean of Business Administration was the Organizing Chair of the event. Mr Binu K.G, Associate Professor – Department of Mechanical Engineering and Media Coordinator of the Institution was the Organizing Secretary. Ms Pramila Rita D’Souza, Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry compered the event.
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