Need more freedom to perform: India Inc

Need more freedom to perform: India Inc

Asks Centre to initiate measures to improve ease of doing business in the country

New Delhi: India Inc leaders, including Bharti Enterprises Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal, CII President Vikram Kirloskar and Assocham President Balkrishna Goenka, on Thursday asked the government to take measures to augment ease of doing business to "create more freedom for the industry to perform".

In a pre-Budget meeting with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the corporate leaders highlighted several issues, including certain income tax matters which were coming in the way of mergers and acquisitions or slowing them down and roles that need to be played by state businesses to prosper at the ground level.

"I have come here today to discuss only one thing - make doing business easy in the country. That was what my thrust was," Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal told reporters after the meeting.

He said some suggestions around mergers and acquisitions (M&As), demerger, NCLT process, about certain sections of income tax which were coming in the way of M&A or slowing them down were made.

"The idea is to create more freedom for the industry, for them to perform. I think the finance minister received them very well with her associates and secretaries.

What we look forward to this Budget is that they unleash the energy of the Indian entrepreneurs to do more," Mittal said.

Expressing similar views, Assocham President Balkrishna Goenka said for "ease of doing business, states have to play an important role" and last mile issues are there, which need to be resolved.

When asked about the meeting, CII President Vikram Kirloskar said, "We talked about ease of doing business, which are the issues concerning many industries."

RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group Sanjiv Goenka said the discussions "centred around more around what can be done to stimulate growth, to facilitate the ease of doing business".

"I think the finance minister and her team were extremely open to all suggestions," Goenka said, adding that "it is the first time I have seen this kind of response from the government".

On the current slowdown and its impact on capacity utilisation across many industries, he said, "We all recognised that it is going to take a couple of quarters, three quarters, four quarters, before this capacity gets utilised. We understand that, and that is the reality of the situation."

Ficci President Sandip Somany said the industry representatives gave suggestion to the FM "to reduce income tax for those who earn less than Rs 20 lakh in a year so that there is more disposable in the hands of consumers and the economy benefits".

He further said, "We have also asked the FM to take measures about reducing EMIs, which can happen only if the banks reduce the interest rates on loans."

A finance ministry statement said, "During the interactive session lasting over two hours, prominent industrialists spoke about improving regulatory environment to safeguard investments through ease of doing business, increasing export competitiveness, reviving private investment and kick-starting growth measures."

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