Academics, bureaucrats, traders take part in discussion co-hosted by The Hindu

The State budget for 2012-13 presented by Finance Minister K.M. Mani in the Assembly on Monday came in for a clinical analysis.

Academics, bureaucrats, and representatives of industry and trade made a thorough scrutiny of the budget at the discussion organised jointly by The Hindu, The Hindu-Business Line, Asianet News, and the Gulati Institute of Finance and Taxation Studies here.

Genuine concerns regarding the announcement to raise the retirement age of government employees and its impact on the job prospects of the youth came up at the discussion. In the absence of Finance Minister K.M. Mani, the former Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac argued that his successor could have been more adventurous by making more allocations for infrastructure development, especially in the context of the continuing economic slowdown.

The observation of Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Associations of India (CREDAI) Kerala unit general secretary S.N. Raghuchandran Nair that the increase in the excise duty of liquor would lead to an increase in the labour rates evoked laughter among the participants.

Across the spectrum

Various suggestions, such as the need for strengthening the tax regime, the problems being faced by the small and marginal farmers, the significance of having more airstrips and airports, specialised universities, welfare of the differently-abled, the impact of goods and services tax (GST) on the tax structure, the challenges faced by those employed in the unorganised sector, and a host of other issues came up for discussion in due course.

The discussion anchored by Abhilash G. Nair, business editor, Asianet, was actively attended by an array of eminent personalities like Planning Board members C.P. John and G. Vijaya Raghavan; K.P. Kannan, K.N. Harilal, and K.J. Joseph from the Centre for Development Studies (CDS); CII State council chairman V.K. Mathews; M. Kabir, economist; R. Mohan, researcher; E.M. Najeeb, president, Confederation of Kerala Tourism Industry; Sonia George, general secretary, SEWA Union; and A. Ajith Kumar, Taxes Secretary.

Keywords: Kerala budget

More In: Kerala | National