Chairman of Indian Overseas Congress and Telecom inventor and entrepreneur Sam Pitroda says the Union Budget 2020 missed the most important challenge the country has been facing— job creation and environment.
The Union Budget of India for 2020–2021 was presented by the Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman on February, 1.
“There is not anything in there which talks about how they are going to create new jobs, except a few here and there,” Pitroda in an exclusive interview told indica.
Stressing about the issue he said that the focus on the job creation is the most important challenge for a country that has presently is facing unemployment at its highest peak. “At this point in time, it’s very important for job creation. They don’t want new thinking… [they] don’t want innovation and [they have] vicious thinking.”
Indian origin Pitroda who during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government was appointed to head the National Innovation Council to create jobs, called for the closing of the INC, the most unfortunate thing that happened to India.
He said after BJP came to power he immediately visited the PMO urging the Modi government not to shut down the INC.
“I went to the PMO and I told them it doesn’t matter who they want to be the chairman, you find new people, find a new team, but don’t take away focus from innovation when so many new technologies and new innovations are happening, it’s not a good idea. But unfortunately, they never focused on innovation.”
Pitroda who is the founder of C-SAM, Inc. and Worldtel Ltd., and CEO at alpha-En Corp, sharing his concern further he said, “All these things— creating jobs, bringing investment, focusing on innovation and technology— unfortunately that is not clear in the budget.”
The requisite period a person needs to stay out of India to qualify as a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) has been extended from 182 days to 242 days.
Also, Indian citizens who aren’t liable to pay taxes abroad will be regarded as Indian Residents and will be liable to pay taxes in India on their global income.
According to reports, the intent is to get “stateless persons” in tax net who don’t pay taxes in any country but are citizens of India.
The new provision might not hurt people in the US but will hurt people working in the UAE, where there is no tax on individual income earned.
Although the Finance Minister Sitharaman has assured those people won’t be taxed this is going to affect a lot of people.
“That is going to affect a lot of people and if they are there more than 61 days they will be taxed,” he said.
Anyone who stays in the country for 120 days or more in a year will now be deemed as a resident liable to pay taxes. The earlier norm was 182 days.
“There is no way to have a conversation, you [want to] have a conversation that is rational and picks facts and picks information and not a personal attack. They are always after personal attacks,” he said, “It is very difficult to have a normal conversation.”
“[The] budget is all about what it would do for the country,” said Pitroda, “India is in a mess and the reason they are in a mess is because they are not following democratic values. ”
Raghuram Rajan former Reserve Bank of India Governor, India, said time and time again, for the economy to grow democracy is important for growth, freedom is important and India is a diverse country with diverse citizens.
When asked if the government has predicted this budget to lead 10 percent GDP growth, he said, “Look at the demonstration and you haven’t recovered from this and you are talking about 10 percent growth.”
When asked why he thinks India went into mess and went wrong, Pitroda said, “I knew it would happen I was just a question of time.”
“See you cannot ignore 200 million Muslims in India, like it or not like, India is a country of diversity with multiple food, dress, and culture and when you basically attack that, you are attacking the soul of India, “ said Pitroda.
When asked if demonetization has anything to do with the slow economy he said it was one step but the Modi government doesn’t want inclusiveness, they manipulate the press, all institutions, anybody who doesn’t follow them, they will follow their tax returns, anybody who disagrees with them, they are going to say you are a traitor, you are pro-Pakistan.
Pitroda also did not sound convinced on LIC and the Air India divestment asked who would buy Air India with such a huge debt.
When asked about his thoughts on Modi’s dream to make India a $5 Trillion economy he said, “No way. You can lie… but lie well. They will continue to do what they are doing.”
However, in a recent media report, Sitharaman said the latest Union Budget has laid the foundation for increasing consumption and building assets such as in infrastructure to lead towards building a $5 trillion economy.
Pitroda does not buy that, he believes the ongoing Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens (NRC) protest has push back the economy and development further.
When asked if this has to do with a weak opposition, Pitroda said, “No I don’t think [it has] anything to do with opposition. You don’t respond to opposition; you respond to the people of India.”
The protest against the CAA and the NRC it is not about a political party and so the political parties are not demonstrating— it’s the people who are demonstrating.
At the end of the day the people of India are speaking.
And all of this chaos will impact the investment.
The problem is everybody is talking and no one is willing to listen.
When asked about the government’s announcement to invest over $1 billion in the next five years in the National Mission on Quantum technology, Pitroda laughed and said that is fine, but even in America it’s 10 years away what they are trying to solve when there are other crises but it is good for scientists.
Pitroda continued, “I would be spend more on resources in construction, because it creates more jobs. I am not talking about apartment construction for rich people but construction for poor people and create [jobs] cleaning slums, improve water, sanitation, (I am not talking about building toilet, that is not the answer without water), and a focus on environment. India has a serious problem with the environment and there is nothing in the budget about the environment.”