Budget discussion @ XIME...1

Yesterday (9th Jul) I had the wonderful opportunity of being in the Xavier Institute of Management & Entrepreneurship (XIME) to be a panelist for the Budget 2009 discussion. The audience being the Management students. It is easy to have the presentation made to Industrialists and CAs. But it is difficult to handle the students, especially Management students. They have lot of details and make good analysis before the meeting. I was really surprised by the way they were listening to the presentations.

Let me give a brief background. I got the invitation from Prof.Venkataraman (Director - XIME) for being a panelist and I accepted the same. Prof.Venkat is a nice and knowledgeable person. He was very sweet and simple. I went with my colleagues Ashok & Raghavan for the session. We were then joined by Mr.Crasta & Dr.B.Venkatachalam. Prof Venkat ushered us into the President's room to meet Prof. Philip, who is instrumental in bringing up the XIME in Bangalore. We were having a tete-a-tete with Prof Philip . Both Prof Philip and Prof Venkat were very courteous. We had a brief introduction to Mr.Crasta and Dr.Venkatachalam. Let me give a brief about the panelists.
Mr.Crasta (President of FKCCI and Managing Director of CM Envirosystems) needs no introduction to Bangalore Industries.
Dr.B.Venkatachalam (Managing Director of Hexagon Capital Markets Ltd and Ex-Director Finance of Bangalore Stock Exchange). Dr.Venkatachalam did his Phd in Merchant Banking.
Prof. Srinivasan (XIME) graced us by being a panel member. I will come later about this young person.

I was really thrilled when we entered the Oberoi Hall. All the students stood up to greet us. Believe me, there is no late comer. Some students started clicking the team on the dias. As I said earlier, handling students is a tough job and you do not know from where they will ask questions. I know myself when I was a student. Since I had the opportunity of taking classes, I was comfortable.

Prof.Venkat introduced the speakers and kick started the Budget discussions on a fun note by saying how his ignorance of the budget costed him as his wife said he will get some extra money due to increase in the basic income tax threshold and asked to buy branded jewellery, as the duty was cut for them.

Mr.Crasta presented the budget from an Industry perspective. He was giving the details of the total expenditure and the budget plans. They way he explained the consumption was really good. He was explaining how the Fringe Benefit Tax came into play. He wanted the students to take up Agriculture or become Entrepreneur to give employment to many people. He mentioned how the Israel is improving the agro-productivity per hectare as compared to India. He stressed on the Highway projects, which will pave way to many industries around the highway. He quoted Annadurai (former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu) who felt the need for the highways in the state and how the state flourished because of it. He stressed the need for Co-gen of power and to make the state self sufficient in power. He said, if a female is educated the entire family would be educated. In that line he appreciated the projects of the Government. He was confident that the GST would be in place as per the plan in 2010.

Then came Dr.Venkatachalam. He started with FBT and said we the industrialists were the reason for the FBT coming into play. He said the market has distanced itself from the Budget for the last 3 years. Whatever happened on the Budget day (when the market plunged) was not really because of budget but because of the global cues. He asked the students whether they can predict the market. There were mixed responses. He said WE CAN predict the market, but will always be wrong. The volatility of the market is mainly because of the liquidity and nothing else. Whenever there is liquidity the market will be bubbling and vice-versa. He said the market did not respond positively because the investors (especially the traders) were disappointed by non-removal of Securities Transaction Tax (STT).
It was Prof. Srinivasan's turn. He is a Chartered Accountant, Cost Accountant, Company Secretary and a Science Graduate. He presented the budget from an academic perspective. He presented the budget very humorously. He quoted some jokes, which were really good and had relevance to the situation. One of them being the Mullah Nasrudeen & donkey. He said he gave up listening to the budget, as he could not understand much and it keep changing, one FM brings in a new tax and the next person removes it. We really enjoyed his session.

The students of the 14th batch followed Prof.Srinivasan to present the budget from a students' perspective. They analysed the budget and presented their facts by way of graph and tables. It was really nice to see students understanding the budget and appreciating it. Kudos to the students, professors and the institution (for such encouragement).

It was time for my turn. As I was the Chairman for the session and I need to summarize what the other panelist (greats from the industries & students) presented and also my comments on the budget. It was difficult task as I have to manage the time and also not to repeat whatever was presented. The quick presentation that I made that morning came very handy. I summarized the points of Mr.Crasta, Dr.Venkatachalam, Prof.Srinivasan and the students. I will write in detail on my presentation in a separate post, as this post is becoming too lengthy.

We then had the question and answer session. The students came prepared and shot good questions on us. We managed to answer them and due to the paucity of time, we need to close the Q&A session.

The students proposed the vote of thanks to all the panelists.

It was a memorable day and we (myself and my colleagues) really enjoyed it. My thanks to Prof.Venkat and Prof.Srinivasan for inviting me for the wonderful session.

See you all in part 2.



Anonymous said...

Very interesting. While searching for Budget discussions, I found your blog. Waiting for the part 2.

Bala on Jul 12, 2009, 11:02:00 PM said...

Excellent, Gopal.

Expecting more such articles from you.


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