People watch Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tabling the Union Budget 2017-18, on TV sets at a showroom in Patna on Wednesday. Image Credit: PTI


Indian expats in the UAE seem to be largely in favour of India’s Union Budget, presented in India’s parliament on Wednesday.

Both salaried expats and business persons from the Indian community in the UAE underscored what they see as benefits of the budget — most notably the support for rural India and low-income earners, as well as anti-corruption measures.

Dubai-based salesman Pradeep Kumar, 35, said: “I welcome the points regarding farming in the budget. I come from a farmers’ family and we know the importance of farming to the livelihood of millions of ordinary people in India, as well as the strategic importance of farming to a nation as a whole.”

Mohammad Khan, a 33-year-old jobseeker from India, said “policies on paper” should be “matched in practice” to be effective. “I think it’s good that income tax for certain brackets has been halved, from 10 to five per cent. If this, and other aspects, are followed up in a transparent way, many people will reconsider moving out of India.”

Bindu Chettur, an Indian legal consultant in Dubai, believes the budget will usher in great accountability. She said the “new law proposal to confiscate assets of economic offenders is really appreciated. Curbing financial crimes and securing the welfare of the nation by promulgating proper law is highly essential in a democracy like India”.

‘Long-term gain’

UAE-based Indian businessmen also welcomed what they described as anti-graft policies set forth in the budget.

Paras Shahdadpuri, chairman of Nikai Group of Companies, said the proposals “have hit at the root of corruption in India by reducing cash contribution to political parties to as low as 2,000 rupees. Till today, most political parties showed their funds coming by cash transactions of 20,000 rupees. This will bring important transparency in political funding and to a great extent cleanse our political system.”

He also said the demonetisation of 500 and 1,000-rupee notes “will more than double the number of tax payers as bulk of the ‘black money’ has come in the formal banking system. It is a joke that only 2.4 million out of India’s population of 1.2 billion had declared their [annual] income of one million rupees — around Dh60,000 — and above. It is not digestible”.

He added: “After demonetisation, I expect this 2.4 million figure to rise to between five and seven million in just one year’s time. No doubt, demonetisation has brought some pain, but it will give us a long-term gain.”

Deepak Bhaskar, managing director of Arenco Fire & Safety, said the budget “will improve everyone’s personal integrity index”. He added: “All routes to black money are blocked. India is creating history. Infrastructure is another important area which is also well taken care of. India is changing. We look forward to see a developed nation.”

Rizwan Sajan, founder and chairman of Dabube Group, also commented on infrastructure and development aspects. He said: “According to me, the government expenditure directed towards rural development, health care and infrastructure, is a very good sign, as it will help take India to the next level.

“Moreover, the reformed FDI [Foreign Direct Investment] laws and the new laws underlining cash transactions will surely change the way businesses are run in India and we can definitely expect a better economic environment as well as larger growth.”