- Faizal Kottikollon, Founder and Chairman, KEF Holdings, UAE
Faizal Kottikollon, Founder and Chairman, KEF Holdings, UAE, on the Union Budget 2017-18:
In my view, the 2017 Indian Union budget is a bold and progressive one, striking the right balance for different sectors with an eye on growth and employment. Acknowledging the challenges of higher oil prices, stronger dollar and volatile commodity prices, the Budget has provided larger investments in infrastructure, rural sector and poverty alleviation, which will not only push the GDP higher, but realise such growth in an inclusive manner. It is heartening to see a 24 per cent increase in rural sector spend and a record Rs 396,135 crore allocated for infrastructure.
High quality-low cost housing, and effective health and education solutions for India have been close to my heart as a social entrepreneur and, therefore, I am thrilled by the government’s decision to put affordable housing under the ‘infrastructure’ space as well as making provisions to provide 10 million houses to the poor by 2019. The Innovation Fund for secondary education and the system of annual learning outcome in schools are both a fresh approach to motivate our public education system to do better and achieve higher standards.
Also, the abolishing of Foreign Investment Promotion Board to ease FDI into the country is a step in the right direction. With a GDP growth rate of close to 7 per cent, India today is in a sweet spot, driving global growth, and this measure will invite more investments from around the world. To my mind, the expected slowdown due to demonetisation will be, to a large extent, offset by foreign investments. I congratulate the Government of India for presenting a Budget that is positive and forward looking.