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Tycoons Go Tic-Tac-Toe

Given their unfailing praise for the finance minister of the day, why do we take CEO pronouncements on budgets so seriously?

Tycoons Go Tic-Tac-Toe

Every year without fail, the morning after the Union Budget, newspapers are chock-a-block with comments from industry leaders, who are otherwise also referred to as ‘India Inc’ and ‘captains of industry’. A common complaint directed at big businesses is their muted approach when it comes to openly criticising our politicians on economic policies. With some help from our library, we’ve tracked budget pronouncements from the past five years of seven influential figures from the business sector. This period covers three finance ministers as well as two political dispensations.

During this period, when businesses were shouting from the rooftops about ‘policy paralysis’ and growth slowdown in India, big corporation honchos kept on serving anodyne supplications on the day after the budget announcement. In fact, there’s often little to distinguish between each of these pronouncements, filled up with catchphrases and blind praise, often completely divorced from economic reality. That calls for a question or two: why then do we take these CEOs so seriously? And why does media give them so much space?


Kumar Mangalam Birla
Chairman, Aditya Birla Group

  • 2014 “The budget signals to investors that India is here to do business in a stable and predictable way.” HBL
  • 2013 “The budget maintains extreme fidelity to the vision of inclusive and sus-tainable growth.” TOI
  • 2012 “The budget is pragmatic and grounded in reality. The FM has sent positive signals on key reforms.” TOI
  • 2011 “The budget signals policy continuity. At the end of the day, the budget is reassuring.” TOI
  • 2010 “Quite a terrific budget….it signals prudence and solidity.” HBL

Deepak Parekh
Chairman HDFC

  • 2014 “Overall, Arun Jaitley has made a good beginning and one looks forward to bolder  measures...it is a budget on an even keel.” ET
  • 2013 “It is a pre-election year. Given these constraints, the FM has presented a sensible budget.” TOI
  • 2012 “The finance minister has assuaged the fears (of drastic measures) by presenting a reasonable, equitable and balanced budget.”  TOI
  • 2011 Did not comment
  • 2010 Did not comment

Chandrajit Banerjee

  • 2014 “As the maiden financial statement of a new government, Budget 2014-15 meets the expectations of industry.” HBL
  • 2013 “We welcome the budget. While addressing fiscal consolidation, it focuses on inclusive and sustained human development.” FE
  • 2012 “Considering the challenges posed by the difficult macro-economic scenario in 2011-12, the budget is pragmatic.” TOI
  • 2011 “FM has done a fine balancing act to sustain growth, curb inflation, promote inclusive growth, maintain fiscal consolidation.” ET
  • 2010  “The FM’s fine balancing act is visible in the budget proposals.” HT

Chanda Kochchar

  • 2014 “As the decisions and plans are executed, I am sure the country will move back to a robust growth path.” FE
  • 2013 “The budget balances near-term priorities and long-term growth drivers.” IE
  • 2012 “The budget is a pragmatic exercise aimed at growth and stability in the backdrop of the challenging year gone by.” BS
  • 2011 “It recognises the long-term growth drivers for the economy and seeks to strengthen them further.” BS
  • 2010  “The budget focuses on leveraging the strong fundamentals for growth while committing to better fiscal management.” HT

Gautam Adani
Adani Group

  • 2014 “The maiden budget of the present NDA government reflects its ideology of ‘less government, more governance”. ET
  • 2013 “The budget establishes a fine balance between populism and reforms.” FE
  • 2012 “The budget is close to realism and still exudes cautious optimism. The FM had made a candid statement on fiscal situation.” FE
  • 2011 “The budget is a forward-looking and pragmatic, balanced effort across the social spectrum.” BS
  • 2010 “FM Pranab Mukherjee deserves to be complimented for doing a savvy job in
    walking the tightrope.” DNA

Uday Kotak
Kotak Mahindra Bank

  • 2014 “Arun Jaitley’s maiden budget is positive on several counts.” ET
  • 2013 “It is a responsible and realistic budget. I must compliment the FM for getting the fiscal house in better shape.” HT
  • 2012 “The FM has produced a credible budget rooted in reality.” ET
  • 2011 “The budget recognises the long-term growth drivers for the economy and seeks to strengthen them further.”  ET
  • 2010  “The FM has done a wonderful job…I consider the budget very positive for the Indian economy.” FE

Sunil Bharti Mittal
Bharti Enterprises

  • 2014 “Given the severe constraints, the FM obviously had to perform a tightrope walk and I believe he has done a commendable job.” ET
  • 2013 Did not comment
  • 2012 “Pranabda has done a commendable job and come out with a realistic budget.”
  • 2011 “Budget 2011-12 is clearly high on intent to maintain the growth momentum in the economy.” BS
  • 2010 “An extremely tricky job to keep the growth engine on its recovery path without jeopardising his (FM’s) growth objectives.” HT

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