MTV, CNBC spell out 'Budget Fundas to GenNext

 MUMBAI: "The stock market is like sex! Sometimes up, sometimes down!"

This is a sample of the many pithy quotes uttered last evening at the Budget Fundas 2005 event. The meet organised by MTV and CNBC-TV18 aimed at explaining to the college going junta what the budget means for them as well as to get their reactions.


The mood was both light and serious. The session was moderated by CNBC anchor Govindraj Ethiraj and the inimitable MTV VJ Cyrus Broacha. The speakers included Godrej Group chairman Adi Godrej, Bollywood star Mallika Sherawat, Zayed Khan and MP Milind Deora.

Contrary to the belief that Bollywood stars are light in the head and made giddy headed statements Sherawat made a valid point about the need for educating the rural youth. "While 20 per cent of the population is rising ahead and taking the country with them the remaining 80 per cent is not doing so well. Politicians make grandiose promises, few of which see the light of day.

"While the entertainment sector did not get much from the budget there are more pressing concerns. Besides education infrastructure is another concern."



Godrej echoed that sentiment saying that the roads give foreigners the first impression about our country. He gave the instance of a CEO who was so flustered with the immigration queue at the airport that he decided to set up his back office shop in Mauritius. "His image of India just went dead."

One way out is to privatise more. He cited the example of telecom which was privatised in terms of allowing foreign direct investment and is going from strength to strength as a result.

"Unfortunately the ruling party has to take the support of the Left which is vehemently against privatisation. Despite the fact that the Soviet Union collapsed under a communist regime these people continue to harp against privatisation. As far as educating the rural youth is concerned I feel that we should not leave everything to the government. There should be more private education initiatives."

Zayed Khan expressed disappointment about the budget giving short shrift to the entertainment sector. As he pointed out entertainment is a huge revenue earner and also generates employment. He also said that India has a huge opportunity to generate revenue from tourism. "For this we need to get our act together. I do not understand why we cannot build a single road without a pothole?"

Deora urged the college crowd present to get more involved. "Do any of you know the name of your MP or who your municipal representative is? Cynicism is no excuse for ignorance. Maharashtra has a Right To Information Act. So if you are dissatisfied with the road in your colony and then you can ring up the person and find out the contractor who did such a shoddy job."

One issue that the college crowd is facing is paying tax. Many work in call centres at night after attending college in the day. Responding to this Bombay Stock Exchange member Ramesh Damani stated that student could go in for an educational loan in order to pursue higher studies. The money invested would be tax exempted. Another way out is to invest in mutual funds.

The event airs on CNBC-TV18 today 2 March at 10 pm and on MTV on 3 March.

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