Published on Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Al Mulla Exchange – HDFC Bank Conference Demystifies Indian Budget 2010
Photo: Anwar Sadath Thalasserry

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A seminar on ‘Indian Budget 2010 and Beyond’ organized jointly by HDFC Bank and Al Mulla Exchange, in association with The Indian Chartered Accountants of India, Kuwait Chapter at the Holiday Inn, Salmiya on Monday, 22 March was a resounding success by any count. From the more than 290 attendees who thronged the Al Dana Hall to listen to the keynote speakers followed by the lively Questions & Answers session it was evident that the seminar was a much anticipated and value-added event.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Guest of the evening, H.E. Mr. Ajai Malhotra, Ambassador of India, said that the ‘Indian Budget 2010 & Beyond’ was a timely and relevant seminar that would no doubt prove beneficial and informative to Indians in Kuwait. He expressed his appreciation to HDFC Bank and Al Mulla Exchange for organizing the event and bringing two top notch professional experts to share their assessment on the Budget and on its Tax implications. Highlighting the Indian economy’s demonstrated resilience during the recent global crisis and its continued growth, the Ambassador said, “Despite the worst monsoon in a quarter of a century affecting the agricultural sector, our economy is on track and we are headed in the right direction.” He added that with economic growth in the country poised to register double digit numbers in the near future, with a trillion dollar plus economy, with stock markets that are amongst the best performing in the world, with a demographic advantage of having nearly 55 percent of the population below the age of 25, India is on its way to becoming the among the largest and fastest growing economies in the world.

Welcoming the audience, Mr. Hormuzda Davar, Director of Financial Services at Al Mulla Group, said that the seminar was the second in the series of conferences arranged by Al Mulla Exchange in collaboration with HDFC Bank. “The enthusiastic response we received to our first conference in November 2009, entitled ‘India — The Growth Continues’ has prompted us to arrange these type of seminars, which hinge on aspects that most affect NRIs, to the benefit of our customers,” said Mr. Davar. Introducing the keynote speakers, Mr. Abheek Barua, Chief Economist at HDFC Bank and Mr. Kirit Mehta, Partner at G P Kapadia & Co. Chartered Accountants, Mr. Davar noted that India’s growth could soon outperform even China’s and he hoped that the audience would gather more information on the budget and get to, “treasure the insights which both of our keynote speakers will be sharing with us in the course of their presentation.” Detailing the strong partnership between HDFC Bank and Al Mulla Exchange and how they have worked together to nurture the relationship by introducing customer centric remittance solutions, Mr. Davar noted that Al Mulla Exchange has always strived to be different from its competitors. He highlighted how Al Mulla Exchange spearheaded the EFT (electronic file transfer) revolution in Kuwait by developing the product and changing consumer habits to new technologies.

The first keynote speaker of the evening, Mr. Abheek Barua, then began his speech by giving a glimpse of the Indian macro economic settings. He highlighted the fact that the economy was no longer focused on one single sector and that while agriculture and services sectors, which initially propelled the Indian economy in the earlier boom, were sluggish even now, the industrial sector registered a robust year-on-year growth of 16.7 per cent in January 2010, bolstered by a strong performance by the manufacturing sector, which grew 17.9 per cent in the same month. He noted how growth was being sustained by capacity creation rather than the earlier consumption demand and this, despite the growing inflation, heralded good news for the economy.

The second speaker, Mr. Kirit Mehta for his part deconstructed the country’s taxation policies and its implications while elaborating on the Foreign Exchange Management Act and its relevance to non-resident Indians based on the 2010 budget. Detailing with facts and different examples, he exploded the popular myth that India was a high tax rate country, and he went on to give tips on how to use the Tax Laws effectively to plan transactions to reduce personal Tax incidence, and the importance of proper estate planning and what to do and not to do in the sale of immovable property in India.

Following a lively Q&A session, Mr. M.S. Mathew, Chairman of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India - Kuwait Chapter, shared his views on the conference and thanked Al Mulla Exchange for organizing the event and the support they have provided to the Charter for organizing the study circles.

Giving his vote of thanks, Mr. Minoo Patel, the Chief Financial Officer of Al Mulla Group spoke on how two decades back, the national bankruptcy sent the Indian economy into a shock spin and how the present Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh through his carefully crafted strategies ensured the economy opened up. “The Indian landscape after that was never the same. While the Western economies were falling apart in the recent recession, the well capitalized Indian banking sector and robust monetary policies created a robust economic structure” added Mr. Patel before concluding by saying that the evening’s discussions are sure to have opened the doors for several NRIs and foreign businesses interested in tapping to an economic superpower.
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