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Kris Gopalakrishnan advocates temporary relief on GST to improve consumer sentiment

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Bengaluru: Amidst some measures taken by the central government and RBI to arrest the domestic downturn, Infosys Co-Founder and multiple investor Kris Gopalakrishnan Friday advocated temporary relief on GST and few other taxes to improve consumer sentiment to arrest the problem, which has been the result of NBFC crisis.

“There have been some suggestions like having some temporary relief on GST, (some other) taxes, so that we can improve consumer sentiment to tide over the problem of economic downturn, which has been fallout of NBFC crisis,” he told this correspondent on the sidelines of an event conducted by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here.

The government has taken some steps to improve flow of funds for housing loans by infusing Rs 10,000 crore in NBFCs.

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Reserve Bank of India also has taken some steps in this regard by allowing banks’ lending to NBFCs for on-lending to classified priority sector lending like agriculture, micro and small enterprises, up to specified limits.

“Of course, the government has taken some measures. The RBI has reduced interest rates and increased liquidity inflow in the system, which will probably provide credit for industry. Hopefully, some of these measures sooner than later will have a positive impact on the sentiments of the consumers and growth forges an upward swing,” he added.

Gopalakrishnan said the NBFC crisis has majorly hit the real estate and construction sectors, besides automotive industry, which is the largest job provider in manufacturing space. “This in turn has affected jobs atmosphere and consequently, the economic growth,” he said.

Endorsing Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s comments on RBI and government’s relationship, Gopalakrishnan believes Reserve Bank of India and the central government are on the same page and are coordinating better, which hopefully bear positive results.

“I believe they are on the same page and coordinating better. Hopefully we will see the results,” he said.

The statement comes in the wake of Sitharaman’s assurance to industry leaders that RBI and government are on ‘same page’ and making efforts to boost the economy.

On abrogation of Article 370, Gopalakrishnan said it will definitely boost the economy of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, but did show keen interest to invest there because he has not so far invested beyond South India so far.

“Already many industries – the film, startups and finance – have shown interest in investing in Jammu and Kashmir. I think, everybody is optimistic about the abrogation of Article 370. It will definitely give boost to businesses and companies,” he said.

“No (I am not keen on investing in Jammu and Kashmir). I am focused only in the South, because when you invest in startups you need to interact with them periodically. It is easier to do that in and around Karnataka and Bengaluru. Maybe, the maximum is Chennai or Hyderabad. I don’t go beyond that,” he added.

Asked about the penal provisions concerning mandatory investment towards corporate social responsibility by companies, Gopalakrishnan said he hopes that the government stands by its statement, saying nobody is going to be punished.

Sitharaman today said the government’s intention is not to criminally prosecute anybody.

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