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The NDA government with Narendra Modi at the helm, has brought out its maiden budget. It has received mixed reactions, but given the time constraints and the various economic challenges Mr. Arun Jaitley, must be commended for his pragmatic proposals which are aimed at reigniting growth and reviving the economy. From a macroeconomic perspective, the Budget emphasises on the manufacturing and infrastructure sectors as the key levers for reviving economic growth. The proposed overhaul of the subsidy regime to make food and fuel subsidies better targeted is also encouraging. From a policy perspective, the decision to raise FDI in the defence sector from 26% to 49% through the FIPB route, with management control in Indian hands, will provide a boost to the domestic manufacturing industry. The government's commitment to early introduction of GST and a new DTC are positive signals. While the expectations of the public at large are very high from the NDA government one has to wait and watch as to how the government performs in the coming months and years. On the corporate front, SEBI has tightened the corporate governance norms for listed companies by providing for stricter disclosures and protection of investor rights, including equitable treatment for minority and foreign shareholders. Under the norms, listed entities have to get shareholders’ nod for related party transactions, among others. The market regulator had said that the monitoring cell formed by the stock exchanges would monitor the compliance of such corporate governance norms for all listed companies. Although the Ministry of Corporate affairs has made e-voting optional, SEBI has said that it is mandatory to have e-voting for listed entities as the principles of corporate governance state that shareholders should have an opportunity to participate effectively and vote in general meetings. These principles also require companies to facilitate effective participation and exercise of ownership rights and require that company procedures shall not make it unduly difficult or expensive to cast votes. At the global front, the continued Gaza conflict, killing hundreds of innocent civilians is indeed disturbing. Whether it's a child from Gaza or a soldier from Israel it is the humanity that suffers. We should take a moral and principled stand against the war in Gaza, irrespective of the nature of our relationship with Israel and must pressure Israel to stop these atrocities. The opposition to the war goes beyond religion and communities. If there is upheaval in Ukraine or Gaza, India is not isolated from it and we must raise our voices. With the world shrinking, in this era of the World Wide Web, it is important that peace be maintained globally for economic prosperity and growth. The month of August we celebrate friendship, sister and brother’s love, India’s Independence, Krishna’s birthday as well Ganesh festival. So wishing each one a happy, festive and rainy month of August. Best Regards, Rashida Adenwala  
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