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Budget 2021-22 Reactions from Industry Leaders

Budget 2021-22 Reactions from Industry Leaders 1

Shri CH S. S. Mallikarjuna Rao, MD & CEO, Punjab National Bank

We welcome the measures announced by Hon’ble Finance Minister in Union Budget 2021-22. The budget rightly strikes a reasonable balance between addressing the key pillars of Health & Well-being, Inclusive Development, Human Capital, Innovation and R&D, apart from laying the path for a robust economy by providing a major infrastructure boost. The array of measures announced are in line with people as well as market expectations and will go a long way to bring the nation back on track by boosting spending on infrastructure and rural development while fighting the pandemic through health focused measures.

As far as the financial sector is concerned, further recapitalization of Rs 20,000 crore for PSBs in the FY 2021-22 is a welcome step. The other measures which are expected to strengthen the sector are as under:

  • Various measures have been announced on the infrastructure front, which are expected to take the economy into a new trajectory of growth. In addition to over a 34% increase in capital expenditure, new highway projects have also been announced.
  • Setting up of a professionally managed Development Financial Institution will catalyze infrastructure funding.
  • Creation of an ARC and Asset Management Company that will take over the stressed assets and sell to Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs),  is also welcome as it will help improve the health of the banking sector through impact on price discovery and improving competition in the market.
  • The NCLT system will be strengthened and e-Courts will be adopted and alternate mechanism of debt resolution will be set up.
  • The massive program for monetization of completed/ running projects will help in creating required resources through the instruments like INVITs.
  • Other important announcements of bringing in the IPO of LIC, hiking the FDI limit in insurance increase to 74% from 49%, strategically divest 2 Public Sector Banks and 1 general insurance company, are steps in the right direction.

The voluntary scrapping policy proposed for discarding old commercial vehicles will boost the automobile industry. The gross borrowing programme is also helpful to maintain the fiscal health of the economy, while providing necessary funding towards growth and development of the infrastructure.

Agriculture

Mr. Randhir Chauhan, Managing Director, Netafim India and Senior Vice President, Netafim Ltd. on Agriculture

“The Union Budget clearly highlights the Government’s continued focus to modernize the Agri sector. We welcome the announcement of additional allocation of Rs. 5,000 cr to the Micro Irrigation Fund (MIF) under NABARD which now totals Rs. 10,000 cr. This is in line with the Government’s vision of ‘per drop more crop’, and will help move closer to the target of micro irrigation coverage across 1 crore ha in five years, across the country. In order to improve the fund utilization, we request policymakers to remove the condition of disbursement (which is only against additional subsidy) and consider to make it available for the mandatory state share as well. The additional fund could keep the momentum up in states like Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka which are already in favour of the scheme, help restart in states like Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and bring newer states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, etc. under its gamut.”

 Mr. Ramesh Mamgain, Country Manager, India and SAARC, Commvault on the budget announcement-  The Union Budget 2021 is sui generis considering that it is India’s first-ever ‘Digital Budget’. The gesture of doing away with the paper versions of Budget underlines government’s commitment towards PM’s ‘Digital India’ vision. 

A renewed focus on infrastructure would mean accelerated technology adoption, which cannot be accomplished without data privacy measures, propelled by data protection. This approach would help in strengthening India’s data protection framework to protect individual information, with investments in key technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to secure cloud-based infrastructures.

While the capital expenditure on the physical connectivity – road, railway and port – has been highlighted throughout, I am sure that digital connectivity will ultimately become a cornerstone of everything we do in the current times.

Overall, it is an inclusive and pro-growth budget, presenting a balanced stance on the pathway to recovery.”

Mr. B.L.Mittal, Founder & Executive Chairman, Sastasundar.com:“Union Budget 2021 is growth-oriented. Thrust on healthcare, agriculture, and infrastructure is a welcome move. The government has announced bold steps including privatisation, tax reforms, and bank reforms for stressed assets. My heartfelt congratulations to the entire team for making such an AatmaNirbhar Budget in this difficult time.”

Dr Om Tantia, Medical Director & Head, Department of Minimal Access and Bariatric Surgery, ILS Group of Hospitals

In the current budget, there has been a huge increase in investment in health expenditure. The government has recognized healthcare as the most significant pillar upon which the very foundation of our Nation rests. Further, the emphasis on primary and secondary healthcare and establishment of lab facilities in select districts & across states shall enhance and accelerate a holistic wellness of the masses. The Budget of 2021 will be enthusiastic for the health industry as this is the first time the health sector has received such an impetus from the Government which shall help in creating an AtmaNirbharSwasthBharat in the coming days.

Mr. B.L.Mittal, Founder & Executive Chairman of Sastasundar.com

Union Budget 2021 is growth-oriented. Thrust on healthcare, agriculture and infrastructure is a welcome move. The government has announced bold steps including privatisation, tax reforms and bank reforms for stressed assets. My heartfelt congratulations to the entire team for making such an AatmaNirbhar Budget in this difficult time.

Dr Debasish Bhattacharya, Chairman & Managing Director, Disha Eye Hospitals

137% increase (as compared to 2020-21) in budget allocation for Health & Wellbeing is a positive step.Emphasis has been given to vital areas like drinking water and sanitization (Swacha Bharat). The Production Linked Incentive scheme (PLI) on Atma Nirvar Bharat will also boost the Indian Pharma industry to become global leaders.

Mr. Rishi Jain, Managing Director, Jain Group:

The Budget is a subset of a Grand Plan, steps are in the right direction and only has positives for the housing and real estate sector.

Infrastructure and Housing go hand in hand, the priority allocated to infrastructure and the housing sector is laudable.  

The easing of more and more compliances and unnecessary departmental formalities is also in line with easing of business is encouraging. 

Because most reforms are already announced during pandemic times, I personally was not expecting any Big Bang reforms. The steps to improve ease for small and medium scale businesses and taxpayers deserves a thumbs up.
Mr. Abhishek Bharadwaj, Chief Marketing Officer, Shristi Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd:
It is very encouraging to see that the current budget has continued its emphasis on affordable housing as a priority area. The extension of eligibility of additional deduction of interest of Rs 1.5 lakhs for loan taken to purchase an affordable house will surely boost the demand for real estate in the country. The extension of tax holiday for affordable housing projects will also help the developers. The new tax exemption for the notified Affordable Rental Housing Projects for the migrant workers is also a welcome step. The increased allocation in infrastructure spending will also boost the real estate sector indirectly. As a whole, the budget is encouraging for the sector.
Mr. Arya Sumant, Managing Director, Eden Realty

Government had already done many mini budgets over the course of the last financial year due to the Covid-19 pandemic so it was expected that there wouldn’t be many big bang reforms. It is an extremely balanced budget and it is heartening to see that Affordable Housing is still being given a major push and the additional year announced for tax breaks is going to provide the required boost to the real estate sector for post-pandemic era. The reduction in import duty for steel is also going to help the sector grappling with high construction cost for the past several months.

Mr. Ravi Khaitan, Managing Director, Prudent Infrarealty Private Limited

The tax holiday proposed by FM for one more year in order to promote affordable housing projects is a positive sign towards ‘Housing for All’ initiative and also to increase their supply so the growing demand can be met.

Mr. Jitendra Khaitan, Managing Director, Pioneer Property Management Limited.

The additional deduction of 1.5 lakhs by the FM granted upto March 31, ’22 will keep the momentum positive to the real estate industry and towards residential buyers too.

Quote from Ms Priyanka Surana Poddar, Director, Aakash Aath
“As an experienced chartered accountant, I think this year’s budget is an unprecedented step. For the first time in the history of the country, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman made history by presenting a paperless budget. There is news of relief in the budget for the elderly. The removal of income tax for 75years and above has been a welcoming step. However, the concern of the middle class has been heightened by the agricultural cess on the price of fuel. As a result, the price of petrol and diesel rises, so will the cost of travel for the masses. Good news for those who invest in the stock market. The Union Finance Minister has said that 10 percent shares of LIC will be brought to the market. The budget allocation for the health sector has been increased. In my opinion, this special step towards the health infrastructure of the country has been appropriate”. – Priyanka Surana Bardia, Director, Aakash Aath.

Mr. Arvind Goenka, Chairman, The Plastics Export Promotion Council (PLEXCONCIL)
“Hon. Union Finance Minister (FM) presented a progressive and transparent Budget to stimulate growth in the economy after a global pandemic. FM stated that our manufacturing sector has to grow in double digits on a sustained basis to achieve a USD 5 trillion economy. Government has to encourage plastics’ manufacturing companies need to become an integral part of global supply chains, possess core competence and cutting-edge technology. But PLEXCONCIL has been seeking the inclusion of plastics under the PLI Scheme. We welcome the review of 400 existing custom exemptions this year. PLEXCONCIL requests for reduction in customs duty on Plastic raw materials. Naphtha custom duty lowered will help production of plastic raw materials.  Finished goods of plastics should have attracted higher duties. We welcome the announcement to review inverted duty structure under GST. But there is no allocation for MEIS shipments made for 2019-20 and 2020-21 – we seek clarity on the same. Government’s focus on providing alternative discoms and reduction in cross subsidy shall help industrial consumers. MSMEs in the plastics industry will benefit from Collateral free loans for businesses. Increased outlay for road and rail infrastructure shall help logistics movement within the country/ICD.”

Mr Tushar Choudhary, Founder Director, Motovolt Mobility Pvt Ltd.Government has proposed to rationalize the inverted GST structure. We await the final print for the EV sector. We welcome the tax holiday extended for start-ups and exemption on capital gains, both for one more year as it would encourage the budding segment.

Rajat Singhania, Founder of HyLyt by SocioRAC said, “The budget is growth-oriented. Govt expenditure on infrastructure is high which will boost the economy. There are no major changes in direct/ indirect taxes. For startups, the tax extension, increase in paid-up capital, registration of one-person firms, NRI permission to incorporate OPCs in India is a good boost to Startups. Overall a positive budget to spur growth, stock markets have responded very positively and we can expect to overcome some of the losses of the year gone by.”

Tanuja Gomes Co-CEO, Co-Founder, Furtados School of Music shares her perspective on Education Budget

Tanuja wears multiple hats through the day – entrepreneur, business woman, mother and wife. The co-founder of Furtados School of Music, Tanuja’s aim is to provide quality music education to students and adults. With stress levels and depression rates rising, Tanuja strongly believes music is the healing medium everyone should experience. From a business stand point, Furtados school of music has associated with 150+ schools across India and has managed to secure $2.5+ million worth of funding from investor groups. The aim is to expand the school’s presence outside India as well.

Perspective by Ms. Tanuja Gomes, Co-Founder & Co-CEO at Furtados School of Music:

“Education sector is being reshaped with the budget 2021 allocation for the sector. As we move in 2021, we are bound to witness a significant transition in the learning process which will move from the mundane and rote learning to an engaging experience altogether. National Professional Standards for Teachers- NPST will help the teachers to upskill themselves and reinvent a new way of teaching. The National Digital Educational Architecture (NDEAR) will help in establishing a diverse education eco-system that will in turn develop the digital infrastructure ensuring the autonomy of all stakeholders, especially States and UTs. Using the assessment to judge the student on the basis of their talent and skills will help students to understand their areas of strengths that can be leveraged in future to make the optimal career choice. However, the moves from Budget 2021-2022 are likely to be incremental in sectors across rather than a big push to education. The National Education Policy needed an execution plan, while 15,000 schools to be qualitatively strengthened is a great start. This will also pave way for future school; a brief plan to further attract foreign or domestic investments in Edtech would have helped, however the budget did not capture a significant change in education infrastructure, regulations and financial outlay. Overall this will help us to continue the amazing growth we have witnessed.”

Ms. Niru Agarwal, Trustee, Greenwood High International School said, ” The state of education is often a healthy predictor of the country’s overall development and well-being. The Union Budget 2021 will lead to the development of the education sector and the initiatives to treat education holistically for school children is a welcome move. We are glad that the new measures by the Government would bring about positive changes in the education system. The government has focused on improving quality of education and this would go a long way in rejuvenating school education. The overall focus of the budget has been to make education robust and responsive to students’ needs in terms of quality education in rural sector, skill development, research & development, employability & international collaboration to enhance technical knowledge. Education being the key instrument of social change, progress and upward mobility in India, the government needs to ensure that education sector continues to get the attention and funding it richly deserves. The challenge right now is not just producing students who will get jobs, but students who can thrive in rapidly changing environments.”

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