Indian industry stakeholders have hailed the Union Budget 2017-18, especially the measures announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for infrastructure push, on affordable housing and for expansion of the BharatNet project among others.
Other measures, which got a thumbs up from India Inc include: Reduced corporate income tax rates for medium and small enterprises (MSME), infrastructure status to affordable housing, allocation of Rs 500 crore for setting up Mahila Shakti Kendra at village level and expansion of BharatNet project besides many other.
Here is what India Inc said:
Pankaj Patel, President, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry:
This budget would tremendously strengthen the economic muscle of the country. It is directionally correct, fiscally prudent and strengthens the governance fabric of the nation. I think the biggest takeaway from this budget is the reform introduced in the area of political funding. The demonetisation move of the government was an attack on the stock of black money and the measures announced in the budget on electoral funding will help attack the root cause of corruption of India.
Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry:
Overall, the Budget builds positive sentiments among Indian industry and overseas investors that the government would remain on the path of fiscal prudence while taking all possible measures to boost growth. Reduced corporate income tax rates for medium and small enterprises bring cheer to the large majority of companies with turnover of less than Rs 50 crore, while stimulating employment and entrepreneurship.
Sunil Kanoria,President, Associated Chambers of Commerce of India:
Post-demonetisation, the rural landscape had come under stress, along with the SMEs and the informal sectors of the economy, and needed a boost. Credit commitments of Rs 10 lakh crore for the farm sector along with several initiatives for helping agri-produce to get better prices are the initiatives which would be a growth driver for the agricultural sector besides favourable weather conditions and good monsoon in 2016.
Gopal Jiwarajka, President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry:
Government has provided a balanced budget to strengthen the economy from grass roots; tax benefits to small tax payers, MSMEs and infrastructure status to affordable housing are encouraging and would pave the way for a higher growth trajectory. Infra status to affordable housing would absorb semi-skilled and unskilled workforce in the housing and construction sector, generate employment opportunities and demand in the economy.
Vinita Bimbhet, President, FICCI Ladies Organisation:
We are hopeful that allocation of Rs 1,84,632 crore for women and kids, will help achieve the goal of poverty alleviation and provide adequate healthcare. We can also see that skilling youth and women have been taken as a priority area, which is truly essential for achieving the goals of sustainable development of the nation in totality. Another commendable initiative is the allocation of Rs 500 crore for setting up Mahila Shakti Kendra at village level, which will aim at empowering women.
William Foster, Vice President, Sovereign Risk Group, Moody's Investors Service:
This year's budget marks a continuation of the government's fiscal objectives and policies. The budget speech's emphasis on fiscal prudence indicates that continued commitment to gradual fiscal consolidation remains. This is consistent with the target of a deficit at 3.2 per cent of GDP this fiscal year, followed by 3 per cent.
Kumar Kandaswami, Partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India:
The allocation to infrastructure, railways, housing and defence for capital expenditure has the potential to substantially enhance manufacturing demand. While the allocation has increased, the structures for implementation seem to be what have existed. To that extent, the speed at which these allocations are converted into projects would be interesting to follow.
Girish Vanvari, Head of Tax, KPMG in India:
No change in capital gains tax regime for listed stocks and clarification on non-applicability of indirect transfer rules to FPIs (foreign portfolio investments) and AIFs (alternative investment funds) will be a big relief to the investors and could trigger an immediate rally on the stock markets.
Atul Gupta, Head - Cyber Security, KPMG in India:
Establishing cyber and computer emergency response teams shall support addressing cyber threat and also facilitate increased adoption of digital economy. However, this needs to be implemented effectively with participation from all stakeholders, including regulators to ensure that cyber response works seamlessly.
Rajan S. Mathews, Director General, Cellular Operators' Association of India:
This budget has made pro-people announcements in order to promote nation-wide telecom connectivity. Rural connectivity has been given the necessary thrust and it will be beneficial move for the telecom industry as well. Industry will pitch in with all its strength and fill necessary gaps.
Neha Punater, Partner and Head of Fintech, KPMG in India:
The government has continued the demonetisation initiative to promote digital and cashless payments with a slew of initiatives in the budget. It has addressed all the components - from incentivising the customers and merchants for using BHIM (app) to furnishing of PAN for cash transactions over Rs 3 lakh, to promoting infrastructure creation by duty exemption on POS (point-of-sales) machines and iris readers.
K. Ravichandran, Group Head, Corporate Sector ratings, ICRA:
The Union Budget has several favourable proposals for the oil and gas sector such as creation of two more strategic oil reserves projects, reduction in basic customs duty (BCD) on LNG from 5 per cent to 2.5 per cent and creation of an integrated oil public sector undertaking major. The creation of additional strategic oil reserves will boost the energy security of the nation, besides the refineries.
Partha Iyengar, Vice President and Gartner Fellow, India :
In more specific terms, the biggest positive is the continued focus on infrastructure (roads, railway, housing, tier-II airports) in general and rural infrastructure (affordable homes, rural electrification) in particular, including e-infrastructure with the increased allocation to BharatNet. This will allow commercial activity to expand to the rural segment in a much more efficient manner, if the aim of achieving the broadband connectivity targets by 2018 is actually met.
Kenny Ye, GM-Overseas Business, Alibaba Mobile Business Group:
While last year's (telecom) auctions removed spectrum scarcity in the country, expansion of BharatNet project will ensure high-speed broadband to 1.5 lakh gram panchayats via Wi-Fi. With increasing smartphone penetration and push for high-speed broadband connectivity in rural areas, a massive digital revolution is imminent in India.
Akshay Dhoot, Head, Technology and Innovation, Videocon:
We welcome initiatives that will give further boost to Make in India in order to make our country a hub of electronic and tech manufacturing. This has been taken care of with announcements like incentivising local electronic manufacturing up to Rs 745 crore by enhancing special policies like Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme and Electronic Development Fund. This move would definitely give more sops to domestic mobile handset makers.
Anuj Puri, Chairman & Country Head, JLL India:
The Budget missed out on giving any additional income tax incentives to first-time home buyers or providing higher tax savings on housing loans and house insurance premiums. Nor did it raise house rent deduction limits. However, it did provide some direct tax relaxation to the lowest income earners, and gave some clarity on the designated beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana.
Sivarama Krishnan, Leader- Cybersecurity, PwC India:
The government in its current budget announcement has only committed to deliver on its promise of 'Digital India.' Certain announcements, such as plans to roll-out 20 lakh Aadhaar-based swipe machines, promoting BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money), which already has over 1.25 crore users, and digital systems for payments of government and defence employees highlight the need for strengthening cyber security in the government.