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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's maiden budget is a mega investment-oriented initiative with a strong focus on scaling up rural infrastructure and demand along with a slew of tax simplification measures, aimed at boosting growth, and maintaining high level of fiscal discipline, industry body Assocham's President B.K. Goenka said.
Focus on affordable housing with higher tax benefits to end users, start-ups, sustainable development, and Make in India, is clearly visible, along with a firm assurance of ease of living for common citizens and businesses by the tax authorities, he said in a statement.
Initiatives like e-assessment, inter-changeability of PAN and Aadhaar, and digital payment would make a big difference to tax payers. Likewise, increase in the threshold for lower corporate tax of 25 per cent to Rs 400 crore annual turnover would encourage higher investment which would also get a boost from proposals like further liberalisation of FDI norms in sectors like insurance intermediaries and aviation, Goenka said.
The roadmap for a huge investment in Railways with the involvement of the private sector would create a spill over for several sectors. Besides, the low hanging areas of tourism wherein several iconic sites are being identified would lead to immediate gains, the Assocham President said, adding that the next phases of affordable housing and national highway projects should also be growth drivers.
The disinvestment target of Rs 1.05 lakh crore along with the commitment to disinvest Air India would be good efforts to enhance the fiscal stability with fiscal deficit being pegged lower at 3.7 per cent of GDP. Likewise, the re-capitalisation of the public sector banks by Rs 70,000 crore should increase lending including to the stressed sectors of the economy, Goenka said.
The focus on Make in India is visible as also emphasis on sustainable development by measures like electric vehicles and renewable energy. Boost to high-technology manufacturing like semi-conductor and commercialisation of space technologies are innovative measures, he said.
Overall, it is a business-like Budget taking into account the ground reality. The gains would be visible in a sustained manner, Goenka said, adding that this is a transformational budget, aimed at taking the Indian economy to $5 trillion by 2025.