Like every year, this yearly event holds utmost attention and importance from the holistic economy perspective. But this year’s Union Budget was special for many reasons – it was announced on February 1, deviating from the standard pattern. The most path breaking decision of all times was merging rail budget with the Union Budget. Hailed positively by industry at large, let’s hear it from the stalwarts on the perspectives and projections about the fortunes of Indian economy in the year 2017-18…
Akshay Dhoot, Head, Technology & Innovation, Videocon: We congratulate the Central Government for presenting a growth conducive budget. The overall announcements seem like a cohesive push for holistic economic growth. 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 incentivizing local electronic manufacturing up to Rs745 crore by enhancing special policies like Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (MSIPS) and Electronic Development Fund (EDF). This move would definitely give more sops to domestic mobile handset makers. India is one of the fastest growing mobile markets in the world and it would further get boost from newly formed trade infra export scheme.”
Krish Iyer, President & CEO, Walmart India: The Union Budget 2017 is a game changer and continues to rightly focus on rural, agriculture and infrastructure sector with an aim to give boost to formal economy. The planned investment in these sectors will not only create much needed jobs in the country but also spur consumer spending and boost economic growth. Fiscal deficit too has been contained very well.
The continued focus on ease of doing business with several measures such as abolishing FIPB, 'Model law on contract farming', Simplification of Labour laws under four areas – wages, industrial relation, social security and welfare and Safety - augurs very well for the economy. Major income tax relief in the lowest bracket is laudable as it will bring back consumer confidence and boost domestic consumption.
The measures announced to boost the manufacturing sector are commendable. Rewarding MSMEs by reducing rate of income tax will further boost `Make in India’; Proposal to set up dairy processing fund will boost food processing while increased allocation to schemes such as MSIPS will boost the electronics sector. Rural sector gets a boost with increased allocation to MNREGA.
The agenda for the year to `transform, energize and clean India’ is indeed noteworthy. Government's commitment to lift one crore people out of poverty by 2019 is commendable. Government's steps to promote digital economy post demonetization are very logical and will boost formal economy. Overall, this is a very good budget. Adherence to fiscal discipline, with emphasis on growth, development, increasing infrastructural & rural spending, and encouraging formal economy are key aspects of the budget.
Vivek Mathur, CEO, Giftease.com: Overall, the budget stays on the path of fiscal prudence, with no major populist measures or sops. Continuing strong emphasis on digital payments is particularly good for our sector, and necessarily needs to accompany remonetisation. Tax benefits to SMEs and individuals in the lower slabs should have some positive for consumption, but I believe the expectations were higher, particularly considering the measures to increase the taxpayer base. In terms of policy shifts, the easing of FDI is positive, but the details and schedules remain to be seen.
Vinamra Pandiya, CEO & Founder, Qtrove.com: The overall budget seems to be another big step towards a digital India and it is rightly so! A strong weightage for digital payments is principally good in the long run for the e-commerce sector. Tax relief to SMEs and revised tax slabs for individuals will surely promote more investment, thus helping the economy grow. Policy changes with regards to ease of FDI are extremely encouraging and we are now looking forward to the suggestion made by the expert panel for the implementation of GST.
Antony Jacob, CEO, Apollo Munich: The Union Budget 2017-2018 is garnering positive sentiment amongst markets as it addressed the needs of the hour in terms of the farming sector, the rural population, the youth, infrastructure, prudent fiscal management and tax administration for the honest tax payers. The Finance Minister also focused his attention on developing Digital India further by providing incentives for digital payments, i.e., allocation of up to Rs10,000 crore for the Bharat Net project. This will certainly enable more Indians to choose online payment gateways.
Dinesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO, IndiaMART.com: The budget 2017 has laid a foundation of an enterprise and business pro India. Important factors to boost GDP are thought of the Union Budget 2017. Most important elements such as young demographic dividend, skill development, women employability, digital education, transport have been well accounted for. Also, it is reflected that the burden of taxation is more evenly split with all demographies of the society.
It is a good year for SMEs, India’s backbone given the direct and indirect reforms announced for them. 5 special tourism zones will enhance MSME development and bolster schemes for employment in textile, transport, agriculture, leather and hospitality sector.
The SMEs in pharmaceuticals and logistics are bound to experience accelerated growth as Healthcare hold high on Arun Jaitley's agenda in the Budget 2017. Ease of Doing Business for SMEs will thrive withpush for infra in digital economy, Aadhaar enabled payment systems, m-wallets and digital payments.
To increase digital payments acceptance cash purchase and payments for revenue and capital expenditure limited to Rs10000 for businesses is a very good move. Even for individual or personal consumption, a limit of Rs3 lakh has been imposed on cash. Both will help generate more transparency and thus more revenue in times to come.Ajay Laddha, Co-Founder, YMS Mobitech Pvt Ltd
Ajay Laddha, Co-Founder, YMS Mobitech Pvt Ltd: The Union Budget has outlined all the rights steps for the government’s central agenda of Transform, Energise, and Clean India. The lower corporate tax announced will help small businesses become more competitive in the global market while reduction in personal income tax is a step in the right direction to boost the consumption cycle. Increasing number of years from 5 to 7 for tax holiday for startups is also a welcome step. Preempting spate of cashless transactions in the days ahead, announcement of a new payment regulatory board will help in realizing government’s dream of a Digital Economy. Also, curb on cash transactions of over 3 lakh will help in pushback of the parallel economy.
P S Choudhary, Head Sales & Marketing, LML Limited: The Finance Minister has announced a prudent Budget with focus on infrastructure, employment digitization. While reduction in interest rates has already given an impetus to the consumption cycle, lower personal income tax for income up to Rs5 lakh will put more money in the hands of the common man. Also, airports and air connectivity in smaller towns will further boost economic activities. With measures to stimulate growth, promote the digital economy and provide relief to middle class through affordable housing, this Budget ticks all the right boxes.
Sanjeev Bhatia, CEO, Zopo Mobile India and MD, Adcom: The budget 2017 is extremely positive and people friendly. Reduction in direct taxes for SMEs & low income individuals is definitely going to benefit the masses and will really impact the Indian economy in a huge way. The GST is proposed to implement on July 1st, so indirect taxes such as, excise, customs, service tax has not been touched. Manufacturing allocation is good initiative to start off. With such initiatives, India can grow on the charts of GDP.
In the direction of making India a Digital nation a needful decision was made, with the focus rightly on digital India the budget also gave boost to telecom and manufacturing sector through Digital India. Modernization is good for any nation, for a successful and powerful nation fast growth can only be reached with the help of technology. Those portions of India that are deprived from the fruits of technology will now be able to enjoy it.
Amol Naikawadi, Joint Managing Director, Indus Health Plus: The Union budget is encouraging and well-balanced, as it brings vast opportunities for improvement in rural healthcare. The focus should have been more on healthcare as a whole since majority of lifestyle diseases are on the rise. The initiatives introduced by the government on making healthcare affordable, available and accessible for masses is surely welcoming. Introduction of aadhar-based smart cards for senior citizen to monitor their health and the aim of eradicating Tuberculosis, shows the way ahead for healthcare sector. The transformation of health centres into Health Wellness centres is much appreciated, as the time demands that health has to be looked in wellness form. In long term perspective, promoting the medical education in India and increasing the seats is a great move in making healthcare available for all.
Samir Desai, MD, Cofco Agri India: This is a good and progressive budget as it addresses the roots and is in-sync with the aim of the government to build a strong economy in the long run. The absence of expected short term stimulus measure to counter demonetization shows the courage on the part of the government and provides clarity for the way forward. The key focus and increased allocation for rural development, infrastructure and farmers’ facilities such as credit, insurance, e-platforms, etc., would provide necessary impetus to the agri sector. Further, the effort to establish correlation between spot price and derivatives of underlying agri commodity by forming an expert committee is a welcome step by government as this will benefit both the farmers and traders. The boost in agri sector would have a positive impact on per capita income as agriculture is the source of livelihood for a major chunk of rural India population. This in turn would expand consumer demand and shall work favorably towards improving the growth rate of the country.
Anjani Mandal, CEO and Co-founder, Fortigo Network: The continuing growth and stability in the economy as reflected by the positive macroeconomic indicators will get a further boost with the infusion of capital in infrastructure, boosting MSMEs post-tax profits (owing to the reduced Income Tax) as well as increased liquidity with the consumer for his spends (owing to reduced Income Tax). As to the road transportation industry, with the growth in economy, any facet of infrastructure development or investment by businesses or an increase in consumption, boosts logistics sector growth.
There is no negative element for the logistics segment and several positives to directly and indirectly boost the logistics sector through, (a) higher outlay on Highways; (b) support for MSMEs through a reduced income tax and (c) boosting money in hands of individuals through lower income tax will boost consumption.
In addition to the above support to the overall logistics segment, three factors are positive news for a start-up: (a) getting a wider set of businesses to move into the organized sector; (b) the continued focus on encouraging digital payments and support to infrastructure for build-up of digital payments and (c) GST to be implemented in the current year.