Budget 2015: India Inc bullish on economic growth
Neha Dewan The Dollar Business The buzz was absorbing. And the air was rife with speculation. As industry bigwigs walked in to watch the Union Budget live at an event organised by CII in the capital on Saturday, a sense of excitement and hope was palpable. And as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley started outlining the proposals for Budget 2015-16, the core agenda of the government became clear. “My proposals lay out the roadmap for accelerating growth, enhancing investment and passing on the benefit of the growth process to the common man, youth and child: those, whose quality of life needs to be improved,” he said. Lauding his government for conquering inflation, he stated that the aim was to achieve a Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation of close to 5% by the end of the year. Among the challenges ahead, he highlighted that manufacturing exports have remained stagnant at 10% of the GDP, thus reflecting the crucial significance of the ‘Make in India’ programme. Terming the budget as ‘balanced’ and ‘inclusive’ in intent, India Inc seemed bullish about economic growth and the road ahead. “I think the budget has met most of corporate India’s expectations. I cannot fault it,” Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairman and MD of Biocon said. Shaw outlined that the government’s seriousness about investment and jobs was evident with the FM’s focus on job creation, entrepreneurship and start-ups. However, she added, the real test would be based on how it all gets translated on the ground. “The devil is going to be in the detail.” Reflecting on the pressing need for infrastructure development, Jaitley announced that the investment in infrastructure would go up by Rs 70,000 cr in the year 2015-16, over the previous fiscal. “The budget increased focus on infrastructure development, housing and manufacturing in India. I think they realise that investments in infrastructure can really help to kickstart the economy,” Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, Microsoft India said. Others in the IT industry were happy also about the impetus given to the technology domain in this budget. “Overall I think the focus in the budget has been to get the foundation right. I think when he said about the increasing usage of credit and debit cards to curb black money – that is a lot about leveraging technology and hence I feel excited about the budget – we are not just using it but it will also become more transparent, sustainable and predictable.” But not all were as impressed. Anshuman Magazine, CMD of global real estate consultancy CBRE South Asia expressed disappointment on enough not being laid down in step with the ‘Make in India’ objective. “I was expecting tax concessions on SEZs. Plus there has been no mention of the 100 smart cities either. There has also been no talk of reviving the housing market. So these gaps have been there in an otherwise interesting budget,” he said. Jagdish Khattar, Chairman and MD, Carnation Auto India wasn’t too elated either about the setting up of new IIMs in J&K and Andhra Pradesh. “You can’t open new IIMs when the existing ones are neither in good shape nor have faculty!” However, he too agreed that the right enablers were there in the budget for trade to foster. Clearly, the much-looked-forward-to budget kept India Inc hooked. As the FM put it, “The world is predicting that it is India’s chance to fly." Well, he couldn't have said it any better..!
This article was published on March 02, 2015.