Industry welcomes the ‘something for all’ Budget
The Dollar Business Bureau
The Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Union budget 2017-2018 on Wednesday in the Lok Sabha. This was the fourth budget by the current government. “The country will boost spending in rural areas, on infrastructure and for fighting poverty”, he said in his introductory speech as he unveiled the annual budget.
Experts, analysts and people from industry have welcomed the budget, which is mainly focused on the rural sector, MSMEs, infrastructure development and digitisation.
“One of the thrust areas of my tax proposals is to stimulate growth, give relief to the middle class, (promote) affordable housing, curb black money, bring transparency in political funding and simplify tax administration,” Jaitley said.
Commenting on the Budget, Dr Didar Singh, Secretary General, FICCI, said, “The government has tried to address some core sectors. The budget comes at a very crucial time, just after the demonetisation and before the crucial UP election. It was expected that the rural sector will gain a lot of benefit, which is in a way crucial for the Indian economy in the long run.”
Reflecting on the infrastructure allocation in the budget, he said, “The government's infrastructure push has been much needed and it's announcement that it will channelise funds for new airports is a great move. Overall, it is a satisfactory budget, covering a wide range of sectors,” he said.
“There has been some crucial announcement for the SME sector. They were in dire need of government's attention. They have got it. The latest push will help the sector, help manufacturing and therefore exports. Digital economy has been the government's key agenda. And we got to see that on this year's budget. The announcement that it will bring rural areas under this scheme is a commendable move,” said Singh.
Jaitley announced that Rs.1.87 trillion has been allocated for rural, agriculture and allied areas, an increase of 24%. He announced an allocation of Rs.190 billion for rural road scheme in 2017/18 and target to complete electrification of rural areas May 1, 2018.
Commenting on the Budget, Devin Narang, Managing Director, Sindicatum Carbon Capital (India) Pvt Ltd, told to The Dollar Business, “The government has attempted to address the country's rural sector, which has been in the dire need of government's attention. It is absolutely important to strengthen the rural economy, to increase their purchasing power, which, in turn, will boost India's purchasing power and of course the manufacturing sector.”
The government in the Budget proposes cuts in personal income tax for those at bottom end of income scale. In FY 2017-18, total tax revenue is seen at Rs.12.27 trillion rupees and total revenue receipts at Rs.15.16 trillion.
Narang said, “With its crucial announcement with respect to the taxes, both direct and indirect, the government has also tried to mitigate the multifarious impacts of demonetisation and has given people much to be cheerful about.”
The budgetary allocation for infrastructure in 2017-18 is Rs.3.96 trillion and Rs.2.41 trillion for transport sector alone. “Infrastructure sector has always been the focus, and the government's announcement to enhance and modernise railway and road infrastructure comes as no surprise, he added.
However, he added, “I was expecting more on the investment front, especially in the field of private investment. Most of all, I hope the government executes all the promises and announcement it has made today in the budget.”
Harsh Vardhana Singh, Executive Director, Bookings India, said, “Among the major announcements, the government's emphasis on digitisation, infrastructure and skill development remained of paramount importance. Easing out the country's taxation process also remained the key point.”
“The government did not make many announcements in terms of excise, and other taxation, that's probably because the government is waiting for the GST to be implemented. The SMEs have plenty of reasons to be cheerful about. They had been pitching forward their recommendations for years. The latest step would encourage them, which will significantly benefit the SME industry,” Singh said.
Pankaj R Patel, President, FICCI Chairman & MD, Zydus Cadila, while commenting on the budget said, “The budget has given renewed focus on rural economy, farming sector, infrastructure, investments and taxation. The government's focus on digital economy is good. The renewed focus on in this area, which also reiterates the expansion of digitisation across the villages and gram panchayats will help to build a digital economic India.”
“GST is scheduled later this year. We hope it will be implemented soon. That was one reason why the government did not go much in this direction. We hope the government's tax reforms are in lines with the industry demand. And he fulfills the promises. SME section is the major beneficiary. It will help them in the long run,” Patel said.
This year’s Budget is the first time in which Railway Budget is presented along with the Union budget. The government proposes to invest Rs.1.31 trillion in railways in the FY 2017-18 and allocates Rs.550 billion for railways.
Earlier in the day, there were reports that the budget presentation may be postponed to February 2, following the passing away of Lok Sabha Member of Parliament E Ahamed. However, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan took the call to present the Budget today itself but after the presentation of Budget, she adjourned the House till Thursday.