India Inc gives standing ovation for Nirmala Sitharaman
Sujata Kabraji - Managing Partner of Scripbox: The last full union budget before the general election has been quite realistic with something for everyone. No increase in capital gains tax is a big relief to investors, while an increase in investment limits from Rs. 15 lacs to Rs. 30 lacs for the Senior Citizens Saving Scheme will help double the cash flow in terms of interest for investors. The Senior Citizens Saving Scheme has a lock-in of 5 years and given that the central bank rates are high, investors can leverage that scheme to fix a better rate.
To encourage women to save, this year’s budget has made a modest start by announcing a 7.5% fixed rate deposit scheme for 2 lacs for two years under the Mahila Samman Bachat Patra; however, more would have been welcome.
For salaried individuals, 1st Feb has finally been “Acche Din”. Substantial tax rebates and tax reductions have been provided under the new tax regime. While this will reduce the central government’s income, amidst the higher inflation and the expectation of a recession in the coming months, for taxpayers, this is certainly a big relief. Coupled with the commitment to spend 3.3% of GDP on infrastructure, this will help reduce unemployment and put more money in the hands of citizens with lower taxes.
Swapnil Shrivastav, Co-founder, Uravu Labs:The focus on the green economy not only addresses climate change problems but also provides a favourable environment for startups like those in the water and climate-tech domain to grow and expand. The green initiatives in the budget, such as the reduction of indirect taxes on customs duty for the green economy and the allocation of funds towards the Ministry of Energy, Oil, and Petroleum and the National Green Hydrogen Mission, demonstrate the government's commitment to supporting the transition towards a greener and more sustainable future. This presents growth opportunities for startups in this field and can help drive their success and expansion in the coming years.
NAGARAJ KRISHNAN, Managing Director, Aparajitha Corporate Services Private Limited: We see a lot of positivity in the budget proposals tabled by Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman:
- India is evolving as a robust and strong global economy. Indian economy has become more formalised as witnessed by significant enhancement in digital payments. Per capita income has increased to Rs 1.97 lakh. Indian economy has increased in size from being 10th to 5th largest global economy in last nine years.
- Agri credit has been increased which could result in inclusive growth. The budget envisages India becoming a global hub for Sri Ann or Millets.
- Big boost to medical research and health care can help overall reach and affordability of health care to all.
- Capital investment outlay increased by 33 percent from existing 3.3 percent of GDP could result in driving economy to speedy growth enables opportunity for large and MSME companies and in job creation across all levels. Welcome capital infusement into railways to the tune of 2.4 lakh crore. 9k credit guarantee scheme for MSME is another booster for this sector for revival and growth.
- 50 additional airports can help last mile connectivity and helps in new employment opportunities.
- Continued thrust on ease of boing business – no mentioning about the implementation of labour codes – 39k compliance reduced and 3k legal provisions decriminalised.
- PAN is going to be the common identifier across all government machineries help in simplification of access for the individual and aggregation of data for better compliance for the government.
- Replacement of old polluting vehicles through scraping policy by Central and State governments can provide impetus to automobile industry and provides thrust to strong development of vehicle scarp industry.
- Relief in customs duty on mobile parts, TV parts, lithium batteries, heat coils and other electronic parts can attract more migration of investments from China to India.
- Relief in personal income tax can leave additional money in the pockets of the individuals which can lead to more spending and savings.
The budget indicates that it’s a good time for companies to go for expansion and create more employment.
Alok Dubey, Chief Financial Officer, Acer India: The Union Budget unveiled today echoes the government's objective of "Digital Development" for the country.
It places a high value on technology and innovation as a whole. Realizing the vision of "Make AI in India and Make AI Work for India" is projected to strengthen the country's standing in the technology industry globally and generate numerous possibilities for the youth. The mention of lowering the minimum TDS threshold and clarifying taxability linked to online gaming is an encouraging step towards gaming industry in India, and it is expected to open up more prospects in the following year. This year's budget also has prioritised sustainability; this is a step toward a green future that allows businesses and SMEs to enter the market with green products and services; this is a commendable and promising move. Overall, the Union Budget 2023 is promising and represents a significant step toward digital transformation and a holistic sustainable growth.
Aditya Damani, Founder & CEO of Credit Fair: In the Budget FY24, the MSME sector got an enhanced lifeline by the infusion of Rs 9,000 crore to the credit guarantee corpus. It will enable additional collateral-free guaranteed credit of Rs 2 lakh crore, which is a big relief to the credit-starved sector. Further, the cost of credit will also be reduced by about 1%. Thus, largely, the MSMEs have received a favourable treatment in the budget. More direct tax benefits like Rs 3-crore enhanced turnover limit to such units to avail presumptive taxation benefits are also offered to the micro-enterprises. For the NBFCs, the Centre's decision to constitute the National Financial Information Registry and the continued fiscal support for the digital public infrastructure will be of great benefit. Moreover, the Centre's focus on Green Mobility, by announcing Rs. 35,000cr towards energy transition and more clarity in the Vehicle Scrapping Policy will offer a fillip to automobile finance business. Further, the government's push for the speedy transmission to the electric mobility solutions and higher allocation for green hydrogen production, and duty relief to domestic manufacturing of lithium ion batteries will accelerate EV finance segment.
Paavan Nanda, Co-Founder, WinZO games: It’s heartening to witness TDS for Online Gaming finding significant mention in this year’s Union budget presented by the Hon’ble Minister. The proposed changes lend clarity to the Gaming companies, while creating an airtight accounting system for the exchequer. Aligning it with a player’s Net Winnings in a Financial Year seems like a just provision for the 500MM online gamers in India. Recognising and carving out a separate clause in the act for ‘Online Gaming’ as against gambling or betting is in line with Meity’s recent draft amendment to IT rules for Online Gaming, and is a testimony to the government's genuine intent to nurture the burgeoning sector.
The single most important aspect that the sector awaits clarity on and something that would decide its fate is the outcome from GoM on the GST. We are hopeful that the outcome would retain the current 18% tax slab on gross gaming commissions, and promise to overachieve the $10Trillion economy goal by the Prime Minister well before 2030.
Chandra Ganjoo, Group Chief Executive Officer, Trivitron Healthcare: As expected, Budget 23-24 was a balanced effort to improve economic growth. The government's increased emphasis on healthcare would assist the medical devices business, even though there wasn't anything specific for the MedTech industry in the budget.
We expect increased demand, which will correspond with estimates that the Indian medical device market will reach Rs. 352,450 crore (US$ 50 billion) by 2025. Emphasis on announcement that public and private medical faculties will have access to some ICMR lab facilities for research, 157 new nursing colleges will be established in various locations across the nation, the pharmaceutical industry will be encouraged to invest in research through the creation of a new programme for research and development in the field.
We appreciate the government's efforts to make life better for its people. In key areas such as health, nutrition, financial inclusion, and the nation's foundational infrastructure, the government has achieved considerable progress.
Murali Ramakrishnan MD and CEO of The South Indian Bank: This year’s Union Budget is noteworthy on a number of counts. Effective implementation of schemes like opening of 47.8 crore PM Jan Dhan bank accounts will benefit common citizens. With the establishment of the Urban Infrastructure Development Fund (UIDF), we expect infrastructure in tier 2 and tier 3 cities receiving a significant boost. The enabling of the Digital locker for MSMEs for securely storing and sharing documents online with various authorities, regulators and other entities will encourage seamless business.
Kshitish Nadgauda, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Louis Berger WSP: We welcome the government’s move of hiking the capital expenditure for infrastructure development by 33 percent to Rs 10 lakh crore. The Union Budget of 2023-24 presented by the Hon’ble FM is progressive, growth-oriented and inclusive with a major focus on infrastructure investment as one of the seven key priority areas for the coming fiscal year and has identified 100 top priority projects. The establishment of an infrastructure finance secretariat will further aid in attracting more private investment and streamlining public-private partnerships. Moreover, the setting up of the Urban Infrastructure Development Fund will provide an impetus to infrastructure development in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities across the country. This will accelerate the efficient use of land resources, enable adequate resources for urban infrastructure including transit-oriented development, enhanced availability and affordability of urban land, and, most importantly, job creation. It is widely accepted that such investment in infrastructure development especially urban mass transit enables urban centres to flourish and attract quality investment, and result in a vastly improved quality of life for residents.
Gurpreet Sidana, Director & COO- Religare Broking Limited: The most awaited number from the budget 2023 was fiscal deficit number and the finance minister stuck to the much-anticipated figure of 5.9% for FY24. The fiscal deficit for FY23 is at 6.4%. Announcements pertaining to state governments’ deficits have also been received positively by the house. This budget has addressed the pain point of this economy which has been the rural space. In fact, finance minister categorically mentioned reviving the rural economy is the government's ‘priority number one.’
Infrastructure is the backbone of any economy and increase of allocation from Rs. 7.5 lakh cr to Rs. 10.0 lakh cr in this budget is a big positive as well. There was the meaningful allocation of funds toward tourism, agriculture and green growth. Amendments in Banking and RBI Act to empower SEBI to protect and educate investors are important steps for the capital markets.
On taxation the balancing act in indirect taxes and relieve to salaried individuals by making new tax regime more attractive was positive. Overall we believe that finance ministry has done a balancing act to tick most of the possible boxes without tinkering with fiscal deficit.
Akanksha Tripathi - GM, Human Resource, Xapads Media: The budget seems to be focused on growth and development and it 's great to see the Government’s intention and plan to create jobs across the sectors and categories. We, being a part of the human resource sector, welcome FM’s recommendation on skill development as the step will support the workforce to stay relevant in the job scenario. Also, the income tax rebate provisions under the new tax regime will definitely be cherished by professionals, consultants and salaried employees as it will boost their job satisfaction along with fulfilling their tax liabilities.
Hari Subramaniam, Founder & Director, LifeSigns: The budget for 2023–24 is a significant step forward for the health-tech sector. With a focus on strengthening the research infrastructure and investment in digitalization through 5G, it sets a positive trajectory for companies like ours. The establishment of new nursing colleges and the allocation of resources for medical research and pharmaceutical innovation demonstrate a commitment to improving healthcare access and outcomes.
At LifeSigns, we're particularly encouraged by the dedicated multidisciplinary courses for medical devices and the support for medical research in select ICMR labs. These initiatives will foster a dynamic environment for collaboration and more access to new technology in healthcare, skilling the manpower, and encouraging companies like ours to contribute to the growth of the sector and the improvement of healthcare for all citizens.
Archisman Misra, Founder, StudioBackdrops.com: It is a progressive and forward-looking budget as the finance minister made changes for all the major sectors to grow and contribute to economic recovery. Her proposal to extend the period of incorporation of eligible startups by one more year for providing tax incentives will benefit the startup ecosystem. This budget comes amid a funding winter and extending the deadline for incorporation will bring many more startups under the tax incentive schemes and increase their runway.
FM’s announcement on extending the benefit of carrying forward losses on a change of shareholding from 7 years to 10 years is also a very progressive step. This will allow the startups to maintain a healthy financial picture and not interfere with seeking out other government benefits like loans under the Startup India scheme. This move will further encourage budding entrepreneurs in the country to come up with innovative ideas to launch new businesses and boost the startup ecosystem.
R Jeswant, CEO of Funskool India Ltd: The increase in basic Duty on Toys and parts of Toys (other than parts of electronic toys) to 70% is a boost to Domestic Manufacturers and will help in India developing into a manufacturing hub for toys, as envisaged by the Prime Minister.