Short speech, sweet offerings

Short speech, sweet offerings

Futuristic Budget with focus on growth

Execution of FM announcements is the key, say business captains

FM Nirmala Sitharaman has made by far the shortest Budget speech of about 90 minutes, but the business captains are gung-ho over the sweet announcements.

Vikas Bajaj, President, AIFI (Association of Indian Forging Industry) said “This Union budget focuses on investing more on infrastructure and renewable energy, which will indirectly support employment generation. Apart from that, the government has focused on strengthening the logistics sector, digital education, health infrastructure etc. which is a welcome move. Apart from encouraging EV by creating a battery swapping strategy to overcome EV charging infrastructure, I believe there isn't much in the budget to support the auto sector as was expected. Also, not much changed in the Direct Tax rates for Corporates as well as individuals except incentives for start-ups by extension of timeline for start of production u/s 115BAB. Some industries, such as jewellery, have benefited from reduced customs duties on precious stones and other commodities. Finally, to assist the MSME sector, the ECLGC scheme has been extended for MSE’s till 31st March 2023.

Farrokh Cooper – Chairman & Managing Director – Cooper Corporation Pvt Ltd Said, -The Union budget 2022-23 announced today by the finance minister has shown a progressive and futuristic approach for all sectors in India, which will help boost the Indian economy and recover from the pandemic. The government has taken some prudent initiatives for MSMEs in this budget, and I believe that their approach to fast-tracking the economy by providing opportunities to start-ups and businesses and creating six million new jobs will not only boost the economy but will support our future generation with an advantage above all. The government's support for manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, MSMEs, and infrastructure as well as the expansion of 100 PM Gati Shakti Cargo terminals over the next three years, are encouraging steps toward a brighter and more successful India in the coming years."

Anurag Garg, Managing Director & Country Head, Vitesco Technologies, India said - In today’s budget, there are so many important announcements that will be helpful for Indian automotive segment paving their way into EV segment and manufacturing sector at large. Continuing with the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ stride from last year, there is continuous strong push towards building self-reliance in manufacturing and localization in this budget too. This year the government has shown major attention on the overall digitalization of various services and pushing clear air & sustainability as one of the most important highlights. We appreciate the heightened emphasis in respect to EV segment, the introduction of the new policy for battery swapping will encourage the use of electric vehicles. We also look forward seeing further action to step up initiatives to boost EV infrastructure and EV ecosystem to achieve its broader decarbonization goals and support clear air resolutions.  With additional increased focus on expanding EV infrastructure across the country, with more EV charging stations to help vehicle owners to shift to electric cars without lesser worry of connectivity, these decisions were much needed at this period to boost usage of EV.

Yamini Bhat, Co-Founder & CEO - Vymo -The best years of growth are just coming up. And to be ready for the future, there is an immediate need to digitize, build, and invest across agriculture, education, healthcare, mental health, infrastructure, and financing. Growth also needs to be climate-conscious, and new asset classes must be cautiously embraced. Another priority focus area for unlocking new avenues of growth is the ease of doing business. Overall, if all that is planned is executed well, income tax benefits will not be missed. We are rightly focusing on growth vs. fiscal consolidation in this third year of the pandemic. However, there are underleveraged levers for bringing in growth capital. For instance, in 2021, 5.5 lakh crore was raised as venture/PE capital by Indian companies, which is about 30% of the fiscal deficit. In this light, policies around capital gains, TDS exemptions on early revenue streams can help accelerate practical applications of new-age technology by unblocking startups and investors.

Anmol Bohre, Managing Director & Co-founder, Enigma -India’s first paperless, Budget 2022 has brought upon substantial impetus on the measures taken to focus upon climate action and accelerate the EV adoption.  Additional allocation of funds for the PLI for the manufacturing of high-efficiency modules, with priority to fully integrate manufacturing units to solar PV modules shall greatly benefit the MSME sector. The Government’s steps to further promote electrification, and to come out with Battery Swapping Policy which also includes the concept of energy/battery as a service, will help in developing requisite charging station ecosystem and is positive for the domestic EV space. Additionally, the sovereign green bonds for funding green infrastructure is a necessity to achieve the low carbon ambition targets set by the country, which would require massive funds at disposal. Lastly, though the Budget 2022 poses to be promising for the EV segment, the absence of a coherent statement pertaining to the extension of the FAME scheme and by what means can it support the charging network development in India and make a smoother transition to e-vehicles.

Vinkesh Gulati – President FADA -Union Budget 2022 seeks to lay the foundation for the next 25 years, from India@75 to India@100. With PM's 'Gati Shakti National Master Plan', a Rs 100-lakh crore project for building comprehensive infrastructure in India, it will be a significant step towards path to development. The Budget has attempted to focus on each of the sectors and has also tried to stimulate the economy after the pandemic slowdown. FADA welcomes and supports the Government's efforts & initiatives towards Electric Mobility. There is a clear emphasis on creative, sustainable & innovative business models. Battery Swapping & Energy as a Service (EAAS) will surely help accelerate the transition towards Clean Mobility. The development of special mobility zones for electric vehicles and promoting clean technology for public transport validate government commitment to E-mobility, which would boost confidence in the EV industry in terms of manufacturing, sales, and create a sense of assurance among customers.

The government's plans for developing 25,000 kilometers of new highways will result in a push for infrastructure spending, which will result in an increase in Commercial Vehicle sales, as well as an addition of 2,000 kilometers of road under a new scheme known as 'Kavach' will be an additional benefit to the revival of this segment. With the extension of the ECLG scheme, it is a remarkable move by the government to support the MSME sector coming out of the slowdown caused by pandemics.

The rural India has generally been the key driver for entry level passenger vehicle segment & 2wheeler space. With government plans on 2.3 lakh crore direct payment as MSP to farmers, it will work as a booster for 2Wheeler, Tractor & entry level PV sector sales. However, an additional duty of rupees 2/ litre on unblended fuel from October 2022, could play a spoilsport for the already stressed 2W industry.

Lehar Tawde, Co-Founder- ConnectEd -Right to Education was adopted by Government of India a long time ago. With Budget 2022, we see the government providing students with Right to Quality Education. We are particularly ecstatic to note that the Government seeks to take fibre-based internet connection to every village in India by 2023 and expand its ‘One Class, One Channel’ programme, as it will enable under-served students in Bharat to access quality education; much like their privileged counterparts across India. Creation of quality vernacular educational content is an extremely resource intensive task, which has kept most EdTech players from serving students reliant on India’s public education system. We have been involved in this space for the last 6 years, and warmly welcome the government’s foray into this space, as providing quality educational content in local languages to these students is a job no single entity can manage. We hope to work alongside the government and announcements made today to usher an age where students across India are equipped to contribute to the India growth story, irrespective of their socio-economic backgrounds.

Nilesh Aggarwal, CEO, IJCP Group, founder Medtalks and eMedinexus -The focus on e-learning and exploring digital mediums for continued education is a welcome step for all sections of the society. The finance minister announced opening platforms for the National Digital Health ecosystem that will consist of digital registries of health providers and health facilities, unique health identity and universal access to health facilities. This will be important towards building a more independent health ecosystem and provide equitable access to health facilities and better accountability of the health service providers. We are ready to support the Government on digital upskilling with our large bank of upskilling and CME courses.

The national tele mental health is an important step, especially in view of the mental issues caused by the pandemic. We at MEDtalks have several mental health courses for healthcare professionals and other digital support tools to empower the public about their mental health.

We had however hoped for a much bigger focus on healthcare given the Covid pandemic so that we can attract more investment in the sector.

Ankit Ahuja, Founder, Red Comet Films -It is great to see some focus on animation and video ecosystem as an important aspect of digital education and learning in the current budget. This will give the right impetus to India's video production industry that services every business sector of the country. Digital education is the need of the hour and this budget will help take modern education into the rural hinterland and provide top quality education to students in tier 4, tier 5 cities as well as villages  that have already been touched by the digital revolution.

Dr Veena Aggarwal, Trustee Dr KK's Heart Care Foundation of India -The budget for the year 2022-23 has been presented by the Government today. We had great expectations from the budget with respect to an increase in healthcare expenditure particularly because of the Covid pandemic, which has exposed the inadequacies in the public health infrastructure as well as the disparities in the healthcare system. But again, health appears not to be a priority directly, though the government announced launch of a national tele mental health programme comprising of a network of 23 tele mental health centres of excellence with NIMHANS as the nodal centre in an acknowledgement of the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of the people.

The government also announced the roll out of an open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem consisting of digital registries of health providers and health facilities, unique health identity and universal access to health facilities. Two lakh anganwadis will be upgraded with better facilities; 80 lakh affordable houses by 2023.

Personal IT slabs remain the same. Though now taxpayers can file an updated return within 2 years from the end of the relevant assessment year

Navam Gupta, Co-Founder at WedHaven, (wedding management app)-It's commendable that the 2022 budget recognises that startups are the drivers of growth for our economy, and need to be boosted accordingly. The financial minister's proposal to extend the period of eligible startups by one more year for providing tax incentives is going to be very beneficial for emerging startups. This will aid further growth for the economy as a whole. Indian startup founders will also benefit from FM’s decision to cap surcharge on long term capital gains at 15% thus effectively encouraging angel investors with reduction in tax applicable to them.

Harshavardhan Neotia Chairman of Ambuja Neotia -It is a well-rounded holistic budget. Against the backdrop of the pandemic, the Hon'ble Finance Minister has met the challenge face-on with a budget that addresses the immediate needs of the country and lays out a long-term vision for India @100. The emphasis on ‘PM Gati Shakti Plan’ with an increase in capital expenditure will boost investment in infrastructure and have a multiplier effect on the economy. While the extension of the ECLGS to March 2023 and expansion of the guarantee cover will benefit the hospitality sector crippled by the pandemic, government's focus on infrastructure coupled with allocation of Rs 48,000 crore for PMAY will drive real estate growth. The introduction of Digital Rupee using blockchain technology sends a strong message that India is at the forefront of technology adoption.

Dr. Pritam Baruah, Dean- School of Law, BML Munjal University (BMU) -With the announcement of taxes on cryptocurrencies, the Union Budget 2022 has indicated that regulation rather than a blanket ban will be the way forward for cryptocurrencies and other virtual digital assets. This has provided some certainty on how the government will approach cryptocurrencies in the future. As a regulatory approach, this sets a good precedent to the alternative of banning emerging technologies. Rational regulation rather than blanket command and control measures should be the way forward for governance.

SAFIR ANAND, a senior partner at Anand and Anand, Investor and Strategist -It’s a very pragmatic, inclusive and well thought of budget. It works towards macro themes such as digital inclusion, aligning FDI to support start ups, being conservative on tax collections which I think will exceed, conservative on disinvestment and no added burden on any sector. Overall with better planning and inclusion I expect many series of progressions throughout the year as part of continuity.

Raj Mehta, Founder, Greta Electric Scooters and MD, Raj Electromotives Pvt. Ltd -We at Greta Electric Scooters, heartily welcome the budget presented by the Honorable Finance Minister. The introduction of the Battery Swapping policy for electric vehicles is an encouraging move by the GOI. As India moves towards the EV revolution, it will boost participation in enabling battery-swapping stations and technology. This policy will encourage EV players to rent batteries quickly and economically. We expect the government to continue the PLI scheme for the EV sector. The extension of tax benefits will boost more startups in the battery swapping businesses.

Anish Popli, CEO & Founder of ProcMart- We welcome the goverment's emphasis on 'PM's Gati Shakti project - National Master Plan for Multi-Model connectivity' in Budget 2022-23. This will definitely lead to better implementation of infrastructure projects and thus a significant reduction in logistical expenses. While the logistics cost in India is 13-14 percent, it is merely 6-8 percent in the developed nations around the world. Being a tech-driven company, ProcMart focuses on the issues faced by big companies in the procurement of indirect materials. Typical indirect procurement costs in a company lie between 10-15% of the overall revenue. Hence, even a small reduction in this cost can have a significant impact. Therefore, this is a much-needed initiative for improving the infrastructure of the supply-chain industry and easing the entire process for better movement of goods and services.

Also as a startup, we are happy with the budget reaffirming the government’s faith in startups as major drivers of the economy. The announcement of surcharge on long-term capital gains (LTCG) tax being capped at 15% for all listed and unlisted companies and extended the tax incentives to new startups, will help in boosting venture capital and private equity investments in startups.

ProcMart with its technology-driven initiatives applauds the government's focus on investments in digital infrastructure such as the introduction of a blockchain-backed digital rupee, the inclusion of 5G and similar technologies in the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme, digital platforms for skilling. We also appreciate all the measures taken for providing tax benefits to new businesses such as the extension of the tax benefit scheme for startups until March 31, '23, as it will assist young startups in maintaining healthier cashflows, which is crucial in the early years.

Shashank Khade, Co-Founder & Director, Entrust Family Office -This is a Budget that is focused on prioritizing capital expenditure as a key lever for growth, which we endorse as an approach given the multiplier effect of many of these investments. In that sense, the budget augurs well for the economy and the continuing decline in revenue expenditure as a share of total expenditure towards capital expenditure improves quality of expenditure.  To put it in context, the 35% increase in capital expenditure, 55% increase in Road sector allocation and 17% increase in railways are significant numbers.  On top of this is support to state governments towards capex. Of course, the execution of projects in these areas and in urban infrastructure is key towards enjoying the full benefits of this expenditure.  The other point to note is that a larger share of defence capital expenditure is targeted to domestic procurement that could also have second-order implications for R&D and multiplier effects in the economy.

The Budget is extremely future-oriented.  Emphasis on digitization of government processes, incentives for startups enabling the flow of capital (lower capital gains for venture investments), clean energy enablers for fundraising and PLI, categorizing data centers and energy storage systems as infrastructure, recognizing gaming as an area of potential, and a general focus on sunrise sectors is evidence of this.   The impact of this will be felt over the next decades and not in the short term. The taxation on cryptocurrency while at the same time talking about a digital rupee indicates the government's recognition of blockchain as an important future technology to enable.

The gross market borrowing through G-secs for 22-23 at Rs 14.95 lakh crs is higher than the amount expected by the market and has led to a sharp increase in G-Sec yields. However, tax buoyancy is very high and could well surprise on the upside thereby leading to a lower fiscal deficit in the current and coming year than forecasted.  However what quantum of issuance would be issued as sovereign green bonds and whether it shall be issued to a new set of investors (viz Foreign Institutions) is a key part we can watch out for. Overall, the credibility of numbers is very high as is evident in the tax growth rates and PSU divestment numbers being very moderate.  Indicative of intent to under promise and over deliver.

Neeraj Gupta, Founder, and CEO, Genes2Me Pvt Ltd -We are glad that the Budget this year focuses on strengthening the digital healthcare infrastructure with the rollout of an open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem. Facilities like digital registries of health providers and health facilities, unique health identity, and universal access to health will fasten the procedures and help in fighting the pandemic at a greater speed.

Shailesh Guntu, CEO - Milann Fertility & Birthing Hospitals- While the overall budget seemed growth-oriented, it is devoid of necessary benefits to the healthcare sector. Although the announcement on the launch of a national tele mental health programme has come as a relief in view of the mental health issue which emerged as a result of the pandemic, there are many other major health concerns which need to be addressed like stress and lifestyle issues which are also regarded as a direct result of the pandemic. Considering the same, fertility treatments like IVF will become a mainstream need for future generations and they have to be brought under health insurance parameters.

Kunal Varma Co-Founder and CEO Freo -This year's budget is quite interesting given the times that we are living in and the challenges that we face, like inflation and growth. We can see a clear mention of, and push towards digitization across sectors.

An overall focus on digitization of infrastructure, particularly in banking and transactions, is very exciting to observe. All our post offices (which have a tremendous physical network) are to come on to the core banking system. This will create massive distribution in the banking ecosystem. What we didn't see happen through the Payments Bank license in its original avatar, might happen now with this new push.

Although this is a totally new concept and details are yet to be discovered, the setting up of 75 digital banking units through SCB's is an interesting one to look forward to. This makes one thing very clear - the government acknowledges that Fintech is critical and the future of banking is digital.

It was heartening to see that the exchequer saw the biggest month ever in terms of the largest GST collections since GST was actually launched. This certainly helps us in the right direction towards our growth target of over 9%, and also tells us that the number of taxpayers is increasing, which is good for the country. With a move to digital, we can expect to see more growth in revenue from taxes.

Overall, it's visible that this budget is quite positive. While a few details remain to be understood and implementation is yet to be seen, I think we're moving fast in the right direction, through a combination of Fintech, strong digital push in healthcare and education sectors, leading to innovation, deeper access, and higher revenue for the government.”

Dr. Kiran Kumar, Chairman, Lalithaa Jewellery Mart Pvt.Ltd -As a Jeweller I am happy about the reduction of import duty on cut and polished diamond and gemstones from the current 7.5% to 5%. It has been our long pending request. Also, the Government’s focus on infrastructural investments and job creation is quite progressive.

Bala Sarda, Founder & CEO, VAHDAM India -A growth-oriented budget with boosting manufacturing and building infrastructure. A 35.4% increase in capital expenditure is a step in the right direction. Execution will be key. I look forward to the government launching the next phase of ease of doing business. The use of Kisan drones for crop assessment, digitization of land records, spraying of insecticides and nutrients will give a boost to natural farming. Additionally, the Rs 6,000 crores program to be rolled out for MSMEs over the next 5 years is a very positive move. The move to extend the 15% concessional tax rate for new manufacturing companies to start production till March 31st, 2024 is positive. This is truly the decade of startups and entrepreneurship in the country and an expert committee being set up to suggest measures to help attract investment will go a long way. I hope the government reduces long-term capital gain tax on private equity soon.

Nishant Arya, Vice Chairman, JBM Group -This is an investment focussed budget aimed at creating India@100. JBM Group welcomes the government’s move towards promoting electrification of vehicles by proposing the Battery Swapping policy which also includes the concept of Energy and Battery Storage as a Service. This is going to intensify the deployment of an extensive network of EV chargers, thereby, boosting the end-to-end EV ecosystem pan India. Infact all the 7 engines of PM Gati Shakti – Roads, Railways, Airports, Ports, Mass transport, Waterways and Logistics infra reflect positively towards the automotive and transport sector. However, bringing the EV financing under priority lending could have brought about the much needed liquidity into the EV sector, which has been missed in the budget this year.

The allocation of Rs 7.5 lakh cr as capital expenditure will provide a big boost to the infrastructure and manufacturing sector directly benefiting the commercial vehicle space. Also, the solar energy sector has been aptly addressed in the budget with the additional allocation of Rs. 19,500 crore for PLI in solar PV module manufacturing. Further, the issue of Green Bonds will bring in the viability gap funding towards achieving the 480 GW green energy target by 2030. All in all the budget focuses on inclusive growth and sustainability aiming to meet our Hon’ble PM’s vision of net-zero 270.

Vishal Bali, Executive Chairman, Asia Healthcare Holdings -Budget 2023 focuses on key pillars of Capex led growth, enablement of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and controlling fiscal deficit. If executed well, an increase in the capital outlay of INR 7.5 Lacs crores can kick start the economic engine. The budget is silent on the increase in public expenditure on healthcare and the path to 2.5% of GDP spent on healthcare which is the much-needed reform path for this sector and enablement of healthcare access to India. However, The focus on digital healthcare with the National Digital Health Ecosystem is a welcome move that will include digital registries of health professionals and facilities, a unique health identity, and help strengthen the foundation of universal access to health care facilities. The announcement of a national telemedicine-led mental health program with a network of 23 telemental health centers, with Nimhans serving as the nodal centers is also a step in the right direction. However, reform in paramedical education for faster enablement of clinical/paraclinical talent is still not addressed. While the FM led Budget 21 made healthcare a central subject, Budget 22 does lack continuity of that vision.

Anmol Gupta, Founder, 7Prosper | Personal Financial Planner & Investment Advisor -The budget has no good news for the common person. Govt. seems to be following a strict fiscal discipline and seems in no mood to let go any amount of indirect taxes, at least till the general election year.

A lot of people were expecting changes in income tax slabs but I wasn’t expecting any changes there. Govt. introduced the new income tax slabs and the new regime just 2 years back. So, it was anyway very unlikely to happen.

But, an increase in the limit of the standard deduction from 50K and an increase in the limit for section 80C is overdue now. 80C limit was last changed in 2014-15. Considering the rise in inflation and cost of living, some tax relief in terms of higher deductions and exemptions is overdue.

Govt. also cleared the air on taxation of cryptocurrencies. Now, any profit earned on crypto trading would be taxed at a flat rate of 30% which is equivalent to the highest tax slab. This also came against the expectations of the market.

We were expecting govt. to consider crypto as a financial asset like mutual funds and stocks, and tax short-term capital gains at 15% and long-term capital gains at 10%. But, govt. has introduced a new term called ‘virtual digital assets’ and has proposed to tax the gains at a flat 30% irrespective of the holding period.

Prior to this, crypto income was being treated like a normal business income and it was being taxed as per your tax slab. So, if you fell under the 20% tax bracket, you would have paid 20% on your crypto income. Going ahead, even if you fall under the 5% or 20% tax bracket, the income from crypto assets will be taxed at 30%.

Not just this, any loss arising from crypto trading can not be offset against any other kind of income. Loss arising from crypto trading can be used to offset gains arising only from crypto trading. This is likely to make crypto traders and investors more cautious about the transactions they make, as there is only one way to use the loss to offset gains and gains are being taxed at the highest rate.

Govt. gave a tiny tax benefit to state govt. employees, however. The contribution made towards NPS from the employer’s side is deductible from taxable income under section 80CCD(2). The maximum limit for deduction is 14% of basic income for the central govt. employees and 10% for state govt. employees and private sector employees. The limit for a deduction has been increased to 14% for state govt. employees as well. So, if they opt for a higher contribution towards NPS from their employer's side, they will save slightly more tax.

In my opinion, this benefit should have been extended to private sector employees too.

Lastly, relief has been given to file updated ITRs within 2 years of the relevant assessment year if the taxpayers need to make any correction. This move has been made to give people some more time to correct their mistakes while filing ITR, as the FM mentioned herself in her speech. With increased participation in the equity markets and with the invention of new avenues to invest money, a lot of people have booked gains through different investment instruments. But, they aren’t aware of the tax liabilities arising out of the same. Govt. seems to be considerate here by giving some more time to people to properly understand their tax liabilities and file updated returns without attracting any scrutiny. This means if someone makes a mistake in calculating the tax liability for the financial year 2021-22 while filing the ITR in July 2022, that person will have a chance to file an updated ITR by 31st March 2025 which is 2 years after the relevant assessment year ends i.e. 31st March 2023.

Overall, I’d say that nothing has really changed on the personal finance side. It’s just business as usual and we have already gotten back to our work.

V Ashok, Group CFO, ACG -The Union Budget for 2022-23 presented today will continue to accelerate economic growth through higher capital investment and lower inflation. Tax rates remaining unchanged despite likely challenges in fiscal targets is a very positive move to drive consumption and money in the hands of consumers. January GST collection is an indicator of buoyancy in economic growth.

With respect to the Pharma sector, we were expecting higher budget allocation due to the aftereffects of the pandemic. India being the Pharma capital of the world looks forward to greater support apart from PLI incentives announced.

Gaurav Dewan, Chief Operating Officer and Business Head, Travel Food Services - I think the key highlights for TFS and our business in this year's union budget are the highway expansion of 25,000 kilometers, the emergency credit line guarantee scheme, and the ePassports roll out. These will definitely help the F&B sector in the longer term. The F&B sector has witnessed immense losses during the pandemic, and we had hoped that there would be much more coming from this budget around that. These are good fundamental big steps which will help in the longer term, but the expectation was for some key actions for immediate impetus to the sector.

Lancy Barboza, MD, Flomic Global Logistics Ltd -Massive thrust on capex, strengthening the infrastructure and policies to support the survival and growth of MSME have been some of the key focus area of the budget 2022-23.

Push on infrastructure via PM Gati Shakti will provide the much-needed push to the infrastructure development. Expansion of highway by 20,000 km will provide greater connectivity and help the industrial growth in India. The multi modal approach enable in better last mile connectivity.

The Vibrant Villages program will enable in bridging the gap between the rural and urban India.

The data exchange proposed amongst all mode operators under the Unified Logistics Interface Platform will enable efficient movement of goods through different modes and reducing logistics cost thus making businesses more efficient.

The massive thrust on the capex spending, and a big push to infrastructure development with focus in rural India is clearly highlight of this budget and will go a long way in fulfilling the Aatma Nirbhar dream.

Adeeb Ahamed, MD, LuLu Financial Holdings - Thankfully, the sector was given due focus, with the extension of the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) scheme till March 2023, set to benefit the working capital requirements of small businesses and NBFCs.The budget has done well to make financial inclusion for MSMEs a priority. The extension of key schemes for MSMEs, as well as the thrust on process transparency, ease of doing business and flexible access to capital will help build a more resilient MSME community, thereby encouraging competitiveness and innovation.

There was also much focus this year on India’s payment ecosystem, and terming the announcement of an RBI backed digital currency as a historic and innovative move in India’s aspirations to become a digital economy. The rise of technology led innovative solutions in financial services can no longer be discounted, especially in a country like India, where the rampant growth of UPI and other systems have time and again shown the positive side of digitized solutions in making transactions seamless and efficient. The imminent launch of the Digital Rupee using blockchain technology is necessary for India to build a robust process around its vision of building a digital economy, and today’s announcement has set the tone for the country’s ambition. The Digital Rupee comes with the added benefit of helping lower transaction costs and making currency management easier for people from all sections of society.

On the flipside, the Budget didn’t focus much on India’s travel and hospitality sector.

Akshat Seth, CEO, CK Birla Healthcare Pvt. Ltd. -We welcome the budget presented by Hon'ble Finance Minister, Shrimati Nirmala Sitharaman. The creation of an open platform to consolidate the healthcare ecosystem, providing access to the digital registries of healthcare providers, and ensuring a unique health identity, will be pivotal in providing universal access to healthcare facilities across India. Additionally, the launch of the National Tele Mental Health Program is a very progressive step and will enable the country to tackle the psychological impact of the pandemic and move forward. The focus on digital healthcare delivery is extremely positive and will be crucial to the success of our healthcare systems as a nation.

Alok Dubey, Chief Financial Officer, Acer India -The Union Budget showcased the government's initiative towards Digital Transformation. From announcing a Digital University, for online learning to high-quality e-content across languages will enable the youth to skill, upskill and reskill themselves. These programs under digital learning and the connectivity expansion will further strengthen the availability and accessibility of internet in rural areas.

With Govt infrastructure spending push, we are likely to see more employment and growth opportunities and enhanced private sector investment in manufacturing. We are confident that the exemption of duty on parts of select electronic items will further boost the domestic manufacturing of electronics goods under the PLI scheme. Overall, the Union Budget 2022-23 is a promising budget and a step forward towards ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.

Namish Gupta, Managing Director, Asia - Annanta Source India /USA -The much-awaited budget is laced with multiple measures to support the economy in an endearing way. The FM's announcement of support towards MSMEs was anticipated and abides the sacrosanct growth principle which is deliriously challenged in implementation in every cycle.

While the metrics seem fashionable, the quality of growth and development has been questionable. The lopsided growth highlighting the growing digital & income divide bear testimony to this fact.

The tech space has paced by bracing itself ahead of legislative hurdles. Bitcoin and Fintech are a few to name. Relief comes through tax cuts and reduction of taxes in select sectors.

Pranav Bajaj - Co-Founder - Medulance -Budget 2022 has surely come as a booster dose for the healthcare sector. The new initiatives announced by the Finance Minister will help India recover from the damages to the healthcare infrastructure caused by the pandemic and strengthen it further. These initiatives, especially the open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem will also help strengthen the healthcare sector of the nation at the core. The past few years have revolutionised the way mental health is being viewed, I am sure that the National Tele Mental Health program will receive a very warm welcome. The Tax breaks for setting up hospitals in tier 2 and tier 3 cities is highly appreciated, this break will encourage the boom in quality healthcare providers in these cities, along with the proposal for the PM Gati Shakti Master Plan will help connect the tier 2 and tier 3 cities and will ensure that the healthcare services are accessible to all regions equally.

The increase in the GDP proportion for healthcare was much needed and is rightly implemented. All these announcements made today have come as a ray of hope for the healthcare sector. I am sure that the country is moving towards a stronger, more accessible and quality healthcare infrastructure.

Anil Gupta, Managing Director, CRISTOL, KAPL (Krishna Antioxidants Pvt. Ltd.) -The Budget for FY 2022-2023 announced by Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, certainly provides a significant boost to MSMEs and incentives for new manufacturing capabilities which are expected to propel growth and job creation for the sector. The increase in allocation for renewable energy would also provide a significant boost to the fiscal capacity of states and the increase in allocation for investment in the expansion of roadways and logistics networks is also a very positive step. Additionally, the extension of the ECLGS scheme is a welcome move for the MSME sector. Finance Minister Sitaram also stated, ‘Customs duty on certain critical chemicals are being reduced, while duty is being raised on some chemicals for which adequate domestic capacity exists,’ the changes in customs duty might enhance the value addition of local businesses. India is one of the largest chemical producers in the world and such initiatives by the government will aid consistent growth in the sector. Rationalization & simplification of tax especially GST was expected. However, we expect the same to be addressed separately.

Rajiv Bansal, Director- Operations, Global Indian International School (GIIS), India.-“FM Nirmala Sitharaman talked about the impact of the pandemic on the education sector and highlighted the need to strengthen the education system by improving e-content quality, emphasising on teaching training, adopting innovative mediums of instruction, etc. to positively impact learning outcomes. The Union Budget 2022 highlighted the importance of adopting a progressive and inclusive approach by educational institutions across primary, secondary, and higher education. Announcements like eVidhya scheme and ‘One Class One TV Channel’ expands the learning horizon of the students and brings inclusivity as the regional languages are promoted equally. Adoption of technology and digitisation will help a student evolve into becoming a truly global citizen and will encourage lifetime of learning. Focus on reskilling and upskilling at a higher education level and launch of the Digital DESH e-portal will enhance vocational learning and job readiness, making students independent and result oriented. As a key member of the Indian education system, GIIS congratulates the Govt. for presenting a progressive and inclusive budget for the education sector. We are confident that digitisation and technology will help in building a more effective and rewarding education system in the years to come.

Manish Khandelwal, Commercial Director- India, Wavin -With the growing demand for housing and development, we are happy with the increased attention and budget allocated towards overall infrastructure of the country by the Honorable finance minister in her budget speech today. Additional public investment for modern infrastructure, be it roadways or housing development, is a big step in the right direction to creating a better and sustainable India. The increased investment also indicates that the government is actively looking for ways to improve the overall living conditions of people in the country and generate more employment opportunities in the process. Focused investment to create proper water supply channels and housing solutions will overall help in the sustainable development.

We are looking forward to the implementation of PM Gati Shakti and the overall impact that this initiative will have. We are optimistic about governments focus to create provisions for improving water supply in rural areas that will aid drinking and domestic needs. ‘Har Ghar, Nal Se Jal’ is a very important undertaking and will get much needed impetus with the bulk of budget allocated to this initiative.

Overall the budget gives priority to rural India with a focus on infrastructure, agriculture and job creation leading to a sustainable growth.

Mahesh Gupta, CMD kent RO Systems Limited -Union budget 2022 aims to strengthen India's foundation by uplifting the rural population through financial reforms and empowering measures like the Digital Literacy scheme. This budget addresses the structural transformation amidst a very challenging global scenario due to pandemic.  The Government’s thrust to manufacturing and rural education along with employment generation is commendable.

The budget has all the right keywords. What makes me particularly happy is the impetus being given to job creation and domestic manufacturing with ease of business. These steps assure the creation of a developed ecosystem.

Rahul Gupta, CEO, Radar Capital -The Budget has focused in a defined way on the startups economy. The big news is the tax incentive being extended till 2023.Portion of the 25% of defence R&D budget being spent on new startups is a positive step and so is the "Drone Shakti" program for startups. The Government seems to embrace the new technology advancements by using Blockchain for a digital rupee and electric mobility. But with so many startups turning unicorns and raising over $42 Billion in funding which includes various IPO's , much more needs to be done for the sector to harness its fullest potential.

Ajay Pareek, Chief Business Officer, Fullerton India Credit Company -The FM has delivered a Union Budget today that was clearly focussed on economic recovery through increased capital expenditure for the country’s growth. The push towards self-reliance reveals the government’s steadfast intention to achieve the long-term goal of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’. The extension of the ECLGS scheme till March 2023, as well as the expansion of the guarantee cover by ₹50,000 crore to ₹5 lakh crore is a welcome sign for the NBFC sector and over 130 lakh MSMEs. The thrust to digitise India and the focus on the fintech segment will help enhance financial inclusion. The affordable housing segment also received a boost today, with the allocation of Rs 48,000 crore under the PMAY urban and rural schemes.

Ankit Agarwal, MD, STL(Sterlite Technologies) -We believe that this budget will prove to be a Shot in the Arm for accelerating India’s Digital, Domestic and Defence ambitions. On the one side, it addresses digital connectivity for all through optical fibre and digital services in 100% of the villages by 2025. On the other side, it sets the foundation for India’s 5G readiness through spectrum auctions, R&D impetus, USOF allocation along with a boost for domestic manufacturing through a timely ‘Design-led manufacturing’ scheme. The move to allocate 68% of the Defence capital procurement budget for domestic players is also a positive stepping stone towards self-reliance in hi-tech manufacturing. At a macroeconomic level,  a 35.4% increase in capital expenditure will bring necessary investments and drive consumption. As India braces to reap benefits from this progressive budget, greater policy impetus for procedural simplification, such as single window clearances and more conducive models for private public investments, would act as a multiplier.

From a longer-term perspective,  more Government investment in digital infrastructure would be absolutely essential for building a robust digital economy.  In this context, a digital-first budget philosophy that focuses on digitalization of ministries’ budgetary allocations will ensure across the board acceleration of public services in addition to enhanced connectivity.

Rekha Dubey, CEO, Aditya Birla Memorial Hospital -It's a futuristic budget with the announcement of National Digital Health Ecosystem. A well-appreciated move towards the new Digital India. The need to encourage preventive healthcare is very well addressed with the National tele mental health program.

We were expecting an increase in the allocation to the healthcare department to address the burden of the pandemic and build the digital infrastructure. Though not directly allocated, the new announcements come as a progressive step towards the development of Indian healthcare Digital infrastructure.

Akshaya Bhargava, founding CEO of Progeon (now Infosys BPO)- The announcement on tax on crypto income is a great move forward by India for 3 reasons - firstly, this move recognises crypto as a legitimate asset class and crypto trading as a legitimate activity. Secondly, clarity on tax will bring more people into the crypto industry, so it will boost industry growth. Thirdly, a well-regulated crypto eco-system will create the right environment for innovation.

That said, I would indeed wish for one change - to be able to carry forward losses into the next tax year. Crypto is inherently volatile and this will help investors.

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