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Corporate leaders welcome General Budget

India Blooms News Service | | 28 Feb 2015, 07:00 pm
New Delhi, Feb 28 (IBNS) Corporate leaders across India welcomed the General Budget presented by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday.

Reacting to the Budget presented by Jailtey,  Indian Chamber Of Commerce said in a statement: “ The announcement of setting up National Investment & Infrastructure Fund in which Central Govt will allocate Rs 20,000 crore each year for industry usage - this will boost confidence of private infrastructure companies and help to boost much needed investment in infrastructure.”

“The Budget needs also to be commended for taking a holistic approach of development, and has announced transferring of as much as 62% of the total recipts to the States which is unprecedented. For West Bengal also, there is some good news as the Finance Minister has said that the state will receive special assistance for development as was given to Andhra Pradesh last year.

"For individuals although the tax exemption limit has not been raised, a number of reliefs have been announced which would enable a person to get exemption up to Rs 4.4 lakhs which is very welcome,” it said.

Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, Microsoft India said: “The Finance Minister has presented a broad-based Budget focused on accelerating India’s inclusive growth. The Budget reiterates the major programs and initiatives that have been previously announced – Jan Dhan Yojana, Skill India, Swach Bharat, Make in India and Digital India.”

“The Finance Minister has focused on the ease of doing business in India. We look forward to policy moves in the coming year that rationalize and streamline approvals for setting up business that can help investments and boost economic development. I am positive about the reaffirmation of the Government’s commitment towards PPP as a key drive of infrastructure creation. This would provide more opportunities for innovation-led companies to partner in India’s growth,” he said.

Raghupati Singhania - Chairmanand Managing Director, JK Tyre & Industries Ltd said: “It looks quite balanced and progressive in approach. The budget promises to put a well thought of blueprint for development in the coming years. It encompasses inclusive growth model, as promised by the Government, which is a welcome step. With this budget, we can expect gradual rise in GDP, especially by controlling physical deficit and CAD.”

“However, the Tyre Industry was expecting correction in inverted duty structure in tyre sector which has been omitted. Import duty on Rubber is one of the highest in India. Given the Government’s emphasis on manufacturing, we were confident of correction in inverted duty structure. Tyre is raw material intensive. Natural Rubber is key raw material which is in short supply in India and imports are a must to meet the domestic demand. We do hope, Government will consider our submission for correction in inverted duty by either reducing import duty on natural rubber or by increasing duty on tyres,” he said.

“Another positive outcome has been the Government’s focus towards the education, skills by way of introducing sops for students as well as establishing new hubs of higher education in new locations, which are pivotal for India’s overall progress,” he said.

Y C Deveshwar, Chairman, ITC Ltd  said: “The FM has taken comprehensive steps in the budget to address the core issues of fostering growth with equity, boosting investments and creating jobs over the medium to long term.  The focus on agriculture, infrastructure, health and education will enhance the social fabric and contribute to equitable growth. Targetted subsidies will meet the twin objectives of benefiting the poor as well as arresting the systemic leakages.”

“Steps taken to improve the ease of doing business, particularly for the MSME sector, will give a fillip to job-creating investments. The strong measures to eliminate black money and to impose exemplary punishment is a bold step to curb the parallel economy and mainstream resources for productive growth,” he said.

CS Verma, Chairman, SAIL, said: “It is heartening that Infrastructure sector initiatives have been given a major thrust, which will both spur the domestic demand and ease the supply side constraints with an increase of investment of Rs.70,000 crore in 2015-16 over 2014-15. Setting up of 5 Ultra Mega Power Projects and announcement of similar projects for roads, rail and ports will also provide a fillip to the economy. All these measures will see a boost in demand for construction materials such as steel and cement, which have witnessed subdued growth on account of sluggish global as well as domestic market conditions in the recent times.”

“A low and stable corporate tax regime by bringing the corporate income tax down from 30% to 25% is also a very welcome measure which will improve business sentiments and rejuvenate the corporate sector. The announcement on new bankruptcy code to replace BIFR and SICA are reform measures much awaited,” he said.

Calling the Budget a gift, Chanda Kochhar, MD & CEO, ICICI Bank said: “The Union Budget for fiscal 2016 is the Finance Minister’s gift to the nation. There is a clear and sharp focus on the four key areas of Growth, Inclusion, Fiscal Prudence and Tax Rationalisation.”

“The budget promotes Growth through its focus on infrastructure and ease of doing business. The theme of Inclusion is reflected in the measures taken to empower all stakeholders – there is greater devolution of resources to States and there are a number of measures for the poor, youth and senior citizens. The Fiscal target of 3.0% by fiscal 2018 articulated by the Finance Minister is prudent while at the same time balances the current growth needs of the economy. The clarity given on the Tax regime will go a long way in making India an attractive destination for investments, and encouraging domestic savings. The budget reflects the vision of the Government and takes India forward on a path of growth and inclusive prosperity,” Kochhar said.

Ravi Uppal, MD & Group CEO, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd, said, “The government needs to be commended for staying its strategic course. The budget is consistent with its policy stance and stands for continuity. It creates a predictable policy environment, which should go a long way in soothing the nerves of investors. This along with its stress on creating a transparent and ethical context for business will boost the confidence of both doth domestic and foreign investors. Also, commendable is its commitment to enhancing ease of doing business in India through measures like single-window clearance.”

Arun Kumar Jagatramka, Chairman and Managing Director, Gujarat NRE Coke Ltd said: “A balanced and a pragmatic budget. It had all the ingredients to push growth and bring reforms back on track. The push on infrastructure, social security schemes and a commitment towards implementation of GST by next year are the notable positives.”

Speaking on the metallurgical coke industry, he said: “For the metallurgical coke industry, the increase in customs duty  on met coke to 5% is a step in the right direction and can be considered to be overall positive, though we had expected something more. It certainly differentiates between the duty of raw material and that for the value addition that is done by the domestic met coke manufacturing industry and rectifies the anomaly that was introduced in the last budget when both the duties were made same.”

Sanjay Bhudia, MD, Patton Group, said: “The budget placed by Hon’ble Finance Minister Sri Arun Jaitley has successfully addressed all the relevant issues and have announced adequate measure to augment overall Economical Growth of our Country. The special emphasis on Make in India will make India’s presence felt more strongly in International Market.”

Sunil Jha, Managing Director, Bengal Shristi Infrastructure Development Ltd, said, “ Lot of thrust has been given on infrastructure creation, which will ensure good amount of employment and have a phenomenal effect on the economy. Introduction of arrival on VISA to 150 countries will also improve tourism industry. Flipside of the budget is that there has been no change in personal income tax slab for investment, though provision has been made up to Rs 50,000 in pension schemes.”

Speaking on the energy agenda, Amit Bhandari, energy and environment fellow at Gateway House said: “Budget 2015 has set an ambitious target of 175,000 MW of renewable energy to be generated in India by the year 2022 - five times the current installed base. A part of the funding required to meet India’s renewable energy goal will come from the government’s National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF). Increasing the tax on coal to Rs. 200 per tonne will generate Rs. 12,000 crore annually, which will be directed to the NCEF.”

“Of the 175,000 MW renewable energy target, electricity generated from solar power will account for 100,000 MW. However, India currently lacks the capacity to manufacture polysilicon chips, which are critical to make solar power cells - developing the capacity to manufacture them is crucial,” Bhandari said.

Sminu Jindal, Founder, Svayam , said: “We welcome the announcement to develop World Heritage Sites – including the Jallianwala Bagh premises where we’ve been evaluating ease of access for disabled visitors – to make them more tourists friendly. We hope to government will be open to partnering with us to carry out accessibility audits to realize this goal.”

GVK Reddy, Founder Chairman & MD of GVK, said: “A very positive and a growth oriented budget with a strong focus on infrastructure development.  Investments of Rs 70,000 cr along with the risk sharing mechanism for PPP projects; setting up of a national investment and infrastructure fund; deepening of the Bond markets etc. will help revive infrastructure investment.  Other ideas like abolition of wealth tax, creation of social security for all, focus on ease of doing business and a more predictable tax regime are all steps in the right direction to take the economy to a double digit growth over the next few years. “

Rishi Jain, Executive Director, Jain Group said: “After very long we have seen a budget that chooses to forge the road ahead – for the country, instead of trying to get sensationalistic headlines. Strategy is the key, not popularity. Measures like reducing Direct Tax but increasing Indirect Tax shows the wholesome thought behind this budget. West Bengal was specially mentioned in the budget, but more clarity on FMs, Special Assistants would be required. Abolishing the archaic Wealth Tax and equating it with Income Tax is a brilliant move.”

Speaking on the allocations made by the Finance Minister in the health sector, Ameera Shah MD & CEO Metropolis Healthcare Ltd said: “The allocated healthcare budget for this year is about 33, 150 crore. Lets compare it with the previous year, in 2014 – 2015, the allocated budget was 39,238 which was slashed by 20% in December. This budget for healthcare is the lowest since 2012 – 2013. This does not send the right message at all, at a time when we are talking about proportionately increasing the budget in terms of GDP. India spends roughly about 2% of its GDP on health, whereas other developing countries like Afghanistan and Brazil spend around 8 % of the GDP, even China spends around 5.4 % of GDP on health.”

Suneeta Reddy, Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited, said: “Overall this has been a forward-looking and stable budget. By linking financial inclusion (Jan Dhan Yojna), social security and health insurance agendas, the Finance Minister has provided a holistic road map for greater access for all in the future. Specifically, the health exemptions provided for all and, in particular, for the elderly are a major positive. The government has announced 5 new AIIMS, which will both increase access to health facilities in those stated and also provide a training ground for medical professionals. The visa on arrival for 150 additional countries is also a progressive move. This will go a long way in facilitating medical tourism, which is a growth industry that showcases India’s world class health facilities while contributing foreign exchange to the exchequer.”

Reddy said: “A lot more, however, needs to be done in terms of providing physical and educational infrastructure that supports the healthcare sector. This has to be done in partnership with and by giving incentives to the private sector that has been providing nearly 70% of the additional beds in India. We also welcome the road map for reduced corporate taxes starting in 2016 and the roll out of the GST, which is on track.”

Rajesh Khosla, MD, MMTC-PAMP said: “MMTC-PAMP welcomes the budget proposals of 2015-16 aimed at achieving inclusive growth and boosting economic activity in the country.The budget delivers on the expectations of the precious metal refining industry and recognizes the role that world-class precious metal refining can play in making honorable PM’s “Make in India” initiative successful.”

Instead of big bang announcements, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday presented the General Budget 2015-16 focusing on infrastructure, cleanliness, social security and assuring a high growth trajectory while envisaging stricter laws on black money offenders.

While Jaitley said growth would accelerate  between 8 and 8.5 percent in the coming fiscal year and the pace of cutting the fiscal deficit would be slow, the corporate India reacted positively to the budget calling it incremental and creative.

The finance minister said  7.4 percent GDP is expected for the current fiscal year.

Jaitley did away with the wealth tax and instead introduced a 2 percent surcharge on the super rich. Corporate tax was reduced from 30 to 25 percent in the Budget.

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