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FM Nirmala Sitharaman presents Interim Budget 2024-25: Industry reacts
Image Credit: PIB

FM Nirmala Sitharaman presents Interim Budget 2024-25: Industry reacts

| @indiablooms | 01 Feb 2024, 06:09 pm

New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday said India's economy is undergoing a profound shift as she presented the final budget of the Narendra Modi government before the Lok Sabha polls scheduled for May. Emphasising the government's commitment, Sitharaman highlighted a focus on enhancing conditions for marginalised groups, including the poor, women, youth, and farmers, laying the groundwork for forthcoming welfare schemes in these sectors during her Budget 2024 address.

The industry hailed the interim budget which exhibited "no disruption" keeping tax slabs unchanged, focusing on inclusivity, continued economic reforms and listing the achievements of the NDA in the past ten years while refraining from any new populist announcement.

Here are the reactions:

Reacting to the interim budget, Tata Steel CEO & MD T V Narendran, "The announcement by the Hon'ble Finance Minister today to increase the capital expenditure on infrastructure is a welcome step, which would have a multiplier effect on the nation’s overall economy. The continued expansion of rural housing along with the proposal to develop three economic railway corridors under the PM Gati Shakti Yojana are other significant moves that will spur steel demand, create jobs, and improve connectivity & logistics. It is heartening to see the government's emphasis on every region contributing to a 'Viksit Bharat' which is underscored by a special focus on the eastern part of the country.

“The financial support envisaged to promote research and innovation is an encouraging initiative which will help nurture the aspirations of our youth."

Lauding the interim budget ITC Chairman & MD Sanjiv Puri, “I would like to laud the Finance Minister for presenting a Budget that demonstrates India’s confidence as an economy of substance and immense promise, marching towards a Viksit Bharat on the pillars of exemplary governance, continuity of far-sighted reforms, consistency of vision and strategy and an unprecedented thrust on infrastructure development, sustainable and inclusive growth as well as technological excellence.  The Budget builds on the extraordinary vision of the Hon’ble Prime Minister to spearhead an era of Amrit Kaal and positions India on the global stage as a shining example of socio-economic transformation.

The sharp focus on the welfare of farmers, setting up of integrated aqua parks, support to dairy farmers, together with the far-sighted schemes for agriculture and rural development, housing, women empowerment, youth and marginal segments, will trigger a virtuous cycle of productivity, incomes, consumption, investment and livelihoods. The resolve of the Government to build world-class digital, physical and social infrastructure, invest in the future by driving path-breaking innovation and fostering entrepreneurship as well as promoting green energy with innovative interventions like rooftop solarisation will shape the India of tomorrow.

The continuing impetus to tourism and the effort to build iconic destinations across states will drive the growth of this employment-intensive service sector. The proposal to increase public expenditure is commendable which together with astute fiscal prudence and stability in taxes, inflation management and direct benefit transfer will lead to better utilisation and targeting of public funds. The incentivisation of reforms in States will further unlock the potential of the economy”.

Praising the Budget, Vedanta Group Chairman Anil Agarwal said, "Higher levels of government capital expenditure accompanied by fiscal consolidation is the perfect recipe for driving up private investment.  The three new economic railway corridors will be a gamechanger in logistics for industry. The FM’s focus on youth and women - the two demographics that will drive India’s transformation – is heartening."

Balram Singh Yadav Godrej Agrovet Limited Managing Director, “The Interim Budget 2024-25 reiterates the government's commitment to strengthening the ‘Annadata’ and the backbone of our nation – our farmers. From direct financial assistance through PM-KISAN SAMMAN Yojana to expanding farmer-centric policies and promoting innovations, the budget paves the way for inclusive, sustainable growth in the agricultural sector. Initiatives such as e-NAM and PMMSY are empowering farmers with better market access and infrastructure, while the focus on enhancing adoption of Nano-DAP clearly showcase government’s intent to handhold farmers amidst the continuously evolving weather conditions.

“The proposals to improve milk yields and aquaculture productivity in addition to achieving 'Atmanirbharta' for oilseeds, demonstrates the government's commitment to food security and livelihood of generation across diverse agricultural fields. Overall, today’s Interim Budget 2024-25 offers a promising roadmap for empowering our farmers, ensuring food security, and propelling the agricultural sector towards a brighter future.”

ICRA Analytics said that the Interim Budget announced prioritised focus on the poor, women, youth, and farmers to drive the country forward. This is expected to support India’s growth in the long term. The central government has set a lower target for gross and net borrowing during the next financial year (2024-25) over the current fiscal even while it foresees a high tax mop-up and remains committed to resuming fiscal consolidation. The government has estimated gross borrowing of Rs 14.13 lakh crore and net borrowings of Rs 11.75 lakh crore in 2024-25, both of which are lower than that in 2023-24.

"Following this lower-than-expected target for borrowings, the country’s 10-year benchmark yield fell as much as eight basis points to 7.0511% on Thursday. The bond yields are likely to witness some softness in the short-term, said Ashwini Kumar, Head Market Data, ICRA Analytics, a wholly owned subsidiary of ICRA Ltd.

“Yields shall see softness in the near term. However, the ensuing election months will keep the investors a little cautious. Global interest rates would also be seen closely,” Kumar said.

Godrej Industries Chairman and Managing Director Nadir Godrej said, “The Interim Budget 2024 lays a strong foundation for building a prosperous and inclusive India, in line with the vision of 'Viksit Bharat’. We echo the sentiment of empowerment for every section of society, particularly the 'Garib', 'Mahilayen', 'Yuva', and 'Annadata'. Their progress is intertwined with the nation's advancement, and it's heartening to see the Government prioritize their needs and aspirations.

"The foresight outlined for the 'Amrit Kaal', anchored in 'Reform, Perform, and Transform', sets a promising trajectory for inclusive and sustainable growth. The emphasis on next-generation reforms, underscores a collective endeavor towards a prosperous future. We particularly welcome the emphasis on clean energy initiatives like bio-manufacturing and compressed biogas blending. These measures will not only address climate concerns but also create exciting new opportunities in the green sector. Overall, Budget 2024 strikes a positive balance between continuity and progress, laying down a roadmap towards development, fostering innovation, and nurturing a sustainable future for our nation by 2047.”

EEPC India Chairman said the interimbudgett is pro-development and lays down the long-term vision of the government. he said, "The proposals in the budget are set to further enhance investor sentiments, promote local manufacturing, and make Indian industry competitive globally.

"The railway corridor proposed in the Budget is a significant development and is set to bring efficiency in logistics and reduce freight movement cost. Given the track record of the government in implementing major projects, we remain hopeful of the speedy execution of projects across sectors. The announcements pertaining to green mobility and technology show the government's commitment towards transforming the economy. The status quo on tax rates, both direct and indirect, suggests that providing policy certainty remains on top of the government's priority."

Tata AIA Life Insurance CIO Harshad Patil noted that the Interim Union Budget ensures the continuation of fiscal discipline and extension of time-tested policies which have boosted the Indian economy in recent years.

"The Finance Minister stayed firmly on the path of fiscal consolidation by delivering the FY 2024 fiscal deficit at 5.8% and projecting the FY 2025 fiscal deficit at 5.1% in the Union Budget. There was a slew of initiatives for solar energy, railways, EV ecosystem, defence and tourism among others. The Union budget has been welcomed by the bond markets for adhering to fiscal consolidation and the bond market expects the FY 2025 borrowings to be comfortably absorbed," he added.

Godrej Consumer Products Ltd CFO Aasif Malbari, “The Union Budget, though interim, highlights a deep commitment to the long-term vision of strong economic growth. Continuing the path of fiscal consolidation is a positive sign for overall economic growth, which has the potential to boost consumption patterns in the long run. The focus on enhancing connectivity and infrastructure also bodes well for India Inc including FMCG sector. Moreover, the emphasis on upskilling and the significant rise in women in the workforce signify a holistic approach to fostering an inclusive and dynamic economy, setting an optimistic tone for the years ahead."

Reacting to the budget, Muthoot Finance MD George Alexander Muthoot, “FM’s interim budget is balanced from the point of view of adhering to fiscal prudence, boosting infrastructure growth and prioritizing focus on four key sections of the economy - the poor, women, youth and farmers. We believe the FM’s focus on higher outlay for infrastructure will help in boosting the broader economy and in the long term will boost investment activity. The government’s support to MSMEs, women entrepreneurs and the agricultural sector aptly aligns with our aim to provide credit support to MSMEs, small business owners, farmers and women entrepreneurs thereby addressing their economic needs.

“FM’s focus on addressing housing challenges by building two crore additional homes under the PM Awas Yojana-Grameen is certainly positive for boosting the housing sector. While inflation has been a concern globally, FM’s focus on staying on the path of fiscal prudence in the interim budget, will surely be an enabler for stable interest rate scenario in the economy and bodes well for the overall financial sector.”

The Hinduja Group Chairman Gopichand P. Hinduja said, “Interim Budget is both a time for reflection and visioning for the future while managing adroitly the present. Compliments to FM Nirmala Sitharaman for effectively achieving this. She articulated the achievements of the past decade and spelt out the broad roadmap to 2047 while maintaining the path of fiscal rectitude with fiscal deficit targeted at 5.1% in FY 25 and down to 4.5% in FY 26.

"The interim budget commendably shunned any populist measures so often resorted to by the governments. But Bharat could certainly do more on its infrastructure CAPEX budgeting which increased nominally by 11%. Some bold measures are needed to increase the annual FDI level of 60bn $ further. The banking and power sector reforms coupled with further impetus on digital infrastructure are imperatives to Vikasit Bharat with improved sovereign rating. Overall, stability and continuity with judicious acceleration are the wheels deployed through this interim budget for taking off this flight. Now, it’s over to July 2024.”

In a statement issued today, CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee said, "The interim budget consolidates India’s globally acclaimed economic strategy that preps up the economy for the future. The interim budget, presented by Nirmala Sitharaman consolidates India’s economic strategy prioritising capex driven growth that boosts demand and improves the competitiveness of industry. The strategy has led to India becoming a bright spot in the midst of a slowing global economy.

CII had suggested continued thrust on capital expenditure which has a high multiplier effect on the economy and welcomes the allocation of Rs 11.1 lakh crores for capex, an increase of 11.1 per cent over the high base of last year, he said.

"The interim budget also continues the thrust on state capex, with an allocation of Rs 1.3 lakh crores to be provided as 50-year interest free loans for state capex and Rs 75,000 crores linked to state level reforms," he added.

Fleetguard Filters Private Limited Managing Director Niranjan Kirloskar said, “The Finance Minister proposed a well-crafted budget that balances growth and social development. The focus on infrastructure development, with the Interim Budget 2024 proposing to raise capital expenditure—for the fourth consecutive year—by 11.1% to ₹11.11 lakh crore, which is 3.4% of the GDP, presents a significant opportunity for the auto and construction industry. The impetus on

“Research and Innovation for catalysing growth, employment, and development is a welcome move for a Viksit Bharat. With reforms supporting the adoption of sustainable mobility and skill development, India is poised to become a global leader in automotive technology.”

Lord's Automative Pvt. Ltd. CEO Veer Singh said, “The forward-looking approach adopted in the interim budget towards the automotive sector has been in alignment with the government’s goals of promoting Atmanirbhar Bharat and moving firmly towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2070. Acknowledging electric vehicles (EVs) as the cornerstone of future mobility, the sustained emphasis on boosting manufacturing capabilities and expanding charging infrastructure is poised to propel the adoption of electric vehicles in the country.

“Nevertheless, the industry is expecting further pivotal announcements that will support various measures including subsidies, tax benefits and financing solutions to catalyse transformative change in the EV sector this year."

In his post-budget reaction, Essar Ports MD & CEO Rajiv Agarwal said the Interim Budget 2024-25 is clearly prepared with a vision towards making our country Viksit Bharat by 2047. "With a substantial increase in infrastructure outlay, the budget has rightly given a thrust to multi-modal connectivity by implementing three major economic railway corridors under the PM Gati Shakti programme. These initiatives will go a long way in improving logistics efficiency and reducing cost. This will surely elevate India's logistics and infrastructure landscape."

Essar Capital Ltd Senior Managing Director Sanjay Palve, "We commend the government's focus on governance and development, accompanied by a commitment to reducing the fiscal deficit. Moreover, the substantial capex outlay and emphasis on infrastructure development signal opportunities for strategic partnerships and prudent financial planning.

“The announced budget reflects a mature commitment to holistic progress, setting the stage for a promising and transformative trajectory for the country.”

Reacting to the interim-budget, Shriram Finance Executive Vice Chairman Umesh Revankar, “The identification of three major economic railway corridors under PM Gati Shakti underscores policymakers' focus on enhancing logistics efficiency, fostering crucial multi-modal connectivity essential for the success of 'Make in India.' These corridors will drive economic growth, and streamline transportation networks.

“The announcement of the creation of a corpus of Rs 1 lakh crore, coupled with 50-year interest-free loans for research and innovation in sunrise domains will accelerate the country's digitalization journey, positioning it as a leader among global digital economies and fostering opportunities for emerging entrepreneurs. The policy emphasis on providing training to MSMEs to enable them to compete globally is a promising step.

“With a capex target of Rs 11.1 lakh crore for FY25, up by 11.1 percent, the budget reaffirms the government's steadfast commitment to economic growth. Further, the focus on the EV ecosystem, in the form of support for manufacturing and charging infrastructure, is set to catalyze business opportunities and significantly contribute to employment generation.”

Senco Gold & Diamonds MD & CEO Suvankar Sen said that the Budget was presented with a long time in mind. If we look at it for the jewellery sector, focus on infrastructure, the agricultural sector, the women, women empowerment, self help groups in rural sectors, and making India global manufacturing powerhouse are all significant. The budget covers new generation's aspirations and  speacially mentions about making eastern India as one of the growth engine for the economy.

I think this will all act very well for the jewellery sector as well as for the company and we hope that all these long term visions are very soon executed at the ground level and we can see more liquidity, more velocity of money and more income in the hands of the citizens of the country so that we can continue to grow the way we have been seeing growth happening over the last few years and what the world expects the country India to grow in the future.

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