Budget Reactions from Various Business Leaders | #9

Here we have the legend Baba Kalyani and many others sharing their reactions on the 2022 Budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Right from legnedary business leaders like Mr Baba Kalyani to entrepreneurs representing new age business houses, we have so many business leaders who are sharing their views on the 2022 budget. Wondering what they have to say? Read below.

Jaideep Mukherji, CEO at Smart Power India

Budget 2022 has clearly laid a major focus on the green energy transition, reducing carbon footprint, and inclusive economic growth. As we move towards a greener economy, the role of Distributed Renewable Energy as a catalyst in the empowerment of MSMEs, job creation, and reforms in agriculture will be crucial. New initiatives to encourage productive use of clean energy in rural areas driven by DRE can be of great value to the rural as well as the national economy.

Suman Reddy Managing Director, Pega India

The Union Budget for 2022 laid the foundation for a growth-supportive plan as the nation commences its exit from a pandemic-induced slump. India’s growth is highest among all major economies, and we are in a strong position to withstand challenges. With a keen focus on health, education and startups, we are truly on our way to encouraging further digital adoption, particularly in semi-urban and rural markets.

I am delighted with the focus of Budget 2022 on digital and technology. It is a forward-looking blueprint of India’s resilience, capabilities, and determination. The Indian tech startup space continues to witness steady growth, accounting for 70 unicorns with most of them in the IT/knowledge-based sectors. The provisions outlined in this year’s Budget will provide them a game-changing economic transformation opportunity. Additionally, the framework outlined for citizens to skill, reskill or upskill through online training will open up a sophisticated pipeline of jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities. The introduction of central bank digital currency will boost the digital economy and will hugely benefit the Fintech ecosystem. With setting up of 75 digital banking units India is set to become a robust digital economy in the next two years.

The ongoing race to deploy 5G will be crucial in addressing and streamlining the avalanche of data and the multitudes of IoT connections that will power the smart cities, utilities, education, healthcare, transportation, and enterprise needs of today and tomorrow. We are truly on our way to building an open, digital and inclusive India within the next 25 years.

Ankush Patel, Founder & CEO, Treeni Sustainability Solutions

India has set ambitious reduction targets for greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris Accords, and it is great to see that Climate Action is one of the four pillars in the Union Budget 2022.

It is a growth-oriented and stable Budget with many positive interventions like issuing Sovereign Green Bonds, giving public funds access to climate action, enabling investors to create a responsible portfolio. Another important highlight of the announcement is encouraging the private sector to develop sustainable and innovative business models for battery and energy as a service, improving the efficiency in the EV ecosystem.

While EV and Solar Energy have been given a good tailwind, agro-forestry and private forests have also been given policy boost, a reassuring move toward sustainable production goals. Other positives include the action plans for a circular economy for ten industry sectors. However, the execution and infrastructure need to be built rapidly for progressive outcomes. Hopefully, this will also encourage more innovation and expansion in the industry.

Arun Misra, CEO, Hindustan Zinc

The growth-oriented and CAPEX-focussed Budget 2022 will boost the development of the economy at a higher rate post-pandemic. The demand for zinc is set to go up 6.2% annually, with a steady rise in usage of galvanised steel by various sectors, especially the railways that have been consuming about 18%.

Overall infrastructure growth and defence research and development (R&D) will only increase the need for metals in manufacturing specialised high-grade equipment under the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ vision. With the rise in demand for the usage of galvanised steel, the demand for zinc is likely to rise as a consequence. India is on the cusp of a major metals revolution, and this budget is set to make that happen.

Anshuman Panwar, Co-Founder, Creditas Solutions

Union Budget 2022-23 has laid focus on promoting fintech and technology-based developments which will play a major role in boosting the digital economy. The introduction of 75 digital banking systems in 75 districts by scheduled commercial banks will empower the population digitally in a consumer-friendly manner, supporting inter-operability and financial inclusion.

This will enable many consumers to experience digital banking for the first time at their convenience. When customers are empowered by digital experiences specific to their needs, the repayment process also becomes seamless and pain-free.

Baba N. Kalyani, CMD Bharat Forge Ltd.

I would like to congratulate the Hon’ble FM for a growth propelling budget with significant thrust on enhancing competitiveness, infrastructure development, holistic digital drive and promoting financial inclusion. The proposed New legislation for SEZs with states as partners coupled with heightened emphasis on the seven engines under PM Gati Shakti initiative should pave way for a New India that is recognized for its Speed, Productivity and Scale; thus, boosting the country’s overall investment attractiveness and export competitiveness.

Aligned with the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s AatmaNirbhar Bharat agenda, the Government’s commitment to promote self-reliance and indigenization by leveraging Indian Industry is once again reinforced with the 68% (enhanced) domestic allocation for defence capital procurement. Earmarking 25% of Defence R&D budget for Industry, Start-ups & Academia is a forward looking measure that will pave way for investments in frontier technologies and capability development. Industry in partnership with DRDO through SPV mode for development of critical weapon systems and military platforms is a path-breaking reform that will significantly transform the Indian defence eco-system and lead India to being a net-exporter of defence equipment/platforms.

I should particularly laud the thrust given to new-age technologies and wider adoption of digital platforms in Healthcare, Education, FinTech, Agriculture among others. Exclusive policy on Battery swapping, special mobility zones and incentivizing clean-technologies in public transport should lead to accelerated adoption of Electric Vehicles across the country. The increased outlay towards manufacturing of High Efficiency modules for Solar Power and strong emphasis on Circular Economy transition reinforces India’s commitment to Global Climate Action and Sustainable Technologies.

Ketan Sengupta, CEO of Bengal Peerless Housing Development Company

This Capex heavy Budget with 35.4 % additional capital outlay is a futuristic Budget for promoting inclusive development and has been aptly coined as Budget for the Amrit Kal of India, or the next 25 years of independence. Though there have been no specific steps like increasing tax exemption limits against home loan principal or interest, this Budget will spur real estate growth in the long term.

Commendable is the focus on Infrastructure Growth, with 25,000 K M of Highways to be completed by 2023, funding for new metro rail system ropeways, 400 new Vande Bharat trains etc. This Budget also recognises the need for development of tier 2 and tier 3 cities with 50% of Indian population to live in urban areas. This augurs well for the real estate in the long term.

Allocation of 480 billion rupees and plan to develop 8 million houses under P M Awas Yojana F Y 23 will boost real estate growth in the affordable segment. Helping States for urban capacity planning and setting up Urban Planning Schools with the help of an expert level committee digitisation of land records, uniformity of registration procedures across the country and modernisation of building bye laws will increase transparency and augment sustainable development.

Rishabh C. Kothari, President Merchants’ Chamber of Commerce & Industry (MCCI)

The ECLGS had a significant impact on credit flow to the micro segment within MSME. In 2020, MSMEs received higher credit compared to 2019, primarily due to the ECLG scheme. Incremental credit in 2020 (over 2019) was much higher than the credit provided in pre-pandemic times (2019 over 2018),

This is a welcome move as several small firms, particularly in the services sector, may still need such liquidity support following the emergence of new covid variants.

The modification introduced would ensure that businesses adversely impacted by the second wave of COVID 2019 get enhanced collateral free liquidity . Further this provides much needed support to all the ECLGS borrowers (which mainly consist of MSME units) in time for the busy / festival season.

While complimenting the Hon’ble Union Finance Minister, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, on her 4th Budget placed in the Parliament today, Shri Rishabh C. Kothari, President, MCCI feels that the proposed budget is a fine balance between demand stimulus, continued capex push and fiscal consolidation. The budget focused on sharp rebound and recovery of economy identifying 7 engines of growth, consisting roads, railways, airports, ports, mass transport, waterways and logistics infrastructure as the key areas.

The budget prioritized on inclusive development, productivity enhancement, energy transition and climate action as the four pillars of development. The Union Budget 2022-23 is a blue print of India at 100, which is a visionary document.

Among many pro-growth measures announced in the Budget, MCCI welcomes the following:

  • Creation of unified logistics platform and developments of 100 new cargo terminals in the next three years are significant steps in improving the supply chain eco system in the country.
  • Intervention to improve credit to the pandemic afflicted MSME sector through ECLG Scheme including hospitality industry is also a step in the right direction.
  • The Central Bank of India has introduced digital currency which actually becomes a positive move.   
  • SEZ Act will be replaced with a new law and we will be waiting for further details given the significant impact of this on the commercial real estate sector.
  • The expansion of the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme by Rs 50,000 crore to Rs 5 Lakh crore will enable the small travel operators and stakeholders within the travel and tourism industry to reel back from the disruptive impact of the pandemic.
  • Substantial amounts have been allocated towards research and development in several sectors including defence. The proposal to reserve 25 percent of the R&D Budget for startups and private entities is an excellent move.
  • The emphasis on ‘Ease of Doing Business 2.0’ should bring a better policy and regulatory environment for retail; on this front, work on a national retail policy is already underway.
  • 100 percent of 1.5 Lakh post offices to come onto a core banking system is a positive step and one with deep implications.

“Budget is very balanced. It boosts spending towards growth-oriented policies that create jobs, boost manufacturing, and help agri-economy & infrastructure creation. In short, a mix of short-term boost & long-term structural emphasis is hallmark of this Budget.

Dr. GSK Velu, Chairman & Managing Director, Trivitron Healthcare and Neuberg Diagnostics

As expected, Budget 22-23 was a balanced effort to improve overall economic growth. Today, the healthcare sector in India is at a much stronger position than ever before. Measures introduced in Budget 2022-23 will further strengthen the healthcare sector while focusing on prevailing challenges. 

The rollout of a National Digital Health Ecosystem will ensure that all segments of the society are able to access affordable and adequate healthcare in a seamless and efficient manner. Such an ecosystem can potentially make universal healthcare a reality for India.

Further, the fact that mental health counselling and care services found a place in the budget is a testament to how far we have come as a country. Inarguably, the Covid pandemic has adversely affected the mental health of the population at large. Thus, the launch of a National Tele Mental Health program can play a catalytic role in both normalising conversations around mental health as well as ensuring that people are able to seek support for mental health related challenges.

Though there was not much for the medical devices industry directly in the Budget, the industry will benefit from the Government’s increased focus on healthcare. The National healthcare mission outlay has been kept at ~37,000 crores like previous year and this is a bit disappointing, considering the fact our healthcare infrastructure needs big boost in the coming years. The demand from all healthcare experts was to increase healthcare outlay in the current budget.

Arjun Ananth, CEO Medall Healthcare Pvt Ltd.

At the outset the Union Budget 2022 the launch of National Tele Mental Health program will better the access to quality mental health counseling which has accentuated mental health problems in people of all ages. There could have been focus on primary healthcare centres and preventive healthcare diagnostics, which has become a necessity in the wake of the third wave.

The Union Budget 2022 seems to have its sights set on the long term with a major push towards Digital Healthcare Ecosystem, and no major announcements or tax breaks that would have worked as an instant relief to the Healthcare sector. The much-anticipated goods and services tax (GST) streamlining and the introduction of input tax credit (ITC), if implemented, would’ve introduced the liquidity that the industry was hoping for.

Aneel Gambhir, CFO, Blue Dart

We are pleased to note that the Union Budget, is progressive, focuses on growth and is in line with our expectations. The Government’s focus on consistently investing in infrastructure development across the country bodes well for the Indian economy and more specifically for the logistics industry.

The focus on public investments, by expanding the National Highway network by 25,000kms, the Gati Shakti masterplan with seven engines, 100 new cargo terminals, will give an impetus to the growth of the industry and help bring efficiency in logistics operations. We must also recognize the push for utilizing and promoting a digital ecosystem, whether that be with the launch of Gati Shakti and the numerous opportunities it initiates or the adoption of eVehicles; it further streamlines systems and processes, propelling the idea of Aatmanirbhar Bharat. 

The prioritization of technology is a 2-pronged strategy that also seeks to drive cleaner operations. The announcement of the special policy for battery swapping, introducing a uniform standard for EV batteries, encouraging the private sector to engage in sustainable business models and setting up additional public charging stations, have the potential to revolutionize the eVehicle industry. Moreover, eVehicles can also play a key role in last-mile logistics, a feat that can assist the industry in reducing its carbon footprint. The Government has also highlighted initiatives that will be beneficial for all by reducing the surcharge on long term capital gains.

While the budget carries good news for the logistics sector, we are happy to note the Government’s efforts in propelling areas such as infrastructure, digitalization, sustainable practices and citizen well-being, all of which require a special focus going into the new financial year. The world is now acclimated to COVID-19 and we are keen to see the subsequent results of these initiatives on the nation, going forward.

George Sam, Business Head & Co-Founder at Mindgate Solutions Pvt. Ltd

We applaud the government’s conviction in digital banking and welcome the move to set up 75 Digital Banking Units in 75 districts in the country. This will be a step towards ensuring the citizens of the country, especially in the rural setting, are empowered and benefitted through digital banking systems. This was something quite visible in urban areas so far.

Thus, the nation-wide transformative potential of the FinTech sector is well poised to be realized. Furthermore, the introduction of Digital Rupee is a landmark decision. We expect this will potentially be more disruptive like UPI. While it will enable efficient currency management as an immediate benefit, it will also accelerate the target of a digital and financially inclusive India.

Rohan Verma, Co founder CEO, Breathe Well-being

The FM has acknowledged the role played by tech led health services throughout the course of the ongoing pandemic. The government is focusing even more than ever to ensure that the healthcare infrastructure of the country continues to strengthen by collaborating with new age health tech companies.

For the first time ever at a national stage, FM has made first ever reference to mental health and well being and has gone ahead and announced the launch of a portal. The tele mental health portal will improve access to patients seeking professional help and no doubt the government is going to look towards health tech startups to collaborate and grow this initiative.

As a health tech company, which helps people reverse type 2 diabetes, mental well being is an important pillar of our programme. We are keen on exploring this further once the fine print comes out. If there is a scope to collaborate with any of the stakeholders, we believe we will bring the right know-how to the table.

Kushal Nahata, CEO & Co-Founder, FarEye

We welcome the positive steps the government has taken for strengthening and further developing the logistics sector under the PM Gati Shakti plan. Rs 20,000 crore allocated for developing transportation shows that the government is focused on building a robust logistics infrastructure in the country. 

The expansion of the national highways network, implementation of multimodal logistics parks and development of 100 new cargo terminals will facilitate swift movement of goods, improve pan-India connectivity and reduce logistics costs. 

The Gati Shakti scheme’s focus on sustainable growth and digitisation looks extremely promising. The proposed unified logistics interface platform will accelerate digitisation of the logistics sector in the country. It will help reduce paperwork and aid better logistics and supply chain management. Indian Railways’ One Station One Product plan to provide capable logistics services to farmers and MSMEs will ensure that local businesses overcome the existing bottlenecks in the supply chain.

Keep watching this space for more updates on Budget!

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