As we kept seeking thoughts from industry stalwarts, here are the final set from affluent business houses who shared their views on the budget.
R. Mukundan, Managing Director and CEO, Tata Chemicals
The first budget of the new decade has ensured the right balance of sustainable growth, social equity and long-term competitiveness of the Indian economy. The proposed step to create more stability in tax regime is a welcome move. This, combined with simplification and a further improvement in the dispute resolution process, will augur well for tax compliance and increase in resource mobilisation.
The impetus in funding towards railways, roadways and ports will go a long way in improving the competitiveness of Indian industry by reducing the cost of logistics. The continued support of manufacturing with the Productivity Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme will further strengthen the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Mission to help the country integrate more strongly with the global supply chain. The PLI scheme coupled with duty rationalisation of inputs especially naphtha will bode well for value-added products and speciality chemicals.
Also, the start of the Hydrogen economy is a welcome step. All in all, a balanced approach to resource mobilisation, stability in taxation and focused sectoral steps to spur manufacturing growth will ensure that we come out of this pandemic stronger and more competitive.
Sanjay Dutt, MD & CEO, Tata Realty and Infrastructure Limited
The lockdown in 2020 and its subsequent continuation in 2021 has caused lot of disruption and set back to the economy as well as the real estate sector. The Government therefore had to focus on providing relief to people and the industry. We welcome the Government’s intent to deliver a growth oriented budget.
However, we had expected the government to do more for the sector because of the multiplier effect it has on the economic growth. The Government’s measures in 2020 have only provided some relief. The budget provided an opportunity to consider lowering GST on building materials, no GST on JDA and TDR, extended the tax benefit from affordable to mid housing would have made a significant impact. Additionally, allocating additional capital for distressed funds could have eased the liquidity needed for last mile funding, allowing FDI in ready to move in inventory to unlock capital and provide for liquidity to NBFC, Banks and Developers.
Acknowledging the role of NRI homebuyers and increased interest amid the pandemic, the government’s decision to reduce NRI residency limit will help. Raising customs duty on solar inverters to 20% from 5% is likely to add to the cost of the commercial and residential developments while monetization of land is likely to provide more land for development and arrest its rising cost.
For the investor community, we are pleased with the proposal to make dividend payments to REITs (Real estate investment trusts) and INVITs (Infrastructure investment trusts) exempt from TDS. The Indian real estate sector is at an interesting juncture and I strongly believe REITs will define the future as they allow investors to expand their range of properties. The Finance Minister’s plan to introduce a Bill to set up a DFI (developmental financial institution) for long-term funding infra projects with a capital of Rs 20,000 crore and lending Rs 5 lakh crore in the next 3 years is a great move for India’s sustainable infrastructure. We look forward to working with the government for these crucial infra projects by leveraging the Tata brand to contribute to India’s exciting growth story.
Balajee Sowrirajan, Managing Director, Samsung Semiconductor R&D (SSIR)
We are very optimistic with the focus given on Innovation and R&D being identified as one of the key pillars, I believe ‘Design for India’ will gain momentum and localization of product designs will lead towards an aspirational and Innovative India. These will lead to the next phase of inclusive growth with increased emphasis on skilling and job creation. Furthermore, with a significant increase in Capex from 4.39 lakh crore to 5.54 lakh crore, the Atmanirbhar Bharat Initiative will be strengthened with more focus on domestic manufacturing and production, laying the foundation for the 5 Trillion Dollar Economy by 2030.
Ashwath Ram, Managing Director, Cummins India
At first glance, it appears to be a progressive budget. There is a focus on the socio-economic development of the country with an emphasis on Railways, the Power sector, infrastructure, healthcare, and enhanced digital connectivity. The voluntary policy on the scrapping of vehicles will have a positive impact and will drive the commercial vehicle and auto sector forward, the industry wanted an incentive-based scheme so we are still seeing the details.
In addition, MSMEs and other user industries have been severely affected by the recent sharp rise in iron and steel prices. The industry will definitely receive a push by the decision to double the allocation of MSME and reduce the customs duty on some of the steel products. The focus on highways and the infrastructure investment plan will definitely give the necessary impetus to the CV and construction equipment businesses.
Nikhil Rungta, Country Manager, India, Verizon Media
Taking insights from the learning curve of Covid-19, the government has done well to take appropriate measures to improve the lives of citizens and pave way for economic recovery. This is a ‘get well’ budget with an expansionary outlook and focused on growth. Given the times it might not be a radical budget, but it is practical and thoughtful, which will propel consumption and growth of business. This budget has also rightly signalled the need for greater inclusion in India’s workforce. Women being allowed to work in all sectors and in night-shifts with adequate protection, and social security benefits extended to gig workers will provide an impetus for women to step up their contribution towards Aatmanirbhar Bharat.
George Rajkumar, Country President, Grundfos India
Grundfos India welcomes the additional allocation towards the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation announced by the honorable Finance Minister. Given that the budget had a very sharp focus on sustainable economic growth of and nation overall, it was great to see the focus on one of the crucial issues, that is urban water supply.
Keeping the growing water crisis in mind, the decision to dedicate a INR 2.87 lakh crore outlay over 5 years, for the renowned JJM, which is aimed at universal water supply in all 4,378 urban local bodies, with 2.86 crore household tap connections and liquid waste management in 500 AMRUT cities is a good one.
The move to include liquid waste management backed by the budget allocation of ₹ 1,41,678 crore for Urban Swachh Bharat Mission 2.0 is a great step forward to holistically look at sustainable water and waste water management in India. We hope that this allocation will encourage public and private players to develop innovative solutions for JJM and provide an opportunity to contribute to resolving water issues in the country through advanced water technologies.
Furthermore, knowing the fact that we are rich in renewable sources, it is a rational decision to evidently level up the renewable energy allocations, by proposing an additional infusion of INR 1,000 crore to the Solar Energy Corporation of India and 1,500 crore to IREDA continuing to build on a solarized future.
Sanjiv Lal – MD & CEO, Rallis India
The Union Budget presented is progressive and balanced with a long term impact in mind. The focus is not just to provide short term relief but empowers the industry to leverage the rising domestic and international demand. The Indian Economy has shown tremendous resilience in showing a sharp recovery from the Covid-19 hit economy. This recovery is led by continued normalization in economic activities and further strengthening it with the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.
The demand recovery is steadily gaining momentum and will further improve the investment cycle. The economic reforms announced today provide a significant impetus to the Agriculture sector. Government is committed to the welfare of farmers which is evident from the enhanced agri credit target to Rs 16.5 lakh crore. Additional allocations for rural infrastructure & irrigation, development of fishing harbours, micro irrigation corpus doubled to Rs 10,000 cr will surely boost the sector.
The governments’ proposal to expand the Green scheme to 22 perishable vegetable products will significantly help the farming community. The agri sector will further benefit from the massive infrastructure development proposed in the union budget today. The proposed development of economic corridors, NIP projects worth 1 lakh crore, privatization of airports in tier 2 and 3 towns and cities, PPP mode for ports and further boosting the National Rail plan will support the proposed increase in rural infrastructure fund to develop the rural India which will benefit the farming community in the years to come.
Prakash Chhabria, Chairman, Finolex Industries Limited
The Union Budget 2021, being the foremost budget of this decade was largely influenced by the global contraction caused by the pandemic. We believe the government has put their best foot forward to stabilize the investors and stakeholders in times of uncertainty. The budget seems to be well allocated at a macro level for all relevant sectors that would act as an enabler to India’s economic growth. We believe the introduction of the National asset monetization pipeline with a focus on relevant sectors was an exceptional move to augment revenues of the government. The proposed new DFI would certainly go a long way in helping infra projects and will play a key developmental role. A vision for Atmanirbhar Bharat in the initial part of the budget, the announcement of Urban Swachh Bharat 2.0 Mission was justified to be launched at an outlay of Rs 1.41 lakh crore over 5 years. We hope to see revival and sustainability of PVC pipes sector through the medium of Jal Jeevan Mission Urban which is to have an outlay of Rs 2.87 lakh crore. Further, boost to the housing sector by extension of tax holiday, increase in agricultural credit target, increase in contribution to rural infra development fund and increase agriculture infra fund made available to APMCs will provide the much needed liquidity in the rural economy. We are certain that timely implementation of a well-targeted budget announcements will hold the key for supporting the burgeoning growth revival of the Indian economy.
Keshav Bhajanka, Executive Director, CenturyPly
Union budget 2021 by Government of India is promising and future-oriented. According to me, this is not just a budget for today but a roadmap for how India will become a 10 trillion economy in the next decade. The back to basics approach with a focus on infrastructure creation is a model developing economy, has successfully been used in this budget. I applaud the courage shown by the Ministry of Finance to peg the fiscal deficit at 6.8% for the coming year and focus on growth as the mantra. Overall, I think this is a phenomenal all-round budget and it will help us recover from COVID effect even faster.
Girish Rao – Chairman & Managing Director, Vidal Health
This is clearly the most forward-thinking budget in recent times. The fact that Healthcare plans were taken up first by the FM shows the importance the government is giving to the health of our citizens. Far-reaching recommendations will transform public health. The increase in allocation to 2.37 Lac Crore was long overdue and we welcome this.
PM-JAY has been a resounding success in bringing awareness and health coverage to large masses. The new PM-ASBY with a special focus on building Primary, Secondary and Tertiary care capabilities in rural India will bring attention to much-neglected sector. Rs. 64,000 Cr allocation over 6 years is a great beginning and will transform rural India.
There is a need to build technology platforms to bring in large masses under the health care delivery platform. FDI limit in insurance which has increased to 74% is also a positive move. This allocation will allow for more investment in this space.
Vamsi Krishna, CEO & Co-founder, Vedantu
The National Education Policy has been a strategic move towards guiding the development of India’s education. To strengthen the policy further, this Union Budget is focusing on initiatives like National Digital Educational Architecture (NDEA) which will provide a diverse education eco-system for the development of digital infrastructure, educational planning, governance and administrative activities. The complete shift from using assessments to not only judge the cognitive levels of the learner but also using it as an opportunity to identify the unique strengths and the potential, is a student centric approach which will lead to the holistic development of a child and provide them a greater edge, globally. Further, I would like to see more investments & budget allocation to go into the education sector to enhance it with more trending technologies which will make education accessible to students in the farthest corners of the country.
Suman Reddy, Managing Director, Pega India
As the first budget during recovery of the pandemic, we are optimistic that the slew of measures announced on healthcare and infrastructure will provide impetus to the economy. The agenda to focus on the six pillars including infrastructure, innovation and R&D clearly sets India on a path of recovery.
In a significant break from tradition, Government’s Atmanirbhar package focuses on increasing spend towards the creation of jobs and rural development, generous allocations for development schemes, handing more monetary benefits to the common man, and easing rules to attract foreign investments. Enhancing the digital backbone of the country, the announcement on the fintech hub at the GIFT -IFSC and R&D investment of 50,000 crores over 5 years will ensure that the overall research ecosystem of the country is strengthened with a focus on identified national priority thrust areas. The move to establish a National Digital Educational Architecture (NDEAR) in the context of a Digital First Mindset to ensure digital learning, as well as planning infrastructure, will empower the youth of the nation.
Sudhindra Holla, Director, Axis Communications, India & SAARC
We are upbeat on the six pillars of the government agenda including focus on infrastructure, innovation and R&D that is all set to strengthen India’s power as a global digital hub. We are optimistic by the renewed focus on road safety with advanced traffic management system with speed radars, variable message signboards, GPS enabled recovery vans along with the outlay of ₹ 2.28 lakh crores for developing the highways, roads, and railways.
Good to see pertinent steps taken to revitalize the economy with key focus on allocating budget for healthcare, metro railways, ports, airports, and logistics to boost urban infrastructure. These in turn will be stepping stones towards invigorating Smart Cities planning and urban development and help in generating more jobs.
Zahara Kanchwalla, Co-founder & COO, Rite Knowledge Labs
The focus of this year’s Budget in building digital infrastructure, be it India’s first digital census to micro agri-funds and plug & play textile parks, will benefit the communication and digital industry significantly. The focus on transparent and citizen-friendly initiatives such as one nation, one ration card and faceless resolution will ensure that technology and content are available to more people, giving a fillip to apps, websites, educational content and online platforms.The move to incentivize digital payments will ensure that the acceleration towards speedy, secure and convenient payments spurred by COVID-19 becomes permanent, and helps in enabling a cashless economy. For startups, the tax holiday extension by one year is a big boost to help new businesses accelerate recovery and rebound.
The increased MSME outlay of about $2 billion (INT 15,700 crore) for small and medium enterprises will help digital and content agencies ramp up through investments in people, software and products. I’m glad that the budget has laid the foundation for a modern, digitally safe yet future-ready eco-system. It will help India become globally competitive with a focus on harnessing its intellectual wealth, scaling knowledge-driven industries and building product-centric solutions while elevating small and medium businesses.
Farrokh Cooper, Chairman & MD, Cooper Corporation Pvt. Ltd.
Budget 2021 is optimistic, driving the country towards Aatmanirbhar Bharat by putting significant stress on Railways, Power sector, infrastructure healthcare, banking, insurance, and agriculture, which will not only enable the country to revive its economy but will also stimulate growth. Voluntary policy on the scrapping of vehicles would have a positive effect and will move the commercial and automobile industries ahead. The industry would definitely be encouraged by the decision to double the allocation of MSME and to reduce the customs duty on steel. Focusing on highways and the investment plan would certainly give the CV and construction equipment the requisite impetus. The government’s increased focus on the infrastructure sector will certainly bring in positive impact.
Vikas Bajaj, President, AIFI(Association of Indian Forging Industry)
This year’s Union budget is positive, as well as a progressive one with a strong drive towards the country’s socio-economic growth. It focuses on the Railways, Power, Health Infrastructure, Banking, Insurance and Agriculture sectors. Voluntary policy on the scrapping of vehicles will definitely have a positive effect and will drive the commercial and automotive industries forward. Furthermore, a recent sharp rise in iron and steel prices has affected MSMEs and other user industries severely. The positive step of reduction in customs duty uniformly to 7.5% on semis, flat, and long products of non-alloy, alloy, and stainless steels would certainly contribute to better raw material prices and reduced input costs. Also, no new corporate tax has been added which is positive news as it is a tough time for the industry. The increased government attention on the highways and infrastructure sector would definitely contribute to a significant impact on the manufacturing and Auto industry and help in employment generation which is the most critical need to revive the economy.
Anshul Singhal, Managing Director, Welspun One Logistics Parks
Government’s focus on capital expenditure and infrastructure development will be a shot in the arm for the warehousing and logistics sector in the country. The proposed Development Finance Institution will act as a provider, enabler, and catalyst for infrastructure financing. Also, the budget has earmarked a sharp increase in capital expenditure at Rs 5.54 lakh crore in 2022, from Rs 4.39 lakh crore in 2021. A planned boost to road infrastructure across the country and seven port projects will aid in job creation and income generation. Overall, the large-scale infrastructure augmentation coupled with asset monetization program of core infrastructure assets will go a long way in realising the national infrastructure pipeline, thereby benefiting the logistics sector.
Abhijit Verma- Executive Director & CEO of Avigna Group
As Expected, the Union Budget took more of a populistic approach with emphasis on Infra ,Agriculture and healthcare. As the FY21 fiscal deficit is at 9.5% of GDP and the timeline given for recovery is by 2026, the two major growth drivers will be Infrastructure & Agriculture. Both the sectors have seen a lot of emphasis and the introduction of extra cess to improve Agri infrastructure by the Government is a great move. Agriculture will see a larger role of technology by e.-NAM linked with APMCs. Moreover, Rural infrastructure development fund will also boost agriculture in a big way.
Additionally, Asset monetisation will reduce complexities involved in land parcels providing all the required infrastructure that will boost “ease of doing business”;awarding of 8500 km of highway contracts by March 2022 will again be a big boost for SCM industry. It is overall very good budget which focused on the revival of economy with next gen reforms on fundamental sectors and we as a group, we are very happy on since we are introspecting major investments into these two sectors.
Rajesh Uttamchandani, Director, Syska Group
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated that for a 5-trillion-dollar economy, our manufacturing sector has to grow in double digits on a sustained basis. We welcome the measures exercised by the honorable Prime Minister Shri Modi Ji and his government in the Union Budget towards boosting electronic manufacturing in the country. The government led by Modi Ji has pledged an infusion of Rs 1.97 lakh crore on various PLI schemes over the next 5 years, starting this fiscal. This is in addition to the Rs 40,951 crore towards the PLI scheme to help expand and boost exports.
Today, India’s manufacturing industry has tremendous potential to place the country on the global manufacturing map, simultaneously boosting several employment opportunities to India’s youth. Our manufacturing companies need to become an integral part of global supply chains. With a budget of Rs 15,700 crore, which is more than two times that of the previous year, this will help strengthen the MSME sector in terms of productivity development, technology adoption, strengthening of infrastructure and more.
As a company, Syska has always been aligned with the vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat promoting sustainability through our products and creating new job opportunities. The budget has a positive, expansionary approach towards the manufacturing sector, which is reflected through the incentives and strengthening of the PLI schemes provided by the government.
Kishan Jain, Director at Goldmedal Electricals
The Union Budget 2021 has provided massive opportunities for companies looking to set up manufacturing facilities in the country. Given our current economic situation across the globe caused by the pandemic, the Finance Minister’s decision to infuse INR 1.97 lakh crore towards various PLI scheme is laudable in addition to the Rs 40,951 crore towards the PLI scheme to help expand and boost exports.
As correctly stated by FM Nirmala Sitharaman, our manufacturing companies need to become an integral part of global supply chain. Further, the provision of INR15,700 cr towards the MSME sector, will provide a further fillip to the Government’s flagship Make in India initiative. As a company, Goldmedal Electricals has always been at the forefront of introducing innovative and sustainable solutions that make our planet not only smarter but also sustainable for generations to come and support government’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat.
Niraj Hutheesing, Founder and Managing Director, Cygnet Infotech
We welcome the measures announced by the government of India in the Union Budget 2021. Significant capital expenditure in infrastructure and health care sectors will be a big asset for India. Promotion of digitization at large, and digital transactions particularly, is another positive aspect of the budget. There has been political will to take a big deficit for the next year. Simplifying the tax regime is another important aspect of this Budget.
To ease compliance, the Finance Minister has increased the tax audit limit from ₹5 crore to ₹10 crores for the companies that conduct most of their business through digital modes. Additionally, the government is also planning to take steps to reduce inverted duty structures in GST and has proposed to review over 400 old exemptions in indirect taxes and will begin extensive consultation from October 2021.
The budget also provided impetus on one of the most hard-pressing issues, namely tax evasion cases. The use of digital technologies such as automation solutions and data analytics tools can help in removing anomalies in the GST tax infrastructure and make it transparent to a great extent. All the measures announced today will further enable companies such as Cygnet Infotech to develop technology solutions for businesses to help them adhere to the taxation norms.
Aditya Kushwaha, CEO & Director, Axis Ecorp
We welcome the first digital budget presented by the Hon’ble Finance Minister. The budget is largely focussed on healthcare and infrastructure, which will have a ripple effect on the development in the other sectors including real estate. The finance minister has also given special importance to human capital. Steps taken in this direction in conjunction with growth in infrastructure will lead to an increase in the disposable income of people which could bring a good scope for investment in real estate.
In the Annual budget for 2021 too, we can see the Government’s focus on affordable housing. The deduction on payment of interest for affordable housing has been extended by a year. This move will improve customer buying behaviour. At the same time, to boost the investment coming via the NRI route, the taxation has been simplified which will incentivise NRIs to invest in our country as they will get a tax rebate on the rental income. This move will also give a boost to holiday homes and commercial real estate in the country. Furthermore, there have been relaxations offered in real estate transactions, capital gains, business profits, and rental income which in turn will uplift the real estate sector.
Vipula Sharma, Head – Infrastructure Ratings, Brickwork Ratings
As has been the case for the past so many years, infrastructure continues to remain the main thrust area for the government due to its multiplier effect in strengthening the economy, which is of paramount importance now more than ever. From setting up a developmental finance institution to fund infrastructure projects (particularly those part of NIP), monetisation of assets through InVIT and other ways to a whopping increase of 34.50% in the capital expenditure from the B.E. of FY21 in budgetary allocation for the sector taking it to Rs. 5.54 lakh crores, the budget hit all the right chords. Increased allocation to SECI/IREDA strengthens the renewable energy financing. Specific announcements for strengthening of roads, railways and waterways infrastructure, in addition to the framework for improving viability of Discoms were much needed reforms and are expected to bring substantial positive changes in the respective sectors.
Anil Tyagi, Founder, Chairman & Managing Director, Nuberg Engineering Ltd.
The Finance Minister has presented a visionary expansionary budget and I will rate it as 9 on 10. The budget has ensured that nearly every pillar of society has been addressed with a focus on the vision for AtmaNirbhar Bharat. The six pillars on which the budget rests are well thought out.
The FM has importantly emphasized the need for the manufacturing sector to grow in double digits on a sustained basis for a USD 5 trillion economy. The infrastructure industry has received a clear boost with a focus on Investment in Manufacturing, Investment in Textile, National Infrastructure Pipeline by creating institutional structures, monetizing assets, and increasing the share of capital expenditure in central and state budgets. These measures will help in making our manufacturing an integral part of the global supply chain with core competence and cutting-edge technology. They will help create global manufacturing champions in India with world-class scale and size in key sectors. Custom duty reduction on Iron & steel to mitigate immediate pain point of the industry is also a very welcome step.
I also see the Indian Chemical industry is being motivated. Focus on Urban Swach Bharat Mission, Textile manufacturing, increase on custom duty on leather items, amongst other indirect consumption avenues will require the support of the Indian chemical industry. The Custom Duty Policy will surely as envisioned help promote domestic manufacturing and getting India onto the global value chain and with better exports. I congratulate Prime Minister Modi and the Finance Minister for this excellent budget 2021.
Kausshal Dugarr – Founder and CEO of Teabox
Last year due to the pandemic, production of Indian tea was behind its global counterparts but the price realisation was better as compared to any other years. The average price of tea increased by almost 30% as compared to fiscal year 2019-20. This has in a way, set the base for the Indian tea industry for this year, as the increase in price gives a positive outlook. Allocating 1000 crores for Assam and West Bengal tea industry at this point is a welcome move, which will boost the Indian tea industry for the coming years. The scheme for tea farmers declared in the Budget for the welfare of Children and women, is a necessity at this point of time, more than ever and will help in improving things on the ground level and we’re hoping this is executed in the best possible way.
Sandeep Singhal, Managing Director at Nexus Venture Partner
COVID-19 is the Y2K moment for Indian Healthcare, particularly the vaccine manufacturing industry. The overarching Atmanirbhar thrust, combined with an emphasis on healthcare infrastructure investments and the outlay on vaccinating the Indian population, positions Indian companies to strengthen their position in the domestic market and build their global presence further.
ACT has supported various innovative companies to work closely with government healthcare authorities at the central, state and local levels on COVID response, and the increased budgetary expenditure and focus on healthcare and wellness will allow this collaboration to deepen. Deploying digital solutions such as tele-consultation to enhance both primary and tertiary healthcare delivery, and using value engineering to introduce low cost devices for diagnostics and treatment across the country will create a roadmap for us to export these to other countries.
Well, as a final round, we have thoughts coming in from seasoned investors and representatives of some reputed financial firms. Watch out.