New Delhi: Union finance minister Arun Jaitley’s budget for the year 2017-18 has evoked diverse reactions from politicians, industry leaders, experts and the twitterati.
Here are some of the reactions:
■ Nasscom: The Union Budget 2017 reinforces government’s reliance on technology for achieving development goals, as it focuses on Infrastructure and empowering startups and SMEs, although IT industry expectations on facilitative proposals remain largely unmet... The budget evangelizes digital payments and infrastructure, along with promoting a transparent business environment.
■ Prime Minister Narendra Modi: “The FM has presented an ‘Uttam’ Budget, devoted to strengthening the hands of the poor," tweeted PMO.
■ Rahul Gandhi: “We were expecting fireworks, instead it was a damp squib. It is just ‘sher-o shayari’ in the budget. There is nothing for farmers and youth and nothing for job creation. There is no clear vision," said the Congress vice-president.
■ Anant Maheshwari, president, Microsoft India: “The Finance Minister has presented a balanced budget, underlined by the continued push to using technology to aid a digital economy. As India strengthens its position on the global map, the need for skilled youth is crucial. The budget’s focus on extending market relevant training for the youth and setting up 100 international skill centers across the country, is a positive move. The emphasis on science and technology for students, and launch of SWAYAM, will further empower India’s youth for the future. I am glad to witness the increasing focus on cybersecurity, which is critical to securing the economy’s digital transformation. The reduction of corporate tax for MSMEs is a welcome move and will boost the economic growth. The momentum in the implementation of GST is promising and I look forward to seeing it unfold in the coming months."
■ Varun Berry, managing director, Britannia Industries Ltd: “ Rural markets have suffered for the longest period of time. This year’s been an okay monsoon; the last two years have been very bad. And then demonetization came, so it slid again. But hopefully with these measures coming in, I’m sure that the rural economy is going to start to spur once again and that’s going to be very good for companies like ours. That’s really is the next frontier as far as consumption is concerned."
■ Hemal Mehta, Partner, Deloitte Haskins & Sells Llp: “Affordable housing is a priority for this government and it was expected to get infrastructure status. With infrastructure status, developers can access foreign funds at a cheaper cost by way of debt and it will be a priority lending for banks as well. This should result into a progress in the sector. The fine print shall provide higher clarity." (Reuters)
ALSO READ | Union Budget 2017: Live Updates
■ Baijayant Jay Panda, Biju Janata Dal: “Political funding reforms historic. I’ve been advocating for years," tweeted Biju Janata Dal parliamentarian.
■ Samrat Dasgupta, chief executive officer (CEO), Esquire Capital Investment Advisors, Mumbai: “He (Jaitley) focused on the rural side more, and he has recognised that demonetisation had brought some hardship to people. So he’s trying to mitigate that as much as possible, with some rural schemes and reduction in taxation for low income people."
“Also, it will be a challenge to meet the fiscal deficit target because next year will be challenging. I think they have recognised that there are difficulties in meeting them. If he meets the target, it will be a commendable exercise. (Reuters)
ALSO READ | Union Budget 2017: Key highlights
■ Power minister Piyush Goyal: “Congratulate @arunjaitley ji on reform oriented budget with concessions to middle class & SMEs while maintaining taxes through compliance," tweeted.
■ Shaktikanta Das, secretary, economic affairs ministry: “The Budget is strong on reforms, fiscal numbers and macroeconomic parameters. It will boost the rural and agriculture sectors." (Moneycontrol)
■ Railway minister Suresh Prabhu: Describing the budget as growth oriented, he said, “The growth will happen because of huge investments that is happening. For example in railways, the provision for Rs1.31 lakh crore for capital expenditure is unprecedented in railway history."
■ Indian National Congress: “The main issues facing India today is jobs for the youth & farmer welfare. On those fronts there was nothing," tweeted the party.
■ Deepak Parekh, chairman, HDFC: A good budget, has done a lot for housing and for rural development. Disappointed with no announcement on corporate tax." (Moneycontrol)
■ Adrian Mowat, chief Asian and emerging markets strategist, JP Morgan: A very workmen like Budget. Got some clear indications about how to broaden the tax base in India, developments around improving transparency, efficiency, these are all good things." (Moneycontrol)
ALSO READ | Budget 2017: Jaitley reduces income tax rates for individuals, companies
■ Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh: “Like previous year, this year also the central budget has been announced with a number of financial provisions in public interest. This budget will accelerate the growth and development of the nation. The Centre has emphasised on maximising the employment opportunities in the general budget and has paid special attention to inclusion of poor section of society in financial provisions of every scheme."
■ C. Rangarajan, former RBI governor: “It was a fairly routine Budget... in the sense that there have not been much changes on the revenue side. Nevertheless, I am happy that the fiscal deficit is maintained at 3.2 per cent. The original road map has set it at 3 per cent." (PTI)
■ Yogendra Yadav: “The bullish tone of FM and rosy picture of economy is not borne out by the modest picture painted by economic survey yesterday. Reducing cash limit for political funding from ₹ 20K to ₹ 2K is meaningless. Because there is no limit in number of persons," tweeted.
■ Tirthankar Patnaik, India Strategist, Mizuho Bank, Mumbai: “The fiscal deficit of 3.2 percent missed the target, but laudable efforts nonetheless. Markets should love the lower net borrowing figure of 3.4 trillion rupees. On tax reforms, the reduction of the corporate tax for SMEs to 25 percent is very welcome." (Reuters)
■ Devendra Kumar Pant, chief economist, India Ratings, New Delhi: “Fiscal deficit of 3.2 percent is in-line with expectations. Bond markets or the debt markets will take it favourably. The quality of deficit has improved marginally."
■ Biswanath Bhattacharya, partner, infrastructure and government services, KPMG, India: “The set of initiatives announced seem to acknowledge the challenge that Railways is losing share in both freight and premium passenger services to alternate modes of transport, and hence an integrated approach to improving safety, cleanliness and passenger comfort, and higher levels of service to freight customers through end to end services have been introduced in this budget."
Also read: Full text of Arun Jaitley’s Union budget speech
■ Shakti Satapathy, fixed-income strategist, AK Capital, Mumbai: “The tone remains neutral with not so drastic surprises in terms of maintaining a sustainable fiscal consolidation roadmap. The 3.2% fiscal deficit target for FY 17-18 is largely in line with the expectation & the same has already been factored in the bond yields." (Reuters)
■ Kunal Bahl, co-founder and co-founder, Snapdeal: “We commend the focus on growing the digital footprint in the country-enhancing digital infrastructure, capping cash transactions, reducing cash donations, using Adhaar Pay to enable more digital payments are significant measures. Initiatives make an impact when there is continued attention and the announcement of today builds on the demonetization efforts of last few weeks."
■ Y. C. Deveshwar, chairman, ITC: “The Budget proposals to increase spends in rural areas, infrastructure development, poverty alleviation as well as the agricultural sector should provide a growth impetus to the Indian economy and a pickup in consumption demand. The enhanced push towards digitisation is indeed welcome as it will ensure a quantum jump in efficiency, enable mainstreaming of the informal economy as well as inclusive empowerment through technology and innovation."
■ Anuj Puri, chairman & country head, JLL India: “The Budget missed out on giving any additional income tax incentives to first-time home buyers or providing higher tax savings on housing loans and house insurance premiums. Nor did it raise house rent deduction limits."
■ Samay Kohli, CEO and co-founder, GreyOrange: “It continues to build on some of the large initiatives rolled out last year, and is also a pro-manufacturing budget with favourable announcements for the MSME sector coupled with the vision of India being a global electronics manufacturing hub. The continued focus on, and the inclusion of an actionable road map for the implementation of, GST is heartening as this will enable India to become ‘one market’, improving ease of doing business immensely."
■ Kulmeet Bawa, managing director, South Asia, Adobe: “The FM has presented a robust budget that will enable India to get a competitive edge in the global economy, and bring about real change. We see this Union Budget as a pivot to the country’s long term development and a step towards realising the nation’s overarching Digital India vision."
■ Varun Khandelwal, managing director, Bullero Capital, Delhi: “The fiscal deficit bit does not seem very credible. Jaitley is leaving room to exceed it at a later time. I think people will question the fiscal math over the next few days."
“On tax reforms, the only worthy mention, and an intelligent one, is the selective reduction of corporate tax rate for companies below 500 million rupee turnover. This will encourage higher compliance at the lower level of the corporate pyramid where percentage of tax leakages is usually much higher." (Reuters)
Also read: Union Budget 2017: The winners and losers
■ Amit Jain, partner, M&A, BMR & Associates Llp: “If FIPB (Foreign Investment Promotion Board) is abolished it really means that there would be no sector under the approval route and everything will be under the automatic route. I think that’s a great move. Even in sensitive sector like defence, where approval route is required, would be under the automatic sector in some shape or form. Effectively, there is no government approval required even in the sensitive sectors, which is a great development. It will clearly speed up the process. I hope there’s no other authority that they set up because then it will just be a re-nomenclature of FIPB with something else." (Reuters)
■ Arvind Chari, head of fixed income and alternatives, Quantum Advisors: “The budget was neither popular nor populist. It was a rather tepid budget as has been the case lately. The budget proposals are not inflationary and, thus, if food prices remain benign, we could expect some rate cuts by the RBI (Reserve Bank of India)." (Reuters)
■ Girish Vanvari, head of tax, KPMG India: “No change in capital gains tax regime for listed stocks and clarification on non-applicability of indirect transfer rules to FPIs and AIFs will be a big relief to the investors and could trigger an immediate rally on the stock markets."
Also read: Budget 2017: A minimalist approach for an evolving India
■ Saurabh Srivastava, Co-founder at Indian Angel Network: “The union budget proposed by the FM has some positive measures for start ups. Profit linked deduction for startups extended to 3 years of 7 years is a good move. We were hoping for MAT to go away but its extension up to 15 years is still satisfactory. Ability to carry forward losses if the founder remains involved is a very positive step as is the tax reduction for companies below Rs25 crore. However, would have been great if capital gains for startups were aligned with listed companies and there was some announcement regarding the regressive sec 56 as it is regressive and prejudicial and impedes the growth of innovative startups & job creation."