Post Budget 2018 Reactions

Wednesday, February 7, 2018, 05:18

Nikhil Aggarwal, CEO, Campus Footwear says ” 

“We Welcome the increase in custom duty from 10% to 20% on footwear industry, a great move to boost “make in india” by the finance minister and we congratulate him for the same. Also the 2600 crore allocation to the leather and footwear industry, will auger well for job creation in the country. Budget 2018 has a lot for the 40% of the agricultural and rural population base, the national health cover and MSP is a fantastic step, which would result in generation of disposable income and inclusive growth for years to come”

Rahul Agarwal, CEO & MD Lenovo, India

“The union budget has upheld the macroeconomic reforms and initiatives through the inclusive welfare agenda. We are bullish on the ‘Make in India’ initiative and expect the budget propositions to provide an impetus to the manufacturing sector. The revision of import custom duties on smartphones from 15% to 20% will significantly strengthen the manufacturing ecosystem within the country and increase domestic value addition. However, there is an immediate need to provide similar manufacturing incentives to the PC sector and accelerate the vision of Digital India. Furthermore, increased allocation for improving the IT infrastructure by providing 5 lakh WiFi HotSpots and broadband access to 5 crore rural citizens will supplement the IT penetration in the country. This will in turn help the young demographic population to reap the benefits of technology in education”  

Souma Das, Managing Director, Teradata India

“We welcome the Finance Minister’s emphasis on adoption of new age technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain and machine learning. Leveraging these technologies will drive new insights from data to enable better policy implementation and fast-track reforms leading to improvement in citizen services and accelerating economic growth. We are excited about the government’s continued focus towards Digital India as it enables transparency, better governance and resource utilisation. The thrust on digitization by doubling the expenditure for ‘Digital India’ and setting up programs to channelize research efforts in new-age technologies is definitely a step in right direction. “

Ms. Minal Anand, Founder & CEO, GuruQ

‘The 2018 budget will provide an important thrust for established firms as well as start-ups in the ed-tech sector. Mr. Jaitley’s increased emphasis on digital forms, over traditional forms of learning, is a major boon for the industry. This paradigm shift will increase literacy rates, across the country, ensuring that quality education is available for all. This budget’s focus is on higher quality of teacher training and development which aims at equipping educators with latest teaching techniques, skill training and content”

Mr. Brijesh Lohia, Managing Director of Global Ocean Group

“With the government outlining infrastructure as one of the focus areas of budget 2018-19, augurs good for the logistics industry, as a well-connected country will give a boost to this industry and help take us to the next level of development.

Infrastructure is the lifeline for logistics industry and the focus on rural infrastructure, roads, railways, development of highways, agriculture will help in the growth of logistics sector and attract more business.

Connectivity is still a big issue in rural areas and it feels good to see that this has been addressed in this year’s Budget. The allocation of Rs. 500 crore for the development of agri-infrastructure called Operation Green, will boost the logistics sector and facilitate development of cold chains and other hard infrastructure.

The completion of National Highways exceeding 9,000-km in 2018-19 will further help in expanding the logistics industry.

Smart cities project with an outlay of Rs 2.04 trn means development of infrastructure which will translate to more business for the logistics industry.

Opening of national logistics portal as a single online window to connect all the stakeholders to be developed by the Department of Commerce is another welcome news for the logistics industry.

However, the reduction of logistics cost as part of the GDP from the current 13%-15% has not been addressed, which is higher than other countries.”

Mr. Man Mohan Gupta, Mentor from MyMedicineBox

Healthy Budget for Healthcare

I personally thank Modi ji for great vision conveyed through the Budget 2018 by introducing world’s largest healthcare program. It is for sure if Indians are attending good health, we can build strong nation by increasing productivity as well as spending less on medical expenditure.

More healthcare facilities will be available in neighborhood by opening 1.5 lacs health and wellness centers. When we know that facilities are available instantly, we feel confident and as psychologically lots of problems are automatically resolved.

Every family is more worried about healthcare expenditure on seniors. Now get more relaxations. Medicines will be cheaper by way of relaxations in duties and taxations and cash support for various diseases.

Since, I am more associated with e-pharmacy or Health Tech online medical store; I believe Digital India and ePayment system will help to provide medicines cheaper by offering Generic medicines of high standard and high quality. We at MyMedicineBox will support government initiatives hand in hand and our mission will be Healthy India – Healthy Indians.

Mr. Nikunj Turakhia, President of Steel Users Federation of India (SUFI)

The 2018 was Pro-Farmer, Pro-Agriculture, Pro-Poor and Pro-MSME. India being an agricultural based economy, this budget and the measures taken for the agriculture sector will really as confident booster for the farming sector.  On the other populist side, the National Health Protection Scheme is a major step in providing affordable health services for the poor & marginalised section.

The Finance Minister’s promise to address the problems of NPA & stressed accounts in MSME Sector is much appreciated. Moreover, expenditure worth 14.34 lakh cr in rural infrastructure will really boost the confidence in steel sector and kick-start the consumption cycle.  Besides, 25% income tax for companies with a turnover of upto 250cr is a welcome move. The FM has kept the fiscal deficit at 3.3% which is commendable.

However, much more needed to be done in the manufacturing segment which is the largest employment generator. Moreover, corporate income tax should have been looked into as promised in the previous budget. Other than that the expected custom duty on essential raw materials for the steel sector has not come down which is a major set-back for the steel mills.

Mr. Mitesh Prajapati- Director of Sameer Steel

The new budget is an encouragement for the steel industry. The government has stressed on infrastructure development which will result in the growth of steel sector. Furthermore, keeping companies with a turnover below Rs. 250 crore in low corporate tax slab will boost steel business. The government has also emphasized on ‘Ease of Doing Business’ which will provide relief to traders. Besides, the empowerment of the Indian farmer will lead to increased sales of tractors and other agricultural equipment, which will, in turn, benefit the steel business. Thus, I welcome the Budget 2018.

Dr. Shuchi Gautam, (CA,MCom, Ph.D.)- Associate Professor from TIMSR, Mumbai (Thakur Institute of Management Studies and Research)

This Budget is a moderate one with more focus on consolidation and strengthening of existing initiatives.

Government allocation for revitalization of educational infrastructure is highly appreciable. Even though the Govt. has increased the allocation for education sector but it’s still below expectations.

 There is need to focus on quality of education. The proposal to invest Rs. 1,00,000 in revitalising infrastructure and systems in Education (RISE) by 2022, is a welcome step towards boosting and improving the quality of the education sector.

The government has also tried to address the need for improving the quality of education by integrating technology with education. Technology will be used to upgrade the skills of teachers through its digital portal DIKSHA.

This budget is geared more towards agriculture and rural sector and has addressed many relevant issues pertaining to this sector. However, in the process many sectors have been left out. 

Education and health sector still require government’s attention in terms of adequate funding. This time it was expected that the govt. will cover standard education up to 12th standard under RTE act, but this has not been fulfilled. There is a need to not only focus on schooling for all but also focus on learning for all.”

Ravi Sreedharan, Founder,  The Indian School of Development Management (ISDM)

“The Union Budget 2018 has made some important and much-needed allocations for Higher education. The PM Research fellow scheme is definitely a good step towards addressing the talent gap in the country. Setting up of the planning and architecture schools across IITs and NIITs and medical colleges are defined steps towards the creation of trained and qualified cadre of professionals. Social sciences, however, clearly seem to be not a priority area for considerations under the Union Budget 2018.  

The budget pitch of technology and infrastructure as a ‘game changer’ for the quality of school education is very predictable move by the government. This however is a hypothesis that would demand rigorous implementation of education delivery mechanisms based on a holistic approach to teaching and learning experiences both for service providers and students. The budget fails to identify a strategic targeted approach to tackle skill competencies and professional growth of educators for quality improvement in learning outcomes.  

Increased numbers of Eklavya residential schools is a predictable move by the government for tribal areas, given the rising discontent in some parts of the country.” 

Dr. Kaushik Murali, Dr Kaushik Murali, Paediatric Ophthalmologist & President, Sankara Eye Hospital

Healthcare sector has been a clear priority in budget 2018. There has been a good balance on short term respite from out of pocket health costs & building capacity in the long term.

The Ayushman Bharath the scheme to provide health cover to 50 crore Indians of Rs 5 lakhs is simply audacious in scale and reach and could be a game changer. Healthcare needs to be universally accessible and also start from preventive care. This should be taken care of with the proposed 1.5 lakh health & wellness centres .

The idea to increase the number of doctors is good with the 24 district hospitals being upgraded , however strengthening of the other post graduate programmes like the DNB course would also need to be done simultaneously. Health can be one of the key job creators. More focus from the Skill India initiative with these announcements should see this sector contribute in this area too.

We hope that other announcements like the Pradhan Mantri Research Fellowship & the Research allocation would also spur healthcare research. With 1200 crores to the National Health Policy , we look forward to a continued impetus to the National Programme for Control of Blindness which is one of the most successful Public – Private healthcare programmes. 

It would be interesting to see how these would be funded, the finance minister indicated a widening of the tax base and an additional 1% cess, we only hope that the 3.5% fiscal deficit does not force a rethink on these allocations later. Also it would be good to expand the ease of doing business to ease of working with insurance & schemes and simplifying the process for health care providers.   

Pranav Roach, President, Hughes Network Systems

“The proposed Budget for 2018-19 highlights the government’s focus to spread internet connectivity and strengthening rural broadband infrastructure. The Finance Minister announced during the budget speech that one lakh Gram Panchayats have already been connected thanks to expansion of the network but this also highlights the fact that more than 2 lakh villages are still awaiting access to high-speed broadband. Internet connectivity is undeniably a great enabler and also a medium through which maximum governance with minimum government can be implemented. Satellite broadband technology can greatly help connect the under-served and un-served regions. We request the government to use high throughput satellite connectivity we’re proposing to bring.”  – Pranav Roach, President, Hughes Network Systems.

Varun Gupta, CEO, Goomo said “Good Budget, touching various sectors and providing impetus to rural, health care, employment and infrastructure such as highways, railways with focus on safety, smart cities and Digital India.

In the travel and tourism space, it addresses to increase 5 times the current air handling traffic with a continued focus to connect current unserved 56 airports and  31 helipads under UDAN.  Create 10 iconic tourist destinations and improve tourist amenities at 100 Adarsh monuments of the Archaeological Survey of India to enhance the visitor experience.  Further, Corporates with the turnover of up to Rs. 250 crores will benefit with the reduced tax rate of 25%.” 

Abhishek Ray, Head- Legal, ePayLater said, “We are quite enthused by the budget speech by the Hon’ble Finance Minister. The acknowledgement of the presence and the potential input by the Fintech Sector and Startups to the Indian economy is very promising. We eagerly await the next steps of this Government towards creating the right environment for Fintechs and the support measures to be provided to VCs and Angel Investors to invest in Startups along with the introduction of hybrid instruments and other measures to support funding in Startups. We are very impressed by the forward vision of the Government to utilise technology to reduce the gap between rural and urban India by the implementation of schemes such as setting up 5 lakh wi-fi hotspots, enabling the connection of more eNational Agriculture Markets with the APMCs, support to Project Udan, steps for implementation of 5G adoption and implementation of AI by NITI Aayog for government services. The boost to Digital India and digitisation will not only simplify and improve the quality of lives of our citizens but provide the required platform and infrastructure to Fintechs to develop and deliver products and services to many more unserved and underserved individuals.

We curiously await the developments in relation to the statements surrounding crypto-currency. However, the acknowledgement of the transformative power of block chain as a technology surely sends a positive signal of the increased Government support to initiates around this technology in the years to come.  Despite the impetus given to Startup India, we note that no additional specific tax benefits were provided in this budget to Startups or investors of startups registered under Startup India. Whilst there has been a boost to the education sector and the PMRF is good for encouraging research, we were hoping for specific benefits for research labs or incubation centres which would have been highly beneficial for Startups and entrepreneurs. The increase of the loan disbursement targets under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana is a promising step for MSMEs, however specific attempt to involve the Fintech Sector within this Yojana would have accelerated the scope of this entire Yojana.” 

Mr. Arun Gupta, CEO and Founder of MoMagic Technologies

“This budget has recognized the importance of artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics as tools to further growth at national level. Niti Aayog’s plan to establish a national program to direct efforts in artificial intelligence is a welcome move which will push investments and research in this space and will put India on the right path tech for innovation,” Mr. Arun Gupta, Founder & CEO, MoMagic Technologies”.