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India Inc today said the 'Bharat' oriented Budget with a thrust on improving the rural economy will create jobs, encourage entrepreneurship and sets the tone for future growth.
Sharing views on the Budget 2018-19, corporate honchos cheered measures like the Rs 500,000 cover per family per year to 100 million families for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation, saying these would help the broader objective of universal healthcare.
"At last a beginning of Universal Healthcare - a long overdue need to enable inclusive economic development. Without health protection the poor will remain poor," Biocon CMD Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw tweeted.
Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra said in a tweet: "In a populous, agrarian country, a populist, pre-election budget can be pro-growth! I'm biased, since it ignites growth in our key rural markets. So instead, I'll laud the budget for health insurance for 10 crore people. That's a REAL step towards becoming a developed society."
CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee termed it a balanced and prudent Budget that sets the foundation for future growth in the economy.
"In a difficult year, the finance minister has done well to contain the fiscal deficit at 3.5 per cent of GDP, a deviation of 0.3 per cent from the Budget estimate. The plan to move towards fiscal consolidation in the coming year would maintain macro stability and enhance investor confidence," Banerjee said.
However, CEO of Serum Institute of India, Adar Poonawalla rated the Budget as a highly mixed one.
"One of the main focuses of the government in this Budget was touted to be employment generation. However, none of the announcements are expected to boost the creation of jobs in any significant manner.
"Secondly, I was expecting some relief towards Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT), which was missing in the Budget. It would have catered to India's SEZ units, helping the export business to great extent," he said.
Assocham President Sandeep Jajodia said the Budget is on expected lines and provides support to sections of the society, where it was needed the most. The finance minister and Prime Minister Narendra Modi know how to put the money where the mouth is, he said.
"The agricultural and rural landscape were in some kind of distress and provision of over Rs 14.34 lakh crore (Rs 14.34 trillion) to be spent on rural infrastructure should also add to the employment generation especially in the farm sector," Jajodia said.
Bharat, or rural India, has been the key focus of the Budget, Dabur India CEO Sunil Duggal said, adding the Budget is on expected lines and is focused on improving the quality of life in rural India.
PHD Chamber of Commerce President Anil Khaitan said the government has provided a Budget for all. The focus on agriculture, rural economy, health, infrastructure and MSMEs is highly appreciable.
Ashok Hinduja, Chairman, Hinduja Group of Companies said: "The focus on development of agriculture, healthcare, education, employment generation and infrastructure with an innovative approach should comfortably place the economy in the growth trajectory of 8-10 per cent per annum and double its GDP by 2025."
Ficci President Rashesh Shah is of the view the Budget will drive consumption in a big way, thus helping growth in other related sectors.
He said the impetus to the rural economy and the overall agriculture sector in the Budget would be a force multiplier for overall growth in the coming years.