Gautam Adani, chairman, Adani Group, said the Budged can be termed as a "pragmatic and forward looking balanced effort, across the social spectrum. While the urban middle class gets some relief by way of an increase in income tax exemption levels, a slew of initiatives have also been announced for the populace in rural markets. Some of the initiatives are aimed specifically at the poorer sections of the society."
He expressed hope that government's proposals fructify,"Several promises have been made ranging from implementation of Direct Tax Code to finalising Goods and Services Act. These will be done by variety of committees and task forces. Hope the process is speeded up and the time line promised is maintained. "
While applauding UPA government’s continued focus on setting India’s infrastructure right, he said economic reforms and tax breaks to India Inc remain un-addressed. "Mr Mukherjee has tried his best to balance the earnings and spending of the UPA government to fund its ongoing development agenda. He has also walked the tight rope of managing inflationary pressures and containment of fiscal deficit," Adani said.
He said that the Finance Minister has 'nailed' the crucial issue of infrastructure funding by announcing several measures to enhance capital inflow in Indian infrastructure. "Mr Mukherjee has announced issuance of tax-free bonds worth Rs 30,000 crore and extending income tax exemption on tax-saving infrastructure bonds up to a maximum of Rs 20,000 for one more year. The government intends to spend Rs 2.14 lakh crore as budgetary support for the infrastructure sector in 2011-12 and will set up an infra debt fund to promote foreign investment in the sector," Adani said.
He also welcomed the doubling of the foreign institutional investment limit to $40 billion in corporate bonds, which is a major shot in the arm for India Inc. "The Indian government’s initiative to raise the domestic palm oil output to 300,000 metric tonnes per year by infusion of Rs 300 crore is welcome step and will help enhance local production of palm oil," he added.
Adani, however, wasn't impressed with the increase in Minimum Alternative Tax to 18.5% from the existing 18% for corporates and inclusion of SEZ developers under the MAT purview. "At the time of formulating SEZ Act, it was discussed in detail and it was decided not to levy MAT from SEZ developers and units in SEZ, this midway change has surprised many investors," he said.
However, he said, "removal of excise duty on equipment for power generating plants under the Ultra Mega Power Project policy is a relief". He had words of praise for setting up an inter ministerial group for mining, which will "help in arriving at an optimal and comprehensive decision and ensure faster and timely implementation of mining and mining associated industries like power, metal production".