Chairman, Godrej Group
The Budget is good for certain sectors of the economy such as rural, education, housing, and infrastructure. Reform in these sectors is always welcome and it will aid growth. However, I don't see a GDP growth orientation in this Budget for this financial year. The stock market has already come down and that gives us a sense as to how investors are reacting to the Budget. From our point of view, it will be good for our real estate business. The Finance Minister has given a boost to affordable housing by giving an additional tax deduction (of Rs 1.5 lakh) for interest on loans borrowed till the end of the financial year. That is a good move.
MD & CEO, Axis Bank
The large infrastructure spends that have been proposed by the Finance Minister in the Budget are all expected to revive investment and growth in the country, while path breaking options to raise additional resources have been explored. The government also improved its fiscal balance, which will boost investor confidence in the economy and its future potential.
Facilitating capital and liquidity for NBFCs will enable credit flows, especially to MSMEs. The measures outlined in the Budget signal the start of the race to operationalise the Prime Minister’s vision of a $5 trillion Indian economy by 2025.
The Budget touches on a large swathe of sectors, from electric vehicles and start-ups to women’s empowerment and water conservation, which are absolutely vital for inclusive economic growth through improved social indicators and a strong rural economy. Creating millions of micro-entrepreneurs and thousands of economic clusters in rural India, in addition to building rural infrastructure, can put India on the path of strong, sustained economic growth. But I felt we lost the opportunity to revive the private sector investment cycle by not extending the 25 per cent corporate tax to entire India Inc, which would have boosted investor confidence, buoyed market sentiment and kick-started the investment cycle.
CEO, KKR India
The first Budget of the new finance minister seems to be aiming for a virtuous cycle of investments, savings, jobs and exports. Hopefully the structural reforms that follow will initiate that virtuous cycle but we will have to look out for the fiscal deficit, inflation and growth in the interim. While this Budget tries to address the needs of the less privileged, overall per capita GDP increase is critical to achieve the objective of this government on a sustainable basis. The Budget appropriately addresses the more imminent issues: boosting infrastructure investment and national connectivity, the MSME sector, the NBFC liquidity issue and promoting the country’s corporate debt markets.
The boost to affordable and rental housing and push for infrastructure spending will create demand. Growth capital will be available for public sector banks which were under the Prompt Corrective Action regime and support the dispensing of credit. Though the stock market reaction has not been balanced (the markets reacted negatively), past experience indicates that it will come back as people understand specific proposals. The government has sent out a clear signal to stick to fiscal discipline. The proposal to provide partial guarantees for public sector banks to buy out high-rated pooled assets from finance companies will help with liquidity.
Sunil Bharti Mittal
Chairman, Bharti Enterprises
Driving inclusion, infusing new momentum into the economy and a clear commitment to maintain long-term fiscal balance appeared to be the overriding theme of the first Modi 2.0 Budget. Keeping the fiscal deficit target at 3.3 per cent as compared to 3.4 per cent during the previous year is definitely laudable. Emphasis on infrastructure and housing will help bring back the much needed momentum in the economy. Commitment to disinvestment and recapitalisation of PSBs clearly highlight the continuing focus on reforms. The Budget has in a way spelt out the clear priorities and direction that the new government wishes to follow over the next few years.
Chairman, Piramal Group
The government’s road map to position the economy for future sustainable growth will resonate with domestic and international stakeholders. We are happy to see the government signal its confidence for a well-financed, robust NBFC sector through the one-time six-month partial credit guarantee. This development would be an important milestone for the NBFC sector that is crucial for the sustained growth of the economy. We welcome the regulations and norms that have been proposed to raise transparency and reinstate trust in this vital sector. The government has tabled a growth-positive budget and I look forward to see its impact unfold in the coming months.
CEO, Standard Chartered India
The steps to shore up the financial sector via public sector bank recapitalisation, through partial credit support, to financially sound non-banking finance companies and a change in the regulator for housing finance companies are all key positives. The measures to serve MSMEs, affordable housing and underprivileged segments like retail traders are much-needed and welcome. Plus, further liberalisation of the foreign investment regime, issuance of sovereign dollar bonds, deepening of long-term bond markets, rationalisation of labour laws, focus on infrastructure investment are steps in the right direction. On balance, the Budget will boost medium-term growth potential of the economy.
G P Hinduja
Co-chairman, Hinduja Group
Nirmala Sitharaman’s debut Budget has focused on unleashing the entrepreneurial instincts of businessmen, at home and abroad. It is a blueprint to boost economic growth. The announcement to increase foreign direct investment in aviation is a progressive step. However, the implementation (of the proposed measures) would be something one would need to wait and watch for. The step to provide an Aadhaar card for NRIs with Indian passports after arrival in India, without waiting for the mandatory 180 days, is a positive step. However, the government could have walked the extra mile and announced that NRI investments would be on a par with those of domestic investors.
I must compliment the finance minister for a Budget that aims to create social equity and climate resilience. It lays the road map to achieve the Prime Minister’s goal of transforming India into a $5 trillion economy. Recognising the importance of agriculture, a substantive focus has been laid on this critical sector. The challenges of low farm productivity and water shortages have been addressed through specific interventions. It is heartening that the Budget proposes to encourage ‘agri-preneurs’ to handhold farmers to raise productivity and farm incomes. The thrust on zero-budget farming, water regeneration, agri clusters and incubators will bring sustainable agricultural growth.