Budget 2020: Well-intentioned but could have done better, says BS jury

Nirmala Sitharaman, Budget 2020
Adi Godrej
Chairman, Godrej Group

The Budget speech was long, but I don't think it has anything much to spur consumption. The stock market has already given an indication of the overall mood of the people. It is down. That sums it all. There are some announcements, but nothing of the sort that was expected to turn around the economy. Some of the concessions announced are small and optional 
in nature. Like the reduction in income tax rates for earnings up to Rs 15 lakh. I would have expected considerable changes to turnaround the economy, not tweaks. The economy is in bad shape. The need of the hour was announcement of bold measures. That hasn't happened at all.

Sunil Bharti Mittal
Chairman, Bharti Enterprises

The Budget underlines the government’s intent towards building a strong foundation and the FM has rightfully set it against the backdrop of global technology trends along with inclusive growth. Digital technologies are set to become the primary platform for economic activity and growth and 
that’s where Prime Minister Modi’s Digital India vision will play a key role. But the biggest takeaway is the call out that “wealth creators will be respected”. This will be a massive boost to business confidence and entrepreneurship and a sign that we are serious about building a new India, where Corporate India 
and new age entrepreneurs are stakeholders in growth.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw
CMD, Biocon

The Budget is directionally sound but could have done more to jumpstart a stalling economy by boosting consumpt-ion and supporting the export sector. However, the focus on technology, connectivity, infrastructure development, as well as, greater investments in healthcare and education were all steps in right direction. I am happy to see that the focus on expanding health infrastructure in tier II and III cities and the expansion of the Jan Aushadhi Kendra scheme to all districts. The 100 per cent tax exemption for investment by sovereign wealth funds in infrastructure is commendable, but this should have been extended to other sectors as well.

Rajnish Kumar
Chairman, SBI

The Budget is an attempt to endow India with improved health and better access to education unleashing better infrastructure. The new income tax scheme without exemptions is a move towards a simplified direct taxation. Rural sector will benefit from the larger outlay. The new export credit scheme aims to improve credit flow to exporters, mainly MSMEs. The increase in deposit insurance limit is a long overdue step. Simplified GST returns for MSMEs will facilitate ease of compliance. Relaxation in SARFAESI for NBFCs will improve recovery. The Budget numbers are realistic and the staggered transition to a lower fiscal deficit is in perfect consonance with the growth objective.

ITC CMD Sanjiv Puri
Sanjiv Puri

The special focus accorded to the agricultural sector and infrastructure in the Budget has the potential to kick-start a virtuous cycle of investment, inclusive growth and employment. This holds the promise to enhance incomes, particularly in rural India, leading to an increase in consumer spends that will augur well for the FMCG industry. The proposal to build a seamless national cold supply chain, special focus on water security in 100 water-stressed districts, setting up of solar pumps and other measures will boost the agri economy. In addition, building new avenues for market linkages  will anchor agricultural development and go a long way in empowering farmers.

Pawan Goenka
MD, Mahindra and Mahindra

The Economic Survey clearly said that the government needs to take steps to revive demand and once that happens everything else will fall in place. Probably, the Budget could have done more on reviving demand for which some immediate short term measures were required. For auto industry specifically, a scrappage policy would have revived demand. The cost incurred on it could have been offset by the high GST rate that automobiles attract. A demand revival would have been revenue neutral in terms of tax collection. Secondly, since we have the cost increase because of the BSVI emission norms, it would have helped if cost increase was made GST neutral.

TV Narendran
CEO & MD, Tata Steel

The Budget continues to focus on infrastructure, which is steel- intensive and has the potential to kick start the economy. The aggressive focus on rural and agriculture sector is also a welcome step. Removal of the dividend distribution tax is also a good move. The government’s focus on ease of doing business, ease of living, ease of transaction and ease of compliance are promising propositions. Going forward, we hope it will address the cost of doing business, effect further reforms to unlock the potential in mining and take measures to revive the automotive sector. Overall, while the intent of the Budget is commendable, implementation will be key.

Zarin Daruwala
CEO, Standard Chartered India

The Budget finely balances the objective of supporting growth while adhering to fiscal prudence in the medium term. The personal income tax cuts for the middle class would help address the urgency to revive consumer demand. The focus on physical infrastructure along with social sector would boost medium-term growth potential. In my view, the Budget rightly attempts to boost spending by enhancing non-tax revenues via higher disinvestments including stake sale in LIC and IDBI Bank. Also, enhancement in deposit insurance coverage, further liberalisation of the foreign investment regime, abolition of dividend distribution tax, are all steps in the right direction.

Andrew Holland

Doing away of dividend distribution tax is a good measure , but the Budget is silent on the long-term capital gains tax. The fiscal deficit number is manageable, but given the deviation from the original target, I would have liked to see some extra spending where it would have made a difference. The government plans to pare its stake in Life Insurance Corporation of India and IDBI Bank. These measures can only help bridge the revenue shortfall if we have a buoyant market. In a nutshell, there is nothing in the Budget that will get the economy moving quickly. Indeed it will be will be a U-shaped recovery. Basically it will be a long, hard and slow grind upwards.

Rajeev Talwar
CEO & Wholetime Director, DLF

The Union Budget 2020 has a long-term vision of making India a $ 5 trillion economy and is focused on sustainable economic growth. There is a hefty outlay on agriculture, irrigation and rural development sectors, where one hopes there will be an immediate resultant upside in demand. For the real estate sector, the focus has been only on affordable housing but there is a lot to be desired for the sector still. As Naredcco (National Real Estate Development Council) and Credai (Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India), we have been asking for a one time rollover of debt and there is a need for a rental policy.

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