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Everybody’s In Praise Of It, Some Expected More...

Monday, March 02, 2015

The Finance Minister focused on simplification, a future roadmap, stability and the use of electronic information systems with the onus of moving the subsequent responsibility on to the citizens of India. GST, GAAR deferral, black money elimination proposals and pension reforms are absolutely welcome proposals. Prima facie, there is something for all sections of society in this Budget – employees, investors, corporates, senior citizens, weaker sections, farmers etc. However, the fine print will need to be carefully read to determine the exact impacts on various sections.
Prabodh Thakker, President IMC

Creation of a Public debt management agency is part of the FSLRC implementation. We welcome the move to merge FMC with SEBI, which has been a part of the FLSRC recommendation. We welcome the Government’s thrust on deepening the bond market; BSE will work with the Government to implement Government and Corporate Debt market reforms for primary as well as secondary market.
Ashishkumar Chauhan, MD & CEO, BSE

The Union Budget has provided the much-needed thrust to infrastructure to accelerate economic growth through the proposed National Investment Infrastructure Fund and a tax free infrastructure bond. The Budget also proposes to introduce a regulatory reform law for infrastructure and has laid a strong foundation for economic consolidation. The Budget has sought to balance and rationalize the direct and indirect tax structure and streamline the regulatory process through a single window clearance with 14 regulatory permissions. Setting out an ambitious target of creating one lakh kilometers of road, the budget has signaled a major thrust to the road sector. Besides, fillip to Power, Port and Railway sectors have also been provided through financial reforms, which will bring in greater investments for growth and development. The implementation of GST by April 2016, which will put in place a state of the art taxation system, will play a transformative role for the economy.
Vijay Kalantri, President, AIAI and Vice Chairman, World Trade Centre Mumbai

This has been one of the best budgets in the recent past. Keeping in mind fiscal and other constraints it has done whatever a budget can do to promote savings , investment, and hence growth...In conclusion some may consider this a pro corporate budget but in reality it is a budget for growth, savings, industrial development and for the middle class.
Rahul Bajaj, Past President, CII and Chairman, Bajaj Auto Ltd

The budget was practical, wide-ranging and inclusive given the emphasis on social safety nets. On the fiscal math, the deficit target has been set at -3.9% of GDP, deviating modestly from the roadmap’s target of -3.6%. But the government reiterated its commitment to medium-term consolidation by maintaining the -3% target, but delayed the timeline. We had flagged risks of a higher deficit target to accommodate realistic economic assumptions, higher public expenditure and increased devolution to states. The higher target is unlikely to attract the immediate ire of rating agencies and the markets, but will need the higher-frequency fiscal performance to back that faith. Our initial sense is that the budget as a stand-alone might not be enough reason for an immediate rate reaction from the central bank.
Radhika Rao, Economist, DBS Bank.

The 2015 -16 budget has had no direct impact on automotive industry at large other than an announcement in the EV segment. However, increasing disposable income in rural areas will improve penetration of passenger vehicles and two wheelers. Credit of 8.5 lakhs to farmers announced in the budget 2015 will indirectly boost the agricultural equipment and tractors segment. The government is aligning to ensure at least 1 family member will have an economic route to support the family indirectly, this would improve the sentiments of entry level two wheelers.
Rajeev Singh, Head of Automotive sector, KPMG in India

A fair budget in our view. Indian governments have always been criticized of cutting down expenditure during the recovery phase, thereby prolonging the path to growth. Jaitley however, did not try to stifle public spending and acknowledged a breach in fiscal deficit targets. However he has ensured through various policies to limit leakages and spend on sectors with high multiplier effects on the economy. We need to first build an exchequer before seeking personal benefits in order to prevent future austerities.
Debopam Chaudhuri, Vice President- Research & Chief Economist, ZyFin Research

The budget has not provided any additional relief via increased income tax deduction limit or on repayment of housing loans. The regime on these fronts which was announced during the previous budget from eight months ago remains unchanged. This is a disappointment, since there was expectation that the Finance Minister would further increase either or both of these limits and thereby address the reality of high property prices in India. The budget is low on big bang reforms and real estate is only an indirect beneficiary at best:
Anuj Puri, Chairman & Country Head, JLL India

The budget has a clear pro-growth approach providing for higher capital spending in the infrastructure sector and this will create its multiplier effects on the economy. This FM has achieved this with a marginal deviation from the path of fiscal consolidation with fiscal deficit for the next year moving from a proposed 3.6% to 3.9% of GDP. In addition to this, the reform momentum has received a boost with an ambitious target of implementing GST by 1 April 2016.  The upward trajectory of the equity market should get a further boost with this pro-growth budget.
K Sandeep Nayak, ED & CEO, Centrum Broking  

This is a forward looking Pro-poor, Pro-Agriculture and Pro-Infrastructure Budget with focus on health, housing, education, social security and upliftment of under privileged sections of society. Agriculture credit of Rs.8.5 lakh crore and allocation of Rs.95,000 crore for upgradation of Rural Infrastructure through NABARD are welcome steps. Setting up of MUDRA Bank for financing of Small and Micro Units owned by SC/STs with credit guarantee will strengthen the MSEs. Setting up of Electronic Platform for cutting the delays in Receivables in MSMEs will give a boost to hassle free production by this Sector.
T M Bhasin, Chairman, Indian Banks’ Association

"Resources freed from lower commodity and oil prices have been judiciously deployed in a well thought out way. In addition, concrete timeline of implementation of GST (April 2016), realignment of DTC by lowering the corporate tax rates to 25% over last four years, urgency to lift infrastructure requirements, focus on health, education and security of individuals amid limited populism and fiscal discipline, clearly indicates the progressive nature of the Union Budget 2015-16."
Anup Bagchi, MD & CEO, ICICI Securities

The expectations from the budget were sky high and the result was a mildly disappointing. After a pre-budget economic survey suggesting the need for big bang reforms for ensuring high growth, the budget did not contain any major reform measures. The budget is high on intent and hope of higher tax collections. The MF industry was expecting the notification of the retirement benefit funds under Section 80c, but that was not announced. Overall we can give the budget a rating of 6 out 10.
Ganti N Murthy, Head, Fixed Income, IDBI Asset Management

The budget looks to be a pragmatic one as it focuses on infrastructural development, education, skill development, agriculture, irrigation, health care, social security schemes etc. Given the condition of the economy, the direction given in the budget is a positive one and the call for fiscal prudence looks good. The proposals and announcements made in the budget, if implemented effectively, should have a positive impact on industry and the economy as a whole going forward. The challenge now
is the implementation of the proposals. Our hope is that the market will respond favourably.
Arvind Saxena, President And MD, General Motors India

Given the constraints of the fiscal space, it is a well balanced and well thought through budget that will unleash India’s growth potential in the coming years and make it a preferred investment destination for global investors. Rationalization of corporate taxes, deferment of GAAR rules and ease of doing business will in general improve confidence. At the same time, the budget has introduced a comprehensive social security system for the country’s poor that will provide them a much needed security net.
Shachindra Nath, Group CEO Religare Enterprises

Given the high inflation in medical treatments in India, we think the increase in the tax deduction limit on the premium to Rs. 25,000 from 15,000 and Rs. 30,000 from 20,000 for senior citizens, announced by him under 80 D, clearly indicates that his focus is on preventive healthcare and building awareness on health and wellness. Health insurance is often looked upon as a secondary option to other investments because of lack of awareness and lower tax exemption. This initiative will incentivize the end customer and encourage them to set aside more money for insuring their families and their health and wellness. Also holistically, this will give a positive momentum to the health insurance industry.
Sandeep Patel, MD & CEO, Cigna TTK Health Insurance

We welcome the proposed new initiatives of gold bonds and gold monetizing schemes. We believe it is the ideal way to reduce the import of gold and to unlock the value of our large stockpile of gold. Also, the announcement that large NBFCs will be seen as financial institutions under the SARFAESI act is a major step forward in terms of extending a level playing field to the NBFCs.
P. Nandakumar, MD & CEO, Manappuram Finance Limited

In my view, the FM had to tackle conflicting objectives such as higher share of government revenues going to the states as well as maintaining a tight fiscal deficit, while also increasing public investments to spur growth as private investments are still lagging behind. So, the deficit target has come in a tad higher at 3.9% vs 3.6% expected, but importantly, the additional spending is going towards medium-term growth enhancing areas such as infrastructure, education, skill development and sanitation. Secondly, this budget carries forward the government’s thrust on taking our economy towards global standards of governance by making it more investment-friendly, fairer and transparent. The surcharge of 2% on corporate tax is near-term negative for the markets, but is well-balanced with the medium term commitment to lower base corporate tax rate from 30% to 25%, simplifying the tax structure as well as sticking to the April 2016 deadline for GST.
Dinesh Thakkar, Chairman & MD, Angel Broking)

Perhaps the game changer for the commodity market is the announcement to merge the Forward Markets Commission (FMC) with SEBI. This step will lead to improve credibility, transparency and regulation of the commodity futures market. It is hoped that this will pave the way for participation of banks and other financial institutions in the commodity futures market.
Sanjay Kaul, MD & CEO, National Collateral Management Services

The Budget 2015-16 meets the present requirements of the Indian economy and outlines a comprehensive vision for citizens with strong focus on growth, investment, job creation and social security. A forward-looking, counter-cyclical, and pragmatic document, the Budget reassures investors and builds consumer confidence. CII is encouraged by the GDP growth target of 8-8.5 per cent for 2015-16, and fiscal consolidation at 3.9 per cent of GDP. The Budget would strengthen the investment cycle and build the savings pipeline while also channelising funds into much-needed infrastructure.
Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII

It is more of a directional budget clearly articulating the road that this government wants to take. Increasing tax exemption on health insurance premium from Rs.15000 to Rs.25000 and further increased limits for senior citizens is a welcome move and will encourage more people to avail health insurance and thereby improving penetration. However increasing service tax for all other services including insurance premium paid could be a dampener. Proposed Reduction of corporate tax will augur well for the corporate world.
Ajay Bimbhet, MD, Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance

The government has shown optimism by way of revising the disinvestment target to Rs. 69,500 crore from Rs. 58,425 crore set during July,2014 budget. The target is set to be achieved through disinvestment and strategic sale of equities. The revised estimate for the year 2014-15 is lower by 43% from the target (Target Rs. 58,425 crore and revised estimate Rs. 31,350 crore). While Finance mister is optimistic about achieving the target through disinvestment of loss making unit and strategic sale of equity, the past performance of various governments does not instill confidence about actual realization of the target.
Ranen Banerjee, Partner - Public Finance, PwC India
This budget focused on a wide gamut of issues, ranging from fiscal deficit to ease of doing business to controlling black money, with items like GAAR being postponed. The move to lower corporate taxes over a 4 year horizon shows the government’s long range vision of a resurgent India. On similar lines the government showed intent on infrastructure at the cost of a slightly higher fiscal deficit, with priorities in rail, road and irrigation. Also putting money in the hands of the savers was a move to drive consumption. Correction of an inverted duty structure would help realize the ‘Make in India’ dream.
Kamlesh Rao, CEO, Kotak Securities

The merger of FMC and SEBI is a welcome development and this will strengthen the regulations in commodity future market. SEBI has penal powers of raid, search , fine and take criminal  actions against wrong doers, thus improving market integrity. Unregulated or dabba market, which is estimated to be about 8-10 times of the regulated commodity derivatives market, subsequent to the imposition of CTT (As per a report by Nielsen, prior to the imposition of CTT, Dabba trading accounted for  at least 3 times the official trades) will be curbed .  Moreover, down the line, in a year or so, new products such as options, indices, weather derivatives and freight can be introduced, On the whole, I believe, this budget will lead to the opening up of a new chapter in the Indian financial market."
P. K. Singhal. Joint MD, MCX

The Union Budget 2015 promises GDP growth of 8 – 8.5% in the fiscal year 2015-16 and inflation of 5% by end March 2016. This coupled with more money in hand of the tax payers through various schemes will increase disposable income in the hands of consumers and hence boost consumption. In support of ‘Make in India’ vision custom duty reduction in 22 items has been announced which more specific to Appliance Industry will positively impact Microwave oven and Refrigerator compressor manufacturing.
Kamal Nandi, Business head and Executive VP, Godrej Appliances.

The commitment to infrastructure, announcement of GST with a specific timeline and a simplified tax structure greatly enhances ease of doing business in India. These positive steps will simulate growth and  should indirectly help the automotive market. It is crucial now that these measures are implemented within the next 12 – 18 months to accrue desired results. Mercedes-Benz has already committed to the  "Make in India" campaign investing a total of 1,000 crores in its manufacturing facility and has the largest installed capacity in the luxury car segment.
Eberhard Kern, MD and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India

Indeed a futuristic and growth oriented Super Budget presented by Arun Jaitley! The Budget has certainly addressed the overall tax concerns and has portrayed a positive picture for the investors! It is certainly a Budget to remember for the Common Man, since it has remarkably addressed all the key aspects like housing, jobs & education! Congratulations Arun Jaitley for wonderfully addressing the nation's concerns through the Budget 2015 & for setting some key goals for 2022!”
Punit Goenka, MD & CEO, Zee Entertainment (ZEEL)

This budget has been a big let down to the real estate sector. None of the demands of the industry were met, though there were high expectations from the government. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi had proposed Housing for all by 2022, but there was no mention about it, though the industry was expecting some announcement on the affordable housing segment. We welcome the passage of REITs in commercial projects and exempted from capital gains. The increase of service tax to 14% has been a disappointment. This will have a negative ripple effect on the housing sector and hit home buyers. Overall, a disappointing budget as far as the real estate sector is concerned.
Deepak Goradia, Chairman & MD, Dosti Realty

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