New Delhi: Budget 2019 has garnered mixed reviews from leaders across industries. While most have hailed the Government’s forward-looking agenda, a few have highlighted the need for more concrete steps to execute the magnanimous blueprint. Here’s what the leaders have to say:-
CP Gurnani (MD & CEO, Tech Mahindra)
“With digital and renewable energy at its core, Budget 2019 is reflective of India’s commitment to foster the growth of an inclusive, sustainable economy. It is great to see the Government’s vision align with our overall goal to promote the adoption of new age technology such as Artificial Intelligence that will lay the foundation of a new, digitized India. The government’s decision to build 1 Lakh digital villages is a step in the right direction to bridge the urban-rural divide and as an industry, we are committed to making this vision come true – Make in India + Digital India = Modern & equitable India.”
Ondrej Kubik (CEO, Home Credit India Finance Pvt. Ltd.)
“The Finance Minister has presented a watchful and detailed sketch to perk up people’s spending power. The tax break to people under the 5 lakh salary bracket is likely to propel spending power. Digitization in India has taken a revolutionary spin in the recent past with people becoming more tech savvy. The push towards digitalization of payment and formalizing the credit market is a welcome step which will lead to more people coming under the legitimate financial system. With the government promising to set up 1 lakh digital villages in the next 5 years, it will inspire the smartphone & consumer lending sector for enhanced contribution and to be a part of this incredible growth trajectory of the nation.”
Prashant Solomon (Managing Director, Chintels India)
Hon. Treasurer, CREDAI NCR and Convenor of CREDAI National (Media Committee)
“The election-year budget has brought some relief to the real estate sector and we can look forward to some better times considering that our sector is one of the biggest job providers. Real estate investments will receive an impetus due to the sops promised primarily in the form of tax relief particularly in affordable housing and in terms of the extension of notional rent exemption on unsold inventory. The Budget will also help home buyers as now the rollover capital gains has been raised from one house to house for an amount of Rs. 2 crores and income tax on notional rent has been exempted for the second occupied house. Rental exemption on TDS has been exempted up to Rs. 2.4 lakh which is a welcome move.”
Shivam Sinha (Founder & CEO, Indiassetz Infra Services)
“Populist and buoyant in the true sense, Budget 2019 has brought great cheer for the real estate sector in terms of benefits under Sec 80(i)BA being extended for one more year, for all housing projects approved till the end of 2019-2020. Implementation of RERA and the Benami Property Act lent transparency in the real estate sector and the real estate investments will receive an impetus due to the sops promised primarily in the form of tax relief particularly in affordable housing and in terms of the extension of notional rent exemption on unsold inventory for developers. We look forward to the government’s plan of action on reducing the GST tax burden of home buyers.
The Budget will also help home buyers as now the rollover capital gains has been raised from one house to house for an amount of Rs. 2 crores and income tax on notional rent has been exempted for the second occupied house. Rental exemption on TDS has been exempted up to Rs. 2.4 lakh which is a welcome move. Further, the government’s commitment to building next-generation infrastructure – physical as well as social will significantly improve the Ease of Living in our country.”
Executive Director & Head Development – India & South Asia, Akhand Jyoti Eye Hospitals (A unit of Yugrishi Shriram Sharma Acharya Charitable Trust)
“Interim Budget 2019 is one for the masses with a special focus on the middle class and farmers. No tax for income under Rs. 5 lakh per annum is an unprecedented move and major support for middle-class salaried employees. Assured income support for small and marginal farmers along with interest rate subvention will help alleviate farm distress. Meanwhile, the ambitious ‘Ayushman Bharat’ program will provide medical treatment to nearly 50 crore people, realising India’s dream of ‘healthcare for all’. There are a few other good initiatives like National Artificial Intelligence Portal, Food for all, Social Security for the Elderly including creating new AIIMS.”
Prashant Gupta (Executive Director, Sharda University)
“Reflecting our Government’s great commitment to harness the potential of our students/youth and empower their future, the investment of Rs. 38, 572 Cr. under the National Education Mission, is indeed a welcome move. The initiative of deduction in the interest on education loans will make education accessible to all. Additionally, the government’s push towards new-age technologies like Artificial Intelligence will impart necessary skills and knowledge to the younger generation and will help in preparing the workforce of future.”
Dr Sanjay Gupta (Vice-Chancellor, World University of Design)
“Overall, the Interim Budget is focused on people, progress & prosperity and that will lead to the rise of a #NewIndia by 2022. Being an election focused budget, there was no big announcement for the education sector which requires a long term focus. The reduction in the interest on education loans is a good move towards ensuring education for all. At the same time, the allocation for Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) has been reduced from Rs. 2,750 crore last year to Rs. 2,100 crore this year. More focused announcements around providing skills and higher education for youth would have made the Budget more holistic.”
Vineet Budki (CEO & Founder, Guiddoo World Travels Pvt. Ltd.)
Interim Budget 2019 has announced several steps to boost MSMEs and empower traders along with a big income tax bonanza for the middle class. We welcome the Finance Minister’s plans for the travel & tourism sector with special focus on air and rail travel. Plans to boost the Digital India Program, the impetus for startups and focus on job creation are some of the other big positives this year.
Faisal Kawoosa (Founder and Chief Analyst, TechArt – Technology Analysis, Research & Consulting)
The biggest news for the technology sector is setting up of National Artificial Intelligence Portal. This will help leverage emerging technologies at a national level with India specific use cases paving way for Digital India 2.0. We need to embed more emerging technologies like 5G, Blockchain, Machine Learning, Industry 4.0, etc., to reorient Digital India so it propels towards achieving $1 trillion Digital Economy by 2025.
Setting up of 100,000 digital villages is also an important announcement. India will only reap the benefits of Digital revolution when villages are mapped to it. However, the definition needs to be of a mature digital village and not just providing high-speed broadband connectivity. The contours of Digital Village need to be specified and the infrastructure buildup enabling it needs to be ramped up fast. We have seen time and again how the NOFN project has missed several deadlines so far.
The biggest disappointment would, of course, be for the telecom sector. From the operators’ point of view, when the industry is restructuring there should have been some support helping them reduce the cumulative liability of over Rs 550 Lakh Crore. Similarly, even after recognizing how mobile handsets have contributed to ‘Make in India’, there was nothing announced for the industry where local brands are battling extinction.