Hemant Kanoria, Chairman and Managing Director, Srei Infrastructure Finance The Finance Minister has taken a very pragmatic approach and crafted a Budget in a manner which can provide a boost to both infrastructure and manufacturing which will create employment and also augment India´s competitiveness vis-a-vis its peers and at the same time adhered to the Prime Minister´s ´Make in India´ vision. The most encouraging step has been to slightly relax his fiscal discipline targets in order to channelise more funds for infrastructure creation. This is a very pragmatic approach as without a robust infrastructure sector, our quest for a double-digit economic growth will only remain a pipedream.
Anil Sardana, CEO & MD, Tata Power The Finance Minister has rightfully focused on policy and taxation reforms to provide much needed & opportune impetus to strengthening of the economy in the Union Budget. The Budget has strongly indicated the Government´s desire to move towards an annual growth of 8 to 8.5 per cent this fiscal year.
The Budget enhanced target of 175,000 MW for renewable energy by 2022, and also proposed 5 new Ultra Mega projects on plug & play model, with a capital outlay of Rs 100,000 crore. This is much appreciated and this model will be good to learn the new approach to bidding & awards.
The proposal to set up regulatory process of permissions than seeking clearances, so that work can commence on investments without holding up for permissions is a welcome move. The government also launched e-Biz Portal that would help to integrate regulatory permissions at one source. This has been a long standing need of the industry.
Rohit Raj Modi, President, CREDAI NCR
The Budget appears to be a well thought out roadmap for a cumulated economic growth. The FM has proposed measures to make the business environment easier for domestic as well as foreign corporations. However for the real estate sector in particular, it is disappointing not to get the long awaited ´infrastructure status´. For a sector which is one of the largest contributors to GDP and second largest employer, granting infrastructure status would have boosted sentiments and would have allowed a window for cheaper long term loans.
The clarity on the (REIT) guidelines is a welcome development by the government. In the past, while the government moved forward to make real estate investment trust (REIT)/ InvITs a realty in India, stakeholders were still waiting for taxation issue, which remained pending, before it took off in earnest. The tax incentives would now give the much needed relief to the real estate sector, which is facing a huge slowdown in demand from the last few years that had led to liquidity crunch and delay in completion of existing projects.
Gautam S Adani, Chairman - Adani Group
This Budget is focused on ease of doing business, ´Make in India´, infrastructure, social sectors. Introduction of GST from 1 April 2016, will definitely rejuvenate the industry and make manufacturing more competitive. This, coupled with clarity on GAAR deferment for two years and no retrospective applicability, comprehensive bankruptcy code, abolishing wealth tax act, merger of FMC with SEBI, rationalization of corporate tax from 30 per cent to 25 per cent coupled with review of deductions, etc., supports ´Make in India´ Campaign. Creation of National Infrastructure Fund, tax-free bonds for infrastructure projects like road, rail and irrigation projects; plug and play for 5 UMPPs, corporatisation of major ports, similar actions in rail and road projects, development of manufacturing zones along DMIC, Public Contract Resolution of Dispute Bill,´ etc., will speed up creation of infrastructure projects.
Sanjay Malhotra, Chief Financial Officer, Emaar MGF
We believe the Budget clearly shows the focus of our government towards sustainable growth, investment in infrastructure, employment generation and skill development. The roadmap to where we want to be has been well defined. We understand the details of implementation shall be rolled out during the year.
Corporate tax regime has been given a clear direction of reduced tax rates balanced by rationalising exemptions over the next 4 years. The focus is to have a stable and non adversarial tax regime. Deferring GAAR by 2 years and making it prospective thereafter is a welcome step. We also welcome the government´s focus on ´Housing for All by year 2022.´ The removal of some of the tax deterrents for Funds and REITs are steps in the right direction.
Vineet Mittal, Vice Chairman, Welspun Renewables
We would like to congratulate the Honorable Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for offering measures conducive to the growth of the infrastructure sector. Overall it´s a positive budget for the industry. As direct investment in the infrastructure sector will surely lead to increase in the GDP growth of the country. With the announcement of the renewable capacity target Honorable Minister has re-emphasised the government´s commitment to renewable energy.
The infrastructure sector has been facing funding challenges and some of the measures introduced will surely help this situation. By doubling the cess on coal to Rs 200 per tonne, the government is creating an additional corpus of funds for clean energy projects. Rs 75,000 crore has been apportioned for the infrastructure sector. We are happy that it´s a sizable amount.
The Honorable Minister has provided much needed clarity on capital gains tax on the sponsors, at the time of offering the assets to InvIT, and waiving it off. This was one of the issues which was preventing the implementation of the InvIT. Waiving it away will help this vehicle to take off and will attract billions of dollars of foreign investments in India.
The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) with an annual flow of Rs 20,000 crore has been announced and this will help raise investments as equity in infrastructure finance.
Ravichandran Purushothaman, President, Danfoss India and Chairman, CII National Taskforce on Cold Chain Development
This is a very comprehensive Budget as it seeks to find a fine balance between inclusiveness and sustainable growth. It emphasises on the bottom of the pyramid and increasing focus on savings in middle class. A pragmatic approach has been used which will steady our economy and keep inflation under check. While there is emphasis on Make in India, the measures for improving the skilled workforce in India like the setting up of a National Skills Mission for skill development and entrepreneurship at a cost of Rs 1,500 crore and setting up of new Institutes will truly enable us to be skill-ready to become a global manufacturing hub.
Sanjay Dutt- Executive Managing Director, South Asia, Cushman & Wakefield The real estate sector is largely disappointed with this year´s Budget as except for REITs and curbing of benami transactions, there was no specific mention alluding to the sector this time around unlike the last Budget presentation. Further the increase of nearly 2 per cent in Service Tax is going to increase the overall costs of buyers and those availing services from the real estate sector, creating further stresses across the sector. The Finance Minister has missed an opportunity to use real estate sector as another trigger for economic growth. Some of the long pending demands of the real estate sector for to removal of DDT and MAT in SEZs, reintroduction of Section 80-IB have been ignored yet again.
TV Narendran, MD, Tata Steel, India & SEA
The Budget seeks to provide an environment that attracts investment in industry and propels economic growth. The proposal to do away with different types of foreign investment caps and replace them with a composite cap is welcome. Quick implementation of market and policy reforms proposed in the Budget will help in achieving a GDP growth of 8.5-9 per cent y-o-y. The proposal to reduce corporate tax to 25 per cent in the next few years is welcome.
The Rs 70,000 crore earmarked for the infrastructure sector, too, augurs well for sectors such as steel and cement. The proposed National Skills Mission will enhance employability of rural youth in industry. The new tourism scheme and the government´s proposal to issue visa on arrival to nationals from 150 countries will greatly benefit the hospitality and services sectors.
The Finance Minister´s proposals on social security for all and welfare schemes for senior citizens indicate the government´s intent in achieving inclusive and equitable growth.
The move to appoint an expert committee to prepare a draft legislation for obtaining regulatory clearances expeditiously is a step in the right direction. Increase in the import duty on steel will help in improving the competitiveness of the domestic steel industry.