“It is remarkable to know that in Budget 2021, 15,000 schools will be qualitatively strengthened under National Education Policy (NEP), along with 100 new Sainik schools for higher education. It is also a much-needed reform to make education available in the remotest locations of the country like Ladakh. But, there was a need for a special budget being dedicated to promoting online education in rural areas, to make India truly digital. However, allocation of Rs 99,300 crore for education shows that the country will have a more progressive 2021 along with the new policy of not forcing students to study in any particular language. But, no specific guidelines have been given around the formation of local bodies with dedicated funds in terms of rural education and education of underprivileged.”
Ankit Arora, Founder, Saarthi Education
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected not only the revenues but also the operational functions of the retail sector. While mass-production suffered tremendously as the pandemic continued to spew its wrath, customization was also on a low. This ordeal arises owing to auxiliary issues such as mass job losses, decrease in purchasing power, et al. Overall- revenues declined but expenses were constant, if not hiked. Recuperating from this deep blow would definitely require support from the Union Budget. While Make in India is a well-thought-out initiative, the prowess to carry it ahead comes from digital and man-power advancement, which are main asks from the budget. This would also help to ensure seamless supply chains that would add to profits.
Additionally, there is also an immediate need to simplify as well as reduce GST slabs so as to ensure participation from the retail sector and increase collection. The rollout of National Retail Policy is long awaited and would provide a framework and direction to the Indian retail sector- another important expectation from the budget.
Incentives can be rolled out to new entrants into the industry so as to encourage them to create a niche for themselves and also contributing to India’s economy on the whole.
Jyotsna Chaman, Co-Founder, Vaaya
The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked unprecedented havoc on the startup sector in the Indian ecosystem. There was much-needed support required by the cash-strapped industry from the Union Budget to take them out of the conundrum. We, therefore, welcome the FM’s decision to extend the tax holiday and capital gains exemption incentives by one more year. Also, the initiative to include 1 lakh digital villagers in the next 5 years is great news for businesses with penetration in tier 3 and tier 4 regions. The icing on the cake is the GST provisions provided for SMEs earning less than 5 cr - to file GST only once in the quarter of a year. The budget will not also provide much needed time for start-ups to get back up on their feet but also boost the overall performance of the SME sector.
Vaibhav Lall, Founder, Khojdeal
Union Budget 2021 has highlighted the government’s focus in kickstarting the economy through boosting the infrastructure which in turn will create more jobs. Further, with a heavy budget of 5.4 lakh Cr, we can see the government recentering their attention towards building a stronger infrastructure via highways, railways, ports and energy, considering the high allocation towards MORTH. A robust tech integration would be needed in order to avert health hazards and keep a check on OSH.
Additionally, promoting Atmanirbharta through extensive plans for the future of the retail and manufacturing sector which strengthens the fact that boosting the industrial sector was a key driving agenda of this budget. Out of the six pillars for the vision of Atma Nirbhar Bharat, Innovation and R&D stands to be pivotal for the enterprise tech sector. Through the 30-lakh-crore plan set up by the Finance ministry, improved credit access for enterprises is likely to bring about relief in the sector and also encourage the new entrants.
Kunal Kislay, Co Founder and CEO Integration Wizards Solution
“For most of the last year, the shipping & logistics sector has been under strain due to global headwinds. The industry was expecting short term measures to lower the current pressure faced by the industry. Having said the budget did include steps to boost the sector in the long term. Invitation to private players to manage the ports is a beneficial move for the industry. Private port management players having knowledge and competencies can transform the overall functioning, thereby increasing its potential in shipment handling. It can also lead to digitizing the entire port facility and providing an experience to the consumers and users. The industry provides direct and indirect employment opportunities to millions of people in the country. The launch of the scheme to promote merchant ships' flagging will further give a rise in employment. It also sends a signal that the Indian government is welcoming to the international logistics industry.
Additionally, the goal to double the ship's recycling capabilities is another move to generate career opportunities among the nation's youth. Aggressive road infrastructure push will help in smooth cargo movement to and fro from port to shipper. Overall it has been a reasonable budget for the sector, more investments or steps to digitize the industry could have made it even better.
Sanjay Bhatia, Co-Founder & CEO, Freightwalla
“Increasing the FDI limit to 74% from the current 49% in the insurance sector is a welcome move by the government which was long overdue. Providing equal rights to foreign partners will help open up the sector while offering the much-needed capital infusion. This will provide a huge fillip to employment opportunities besides helping boost insurance penetration, especially in the hinterlands of the country. Additionally, the move will also help Indian shareholders to find new buyers easily, thereby eyeing a smooth exit.
At just about 4%, India has one of the lowest insurance coverage ratios among the most populous nations and this amendment is likely to put the industry back on the growth track from the present stagnation period. Upscaling FDI in the industry will also encourage innovation-backed tools and technologies that will help drive inclusivity at the bottom of the pyramid. This is likely to boost growth and transformation and will put the insurance sector at par with the banking sector.”
Murali Iyer, CEO and Principal Officer, InsureNearby
The Union budget of 2021 presented in the shadow of the pandemic focussed on improving infrastructure, rural development and job creation. The budget will no doubt give an injection and boost to the economy,
Specifically for the solar sector though, the budget was a mixed bag. Just like the years gone by, a substantial amount of funds were allocated to the non-conventional energy sector with an additional 1,000 Cr to SECI and 1,500 Cr to IREDA. However, there was little clarity on how these funds will be utilised. Additionally, the import duty on solar invertors was increased from 5% to 20%, which could perhaps raise the cost for those considering going solar. With the domestic market for invertors very much a work on progress, moves like these can potentially be a cause of concern. In the larger power picture, the decision to break the monopoly of the DISCOMs is a welcome move, though how soon this will be actioned and completed is to watch out for.
Gagan Vermani, CEO and Founder, MYSUN
The 2021 Union Budget looks optimistic for the healthcare sector. With Aatma Nirbhar Health Yojana, the sector will get a boost from a public health infrastructure standpoint. The initiative will enhance the quality of healthcare and strengthen the national centre for diseases control in the country. In addition, due to this, most of the health needs of the low-income group in both urban and rural areas will be taken care of. Besides, Mission Poshan 2.0 and Jal Jeevan Mission will also help in improving public health and wellness. In my opinion, the budget should have also given some preference to private healthcare segment as well that has been a strong pillar of support during the pandemic. Apart from that, the focus should have been more on the prevention of NCDs, which are mostly asymptotic at the early stages but eventually treatment becomes difficult and expensive.
The further fortification by setting up additional 17,000 rural and 11,000 urban health and wellness centres along with integrated public health labs is also a good decision. However, emphasis on the preventive healthcare segment would have lowered the NCDs burden and the overall health expenses of the country.”
Amol Naikawadi, Joint Managing Director, Indus Health Plus
“We are pleased to know that the Budget is in line with our expectations. The industry is eagerly waiting to see the results of these measures in our field of work. The proposed solutions include a succinct focus on improving road and railway infrastructure; investments in National highway corridors and economic corridors will aid in the speedy movement of goods and improve turnaround time which, in the long run, will bring down logistics costs significantly.
The National Highway work planned in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal, Assam will further assist in the final goal of last-mile delivery and we are eager to see its results on our business. In the long term, all the expenditures could be assisted with the proposed introduction of the DFI which will speed up the infrastructure development in India.
Apart from this, the focus on the manufacturing sector in the budget would also help the logistics sector grow further.
While the budget carries good news for the logistics sector, we are also happy to see the Government’s efforts in propelling areas such as healthcare, infrastructure, and employment, all of which require a special focus going into 2021. With COVID-19 continuing to be a significant threat to the world, India is providing the vaccine against COVID-19 to over 100 countries across the world which is a commendable effort. With the Government also providing 35,000 crores towards the Covid-19 vaccine in 2021-22, we are sure to bid adieu to the virus sooner rather than later.”
Aneel Gambhir, CFO, Blue Dart
The Union Budget has unveiled a set of well-crafted and robust policies that encompasses the vision of an Atmanirbhar Bharat. The Budget has rightly envisaged a substantial jump in capital expenditure that has a strong multiplier impact on the economy. The decision to open up the insurance sector, setting up a DFI and an ARC, privatizing a couple of public sector banks are all positive steps for the financial sector. Social sectors have received large attention in the budget with a thrust on developing a health and education infrastructure on a mission mode. This will augment human capital, an essential prerequisite for inclusive growth. The Budget has unveiled a flurry of steps covering all infrastructure sectors that are force multipliers and generates employment. One of the cornerstones of this budget is fiscal numbers that are transparent and has the potential to surprise us on the upside. In principle, the budget has rationalized the off-balance-sheet borrowings and headline fiscal deficit numbers, which will overtly please markets and even rating agencies. The fact that the expenditure announcements in the budget have been matched with the status quo on taxes will please everyone and bolster market sentiments.”
Dinesh Kumar Khara, Chairman, SB
The budget is a major step in the right direction. It outlays a strong focus on infrastructure, healthcare, capital spending, disinvestment, monetization, job creation and digitization. These measures are not only progressive and recovery-led, if implemented correctly would ease the burden on the economy and lead India towards the projected v-shaped growth and development. The budget talks about structural reforms in banking, enhancing debt financing and credit limits for businesses and asset monetization. This will lead to an increase in government spending, which, in turn will spur demand, therefore net positive for the industry. The several initiatives around job-creation, startups, reskilling, rural development and better quality of services to people are positive as a Nation cannot progress without care for the environment and inclusive all-round transformation.
Rajiv Bhalla, MD, Barco India
With an expansionary Budget that focuses on growth, the Finance Minister has delivered on major counts. The Budget has announced a massive infrastructure boost with huge outlay for Railways and privatizing airports. Along with this, measures that will increase consumer spending and make India more self-reliant are a step in the right direct. Fitness testing for both PVs and CVs is a positive move that will not only generate employment opportunities but also ensure a cleaner environment. Our sector has got a favorable boost in form of FM's voluntary vehicle scrappage policy announcement.
Sharad Malhotra, President – Automotive Refinishes and Wood Coatings, Nippon Paint India
“The budget has failed to cheer up the restaurant industry which is one of the most affected ones due to Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. After all the turmoil, we had our hopes pinned on the budget and were expecting some positive measures like stimulus package, rationalisation in GST etc, but again we found no mention in FM’s speech. Such a critical sector contributing well to the GDP and generating employment opportunities cannot be ignored like this especially when it is needed the most.”
- Mr. Shivanand Shetty, President, AHAR (Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association)
“I would like to commend the Finance Minister for a well-balanced and realistic Union Budget 2021-22 designed to put India’s ongoing business cycle recovery on a much more solid foundation. The Budget’s high focus on public capital expenditure, relaxing fiscal deficit targets and concrete plans to support financial markets through a recapitalisation of public sector banks, and an asset reconstruction company for bad loans will provide the necessary impetus to restore economic growth. While the Budget is cognizant of the country’s immediate economic needs, it also lays out a medium-term vision of 3-5 years.
Furthermore, the introduction of a Development Finance Institution (DFI) to fund long term projects will complement the high focus on infrastructure. With banks remaining evasive towards long term institutional exposures, the DFI is expected to ensure the availability of credit for projects with long gestation periods.”
Ajay Piramal, Chairman, Piramal Group.
"The budget has reaffirmed the government’s commitment to bring back the country on a road of recovery through focused impetus on infrastructure, healthcare, inclusive development, innovation, and robust governance. Real estate specific announcements although few, were targeted towards affordable housing and REITs. Tax holidays and exemptions in affordable housing and debt financing for REITs are expected to strengthen the confidence of all the stakeholders in the residential and office segments. Central sponsorships of metro projects in key urban areas among other infrastructure initiatives are likely to bolster the real estate potential of specific micro-markets in these cities.
Anurag Mathur, CEO, Savills India
A major impetus to the infrastructure and introduction of DFI or Development Financial Institution worth INR 20000 cr is a fillip to not just to the respective sectors but also to the aligned segments such as housing. The pandemic had significantly impacted the construction of major infrastructure projects and stalled the housing construction for a considerable amount of time. The DFI will help fast-track the infra projects in major cities paving way for the growth of the housing sector as well. Additionally, an extension of tax exemption available for the purchase of affordable houses and affordable rental housing projects will boost the real estate sector in major cities and Tier II and III cities as well.
Farshid Cooper, MD, Spenta Corporation
We welcome the first digital budget presented by the Hon'ble Finance Minister. The budget is largely focussed on healthcare and infrastructure, which will have a ripple effect on the development in the other sectors including real estate. The finance minister has also given special importance to human capital. Steps taken in this direction in conjunction with growth in infrastructure will lead to an increase in the disposable income of people which could bring a good scope for investment in real estate.
In the Annual budget for 2021 too, we can see the Government’s focus on affordable housing. The deduction on payment of interest for affordable housing has been extended by a year. This move will improve customer buying behaviour. At the same time, to boost the investment coming via the NRI route, the taxation has been simplified which will incentivise NRIs to invest in our country as they will get a tax rebate on the rental income. This move will also give a boost to holiday homes and commercial real estate in the country.
Furthermore, there have been relaxations offered in real estate transactions, capital gains, business profits, and rental income which in turn will uplift the real estate sector.
Aditya Kushwaha, CEO & Director, Axis Ecorp.
The Finance Minister has presented a balanced budget that is aimed at maximum growth of all sectors in the coming year. The Rs.1500 crore proposed scheme to incentivize digital payments is a welcome move that will accelerate the growth of cashless transactions in our country. During the pandemic, digital payments emerged as one of the key enablers of empowerment at the grassroots and brought millions of people under the fold of the formal economy. Government's continued emphasis on increasing investment in Infrastructure, Insurance and digital payments will ensure financial inclusion of the masses."
-- Vikas Garg, Chief Financial Officer at Paytm
“I compliment Hon'ble FM Sitharaman on presenting a digital Budget which has addressed every sector of the Indian Economy. The steps taken by the Finance Minister will improve productivity in infrastructure, result in housing for the poor, help produce cheaper electricity, stimulate the growth of MSMEs and start-ups and create massive jobs. There is a big thrust on disinvestment as the government has set a target to raise Rs 1.75 lakh crore through stake sale in public sector companies in FY22. India is the investment destination for the world and this Budget will help in attracting more investors. Truly, an unparalleled budget.”
-Anil Agarwal, Chairman, Vedanta
Capt Rahul Bhargava, COO, Essar Shipping Ltd. said
“FM has announced a new scheme to be launched for flagging of merchant ships in India by providing subsidy support to Indian Shipowners. Fund allocation is ₹ 1624 crore to be provided over 5 years. This will give a boost to Indian ship owners in acquiring ships to service tenders floated by Ministries, resulting in an increase of Indian flagships. With the increase in the fleet, more job opportunities will be created.
Job creation has been one of the foremost agenda under the Budget, FM announced Indian ship recycling has acceded to Hong Kong Convention. Most of the recycling yards are now compliant to the new convention. By 2024 the capacity of the yards will be doubled, leading to the creation of skilled and unskilled jobs.
SCI privatisation as part of the disinvestment scheme of the government of its CPSE units is likely to bring more efficiency & the improvisation in business & operations from India. The privatisation will bring in foreign investments that will have an overall improved impact in the Indian shipping industry.
Under the AatmaNirbhar Bharat programme, renewed trade flows will come into existence with reduced dependence on China.”