The government could have been more aggressive with this year's Budget. They have stuck to the middle path giving some incentives to sectors like power, agriculture, water and skill development. The big negative is the increase in excise duty and service tax. The road map ahead for manufacturing policy is not very clear. Their take on GST and DTC is also very vague; we need a firm commitment on these issues.
B Muthuraman Vice-Chairman, Tata Steel
The inflationary pressure will continue to have a cascading effect on the market as goods will become costlier with a two per cent increase in the excise duty. Though the cap on subsidy is a good move, it's very important that we continue GDP growth with inclusion. The provision of extending external commercial borrowings in sectors such as aviation and affordable housing is a welcome move.
Adi B Godrej, Chairman, Godrej Group
Reducing import duties and increasing the focus on rural areas and the coal sector are some of the bolder moves. But setting an ambitious target of bringing down fiscal deficit from 5.9 per cent to 5.1 per cent is quite worrisome. I hope this is achieved.
Sunil Kant Munjal Chairman, Hero Corporate Service Ltd
The FM was very hopeful of bringing down the fiscal deficit. It is a tough call. Subsidies have not been looked into and expenditure has not been touched. They could have set the tone for a growth-oriented budget. That's something we believe has been missed. I also have to say reforms are an ongoing process. So we should not look at one event of the budget to actually decipher and define which way it is moving.
Rajan Bharti Mittal VC and MD, Bharti Enterprises
It is not a pro-growth Budget when the industry was looking at a lifeline to get back into growth and investment mode. There are small positives in the Budget, in the capital market area. And with the Rajiv Gandhi scheme, there will be some aid to retail investment. There is also a strong statement on pending Bills that will see attention and introduction in the Budget session. This is important for the banking sector. Funding in the road segment has been increased through tax free infrastructure bonds, but issues are more of implementation.
Naina Lal Kidwai Senior Vice-President, Ficci; Country Head, India, HSBC Ltd; and Director, HSBC Asia Pacific
The finance minister has taken a hard look at reality. I think there is a need for fiscal consolidation. ECB has been announced for sectors which are already under stress and therefore, it is unlikely that these will be able to attract foreign funds. Growth is still going to elude us.
R V Kanoria President, Ficci and CMD, Kanoria Chemicals & Industries Ltd
The increase in service tax and excise duty will have an inflationary effect. I think we are setting ourselves for another cycle of difficulty. What we wanted was growth and I'm afraid this will be a dampener. There is no timeline for GST and DTC. Even disinvestment target is unimpressive.
Harsh Pati Singhania MD, JK Paper Ltd
There is very little to look forward to, it is in all probability a missed opportunity. There are some good points maybe, but the announcements on working capital, foreign borrowing for sectors may not translate into reality. My feeling is that there might be more surprises when we look at the fine print.
Sidharth Birla Chairman, XPRO India Ltd & V-P, Ficci
The benefits announced for key sectors like infrastructure, agriculture and education are bound to improve the overall economic scenario. However, the budget does not bring any relief to the consumer electronics industry, which has been reeling under the impact of rising input costs and rupee depreciation in recent times. The rise in excise duty may lead to an increase in the prices of consumer electronics products
Mahesh Krishnan VP (home appliances) Samsung India
This is a missed opportunity for the aviation sector; the budget could have had helped by reducing taxes in this sector. Allowing ATF import is not a solution to the Indian aviation sector woes. High taxes are a major deterrent to growth in this sector.
Tony Tyler Director General, IATA
We are disappointed. We were expecting the minimum alternate tax on the special economic zones to be abolished but it didn't happen. However, the government's big focus on UID is expected to further the industry's course in a big way.
Ajai Chowdhary Co-founder, HCL
The introduction of the PPP model in defence projects will open new opportunities. Also the opening of a new PSU on water resources is a welcome move.
Vinayak Chatterjee Chairman, Feedback Infrastructure Services Private Ltd