In his remarks after the Union Budget was tabled in the Lok Sabha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the Budget carries a vision of Aatamnirbharta and inclusion of every citizen and section.
Here’s what the opinion leaders in different sections of the society have to say about the budget.
Rakesh Singh – MD & CEO, Aditya Birla Finance Ltd. & Director – Aditya Birla Housing Finance Ltd
The Union Budget 2021 has announced a slew of measures to revive the economy from the impact of Covid-19. The theme of Atmanirbhar Bharat continues to play a crucial part in this revival process as can be seen in the consistent efforts towards its mission – ‘Housing for All’. The extended one-year tax exemption benefit will further drive sales and give impetus to the affordable housing sector. This initiative will now see more traction from the hinterlands of the country as a flexible working environment will push the narrative of purchasing or renting affordable housing. This is a key propellant to set the ball rolling for the new India to become a 5 trillion economy.
Asitava Sen, Chief Executive Officer, CropLife India
The Government’s commitment to double farmers’ income by 2022 is very evident in the 2021 Union Budget. The increase in the Agricultural Credit Target to ₹ 16.5 lakh crores and the changes in the MSP regime to assure prices that are at least 1.5 times the cost of production across all commodities; will continue to boost the contribution of agriculture to the Indian economy.
With a view to reduce the overall cost of production for farmers, the GST on agrochemicals could have been reduced from the current 18% to 12%. Further, the Government should provide 200% weighted deduction on R&D expenses by agrochemical companies to encourage innovation and introduction of new technologies.
Agrochemicals are an integral part of the green revolution and play a crucial role in increasing agricultural productivity. Over the years, the Indian crop protection industry has made significant progress in terms of enhanced crop yields and crop quality, as well as the integration of global and local technologies to meet the overall requirement of Indian agriculture.
Keeping in mind its potential, the Government has recently recognized Agrochemicals as a Champion Sector, where India can become a major global manufacturing hub. However, for India to become a global hub for Agri – inputs, Indian regulatory processes must match pace with the global regulatory eco-system. We would continue to urge the Indian Government to implement a science-based, progressive and predictive regulatory regime, for the sector to achieve its true potential.
Ashish Gupta Co-Founder & CEO of Bambinos, a Bangalore based Ed-Tech startup
The NEP was a great step for the betterment of Indian education system with the proposed 93,000 crores for the education sector; the government will be focusing on the first layer of 15,000 schools which will then act as mentors for other schools.
In her speech, FM also said that the government would be introducing the legislation this year to implement the setting-up of the Higher Education Commission of India. I feel these changes will become the cornerstones for India’s Educational reforms which going forward will focus on futuristic learning and capability development.
Focus on much needed native languages with setting up of National Language Translation Mission will be a boost to Indian Education modernization under NEP
Arjun Ranga, President, All India Agarbathi Manufacturers’ Association (AIAMA)
Earmarking of INR 15,700 crores towards the development of the MSME sector is indeed a positive move and it will have an impact on the Agarbathi industry as most of the Agarbathi manufacturers fall under the MSME bracket. Similarly, the plan to put in place a revised customs duty structure by October 2021 is also commendable. In fact, even the strengthening of NCLT framework, implementation of e-courts systems, introducing alternate methods of debt resolution and setting up a special framework for MSMEs will help the industry significantly.
However, considering that the government had acknowledged the issues that MSMEs faced owing to budget, one would have expected extensive support. The budget should have considered giving a 50% additional weightage under the Atmanirbhar Allowance in the Income Tax Act on the cost of materials consumed as well as on the manufacturing expenses incurred in making raw Agarbathi. This would have provided a great relief to the small units who have recently commenced their efforts in making our industry self-reliant and completely indigenous. Further, the government should have re-considered investing in providing infrastructure support like setting up of dedicated state warehousing facilities and offering them at concessional rates. Funds should have also been considered for setting up common facility centres for bamboo stick making from strips across the district and taluka headquarters of identified states.
Swoyan Satyendu, COO, ODM Educational Group
I would like to congratulate FM Nirmala Sitharaman for being cognizant of the Indian education sector’s blemishes and addressing the same in the 2021 historic budget. The strategic and deliberate decision to introduce the New Education Policy will further improve the overall state of students across the country. It is also expected that the Finance Minister’s decision to promote greater autonomy with focus on universalisation of education from pre-school to secondary level will boost the morale of institutions and encourage them to go above and beyond to deliver a superior result.
Amitoz Singh, Founder & CEO, Nirvasa Healthcare
The FM Nirmala Sitharaman has put health and well-being at the centre of the budget by introducing it as one of the six pillars of the 2021-22 historic budget. In this year’s budget, FM proposes the extension of tax holiday for start-ups by one more year, which will strengthen India’s start-up sector, especially Healthcare. Further, the investment of Rs. 64,180 crore in Healthcare under PM Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana will help drive focus towards developing capacities of healthcare systems. I’d like to congratulate FM Nirmala Sitharaman for reinvigorating the healthcare system and approaching it holistically to uplift human lives in the country
Divanshi Gupta, Founder, Ucanji an Ed-tech platform
India is evolving to become a startup-friendly country with new and more resolute policies being introduced year-on-year. The FM Nirmala Sitharaman FM has proposed the extension of tax holiday for start-ups by one more year in this year’s historic budget – it will not only improve the state of startups in the country but also encourage them to design & develop innovative solutions that will enhance the lives of people in India (and beyond) while making it an Atmanirbhar country. Pandemic or not, the FM’s approach to encouraging new-age entrepreneurs is a strategic decision towards creating a self-sustainable ecosystem, and the Indian startup is ready to take on the weight of its people.
Arvind Jyot Sabhaney, Chairman and CEO TEAM.i
Education has been a strong pillar of Budget FY-21 and the allocation of 38,325.15 crores for Higher Education in Budget Estimate 2021-22 will set the right pace. The NEP (National Education Policy) will certainly be realized now. The legislation to set-up the Higher Education Commission of India as an umbrella body will also materialize this year. The government will also promote enhanced academic collaboration with foreign higher educational institutions. This is definitely going to set a better path for the education system in India.”
Also, the National Digital Educational Architecture (NDEAR) will mark as “the dawn of a new era” (paraphrasing the Finance Minister) for the EduTech segment in India. Technological interventions in democratizing higher education will open new avenues for aspiring youth. Institutions like ours, have embraced the same since COVID-19 pandemic struck the world last year. Now, with the budget FY-21 paving the same path ahead for us, we should consider this as a golden opportunity.
Nikunj Sanghi, Chairman ASDC
The Union Budget 2021 has given due importance to skilling and education which is a welcome move in today’s skill-driven industry. The government’s focus on supporting local manufacturing, skill development, and a heightened emphasis on job creation will lead to greater opportunities for the youth of the country.
In addition to that, the partnership with the United Arab Emirates and Japan to promote industrial & vocational skills, techniques, and knowledge is a major boost for the sector. Also, since automotive is the biggest organized employer in the country, hence the realignment of the existing scheme of national apprenticeship training scheme for providing post-education apprenticeship training of graduates and diploma holders in engineering over 3000 crores is also a positive sign for automotive skilling.
Overall, we believe that this renewed push on providing quality education and enhancing the skills of our youth will help India to achieve its objective of Atmanirbhar Bharat and will play a lead role in shaping the global economy in the future
Manpreet Singh Chadha, Chairman, Wave Group
The budget 2021 will set the foundation stone for a high growth rate trajectory. With a clear road map for privatization, the budget proposed CAPEX led to a high trajectory growth story. Retaining tax holiday on Affordable housing projects till March 31, 2022, and the proposal to make dividend payments to REIT and InvIT exempt from TDS is a much-needed relief for the real sector. In a difficult time, it’s a very good budget as it has not changed the tax structure, leaving the disposable incomes at the hand of individual unchanged.
Jatin Ahuja, Founder & CEO, Big Boy Toyz
The much-anticipated budget has put out a fruitful manifesto for the automobile sector with an approximate amount of INR 57,000 crores being allocated for auto and auto components and 1.08 lakh crore to MORTH. A remarkable expenditure has been assigned for roads & it’s infrastructure. Other than this, Voluntary scrappage policy seems like an exceptional step, where the customers will be able to get their vehicles tested & use it for an additional 5 years ensuring maximum customer satisfaction & an increase in sales. An upsurge in Research & Development as quoted by our honourable Finance Minister looks promising for the automotive sector. Also, a 15% increase in customs duty for some auto parts along with the PLI scheme seems like something which will go a long way towards building an independent nation.
Overall, a relief in tax slabs, adequate allocation of funds into every sector & introduction of new schemes come as a ray of hope after a difficult year. We at Big Boy Toyz look forward to complying with all the government regulations and starting out again in full swing!
Ram Kaundinya, Director General, Federation of Seed Industry of India
To address emerging challenges of climate change, stagnant yields and increase food production and nutrition needs of our country encouraging higher R&D investment is the need of the hour. When compared to developed economies investment in research & development (R&D) in India is minuscule which is around 0.7% of GDP. The income tax deduction for the in-house Research and Development has been reducing over the last few years. In the final year 2010-2011, the weighted deduction of 200% was declared under the Section 35(2AB) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 to the eligible companies on in house research and development (R&D) facility as approved by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR). However, through an amendment as per Finance Act 2016, the weighted deduction was reduced to 150% in 2017 and further to 100% in 2020. Considering the relevance of R&D investment for the Indian economy and agriculture we request for restoring 200% income tax deduction for R&D expenditure in the seed industry.
Dr Shivendra Bajaj, Executive Director, Federation of Seed Industry of India
“We expect a GST reform as there is an imbalance in the seed industry in terms of GST cost. While there is no GST on the final product sold which is the seed but at the same time, GST is applicable on most of the expenses incurred on accessory materials such as packing materials, chemicals used in processing, processing charges, R&D expenditure and other services. However, the GST input credit cannot be claimed as there is no GST on the final product i.e. seed. Therefore, the seed companies are not able to recover the GST paid on inputs and is an additional cost to the company. We are requesting that the government should look at extending GST Input credit and arrange to refund GST paid on inputs.