Union Budget 2022-23 – Industry gives Thumbs Up

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Anuj Puri, Chairman – ANAROCK Group

Providing a broad-spectrum booster shot to the economy, Union Budget 2022-23 is progressive – especially with its emphasis on building the infrastructure of the country. The FM clearly emphasised the top priorities of the government – PM Gati Shakti for sustainable growth, inclusive development, productivity enhancement, and financing of investments.

Notably, the government also expanded the Capex target by 35.4% – from INR 5.54 lakh crore to INR 7.50 lakh crore – which may help boost overall spending towards economic growth. The budget also emphasises on the need for proper urban planning, provides some relief to states while keeping the fiscal deficit well under control.

In another major positive, the government’s aim to create 6 million new jobs over the next 5 years will enable growth of residential real estate across the country.

The government’s unwavering focus on infrastructure and sustainability will drive real estate growth over the next one year. For instance, the National Highway network will be expanded by 25,000 kms in 2022-23. PM Gati Shakti will encompass the seven engines for multi-modal connectivity for the states with speedier implementation of development projects through technology to facilitate faster movement of people and goods through INR 20,000 crore financed by the govt to speed up this project. Further, the 100 PM Gati Shakti Cargo terminals to be developed over next 3 years will provide much impetus to the logistics sector.

 

Allocation of INR 48,000 Cr for PMAY Urban and Rural will push forward its ‘Housing for All’ initiative. Under PMAY, the government plans for 8 Mn houses in FY’23.

 

Vamsi Krishna, CEO & Co-Founder, Vedantu

“The COVID-induced gap in learning needs to be addressed on priority and EdTech platforms should continue to ensure that students receive uninterrupted learning in such challenging times. By providing students easy access to quality learning, this year’s budget lays a clear emphasis to reduce the gap between students in remote areas and education. Initiatives such as the ‘One Class One TV Channel’ and the E-Vidya scheme is a welcome move that will drive impact at scale and bridge the language divide amongst students from small-town India. We believe that this budget rightly aligns with our vision of democratizing education by providing students access to high quality learning, improving learning outcomes and thereby contributing to a vibrant knowledge economy,”

Anurag Sinha, Co-founder & CEO, OneScore & OneCard

Considering we have not yet emerged out of the shadows of the pandemic; I believe the Finance Minister has done an excellent job in striking a fine balance in being fiscally prudent and growth supportive. The budget has laid out a host of top-notch measures offering a huge push for infrastructure besides incentivising manufacturing and addressing key growth driving cohorts such as MSMEs, youth and even the startup community.

 

The budget has laid considerable focus on public investment and capital expenditure; however, on the other side it is quite conservative in its tax growth estimates. The budget however, contains several significant reform measures and fiscal initiatives that will boost social and economic development.

 

Promoting digitization across sectors and levels is indeed a welcoming move which would not only speed up the processes but also bring much-needed transparency and uniformity to the system. Introducing digital currency is a dynamic decision taken by the government and would really help the economy in coming at par with developed economies. It would also streamline the current financial infrastructure, making it cheaper and faster to conduct monetary transactions. Further to promoting digital currency, the move of introducing 75 digital banking units in 75 districts will significantly strengthen the financial infrastructure across the country. All in all, with an outlay from India at 75 to India at 100, I believe this Budget is futuristic and focuses well on economic revival while ushering the next era of growth for India.

 

Sudarshan Lodha, Founder & CEO, Strata

Considering the importance laid on digitization of technologies and sectors, I would like to congratulate FM for promoting of use of deep tech and online interface across sectors to drive digitisation and ensure greater transparency. As real estate is the second largest contributor in employment generation and contributes over 10% of the total GDP, it is extremely encouraging to see budget laying policies for boosting infrastructure and introducing taxation benefits for real estate investments.

With real-estate encompassing a huge chunk of LTCG, capping long term capital gains surcharges to 15 percent would encourage real estate investors to lock in their investments for a longer period, helping them maximize their gains. This will go a long way toward accelerating pandemic-slowed real estate investments. Additionally, introducing state partnerships in SEZ development hubs and scraping of SEZ Act would encourage businesses to stay longer, driving growth and stability. Also, extending tax concessions for the startup community would help them revive their operations from the aftershocks of the pandemic.

The budget has laid out a host of measures offering huge push to the infrastructure segment, which will play a catalytic role in driving consumption, urbanization, creating employment opportunities and thereby reviving growth in the aftermath of the pandemic. All in all, it is an extremely futuristic budget with an adequate focus on economic revival and growth.

 

Mandar Agashe, Founder & Vice-Chairman, Sarvatra Technologies ltd

It is a digital budget. It has been an overall balanced budget with many positive announcements relating to digitization. We appreciate the government for taking a step forward with its ‘Digital India’ initiative by proposing 75 Digital Banking units in 75 districts by scheduled commercial banks. The measure will ensure the acceleration of digital payments across the country. Further, introducing an online e-bill system will reduce payment delays and be wholly paperless and end-to-end encrypted. Given the rapid rise of digital banking, digital payments, and FinTech innovation, it was critical to develop a digital infrastructure to support digital banking, which has enormous potential. Another excellent initiative of bringing in a blockchain-based digital rupee will lead to instantaneous financial transactions instead of the current digital payment system. We foresee that the digital rupee will be a game-changer and might outperform other digital currencies which are currently available.

 

Bhavin Patel, Co-founder & CEO, LenDenClub

Union Budget 2022-23 started on a positive note with a vision for [email protected] The measures announced have huge potential to pave a robust growth path for the next 25 years which can make India truly progressive, technologically advanced, and financially strong. Laying substantial focus on MSMEs who account for more than 30% of India’s GDP is extremely encouraging which will go a long way in driving economic growth and employment. The 6,000-crore programme to rate MSMEs to be rolled out over the next five years and the extension of the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) till March 2023 are huge strides towards enhancing capital access to MSMEs’ and making them more resilient and competitive.

Although few tax slabs were anticipated, especially if returns from Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lending investments may have been exempted under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act or a different provision could be carved out to minimize tax rates, it would have encouraged investors to invest more.

Extending the time of incorporation of the eligible start-up for tax incentives by one more year is hugely encouraging for aspiring entrepreneurs and the startup ecosystem.

Overall it is a growth-oriented budget offering a slew of measures to drive consumption, investment, and economic revival in the aftermath of the pandemic.

 

Anand Kumar Bajaj, Founder, MD & CEO, PayNearby

The Ministry of Finance has presented a well-rounded, futuristic and optimistic Union Budget 2022 to propel the digital economy and boost the MSME sector. Given that ‘inclusive development’ and ‘financing of investments’ were two of the seven pillars of the Budget, it laid the foundation for faster financial inclusion and expansion of the credit ecosystem. In a bid to make MSMEs more resilient and competitive, the extension of the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) till March 2023 is a critical step. This measure will ensure the continued handholding of MSMEs, which accounts for more than 30% of India’s GDP and remains an important engine of economic growth, job creation, income generation and livelihood support. In addition, the proposal to skill both entrepreneurs and students with the help of technology will empower and enhance the productivity of the country altogether.

For India to become a digital economy, all villages should have the same access to digital resources as urban areas. To augment this, the setting up of 75 digital banking units in 75 districts of the country is a commitment to taking high-end tech to the bottom of the pyramid. This step will ensure that the benefits of digital banking reach every nook and corner of the country in a consumer-friendly manner. The objective of citizen empowerment with digital growth and supporting fintech will directionally encourage delivering of digitization to India in its 100th year well ahead of time.

We are happy that over the past few years we were able to focus on Aspirational Districts and deliver on one aspect of financial inclusion and the score of 95% is encouraging. Going forward, we will focus to align with the Vibrant Villages Program and will continue focusing on the financial inclusion of farmers and senior citizens at the last mile. However, we wish the GST waiver for Banking Correspondents for financial inclusion services could have been taken into consideration. During Amrit Kaal, while our government aims to achieve the vision for [email protected], we pledge to make India a digitally and financially inclusive nation. Zidd Aage Badhne Ki.

 

Sanjay Bhatia, CEO and Co-founder of Freightwalla

Supply chain logistics being one of the focal points in the budget hints towards the government’s plan to boost the shipping and logistics industry. As anticipated, it encompassed multiple anchor points to initiate the Gati Shakti master plan, which would bring about a shift in India’s logistics landscape. The program is a step in the right direction to strengthen our country’s supply-chain ecosystem by integrating multiple logistics nodes and ensuring seamless multimodal connectivity and efficiency. Additionally, 100 cargo terminals will ease the burden on the existing ones. Besides, the development of multimodal logistics parks will reduce logistics costs thus improving distribution, storage and freight aggregation.

The government steps up digitization of the shipping and logistics sector processes and promotion of the use and exchange of data, which will give the industry an edge over traditional practices. The exchange of data will be enabled using a Unified Logistics Interface Platform (ULIP), designed for App Programming Interfaces (APIs). It will provide with an efficient and error-free flow of goods through various modes, reducing the cost and time of logistics, assisting inventory management, and eliminating long and tedious documentation. Moreover, this will provide real-time updates to all stakeholders, imperative in a high-risk sector such as shipping and logistics. Expanding the national highway network by 25000 km will engage more exporters and strengthen the connectivity for on-ground transportation of export and import shipments.

However, more details about the national logistics policy would have been a boost to the MSMEs and others players in the logistics space since the stakeholders pinned their hopes on it for job creation in the economy.

 

 

Dilip Modi, Founder, Spice Money

It is extremely heartening to see the digital economy and fintech technology-enabled development being a key focus area for Budget 2022-23. The government’s proposal of setting up 75 Digital Banking units in 75 districts of the country and providing online fund transfer between post office accounts and bank accounts will help in adding further tailwinds to expand necessary banking services to the last mile and enable us to take a step further towards our goal of financial inclusion through rural empowerment. The government’s continuous focus on the digital payments ecosystem has paved the way for digital adoption amongst the unbanked and underbanked population of the country especially post the outbreak of the pandemic. We are hoping to see a much higher traction this year that will address the current challenges faced by the citizens and create a #AtmaNirbharBharat.

Additionally, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcement on the allotment of funds through NABARD to finance start-ups for agriculture & rural enterprises along with the plans to launch delivery of hi-tech services for farmers including the use of Kisan Drones is a great move towards the development of the agri sector as well as for supporting nanopreneurs.

 

Joginder Rana, Vice Chairman & MD – CASHe

The budget is growth-oriented and virtually touches all sectors and lays down path for a future-ready digital India. The monetary support for the digital payment ecosystem is a welcome move and also appreciable is the introduction of the blockchain aided ‘Digital Rupee’. It certainly sends a strong message that India is at the forefront of technology adoption. Finally, the extension of ECLGS scheme will be of immense help for the MSMEs as it will give the much needed impetus for new businesses to come to the fore.

We are hopeful that the government’s strong support and initiatives including the introduction of digital rupee by RBI will help in accelerating the growth for the fintech sector and will create multiple avenues for the underserved parts of the country.

 

Dr. Kiran Kumar, Chairman, Lalithaa Jewellery Mart Pvt.Ltd

“As a Jeweller I am happy about the reduction of import duty on cut and polished diamond and gemstones from the current 7.5% to 5%. It has been our long pending request. Also, the Government’s focus on infrastructural investments and job creation is quite progressive.”

 

Rakesh Kaul, CEO, Clix Capital

“The all-time high GST collections in January 2022 at INR141,000 crore is good news and indicates a steady bounce back in economic activity despite the Omicron wave. The estimated GDP growth of 9.2% in FY2021-22 and the expected reduction in the fiscal deficit from 6.9% in FY2022 to 6.4% of the GDP in FY2023 also augurs well for the economy, presuming these projections hold true.

The other bright spots include the decision of extending the period of incorporation by a year for startups to avail of tax incentives till 31 March 2023, establishing 75 new digital banking units in 75 districts via scheduled commercial banks to help ensure a pan-India reach and allocating INR48,000 crore to boost urban housing, among others. These measures will benefit multiple verticals, including the BFSI segment.

The announcement of a digital rupee using blockchain is exciting per se, but one needs to wait and watch whether there will be any specific benefits for this asset class. But the 30% tax on any income from the transfer of digital assets can act as a dampener on efforts to create a virtual digital economy”. 

The capping of surcharge on long-term capital gains tax at 15% on transfer of any asset type is another commendable measure. Overall, the Budget should give a boost to the fintech segment.”

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