In response to the Union Budget 2018-19 announced today by the Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley, Mr. Shailesh Patwari, President, GCCI and other office bearers mentioned that it was an overall favorable budget as steps were taken to promote growth of agriculture, rural development, skill development, infrastructure, MSMEs, food industries, health education and tax incentives to senior citizens.
• GCCI President mentioned that the focus of this budget on Ease of Doing Business, education and skill development , incentivizing MSMEs and agriculture and rural growth are welcome steps.
• Shri Patwari appreciated the increase in threshold limit for reduced corporate tax rate of 25% for MSMEs with annual turnover of Rs. 50 crores up to Rs. 250 crores, and this move will give additional surplus to the MSMEs for their expansion and modernization .
• Shri Patwari appreciated the fact that the Budget was a well-thought of budget with some positive points in many key areas such as agriculture and farming, infrastructure , affordable housing, rural development , skill development , employment generation , innovation, ease of doing business and promotion of a digital economy .
• Shri Patwari welcomed the step of liberalizing agriculture exports and decision to set-up state-of-art facilities in 42 mega food parks. He also applauded the introduction of Operation Green Project and allocation of Rs. 500 crores for the same. He said that these measures will help institutionalize the agriculture sector and help promote agriculture oriented industries. He also applauded the allocation of Rs. 200 crores for development of agriculture associated industries.
• He expressed pleasure that various steps have been taken to reduce paperwork and bureaucracy, such as replacing the need for attestation of certificates with self-certification and elimination of human interference through electronic assessment of returns.
• GCCI President applauded the steps taken in the Budget to promote passenger safety in Railways, as well as making Railways more self-sustaining . He specifically highlighted steps such as creation of a safety fund, as positive initiatives which will be helpful to the economy in the long run. Further, he also appealed the setting up of a Railway Institute at Vadodara and training for bullet train.
• Shri Patwari added that there are some positive measures taken in the Budget towards affordable housing and infrastructure development, such as establishment of National Affordab le Housing Board and setting up of 18 new schools of Planning and Architecture .
• GCCI President also applauded steps taken in the budget to promote digital technology in classrooms, training of teachers through integrated B.Ed. program and promoting the Prime Minister's Fellowship Program.
• GCCI President remarked that in the Healthcare segment, the introduction of National Health Protection Scheme to provide Rs. 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary hospitalization to 10 crore families is a welcome step towards the goal of universal health protection. He also appreciated the decision to set up 1 medical college between 3 parliamentary constituencies.
• For incentivizing MSMEs, the decisions such as introduction of online loan sanctioning, use of Fintech and strengthening the Venture Capital Funds and angel investors were welcomed by GCCI.
• GCCI President also appreciated the step to open the Defense Sector for Private Investment. He said that the establishment of 2 Defense Production Corridors will provide a boost to the defense sector and help to promote the MSMEs manufacturing defence equipment under Make in India initiative.
• GCCI President further said that for individual taxpayers , re-introduction of standard deduction of Rs. 40,000 and raising the limits of deductions available to senior citizens were welcomed by GCCI.
While talking about the flip side of the budget, he said that the introduction of long capital gains tax of 10% and increase in health cess from 3% to 4% will have an adverse impact on the economy and investor sentiment. Also , although National Heritage City Augmentation Program was announced, but no allocation was made for the same. Also , no specific solution to deal with impending issues such as sickness in industries and NPA reduction was provided and recapitalization without performance guarantee from the bank would again create a burden on economy and will drain the hard-earned money of taxpayers . Further, on one hand the Budget pushes digitalization in education and other key sectors, however , the custom duty on electronic items has been increased, which will have an adverse impact.
Shri Patwari concluded by saying that it is a forward-looking and overall inclusive budget.