The Union Budget coming in the wake of COVID 19 has been given thumbs up by the industry. There is a huge boost for healthcare, infrastructure, startups, Education Sector. The Insurance sector sees a boost by increasing FDI in the sector.
We spoke to Industry Leaders across the spectrum:
Ashish Bhasin, (CEO-APAC and Chairman-India, Dentsu)
According to my, this is a great Budget for the economy as well as for the advertising industry. It is clearly a growth-oriented budget and I am particularly enthused about the investments in Infrastructure and Health. What is also good is that the taxes have not been raised and the process of taxation has been attempted to be simplified. Disinvestments and Borrowings have been proposed as the preferred funding route, rather than increased taxation, which is helpful.
Whenever the economy does well, the advertising industry benefits. Hence, I feel this economic growth that the budget fuels will result in good growth for the advertising industry this year and we should be positive and bullish, both about India’s economic future as well as for the advertising industry.
I also like the thrust towards increased usage of digital, including in governance, starting from the symbolic usage of an India made Tablet read the budget from, by the Finance Minister.
However, one has to still see the fine print because the important thing is that the ideas presented must result in smooth on-ground implementation, where our track record has not been that great in the past.
Overall I find this a good, growth-oriented budget, with some benefits for almost every section of the economy and hopefully this should bring our GDP growth into double digits making India the world’s fastest-growing economy this year.”
Anupriya Acharya, South Asia CEO, Publicis Groupe & President, AAAI
Well going by all views and surveys shared on expectations from the Budget, one was expecting mostly cautious incrementalism, but it is really a great Budget. Budget 2021 is very pro-development, pro-transportation. With the vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat, it has focused on good governance and women empowerment. And combined with the enhanced spending on the health sector, should not only help in an economic recovery but also driving strong growth agenda. Such an increase in Capital expenditure even after the economic crisis due to the pandemic, despite the contraction in the economy, bleak global outlook, etc must definitely be appreciated.
Another area that is much appreciated is an effort to boost India’s automobile sector. The Union government’s decision to introduce a voluntary vehicle scrappage policy and a scheme to augment the public transport system will really help the auto sector, which has been witnessing a sharp slowdown in sales since 2019.
Also the government’s facilitation in setting up a ‘world-class’ fintech hub – will help bring together new technologies like big data, AI, and blockchain to transform the way that financial services are delivered, making them cheaper, more efficient, more convenient, and more inclusive.
Multiple measures to incentivize Startups like 100 percent tax exemption for 3 years, amendment of Companies Act to allow new start-ups to register in one day, Allowing NRIs to invest through OPC (One Person Company), etc to open up opportunities in the area of health, hygiene, water, clean air, sanitation, etc. is also a great move.
I think all in all it’s a very positive, growth-oriented budget and it is also heartening to see that there is no increase in taxation, which a lot of people were worried about as seen in the surveys and coverage on expectations from the budget.
Yes, there is no material allocation made to the entertainment industry that was severely affected by the pandemic and lockdowns – with theatres shut down and a halt on productions of films and TV but from an overall advertising and marketing perspective, a budget that drives growth and hence puts money in the hand of end consumer will also benefit media and entertainment. So hoping for the best. Now all eyes are on execution which is as critical for success, as the plan.
K. Madhavan, President of the Indian Broadcasting Foundation
This is a growth-oriented budget that will provide a strong and much-needed impetus to the economic growth engines in the wake of the pandemic. The focus on privatisation and providing support for startups and innovation is likely to benefit the overall corporate sector and in-turn help the media and entertainment industry, as it will lead to strong advertising growth. I believe this budget can pave the way for the resurgence of economic growth in a significant and impactful manner.
Girish Rao – Chairman & Managing Director, Vidal Health
This is clearly the most forward-thinking budget in recent times. The fact that Healthcare plans were taken up first by the FM shows the importance the government is giving to the health of our citizens. Far-reaching recommendations will transform public health. The increase in allocation to 2.37 Lac Crore was long overdue and we welcome this.
PM-JAY has been a resounding success in bringing awareness and health coverage to large masses. The new PM-ASBY with a special focus on building Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary care capabilities in rural India will bring attention to the much-neglected sector. Rs. 64,000 Cr allocation over 6 years is a great beginning and will transform rural India.
There is a need to build technology platforms to bring in large masses under the health care delivery platform. FDI limit in insurance which has increased to 74% is also a positive move. This allocation will allow for more investment in this space.
Special focus in Nutrition deficient districts is another excellent initiative. Also, the Rs 35,000 Cr allocation for Covid Vaccination is ensuring equitable distribution of vaccination to all segments of our population.
Siddharth Devnani, Co-founder, Director, SoCheers
Overall, the correct seeding strategy seems to be in place for a growing economy. I applaud the FM for making progressive moves for the benefit of the overall workforce. There are three points that I believe will have a direct impact on our industry as well.
Social security benefits to be extended to gig and platform workers for the first time. Minimum wages will apply to all categories of workers: FM
Customers have been beneficiaries of the digital economy along with the food delivery and app-cab start-ups and their investors. This move in the budget will ensure the real workforce behind this also benefits from the exponential growth of these industries. Looking forward to the socio-economic mobility of this massive workforce. This will now be at par with the most progressive legislations in the world.
Digital census budget allocated 3700cr
As an advertiser, the data which will be made public after the census would be instrumental in understanding the demographics of the country. The data mining capabilities have evolved manifold since the last census. This has the potential to lead to a lot of new insights.
Tax benefits for start-ups
The announcements under this sector are promising. Though one will have to wait for the details before making a conclusive opinion about it. But if all of them are implemented, they will definitely be extremely helpful for start-ups – the future of the country and MSMEs – the backbone of the economy.
Nitin Potdar, Partner J. Sagar Associates
An allocation of 3,002.21 crores to skill development ministry and its various programs is a welcome step but not sure whether that’s enough given the current pandemic and the need to create a digital infrastructure for education. Higher Education Commission, an Umbrella body to regulate education, is a welcome step and hopefully would provide clarity and ease for educational institutions to introduce multiple academic programs. However, there is a disappointment due to no relief from the burdensome 18% GST on Edtech industry which is doing a massive job of educating our next generation.
Ashwini Deshpande- Founder, Elephant Design
Design in India is fundamental to Make in India as well as Atmanirbhar India. With the government putting emphasis on Atmanirbhar Bharat, and also the budgets and schemes announced for improving health & agriculture sectors, it seems like the best time for design and development in India. Many more opportunities will emerge to design original products and services in India India. It is now up to the corporate leaders to put faith and money into developing indigenous solutions relevant to Indian needs and make them in India. Unless that happens, design consulting & profession will remain marginalized with no specific ministry or Ayog supporting its growth.
Sandeep Sharma, President, R K Swamy Media Group.
It is a good progressive budget and has considerable positives to driving India‘s growth post covid era.
The increase in capital expenditure added spending on roads & infrastructure, augmenting railway infrastructure, urban infra will give an impetus to industry activity and generate jobs.
Further direct tax reforms and easing the tax compliances are a progressive step forward. Going forward industry would look forward to rationalizing GST further and increase spending power in the hands of the common man by a cut in personal income tax rates.
Nowadays reforms are an ongoing process and the budget is meant to be a macro statement of policy intent and to that extent, it has been a good& balanced budget.
Joji George, Co-Founder, Gonuts
The Budget 2021 announced by Hon’ble Finance Minister today through positive left us wanting some more from a start-up and MSMEs perspective. That said, the budget did reflect the Indian Government’s commitment to boost the Indian start-up ecosystem.
A boost from the budget for startups is important as it carves the next phase for the start-up ecosystem post the pandemic. The government’s decision to bring in institutional investors to invest in startups is a positive move and will help encourage more investment into the start-up community. Of course, the start-up community need to see and understand the fine print.
FM has announced, registration of one-person firms with no limit to paid-up capital will boost the start-up ecosystem. That helps small entrepreneurs to take the leap. The government has doubled its expenditure allocation towards micro small and medium enterprises to Rs 15,700 crore in FY22. This is an excellent move for companies like us that work with large number of MSMEs.
Another boost offered by the government is the extension of the tax holiday for start-ups by one more year. This will help get startups on their feet as they grapple with cash flow and investment.
In the near future, we would want the FM to give a concrete plan on ESOP taxation and hope that the initial deliberation of a 5 year term to pay tax on ESOP is implemented and there is a rationalization.
We welcome this budget and appreciate the Government’s steps to fuel the growth of start-ups in India.
Ambika Sharma, Founder & MD, Pulp Strategy.
Doubling of MSME allocation, setting aside Rs 15,700 crore for medium and small enterprises in FY22, comes as a welcome move. Increased inclusion of women in the workforce is a good move, and will have a long term positive impact on household income. The services sector has a negligible focus in the budget.
Anupam Shukla, Counsel, Pioneer Legal
Budget 2021 greatly emphasises the implementation of NEP throughout India. The push to initially strengthen 15,000 schools to work as a model for the implementation of NEP will act as a good test case for effective rollout of the policy across the country in coming years..
Apoorv Jain, CEO, and Co-Founder, Express Stores
The budget gave major emphasis to healthcare and infra sectors. Besides, a host of substantial announcements were made on the divestment front, including the coming IPO of Life Insurance Corporation. Incentivization to one person company by removing capital limits, free conversions and overhauling residency limits definitely will boost the startup ecosystem in India. We welcome the move to help India’s startups beat pandemic blues, the tax holiday extended by one more year to March 2022 during Budget presentations today. The capital gains exemption given to startups was also extended by a year more.
Binoy Prabhakar, Editor, Moneycontrol
The Union Budget proposed to significantly increase spending on healthcare and infrastructure to boost an economy scarred by the coronavirus pandemic. The focus clearly is on getting the economy humming again and creating jobs. Granted there is little to cheer for taxpayers and consumers, but the government has avoided increasing taxes and instead looked to raise money through an aggressive privatization program.
Praveen Nijhara CEO, Hansa Research Group:
“The budget gave a strong feeling that the government is very keen on making sure that the rural-urban divide is bridged, and quickly. Rural economy has reported heartening numbers and one believes that India’s post-COVID recovery will be triggered from the villages and towns. The budget does well to make sure that the government spends towards making society more equitable. One would have hoped for some relief to income taxpayers keeping in mind the tough year gone by, but I suppose the FM won’t hesitate in revisiting that part of the budget if need be.
As a research & insights firm, we are very happy with the Rs.3,768 cr allocation made for the census. The fact that this will be India’s first digital census is only the icing on the cake and we very much look forward to seeing it happen” said Mr. Praveen Nijhara CEO, Hansa Research Group Pvt Ltd.