With just a week left for the interim Budget, CNBC-TV18 spoke to a slew of experts to get a sense of what India Inc is expecting from the finance minister.
At World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, CNBC-TV18’s Shereen Bhan caught up with members of CII and India Inc and asked them about the key measures that are likely to be announced on February 1.
Rakesh Mittal, president of CII and vice chairman at Bharti Enterprises, Tulsi Tanti, CMD of Suzlon, Chandrajit Banerjee, DG at CII, Puneet Dalmia, MD of Dalmia Cement and TP Chopra, CEO of Bharat Light and Power shared their expectations from Budget 2019.
“I think there is extreme stress in the rural sector, farm sector and clearly the governments need to do much more and beyond rather than just having the policy initiatives. Because of the Federal structure, any policies which gets finalised or discussed at the national level, ultimately the implementation lies with the states. My view is that when we look at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision on doubling the farmers’ income, it will happen at a pace very slowly in the current given circumstances. This can only be fast-tracked if private sector is highly incentivised in getting into the farm sector,” said Mittal.
“When I see the Indian economy, I think three segments are there, agriculture sector, manufacturing job creations and exports and service sector. These three sectors in budget process are properly given balance. That will give the holistic inclusive growth opportunity to continue the momentum because there is a momentum, our growth is good at 7 percent. It should not be difficult for our country to manage more than 7 percent growth area,” Tanti added.
According to CII's Banerjee, the Budget should announce measures for taxpayers. “We have seen goods and services tax (GST) getting settled in. So on the procedural side, it has been good but what we need on the taxation side is to see that we see taxation coming down, 25 percent is important and then a roadmap towards 18 percent. So we need to get that. We are really high-taxed economy if you look at the direct tax. Indirect tax having been done, direct tax needs to be done,” Banerjee said.For Dalmia, this year's Budget will be a feel good budget and a headline-grabbing budget. “In the next six months, people would still hold back making big investments, announcements can be made but I think only once there is clarity in terms of what elections throw up and many scenarios can be thrown up, only after that I think real decision will come. I want to add one point on the Budget, I think there has been a foundation laid for a multi-decadal growth in India. Tax compliance is going up, revenue leakage is reducing because of direct benefit transfer (DBT) but there is a pain of this transition and the cost of this transition is being paid upfront and the recent state elections showed us that there is no feel good factor. I have no illusions that - this budget is a vote on account so it is not a budget, which will get implemented without the next government - this budget will be a feel good budget and it will be a headline-grabbing budget,” Dalmia said.