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Pre-budget CEO Poll: Focus would be on infra spending, boosting exports

Updated : January 28, 2020 12:12 PM IST

With final few days left  for Union Budget 2020, here are the key findings from pre-budget CEO Poll conducted by CNBC-TV18 and Dhruva Advisors.

Overall, the poll suggested that the economy was facing a prolonged slump and the focus must be to boost infrastructure spending. On taxes, the majority thought the focus would be on the personal income tax and they did not expect a surprise like the super-rich taxes or higher taxes on HNIs.

According to the poll, the big theme of the budget is expected to be infrastructure spending; 71 percent CEOs voted for increasing infra spends as the top priority followed by 28 percent for boosting exports, while 19 percent expected fiscal restraint and an equal number said social sector spending must be increased.

Key thrust in terms of policy making

About 29 percent said labour and land reforms would be at the top, 22 percent voted for conditions made easier for monetary policy to be conducive.  While, 19 percent said actions to revive real estate were important, and 17 percent said thrust would be on privatisation and divestment, 13 percent said quicker insolvency resolutions.

Reasons for current slowdown

Around 42 percent CEOs cited lack of credit and lack of demand - meaning both financing and demand were an issue.

Key challenges that would impact businesses

About 39 percent said government policies including goods and services tax (GST) impacted businesses. While 42 percent expect a slow pick up to growth in FY21 but only 13 percent expect a further slowdown and de-growth in sales.

Taxes Expectations

Around 27 percent expect the government to bring down the effective rate of Dividend Distribution Tax (DDT). On the other hand an equal number believe that there won't be any changes at all. 26 percent think that the DDT could be scrapped altogether and the levy could now fall on the shareholder rather than the company.

On long term capital gains (LTCG) tax, 36 percent believe that the tax is likely to be withdrawn, 33 percent don't expect any changes because of the fiscal situations etc and 31 percent expect only securities transaction tax (STT) to see a reduction.

Lastly, majority of those polled don't expect any surprises like the super-rich surcharge which was hugely unpopular and a part of last year's budget.
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