Union Budget 2022 | Industry welcomes provisions

‘The Budget presented by FM Nirmala Sitharaman builds on the excellent Budget last year, continuing the trend towards more productive expenditure,’ says N. Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons

The Union Budget 2022-23 has been viewed positively by the business and economy sector. This is what top business executives said.

N. Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons, said: “The Budget presented by FM Nirmala Sitharaman builds on the excellent Budget last year, continuing the trend towards more productive expenditure. The Budget is consistent with our PM Narendra Modi’s vision of making India Atmanirbhar: a digital superpower, a sustainability leader and a healthy nation. This statement of intent is clearly supported by a plan for the future, and backed by allocations — specifically in the areas of infrastructure, digital transition, planet resilience, education and health — to support Indian ambitions.

“Continuing down this path, it isn’t hard to imagine India becoming a digitally-forward, sustainable global superpower by the end of this decade,” he said.

Dinesh Khara, chairman, State Bank of India, said, “The Budget continues to strike a balance between the challenges posed by the recurring COVID-19 waves and the need to contain the economic damage due to pandemic. On the banking and finance side the announcements are significant.”

“The Budget proposes to set up 75 Digital Banking Units (DBUs) in 75 districts of the country by Scheduled Commercial Banks. This proposal is in sync with our ongoing digital banking initiatives. The most significant announcement of the Budget are higher allocation to capital expenditure and extension of ECLGS [Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme] — particularly the specific support to hospitality and related sectors,” he said.

Anish Shah, MD & CEO, M&M, said “The Budget builds a strong foundation for the future with a focus on infrastructure, sustainability and inclusive growth while maintaining fiscal prudence. It supports underlying economic recovery through active policymaking. The Budget reinforces India’s commitment to addressing climate change with various initiatives around clean mobility. it is inclusive in its approach by addressing the rural sector, MSMEs and various economically vulnerable sections of society.”

“It will also drive a wave of technology in the agriculture and farming sector with technology usage such as kisan drones for crop assessments, land records and spraying of insecticides to name a few. While it does not provide short-term stimulus [likely due to inflation concerns], it addresses a more important need to create long-term sustainable growth,” he said.

R. Mukundan, MD and CEO, Tata Chemicals, said “This is a growth and infrastructure-focused Budget and the Union government has made its intention clear by pushing up capital expenditure to boost robust growth. At the same time, the government has maintained continuity in terms of the policy framework and continued the process of simplification and standardisation, including in the area of taxation.

“These will reduce litigation that will boost domestic manufacturing, exports, and investments. There is a further major thrust in areas like sustainability and green technologies, digital technologies, urbanisation, and logistics,” he added.

Anil G. Verma, Executive Director and President, Godrej & Boyce, said, “The Budget for FY 2023 holds a lot of promise for the economy. It has a thrust for the social sector with investments in primary and vocational education, provision for drinking water to reach more households and the extension of the PM Awas Yojana to provide housing. In addition, its outlay for procurement of agricultural produce will reward the farmers for their effort and put money in their hands which will help to propel consumption demand.”

“Reforms in customs administration will no doubt support both the SEZs as well as other manufacturers in the domestic tariff area. Our SEZs are vulnerable to both disruptions in the global supply chain and also the emphasis on domestic sourcing that we increasingly see overseas,” he said.

G. K. Das, Chief Manager Finance, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, said: “The SEZ Act will be replaced with a new legislation that would enable States to become partners in becoming development hubs. The decision of the government to relax SEZ norms will reduce the current compliance burden. It will cover the existing industrial enclaves and enhance the competitiveness of exports, move aimed for the development of enterprise and hubs,” he said.

“While the Department of Commerce has been looking to make changes in the SEZ norms for some time now, it had recently received an in-principle approval from the Finance Ministry.

The Custom Administration will be fully IT driven and functioning on the Customs National Portal with a focus on higher facilitation and with only risk-based checks. This will ease doing business by SEZ units considerably. This reform shall be implemented by 30 September 2022.”

Martin Schwenk, MD& CEO, Mercedes-Benz India, said, “This Budget is overall growth- oriented with a clear focus on digitisation, electrification, infrastructure development and ease of doing business; aiming to propel a long-term growth of the Indian economy. The battery-swapping announcement is in the right direction and will be helpful to a limited segment.”

“We however need a broader holistic view on the strategy around developing electric mobility for the passenger vehicle segment. A mid-to-long term planning for demand creation is needed and we hope the fine prints will have ripple effect and passively stimulate growth for the auto industry,” he added.

Rajesh Gopinathan, CEO, Tata Consultancy Services, said, “The Union Budget has magnified the digital India vision and importance of technology in all focus areas like infrastructure, inclusive development, sustainability, sunrise industries, and skilling. This Budget provides many opportunities for growth for the technology industry by bringing world class solutions and best practices for railways, healthcare, education, financial services, and regulatory bodies to accelerate India’s growth.”

“The decision to introduce e-passport will further streamline the overall citizen experience, enhance security, and facilitate smoother international travel. The initiative to introduce a Digital Rupee in the form of a Central Bank issued Digital Currency (CBDC) is an extremely futuristic decision. It creates an opportunity for India to leapfrog in the digital currency world and be a global leader in providing a digital currency option to its citizens.”

Arvind Subramanian, MD & CEO, Mahindra Lifespace Developers Ltd., said, “With its focus on affordable housing, infrastructure projects, inclusive development and productivity enhancement, Union Budget 2022 is both balanced and growth-oriented. The allocation of ₹48,000 crore under PMAY urban and rural schemes and of ₹60,000 crore to cover 3.8 crore households for tap water will boost affordable housing in India.”

“However, an extension on tax exemptions to first-time buyers of affordable homes would have helped further incentivise purchase decisions and accelerate growth in the segment. Connectivity is a key growth driver of real estate, and the industry is expected to benefit from the renewed focus on road construction,” he said.

Baba N. Kalyani, CMD Bharat Forge Ltd., said, ”The proposed New legislation for SEZs with States as partners coupled with heightened emphasis on the seven engines under PM Gati Shakti initiative should pave way for a new India that is recognised for its speed, productivity and scale; thus, boosting the country’s overall investment attractiveness and export competitiveness.”

“Aligned with Prime Minister’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat agenda, the government’s commitment to promote self-reliance and indigenisation by leveraging Indian industry is once again reinforced with the 68% (enhanced) domestic allocation for defence capital procurement. Earmarking 25% of Defence R&D budget for Industry, Start-ups & Academia is a forward looking measure that will pave way for investments in frontier technologies and capability development. Industry in partnership with DRDO through SPV mode for development of critical weapon systems and military platforms is a path-breaking reform that will significantly transform the Indian defence eco-system and lead India to being a net-exporter of defence equipment/platforms,” he said.

Alain SPOHR, Managing Director, Alstom India & South Asia, said, “With an enhanced capital expenditure outlay of 35% as compared to last year, core infrastructure segments including Railways and Urban Transport stand to benefit and will have a huge multiplier effect on the economy.”

“Highlight of the Budget was the announcement to introduce 400 new Vande Bharat trains over the next three years, introduction of the state-of-the-art KAVACH TCAS signalling systems over 2,000 km of railway network, larger investments to provide for sustainable and integrated urban transport systems. The total budget estimates of ₹23,875 crore for MRTS & Metro Projects will incentivise faster implementation of projects and the standardisation of metro design systems will provide the much-needed stability for manufacturers,” he said.

Gautam Hari Singhania, CMD, Raymond Ltd., said, “The Union Budget clearly focuses on stepping up capital expenditure while keeping at bay the fiscal deficit and inflationary concerns. The continued capex infusion pegged at ₹ 7.50 lakh crore in 2022-23, sharply stepped up by 35.4C% should be clearly seen both as demand and supply enhancing response as it creates infrastructure capacity for future growth.

This Budget underlines the continuity of supply-side reforms including deregulation, simplification of processes, and production-linked incentives among other aspects – leading to overall improved ease of doing business.”

“A stable tax and policy structure, strong support to manufacturing sector and MSMEs is a right step towards Atmanirbhar Bharat. The intent of this government is growth and job creation across sectors, with an impetus on infrastructure development however the success lies in the execution for a sustainable economic momentum and growth,” he said.

Sanjiv Puri, Chairman, ITC, said, “The path-breaking measures address key issues of livelihood generation, enhancing farmer incomes and building climate resilience. The substantive enhancement of public expenditure will create a multiplier impact on growth and competitiveness. The multi-dimensional interventions to usher in Next Generation Agriculture through digitalisation, R&D, leveraging strengths of Agri-techs and FPOs, will transform the agri sector.”

Ashwin Mittal, CMD and CEO, Course5 Intelligence Ltd., said, “Analytics is the key to successful implementation of the multi-modal PM GatiShakti master plan with its seven-engine focus for economic transformation and inclusive development for India@100. FM highlighted that Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a sunrise opportunity while advocating promoting digital economy & fintech, technology enabled development; and we, at Course5 Intelligence, reiterate the importance of AI-led analytics and insights.”

“The role of analytics is more pronounced post global pandemic accelerating digital adoption by companies globally as they seek to digitize their core business model to remain economically viable,” he said.

Sanjay Dutt, MD & CEO, Tata Realty and Infrastructure Ltd .,said, “Consistency, Continuity & Stability’ are the leading mantras of the 2022-23 Budget. The Budget is well-balanced, growth and capital expenditure oriented and is aimed at increasing people’s opportunities. However, the success of any Budget lies in its execution. We welcome the honorable Finance Minister’s focus and impetus on job creation and urban development, it will spur the growth of the Indian economy.”

“The Special Economic Zones Act will be replaced with new legislation that will enable the States to become partners in ‘Development of Enterprise and Service Hubs’. The industry expects the new policy to ensure domestic companies be able to utilise the SEZ infrastructure, and the policy shall enable unit by unit de notification,” he said.

Yogesh Mudras, Managing Director, Informa Markets in India, said, “This year, the Union Budget has been one of recovery and stabilisation from the impact of COVID-19. The Budget has taken some initiatives for MSMEs and India Inc for start-ups. The extension of ECLGS scheme is a welcome move for MSMEs. The tax concession period has been extended by one more year, which in my opinion is a very positive move. A tax rate of 15% has been decided for the newly incorporated manufacturing unit which will further boost manufacturing activities.”

“Healthcare and infrastructure were the main highlights of Budget 2022 and immense investment has been allocated for the expansion of roadways and logistics networks. Introduction of ‘Digital Rupee’ using blockchain technology sends a strong message that India is at the forefront of technology implementation. A digital currency issuance by the RBI will result in a structured approach with controlled regulation and bring in transparency to transactions enabling accounting of all money,” he said.

Ambarish Parekh, Chief Experience Officer, Paycraft, said, “Considering the challenges faced by the Indian economy in this pandemic, the Ministry of Finance has put up a fine balancing act. The Union Budget 2022 has various encouraging initiatives that will propel aspiring entrepreneurs and boost small businesses.”

“The Budget showcases a strong intent to continue driving a less-cash ecosystem considering the rapid growth in the Digital Payment sector, The government has introduced 75 digital banks across 75 districts to promote economical and user friendly payment gateways,” he said.

Ambareesh Murty, Co-Founder & CEO of Pepperfry, said, “It is heartening to see the government looking at economic growth not just for the next year, but the next 25 years. Budget ’22 has provided a significant outlay to infrastructure investments which will benefit supply chains. Businesses will be able to deliver products to consumers faster, seamlessly, and at better prices. At a time when work from home has become mainstream, this will enable consumers to furnish their homes to their taste and evolving requirements without burning a hole in their pockets.”

Rajesh Jejurikar, Executive Director, Auto & Farm Sectors, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd., said, “The roadmap laid out to usher in sustainable mobility by Finance Minister in the Union Budget 2022-23 will bolster the electric mobility adoption in India. Battery swapping can offer a practical alternative to increase adoption of electric vehicles.”

“As part of our Last Mile Mobility, we look forward to working with the government, policymakers and our partners to formulate and implement the battery swapping policy. This will include introducing interoperability standards as well as driving innovation in battery as a service business models,” he said.

Rajiv Agarwal, Operating Partner (Infrastructure) Essar and Managing Director, Essar Ports Ltd., said, “The Budget, guided by the PM’s Gati Shakti master plan, will facilitate economic recovery, especially amidst the persistent pandemic. Public investment to modernise overall infrastructure in the nation is expected to enable efficient logistics and boost manufacturing.”

With plans to develop 100 PM Gati Shakti cargo terminals in the next three years, the government has formulated an exceptional vision to boost EXIM competitiveness, which will help accelerate the economy and create more jobs and opportunities for the youth.”

Sunil Gupta, MD and CEO, Avis India, said, “In today’s Union Budget for FY2023, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has given a special push to electric vehicles, increasing EV battery production and development will give the private sector special benefits. The EV ecosystem will benefit from a battery-swapping strategy that will be implemented alongside interoperability standards.”

Raghunath K, Country Representative, thyssenkrupp India, said, “The Union Budget for the year 2022-23 will re-energise the infrastructure sector, including multi-modal transportations through the PM Gati Shakti. With Capital Expenditure at more than 4% of GDP and a renewed push in incentivising various sectors like agriculture, manufacturing, health, digital education, and a big move for transition to clean energy, the Budget will drive industrial growth in a big way.”

“The additional allocation to the PLI scheme will certainly bring in more investments into the economy. Concessions in import duties on raw materials, and export incentives are the right moves to make India a global manufacturing hub. It is a very forward looking and progressive Budget,” he said.

Prashant Ruia, Director, Essar Capital, said, “A bold one with a massive hike in public investment will be the booster dose to restart corporate investments. The infrastructure allocation with a focus on technology will generate employment & help transform tomorrow!”

Ronojoy Dutta, Whole Time Director and Chief Executive Officer, IndiGo, said, “Budget 2023 appears to be growth-oriented by increase in capital outlay of ₹7.5 lakh crore fiscal deficit caped at 6.4% and efforts are being made to reduce compliance burdens and improve ease of doing business. We expect the Budget would enable India to achieve growth estimate of 9.2%. We welcome the new incentives of issuing of e-passport and introduction of digital currency.”

“The government’s relentless focus on national transportation infrastructure development with the PM Gati Shakti plan will strengthen the much-needed multimodal connectivity and facilitate seamless movement of cargo, while reducing logistics costs. Having said that we were expecting tax concession to aviation industry in the forms of cut in ATF excise duty and allocation of concessional finance to airlines to help us come out of the pandemic,” he said.

Sumant Sinha, Chairman and CEO, ReNew Power, said, “This Budget has rightly focused on infrastructure, which is critical to drive growth in both the short and longer term. The Finance Minister deserves kudos for laying the groundwork for continuing the economy’s robust recovery from the pandemic effect and that, too, with a climate-friendly focus. The push towards infrastructure creation, digitisation, clean energy, financial access, and inclusive development were big highlights of a growth-focused Budget. The far-sighted move to rationalise import duties for specific sectors such as capital goods, supported by PLI for critical sectors, will help Make In India in the long term, creating many more jobs.”

Ashish Pethe, All India Gem & Jewellery Domestic Council (GJC), said, “The Union Budget 2022-23 is a well-balanced Budget, as the government is focusing on development. Though we were expecting some action on Bullion exchanges and a reduction in Gold Import Duty and GST. However, this Budget has the potential to uplift the spending power of the rural India by giving them impetus through govt. spending. This will ultimately increase the rural income and help the G&J sector, since 60% of the gold demand comes from rural India.”

“We are happy with the reduction in Import duties of cut & polished diamonds, sawn goods, pearls, colour stones. Easing out procedures of ecommerce will also support small businesses and improve exports, as now even the small jeweller will be able to take benefit of the online portals for business.

ECGLS scheme extension till March 2023 is a big sigh of relief and an increased outlay by ₹50,000 crores will help most of the small & medium jewellers as majority of the industry falls under MSME,” he said.

Maithili Tambe, CEO, The Academy School, Maharashtra, said “Two important points on education are worth highlighting. First is the digital infrastructure: due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, the whole education system had to shift online. Teaching every child was the biggest challenge any school could face. Through One Class, One Channel, it will become much easier to reach every child.”

“Second is the upgradation of anganwadis: they are usually taken as day care centres, but it is a base for any education system. Equal importance should be given to early childhood education as well. That said, the implementation of these measures should be effective and time-bound,” she said.

Dipali Goenka, Jt MD & CEO, Welspun India Ltd said, “The 2022-23 Budget is futuristic and highly investment focused. It reiterates the government’s resolve to fuel further recovery and growth of the post pandemic India by increasing capital expenditure across sectors like infrastructure, health, education, housing, water and transport. The underlying thrust on digtisation and technology, including the setting up of digital currency, would definitely provide the required push towards a more digital economy.”

“Announcement of the PLI incentives for solar capacity building will encourage and aid corporates and the country to undergo clean energy transition and take positive climate action. In addition, the PM Gati Shakti master plan based on seven engines of growth would propel the economy from bottoms up by way of inclusive development and productivity enhancement, through strategic agriculture sector and MSME investments,” she said.

Sunil Mathur, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Siemens Ltd., said, “We welcome the growth-oriented Budget with a focus on the four pillars – productivity, climate action, financing investments, and PM Gati Shakti plan. These are concrete steps in the right direction, and overtime should positively impact the economy. The increased Capex outlay of ₹ 7.50 lakh crore further demonstrates the intent of the government to create the necessary impetus for the economy. Stability in tax policy is also a welcome step”.

Ramesh Kancharla, Chairman and Managing Director, Rainbow Children’s Hospital, said, “We are happy with the announcement of the Digital Health Eco System which will go a long way in providing a national registry of the healthcare infrastructure of the country. This will improve transparency and information flow of key healthcare parameters across the country. Given the challenges in mental health thrown up by the pandemic, the National Tele-Mental Health Programme is another welcome step.”

“India has managed the pandemic phenomenally. The size of the country and the demographic distribution are unique challenges that have been managed through one of the largest vaccination programmes in the world. Also the effective use of technology through the Cowin and Arogya Setu App have helped in identifying, tracing and managing COVID cases,” he said.

Sanjay Sethi, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Chalet Hotels Ltd., said, “We welcome the attention given to the hospitality industry by the Hon’ Finance Minister in the ECLGS announcement. However, we await fine print on the relaxations on meeting debt ratio covenants of previous ECLGS schemes, if any, and if the ₹200 crores cap under the scheme has been enhanced.”

“We are also very pleased to hear the Hon’ Finance Minister focus on the environment, sustainability, solar power and electric vehicles. The focus given to prioritise clean mobility and green energy in the current Budget, is aligned with the initiatives and actions undertaken at Chalet Hotels Ltd.,” he said.

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