Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government laid out India’s budget for the financial year starting April 1, months after a devastating second Covid-19 wave that crippled small businesses and deepened the country’s already vast inequalities.
With five states, including the politically significant Uttar Pradesh, heading to the polls later this month, there were expectations that the budget would address issues of high unemployment. The state elections will be a mid-term assessment of Modi’s popularity ahead of national elections in 2024.
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman Tuesday presented a budget that calls for a bigger spend to fire up growth in Asia’s third-largest economy, as it stages a world-beating recovery from the pandemic.
Sitharaman proposed increasing the size of the economy’s annual spending to Rs 39.5 lakh crore ($529 billion) to support growth plans.
Here’s a list of winners and losers from the budget announcements:
EV Battery Makers
Crucial for plans to expand India’s ambitions to promote clean transport technology, battery makers will gain from a new swapping policy for electric vehicles announced by Sitharaman. Beneficiaries will include Exide Industries Ltd. and Amara Raja Batteries Ltd.
Plans for investments in remote roads, mass transit in cities and 400 new “Vande Bharat” trains in three years will benefit key infrastructure players including Larson & Toubro Ltd., GMR Infrastructure Ltd., KNR Constructions Ltd., IRB Infra Ltd., Container Corporation of India Ltd., Allcargo Logistics Ltd. and Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corp.
The government’s 600 billion rupee allocation for piped water to 38 million homes and spending on logistics will benefit India’s metals producers, including Vedanta Ltd., Tata Steel Ltd. and JSW Steel Ltd.Jindal Stainless Ltd. Pipemakers Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd., KSB Ltd., Kirloskar Brothers Ltd. could also benefit.
Production-linked incentives worth Rs 19,500 crore for solar modules to boost local manufacturing will turn the focus on growth at leading panel manufacturers, including Tata Power Ltd., Suzlon Energy Ltd., Adani Enterprises Ltd. and Reliance Industries Ltd.
The government’s plan to build more homes for low-income earners across cities will mean more contracts for cement and construction majors UltraTech Cement Ltd., Ambuja Cements Ltd, Birla Corp. and ACC Ltd..
Telcos, Data Centers
The launch of 5G auctions in 2022 will help boost telco sector and the classification of data storage as infrastructure spending will benefit companies including Bharti Airtel Ltd., Reliance Industries Ltd., Vodafone Idea Ltd., Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd., HFCL Ltd., Tejas Networks Ltd., Sterlite Technologies Ltd..
Digital financial services providers in India are set to gain after Tuesday’s budget focused on expanding such services. These include PB Fintech Ltd., the parent of PolicyBazaar, newly listed Paytm’s owner One 97 Communications Ltd., eClerx Services Ltd. and Paisalo Digital Ltd., which provides smaller loans through its app.
Companies manufacturing defense equipment look to benefit from Sitharaman’s plan to earmark 68% of the sector capex for local companies in the annual budget. Gainers include Larsen & Toubro Ltd., Bharat Forge Ltd. and Paras Defence and Space Technologies Ltd. The drone start ups that could benefit include Zeus Numerix, New Space India Ltd, and BotLab Dynamics.
India plans to start a digital currency, shifting the rules for traditional banking in the country as it tries to keep pace with the global move toward virtual financial instruments. The move will affect India’s archaic lenders State Bank of India Ltd., Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank, Union Bank of India, Bank of India and Punjab National Bank.
The decision to levy 30% tax on profits from digital asset transactions, including cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens, may rule out a blanket ban on such tokens for now but it will make trading in them less profitable. This will also affect crypto exchanges. Players affected include WazirX, Zebpay, CoinDCX and Coinswitch Kuber.
Coal and Thermal Power
The companies to watch after India’s incentives for solar power and plans to use biomass pellets in thermal power plants in a bid to rely less on coal include Coal India Ltd. Singareni Collieries Co., Adani Enterprises Ltd. These companies are suppliers of imported coal.
India has made plans to revoke some anti-dumping and countervailing duties on stainless steel, coated steel flat products, bars of alloy steel and high-speed steel, given the rise in metal prices. This is expected to affect the biggest producer Jindal Stainless Ltd. and Tata Metaliks Ltd.
Car manufacturers, which received little attention from the finance minister, continue to reel under a global semiconductor crunch. The S&P BSE Auto Index was the worst performer among 19 sectoral gauges after Tuesday’s budget announcement. Companies to watch include Maruti Suzuki India Ltd., Tata Motors Ltd, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.