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Budget 2016 - 2017
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Mr. Milind Kothari, Managing Partner & Head – Direct Tax, BDO India
Allocation of 25,000 for recapitalization of banks is only a patch with the total requirement identified at 1,80,000 crs by the Economic Survey. This area needs serious attention as the banks play a vital role in spurring private investment that is so vital for an all-round economic revival. FM has given a well intentioned pass through status to Trust that hold ARC assets. In the light of rising NPAs, the asset turnaround of stressed assets back into the economy is very much pivotal. The FM has proposed setting up of dispute resolution mechanism in respect of 5.5 lac cases that are pending before the First Appellate Authority. The shelter that would be available is waiver or reduction in levy of penalty. This initiative does not recognize the high pitched assessments that are routinely made which is also the fundamental reason for the first appeal. This move is surely not the remedy for the number of appeals pending before the 1st Appellate Authority.
 
Mr. Achal Bakeri, CMD, Symphony Ltd
"The Finance Minister has set the direction for a balanced and inclusive growth emphasising on agriculture, irrigation, rural economy, farm income, investment in infrastructure, education maintaining fiscal discipline as well as raising social spend. Lot of thrust is given for the priority sector and improving basic infrastructure like road, electricity, port, agriculture sector, rural economy, social sector and employment etc. Tax reforms, focus on ease of doing business, promoting start-ups are some of the welcome steps announced in the budget. Giving more autonomy to PSUs in operation, desire to decrease government stake in the PSU banks even below 50% are step in the right direction. The impetus to Infrastructure, agriculture and education sectors is laudable though the much expected big bang reforms are yet in the waiting. Realistic budget in given constraints."
 
Mr. Anand Rathi, Chairman – Anand Rathi Financial Services Ltd
The UNION BUDGET 2016 presented by the Finance Minister, in my view has adopted a proactive approach. The immediate-term focus of the budget seems to be to support growth through consumption (particularly rural consumption). The Budget hinted at fundamental bottom up development approach, which, in a longer term will facilitate sustainable growth. Positives - Fiscal deficit and market borrowings has been kept under control, enabling savings to come to private sector. As expected the focus of the budget has been on agriculture and the rural economy, significant thrust to roads and railways, focus on job creation and entrepreneurship. Simplification of tax procedures is another positive from the budget. Focus on skill and entrepreneurship development and job creation. Focus on improving corporate governance of PSU banks is the move in the right direction and can have more impact on the state of Indian banking as compared to PSU capitalization at the current juncture. Development of G-Sec and Corporate Bond Market. Negatives - Additional 10% Tax on Dividend Income above Rs 10 Lakhs.
 
Dr. Om Manchanda, CEO, Dr. Lal PathLabs
"The Union Budget 2016 proposal for healthcare covering weaker section of the society is a path breaking step. The proposed health coverage is to Rs 1 lakh per family and additional top up of Rs 30,000 for senior citizens below poverty line is essential to bring the poor under the healthcare umbrella. The budget also proposes setting up 3000 medical stores under Prime Minister's Jan Aushadhi Yojana which is first of its kind initiative at such a scale. For these initiatives to reach the poor, successful implementation will be important"
 
Mr.Shrikant Joshi, CEO and MD, L&T Realty
The Union Budget 2016-17 focuses substantially on affordable housing which is in line with PM's vision of housing for all. Service tax exemption for construction of affordable housing up to 60 sqm. under state and central housing schemes and 100% tax deduction to an undertaking from a housing project for units up to 30 sqm. in four metro cities and 60 sqm. in other cities, approved during June 2016 to March 2019, and is completed within three years of the approval. This move will provide much needed boost to the affordable housing schemes. However had the area restrictions not been there, scope of this initiative would have been much wider. Removing the last hurdle for REITS, i.e., the withdrawal of dividend distribution tax (DDT) will finally pave the way for their introduction in India. Once in play, REITs will bring in lot more investments in real estate space and will create much needed liquidity among the market participants. Announced deduction of Rs. 50,000 per annum in interest for home loans up to 35 lacs for homes costing not more than 50 lacs is a welcome move and will give an impetus to demand in that spectrum of housing. This will give confidence to customers who were till now contemplating to buy. With the Indian government confident of meeting its fiscal deficit target, further rounds of interest rate cut is expected. This will boost the real estate sector by bringing much needed affordability into the market. Also, planned increase in spends on Infrastructure sector (Roads, Railways etc.) will augur well for real estate with the linkages that both sectors have.
 
Ms Debjani Ghosh, President, MAIT
"The budget is strongly focused on bridging the divide between the 'haves' and 'have not's', and good work by the Government in identifying the right priorities for focus under the 9 pillars called out by the FM. This budget, unlike any other, has not treated technology in isolation but integrated the effective use of technology across all the strategic imperatives in keeping with the intent of a Digital India. This budget has laid emphasis on governance reforms and ease of doing business, while highlighting the need for enhancing educational skills in order to make India a knowledge based economy. We are disappointed with announcement of the R&D incentives reducing because we believe that it is critical for India to be one of the most innovative countries in the world and this move could be detrimental in building India as an innovation hub. I strongly urge the government to re-consider this move, as any restrictions on the R&D ecosystem are likely to decelerate innovation in the country and restrain the ambitious Make in India and Digital India vision."
 
 
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