Post Budget 2021-22 reactions from industry and opposition

Must Read

Frontier India News Network
Frontier India News Network
Frontier India News Network is the in-house news collection and distribution agency.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented her first paperless union budget in the backdrop of the Covid-hit economy. The budget is dubbed as the most crucial Budget of India in recent years as it has come in the backdrop of the largest gross domestic product (GDP) contraction India has suffered post-Independence. Pre-COVID, India had been badly hit due to Modi Government’s bad economic policies (Read: Moody’s reduced Baa3 rating for India citing Modi governments fiscal mismanagement). The unplanned abrupt mismanaged lockdown further contracted the economy by a massive 23.9 percent year-on-year (YoY) in the June 2020 quarter, the first GDP contraction in over 40 years. There are only four occasions in India’s history when GDP growth has suffered a contraction: 1957-58 (1.2%), 1965-66 (3.7%), 1972-73 (0.3%) and 1979-80 (5.2%).

The FM’s budget focused on higher spending, healthcare expenditure, infrastructure development and public sector bank privatisation, while no major income tax relief has been provided to the common man. Markets have surged nearly 4 percent particularly led by the private sector banks. Here are few post budget reactions from the India Inc and opposition.

CH S. S. Mallikarjuna Rao, MD & CEO, Punjab National Bank for Union Budget 2021-22 “We welcome the measures announced by Hon’ble Finance Minister in Union Budget 2021-22. The budget rightly strikes a reasonable balance between addressing the key pillars of Health & Well-being, Inclusive Development, Human Capital, Innovation and R&D, apart from laying the path for a robust economy by providing a major infrastructure boost. The array of measures announced are in line with people as well as market expectations and will go a long way to bring the nation back on track by boosting spending on infrastructure and rural development while fighting the pandemic through health focused measures.

As far as the financial sector is concerned, further recapitalization of Rs 20,000 crore for PSBs in the FY 2021-22 is a welcome step. The other measures which are expected to strengthen the sector are as under:

Various measures have been announced on the infrastructure front, which are expected to take the economy into a new trajectory of growth. In addition to over a 34% increase in capital expenditure, new highway projects have also been announced.

Setting up of a professionally managed Development Financial Institution will catalyze infrastructure funding.

Creation of an ARC and Asset Management Company that will take over the stressed assets and sell to Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs),  is also welcome as it will help improve the health of the banking sector through impact on price discovery and improving competition in the market.
The NCLT system will be strengthened and e-Courts will be adopted, and alternate mechanism of debt resolution will be set up.

The massive program for monetization of completed/ running projects will help in creating required resources through the instruments like INVITs.

Other important announcements of bringing in the IPO of LIC, hiking the FDI limit in insurance increase to 74% from 49%, strategically divest 2 Public Sector Banks and 1 general insurance company, are steps in the right direction.

The voluntary scrapping policy proposed for discarding old commercial vehicles will boost the automobile industry. The gross borrowing programme is also helpful to maintain the fiscal health of the economy, while providing necessary funding towards growth and development of the infrastructure.”

Dr. Harsh Kumar Bhanwala, Executive Chairman, CIFL “This is an infrastructure focused budget in urban and rural area with an emphasis on Capex. This will pay dividends in the long run. The professionally managed DFI to catalyze infrastructure financing is a huge boost for the sector. It is a much needed step to fill-in the financing gap and make it more organised. To enhance the infra pipeline, the sector requires a strong capital inflow. Further, an increased outlay for rural development, the RIDF will accelerate the infra growth for agriculture and allied activities.”

Rahul V Karad, the Visionary Educationist, and the Managing Trustee & Executive President, MAEER’s MIT Group of Institutions & Executive President, MIT World Peace University (MIT-WPU) “I welcome the budget announced for this year by our Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The budget aims at the overall economical revival with a major thrust on infrastructure, healthcare and agriculture along with other sectors. The decision to introduce IND-SAT to invite Asian and African students to study, will make India the preferred destination for education. It will also introduce more diversity amongst the student population. Introducing FDIs in the education sector will further help ramp up this sector and help meet global standards. The young engineers getting the internship opportunity for a period of 1 year by the Urban Local Bodies of India will further build a greater industry connect for our engineering graduates. As a university that is proactively bridging the industry-academia gaps, this is a welcome change. What is also path-breaking is the government’s decision to introduce degree-level full-fledged online education programs by the top 100 institutions listed in the NIRF. This will make good quality education accessible to aspiring students, especially in the rural regions of our country where there is a lack of education infrastructure. The idea of attaching medical institutes to a district hospital in the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode will address the future demand for doctors and healthcare professionals in our country and also provide them with a better exposure early in their careers. This year’s budget has taken into account some of the challenges faced by the Indian education sector and presents opportunities that can be turned into strengths to make our nation Atmanirbhar, as India will have the largest working age population in the world by 2030.  

Ravi S Raghavan – Tax Counsel from Majmudar & Partners Law Firm “The consolidation of securities laws and the proposed decriminalization under the LLP Act marks an important move. On the tax front, providing tax exemption for aircraft leasing companies that are set up in the IFSC has the potential to boost foreign investments. Reducing the timelines for reopening past tax cases will lead to reduced tax litigation, however removing the allowability (sic) of depreciation on goodwill that had the blessings of India’s Supreme Court will be a major dampener for M&A transactions

Kamal Khetan, Chairman and Managing Director, Sunteck Realty “The Union Budget has packed some great ideas and a definite direction for strong economic growth ahead, especially through infrastructure, capital expansion and banking and financial services. For real estate, the move to extend the tax holiday available for the purchase of affordable houses as well as for the affordable rental housing projects is a welcoming move as it would further strengthen the confidence among both developers and homebuyers. The move will certainly prompt more demand, especially among first-time buyers who generally fall in the lower and mid-income segments. Also, the extension of the tax holiday on affordable housing projects for developers by another year will increase the project launches in this segment as they would get additional time and resources. Apart from this, the mega infrastructure development and upgradation to be undertaken across India will add much value to the real estate sector.”

Rajesh Sharma, Managing Director, Capri Global Capital Ltd “The Budget has clearly kept the focus on boosting economic growth. Emphasizing to make India self-reliant and strengthen the country’s position in the global economic landscape, the honorable Finance Minister has given systematic importance to the NBFC sector through a slew of measures that will ease the lending business. The reduction in the loan limit from Rs 5 million to Rs 2 million under the SARFAESI act for NBFCs, with a minimum asset size of Rs 100 cr and above, would mean that the debt recovery can enforce the security interest for lower ticket size loans. This will help the NBFCs to improve their ability to recover smaller loans and strengthen the overall financial health. Allotment of 20, 000 crores for bank recapitalization and setting up an ARC to take care of NPAs of stressed banks and manage through alternative investment funds would securitize the irrecoverable loans. Extend the eligibility of erstwhile tax sop on a home loan by additional one year up to FY’22 is a welcoming support to de-bottleneck issues surrounding the affordable housing segment.”

A Ganesan, Group Vice Chairman, Neuberg Diagnostics “The honorable finance minister has presented a very progressive budget. With a substantial increase in healthcare outlay, the government has given a much-needed shot in the sector’s arm. With a substantial increase in healthcare outlay and key emphasis on public-private partnerships, the entire value-chain in the healthcare sector will gain new momentum and will see major collaborations amongst stakeholders. The announcements of centrally funded – Aatmanirbhar Health Yojana will strengthen our primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare, and setting up of 15 health emergency centers with a focus on curative and preventive health and wellbeing will scale up the delivery of affordable healthcare services”.

Preethaa Ganesh, Vice President, Vels Group of Institutions, Chennai “We acknowledge the initiative taken by the central government to make India as a preferred destination for higher education. Towards the same, the proposal of Ind-SAT comes in as a boon as this will help in boosting the education scenario in India by bringing in more foreign candidates. Enhancing online education by introducing a full-fledged education programmes will majorly benefit the students of deprived section of the society. Increase in apprenticeship embedded degree/diploma courses by March 2021 will result in providing more internship opportunities to fresh engineers thereby creating a wholesome job environment. In addition to this, we feel that the sum allocated for skill development and training of teachers will give us room to create a better work environment and deliver higher quality of education.”

Prof. Amiya Kumar Sahu, Associate Professor (Finance), Goa Institute of Management “The Finance Minister presented a forward-looking budget that would boost economic growth and investors’ confidence. I am particularly impressed with the resource allocations on Healthcare, Education, and Infrastructure. The fiscal deficit targets look pessimistic. The government would do better as economic activities normalize. The GST collections figures for January 2021 is a good signal. I expected excise duty cuts in petrol and diesel. The capital market has reacted positively, but the realities will unfold only tomorrow and further during the week. The focus of infra-push on election-bound states looks to be a big-promise. My rating is 7/10.”

Seema Prem, CEO and Cofounder, FIA Global “The budget this year has given a significant support to startup ecosystem that will help turbocharge their growth. The concept of  OPCs with an option to convert into any other type of company at any time, reducing residency limit for an Indian citizen to set up an OPC from 182 days to 120 days, and allow also non-resident Indians to incorporate OPCs in India will certainly boost innovation.  Collateral free loans and fund of funds for MSMEs will stimulate growth and provide solace to MSMEs hit by the pandemic.

“The portability of One nation, one ration card will be a boon for migrant workers and speedy implementation will ensure that migrants can move across boundaries without worrying about access to ration. The additional allocation to MNREGS will provide substantial relief to workers whose livelihood has been impacted by the pandemic.”

Randhir Chauhan, Managing Director, Netafim India and Senior Vice President, Netafim Ltd. “The Union Budget clearly highlights the Government’s continued focus to modernize the Agri sector. We welcome the announcement of additional allocation of Rs. 5,000 cr to the Micro Irrigation Fund (MIF) under NABARD which now totals Rs. 10,000 cr. This is in line with the Government’s vision of ‘per drop more crop’, and will help move closer to the target of micro irrigation coverage across 1 crore ha in five years, across the country. In order to improve the fund utilization, we request policymakers to remove the condition of disbursement (which is only against additional subsidy) and consider to make it available for the mandatory state share as well. The additional fund could keep the momentum up in states like Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka which are already in favour of the scheme, help restart in states like Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and bring newer states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, etc. under its gamut.”

Yogesh Mudras, Managing Director, Informa Markets in India “FM Nirmala Sitharaman presented the first-ever paperless budget with a special focus to Healthcare and Infrastructure sector. The announcement for Rs 64,180 crore for the overall Healthcare sector in the Union Budget of 2021 was a vital move by the Government to strengthen the Health and Wellness centres across India and contribute to our National Health Mission. The vision for recovery in the state-wise infrastructure activities supported by robust investments will give the economy the much-needed impetus and help us march towards the $ 5 trillion marks. The collateral-free loans and funds for MSMEs will stimulate growth and render solace to MSMEs hit by the pandemic.”

Dr. Krishna Ella, Chairman & Managing Director, Bharat Biotech “It’s a great step ahead, and far-reaching budget announcement, providing ₹35,000 crore for Covid-19 vaccination in 2021-22. The Finance Minister commitment providing more funds in order to contain the Coronavirus pandemic spread in the country and provide an effective, smooth path for the vaccination scheme will help contain, and lead our nation towards accomplishing a covid-19 disease free Bharat.

The lay out plan of a ₹64,180 crore spending plan for healthcare over the next six years to be spent on primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare, in addition to the National Health Mission is also a welcome move, which will strengthen public health services as 17,000 rural and 11,000 urban health and wellness centres and integrated public health labs to be set up in each district. The government focus, on three areas –  preventive health, curative health and well-being, is also very reassuring.” Dr. Ella added, with this landmark budget the Government of India has signalled its intention to make health a cornerstone of the future success of our country. The allocation to vaccines signals a shift to preventive health care, a validation of the fact that vaccines are the most cost effective health care interventions.”

Suchitra Ella, Joint Managing Director, Bharat Biotech “The new health infra schemes with significantly higher outlay of Rs 35,000 crore for Bharat’s mega COVID19 vaccination drive is a huge fiscal medicine to contain the pandemic, reduce disease burden for the population, and the economy. A record total outlay of Rs 2,23,846 crore for health and wellbeing aimed to boost the health and well-being of the nation, is also a well-thought announcement in this budget, with focus on preventive, and curative health. It’s encouraging to note the creation of 9 Bio Safety Lab-III (BSL-3) in this Budget, that will boost research & scientific discoveries. With this landmark budget the Government of India has signalled its intention to make health a cornerstone of the future success of our country.

Prof Mahadeo Jaiswal, Director, IIM Sambalpur “Since the last Budget, the size of India’s economy has reduced from Rs 2.24 lakh crore nominal GDP to Rs 1.94 lakh crore. There has been lower-than-budgeted revenue growth and higher expenditure to tackle the negative impact of the pandemic. The very fact that Hon’ble Finance Minister delivered her budget speech with the help of a ‘Made in India’ tab to deliver India’s first paperless Budget address, accentuates the move from traditional to modern, yet keeping the essence alive. Overall Budget 2021 has been constructive considering the economy is in the revival mode. After a year of economic contraction, the Union Budget rightly focused on capital expenditure which was much needed. It needed to be more investment oriented rather than an income generating one. Laying emphasis on development of infrastructure across the country was essential to contribute to the growth and create employment. Boosting the healthcare infrastructure is a welcome move as there was a yawning gap and a 130% jump in provision for the sector bears testimony to the fact that health of the nation is a priority. Privatisation of the public sector banks will increase efficiency in the banking sector and help in funds reducing NPAs. The MSME sector also required heightened allocations as this sector can help India reach its full potential. I am glad Hon’ble Finance Minister doubled the allocation to this sector. Tax holidays and incentives given to start-ups will also bolster progress for the country and reinvigorate vocal for local. Focus on the manufacturing, automobile sector was much needed because India’s core strength lies in these sectors. Automobile sector has been reeling under low demand and INR 5.54 trillion infusion in developing infrastructure around the country, which is expected to boost the demand for heavy and medium commercial vehicles is a welcome move. Overall Budget 2021-22 has the much needed financial impetus to augment India in becoming a $5 Trillion-dollar economy. From Education standpoint, as was predicted, this Budget has also stressed upon the implementation of NEP 2020 with the setting up of new educational institutions across the country, in the remote corners and focusing on strengthening the quality of education in existing schools. The setting up of the Higher Education Commission will also add a structural reform and streamline the higher education scenario of the country. Allocation of funds towards upskilling of the youth was an imperative. As Hon’ble Finance Minister rightly mentioned, channelization of the skill of our youth is of utmost importance which can fillip our economic development. The learning that we received from the pandemic has also been properly implemented by earmarking funds to support the research ecosystem of our country. This can create more job opportunities and reduce dependency on other countries. Setting up of the National Digital Educational Architecture (NDEAR) is a positive step. However, some more stress had to put on the development of digital infrastructure of the country for the implementation of NEP 2020 and mitigating the challenges institutions are facing in remote learning.  A substantial step towards lessening the digital gap that exists would have helped make the education sector become future ready.

Bikesh Ogra, Global CEO and Director, Sterling and Wilson Solar Limited “The Union Budget 2021 looks promising for the overall growth and revival of the economy which has been impacted due to the pandemic that the entire world witnessed last year. Capital infusion of INR 1,000 crores to Solar Energy Corporation of India and INR 1,500 crores to Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency will give a further boost to the non-conventional energy sector which will help in embracing the country’s green energy movement. Investing in the infrastructure sector, decreasing regulatory restraint, strengthening the regulations, executing digitization in several segments should act as mechanisms in enhancing India’s rank to improve the process of doing business. Notification on phased manufacturing plan for solar cells and solar panels will help in supporting Atmanirbhar Bharat and ramping up domestic capacity. Also, the proposed hike in the duty on solar inverters from 5% to 20% is going to boost domestic production which will further push the Government’s thrust on Atmanirbhar Bharat. The government’s proposal of launching a Hydrogen Energy Mission in 2021-22 will play a significant role in moving towards clean power resource. Considering the current times, this budget is focused on India’s development and is commissioned to accelerate the growth rate.”

Dr. Suresh Ramanathan, Dean, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai “The Honourable Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman has rightly included the education and skills sector as an integral part of the Aspirational India plans. We are thrilled to see the support given by the government to boost the country’s education system, recognizing the need for greater inflow of both funds and talented faculty along with the importance of innovation and better lab infrastructure as a means to improve overall standards.

As a leading management institute, Great Lakes is proud to charter a course that heavily emphasizes knowledge creation as a means to deliver highly relevant and contemporary education to its students. We believe that this will eventually and invariably lead aspirational India towards better standards of living and greater employment opportunities. The allocation of Rs. 50,000 crores in the budget towards the National Research Foundation is a step in the right direction. It will put India firmly on the path to attaining global standards in knowledge creation.”

Harish Manian, CEO, MGM Healthcare “We are delighted to note that the budget session was introduced with the announcement of increase in the healthcare budget by 137%. The government’s holistic approach to healthcare will help in creating awareness on preventive healthcare. post-pandemic Learning from the recent pandemic, the move to establish more number of critical care blocks in Hospitals and strengthening of primary, secondary and tertiary care is a much need move by the Government.  The launch of Misision Poshan 2.0 is a commendable move to prevent over 50,000 child deaths annually. Coupled with initiatives like clean water, clean air and clean environment, it will act as a binding force to achieve a universal health coverage. Detection of new and emerging diseases like COVID have been given the right impetus and will encourage all-round development and preparedness towards a progressive and safe future.”

Rishi Chandiok, Regional Director (South Asia) QNET Ltd.  “he budget announced today is in line with the expectations and rightly focuses on the health and wellbeing of the nation recovering from the pandemic. We believe that the policy reforms announced by the Finance Minister will help boost the economy. Steps taken towards Aatmanirbhar Bharat, local manufacturing, employment generation, will help boost economic activity. We also appreciate the Government’s vision to announce a new centrally sponsored scheme, PM Aatmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana which will be launched with an outlay of about 64,180 crores over 6 years. Aatmanirbhar Bharat is a viewpoint of 130 crores Indians who have full assurance in their capabilities and skills.

As a leading direct selling company, we believe that the entrepreneurship has always been in our country’s DNA. The recently announced “Vocal for Local” initiative that encourages local businesses and products to strive for international standards of quality and service, will further boost the entrepreneurial spirit among the young and upcoming entrepreneurs.”

Dr. Bijaya Kumar Sahoo, Advisor to The Odisha Adarsha Vidyalaya Sangathan (Rank of Minister of State), Govt. of Odisha and Founder at SAI International Education Group “The Union Budget 2021 has touched all the sectors and rests on six pillars, i.e. Health & Well-being, Inclusive Development Human Capital, Innovation and R&D, Physical & Financial capital and infrastructure, Minimum government and maximum governance.

I am happy that the Union Budget 2021 has focused on qualitative strengthening of over 15,000 Schools across India under National Education Policy 2020. It is a great move by the Finance Minister. An ‘umbrella’ structure will be created for central higher education in various cities.  Legislation to set up the Higher Education Commission will be introduced soon. Last year, the government allocated Rs 99,300 crore for the education sector. To further the National Education Policy under the reinvigorating human capital under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat mission the minister said a central university will also be established in Leh for accessible higher education at Ladakh. 100 new Sainik schools to be set up in partnership with NGOs and private schools, 750 Eklavya schools will be set up in tribal areas, Increase in the expenditure cost for tribal schools. It will a major boost for rural education.  Government proposes 3000 crore to be sanctioned towards upskilling and 30000 crore for R&D over 5 years. The budget allocation in Padhna Likhna Abhiyan has been increased from Rs. 95.25 cr (RE 2020-21) to Rs. 250 cr in BE 2021-22 (an increase of Rs. 154.75 cr) i.e. by 162.47% which will further lead to infrastructural (both digital and non-digital) enhancement. India’s focus on R&D with National Research Foundation an allocation of 50,000 crores will certainly help India in developing an urban India.

There has been a focus on reviving the MSME Sector and making inclusive development for an aspirational India the product link incentive in 13 sectors with focus on agriculture infrastructure and 5 fishing harbours will make quantitative and improvement in these sectors. The Union Budget 2021 has emphasized on health and wellbeing in which allocation has been kept in upgrading health infrastructure of the country, with an outlay of additional 64000 crores. For migrant labour and GIG workers a portal will be developed to track health, housing, skill and insurance along with social security through ESIC is going to benefit 15 crore workers across India.  

The whooping Fiscal Deficit expected at 9.5% of GDP is to be contained at 6.8% in 2021-2022 which will be brought down to 4.5% by 2025-2026. Though a welcome measure, its implementation will be full of challenges. The 15th Finance Commission Recommendation of States sharing increased 41% will make each state stronger; however, it shall depend on the FRBM consolidation. Government has reposed more faith on the taxpayer by reducing reopening cases to 3 yrs making IT-AT faceless and exempting pensioner senior citizens from filing tax returns, it will certainly give relief to them.

The FDI increase in insurance sector commitment for national Infrastructure pipeline, revising small company definition from 50 lacs to 2 crores and allowing One person company to be floated will help capital build up for the nation. Looking at the positive budget, the Sensex has already jumped over 2300 points. It also emphasizes the most talked about Farmers policy and their hike in credit limit. There is also a boost to the non-conventional energy sector. As expected, the Finance Minister announced Rs 35,000 crore for Covid-19 vaccines but no relief to the taxpayers who have faced the brunt for the past one year. Though, it’s welcoming to see that the tedious income tax return forms will be further simplified.

Harish Manian, CEO, MGM Healthcare “We are delighted to note that the budget session was introduced with the announcement of increase in the healthcare budget by 137%. The government’s holistic approach to healthcare will help in creating awareness on preventive healthcare. post-pandemic Learning from the recent pandemic, the move to establish more number of critical care blocks in Hospitals and strengthening of primary, secondary and tertiary care is a much need move by the Government.  The launch of Misision Poshan 2.0 is a commendable move to prevent over 50,000 child deaths annually. Coupled with initiatives like clean water, clean air and clean environment, it will act as a binding force to achieve a universal health coverage. Detection of new and emerging diseases like COVID have been given the right impetus and will encourage all-round development and preparedness towards a progressive and safe future.”

Suresh Ramanathan, Dean, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai “The Honourable Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman has rightly included the education and skills sector as an integral part of the Aspirational India plans. We are thrilled to see the support given by the government to boost the country’s education system, recognizing the need for greater inflow of both funds and talented faculty along with the importance of innovation and better lab infrastructure as a means to improve overall standards.

As a leading management institute, Great Lakes is proud to charter a course that heavily emphasizes knowledge creation as a means to deliver highly relevant and contemporary education to its students. We believe that this will eventually and invariably lead aspirational India towards better standards of living and greater employment opportunities. The allocation of Rs. 50,000 crores inthe budget towards the National Research Foundation is a step in the right direction. It will put India firmly on the path to attaining global standards in knowledge creation.”

Dr. Alok Roy, Chair, FICCI, Health Services Committee and Chairman Medica Group of Hospitals “India Inc. and especially the Healthcare industry which has been battling the demon of COVID-19 and its aftermath should consider this year’s budget a blessing. Quite rightly, the budget has focused on health and well-being, infrastructural reforms, development of human capital and minimum government and maximum governance. The very fact that Government has put health as the first pillar shows that finally it is being considered as the prerequisite to ensure economic well-being of the country. Budget 21-22 seems realistic, constructive, and Hon’ble Finance Minister showed her commitment towards the healthcare sector, which needed a boost urgently. The Aatmanirbhar Health Yojana in addition to the National Health Mission with an outlay of INR 64,180 crore over six years is a welcome move, towards strengthening primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare in the country, addressing the Preventive, Curative, and Wellbeing of the population. This will also intend to develop capacities of health care systems, develop institutions for detection and cure of new and emerging disease as the first step to boost rural health and keep country ready for emergency handling of pandemic situations. Further, increasing access to pneumococcal vaccine to all states and budget outlay for health and welfare by the allocation this year of INR 2,23,846 crore in the healthcare sector a rise by 137% as compared to previous year will prove to be a major increase in the public health and pharmaceuticals sector. This will definitely strengthen the National Centre for Disease Control and make India future ready for any further health crises. With the incorporation of 17,788 rural and 11,024 urban health and wellness centers, the budget rightly addresses the need to reach the last mile population. The decision to set up integrated public health labs in all districts and 3382 block public health units in 11 states along with critical care hospital blocks in 602 districts and 12 central institutions is creditable but more might be required in a country where the patient doctor ratio is abysmally poor. Expansion of the Integrated Health Information Portal to all States/UTs to connect all public health labs is a step ahead towards digitalization and is a positive move. India has done exceptionally well considering the density of populace in talking the pandemic. Setting aside INR 35,000 crore and more if required for COVID-19 vaccination drive is laudable and shows that Government has prioritized the sector. India unfortunately has the highest mortality rate for children, the decision to launch Mission Poshan 2.0 is a praiseworthy move to prevent over 50,000 child deaths annually. The INR 2,217 crore outlay for 42 urban centers to tackle air pollution, one of the deadliest pandemic which is obliterating mankind for years and acts as slow poisoning is also commendable. The resolution to set up integrated public health labs in each district about 3,382 block public health units in 11 states is noteworthy. Establishing critical care blocks in Hospitals is essential from our learning fromthe recent pandemic and a right move by the Government. Overall the proposals made in the Budget 21-22, would make quality healthcare accessible and affordable, besides standardizing healthcare infrastructure across the country. We await the on ground implementation and operational details of the scheme now.”

Dr. Alok Khullar, CEO, Gleneagles Global Health City, Chennai The budget’s focus to strengthen the Indian healthcare infrastructure is really welcoming as it will help us to be well-prepared to handle disease outbreaks/pandemic. This move will reduce the burden on the healthcare workers and ensure increased accessibility for receiving critical and emergency care. Initiatives to promote fitness and sanitation will help in preventing lifestyle issues and reduce the probability of disease outbreak among the rural areas. The proposed set-up for a viability gap funding window to set up hospitals in PPP mode will help healthcare institutions to expand their network to smaller districts. The PM Jan Arogya Yojana would be a real boost that would help the Indian population to receive advanced technology care in their hometowns and reduce their burden of travelling to metro cities. However, the decision to levy a 5 percent cess on import of medical equipment could have been avoided, as it’s used for advanced life-saving measures and helps India to be abreast with high technologies used around the world for healthcare.”

Ashwath Ram, Managing Director, Cummins India“At first glance, it appears to be a progressive budget. There is a focus on the socio-economic development of the country with an emphasis on Railways, the Power sector, infrastructure, healthcare, and enhanced digital connectivity. The voluntary policy on the scrapping of vehicles will have a positive impact and will drive the commercial vehicle and auto sector forward, the industry wanted an incentive-based scheme so we are still seeing the details. In addition, MSMEs and other user industries have been severely affected by the recent sharp rise in iron and steel prices. The industry will definitely receive a push by the decision to double the allocation of MSME and reduce the customs duty on some of the steel products. The focus on highways and the infrastructure investment plan will definitely give the necessary impetus to the CV and construction equipment businesses.”

Farrokh Cooper, Chairman & MD, Cooper Corporation Pvt. Ltd. Budget 2021 is optimistic, driving the country towards Aatmanirbhar Bharat by putting significant stress on Railways, Power sector, infrastructure healthcare, banking, insurance, and agriculture, which will not only enable the country to revive its economy but will also stimulate growth. Voluntary policy on the scrapping of vehicles would have a positive effect and will move the commercial and automobile industries ahead. The industry would definitely be encouraged by the decision to double the allocation of MSME and to reduce the customs duty on steel. Focusing on highways and the investment plan would certainly give the CV and construction equipment the requisite impetus. The government’s increased focus on the infrastructure sector will certainly bring in positive impact.”

Vikas Bajaj, President, AIFI (Association of Indian Forging Industry) “This year’s Union budget is positive, as well as a progressive one with a strong drive towards the country’s socio-economic growth. It focuses on the Railways, Power, Health Infrastructure, Banking, Insurance and Agriculture sectors. Voluntary policy on the scrapping of vehicles will definitely have a positive effect and will drive the commercial and automotive industries forward. Furthermore, a recent sharp rise in iron and steel prices has affected MSMEs and other user industries severely. The positive step of reduction in customs duty uniformly to 7.5% on semis, flat, and long products of non-alloy, alloy, and stainless steels would certainly contribute to better raw material prices and reduced input costs. Also, no new corporate tax has been added which is positive news as it is a tough time for the industry. The increased government attention on the highways and infrastructure sector would definitely contribute to a significant impact on the manufacturing and Auto industry and help in employment generation which is the most critical need to revive the economy.”

Dr. Arun Kalyanasundaram, Director, Pro-med Hospital, Chennai “The increased allocations for healthcare will boost the country’s healthcare sector and help in generation of more jobs and availability of skilled professionals that would help in meeting the increasing demand for accessible and affordable healthcare. The budget has adequate importance to preventive healthcare which is the need of the hour.  After a difficult year for the healthcare sector, we hope that the announced measures would reduce the burden in the sector and we also look forward to working with the Govt to ensure quicker and faster administration of Covid-19 vaccines for all. The set-up of increased number of healthcare facilities will improve the healthcare network and reduce the turnaround of avoidable mortalities.”

Saranavakumar Rajan, General Manager – Operations, Rainbow Children’s Hospital, Chennai “The holistic approach towards healthcare in this year’s budget is really commendable. Measures to tackle problems of air pollution and sanitation will aid in preventive healthcare and improve one’s well-being. The budget’s focus towards improving the health of the mother and a child with the Poshan Abhiyan scheme to enrich their nutritional intake, will create more awareness on the importanc e of consuming a well-balanced meal for a healthy living. We look forward to work together with the Govt in its efforts to strengthen the healthcare infrastructure among rural parts of India. This move would help in reducing the maternal and infant mortality rate as their deaths often occur as a result of inaccessibility to hospitals.”

Dr Mona Lisa Bal, Chairperson, KiiT International School “Budget 2021-22 was significant as it was expected to revive the economy after the COVID-19 crisis. Education for All was one of the prime focal areas of the Budget and overall, the announcements made for the sector were positive.  The industry was expecting allocations on the implementation of NEP 2020 which has been met to an extent. Emphasis on strengthening the quality of education in schools will benefit students by cementing their primary education and promote growth and knowledge. Setting up of new Sainik schools and Eklavya model residential schools, especially in the remotest parts of the country will further bolster educational development. Upskilling of the youth has become extremely vital in the present scenario. Our youth are our strength and streamlining skill development for them will catalyse a better tomorrow for India. International collaboration on research and development is also a welcome move because the pandemic has made it clear that innovation is the way of the future. Setting up of the National Digital Educational Architecture (NDEAR) Development is a firm steppingstone towards a digital transformation to take the country to newer heights.  Upskilling of teachers and training under National Initiative for School Heads and Teachers for Holistic Advancement (NISTHA) will be beneficial to the students and the sector at large. Focus on holistic education, moving away from rote learning to strengthen analytical, conceptual skills of students will foster critical thinking among them which will help in their overall development and learning. It is good to see the Budget focus on the needs of the special children, especially the ones with hearing impairment through standardization of Indian Sign language across the country and development of National and State Curriculum materials for use.”

Joby. C. O., CEO, Dvara KGFS The Union Budget 2021 has acknowledged the NBFC and cooperatives that are operating in the agricultural credit space. The government’s initiative to bring in mechanisms to monitor the health of financial institutions, to set up Asset Reconstruction Company Limited and Asset Management Company and to safeguard the interest of depositors are welcome steps towards a robust banking mechanism. In addition to this, the increase in agriculture credit target, increased allocation towards MSME sector & increased focus on Migrant Workers & Labourers in the Budget is expected to be highly beneficial for NBFCs and MFIs. Better capital access, improved governance and enhanced lending mechanisms are some of the key focus areas in the budget and this will enable financial institutions to bring in transparency and accountability in the sector. Banking reforms will go a long way in addressing bad loans, capital infusion, development of FinTechs and support for NBFCs. Promotion of digital transactions & continued focus on financial inclusion are two key pillars in the Budget that will outline the financial landscape for the underserved sections in the society.”

Aneel Gambhir – CFO, Blue Dart “We are pleased to know that the Budget is in line with our expectations. The industry is eagerly waiting to see the results of these measures in our field of work. The proposed solutions include a succinct focus on improving road and railway infrastructure; investments in National highway corridors and economic corridors will aid in the speedy movement of goods and improve turnaround time which, in the long run, will bring down logistics costs significantly.

The National Highway work planned in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal, Assam will further assist in the final goal of last-mile delivery and we are eager to see its results on our business. In the long term, all the expenditures could be assisted with the proposed introduction of the DFI which will speed up the infrastructure development in India.

Apart from this, the focus on the manufacturing sector in the budget would also help the logistics sector grow further.

While the budget carries good news for the logistics sector, we are also happy to see the Government’s efforts in propelling areas such as healthcare, infrastructure, and employment, all of which require a special focus going into 2021. With COVID-19 continuing to be a significant threat to the world, India is providing the vaccine against COVID-19 to over 100 countries across the world which is a commendable effort. With the Government also providing 35,000 crores towards the Covid-19 vaccine in 2021-22, we are sure to bid adieu to the virus sooner rather than later.”

Nishanth Chandran, Founder & CEO, TENDERCUTS “Setting-up of fishing harbors will increase the fishing trade among the local communities and create an upliftment in their profession. This will help-in bringing in more skilled workers to meet the growing demand in the meat and seafood retail sector. The supply chain was majorly hit in 2020 due to Covid-19 and it is wonderful to note that the 2021 budget’s focus on road and rail infrastructure will be a game changer and help in maintaining smooth supply chain management. This will help boost procurement, facilitate ease of business and support meat and retail companies to build a robust logistics and supply chain infra for smooth business operations. Provision of allied loans for agriculture would help in strengthening the poultry, meat and seafood sector. Also, the relaxations in time period for payment of taxes for the start-ups and the increase in turnover limit to 100 crores for 100% deduction of profits, helps the company to reduce its financial burden.  After the turbulent year of 2020, the reforms and measures announced would be a real boost for the start-ups.”

T Chitty Babu, Chairman and CEO, Akshaya Pvt Ltd “We congratulate Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman on budget speech in the Parliament today. We welcome the move in launching a portal to maintain information on gig workers and construction workers. This could help in monitoring the health and also in providing the benefits. We also welcome the major proposal about boosting the road, rail and airport infrastructure for a robust public transport. This will ease the mobility and now people will also think about property investments outside the city. This budget allocation towards public transport will definitely reduce the air pollution resulting in a healthy and peaceful living. Government’s decision to extend eligibility of erstwhile tax sop on home loan up to FY22 and the proposal that affordable housing projects can avail tax holiday for one more year can ease financial constraints on the real estate developers. It will certainly boost the real estate sector and accelerate it towards the growth wave. Homebuyers can expect a slew of options in the coming quarters as developers get the due support from the financial institutions as well as the government.”

Subhrakant Panda, Vice President, FICCI & Managing Director, IMFA “The budget is very comprehensive and proposals are well thought through which will provides fiscal support for investment & consumption while also providing a 5 year roadmap to come back to prudent norms. Higher outlays for various sectors augurs well, as does the fact that the quality of expenditure is improving with more thrust on capital expenditure. Setting up of a DFI to fund long gestation projects, and an asset reconstruction cum asset management company to deal with stressed assets are welcome steps. Limiting reopening of assessments and providing for a faceless ITAT will encourage the honest taxpayer. Similarly, several regulations and laws subsiding into a single securities code is a very positive step. Finally, no major changes in the tax structure is a major commitment to provide stability.”

Rahul Gandhi, Indian National Congress “Forget putting cash in the hands of people, Modi Govt plans to handover India’s assets to his crony capitalist friends. “

All India Forward Block ” The Union Budget 2021 presented by the Finance Minister is nothing but an order to sell the whole India.

“The budget proposes to Minimizing presence of Central Government Public Sector Enterprises financial institutions and creating new investment space for private sector. Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs, Public Sector Banks and Public Sector Insurance Companies, Atomic Energy, Space and Defence, Transport and Telecommunications, Power, Petroleum, Coal and other minerals, etc. to be privatized or closed. Airports & Roads are to be sold. The concerns of Union Territories is totally Ignored.

“KISAN Budget reduced from 75 Lakh crore in 2020-21 to 65 Lakh Crore in 2021-22.

“Market Intervention Scheme and Price Support Scheme (MIS-PSS) budget slashed from 2000 crore to 1501 cr.

“Customs duty on some auto parts to be raised to 15%. 

“There is nothing for the unemployed youths.

Clearly the budget proposes large scale privatization and disinvestment of national and natural assets. Privatization of Indian Railways, Banks etc. are also detrimental to the interest of the workers and consumers.

The budget has nothing to arrest the escalating price rise and to ensure food security. The finance minister has miserably failed to announce any programme to address the economic crisis being confronting the nation and to enhance the purchasing capacity of the common men. This budget will further escalate the unemployment as it has no concrete programme to generate employment opportunities except some unrealistic tall claims.

Moreover, the budget has lost its significance in the lives of the common men as it is not bringing any positive change such as more income through employment, moderate prices of essential commodities, effective public distribution system and adequate infrastructure development.

The All India Forward Bloc while opposing the anti-people proposals of the budget calls upon the people from all walks of life to raise their voice against the budget as Instead of calling it as “budget of the century” it is the biggest fraud of the century with the public.”

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) “Union Budget 2021-22: The Union Budget 2021-22 is a betrayal of the people caught in the double crisis of pandemic and recession. It is a classic illustration of the Modi Government’s unshakeable commitment to promoting the interests of a handful of big business houses at the expense of increasing distress and misery for the working people. This is reflected in the refusal of the Government to increase public expenditure notwithstanding its bombastic claims. The budgeted Central Government’s total expenditure of 34.8 lakh crores in 2021-22 is identical in nominal terms to that in 2020-21 – which amounts to slashing expenditure in real terms. This represents the complete abrogation by the Government of its responsibility towards the people but shoring up the fortunes of a privileged few including through their greater control over the nation’s productive assets. 

The apparent increase of the fiscal deficit to GDP ratio of 9.5 per cent in the year now ending (2020-2021) which Government claims because of increased expenditure is primarily on account of revenues collapsing. This collapse happened despite the Government’s cynical imposition of a heavy additional tax burden on common people through the sharp increase in taxes on petrol and diesel. Moreover, total transfer of resources to states and UTs has gone down in this budget from last year’s revised estimates by more than forty thousand crores. Not only has there been a big shortfall in corporate and income taxes in 2020-21, the Government is also keen to acknowledge the ‘distress’ of the corporate sector and the rich by not expecting them to pay in 2021-22 even the taxes they paid in the pre-Covid period. While the Budget Estimates for Corporate Tax and Income Tax in 2020-21 were 6.81 and 6.38 lakh crores respectively, the same figures for 2021-22 are 5.47 and 5.61 lakh crores.

Even the Revised Estimates of Government’s expenditure in 2020-21 of 34.5 lakh crores represents an inflation of the actual expenditure, and till the end of December 2020 only 22.8 lakh crores has actually been spent. The supposed increase of about Rs. 4 lakh crores in Revised Estimates of the Central Government expenditure difference over the Budget Estimates is mainly on account of Budget Provisions flowing from the discontinuation of NSSF loan to FCI for food subsidy and transferring it to the budget. And this budget provision for food subsidies is also destined to be cut by 41% in 2021-22 as compared to 2020-21.

What the Finance Minister’s speech did not reveal was that under several heads, expenditure in 2020-21 was actually lower than budgeted. These include Agriculture, Education, Social Welfare, Women and Child Development, Scientific Departments, Urban Development, Pensions and Disability Affairs etc. Not only are these cuts being carried forward into the next year too, even in the few heads of increased expenditure in 2020-21, like Health and Rural Development, the Budget proposes to cut down expenditures. Despite the Finance Minister’s claim that health expenditure is being increased significantly, the Budget documents show otherwise. The budget allocation for Health for 2021-22 is 74,600 crores which is 8000 crores less than the last year’s revised estimates. It is through such cuts that the Finance Minister is achieving the cut in total expenditure. This is a gigantic hoax being played on the people! 

The panacea for this Government is to sell off India’s national assets and privatize even profit making public sector companies. The monetization project announced in the budget included sale of valuable land held at present by public sector companies. The target is to mobilise 1.75 lakh crores through disinvestment. The increase in FDI in insurance to 74 per cent is highly objectionable. This drive for privatisation is a subversion of the national interests and a mockery of the slogan of atma nirbharta.
The public health crisis created by Covid is far from over and the expenditures on vaccinations will be only one of the additional expenditures that is needed. The economic crisis, the most important aspect of which is the destruction of employment, livelihoods and incomes and the collapse of demand, requires a much bigger additional expenditure. A Union Budget in such a background which seeks to cut expenditures from even the woefully inadequate levels of the previous year and give concessions to corporates can only be a recipe for disaster. It will lead to greater people’s distress and increase the obscene inequalities which mark India today.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


More Articles Like This