Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently presented the last full budget of the second term of the Modi-led BJP government, before the General Elections in 2024. Labeled the first during the ‘Amrit Kaal’ or the period of 25 years leading to the 100th year of India’s independence, the budget has gained varied, mostly positive, reactions from the industry experts who have termed the budget as a growth-oriented one, with particular focus on green growth.

Here are reactions from leading industry experts and Bombay Chamber members on the budget:

Mr Nilesh Shah,
President, Bombay Chamber & Group President and Managing Director, Kotak Mahindra AMC

This budget is a Bahubali budget, where with one arrow, multiple targets are shot.

Fiscal prudence is achieved with lower deficit and path set till FY 26.
Consumption is supported through tax cuts.
Investment outlay is enhanced. Numbers are realistic or conservative to enhance the credibility.

We believe the Union Budget for FY24 underpins continuation of the government’s ideology of inclusive growth, encouraging manufacturing, technology based initiatives and reducing friction in doing business. The budget has provided relief to the end consumer by increasing tax rebates to combat inflation and not curb spending.

From a financial market standpoint, we believe the budget has given more reasons to be happy than frown, by not increasing the gross borrowing numbers which has led to cooling off of bond yields. From the equity markets perspective, the budget has been a positive catalyst. However, one should be cognizant of the fact that Indian markets have been trading at a premium, compared to its global peers, and hence the post budget market outcomes should also be seen in that context. We believe the direction is right and the government has rightfully delivered a budget for the ‘Amrit Kaal.’

Mr R Srinivasan,
MSME Committee Member, Bombay Chamber and Director, AIRA Consulting

Capex for infrastructure is a huge boost for MSMEs as it would reduce the time of manufacture to ports enhancing competitiveness. Additional credit facility with reduced interest rate will alleviate working capital stress on MSMEs. Rs. 9000 for revamped credit guarantee scheme will be a useful assistance to MSMEs.

Dr Sachchidanand Shukla
Chairman, Economic Policy, Research & Development, Bombay Chamber and Chief Economist, Mahindra & Mahindra

The Budget ticks all the right boxes. India now wants and aspires to effect a decisive turn in the capex cycle. How do we seal the deal and ensure that we bring to bear the full might of Centre + States to pull off the biggest capex move.

Mr Ashok Dhamankar,

Budget for FY 24 aims to achieve targeted growth in Agriculture by allocating Credit of Rs. 20 lakh Crore equivalent to USD 250 billion for core sector. Growth can be driven by rural digitisation, building infrastructure in the form of storage capacity enabling improvement in farmer’s income. India is also set to become a millet hub.

Dr Vinod Chopra
Board Member and Co-Chairman, MSME Forum, Bombay Chamber and Managing Director, Sai Industrial Alliances

A finely balanced Budget 2023 in terms of revamped Credit Guarantee to MSMEs for Rs 9000 Crores and facilitating Ease of Doing Business will boost the performance of MSMEs to a great extent!

Mr Praveen Vashishta,
Board Member and BFSI Committee Member, Bombay Chamber and Chairman, Howden Insurance Brokers India

Kudos to the FM for delivering a growth-centric budget – the first budget of Amrit Kaal. With an increased capital outlay, the budget promotes ease of doing business, infrastructure growth, Agri-tech and a digital India. At the same time, the budget scores well on the social agenda – it promotes inclusive growth, women welfare, skilling, green energy, and green mobility. There is relief on the personal tax front including an increase in rebate limit to Rs. 7 lakhs in the new tax regime and a reduction in the highest surcharge from 37% to 25%, thus bringing down the maximum rate to 39%.

We would have liked to see a few strategic announcements in the Insurance Sector- such as an increase in FDI to 100%, a reduction in the Tax rate for Foreign Reinsurance Branches, and the introduction of Captives. We were also expecting some Tax concessions such as a reduction of the GST rate on health & life insurance from 18% to 5%, creating a separate section for Life insurance premium exemptions instead of including it in an already crowded 80C and an increase in the maximum deduction for tax benefits from health insurance premiums from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh under 80 D. With a forward-looking government, I am sanguine that we will see more on these areas in the time to come.

Ms Anjali Bansal
Immediate Past President, Bombay Chamber and Founder, Avaana Capital

We welcome the Union Budget announcements as they lay out the blueprint for inclusive sustainable growth, as we progress to India@100.

The focus on Green Growth, Inclusive Development, and leveraging Youth Power among the Saptarishi priorities can help support low carbon development pathways towards Net Zero.
The increased outlay towards energy transition, and particularly for Green Hydrogen and waste-to-energy boosts energy access and independence. The millet program, PRANAM scheme and bio-inputs centres, can incentivise adoption of sustainable, regenerative agriculture practices, while green skilling for youth helps bring them into the mainstream economy. The Green Credit programme indicates support for sustainable business models and green initiatives by the industry. Concessional duties on Li-ion batteries can provide further boost to the EV sector and help decarbonize the transportation sector.

These measures further strengthen India’s position as a global climate leader. The focus on youth, technology and innovation can drive the achievement of a more sustainable, inclusive and green future for us all.

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