Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday presented the General Budget for 2015-16. After a volatile trading session, stock markets ended the day on firm note as investors cheered the Government’s pragmatic Budget. Shares of private sectors banks including Axis Bank, ICICI Bank and HDFC bank surged. These lender hope that Jaitley's proposal to simplify the procedures for local companies to attract foreign investments is likely to favour select private sector lenders who will now be able to raise additional money from foreign institutional investors (FIIs).
Opposition parties slammed as hollow and plain, the first full-year Budget of the Narendra Modi government, saying it lacked the vision and alleged that it was "repayment" by the BJP government to the rich and the corporates.
"The budget is only for big corporates and industries. It is not a pro-poor budget. This budget is a repayment by the BJP government to the rich and corporates who had supported them during Lok Sabha polls. The budget is all about promises," Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said.
Criticising the budget for failing to provide "acche din" to poor, BSP Chief Mayawati said, "budget is aimed at helping corporates. It has been made keeping in mind only the rich and big capitalists. It is not in the interests of common man."
Here are reactions from India Inc on the Budget proposals…
Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairman, State Bank of India
The Budget has laid out a clear and tangible roadmap for the future. The decision to incentivise credit and debit card transactions coupled with the proposed new law on black money will bring down the social cost of unaccounted money, apart from adding to the bank bottom-line. The move to frame a Public Contract Bill will kick start activities in the construction sector plagued by disputes. The move to bring NBFCs at par with financial institutions will help banks to clean up their balance sheets by selling stressed assets at an early stage to ARCs. This apart, framing of Bankruptcy Law, sprucing up public investment to channelize private investment and monetisation of gold assets are positive steps.
Chanda Kochhar, MD & CEO, ICICI Bank
The Union Budget for fiscal 2016 is the Finance Minister's GIFT to the nation. There is a clear and sharp focus on the four key areas of Growth, Inclusion, Fiscal Prudence and Tax Rationalisation. The budget promotes Growth through its focus on infrastructure and ease of doing business. The theme of Inclusion is reflected in the measures taken to empower all stakeholders - there is greater devolution of resources to States and there are a number of measures for the poor, youth and senior citizens. The Fiscal target of 3.0% by fiscal 2018 articulated by the Finance Minister is prudent while at the same time balances the current growth needs of the economy. The clarity given on the Tax regime will go a long way in making India an attractive destination for investments, and encouraging domestic savings. The budget reflects the vision of the Government and takes India forward on a path of growth and inclusive prosperity.
TM Bhasin, Chairman, Indian Banks' Association and CMD, Indian Bank
This is a forward looking Pro-poor, Pro-Agriculture and Pro-Infrastructure Budget with focus on health, housing, education, social security and upliftment of under privileged sections of society. Setting up of Bank Board Bureau is a welcome step towards improving the Corporate Governance in Public Sector Banks which will bring transparency in appointing PSB Heads, Board Members and find innovative ways to raise the much needed capital by the Public Sector Banks.
Arvind Sethi, MD & CEO, TATA Asset Management
Just as the RBI has been 'bullet proofing' the external balance sheet we were hoping that the FM would take steps to do that for the governments balance sheet. In that context the budget was disappointing because it assumes a questionable growth rate, relies too heavily on divestment to meet fiscal targets, does not address the revenue deficit issue head on and leaves the good things for the future!!
From the rate cut point of view the budget is a little disappointing because they have not dealt with some of the fundamental issues of revenue deficit and still relying too much on divestments as the means of meeting the fiscal deficit. Inflation may continue to come down, but RBI may continue to go slow on rate cuts. We continue to expect rate cut of further 50 bps in 2015.
Vikas Sharma, President & CEO for India, Nomura
The budget is a step to remodel India for the long haul. The three focus areas being infrastructure, rationalisation and co-operative federalism- laying the foundation for the India's road to economic success.
Vikas Khemani, President & CEO, Edelweiss Securities
The FY16 union budget is extremely favorable. First on the fiscal math, policy to relax the medium term path of fiscal consolidation is extremely favorable and is growth supportive, which is the need of the economy, given the health of the private sector. What's more important is that unlike the last couple of years, the fiscal math is extremely credible on tax revenues, disinvestments as well as subsidies. On the expenditure side as well, infrastructure seems to be the clear thrust area of the government with roads and railways expected to witness large capital outlays. Overall, budget addresses both the near as well as long term needs of the economy, with policy heading in the right direction.
Rohit Gadia, Founder & CEO, CapitalVia Global Research Ltd
Overall it was a dream budget Corporate taxes down, GAAR postponed, crackdown on illegal money, wealth tax abolished. Markets were up by a percent while the budget was on and later on slipped to the lows and remained volatile. It's expected to remain volatile as the budget announced was at par with the expectations of D-street and thus market has already discounted the noise going on in the market.
Rishi Gupta, MD & CEO - FINO PayTech Ltd
We believe it is a sensible budget with lot of focus on social security, rural development, employment generation and infrastructure. Creating an investment and infrastructure fund, providing access to formal finance for MSMEs and refinance of MFI through MUDRA Bank, skill development initiatives for unemployed youth to create employment as well entrepreneurial opportunities contribute significantly to the national GDP in the long run. Focus on cashless payments, support for technology start-ups, better infrastructure (power, road, broadband) are right steps in making Digital India a reality.
Ashishkumar Chauhan, MD & CEO, BSE
The government has to work on resolving all these large important issues and a lot more. The Finance Minister communicated his plans to bridge the gap between India and Bharat, by introducing reforms to close the gap between urban and rural areas and by stating that all policies need to benefit the poor. We welcome the move to merge FMC with SEBI, which has been a part of the FLSRC recommendation.
Shishir Baijal - Chairman & Managing Director, Knight Frank India
"Overall the direction that the budget has taken is positive with several macro factors making way for a better economic regime. However, with three consecutive bad years for real estate that left developers and other stakeholders gasping for fresh air, the expectations were only building up by the minute for the last couple of months. Unfortunately, the budget has not given them anything to cheer about. Although the initial part of the budget did mention housing for all, it did not have a game-plan attached to it. Additionally, no sops or exemptions for homebuyers have been addressed. There is little on easing liquidity for real estate with only partial relief to REITs. All in all, there is practically no silver lining for stakeholders. With plugging of loopholes in the Benami properties act, stakeholders who used to rely upon it to make money will have a lot to worry about. An already comatose industry will have to wait a bit longer for succour."
Anuj Puri, Chairman & Country Head, JLL India
The budget has not provided any additional relief via increased income tax deduction limit or on repayment of housing loans. The regime on these fronts which was announced during the previous budget from eight months ago remains unchanged. This is a disappointment, since there was expectation that the Finance Minister would further increase either or both of these limits and thereby address the reality of high property prices in India. The budget is low on big bang reforms and real estate is only an indirect beneficiary at best.