Budget 2015: Here are the reactions
Amidst volatile session, banking stocks, especially private sector lenders ended the day in green. While most head honchos from India Inc welcomed the Budget, realty players have expressed disappointed so as opposition parties
 
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… 
 

BANKING

 
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. 
 

FINANCIAL SERVICES

 

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.
 

STOCK EXCHANGE

 
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.
 

REAL ESTATE

 
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.

 

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COMMENTS

saravanan

4 years ago

Why there should be any budgetted scheme for pro-poor ? Any special privilege can be given only as long as the beneficiary is stable, whereas the poverty-stricken population is multiplying every year because of uncontrolled population. Main reason for poverty is over-population only. When a poor citizen cannot adopt a small family, then why he should be given pro-poor doles every year ?

Budget 2015 Highlights
Here the highlights of the Budget for 2015-16, as announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Parliament
 
Union Minister for Finance Arun Jaitley on Saturday presented in Parliament the Budget 2015-16, with a focus on growth, promoting entrepreneurship and manufacturing, rationalizing tax regime and announcing some relief to common man. 
 
Here are the highlights of the Budget…
 

Personal Finance

Govt. to introduce Gold Monetization Scheme, Sovereign Gold Bonds and Gold coins with Ashok Chakra
For contribution to National Pension Scheme, exemption raised to Rs1.5 lakh from Rs1 lakh
Increase in the limit of deduction in respect of health insurance premium to Rs25,000 from Rs15,000.
For senior citizens the limit will stand increased to Rs30,000 from the existing Rs20,000.
For very senior citizens of the age of 80 years or more, who are not covered by health insurance, deduction of Rs30,000 towards expenditure incurred on the treatment will allowed.
All contributions to Sukanya Samridhi scheme to be tax-free.
 
Individual tax payer will benefit to the extent Rs4,44,200 from the exemptions announced
 

Taxation and Tax regime

GST to put in place state of art indirect tax system by April 1st 2016
Internationally competitive Direct Tax regime to be put in place, which will be stable and non-discriminatory.
Applicability of GAAR deferred by two years ; will only apply prospectively after Apr 2017
Basic rate of CorporateTax to be reduced from 30% to 25% in next 4 years; to be accompanied by reducing exemptions
Wealth Tax to be abolished; 2% surcharge on super-rich having income over Rs 1 crore. This will net an additional tax revenue of Rs 9,000 crores
Service Tax increased to 14%.
Custom duty on raw materials and intermediaries to be reduced
Clean energy cess increased from 100 to 200 Rupees per metric ton of coal to finance Green Energy Fund.  Renewable energy target revised to 175,000 Mw.
Direct tax proposals will lead to loss of Rs8,315 crore Indirect proposal will yield Rs23,383 crore
 

Economy 

India set to be the fastest growing large economy in the world.  
Double digit growth seems feasible
Real GDP expected to accelerate to 7.4% during the current fiscal. 
Foreign Exchange reserves at $340 billion
 

Public Finance

Fiscal deficit target of 3% to be achieved over next three years, instead of two.  
4.1 % target being met this year, despite tax buoyancy being lower. 
Roadmap to achieve Fiscal deficit of 3% of GDP in three years: Target is 3.9% in 2015-16, 3.5% in 2016-17, 3% in 2017-18.
Following 14th Finance Commission recommendations, states will get higher resources. 68% of total revenues will now be in the hands of states, ushering in an era of cooperative federalism. 
Budget Estimates of Expenditure: Rs17.77 lakh crore of which Non Plan is Rs13.12 lakh crore and Plan is Rs4.65 lakh crores
Direct Tax collection to be Rs14.49 lakh crore rupees
 

SECTORAL HIGHLIGHTS 

 

Agriculture & Rural Development

Rs5,300 crore to be spent on micro-irrigation
Target of Rs8.5 lakh crore credit to be given to farmers in 2015-16
Rural Infrastructure Development Fund to be--Rs25,000 crore
Highest ever allocation for MGNREGA, by increasing it this year by Rs5,000 crore
 

Industry & Infrastructure 

Focus on making India a manufacturing hub to ensure employment to our youth.
Make in India to promote entrepreneurship by making our youth job creators than being job seekers. 
National Investment & Infrastructure Fund announced.
PPP model to be revised and revitalized. Public investment to be stepped up to catalyze private investments.
Increased Budgetary allocation to Roads & Railways; Tax-free infra bonds for Rail, Roads transport projects
5 Ultra Mega power projects, of 4000 MW announced
Ports in public sector will be encouraged to corporatize & become companies under companies act
.

Banking & Finance

Mudra Bank to be set up to refinance micro finance institution under PMs Mudra Scheme, with a corpus of Rs20,000 crores.  It will fund the unfunded entrepreneurs. 
Government to do away with distinctions between FII and FDI and replace it with Composite Caps.
Government to utilize vast postal network for increasing access to institutional banking in order to promote financial inclusion.

 

Governance

Comprehensive new law to track black money to be framed. 10 years rigorous imprisonment proposed under the law.
Benami transaction prohibition Bill to be introduced in this session
Forward Markets Commission to be merged with SEBI to create a better integrated regulatory system. 
Govt. to bring a Comprehensive Bankruptcy code for the ease of doing business by 2015-16
Govt. plans an expert committee for Drafting Legislation for Regulatory mechanism
 

Social Welfare

Better targeting of subsidies is the need of the hour. Direct Benefit Transfer scheme to be scaled up many folds to ensure plugging of leakages. 
Government to launch PM Suraksha Bhima Yojana, offering coverage of Rs2 lakh for just premium of Rs12. 
PM Surakhsha Bhima Yojana to increase the access to insurance; it will be linked with Jan Dhan Yojana. 
Senior citizens welfare fund to subsidise the premium for elderly people
Nai Manzil - A new scheme for empowering minority youth announced.
Under Swachch Bharat,  50 lakh toilets have already been built, 6 crore toilets targeted to be constructed.
 

HRD

AIIMS to be set up in J&K, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Assam
ISM Dhanabad will be upgraded to full IIT.  Karnataka to get a new IIT.
 

Tourism 

Visa –on-Arrival facility to be increased to 150 countries from the present 43, to promote tourism. 
 

 

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How the ‘Corridors of Power’ work in Delhi-Part 3

The liaison agent's role withdrew into the background. At the same time, the new media got busy with the business at hand - of mind-bending (PR), of influencing policy (policy groups), of influencing decisions (lobbying) and finally, of pre-empting future movements at and before the decision making stage in governance (espionage) 

 

Liaison work in Delhi of the "get foreign exchange released for business travel" while keeping in sync with the licence raj. The way it was, well distributed to just a few protected families in India were how things worked until around the late 1980s. This was extended to a sort of low-level public relations (PR) of the sort, where multiple global brands arriving in India needed not just visibility but also the ability to reach deep into the markets and was added on to the repertoire by the mid -1990s.
 
Obviously, this was not enough. There was the whole "Bombay Club" issue of "protecting" the Indian manufacturers for one, and the worry that India was really moving ahead of the rest of the world in brain capabilities for another. The lure of a "market" as different from a "country" pretty much sealed the fate of how things were going to move ahead for the global corporates moving in relentlessly, with the dye cast. Now all it needed was the tools.
 
It was at around this time in my life, after selling off my small shipping cargo clearance business, when I saw the writing on the wall. The big guys were going to swallow the small local punters up, that I got interested in "the media", and how it happened was in retrospect quite comical. I used to take part in amateur car rallies in those days, mainly a whole lot of us driving up and down back roads without much worry about rules and regulations, and in due course, I became part of the organisers, putting in solid efforts for route maps and safety as well as operational aspects. All this hard work, purely voluntary, was fine - but then, at the end, along would come some wet-behind-the-ears kind of "media-person" and totally destroy everything in her or his reportage-often because the food or the booze or the gift or the hospitality was not perfect.
 
The media had arrived in India, and it was clear as day to anybody who could keep their eyes open, that this was where the power rests. In a country starved of information for decades, what anybody said in front of a camera, was considered to be the absolute truth. You just had to say it with a straight face, preferably in perfect English, and get it repeated often enough.
 
Therefore, I joined the electronic media. Through a series of coincidences, I found myself as the motoring anchor, the first on TV in India actually, for Doordarshan, Star and NDTV - simultaneously.
 
To start with, there was no PR control, instructions were very clear - the viewer was the constituency, and the viewer wanted the truth. It took just about three years for this to change, which was about how long I lasted, as I simply could not go on TV and be a PR mouthpiece. Meanwhile, I also realised how the power factor of the new media, rapidly emerging into private news and entertainment channels on television were morphing together so quickly that often it was difficult to tell the difference. What anybody said on any screen was considered to be the truth by those choosing to watch that channel.
 
There was even a technology doing the rounds of the multiple new television channels emerging then, which actually quantified how credible a face and voice were or television. This incidentally was linked to early days of subliminal mind management using the then emerging internet also in addition to television. It did not take very long for the denizens of the corridors of power in Delhi (and elsewhere too) to realise this, and thus was truly matured the deep relationship between these two elements therein.
 
I grabbed this technology with both hands, left TV, and moved off into working on esoteric technologies of facial biometrics and subliminal mind management over the internet and elsewhere. With the world becoming an increasingly more dangerous place every day, these technologies, so closely related to electronic media, entered the realm of preventive defence for the larger Nations, of which an important subset was psychological warfare by espionage.
 
All well said and done until it was governments and militaries, which were playing these mind games. But the world was also increasingly populated by multi-national corporations (MNCs), which were way bigger than many countries put together. And they, too, needed espionage to stay alive as well as ahead.
 
Where were they to get their spies from?
 
The liaison agent's role, meanwhile, withdrew into the background of wheeling and dealing and evolved into serious business of the sort carried out in the old colonial clubs and private chambers of 5-star hotels. At the same time, the new media got busy with the business at hand - of mind-bending (PR), of influencing policy ("policy groups"), of influencing decisions (lobbying) and then finally, of pre-empting future movements at and before the decision making stage in governance (espionage). That is where the corporate spies emerged.
 
But they had to be technologically sound.
 
The new age corporate spies, often known as "commercial intelligence", were needed for this last activity. This was the most important, and it was seen that it was fulfilled by these practitioners of the new age media the most, because once aware of which way decision making was going, it was important to raise public opinion to sway the said decision making back in the directions of whoever was paying the said media persons.
 
And thus, was expanded the role of the paid main-stream media, as my friend Mediacrooks puts it, the Category 5 Morons. Nicely controlled by the tech-savvy commercial and corporate spies.
 
Espionage, which at one time was the sport of kings and the domain of countries, had now moved full-time into practice at corporates who were often larger than many Nations put together. And in this constantly boiling pot, jumped in Shantanu Saikia, who even in the early days of the internet, was way ahead of most other media-persons I knew in and around Delhi on his mastery of this brand new medium.
 
The number of "leading journalists" in Delhi who got their websites made and maintained by Shantanu Saikia would when revealed be of great interest as well as a pointer of the direction in which things were moving.
 
And the reality that the percentage of senior leading media-persons in and around Delhi who did not have the faintest clue of what was happening on the internet was something people like Shantanu picked up rapidly too.
 
Who, after all, knows most and best on what is going on in a client's life than his webmaster?
 
Read More
 
 
(Veeresh Malik started and sold a couple of companies, is now back to his first love—writing. He is also involved in helping small and midsize family-run businesses re-invent themselves.)
 
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COMMENTS

Ravindra Joshi

4 years ago

An excellent 'insight' piece that would help any Grade V moron, such as this retired fauji, make greater sense of what is going on in the nether world, only the tip of which (s)he gets to see.

It confirms what the said moron vaguely suspected but was too dumb to fully understand, even when the murky business has been going on for so long.

So, many thanks to the former 'army brat'and kind regards. To him I'd say: Keep spilling the beans, thick and fast!

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