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BW Businessworld

What Industry Leaders Are Expecting From Union Budget 2020

BW Businessworld compiled a list of expectations from the industries: Here are some of the key expectations from the industries:

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As Union Budget 2020 is around the corner, all the industry leaders and individuals are eagerly waiting to hear something beneficial. Every year, at the same time, expectations of the industry people and consumers from the government on the taxes and others take a flight. Last year, the budget focuses on reducing red tapism, making the best use of technology, building social infrastructure, digital India, pollution-free India, Make In India, job creation in Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and investing heavily in infrastructure.

For the Union Budget 2020, PM Modi urged common individuals to share their expectations from the upcoming budget.

In the middle of a huge economy slowdown where India’s GDP growth is crashing for the first time in eleven years 2019-20. Government is making efforts to rejuvenate the economy.

As per the economic conditions every sector is looking forward to Union Budget 2020.

BW Businessworld compiled a list of expectations from the industries: Here are some of the key expectations from the industries:

Tarun Chugh, MD & CEO, Bajaj Allianz Life

Collectively as an industry, we do see a lack of parity in the tax treatment of pension products of life insurance companies and pension products under National Pension Scheme (NPS). Both the products have similar objective of building long term savings for meeting retirement goals, hence, this disparity should be addressed by the government in the Union Budget 2020. Further, in order to enable customers to see life insurance beyond a tax saving tool and invest in it to fulfil their long term financials goals, the government should either consider a separate deduction section or enhance to limit under Section 80C of Income Tax Act, 1961, to INR 3,00,000, since the current limit of INR 1,50,000 is too low to cater to all the contributions it covers.

Tabby Bhatia, Founder & Director of Voganow.com

We believe that allowing standard operating procedures for MSMEs will involve easy steps to access credit and boost the Indian market. This time we are having huge expectations from the government to bring business-friendly policies and tax reformations to boost this sector and economy since MSMEs are contributing the most in creating millions of jobs and accounting for a major portion of the country’s manufacturing outfit and exports.Also, we are also hoping that government will make some good and big announcements towards the success of ‘Make in India’ initiative.

Beas Dev Ralhan, Co-Founder and CEO, Next Education India Pvt

“The Indian education system is evolving fast; in the past few years, we have witnessed numerous changes. From the introduction of new education policy to the reform of the NEET exam to laying emphasis on digitised classrooms, ICT-enabled learning and quality teacher training programmes – different steps are being taken towards the development of the K-12 sector. Furthermore, Interim Budget 2019 announced an increase of 10 per cent in the education budget, a total amount of Rs 93,847.64 crore, for nationwide academic development. This year, it is expected that more financial support will be promised for education. Vivid introduction of technology in the classroom environment and knitting artificial intelligence with mainstream education is the way forward. India needs to integrate itself with the global big bang of technology. Introducing robots in education to revolutionise STEM can play a significant role in transforming education. Putting emphasis on early childhood education and ensuring that no child is left behind are important factors too. The new education policy has prioritised extensive teacher training and streamlining this process in the coming years will be an important aspect of developing the academic culture of India.” 

G Murlidhar, Managing Director,Kotak Life Insurance-

“Reviving growth has to be the top most priority of this budget. The need of the hour is to stimulate investment in capacity creation and infrastructure development, which necessitates mobilization of long-term household savings. Households prefer life insurance for building long-term savings for various life goals and retirement needs. Life insurance industry also plays a significant role in nation-building through investment in government securities (holding Rs.12 tn or 21% of outstanding central government securities) and long-term infrastructure investments (Rs. 3.9 tn). The industry can supplement the government’s efforts towards the growth objectives.Some constructive steps which can create the right environment include creating a separate limit for tax deduction in addition to Rs.1,50,000 available under section 80C, and making annuities from life insurers tax-free. Ensuring parity in tax treatment of pension products across all investment platforms by providing deduction limit for life insurance pension product similar to NPS under section 80CCD and waiving GST on annuity purchased out of maturity of pension policies in line with NPS, will further aid in mobilizing long-term savings.''

Madhu Alexiouse, Chief Operating Officer, Muthoot Capital Services

Hopeful about the upcoming phase, with respect to two-wheeler sales and demand for financing – Two-wheeler is a basic need when it comes to commute, especially in rural areas. With the upcoming BS VI transition and Government policies making insurance mandatory, on-road prices for vehicles will increase. This will drive more people to avail financing options for new purchases.

More NBFCs foraying into the vehicle-financing space - Financial penetration is much lower in rural areas compared to urban areas, since urban customers mostly have bank details or come prepared with required documents. This segment of customers are priority for NBFCs like MCSL, who are dedicatedly catering to the bottom of the pyramid and empowering the human ambitions by catering to their lifecycle needs. MCSL, however, has been unique in reaching out to the last mile customers with MPG’s vast branch networks and dealer touchpoints.

Measures undertaken to maintain business momentum and stability – Being a company that primarily disburses two wheeler loans, MCSL stands to be at a risk with the ongoing chaos in the auto sector and overall economy. But the company has been working on geographic de-risking and multi-product strategy, to diminish dependency on two-wheeler or car sales for bulk revenue.

Used-cars, and also EV, as segments showing a strong business opportunity – With new car prices rising, used cars are a great alternative for the aspiring customers.

Budget expectations around GST reduction on vehicle purchases – This has been much requested by the auto industry so far, along with reduction in personal income taxes, to leave some extra disposable income in the hands of customers, thereby re-instigating consumer demand and bringing overall stability in the sector and larger economy.

Ankur Bhatia, Managing Director, Amadeus, Indian subcontinent

The government should actively consider addressing the two concerns the aviation industry is currently grappling with. First, a hike in foreign direct investment is highly warranted. Other sectors have been allowed to have FDI via automatic route. Considering the fact aviation is at dire straits, FDI should be allowed on case to case basis with riders from the home ministry to come clear on national security concerns. Second, rationalization of ATF taxes, a long-standing demand of the industry, will take the sector out of the quagmire of debts and wafer-thin margins of operations.

Sarbendra Sarkar, Founder and Managing Director, Cygnett Hotels & Resorts

The budget should have incentives for setting up hotels in far-flung areas. India has a lot of foreign and domestic tourist potential beyond the well-known destinations. However, these locations lack basic tourism infrastructure including good hotels. The budget should promote that. I also want the government to extend tax benefits and develop new schemes to promote inbound tourism which was not evident in the previous year. 

Gaurav Mehta, Founder, Jaipur Watch Company

The budget should incentivize the development of watch component supply chain in India and encourage local manufacturing – India is one of the largest markets for watches in the world but 30-40% of all watches bought in India are imported. Currently, we must mostly import components as the local industry is not able to supply quality parts for watchmaking. The budget should address this issue.  If this issue can be addressed, we can easily become a global hub for watch manufacturing.

Pradeep Aggarwal, Founder & Chairman, Signature Global and Chairman, National Council on Affordable Housing, ASSOCHAM, 

Affordable Housing sector has been given the infrastructure status but the implementation has not been up to the mark. We hope that the announcements that were made last year regarding the investment towards infrastructure will get a clear picture for implementation. The Budget should also address the issue of making cheaper land available in main cities for the development of affordable housing. Apart from that income tax benefits are also expected to increase which will help in more investment in real estate, which in turn will help the economy.

We expect the Government to double the amount of fund allocation for Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. This will enable more people to realize the dream of owning a home and also help the Government in  achieving the goal of Housing for All by 2022.  Finance Minister will have to pay attention to the Input Tax Credit as well, otherwise it will be a direct hit on Affordable Housing as the house becomes even more expensive and will be away from the common man's reach. Apart from this, Government should reduce the GST to single digit on building material like steel, cement etc as well as contractor service among others.

Gaurav Gupta, President, CREDAI Ghaziabad

We are looking forward for the industry status to the real estate sector along with steps being taken in the direction of single window clearance under ease of doing business will tremendously help the sector. Also, it will be a perfect situation if the GST is revised for construction materials such as cement to make them more affordable. First of all, the income tax deduction under section 24 must be increase up to 4 lakh. The second most important aspect is the government should ensure land availability for Affordable Housing and the approvals related to the projects. Many times it’s make difficult for the developers to get them delivered within a stipulated time due to not getting timely approval. Therefore it should be mandatory to have a time-bound approval system in the sector. Apart from this, new technology is being used day by day to speed up the construction. Also, this budget must also aim at increase the present savings limit so that the young population of the country gets a higher spending power and look at real estate sector as an investment avenue.

Mohit Goel, CEO, Omaxe Ltd.

The Government has announced several measures like stress fund for stalled projects, linking of home loan rates to an RBI approved external benchmark and additional tax deduction of Rs 1.5 lac to first time home buyers on homes up to Rs 45 lac. The Government also announced upfront recapitalization of PSBs so as to improve the credit flow in the economy. However, due to the downturn in the market amid NBFCs crisis, lack of confidence amongst homebuyers and banks wary of lending, we urge the Hon’ble Finance Minister to announce a one-time loan restructuring for the sector. This will speed up construction and once construction begins in a full swing, not just consumer confidence but also sales and overall economy will see an upswing.

Vikas Bhasin, CMD, Saya Homes

The list of expectations from this budget is long including more fund allocation for PMAY, reduction of GST on building material, etc. Apart from the usual real estate segment, the budget should especially focus on the commercial segment, which has the potential to attract foreign investment and FDI. The commercial is also witnessing new concepts coming up with the promise of revolutionising the way business is done in India. The segment which includes industrial, retail and frontier segments such as co-living, is expected to develop further. An increasing number of private equity funds are showing interest in commercial office space and we hope that the FM will help the co-working space to flourish. The granting of infrastructure status to the entire real estate sector is at the forefront as it will help attract more investment. We have seen the impact of infrastructure status on affordable housing with many reputed developers now launching projects in the affordable segment.

The finance minister has to balance fiscal prudence and the urgent needs of the sector. Government should resolve liquidity crisis and announce specific measures apart from the announcement of funds last year. How and when the work will start on the finance part is important for the health of real estate sector. We are also expecting the CLSS budgetary support for both Economically Weaker Section (EWS)/Lower Income Group (LIG) as well as Middle Income Group (MIG) should be doubled so that more home aspirants can purchase their dwelling units.

Dhiraj Jain, Director, Mahagun Group

Sector has high hopes from the Budget and it is expected that the FM will take care of the liquidity as well as situation of speedy delivery of projects. This can be done if  FM comes with specific plan to provide funds to the real estate sector. Mere announcements might not work as the need is timely implementation of measures to control the situation. A decision regarding Input Tax Credit, cost of raw materials for real estate, availability of cheaper land, etc, will go a long way in addressing the situation at hand.

Dhiraj Bora, Head Corp Comm, Paramount Group

Government is constantly pushing infrastructure development and we hope that the momentum will be maintained in this budget also. The work on smart cities is stuck and the FM should throw some light on it. The budgetary allocation for the development of smart cities should increase as the present allocation is too low for making the smart cities possible.

Rajat Goel, Joint Managing Director, MRG World

We expect that some more measures should be taken help affordable housing segment. FM should come with policy changes that can make developers to come up with more projects in the segment, people should buy these homes, etc. An announcement for affordable segment on the lines of policy being followed in Haryana can be replicated in other areas.

Ashish Bhutani, CEO, Bhutani Infra

“The growth of real estate sector is marred by the procedural delays which escalates the project cost. To facilitate faster clearance, the government should announce a single-window clearance system that will cut the approval period drastically and will expedite the development process. Secondly, where commercial properties are not sold but developed for leasing, GST at 18 percent is currently applicable. This is additional burden on the developers and need to be addressed as it pushes up the cost of construction.”

Harinder Singh Hora, Chairman Realistic Realtors

In 2019, there was two clear cut trends that emerged. The residential segment continued to struggle, while commercial segment thrived. As such, in the budget for 2020-21, we expect Hon'ble Finance Minister to announce some measures to boost residential segment. Increasing tax deduction limit and providing certain incentives on the purchase of second homes seems to be on cards.

We also expect Government to announce additional measures for improving liquidity situation via a dedicated window and one-time restructuring on loans.Government may also incentivise REITs and InVits so as to develop a robust mechanism for funding to commercial segment.

Harpreet Vohra, General Manager Radisson-437' class='description_topic_highlight'>Radisson-103' class='description_topic_highlight'>Radisson-437' class='description_topic_highlight'>Radisson Blu Faridabad

"One of the major sources of revenue for hotels is business conferences, however due to the current tax system the customers have to pay approx 28-30% tax over and above the servicing cost. This impacts the overall budget of the customers from large enterprises to startups. If some rebate on the taxes of conference hall booking can be done in a reasonable fashion it can boost India's B2B market. Secondly, government can, too, boost tourism on the desired or off-beat destination of India via hand-in-glove strategy with the hotel industry. By allowing rebate on property buying and hotel building activities in various off-beat destinations will attract not only domestic travellers in large numbers but also the international travellers who will have a reliable stay option. This will also help us as well as the government to take care of the international travellers in a more professional manner. Undoubtedly, this exercise will also boost employment and skill development in the far flung areas of India." 

Alok Mittal, CEO & Co-founder, Indifi Technologies  

“India’s financial sector has been revolutionized with the coming of the fintech sector that has made capital accessible for the underserved small businesses. However, there are challenges with the cost and availability of capital to meet the addressable demand in the market. To ensure availability, we expect the authorities to make PSBs more inclusive and ease the rating mechanism to drive greater influx of capital in the market to further meet the demand of SMEs. Also, the cost of capital currently is very high.  A supportive policy that enables transmission of rates to NBFCs would help in more credit to SMEs at reasonable rates."

Atul Todi, CEO & Co-Founder, 10Times

“Budget is the right time to announce policies, and it’s just around the corner. To lay the foundation of the future, and promote ‘Make in India’, the government should recognize the importance of having infrastructure for organizing large scale business exhibitions. The dragon nation boasts of having six of the world’s 20 largest business convention centres. Indian government’s plan of investing INR 100 lakh crore (unveiled recently) on infrastructure should incorporate construction of exhibition centres across India. By holding large scale exhibitions, India will attract foreign investors as well as companies to showcase its true potential in the field of manufacturing. The budget should also provide tax-break to companies for exhibiting their business in foreign countries.”

Zishaan Hayath, CEO & Co-Founder, Toppr

"Fundamentally, an overhaul in the education system is required. At the moment, many of our graduates are ill-equipped for the job market. Investing in higher education will be a priority for this budget, particularly since the presiding economic conditions will make potential students hesitant to study further, as they’d prefer to secure jobs instead. Efforts need to be made to help students upskill." 

Shobhit Bhatnagar, CEO & Co-Founder, Gradeup

"Our Education sector plays an important role in empowering our youth. The EdTech industry is a key component of our education sector. Therefore, the government should offer tax benefits to EdTech startups in the form of exemptions.  The issue of angel tax has still not been properly resolved. As a result investors are reluctant to invest heavily in promising startups because if they do decide to invest heavily then they end up paying a significant tax on it. Therefore, investors require clarity on this front so they can start to invest freely"

Dhruv Agarwala, Group CEO, Elara technologies, the country’s only full stack real estate technology platform that owns PropTiger.com, Housing.com and Makaan.com

“In the last six months, the Government has taken several measures to boost the economy, some of which were particularly aimed at reviving the moribund real estate sector. Most of these measures are likely to bear fruit in the medium to long term.

Immediately, the biggest challenges confronting the real estate sector are liquidity and demand. While the Rs. 25,000cr stress fund/AIF that was announced earlier is likely to solve part of the liquidity crisis, there is an urgent need for a one time loan restructuring for the sector. This would provide significant relief to developers and lead to faster completion of projects. We hope that the Hon’ble Finance Minister announces that measure in the upcoming budget.

On the other hand, to push demand, the government should consider lowering the tax burden on individuals to put more money in people’s hands and also consider providing an additional tax deduction on purchase of a second house. This will help boost demand and lead to an overall growth in the GDP by driving up consumption.”

Amit Raheja, CMD, Wealth Clinic

Like any other sector, the real estate sector has huge expectations from the upcoming Budget 2020. To revive the home buyer interest in the sector, the government should increase the income tax benefits for home buyers. The developers expect that the land acquisition should be made simpler and faster and other requisite approvals required from the state functionaries. We expect that the Budget 2020 to announce industry status to the real estate sector and single window that will further help in raising low-cost funds.

Yash Miglani, MD, Migsun Group

In this budget we expect the government to take initiatives to towards resolving liquidity crunch to ease the developers and buyers both. In the near past the government has allocated funds to complete over 1,600 stalled housing projects which came a great relief and to further provide the aid to the developers by making the process of paying back the money to the financial institutions and banks we expect the government to restructure the terms of interest and instalments of old loans given to the developers.

 Sachin Dev Duggal, Co-founder and CEO, Builder.ai  

"In this digitally-driven decade, apps are set to become the backbone of every business across the globe, especially those in India. Therefore, a budget that is easier on the pockets of individuals and small-to-medium businesses will allow for more investment in digitalisation, ergo leading to higher consumer spends in terms of sales, subscriptions, ad-free versions and so on. By large, this should make the entire Indian ecosystem generate more revenue and jobs in the technology sector"  

Ashish Bhatia, Founder & MD, India Accelerator

"The startups are hoping that the budget will announce initiatives that could pull more foreign capital and boost growth. The reduction in GST charges will encourage more foreign investors to invest in Indian start-ups. Currently, the tax rate of long-term capital gains is 28.5% as compared to the same for listed equities to be 10%. This creates a significant tax burden on founders and employees of startups, as well as domestic angel and institutional investors. Further, the relaxation of personal income tax rates will act as a booster shot. It will certainly help the startup companies and the Millenials to improve further and ease doing business."

Vaibhav Gupta, Co-Founder, Rein Games

"ESOP taxation policies are something that startups can significantly benefit from. ESOPs are the single most important tools that cash strapped startups can use to attract talent with the right commitment and mindset. However, the tax implications at the time of exercising these ESOPs make them lose their shine significantly. Taxing ESOPs at the time of liquidation event, which is when the true worth of ESOP can be assessed is not only fair but can also help serve the purpose ESOPs are meant for."

Akshay Chaturvedi, Founder & CEO, Leverage Edu. 

“I am hoping for higher education loans to become more tax-friendly than they are right now. The deductions should be across the entire life of student loan and be on both, the principal and the interest component. Our biggest challenge as a fast-growing economy is employability - so making higher education more accessible and more friendly to the new generation is the absolute basic step that we should see now” 

Kunal Jain, Founder & CEO of Analytics Vidhya

The government realizes the importance of new technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. I expect to see decisions to fuel the growth of these technologies in several domains. For example, there are a lot of start-ups doing work on use of non-traditional data sources to build better lending solutions and enabling lending to customers with little or no-access to loans. Any reforms to support and enable these start-ups can have a huge long term impact and can further differentiate India's Banking / FinTech Industry.

Ambarish Ghosh, Founder and Director, The Hillcart Tales 

The tea industry can become a powerhouse for generating employment in India. It can employ a great proportion of the million-plus workforce of the country in a variety of roles. For this, the sector must become more viable through reduction in the costs of production and increase in selling prices. There is a need for a uniform GST of 5% to be applied on all products including flavored teas. This will help the industry in sustaining itself. Another major area of focus should be on increasing the budgetary allocation for infrastructure development and ease of doing business in India which will help attract more foreign investments.

On the e-commerce front, the government should look at lowering income tax and putting more money in the hands of the consumers to encourage domestic consumption in the economy. Small or home entrepreneurs should be freed from GST obligations and the government must ensure parity between online and offline suppliers that have a turnover below INR 40 lakh. Additionally, some clarity on e-commerce policies will set the pace for start-ups for the year ahead. 

Vidit Garg, Director, Kundan Group 

"Gold Industry in India is also slowing down along with many other Industries. India is the largest importer of Gold and major part is to meet the demand of Jewellery Industry. Gold has emotional attachment in Indians and its demand is insatiable. One of the major reasons for slow-down in Industry is abnormal high duty applicable for gold, which was in the last Budget increased to 12.5%. Further, there is 3% GST. We expect from this year Budget, that the Government shall reduce Custom Duty by at least 4%, so as to curb smuggling and to give push to sinking Gems and Jewellery Industry.

At present, though export of pure gold is permitted; but there is no duty draw back available for its export. Quite often, it is observed that gold prices prevailing in Indian market are far less than that of international prices. The Government should allow export of pure gold procured from domestic market and provide for compensatory duty draw back. By allowing this, India can also become international hub for Bullion business and add to foreign exchange kitty".  


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