Expert views from different sectors:
Chiranjiv Patel, Regional Director, Entrepreneurs' Organization, South Asia:
"It is a very well structured and comprehensive budget but on the other side, I feel that even after 70 years of independence, we are still fighting for the basic needs of the common man of India.Corporate tax is reduced to 25% from 30% over the turnover of 250 cr towards fulfilling his promises. This structural changes will help achieve the expected economic growth of 205 trillion and expected to be the 6th largest economy by the end of the year. Overall it's a populist budget pleasing the rural sector, working towards upliftment of basic health and infra facilities but no major tax Relief".
Manoj K Singh, Founding Partner, Singh & Associates:
"Union Budget 2018-19 might not be able to meet the expectation of all the sectors but for both Infrastructure as well as Health sector it has brought some good news including but not limited to allocation of more funds, new schemes including the inclusion of Health Wellness Centres in CSR activities mandatory to be undertaken by Corporates. For MSME also, there is a relief in tax slab as now for those corporates who have a turnover or gross sales up to Rs 250 crore, the corporate tax rate will be 25%. For those who deal in equity of listed entities, a capital gain tax of 10% has been introduced for sale of equity shares held for more than 1 year which earlier was exempted. A welcome move in employee reforms whereby the female employee can contribute up to 8% as her contribution towards Provident Fund for initial three years instead of existing 12%. Overall one can expect a mixed feeling."
Shailja Dutt, Founder and Chairperson, Stellar Search:
"At a personal level, on my wish list as an SME and taking my pre-budget expectations into account, I was of the view that we needed a budget where there would be rationalized tax slabs for companies in the sub 100 crore bracket. The respite comes with the declaration in the reduction of corporate tax to 25% for companies with revenue up to Rs. 250 crores.
However, at a larger level if the budget is an indication of intent, then on that front the current Government has made their stance clear. They will play to the vote bank. I do appreciate the "intent" to provide universal Healthcare, the interest in the 'bottom of the pyramid', the pro - kisaan outcomes but what about the "aam insaan"? Bereft of any benefit for the salaried middle class, the push for long term capital gains further highlights the skewed intent in favor of the vote bank.
From a pre-election perspective I would say the budget is balanced, but will it foster economic growth is still under debate."
Andesh Bhatti, Founder and CEO, Collectcent:
"This Union Budget 2018, the Finance Minister announced that efforts will be put to enhance research in disruptive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT) and Robotics. It is indeed a great move from our government to address the increasing use of new age technology and work towards further enhancing our capabilities. Speaking from an advertising industry perspective, adoption of big-data analytics has had a drastic impact on customer delivery as well as satisfaction rate. We welcome the move by the government to continue its commitment towards promoting digitization and innovation in the country in this Union Budget. And propose a collaboration of Government along with industry players to further increase and strengthen our potential globally"
Sudhir Singh, Managing Director, MargERP
"In his Budget 2018, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced Rs 3794 crore allocation to MSME sector for credit support, capital and interest subsidy on innovation. This is great news for MSMEs and those doing business with them.MSMEs constitute a large part of our clientele; we are happy for them and for ourselves too, for it will translate into ease of doing business both in terms of finances and technology.The Budget proposal is an acknowledgement of the government's realisation that MSMEs are major engine of growth and employment generation.The Finance Ministersaid that with the introduction of GST the government has access to a larger database on MSMEs which will be used to make for policies their benefit. The most important of this is the extension of credit for this sector which has been low despite lower level of NPA. MSMEs got only 17.4 % of total credit according to the Economic Survey 2017-18.With the new budget proposal things are going to improve. There will be larger financing of MSMEs. This will ease cash flow challenges faced by them and help them adopt new technology which is the need of the hour."
Rajesh Rege, Managing Director, Red Hat, India and SAARC:
"It was a well-rounded budget. Emphasis on education, entrepreneurship and healthcare was much needed and is welcome. FM's comments on artificial intelligence and blockchain are a step in the right direction and we look to an early implementation of these initiatives."