India Inc has welcomed the Union Budget 2023-24 presented by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, calling it pro-growth and forward-looking.
HDFC Bank’s chief economist Abheek Barua said the budget recognised that it would have to continue playing the lead role in driving investments in the economy given the rising global risks and only a nascent recovery in the private capex cycle.
Pointing out that the capital outlay for 2023-24 was raised to Rs 10 lakh crore, a rise of 33 per cent year on year, he said, “The budget also pays heed to the need for fiscal consolidation, reducing its fiscal deficit target to 5.9 per cent of GDP in 2023-24 from 6.4 per cent in 2022-23.”
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Barua said the resultant lower-than-expected market borrowing number is likely to bring some relief to the bond market.
“We see the 10-year bond yield to moderate towards 7-7.1 per cent in FY24. The budget also announced adjustments in income tax slabs that are likely to boost consumption and savings in the economy, benefitting taxpayers, particularly at the lower brackets of the income pyramid,” he added.
METRO Cash & Carry India MD & CEO Arvind Mediratta said the budget is a pro-growth budget with a credible roadmap with numbers. “There is a big thrust on capital expenditure that has gone up by 33 per cent along with several sops for the middle class,” he said adding, “The amount of inclusiveness in this budget from a medium to long-term perspective, especially given the global inflationary market, will help maintain fiscal discipline, lead to capacity building and help accelerate India’s growth prospects.”
Mediratta further said the priority towards green fuels and sustainability is a very good move. “A lot of allocations have been made for the rural sector. This will give spur consumption and boost growth towards achieving a $5 trillion economy,” he added.
He welcomed the revamped credit guarantee for MSMEs, saying “an additional infusion of Rs 9,000 crore is a great development for MSMEs that are still recovering from the impact of the pandemic.” Mediratta also pointed out that though the announcement of decriminalizing 3,400 legal provisions may not be quantifiable in terms of numeric, “but is a hugely positive step towards reducing the compliance burden and enhancing the ease of doing business.”
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“Also, the much-awaited income-tax slab change is a huge tax relief for the salaried middle class and will help boost spending and consumption,” he added.
‘Will boost consumption’
Aequs Chairman & CEO Aravind Melligeri called the budget “forward-looking” with a “lot for the common man.”
“The 33 per cent boost to capital expenditure and higher allocation for infrastructure will boost consumption and capital generation which will be good for the economy,” he said. “The export-oriented indirect taxation proposals focusing on in-country value addition will go a long way in boosting Make in India.”
On the income-tax measures, Melligeri said, “The simplified tax structure with fewer rates should reduce the compliance burden and improve tax administration.”
Vinay Dube, founder and CEO, of Akasa Air, said the Union Budget is growth-oriented and will steer India towards holistic development across all pillars. The announcement of 50 additional airports and ramping up of air transport infrastructure is a welcome move and will support the nation’s growing demand for air travel, he said.
Dube further said: “The focus on promoting domestic tourism will provide impetus to the further revival of the sector and aligns with our vision to strengthen India’s transportation system. As India’s greenest airline, we are delighted to acknowledge Green Growth as one the key priorities of this Union Budget and be at the forefront of creating green job opportunities in the country.”
Focus on agriculture
Varun Khurana, Founder & CEO of Otipy, said it is encouraging to see the government’s focus on agriculture, specifically setting up an agri accelerator fund for agri startups. This will accelerate the pace of innovation in a sector which is India’s biggest in the context of the employment it generates, he added.
“The government’s commitment to setting up digital public infrastructure for agriculture will help the agritech startups to connect with more farmers and in turn enable them to realise better value for their produce,” said Khurana. “In addition to these measures, the plan to set up a massive decentralised storage capacity will go a long way in helping the farmers by not only providing a respite from post-harvest loss but will act as a booster to increase their returns for them.”
‘Budget with vision’
Kotak Mahindra Bank CEO Uday Kotak described it as a “Budget with vision, structure, discipline. Immediate benefits to all individual earners. Continues measured path of fiscal consolidation. Sets foundation to increase every Indians per capita income exponentially from Rs 1.97 lakh( 2400$).True to its name: 1st budget for Amrit Kaal.”
Taking a football analogy, RPG Enterprises Chairman Harsh Goenka tweeted, “Mbappe of a budget, not Messi at all. A budget that puts India on the path to become the world champion- all set to score goals on infra development, consumption and inclusion. A big boost for domestic manufacturing, job creation and ease of doing business! #Budget2023.”
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Godrej & Boyce Executive Director and CEO Anil G Verma said this is a balanced and inclusive budget which will provide further impetus to growth. “The renewed thrust on investment in infrastructure will drive the productivity of our economy and generate employment. Our competitiveness in the global economy will also be improved through the thrust on research in fields like 5G services, AI and agriculture,” Verma added.