Budget 2023: Reactions from industry and political leaders

Budget 2023: Reactions from industry and political leaders

As the status of the global economy remains precarious, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented a Union Budget on Wednesday (February 1),which ticks all the right boxes on the face of it and immediately dubbed as a budget that does no harm. It also did not go down the populist route despite the palpable discontent over unemployment and rising prices.

But there were criticisms from Opposition parties particularly that the budget was anti-poor, and not futuristic. The Himachal CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu has called it just a “ceremonial” budget. The Federal spoke to industry leaders to get their reactions on the budget.

Ralph D’Souza, president, GCCI (Goa)

“The Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) had submitted a detailed memorandum on direct tax to finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman seeking various concessions and reliefs. As the pandemic is over, it’s time to focus on growth. Encouragement of domestic tourism will help Goa. Reduction on export tax on marine products will help the industry.”

Somasundaram PR, regional CEO, World Gold Council

“High taxes will impede efforts to make gold an asset class, particularly at a time when gold prices have risen globally. On a positive note, the announcement that conversion of physical gold to electronic gold receipt will not attract capital gains, will provide an overall digital boost to the industry and promote investments in electronic equivalent of gold.”

Darshan Shah, regional vice-president, CII

“In the budget, multiple schemes and fund allocations have been announced for the MSME sector. It will help the sector to bounce back and play a major role in generating employment. However, there is point of dissatisfaction too. Different MSME industries were expecting reduction in GST tariffs, but it remains unchanged.”

Saiyam Mehra, chairman, All India Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council

“The industry’s critical concerns like EMI on jewellery, relief in capital gains tax, gold monetisation scheme, particularly, the big expectation of a reduction in gold custom duty have not been addressed. These factors have been adversely impacting the industry while  encouraging smuggling and the grey market. Custom duty of silver bars has been brought at par with gold and platinum which will adversely affect the masses. We (GJC) will raise the issue with FM Nirmala Sitharaman during her Mumbai visit on Saturday.”

Himanshu Patel, president, Vadodara Chambers of Commerce and Industries

“The much needed booster dose has been given by the finance minister for the MSME, sector. The sector suffered a major setback in 2020. The tax slab will definitely keep the sector floating.”

Hansraaj Meena, founder, Tribal Army, Rajasthan

“The Union budget comes as a disappointment for the SC, ST and OBC communities and farmers. The government could not spend the fund allotted for the welfare of SC and ST in the budget. The new promises are a hogwash.”

Bhavesh Tank, Diamond Workers Union, Surat

“We welcome the government’s move to encourage production of lab grown diamonds. However that will not improve the condition of the workers of the industry facing job and pay cuts. We were hoping that the government would take measures to deal with the unemployment in the sector, which is the primary reason for the rise in suicide rates amongst the diamond polishing and cutting workers.”

Political leaders tweeted:

Devendra Fadnavis, deputy CM, Maharashtra

“The Union Budget 2023 is Sarva Jan Hitai. It has taken almost all sectors into consideration. “The income tax exemptions up to ₹7 lakh will help lower middle-class and at the same time, income tax limit of ₹1.5 lakh for income upto ₹15 lakh will provide huge relief to the middle-class. The budget will help middle and lower middle-class categories to accomplish its dreams and aspirations. The allocation of ₹10 lakh crore in infrastructure is unprecedented and will boost infrastructure growth.”

Priyanka Chaturvedi, Shiv Sena leader, Maharashtra

“Maharashtra received nothing in the budget while the two neighbouring states, Gujarat and Karnataka, received major support. Surat already has an existing flourishing market for laboratory grown diamonds but it got support in the budget nonetheless.”

Bhupendra Patel, CM, Gujarat

“The Union Budget fulfils the hopes and expectations of the country’s poor, the deprived, and the middle-class. The budget embodies the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of making India a developed nation in the Amrit Kaal, as stated by FM Nirmala Sitharaman.”

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