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'Cost of living': Professionals from varying sectors share views on Union Budget 2021

From fiscal fallacies to incremental improvements, people and policies are expected to fall in line with a pandemic budget this financial year.

Published: 02nd February 2021 08:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd February 2021 08:14 AM   |  A+A-

Nirmala Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman with the tab ahead of presenting the Union Budget (Photo | Shekhar Yadav, EPS)

Express News Service

Aditya Goel, Co-Founder, Love In Store Startup

Budget 2021 has been received positively by the start-up industry. The government seems to have taken heed of the suggestions by the industry bodies. The tax holiday for start-ups, decriminalising of the LLP act, the amendment to definition of small companies, the faceless tax dispute settlements, and removal of restrictions on one person companies, are all steps in the positive direction and will boost ease of doing business and encourage entrepreneurship.

Sanjay Madan, Co-Founder, Adventures Overland 

There should have been a provision of tax exemptions for the next few years and loan facilities should have been offered to the sector that has come in the negative category (Red Zone). So many professionals in the tourism sector have lost their jobs, and the thousands of graduates who took education in the sector and are facing the biggest scare of their lives as there are no new jobs. The government should have given them some hope by introducing some schemes. 

Rimo Bose, Corporate Communications Manager

Today’s announcement has made sure that the economy will get revived. It focuses on infrastructure development as well as skill sets of the country. This budget is surely going to boost the brands in not only developing itself in terms of technology, but also focus on localisation and employment. Overall, the budget is a great step towards making India a manufacturing hub for all global players.

Tanuja Pandey, Founder and CEO, Uniqstays

As expected, the budget has been a disappointment for the tourism and hospitality sector. No relief was offered to us even in the pandemic. France gave a security blanket to travel agents, and we had expected the same from our government.  This sector has historically contributed over 10 per cent to the GDP and jobs across the globe, and had kept rooting for income tax reductions which would have boosted the cash flow of businesses.

Dilpreet Singh Wasan, Partner, Kanz

It is very encouraging to see the focus on healthcare in the budget, and a 137 per cent increase in the outlay in this industry over the last year. The new custom duty structure that has been introduced on the steel products is a relief as it has reduced duties on copper from 5 per cent to 2.5 per cent. 

Tanvi Gauri, Owner and Designer, Tanvi Gauri label

An infrastructure push like this generally culminates in higher disposable income…good for a luxury brand like ours. We hope the demand increases assuming that the RBI keeps the interest rate the same as before. The setup of mega textile parks can be good but has not worked very well in the past. Hopefully, the scheme is plug and play. The import duty raise on cotton will not affect the sector as only specialist yarn import may become expensive. 

Sai Srinivas, Co-founder and CEO, Mobile Premier League (MPL) 

Government’s budget announcement has been extremely encouraging for the start-up ecosystem in India. The incentivising of one person companies is especially heartening as it promotes the development of more game creators that will help in strengthening the gaming industry in India. The move has also allowed conversion of one-person companies to any other kind, reducing residency limit from 182 days to 120. 

Mike Chen, General Manager, TCL India

We welcome the PLI scheme of the government in making India the manufacturing hub for all the potential global players. However, we need to ease up the duty imposed on raw materials keeping in mind the Make in India thought. We should also be getting added incentives so that transformative measures can be taken. The industry contributes 25 per cent of India’s GDP. 

Vinay Jain, Founder and CEO, Grafdoer

The extended eligibility of tax SOP on the home loan is beneficial for the sanitary-ware industry, and will provide tax exemption for affordable rental housing projects. Moreover, the new customs duty on the steel products is a relief as it has reduced duties on copper from 5 per cent to 2.5 per cent, it has cut duty on copper scrap from 5 per cent to 2.5 per cent, and exempted duty on steel scrap for a specified period. The industry has seen a hike in the products comprising metal constituents but this will now, somehow, help the manufacturers to see stability in the pricing of the products and is a matter of relief for the people.

Jeet Marwadi, Director, Marwadi University

Education Budget 2021 focuses on effective implementation of NEP, International Research Collaboration and setting up of Higher Education Commission. However, more clarity was expected from the budget presentation in terms of cash outlay on R&D, relaxation on GST for Higher Educational Institutions (HEI), subsidising education loans, incentives to Edu-tech and skill tech sectors. Including this would have given a bigger picture on the actual budget allocation in higher education.

Anubhav Jain, Partner, Silverline

Custom duties on gold and silver are reduced by 5 per cent. Earlier, it was 12.5 per cent. A lot of silver and gold jewellery is exported from India. With this custom duty going down, the demand for Indian products should increase and help us come at par with other countries exporting these metals. This is good news for exporters like us. Moreover, prices of gold and silver are already going down and this will help improve buyer’s sentiment towards jewellery. 

Jyoti Bhandari, Founder&CEO, Lovak Capitals

Budget 2021 focuses more on capital expenditure and expansion into infrastructure development as this segment is vital for economic revival. This will create employment opportunities in rural as well as semi-urban areas. Infra-Allied activities will accelerate sectors that are linked with this segment and will gain handsomely. As more people will be employed in infra projects, they will be able to spend on 
consumers goods. 

Amit Jain, Founder, Rising Star Tours and Travel

We are upset that there is no mention of the tourism sector in the budget. We will get to see the underlying effects of this in the next six months. Students who were studying tourism have applied for a change of subjects. We have been forced to trim down 50 per cent of the staff, and have even cut down the working hours.

Divya Lal, Founder and Managing Director, Fliplearn

The allocation of `5,000 crore towards R&D is one of the highlights of this budget. The FM’s plan to strengthen 15,000 schools under NEP is an example of digital education complementing brick and mortar schooling. However, training on leveraging technology has not been spelled out and this is critical to actualise the impact of digitisation of education.

Roop Pratap Choudhary, MD, Noor Mahal

By providing `1.5 lakh crore for railways and privatising airports, the government has given some aid to domestic tourism. However, a more flexible and tolerant financial environment could have supported small hospitality players to explore more growth avenues in these tough times. To encourage guest occupancy, boost domestic travel and help small/independent properties to be more competitive in the market, GST on room bookings should be reduced from 18 per cent to 10 per cent. 

Siddharth Goenka, MD, Octave Hotels & Founder, Aiosell Technologies

While we welcome progressive moves like faceless Income Tax Dispute Resolution and reduction of assessment time period, one big missing link is the special consideration that the hospitality industry expected to receive. Even though hospitality and tourism generate up to 8 per cent of employment, they have been severely hit by the lockdowns and restrictions. A temporary relief in direct and indirect taxes for few years could have provided the industry the boost it needs to recover.

Sonali Sokhal, CEO-Founder, Intelliquo PR

After Covid, the government has had to deal with a lot, and address agricultural infrastructure. One very welcome move is what they have done for the start-up and MSME sectors, and when that happens, the markets will further open up and make space for growth. It’s disappointing that there’s nothing for the middle class, who have suffered a lot, but there’s no acknowledgement for that. Of course it’s a large country with different needs, but still.



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