The Budget is firmly growth-oriented and has various positives for the steel industry. The government's continued thrust on development of infrastructure and manufacturing will help steel demand in the country to grow. Besides, higher support for the housing sector is a step in the positive direction. Higher export duty on iron ore has been a long-pending demand of the steel industry and the Budget has taken care of the issue by increasing the export duty to 20%. This should ensure higher availability of iron ore for the Indian steel industry. Again, withdrawal of export duty on pellets should encourage installation of pellet plants by mining companies. More pellet plants in the country will also benefit the steel industry. Further, reduction in surcharge on income tax from 7.5% to 5% will have a positive impact on domestic companies, making available disposable surplus for investment. The proposed Constitutional Amendment Bill on GST is also a welcome development.
MD & JV Partner, McDonalds India (North & East)
Govt keen to consolidate the right steps already taken
This is a Budget that focuses on the economic nuts and bolts. A strong demand continues to exist in our economy and the announcements made by the minister in context of strengthening the farm sector and cold chain infrastructure are all indicative of the government's resolve to stabilise the supply side. It is a good thought that, hopefully, will control inflation in the medium to long term.
Since there are no populist announcements and as is evident that revenues earned are not being thrown away, you get an indication that the government is keen to consolidate the right steps that have already been taken in the past.
Though this would have been a great opportunity to make strong policy announcements towards attracting higher FII into the country, since the focus is on nuts and bolts, it is still a step in the right direction. I feel increasing the allocation for the farmers, and rewarding them for good credit performance are positive steps to achieve inclusive growth goals, which would ultimately benefit our overall economy.
Vice-chairman, RPG Enterprises
Mature and balanceda pro-growth Budget
In a year of very strong challenges, the finance minister has done a remarkable job by focusing on high growth and making the growth inclusive.
He deserves the industrys thanks for his cautious walking in building a resilient economy.
The finance ministers guiding principles are moderation and simplicity in taxes, which is commendable. This years Budget truly combines his vision for the future, as also reality on the ground. The Budget is also a bold step towards creating a stable tax system for the future.
Without any net additional taxation, direct and indirect taxes taking together, the finance minister has reduced fiscal deficit to 4.6%, mainly because of high buoyancy in tax revenues. This will create larger room for private bonds and equity.
The finance minister has also reduced the surcharge on corporate income tax from 7.5% to 5% and increased the MAT marginally to 18.5%, while extending the latter to SEZs. This paves the way for introducing the DTC from April 2012.
The announcement to reform the APMC Act, the self-assessment in customs, extending exemption for infrastructure in cold chain and maintaining the excise duties at 10% are most welcome.
The continuance of service tax at 10% will facilitate adoption of GST possibly next year.
The finance minister deserves our thanks for giving close attention to alleviation of food inflation. For that reason, he has provided for additional expenditure on agriculture. Similarly, the investment in infrastructure will be 23% high under public-private partnership.
Significantly, the finance minister has increased the amount FIIs can invest in bonds.
All in all, a very mature and balanceda pro-growth Budget.