India Budget surprises with surge on spending, tax on super-rich

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SummaryChidambaram announces higher-than-expected spending, proposes tax on wealthy people, cos.

the realities of a country of 1.2 billion people, many of them poor. "On the one side is the economic policy, on the other side is economic welfare. We are a developing country. The link between policy and welfare can be expressed in a few words: Opportunities, education, skills, jobs and income," Chidambaram said.

COMMENTARY ON BUDGET PROPOSALS

ASIM WARSI, VICE PRESIDENT, SAMSUNG MOBILE, INDIA, NEW DELHI

"The 15 percent investment allowance on manufacturing investment should give a fillip to domestic manufacturing. However, in overall terms, we do not see the budget reviving the consumer sentiments in the absence of any specific incentives to boost consumer sentiment itself. Further, the increase in the excise duty on mobile phones will not have a positive impact on the mobile industry and should lead to an increase in prices for end consumers."

KAPIL WADHAWAN, CHAIRMAN AND MANAGING DIRECTOR, DEWAN HOUSING FINANCE CORP, MUMBAI

"It is a very balanced budget and is great for mid- to lower-income housing. The rural housing fund allocation of 60 billion rupees and an increase in tax exemption of 100,000 rupees on home loans of up to 2.5 million rupees is a welcome move.

"We continue to draw a lot of funding from the National Housing Bank (NHB) as refinance for our lending activities. The money we receive from NHB comes to us at a very low cost. So if NHB releases more money through the rural housing fund to players like us there is incentive for us to reduce absolute interest cost to the end customer."

MEHUL CHOKSI, CHAIRMAN & MANAGING DIRECTOR, GITANJALI GEMS , MUMBAI

"For the jewellery sector, the budget was quite pragmatic. The finance minister introduced measures so people start investing in other financial instruments and move away from gold.

"I don't think that will have a major impact on spending patterns or people's preference to buy gold and gold jewellery. It is a cultural necessity and so that will not get impacted. The positive bit was that there was no hike in import duty on gold which I think is welcome because firstly it is already very high and then it would also increase black market activities and the government will only lose more."

SYED SAFAWI, CEO, VIOM NETWORKS, NEW DELHI

"The budget's focus to bolster the country's infrastructure has positives for the private sector by way of encouragement of infrastructure debt funds.

"However, the high expectation of assistance to telecom tower companies that have

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