Budget 2018: Industry leaders today welcomed the budget 2018-19 saying that it addressed key aspects of the economy such as agriculture distress, rural infrastructure, science, technology, health care and impetus to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. Chairman and Managing Director of Biocon Limited Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw said the wide ranging union budget covered some of the main points that the economy has been suffering from. “Agriculture stress, poor rural infrastructure and connectivity, absolutely pathetic health care and educational ecosystem in the country, science and research – All these have been covered in the budget”, she said speaking at a CII event on budget. ” The universal health care system that they are rolling out is very important. Half the population will benefit from it.
Basically 100 million families will get health coverage of Rs five lakh per family. All this is welcome move,” she said. She hailed Rs one lakh crore allocation for revitalising research institution and creating centre for excellence. The government should seriously implement the proposals it has announced in the budget.
The co-founder of Infosys Limited, Kris Gopalakrishnan opined that the budget gives highest level focus on health, education, agriculture, which was a welcome move. “I feel that these sectors can also create large number of job environment. Specifically on research as a scheme to find PM’s research fellows to do PhDs from IITs and IISc is a good move. Focus on artificial intelligence, big data, cyber security, robotics and GST has been given an allocation of Rs 3,000 crore,” he said.
He, however, felt that the government should have made some announcements regarding the angel tax for start-ups. Amit Sarkar of Grant Thornton said that the social welfare part of agriculture was quite visible in the budget, he said he would like to see how things would unfold in the defence procurement policy announced in the budget. Sarkar welcomed the relaxation of FDI investment protocol saying, relaxation of FDI investment protocol for foreign companies wanting to partner with Indian companies to set up defence manufacturing hubs in India is a much needed and much awaited clarification.
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Its fine print will determine whether the government was serious about implementing a defence procurement strategy to augment ‘Make in India’ for making India most self-dependent in defence, Sarkar said. Gopalakrishnan, later talking to PTI, said the funding needs of the healthcare programme, will presumably be covered under the gains made by the government’s efforts in reducing fiscal deficit.
“Yes, there has been no mention of how the government plans to raise funds to implement the programme, but I assume that the funding needs presumably will be covered under the gains made by government’s efforts to reduce fiscal deficit,” he said. Gopalakrishnan said the programme will spur the healthcare industry which will create jobs. He said the extension of lower corporate tax of 25 per cent to companies with a turnover of upto Rs 250 crore from the existing Rs 50 crore will definitely benefit Small and Medium Scale Enterprises.
Reduction of corporate tax is needed to be globally competitive because there is a move towards the same across the globe, he added. Overall, the budget is based on pragmatic view of job creation, Gopalakrishnan said.