India Inc's Budget Wishlist: Tax Relief For Art Philanthropy, Boosting EV Ecosystem

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Steps To Boost Indian Economy
1/16

Steps To Boost Indian Economy

All eyes are on Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman as she gets to roll out her second Budget on February 1.

While the main focus is to spur economic growth, India Inc bosses feel certain initiatives in this year's Budget will help various sectors like food, culture & art, real estate, fintech and automobile. Several suggestions like boosting 'Make In India' in order to generate employment, reviving consumer demand and reintroducing the subvention scheme have also been doing the rounds.

As the day nears, here are some suggestions from top business leaders.

Agencies
Sunil Gupta, MD & CEO, Avis India
2/16

Sunil Gupta, MD & CEO, Avis India

The Government should build on its recent push towards sustainability by prioritising the growth of the Electric Vehicle ecosystem. This can be done by promoting the creation of a strong and well-connected charging infrastructure on a pan-India level, promoting the setting up of EV battery capacity in the country and incentivising the adoption of EVs, especially for public transport buses, fleet operator cars and two- and three-wheelers.

The road connectivity must also be improved between major urban centres and tier-2/3 regions to bolster the growth of the travel and tourism sector.

Agencies
Shreevar Kheruka, CEO, Borosil Glass Works
3/16

Shreevar Kheruka, CEO, Borosil Glass Works

In order to generate employment, the Budget should consider further incentives for boosting 'Make In India', and look into new mechanisms to prevent whole-sale dumping of goods by many countries into India, specifically in the area of solar energy.

Given the deceleration in economic growth, the FM may be compelled to look at measures both for immediate impact and long-term growth. The Budget will have to play a fine balancing act between managing the deficit and providing a boost to flagging economic growth. Also, India's ease of doing business ranking improved last year from 77th to 63rd. The Government needs to push ahead with sustained regulatory reforms to provide a conducive business environment.

Agencies
Sanjay Kumar, CEO & MD, Elior India
4/16

Sanjay Kumar, CEO & MD, Elior India

The 2020 Budget allocation for the food industry is going to be critical, mainly due to the removal of the input tax credit on food sold in restaurants and workplaces. This step has negatively impacted the agricultural economy, ultimately having an adverse reaction to the food services industry which is a $10 billion-economy that backs $7 billion of agriculture produces. It has largely resulted in a disorganised industry, creating a lopsided structure of the entire sector as previously there was service tax and GST that claimed to have an input tax credit. The removal of Input Tax Credit and replacing it with flat-tax took away the core promise of GST, that is to eliminate the cash economy and to make sure the business of the companies help meet the expectations of the Government in ensuring transparency in the transactions.

Furthermore, it is worse when it comes to food services provider or organised caterer of any sort. When the customer is billed, he or she can claim ITC on that purchase but the service provider cannot as that is considered as a restaurant. Due to this, while the restaurants are hiking up the prices to compensate for the loss of ITC, food service providers are left high and dry. As a consequence, it reflects negatively towards the motive of helping bring about an organisational approach to agriculture produces and streamline the process. We remain optimistic that the decision of bringing back the input tax credit will be considered under the cognisance and some change is hopeful. It is also important that more focus is given to the agricultural produce so that the area substantially gets highly streamlined. The need to spur private investment and therefore to have a more predictable tax regime which can allow us to kick start our acquisitions in India is mandatory. The industry is looking forward to a revised and much predictable tax regime along with the reintroduction of the input tax credit on food sales to streamline the GST in the sector.

Agencies
Rishabh Mehra, Managing Director and CEO, Digital Mall of Asia
5/16

Rishabh Mehra, Managing Director and CEO, Digital Mall of Asia

With the increasing demand for online purchasing, more and more businesses are moving to e-store from brick and mortar stores. e-Commerce has also revolutionised the way companies are doing business. The Government should make GST obligations for both offline and online traders same to provide more clarity on policy guidelines pertaining to eCommerce.

Looking at it as a major opportunity, the Government should look to spend higher on infrastructure and rural programs, and focus on tax cuts to boost personal consumption.

Agencies
Prashant Sharma, Chief Investment Officer, Aviva Life Insurance
6/16

Prashant Sharma, Chief Investment Officer, Aviva Life Insurance

The Government needs to do a tight rope walk in the 2020 Union Budget by balancing the burgeoning fiscal deficit and increasing the borrow at one end and stimulating growth at the other. The need to strike a fine balance will be a key agenda in the upcoming Budget. There are expectations of reduction in personal income tax rates to boost consumption and dividend distribution tax, and long-term capital gains tax to improve the sentiment in the capital markets. These measures will increase the disposable income in the hands of the individual, boosting the currently subdued demand and supporting the massive divestment program that is running short the target. Given the Budget constraints, the Government needs to maximise collections and spending efficiency in future.

Agencies
Neeraj Jain, CFO, Cosmo Films
7/16

Neeraj Jain, CFO, Cosmo Films

The Government should bring in more business-friendly policies, and take steps to reduce regulatory compliance, thereby creating a holistic environment for the ease of doing business. Removal of MAT from SEZ and simplification of domestic sales from SEZ will give required boost to the manufacturing industry. Last but not the least, removal of capital gain from equity transaction will facilitate overall market capitalisation of stock market.

Agencies
Manish Khera, Founder & CEO, HAPPY
8/16

Manish Khera, Founder & CEO, HAPPY

Fund availability has to be made for a conducive and supportive financial environment. This is because the lending fintechs are largely the ones that cater to the masses or the people who are not served by the formal financial institutions. The access to liquidity has to be eased for such fintechs. Though there are many funds which are established for the fintechs, the flow of money for the same has its own unique challenges. There has to be rationalisation of MAT tax rate along with the increase in the minimum threshold for tax exemption as many end up paying taxes despite being eligible for the tax holiday.

Agencies
Kausshal Dugarr, Founder and CEO, Teabox
9/16

Kausshal Dugarr, Founder and CEO, Teabox

This year’s Budget is being eagerly awaited by all stakeholders as the need of the hour is to revive consumer demand which in turn will spur economic growth. To tackle this, a reduction in personal income-tax rates through concessions in tax slabs, and an increase in welfare spends will boost spending. With the dip in foreign investment currently impacting businesses, steps towards a healthy economy will improve foreign investor confidence and attract more international investments. To reduce the burden on business owners, the Government should initiate the simplification of various tax-related compliance and faster processing of tax refunds.

Agencies
Jatin Ahuja, Founder & MD, Big Boy Toyz
10/16

Jatin Ahuja, Founder & MD, Big Boy Toyz

There has been a downturn in the overall auto industry lately, and the challenges have directly affected the mainstream luxury car industry. The pre-owned luxury car segment is eyeing 50% growth with this year’s Union Budget. We expect the Government to align its electric mobility vision with challenges faced by automakers and auto-dealers in terms of innovation and elasticity. The automobile sector is a crucial contributor in country’s GDP. Hence, the Government must take steps to ease the implementation of Bharat Stage VI norms which may lower the demand until the public fully understands the policies.

Agencies
Jasmeet Thind, Co-founder, Coutloot
11/16

Jasmeet Thind, Co-founder, Coutloot

The Budget should help the economy recover in most sectors that have seen a smaller growth over the last few years. Apart from this, we hope India lowers its import tax on commodities so that the end-consumers can have access to aspirational products for cheap prices, while at the same time drive credit subsidies for small business owners and boost manufacturing, which eventually will strengthen the economy growth.

Agencies
Vikram Agarwal, Managing Director, Greendot Health Foods, part of Cornitos Nacho
12/16

Vikram Agarwal, Managing Director, Greendot Health Foods, part of Cornitos Nacho

The Government should increase the spending in agriculture and infrastructure sector, and spend 50 per cent of the allocated budget in the first half of the fiscal year. The Government must consider reduction of tax burden on common man, and avoid increasing GST structures again so that the overall sentiments of the economy are not affected.

Agencies
Ashok Mohanani, Chairman of EKTA World, Vice-President of NAREDCO Maharashtra
13/16

Ashok Mohanani, Chairman of EKTA World, Vice-President of NAREDCO Maharashtra

The real estate sector definitely needs a stimulus which the Budget announcement can provide. Some of the key expectations from the Government are to improve liquidity, balance fiscal discipline with stimulus, and expedite resolution of stressed projects, few of which are already under way.

A resolution on the liquidity crunch and of the NBFC crisis is crucial so providing the requisite incentives is expected. The sector also expects the Government to reintroduce the subvention scheme as it will eventually result in favour of both buyers and developers.

With the Government's goal for ‘Housing for all 2022’, the affordable housing is expected to flourish in 2020. To match with on-going price range in metros, it is imperative to increase the limit of affordable housing to Rs 1 crore from the current cap of Rs 45 lakh, or alternately increase the size limit to 60 sqmt from the current 30 sqmt. This will bring more projects and locations under the affordable ambit where a larger section of the population will be benefited. Apart from these, ensuring capital gains on par with shares to provide benefits to developers will help maintain the cash flow in the market.

Agencies
Ashish Anand, CEO & MD, DAG
14/16

Ashish Anand, CEO & MD, DAG

While the Government’s inclination to link art and heritage to cultural tourism is to be lauded, we need to provide a fillip to the art sector which has remained depressed. My wish list from the Budget:
- There are indications that GST on art may be increased. I sincerely hope that is not the case, and in fact, it is rationalised at 5 per cent
- The Government should encourage patronage of the arts in public spaces/buildings by allocating a percentage of the spend on art
- Budget allocations to Government museums such as NGMA need to be increased which will further allow them to purchase art - something they have been constrained in doing
- Concessions and tax exemptions should be made for people bringing Indian art back to India from overseas
- There should be tax exemptions for art philanthropy. For example, collectors donating works to state museums or those setting up private museums should be given concessions

Agencies
Anurag Avula, Co-founder & CEO, Shopmatic
15/16

Anurag Avula, Co-founder & CEO, Shopmatic

We are hopeful that the Budget will continue to serve the interests of SMBs and individual entrepreneurs. Owing to the nationwide digitisation drive, we have seen increased adoption from tier II states and beyond. This year, we hope that the government will continue to be bullish on the same and will come up with more rewarding benefits for aspiring businessmen and startups.

Efforts should also be channeled on aiding up-skilling, so that individual entrepreneurs, hobbyists, crafts person and artisans are able to enhance their existing skills, and better leverage the online and offline opportunities available for them to achieve success.

Agencies
Kunal Sawhney, CEO, Kalkine
16/16

Kunal Sawhney, CEO, Kalkine

This Budget should facilitate the ease of doing business, simplify the tax structure and introduce some beneficial tax reforms to promote flow of investments.

Though India made a significant jump from 77th to 63rd position in the World Bank’s Ease Of Doing Business Ranking 2020, the country still needs to implement certain measures that can offer more autonomy to the industry to perform. Streamlining the regulatory compliance mechanism and business-friendly policies can give a further boost to businesses.

Streamlined and fair tax reforms, and a fast-track dispute resolution forum can offer higher transparency for investors seeking to invest in India. The Government can think over constituting a GST-specific federal body that can provide more clarity over the indirect tax besides addressing grievances related to the tax.

Issues like slowest pace of economic growth, sluggish consumer demand and decelerating private investment have been draining business confidence continuously in the country, suggesting a need for robust and deep-rooted structural reforms to revive the economy.

Promoting skill development via higher education can bolster the economy’s sluggish growth. Stimulating credit growth is essential to give a boost to the nation’s investment cycle. The Government should give significant emphasis to banks and other lending institutions, which are battling with liquidity constraints, finding it more difficult to meet their funding needs.

Agencies

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