Budget 2019

‘Focus on skills is a big takeaway for me’

K Sriram | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on March 01, 2016

Budget banter: Hema and K Sriram with their daughter Nandita BIJOY GHOSH

Infrastructure boost will have a cascading effect on other industries

As an entrepreneur for several years in the areas of industrial automation and skills training for the infrastructure industry, and lately in speciality sports retailing, I can see a few interesting takeaways for me and my family in this Budget. First, for a medium-sized entrepreneur, the Finance Minister’s statement that compliance as per Companies Act is to be simplified comes as a big relief.

Gets priority right

The new thrust this year on infrastructure could help me expand the skills training business as the industry will require more and more personnel.

The FM has talked of investing ₹97,000 crore in the roads sector in 2016-17 and this will be a huge boost for the industry and will have a cascading effect on the construction industry.

Our centre imparts skills to rural youth in electrical work, plumbing, plastering, steel works and welding. I am expecting many more youth will seek such skills.

This year, our centre expects to train at least 500 youth and the focus on skills is a right priority.

EPF contribution

As a small-medium enterprise employing around 25 people, the announcement of government’s contribution of 8.33 per cent for all new employees enrolling under the Employees Provident Fund for the first three years of their employment is welcome news. My wife, Hema, has her own outfit and is an entrepreneur in the areas of leadership hiring and leadership training for corporates.

It’s primarily a service-oriented consultancy so the status quo in service tax is a positive for her set-up.

The 100 per cent deduction of profit for start-ups may help my new retail venture; I have to read the fine print though, as the FM has mentioned only manufacturers can avail themselves of it. On the personal front, I am disappointed that the FM has not hiked the exemption limit in income tax, which was widely expected. The additional exemption of ₹50,000 in housing loans up to ₹35 lakh for a first-time home is a good opportunity. The withdrawal of the National Pension Scheme corpus up to 40 per cent tax-free can help one invest that money in other higher-return investments.

I am happy too that the FM intends to set up a higher education financing agency with an initial capital base of ₹1,000 crore. With a school-going daughter with aspirations of studying abroad or at a top institution in India, a new avenue for education loans is welcome.

This year, I was planning to trade in my car for a new one. Now,with prices likely to go up thanks to the infrastructure cess, a good second-hand car could well be my option!

Published on March 01, 2016
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