India Inc expects the Budget to simplify tax laws and increase compliance, apart from improving both the ease and cost of doing business.
“Just as the government has done a commendable job in improving the ease of doing business, we would like more initiatives to reduce the cost of doing business as well,” Tata Steel Managing Director T V Narendran said, adding that he expects the government to further build on its reform agenda.
Debjani Ghosh, Managing Director of Intel South Asia, said, “The Budget needs to walk the talk and show real execution towards the government’s intent of making it easier to do business.”
Hemant Kanoria, Chairman and Managing Director of Srei Infra Finance, said the Budget should focus on streamlining regulations to reduce tax uncertainties and improve the ‘ease of doing business’.
“The finance minister must make provisions to broaden the tax net, and one way to achieve this is to increase PAN registrations, which will result in substantial reduction in black money transactions.
“This will also make the proposed requirement of PAN card for purchases above Rs 1 lakh easy to implement,” Muthoot Pappachan Group Chairman Thomas John Muthoot said.
Daksha Baxi of Khaitan & Co said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley should simplify and bring clarity in tax laws, which will undoubtedly improve tax compliance, thereby increasing revenue.
“Removal or significant reduction in MAT rate will put significant cash flow in the hands of taxpayers to make much needed investments,” Baxi said.
YES Bank Managing Director Rana Kapoor said he expects the Budget to do everything to restart capital formation and investment cycle.
The finance minister also needs to restore the confidence of the private sector by furthering the reform process that is already under way to improve the ease of doing business and de-stress the capital markets, he said.
“The private sector has subdued animal spirits which need to be revived. We need to get more high-octane energy in the economy, the catalyst for which is good capex spends and an accelerated resolution and reforms process,” Kapoor said.
On the infra side, Hemant Kanoria said the government should set up an Infrastructure Dispute Redressal Tribunal, so that the industry can resolve long-pending disputes.
Vikas Oberoi of Oberoi Realty said the Budget should boost the realty sector by expediting the enactment of the Real Estate Bill, as this can go a long way in protecting consumer interests by curbing fraudulent practices.
“The realty industry expects a specific date for the implementation of GST, which will give the industry a very clear taxation structure and induce a big change for the logistics architecture,” Oberoi said.
He also expects the government to introduce a single-window clearance system covering both Central and state laws, with pre-defined timelines for speedy clearances.
For the steel sector, which is hit by massive imports, the government could offer a major stimulus by making domestic steel procurement mandatory for smart cities, T V Narendran said.
Debjani Ghosh said she hopes that the Budget takes a relook at procurement norms by focusing on quality and cost-based procurement, and brings in a single independent authority to ease ‘Digital India’ implementation.
“There is a dire need for a strong and well-structured innovation agenda/policy for ‘Digital India’ and ‘Make in India’ to be a reality,” she said.
SpiceJet Managing Director Ajay Singh called for exempting airlines from the MAT ambit till they wipe off all the accumulated losses, apart from giving exemption from withholding tax on aircraft/engine lease rentals.
Meanwhile, the Population Foundation of India (PFI) has urged the finance minister to increase the funds for healthcare in general and family planning in particular.
“The Budget for healthcare should reflect an increase in investments on family planning based on the Health and Family Welfare Ministry’s approval to the introduction of new methods and emphasis on spacing methods to the family planning programme,” PFI Executive Director Poonam Muttreja said.
She said introduction of an additional spacing method needs to be supported with a focus on regular contraceptive supplies along with maintaining utmost quality of care and client follow-up.