It’s that time of the year again when businesses across the board expectantly await the government’s fiscal budget. With Modinomics at work, here’s a look at what stalwarts from the beauty and wellness industry wish for this year.
Tejas Bhatt, National Sales Head, Dermalogica
“Custom Duties is the single most challenge for importers, coupled with fluctuating exchange rates. Ultimately the burden of multiple taxes only impacts the consumers, therefore meaning costs need to be absorbed by the Distributors. The delayed implementation of GST, termed as the biggest taxation reform will help India to integrate state economies and boost overall economic growth. This reform is critical to the future success of businesses in India and help to abolish the multiple layers of taxation that currently exist state-wise in the country. The Beauty & Wellness Industry is pegged to grow beyond 1 trillion, along with good investment in infrastructure is the foundation to continuous growth in this sector allowing premium imported brands to flourish on par with the Western world.”
Tsutomu Benjamin Suzuki, Managing Director, Shiseido India Pvt Ltd
“Budget 2015 holds great importance for the beauty & personal care industry. The implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) can be a big trigger for growth of organised retail. GST will not only bring in changes in excise & custom duties but lower the rate of taxation and encourage higher compliance. This will ease complexities of doing business in India.”
Shahnaz Husain, CEO, Shahnaz Husain Group of Companies
“It is said that India is poised to become one of the fastest growing economies in the world. We do have huge expectations from the Budget 2015, but we know that the Government does not have a magic wand. However, a forward thinking budget would kindle the hope that India’s economy will leave other countries behind. The “Make in India” slogan has given out very positive signals to manufacturing industries. I also support the emphasis on development of skills in order to boost employment opportunities. In fact, I have always highlighted the importance of vocational training in relation to the beauty and wellness industries. I would like Ayurveda to be upgraded to a priority sector, in order to encourage research and development. Benefits in the budget should bring about resurgence in Ayurvedic services and products, in terms of the beauty and wellness sector. I am also looking forward to the government creating a business friendly tax environment.”
Istayak Ansari, CEO, LLoyds Luxuries Ltd
“Health and wellness was considered a luxury accessible and affordable by a fraction of the population in the past. Over the last decade there has been exponential growth triggered by increasing disposable income and increased awareness about products and services available in the market. The Health and Wellness industry is considered to be one of the fastest growing industry in India and can further grow with the support of the government. The government should take the first step to recognise the health and wellness industry by setting up a Health and Wellness Development Council under a appropriate ministry which will understand and address issues faced by the industry and remove bottlenecks impeding growth. The Health and Wellness Development Council should suggest appropriate measures to be taken for the overall growth & development of the health and wellness industry. A Luxury tax of 3% was introduced in Delhi on Gyms, Spa and Salons in 2012 which was followed by other states like Haryana and Goa. Luxury tax in addition to VAT and Service tax has further added tax burden on the industry. Increasing rates of taxes will impede the industry’s growth. According to me be going to a gym for staying fit and preventive health care or going for a haircut to a salon is a necessity and not a luxury. The Central government should work towards rationalisation of prevailing tax structure across all states. With the grant of Industry Status the operators in the Health & Wellness industry will be able to access cheaper finance options through banks and financial institution. Government Initiatives and fund deployment under National Skills Development – Though we are a country of 1.2 billion we still face a challenge when it comes to hiring skilled staff across various industry. One of the biggest challenge faced by Heath and Wellness industry is availability of skilled and certified staff. Government have taken various initiative in collaboration with industry stakeholders and independently under Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, National Skill Development Corporation & National Skill Development Agency. The only area of concern is the fund allocated in the past are not fully released or deployed. The amount released in some cases is less than 50%. It’s a good initiative but needs proper implementation with a structured approach to impart training and generate employment options. And I hope with Prime Minister Narendra Modi recent announcement of the activation of the newly formed skill development and entrepreneurship ministry will lead to positive action and allocation of fund and business in the right direction to develop training programmes in tune with market requirement.
Manu Rishi Guptha, CEO, Niraamaya Retreats
“The exuberance of the industry has no limit ever since Mr. Modi has come into power. The classification of the tourism as an industry in real sense rather than only in spirit has been long pending; it would be great if that is cleared in this budget. The industry has extremely long gestation periods and requires high capital investment. Prevailing cost of capital does not allow hotels to thrive in an efficient market place which in turn discourages expansion of industry and abysmally low annual inbound tourist from a global perspective is an evidence of that. The viscous circle unless broken by the government through some smart policies will be a death earth spell for the industry.”