In the run up to budget, consumer goods companies are looking for a greater thrust on food processing sector to add value to the agricultural produce, increase in rural wages and reduction in taxes to leave more money in the hands of consumers.
Whereas, the restaurant sector is seeking re-introduction of input tax credit from the government in addition to reduction in number of licences required for operating a restaurant.
Here is a wish list of industry biggies…
Hari Menon, Co-founder and CEO, bigbasket
We don’t have any expectations from the budget this year as one of the things that we wanting to happen and settle down is GST because that has been very useful for us in many ways. It had some hiccups and a lot of implementation issues but they are all settling down now and once they settle I think one of the expectation from taxation side is met.
So the only thing that I can ask for is maybe lower rates. But what they have done right now has itself resulted in lower prices as far as consumers are concerned.
My belief is that two areas that the Government should really focus on are job creation and infrastructure. If the Government spends time and energy on these two then it will be very useful.
Mayank Shah, Category Head, Parle Products Pvt Ltd
We are expecting Government to come up with measures to boost spending. So hopefully, lower tax slabs will put more money in consumer’s hands and it will further spur spending. Having seen two consecutive good monsoons and the initiatives that have been taken by Government in rural areas, if that is coupled with lower tax slabs, that will definitely increase the demand and that will also be beneficial for the companies in the discretionary spaces.
Piruz Khambatta, CMD, Rasna
As far as budget is concerned, we are expecting huge allocation of funds to the agri-care sector. I believe agricultural GDP is not growing and the only way to help it grow is to put more money in agriculture, food processing and ensure that the infrastructure status is given to the whole sector right from the front-end to the back-end.
I just don’t believe that encouraging ten retail chains from abroad, India will gain. India will only gain when those ten retail chains are obliged to put money in the backend.
And I also believe that the Government will bring back the export incentives like income tax deductions because export has not been growing.
R.S. Agarwal, Joint Chairman, Emami Group
The country has been through two muted years of growth after economic reforms like demonetisation and GST. As we prepare for another Union Budget for FY 19, the economy is expected to recover and be back on track but needs boost for growth. The forthcoming budget is expected to put thrust on areas like agriculture and rural growth, infrastructural development, small businesses and affordable housing. A stimulus for ailing industries is another area which needs attention. Reduction in both direct and indirect tax is also welcome as the base is increasing.
Rahul Singh, President, NRAI and Founder, The Beer Cafe
The two big expectations from this budget are – to get the Income Tax Credit (ITC) back and to give us a ministry to be under. We are such a large industry and we do not have a ministry. Every sector in India has a ministry to report to. We do not come under a single window, we do not come under a single ministry.
Whatever has happened to the GST, if they can correct that then we will be very happy. We also expect lower corporate tax rates.
The Government has been very forward going, it has initiated newer policies. If we talk about the food sector then we have been very badly hit with no GST input. For a business like us which is growing with a rapid pace, the GST input was around 7 per cent, so it made a profitable business like mine. I personally feel that the GST needs a relook, I think a five per cent tax and no input is being a bit harsh on the entrepreneur. You know when you are growing, you want the Government to be more supportive. I am hoping the budget to be more positive with the tax structure benefitting the food industry and startups in the true sense.
We expect Input Tax Credit to be back in this budget session as it will help in lowering the prices further.
Nitin Saluja, Founder, Chaayos
My two main expectations are – to get ITC on rent and 24-hour retailing in many more cities.
Dheeraj Gupta, MD, Jumboking
The only expectation from the Government is to reverse the ITC.
(With inputs from Surabhi Khosla)