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    Budget 2021: Thrust on infra development, ease of doing business positive for retail

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    According to , CEO, (), Budget 2021 is growth-oriented, well balanced and progressive.

    “Overall, it is a popular budget without being populist. The retail industry was almost squashed during the pandemic. It is slowly getting back on its knees with the opening up of the economy. The budget has announced initiatives which touch all segments of the society – women, farmers, entrepreneurs, rural and urban consumers. The positives for retail are the overall thrust on ease of doing business and compliance and infrastructure development,” he said.

    “There are a host of substantial announcements that will enhance the logistics capabilities of retailers, which are welcome as retail is heavily dependent on the easy movement of goods and people.

    The on-going pandemic has created an additional financial burden on the government. Although no significant change was made in the area of income tax, the budget has allayed the fear of increased taxes on account of COVID-19, which is a big relief in itself. Furthermore, the changes to Income tax appeal and assessments will also give additional ease of working and freedom from harassment for businesses.

    The apprenticeship program has been a successful step towards providing employable youth to the industry. The allocation of additional Rs.3000 crores towards this program is a good move as the retail industry which is already greatly benefited by the NAPS programme will further benefit from the fresh skilled talent infusion.

    Women form a big percentage of talent in the retail industry. The honourable Finance Minister’s thrust on ease of doing business by allowing women to work in all categories without restrictions is a very welcome move,” he further stated.

    “Focus on ‘Make in India’, increased custom duties, ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, ‘Infrastructure’, construction, capital expenditure, etc is definitely going to result in promoting domestic manufacturing, improving employment etc. Sourcing structures for retailers and FMCG companies dependent on imports may have to be revisited and focus on sourcing India-made products may increase. Purchasing power in the hands of rural and urban consumers through heavy spend on healthcare, infrastructure, housing, market borrowings and spend, is likely to make retailers and consumer companies smile. Further no increase in direct taxes is likely to add cherry to the cake,” added , Partner & National Tax Leader, Retail Sector, EY.

    “The infrastructure focus will enable companies to expand their rural and urban coverage, further helping drive consumption across the country, enabling the “One India One Market” vision,” said Rajat Wahi, partner, Deloitte India.

    INDUSTRY REACTIONS

    “At the outset, compliments to the Hon’ble Finance Minister on the Budget for 2021-22. For me personally, it is gratifying to note that two of the six pillars on which the budgetary proposals rest are ‘Health & Wellbeing’ and ‘Reinvigorating Human Capital’. Both Health and Skill Development are critical sectors that will ensure our sustained economic growth. While it was widely expected that the expenditure on Health would be increased, an allocation of Rs 64,000 crore over 6 years to the PM Atamanirbhar Swasth Barat Yojana, with the holistic approach to strengthening all the three areas of Healthcare delivery – Preventive, Curative and Wellbeing – is a most welcome step, as is the continuation of the Poshan Abhiyan in its new Mission Poshan 2.0 avatar. Both will go a long way in reducing morbidity and ensuring a fitter India. It is also noteworthy that Skill Development schemes have got a boost. Expanding collaboration with foreign countries to scale up the vocational and skill training sector will further improve the employability quotient of our youth. Also, I am sure, tax benefits extended for start ups will encourage youth to take up entrepreneurial opportunities more readily,” says Vandana Luthra , Founder. Co-Chairperson VLCCGroup.
    “We welcome the Union Budget 2021’s focus on furthering India’s AtmaNirbhar agenda and setting it on a growth trajectory in the backdrop of a pandemic. The massive increase in healthcare infrastructure funding coupled with focus on cleaner air, waste management, nutrition and water through the Jal Jeevan mission are crucial steps in improving overall health and living index. Additionally, sustained investment in overall infrastructure development and an emphasis on asset monetization will improve overall utilization and competitiveness. Steps to improve ease of doing business and efforts towards aiding start-ups, MSME and R&D will drive greater local innovation and value addition. All of the above will eventually push up consumer demand and further the country’s transformation towards a globally competitive economy, says , President, .

    “The focus of the Union Budget 2021-22 is to improve economic efficiency and infrastructure growth. Increased focus on infrastructure growth and capital expenditure will impact the overall growth of the real estate sector too. A good infrastructure could propel the development of real estate, both commercial and housing, along the transit corridors, highways and newly proposed airports,” said , President – Sales & Marketing – .

    “First of all, the government must be congratulated for a comprehensive well-considered budget in what was an extremely taxing economic backdrop thanks to the Covid-19 battle. Now that lives have been saved and we are to feel even safer in the coming month’s thanks to the largest Covid vaccination programme in the world which is underway – the government has to think of livelihoods. And in that respect, taking the right policy measures in the budget 2021 for urban infrastructure, transport, textile, fisheries and encouragement of startups, along with disinvestment and Atma nirbhar Bharat programme and production-linked incentive’s (PLI) with a special focus on 13 sectors would generate sufficient and sustainable employment. Only this would lead to stable incomes and higher purchasing power which would, in turn, generate demand for FMCG and food products and services. Furthermore, the allocation of substantive funds for roads, highways and railways will improve the distribution network and efficiencies of food products and services leading to even higher demand and consumption thereby giving a huge fillip to the latter”, said Shyam Sunder Aggarwal, Managing Director, Bikano.

    “We welcome this Budget, India’s first post-COVID budget, which is expansionary and focuses on the nation’s growth, bringing a positive sentiment to the overall economy. Strengthening the healthcare facility of the country is the need of the hour and it’s heartening to see the Government’s commitment to the welfare of the society. The Government’s announcement on providing financial incentive to promote digital mode of payment will further boost the ‘Digital Revolution’ in India and is tailored to further accelerate growth rate. Furthermore, the exemption duty on steel and copper scrap, up to March 2022, will also help  control the rise in price of consumer goods that will translate into healthy sales in the coming summer season. Giving a boost to agriculture and rural on the one hand and the MSME sector on the other will go a long way in strengthening the India we want to build. We are confident that the budget allocation for FY 2021-22 will provide the much needed thrust to the V-shaped growth trajectory of Indian economy. This budget clearly indicates the Government’s intent on rebuilding a new India,” says Dinesh Chhabra, CEO, Usha International.

    “The 2021 budget is encouraging and growth oriented. It supports the achievement of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat vision, and fuels post pandemic recovery. We foresee revival of consumer confidence with the budget impetus on inclusive human capital development, infrastructure development and universal healthcare. Announcement for setting up of 7 textile parks in next 3 years, in addition to the recent PLI scheme for technical textiles and manmade fibers, promises to strengthen the global leadership of Indian Textiles. The budget proves to be a Strong Enabler of Women Empowerment in the country, with the measures announced by Finance Minister that promotes women working in night shifts across all sectors, with adequate safety,” said Dipali Goenka, Jt.MD & CEO, Welspun India.

    “Honourable Finance Minister has unequivocally focused the economic direction of our country to deliver double digit real GDP growth in FY22. The unprecedented allocation at INR 1.18 Lakh crores behind development of road infrastructure has a built in multiplier to boost GDP growth in FY22 & beyond. A strong economy is always built on the shoulders of a strong workforce. This budget seeks to make every Indian Aatma Nirbhar as is reflected in the INR 2.23 Lakh crore allocation to the Healthcare sector. However, the boldest aspect of Union Budget 2021 is the confidence to manage a higher fiscal deficit at 6.8% but not impose any additional taxes on corporates or citizens. The budget has all the ingredients to set India firmly on the path to $5 trillion economy,” said , Chief Financial Officer, Pepperfry.

    “The positive is that there is no increase in the corporate tax, taxes have not been touched and no new cess has been introduced. The focus is on expenditure in infrastructure, capitalisation, and growth, on creation of jobs and this will lead to more money in the hands of consumers and therefore push overall consumption. The 7 textile parks which have been announced will help boost investments as well as employment. Overall, it’s a good, positive budget, with focus a on infrastructure,  capitalization and privatization which will all boost growth, employment and spending,” said , Chief Financial Officer, .