In particular, the Confederation of Indian Industry has appreciated the efforts made towards fiscal consolidation even as stimulus measures for industry have been largely maintained.
Commenting on the salient features of Budget 2010, CII president and TVS Motor Company chairman Venu Srinivasan said the reform measures proposed in the major areas such as direct and indirect taxation, accelerated disinvestment of PSUs, a transparent subsidy regime for fertilisers, the consolidation of financial sector and efforts to strengthen public accountability have come at the right time.
‘The simplification of income tax returns and the automation of Central excise and service tax are most welcome,’ he said.
Srinivasan pointed out the initiative to target an explicit reduction in the government’s debt to GDP ratio as recommended by the Thirteenth Finance Commission was in the right direction that would provide confidence to investors.
‘Indeed, the reduction in the fiscal deficit from the revised estimate of 6.9 per cent of GDP in 2009-10 to 5.5 per cent in 2010-11 has brought relief to the debt market as it implies a reduction in net government borrowing.
This will allow interest rates to remain stable even as there is a recovery in private sector borrowing,’ he said. Moreover, CII has welcomed the move away from the practice of issuing bonds to oil and fertiliser companies and not accounting for these subsidies in the budget.
With a few exceptions, CII has been for the proposed changes in the direct and indirect tax rates. The apex industry body has lauded the move to reduce the corporate surcharge from 10 to 7.5 per cent and the increase in deduction against research and development from 150 to 200 per cent.
‘However, the increase in MAT (minimum alternate tax) was a retrograde move as it dilutes the incentives given to companies for various reasons,’ the CII release said. The change in the slabs for personal taxes would provide greater disposable income in the hands of taxpayers.
CII had expressed its satisfaction the Finance Minister has sent a clear message that any unwinding of the stimulus would be calibrated based on the pace of recovery of industry.
The extension of interest subvention of two per cent to exports for one year for the SME sector has been in the right direction.
Further, the SME sector would benefit from the increase in the limits for presumptive taxation and the clarification that no capital gains tax would be levied in case of conversion of small companies into LLPs.
The establishment of the Financial Stability and Development Council would help inter-regulatory coordination while the Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Council would provide an outline for the expected reforms in this sector.
The provision of additional banking licenses to private sector entities would enable to usher in greater competition in banking even as public sector banks were strengthened through re-capitalisation.
On the farm sector, the dual strategy of increasing agricultural productivity on the one hand and initiating reforms in the food supply chain on the other was one that has long been recommended by CII.
‘If implemented well, this can go a long way in overcoming the supply bottlenecks that have been responsible for the current increase in food prices.
The incentives provided to the food processing sector will also enable more investment in this critical area,’ the CII release said.
Budget 2010 has provided for a substantial increase in the plan outlay for the infrastructure sectors such as roads, power, housing and rural projects. The National Clean Energy Fund has also been set up with an allocation of Rs 1,000 crore to promote research and innovation for developing clean energy.
Speaking to media persons at the Budget viewing session organised by the CII in Chennai on Friday, PSG Industrial Institute chief executive C R Swaminathan said Budget 2010 was growth oriented and would propel economic progress.
He said the increased allocations made in the rural, education, R&D and social sectors were a positive sign and in the right direction.
The roadmap for implementation of director tax code (DTC) and goods and service tax (GST) by April 2011 was a noteworthy feature on the taxation front, he added.
While stating the Union Budget as a balanced and reform oriented, Swaminathan pointed out the increase in the MAT from 15 to 18 per cent would be a burden for the corporate sector.
Executive and Business Coaching Foundation chairman Pradipta K Mohapatra said the budget reflected the vision of the government as an enabler of economic growth. He said the fiscal deficit target of 5.5 per cent for the current year and 4.8 per cent for next year was a positive move with focus on overall stability of the fiscal structure.
CavinKare Pvt Ltd CMD and CII -- TN State Council chairman C K Ranganathan said the roadmap for GST implementation by April 2011 was most welcome in the current situation. He complimented the Finance Minister for bringing down the surcharge from 10 to 7.5 percent.
He said the Finance Minister could have given more thrust in the budget for agriculture especially to increase the farm productivity.
Saint Gobain Glass India Ltd president B Santhanam said it was a balanced budget and the excise duty increase to 10 per cent was expected. The allocations made in solar energy sector was the right move as it was going to be the future mode of energy for the world, he said.
He hoped that the GST would come on time and not pushed further. Sealings and Jointings CEO KKM Kutty said the increase in the allocation for the development of micro and small scale sector from Rs 1,794 crore to Rs 2,400 crore was made at the right time which would encourage the MSME units.
The extension for repayment of loans for farmers was a positive step and the focus on private sector participation in cold storage and food processing fields would enhance quality and ensure better returns for farmers, said S Chandramohan, chief financial officer of Tractors and Farm Equipment Ltd.
The road projects for highway has been taken into consideration and overall, a a well thought-out budget, said Anand Sundaresan, managing director of Schwing Stetter India Pvt Ltd.
There has been a strong growth emphasis in this budget and the increase in the allocation from Rs 850 crore to Rs 1,000 crore towards Urban Poverty Alleviation was commendable, said K K Raman, executive vice-president of DLF Southern Homes.
He appreciated the budget’s inclusion of the vision for a slum free India. VHS Hospital director Dr E S Krishnamurthy said the relaxation in duty structure on medical equipment would help provide latest medical technology at lower costs to the public.