Published On : Wed, Feb 1st, 2017

Very well balanced and inclusive Budget, says Arun Lakhani

The Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday evoked mixed reactions but with satisfactory tone.

“It is overall very well balanced and inclusive budget. Focus on rural sector, infrastructure and social spending, large allocations for infra 3.96 lakh crore and road 64k crore is welcome and the approach of integrated policy is welcome (2000 km coastal road). Transport sector allocated Rs. 2.41 lakh crore., New dispute resolution mechanism for quick dispute settlements is also in place.

Abolishing FIPB will improve the ease of investing in India. Push on digital system will bring in efficiency and eradicate corruption. Addressing arsenic and fluoride menace in 28000 villages shows the human touch. Good move to facilitate MSME by tax rate reduction to 25%. Very good move on political funding, however,there is disappointment on Namami Gange Programme.” This how commented Arun Lakhani, Lead Promoter of OCW & Chairman, Vishwaraj Group.

Below expectations but balanced one: NVCC
The Nag Vidarbha Chamber of Commerce (NVCC) termed the first combined General and Railway Budget as below expectations but balanced one. The rebate in Income Tax from 10 percent to five percent in Rs 3-5 lakh slab has provided some relief but expectations were high. The Budget has provided relief to small industries (MSME), farmers, ST/SC/minorities and they will get development opportunities but the middle class people have been left high and dry, said NVCC President Prakash Mehadia and Hon Secretary Jaiprakash Parekh.

“No new railway services have been announced which was expected but now more focus should be on safe travel. Removing of service tax on e-booking and tatkal is a welcome step. This facility should also be applicable to cash tickets,” said NVCC.

NVCC had demanded cashless transactions totally tax free. In this direction, Jaitley has made POS and all other machines excise duty free. It is appreciable step.

In sum, the Budget can be called traditional and routine, said NVCC.

Fairly routine and populous Budget: CAMIT
Though this time with merger of Railway Budget, the Budget focuses on Demonetisation and its effects, Promotes Digital payment and cashless economy. After sucking away 97% cash from the economy the infrastructure spending was expected and only alternative for the Govt. to push money in the system, said Dipen Agrawal President Chamber of Associations of Maharashtra Industry and Trade (CAMIT).

Instead of the single overarching economic document that was the norm in the past, this is the budget for the India of 2017, where finance minister Arun Jaitley has used the forum for making selective interventions where needed without meddling into areas that don’t need it.

In tone and tenor, Budget 2017 is obviously aimed at the most vulnerable sections of the population, in rural as well as in urban areas. It provides tax breaks to the least-paid segment of the working population but more significantly, it lays out a series of steps that should incentivise the creation of markets that can provide the goods and services the marginal segments of the population need.

Affordable housing, for instance, is no longer largesse from a benevolent government. By focusing on the supply side of the chain, the finance minister has converted it into a marketable product. That’s what a modern economy needs—not doles and freebies but mechanisms to enable all wage earners to buy goods and services at affordable rates. The approach will also effectively stoke demand.

VIA hails Budget:
VIA welcomed the move over the policy decision to implement accrual based system in few government sectors, abolition of FIPB, Steps on NPA issues, Infrastructure status to affordable housing, and decision to stick to FRBM. The announcement of not to spillover the impact of demonetization to next fiscal is also warmly welcomed. The announcement of assured returns of 8% for the senior citizens would serve the social cause. The steps taken to boost rural economy & employment are move in the right direction. It is a rural and agro economic centric budget. VIA hopes that this will bring required growth in employment and in industrial demand. Tax exemption for SSI below 50 crores is a good move and hopefully economy gets overall boost to overcome the effect of demonization. Increased allocation for infrastructural development will give good growth in businesses dependent upon agriculture.

Budget for poor, middle class and farmers: Sharma
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has meticulously planned budget wherein no extra tax has been levied on traders and industries by allocating funds for betterment of poor, middle class and farmers. By reducing 10% slab by 50%, surely taxpayers will be encouraged to declare income up to Rs.5,00,000 by paying tax of just Rs.12,500. Allowing affordable housing in Infrastructure Status is good as this will benefit housing sector, likewise good for MSME having turnover of up to Rs 50 Crore as their tax slab is reduced by 5%, which is now 25%. No Service charge while booking tickets with IRCTC and proposal for making 500 stations abled-friendly by providing lifts and escalators are welcome steps.

Finance Minister has presented this budget in nation interest, although provision of expenditure is more as compared to the income; wherein planned & unplanned expenditure is of Rs.21,500 Lakh Crore. Attempt has been made to bring more taxpayers in tax net after demonetization and I believe he will succeed in this endeavour, said J. P. Sharma, President VTA.

Fabulous Budget: Renu
Great initiative by Centre of combining Union and Rail Budget which is quite practical and logical; this budget is judiciously catering all sectors with special emphasis on agriculture sector, senior citizens, youths, armed forces, affordable housing, care for the underprivileged and rural population. Government is considering introduction of new law to confiscate assets of offenders who escape the country is much required, likewise amending Negotiable Instruments Act to ensure that holders of dishonoured cheques get payment is excellent step and granting infrastructure status to affordable housing will provide a boost in volume of construction activity across the country.

Introduction of tax slab of 5% for income between Rs.2.5 to 5 Lakh is good relief for middle & salaried class. It’s good that Rail safety fund with corpus of Rs. 100,000 Crore will be created over a period of five years; however stress is required to make rail travel safe. Making political parties more accountable is great as now they cannot accept cash more than Rs.2000 from any individual annually and will be entitled to receive donations by cheques or digital modes only, said Tejinder Singh Renu, Secretary VTA.

Routine Budget: CA Agrawal
It seems to be a routine Budget as the government has listed number of expenditure items but there are no major changes on the revenue side. But certainly there are fine prints which will adversely or positively affect some sector or the other. The simplification of procedural hassles for the common man and at the same time giving them some tax concessions seems sensible which is done to neutralize the effects of demonetisation. The absence of any major changes in excise and service tax confirms that we are definitively moving to GST from 1st July. Fiscal deficit target at 3.2 percent is a welcome step. Reduction in corporate tax rate for MSMEs, measures to increase transparency by restricting cash transactions to Rs 3 lakh and change in framework of political funding are welcome. The reduction in capital gains period for real estate is a positive move. Overall, budget looks like a continuation of past budget of current NDA regime. There was nothing quite transformational not populist., said CA Ashwin Agrawal.

Other reactions:
Mathuraprasad Goyal said that Senior Citizen have limited sources of income. The real income goes down every year because of impact of inflation . The Finance Minister has not addressed to the needs of senior citizen by not raising limit.

Shankarlal Jalan said that lot of NGOs are involved in preserving rich heritage, culture and custom of the country. No incentive has been announced to this class.

President of TEAM CAIT Nagpur Kishor Dharashivkar said that inpsite of all the odds Finance Minister has tried to place a Balanced Budget. However some concessional approach towards Jewellery sector was expected.

One of the star exporter from Central India Kunal Wadhawani appreciated the budget and said that it will boost exports and Indian products will get good market by becoming cost competitive.

Prabhakar Deshmukh president of Nagpur Chillar Kirana Association termed the budget as historical and said that it will give financial inclusion of small traders and bring in money at grass root level resulting in growth in economy from last mile trader.

Farooque Akbani president of Halar Memon Jamat Nagpur said that lot was expected for minority community from the budget. It is necessary to bring minority to main stream of economy but the same was not visible. It was a routine excerise.

Aman Pithisariya from realty sector said that the provisions of the budget will be boost to low cost housing and help in achieving the object of housing for all.

Dhyanshwer Rakshak a thinker of rural sector said that there is always announcement about program for agriculture and rural development but implementation is hardly visible. Govt. should have some system of monitorying to ensure effective implementation of schemes announced.

Nikhilesh Thakar TEAM CAIT Nagpur Organize Secretary said that the new provision of TDS from rent paid over 50,000/- per month will put burden on common people. Looking to the infrastructure of the income tax department the reduction in time limit for complication of scrutiny will deprive the tax prayer to put his case in detail.

Vijay Gupta a Grain Merchant said that the Scheme for Cashless economy is a welcome step. But proper education and training amongst rural people and farmers to use digital mode is necessary.

Rajkumar Gupta a small entrepreneur appreciated the policy of Govt. to boost small sector. But suggested that Inspector Raj has to be removed.

Industrialist Prakash Wadhawani termed the budget as progreesive and said that this will be boost to economic activities of the country.

Retail trader Anil Nagpal said that it is a balanced budget however liquidity in the market needs to be increased.
Retail Trader Prakash Jais said that the market is short of consumers. The budget will definitely help to bring consumers in the market.

Ramoavater Agrawal said that the Union finance Minister has forwarded the vision of “Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas” of Prime Minister.

TEAM CAIT Ladies Wing President Asha Pande said that the relief under Income Tax act will be of great benefit to middle class housewife. There is no increase in any taxes which is also great relief. Over all it is a balanced budget.

Annu Upadhya said that due care has been taken to maintain monthly budget.

A cautious & focused budget with no big bangs: CA Shah
With a punchline of Transform, Energies & Clean India, the FM presented a very cautious but focused Budget 2017 with no big ticket changes but special emphasis on agriculture, rural development, skill development, infrastructure and digitalized economy. Presenting the budget amidst the sluggish economic phase after the demonetization period, it was expected that reformative big announcements may come but FM preferred to play it safe & tabled a realistic & analytical budget. Reduction in Income tax rate for the first slab of 2.5 lacs to 5 lacs will give some sigh of relief to the small as well as salaried assesses. Reduction of corporate tax rate to 25% from 30% for small companies having turnover of less than 50 crores (which constitute 96% of the total companies) will act as an energy booster for the struggling SME/MSME sectors. A fund of Rs. 10000 crores for recapitalization of banks may not prove to be adequate. Merger of Railway Budget with General Budget will bring focus on a multi modal approach for development of railway, highway and inland water transport. To promote the real estate sector, an announcement that National Housing Bank will refinance individual loans worth Rs. 20,000 crores in 2017-18 will definitely give a fillip to the housing industry. An approach to further liberalize FDI policy with a target of over 90% of FDI proposal to be processed through automatic route & abolition of Foreign Investment Promotion Board(FIPB) is a welcome step to woo the foreign investors. Long awaited change of base year of capital gains shifted from 1981 to 2001 which will prove to be more realistic & reduction in long term capital gains period from 3 years to 2 years may bring some cheers for the property owners, commented CA Julfesh Shah.

Robust, Transparent & Unbiased Budget: CA Umang Agrawal
The Finance Minister at the start of his budget speech gave a signal for manifold changes across all sectors in his budget speech. However Minister predominantly focused of launching of various target oriented schemes which would have direct effect on rural population of the country. The Minister needs to be applauded for his effort in restricting Fiscal Deficit at 3.20% & Revenue Deficit at 1.90% inspite of tremendous increase in various allocations as well as several direct taxes sops and no simultaneous change in indirect taxes. The Minister has made it very clear through his budget speech regarding what the Government will look after in the coming days. Individual taxation, Black Money, Political Funding and rural development seems to be on the priority list of the Government. Record allocation in agricultural credit and MNREGA are welcome steps. Budget gives major surprise to all the Political Parties who have been relying on anonymous donations till now, said CA Umang Agrawal, Secretary, Nagpur Branch of WIRC of ICAI.

Fine balanced first Combined Railway and Union Budget: Syed K Sirajuddin
India now started focusing more on disabled by enabling 500 station disbled friendly, Further developing 25 stations. further 1 Lakh allocated for safety of Railways is a very need of hour decision to avoid any future Train mishaps. Further 3500 KM railway line would be laid. Also all the Toilets in rail would be bio toilets by 2019. 34%increase in tax collection, 25% tax on MSME below 50 crore turnover, 5% discount will benefit 96% companies. presumptive tax to 6 % to below 2 crore company making digital transactions. 5% discount in below 5 lakh Incom tax payee would encourage more people to start paying taxes.

64,900 crore for highways will boost economy, 2.41 lakh on transport sector is very bold decision. 20,000 MW Solar energy. 3.96 lakh crore on infrastructure development will create more jobs. Although we were expecting more increased in minority budget whereas minister just increased by 4000 cr. Political funding reforms are welcomed step. Abolishment of FIPB will open avenues for Investment in India, commented Syed K Sirajuddin, Chairman, Indian Muslims Chamber of Commerce, Nagpur.

Pro-poor, Pro-consumption and Pro-growth: RAI
The Budget 2017 – 2018 focussing on ‘Transform, Energise and Clean’ India has some immediate-term as well as long-term impact on business in general, and retail in particular. This budget, along with the Finance Minister’s conviction of GST implementation on scheduled date, is music to the ears of retailers. Overall, the budget laid emphasis on digitisation, infrastructure, and support to farmers, low-cost housing and ease of doing business, commented Retailers Association of India (RAI).

Some key implications of the budget for retail are as under:
1. Pro-consumption: More Money in the hands of people
a. The large thrust on infrastructure development will generate employment, increasing the number of people with purchasing power.
b. The reduction of tax rate from 10% to 5% for 2.5 lakh to 5 lakh bracket will create disposable income of Rs12, 500 per annum in the hands of individuals.
2. Ease of doing business: Will help accelerate modern retail
a. APMC Amendment for direct sourcing of perishables from farmers and contract farmingis in favour of retailers on various counts, the benefits of which will be passed on to the ultimate consumer.
b. Emphasis on adoption of Model Shops and Establishment Act. The Act seeks to allow shops, malls and other retail establishments to operate throughout the year with flexibility to open and close at their convenience. In addition, it provides for women to be employed in night shifts with adequate security.
c. Phasing out of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) can accelerate FDI funding in the sector as approvals will be faster.
3. Ease in taxation: Reduced burden on small retailers
a. Small traders having turnover of less than Rs 2 crore can avail presumptive tax benefit under sections 44AD and pay 6% of turnover as against 8% earlier.
b. The effective tax impact on retail companies having turnover of less than Rs 50 crore has been reduced from 30% to 25%. The reduction of 5% is a great relief for small retailers.
c. Extension of Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) Credit utilisation from 10 years to 15 years will help retail businesses as they have long gestation period.
4. Accelerated Manpower fulfilment: Increased Skilled workforce
a. The increased emphasis on skill development through the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) will help infusion of skilled manpower into modern retail, good news for retailers on an expansion spree into non-metros.
Speaking about the budget, Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailers Association of India said, “The finance minister has kept something for everyone in the budget, with major emphasis on accountability and transparency. We have already witnessed a big tilt towards modern retail post demonetisation and the measures proposed in the Budget will further accelerate the pace. We await implementation of GST to further the cause of chain store and omni-channel retail in the country.”

Average Budget: CA Jotwani
This year considering elections in 5 states, there were lot of expectations with the Union Budget. In spite of all the high expectations, this budget can be termed as an average budget where maximum concentration seems to be on Infrastructure Development. After demonetisation, as an incentive there was strong expectation for major relief in tax rates but an average relief was given to the taxpayer having income below 5 Lacs. Industry which is passing though a tough phase, 5% relief is given to Industries upto turnover of 50 crores. There is a long pending demand of abolishing MAT which is still not done, an incentive in the form of carry forward of MAT credit for further 5 years is given, but it cannot provide adequate relief to the present situation of industry. Accrual based accounting is need of the hour. Adoption of accrual based in Railway is a welcome step which should be further adopted by all other major departments to increase transparency. Government has allotted Rs.10000 crore for recapitalisation of Banks, which is still not commensurate to the need and present situation of the banks. Revision of Negotiable instruments Act to provide relief to payee in case of cheque dishonour case is a welcome step. Further, Adoption of Fair Market Value as on 01.04.2011 and reduction of period of holding from 36 months to 24 months will also benefit to many taxpayers. Real estate sector is passing through a very tough phase. Under present situation applying Notional rent to stock in hand of Builders after 1 year of receiving completion certificate will again increase the problems of builders, said CA Sandeep W. Jotwani, Vice Chairman, Nagpur Branch of ICAI.