Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman is all set to table the Union Budget for the 2022-23 financial year in the Parliament session starting January 31. The government has consulted all the stakeholders in preparation of this budget. Besides, all sectors of industry have high hopes for this year’s Union Budget due to the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic situation.
India Today spoke to several sectors to sense the mood of the industry and their expectations from this Union Budget to bring back and restore financial normalcy. The health care sector expects a boost as the country is hit by the third wave of the pandemic.
In last year’s Budget, the health care sector was the major winner, with the government giving top priority to health and well-being. The government had increased the allocation to the sector by a whopping 137 per cent to Rs 2.23 lakh crore.
Health care provider RN Mohanty, CEO of Sightsavers India, expressed his views on the upcoming Union budget. He said, “India has the largest population of blind and visually impaired people. Most of them live in the rural parts of the country. In the last budget, the major focus was on the health sector. We are expecting that the government allocates a suitable budget for the health care sector where we can build a system where health services are accessible for everyone despite the pandemic situation in the future”.
Due to the pandemic, the hospitality and travel tourism industry – across the globe – has been the worst hit. Everyone expects that the tourism sector will be restored. However, the question remains when will that happen? The hospitality travel and tourism industry in India also expects support from the government in this Union Budget.
Prahlad Krishnamurti, Chief Business Officer, Cleartrip says, “In terms of the Union Budget 2022, we have clear-cut, substantial expectations from the government as one of the worst-hit sectors by COVID-19. Given that the sector has taken a heavy blow, some relief measures like travel and tourism to be treated at par with the IT sectors would help quickly revive business and propel the industry towards growth and progress.”
Further, Krishnamurti said that the industry is looking at proposals that talk specifically about the Indian travel and tourism industry’s short-term and long-term revival.
Subsequently, there have been set back to startup projects all across the country. Parcel restrictions by different state governments due to lock down and the prevailing economic situation have not been positive for startups.
Startup JPIN’s founder, Nayan Gala, says, “The union budget will create great benefit for the startup ecosystem as the government will focus on investment-driven growth that will push companies of all sizes both in the public as well as in the private sector. It would also raise additional resources through strategic investments, divestments and asset monetization.”
Gala said that the government should help in assisting startups through policies and support mechanisms towards domestic capital participation. Along with providing incentives to set up incubators, tax exemptions in FDIs and relaxing taxes for startups.
Nitin Mishra, Co-founder of India Gold, said, “To stimulate entrepreneurship in India, the government should also allow entrepreneurs to carry forward their loss of income to offset against future income. Furthermore, reduced capital gains on mergers and acquisitions will help the sector grow.”
Mishra said, “With the government making progress on several fronts, we anticipate a policy framework in the budget that allows FinTechs to work closely with relevant government institutions to improve the distribution and adoption of existing gold monetization schemes, as well as launch new products like the gold savings account. All compliance, including incorporation, GST, other taxes, EPFO, and other registrations, should be handled through a single window in India.”
Above all, the infrastructure and real estate sector requires oxygen support by the government to survive. The low rate of interest has perhaps helped the middle class to dream of their own house. However, the real state sector is still struggling to survive.
Nagaraju Routhu, Chief Executive Officer, Experion Developers Pvt Ltd said, “The government should consider reinstating the GST Input Tax Credit for real estate to avoid the cascading effect of taxes and make homes more affordable. The government should also continue to accord high priority to the development of civic infrastructure.”
He added, “It is important to translate the green shoots of recovery that the real estate sector is experiencing into a sustained recovery and further lay the foundation for its long-term growth. The real estate sector is experiencing unprecedented cost pressures at present and the upcoming Union budget presents an opportunity for the Government to address some of the long-standing demands of the sector such as granting industry status, raising the limit for tax exemption for interest and principal amounts paid by the homebuyers. “
While youth empowerment remains a major challenge. Arunesh Singh, CEO, Generation India said, “India has one of the highest youth population in the world, with an estimated high of 500 million. Being a significant resource of financial prosperity and social development, this population, if given a chance, can support the country’s socio-economic growth in an unprecedented way.
The NGO said that the government’s key focus for the 2022-23 budget should be around supporting the youth of India by offering them phenomenal opportunities for education, skilling and employability.”
The biggest challenge for the government is to meet the demands and expectations raised by all the stakeholders driving this country with their significant contribution. All eyes are now on the Union Budget.