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Indian budget 2020-21 brings reforms, but fails to cheer markets

Filed on February 1, 2020
India budget, sitharaman, tax cuts, modi, bjp, budget 2020


Sensex dropping over 700 points and touched an intra-day low of 40,015.37.

Finance Minister Nirmala Seetharaman indeed had a tough job to bring in measures that would drive the Indian economy further towards growth and development. However, that seems to have not appealed the common man with Sensex dropping over 700 points and touched an intra-day low of 40,015.37, 708.12 points lower than the previous close of 40,723.49 points. However, it has recovered from the low and at 1.39 pm it was trading at 40,188.53, lower by 534.96 points or 1.31 per cent from the previous close of 40,723.49
It had opened at 40,753.18, and has so far touched an intra-day high of 40,905.78 and a low of 40,015.37 points.

The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange was trading at 11,799.85, lower by 162.25 points, or 1.36 per cent from the previous close.

However, NRIs here in the UAE have hailed it as a budget that will provide required push to the economy to rebound on its growth path. Meausres like reduction in tax cuts, tax holidays for developers were some of the highlights among the few.

Indian budget 2020-21 brings reforms, but fails to cheer markets (KT2313022.JPG)Yusuffali MA, Chairman - Lulu Group International
Must say a promising budget with stress on agriculture and education. Especially the 16 point action plan to boost Agri-sector and allowing FDI in education sector is surely going to secure the future of India. As said rightly by the FM, Entrepreneurship is the strength of India and the establishment of seed funds to boost early stage start ups and setting up of investment clearance & advisory cell is a very welcome step and boost investments into India.

Indian budget 2020-21 brings reforms, but fails to cheer markets (KT2313122.JPG)Dr Azad Moopen, Founder Chairman and Managing Director, Aster DM Healthcare
The Union Budget , prepared in difficult economic scenario has managed to create opportunities for growth within limited resources. It is good to see that Finance Minister has provided some benefits in the union budget for the healthcare sector like eradication of tuberculosis in the country by the year 2025 is a great step towards healthier India.

Indian budget 2020-21 brings reforms, but fails to cheer markets (KT2313422.JPG)Rizwan Sajan, Founder and Chairman of Danube Group
Overall it is balanced budget with more commitments towards Agriculture, Infrastructure, Transportation and Healthcare. The biggest takeaway appears to be for farmers when the administration expressed plans to double their income by 2022. Additionally, big tax relief for lower and middle-income groups will be an incentive for individuals to spend and thereby increasing consumption, which will be beneficial for brands like us.

Dr. Thumbay Moideen, Founder President, Thumbay Group
The budget focuses on infrastructure development and creating a favorable business climate, to prepare the economy for new challenges of the upcoming decade. Noteworthy aspects include the emphasis on digital connectivity as well as new and emerging technologies.

Paras Shahdadpuri, Chairman, Nikai Group
A mediocre annual budget without any fireworks. With India's GDP sinking lower quarter after quarter, the industry was looking for a major stimulus. Our auto industry, real estate, employment for youth require major boost. These are the barometers of the economy. Having said that, some positive steps have been taken by the Finance Minister by streamlining Income Tax for lower and middle income groups, which will result in small extra liquidity in the hands of this section of population thus generating consumption.

Indian budget 2020-21 brings reforms, but fails to cheer markets (KT2313222.JPG)Bharat Bhatia, CEO of Conares
My initial reaction is that it is a balanced budget with something positive for everyone - for individuals to companies; from farmers to corporate houses. And this is presented at a time when the situation is very challenging currently across the globe; and India is the only country that can project a lot of opportunities for growth and investments.

Krishnan Ramachandran, CEO, Barjeel Geojit Securities
A plethora of measures and investments have been detailed by the Finance Minister across various core sectors of the economy especially in areas such as agriculture, irrigation, water-ways, health, education, power, infrastructure, railways etc. all of these on a cumulative basis is expected to provide the much needed thrust to propel the economy to the projected GDP growth of 6.5 per cent for 2020-21. A welcome change is the move towards allocating projects on Public Private Partnership, which will ensure timely commencement to completion and commercial viability of these projects.

Stany Pereira, managing partner, PKF UAE
FM has done justice to her budget to build aspiriational India, economic development and a caring society. Progressive measures to boost agriculture and pep up infrastructure with a proposed plan for new National Logistic policy should support the much needed economic expansion to kick start sputtering economy. The launch of 'Nirvik' scheme to grow Indian exports and focus to nurture MsME are steps in the right direction to drive Indian economy.

Vijay Ragahavan, director, ARENCO Group, UAE 
A very bold and forward looking budget which focused on major investments in infrastructure and Agri sectors and simplification of GST. Also ensuring the safety of bank deposits and increasing deposit insurance to Rs5 lakhs (Rs0.5m) is encouraging.

Nimish Makvana - Senior Partner, Crowe Mak
The Finance Minister kept the theme of the budget as aspirational India with economic development and a caring society. With India having one of the youngest workforces in the world, can become the largest skill resource exporter to rest of the world. Education sector is backbone for any economy and focus on education sector is futuristic move. The government has focused on structured growth which is the needed to reach $5 trillion economy. Recently at Davos in Switzerland at the World Economic Forum 2020 IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva recently said growth slowdown in India appears to be temporary and she expects the momentum to improve going ahead and Finance Minister has already set the tone with focused growth oriented budget 2020.

Naveen Sharma, Head Accounting, Audit & Advisory Services Focus Group
The FM has made some significant announcement which will help India's GDP to grow. New and simplified GST returns system is launched which will takeaway some of the GST headaches. Also proposal to build 100 new Airports by 2024 and emphasis on tourism and setting up new museums will generate employment. Mega 16 plan, action plan for farmers and doubling farmers income by 2020 though ambitious is a step in the right direction.

Anish Mehta (Chairman - The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, Dubai) This union budget 2020 is a positive move towards reviving economy and has some very good initiatives for individuals, corporates and investors. However, there are changes in rules relating to taxability of NRI income. We need to have detailed clarification and explanation of these amendments in order to assess the impact on income of the Indian expats residing in the Middle Eastern countries. Also real estate sector was expecting some initiatives to revive themselves, which I believe is missing from the budget speech.

Indian budget 2020-21 brings reforms, but fails to cheer markets (KT2313322.JPG)Kamal Vachani, Group Director, Al Maya Group
The government's plan to encourage the manufacture of mobile phones, electronic equipment and semiconductor manufacturing as well as medical devices is a positive steps for the Indian companies which will be a boost to electronics exports. Also five years tax free for new start-ups, scrapping of DDT on companies are welcoming steps taken by FM. Huge allocation for agricultural sector will greatly benefit the farmers and generate millions of new jobs in the rural sector, which will boost the agricultural economy in a big way. 

Dhananjay Datar, chairman and managing director of Al Adil Trading
The budget announced by our Honourable Finance Minister is a pro-middle class budget. This will certainly provide a much needed momentum to the foodstuff industry. The benefits extended to the agricultural sector, along with the changes in the income tax will boost consumption and help the foodstuff industry.

Abdulla Nalapad, MD, Nalapad Investments, Dubai
Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's second Union Budget shows the path India would take in the next five to ten years in line with boosting income of people and enhancing purchasing power. I think the government has set some realistic goals for most sectors of the economy and has laid down the framework to get there. The budget might significantly enhance the nation's human capital with rising aspirations to a global level. I appreciate the budget's proposal to increase state spending on infrastructure and offer some income tax incentives. This would be some relief for the middle class. However, the projection to widen fiscal deficit for the current financial year may create imbalances in the economy.

MR Raghu, managing director of Marmore Mena Intelligence
It is a budget high on speech time and low on delivery. As expected the budget reduced income tax burden on tax payers. However this will leave more money in the pockets of tax payers but will that result in increased consumption is a key question. Because the budget also removed 70 of 100 exemptions which can actually increase the tax paid. Good moves included removal of dividend distribution tax and increasing deposit insurance to Rs5 lakhs. But is that enough to accelerate investment and consumption cycle, I am not so sure. This budget focused heavily on agriculture and farmers at the cost of industry. In short the market was expecting a bold visionary budget and what they got was a humble budget with no sense of urgency. I hope a detailed reading of the budget can change perspectives. -


Sandhya D'Mello

Journalist. Period. My interests are Economics, Finance and Information Technology. Prior to joining Khaleej Times, I have worked with some leading publications in India, including the Economic Times.

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