Kolkata: Rakesh Sharma, MD&CEO, IDBI Bank, on Tuesday described the Union Budget as growth-oriented and forward-looking with focus on capital expenditure in the infrastructure sector. Sharma was particularly upbeat about the stress laid on roads, railways and their associated logistics.
“Coming on the back of nascent economic growth, estimated to be around 9.2 percent in the current year, and in the midst of the third wave of the pandemic, the Union Budget provides for targeted policy prescriptions for enabling inclusive development, productivity enhancement and financing of investment mainly through PPP model,” he said in a statement.
He also praised the proposals to extend Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) till March,2023, and expansion in the guarantee cover of Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) by Rs 50,000 crore for a total coverage of Rs 5 lakh crore. Both measures would be boon to the MSMEs, he said. George Alexander Muthoot, MD, Muthoot Finance, said the budget has laid clear emphasis on prioritising economic growth with focus on capital spending to generate growth and employment.
The announcement relating to MSMEs and thrust on digital banking will further go a long way in supporting the MSME sector, which has been one of the most impacted during the pandemic.
“We believe that the Non-Banking Financial Financial Companies will also benefit from the allocation of Rs. 48,000 cr (under the PM Awas Yojana) for affordable housing,” he added. Ajay Srinivasan, Chief Executive – Aditya Birla Capital, said the budget has complemented macro growth with social welfare, while being accommodative on fiscal consolidation.
“The capex-heavy budget has reiterated focus on public investment to modernize infrastructure over the medium term. The overall focus is clearly to nurture growth and support the economic recovery,” said Srinivasan.
Srikanth Kandikonda, CFO, Manipal Cigna Health Insurance, said, “As India is coming out of the pandemic, the Government has laid momentous thrust on economic recovery and welfare of people, by focusing on crucial sectors such as infrastructure, agriculture, health, and education.
“The Union Budget has also provided incentives to promote digital economy, energy transition, and climate action which will lead India to the next decade,” he said. According to Kandikonda, the announcement to roll out the National Digital Health Ecosystem that consist of digital registries of health providers and facilities, will provide a further boost to universal access of better healthcare facilities.
“The pandemic has accentuated mental health problems in people of all ages. Thus, the launch of – National Tele Mental Health Programme will give access to quality mental health counselling and care services,” he said.
However, he pointed out that had the government considered a reduction in the GST rate on the health insurance premium and increased the limit of tax deduction for health insurance under section 80D of Income Tax Act, the initiatives would have further helped millions of people access quality healthcare at an affordable cost.
“However, nonetheless, we anticipate that the steps taken by the government will certainly improve the overall health and well-being of people at large,” he added. Ajay Pareek, Chief Business Officer, Fullerton India, said the Finance Minister has delivered a Budget today that was clearly focussed on economic recovery through increased capital expenditure for the country’s growth.