Union Budget 2018 : Reactions live

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Mr. Subrata Kumar Nag, Group CEO, Quess Corp Limited.

‘’The Union Budget 2018 has set the right priorities for India and its people, focusing towards the betterment of the citizens of India. The emphasis is rightly on developing rural infrastructure that will also generate more employment opportunities. The government funding of 12% EPF in wages of new employees and the relaxation of minimum period of employment under section 80-JJAA of the Income-tax Act is a positive development for the overall job creation in the economy. We also welcome government’s continued focus in creating Smart Cities, creation and augmentation of telecom infrastructure and the proposal to set up wi-fi hotspots in rural areas. These moves will help Quess expand its business and drive profitability. ”

Co-founder & CEO of Ola, Bhavish Aggarwal.

“The budget is progressive, balanced and forward looking with a well-defined focus on Digital India. Ola is already a partner to some of the Digital India initiatives. Allocation of INR 3073 crore towards Digital India is a significant leg-up. The thrust provided to tourism with the  commitment of creating iconic tourist spots, investment earmarked for transport infrastructure, progress made on Smart Cities and creation of more than 5 lakh Wi-Fi hotspots in India is truly welcome. Overall, it is a balanced budget which will further strengthen India’s position as a leading world economy with good livability index and business environment.”

Nitin Chalke, Chairman CII Pune

2018 India budget is a balanced, responsible budget taking forward the pro-growth agenda, which the government has been following for some time. It is trying to balance the Social, infrastructural and economic needs of the country while maintaining fiscal discipline.  It tries to create a foundation for a sustained growth.

We welcome the planned infrastructure spend on roads, railways, airports . We being primarily agrarian economy, renewed focus on Agriculture and allied sectors expected to aid overall consumption and in turn driving improvement in per capita income, consumption and indirect tax collections. MSMEs will also be benefited due to tax measures and access to capital.

Overall a positive budget balancing growth with fiscal prudence.

Mr Devendra Darda, Managing Director, Lokmat Media Group.

“The budget has thankfully kept the interest of the consumers in line and so our readers. It is a consumer friendly budget and there has not been any major ups and downs.

However, it is also looking at the business growth and entrepreneurship in the country. We look forward to manage our news print cost and giving the best to our readers”

Sanjana Desai, Head of Business Development, Desai Brother’s Ltd (Food Division – Mother’s Recipe), said, “The Union Budget 2018-19 is largely positive for FMCG. As anticipated by the FMCG sector, Government’s thrust on boosting the rural economy is welcoming. Increased allocation under various schemes such as MNERGA, rural infrastructure and others will not only increase rural income through employment generation by these projects but will also improve connectivity giving a boost to rural/agri businesses. Furthermore, doubling the investment in food processing to Rs. 1400 crore will which is growing at an average rate of 8% per annum is a great move and will encourage establishment of specialized agro-processing financial institutions in this sector. Additional allocation of Rs. 500 crore to launch Operation Greens will promote Farmer Producers Organizations (FPOs), agri-logistics, processing facilities and professional management to provide basic vegetables to consumers all throughout the year.  Apart from this, government’s focus on organic agriculture is definitely in support of the health & wellness industry.

Result of these measures will witness increase in rural consumption, improve overall rural economy and have a trickling effect on the corporates.

Arijit Basu, MD & CEO, SBI Life.

Budget 2018 has been a very fine balancing act in giving an impetus to certain sectors and yet maintains fiscal prudence.

The focus has rightly been on the rural economy especially the farm sector and on providing health and social security.  A standout measure that has been proposed is to provide cover of Rs.5 lakhs to about 50 crore people, almost half the country’s population. If both these schemes are properly implemented and monitored, this could be a big boost to the service sector and to people’s well-being.

Insurance schemes have been specifically projected and is highly welcomed by us as one of the important players.

On taxation, the government has played a delicate balancing act by giving relief to the middle class and carefully calibrating a long-term capital gains tax.

Overall, it is a positive budget aimed at growth, equity and social well-being.

Mr. Devendra Kumar Vyas, CEO, Srei Equipment Finance Limited

“The Union Budget, 2018, compliments government’s fiscal consolidation journey and rightly focuses on strengthening agriculture, rural development, healthcare, education, employment creation and ease of doing business. It is also encouraging to observe the continued high emphasis on infrastructure which in turn will positively impact the infrastructure equipment sector. Infrastructure budgetary allocation and new announcements are reassuring; however, frontloading of spending along with efficient on-ground execution would be crucial.

 On the liability side; the expected guidance for large corporates to use bond markets in financing one-fourth of their funding needs has the potential to develop a vibrant corporate bond market. This will also enhance the role of the Indian securities market in channelizing long term finance, more so for the infrastructure segment.”

Mr. Rakesh Dubey, President, Microfinance Institutions Network (MFIN)

“By introducing incentives for MSMEs in the form of capital support and corporate tax reduction to 25% for companies with turn over under INR250 crore, government will encourage small entrepreneurs in both urban and rural areas. Clubbed with increased target for MUDRA Yojana for this year, it will encourage small and medium entrepreneurs to expand their businesses. Government’s decision to review refinancing policy of MUDRA for better financing of NBFCs is a good news for NBFC-MFIs. MUDRA has been an important source of financing for microfinance companies and after this announcement they can expect easier access of finance at lower rates in the future through MUDRA. Lastly, government’s focus on improving digital infrastructure in rural areas will help increase the reach of financial inclusion and with the strengthened internet and telecom infrastructure microfinance companies will be able to accelerate cashless adoption in rural areas. “

Sudarshan Venu – Joint Managing Director, TVS Motor Company

“The Union Budget 2018/19 demonstrates government’s intent to boost investments in rural development, education, healthcare and social sectors and will lead to continued and inclusive economic growth. The strong push for infrastructure will also support this growth agenda. The government’s focus on supporting local manufacturing, skill development under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra and a heightened emphasis on job creation will lead to greater opportunities for the youth of the country.”

Mr. V Thiyagarajan, MD, India Home Health Care

“We feel that this year’s budget is aimed at touching the lives of the rural folk and bridge the gap between the rural and urban population. We feel that utilizing 1.5 lakh healthcare centres across the country will bring the health benefits to almost all the households. We also welcome the government’s move to provide free essential drugs and diagnosis as it will reduce the burden on people seeking treatments for life threatening diseases. It will also help in promote Universal Health Coverage for all under the National Health Policy. The launch of National Health Protection Scheme with an enhanced Rs 5 lakh medical insurance and over 10 crore families is going to be a game changer in the healthcare industry. We also welcome the government’s new initiative to allocate 600 crores to support tuberculosis patients. Overall, we feel that the budget is going to enhance productivity, better access to healthcare facilities for rural and urban population and generate more jobs in the sector especially for women. We also feel that the budget should have covered the areas of palliative care, chronic and critical illnesses. 

Jerome Saigot, Managing Director, Nissan India:

“Union Budget 2018-19 is a reaffirmation of the government’s commitment to sustainable economic growth. The sustained focus on building road and transport infrastructure, skill development and job creation will help in in creating a positive mood in the economy. The stimulus to the agriculture and rural infrastructure will further drive consumer demand in the rural markets benefitting the auto sector and  economy overall.”

Shishir Baijal, Chairman & Managing Director, Knight Frank India


“The Union Budget 2018-2019 has predominantly focussed on revitalising the rural economy which is a good move. We also welcome the thrust on the healthcare, agriculture and infrastructure sectors outlined in this budget. Throughout last year, measures surrounding ‘Affordable Housing’ were the mainstay from the perspective of real estate industry. This was also evident in the Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS) and the last Goods & Services Tax (GST) Council meet where they brought down the effective rate to 8% from 12%. A similar trend is visible in this budget where the ‘Affordable Housing’ fund under National Housing Bank (NHB) has been created as a part of the priority sector lending. However, there has been a silence in the budget on stimulating mainstream real estate demand. The sector grappling with the reforms-driven new order has been bereft of any meaningful interventions that could have been achieved through the budget.”

Nilesh Palresha, Executive Director, EarthFood

“The Union Budget 2018 is very promising, especially for the agriculture sector. The Indian economy is spurring and is poised to become the 5th largest very soon. Government’s plan to set up an agriculture market infrastructure fund of INR 2000 crore is a great move to uplift the agriculture sector in India.

Rural Agriculture and Economy –Ranen Banerjee, Partner and Leader – Public Finance and Economics, PwC India

“Great to see the biggest focus on the farm sector. 1.5 times input costs as MSP would give a lot of assurance to farmers. Setting up Rural Agri Markets and keeping them out of APMC is a great move. The cluster model for horticulture produce is innovative. Crop loans for lessee cultivators would also enhance the cultivated area, boosting farm production. Refocusing PMGSY to connect habitations to Agri markets will allow farmers to better realise prices.”


“A cautiously populist budget in a pre-election year. Fiscal deficit target of 3.2% has been breached for 2017-18 and is pegged at 3.5%. The fiscal glide path has also been reset with next year target at 3.3%. However, it is still within comfort zone. The recommendations of the FRBM committee to limit debt to 40% of GDP has also been accepted. It has a focus on the farm sector, which was under distress and forms a larger part of the electorate while biting the bullet on the long term capital gains in equities that affects a smaller size electorate. The farm sector push is likely to revive demand and hopefully will create private sector led growth.”- Ranen Banerjee, Partner and Leader – Public Finance and Economics, PwC India 

Dr SB Mujumdar, Chancellor, Symbiosis International (Deemed University)
Education is oxygen of development. Nevertheless, as in previous years it has been paid scant attention. The dream of allocating 6 per cent of GDP on education is still unfulfilled. However there are some good proposals in the budget such as emphasizes is given on digital education, skill development center in every district, starting railway university in Baroda and provision of research opportunties in Baroda. Proposal of opening 24 medical colleges is welcome. Allocation of Rs 1 lakh crore to education seems inadequate. Finance Minister said that the budget gives emphasise on agriculture, education and health. However, education sector seems neglected. Finance Minister said that quality of education will be considerable improved. This can be done only when colleges and universities are free from government control and regulation which is presently strangulating.As in previous years Saraswati- Goddess of Knowledge remains without freedom.

Dr. Vidya Yeravdekar,Pro Chancellor, Symbiosis International (Deemed University)The budget on education seems very promising. The focus has been on quality of Education, teacher training, use of technology in education and more importantly research. Integrated B Ed programe, In service training of teachers , black board to Digital boards and most important is allocation of 1 lakh crores for revitalizing of infrastructure and systems in education. PRIME MINISTERS research fellows of selecting 1000 BTech. students and providing fellowships to them in IITs and IISC is an excellent move towards a structured focus on research.18 new Architecture and Planning schools and 24 new Govt Medical colleges is yet another good move.

Sachin Bhandari, CEO, VTP Realty“With real estate being a major focus owing to the infrastructure development and housing for all initiatives by the Government, the Union Budget 2018 announced today did have some interesting inclusions. Infact, prior to the Union Budget being broadcasted, the Government had declared reduction of GST to 8% for all houses qualifying under credit link subsidy scheme under PMAY. This itself shows the Government’s keenness and commitment to make Housing for All a reality by 2022. Funds have also been allocated by the government for building 37 lakh houses in urban areas. These project the Government’s sanguine outlook towards the realty sector which is very encouraging for us as a business and also as consumers. 
Out of 100 smart cities, 99 have been identified and Government announced budgets for development of various projects in these cities. The Finance Minister further announced that the Centre will create a dedicated affordable housing fund in collaboration with the National Housing Bank. For companies like ours, which have MIG and Affordable House offerings, this is a great opportunity to play a role in the development of India and contribute our bit in making our country one of the largest economies in the world. Government’s initiative to focus on both rural and urban housing will further help in accelerating the growth of real estate in our country.”-

Pravin Patil, MD & CEO-Starkenn Sports Pvt. Ltd: “This Union budget for FY 2018-19 is a very balanced budget. The extension of 25% corporate tax benefit to organizations with turnover up to 250Cr is a mega boost to all MEMEs who have high valuation and sales. This will leave companies with higher investible surplus which in turn will create more jobs. The budget also earmarked Rs3 trillion for 2018-19 under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana or Mudra scheme. In addition to it, allocation of Rs3,794 crore for credit support to MSMEs is also a welcome move. In a nutshell this budget has paved ways for the growth of MSME sector and we at Starkenn Sports are looking forward to FY 18-19.” 

Food & Agriculture – Ajay Kakra, Leader – Food and Agriculture, PwC India – “The continued focus on agricultural sector reform is appreciated, especially the government’s effort to integrate rural haats to the eNam and increasing the purview of MSP for comprehensive coverage of agri commodities .The farmers can look forward to better price realisation now.”

Infrastructure – Manish Agarwal, Partner and Leader- Infrastructure, PwC India – “50 lakh crore for infrastructure is welcome is as it reaffirms continued funding of various initiatives in Roads, Railways and Urban Infrastructure. Quantum leap in airport capacity is key requirement to keep pace with the rapid growth in aviation. Other initiatives, outside the budget, to revive private sector play in these sectors, will complement and further the impact of the budget allocations”

Nithin Kamath, Founder & CEO, Zerodha, “I’m happy to note that the FM increased the MSME tax net to companies with under 250Crs revenue from the present 50Cr limit. Many companies would benefit from this and will eventually aid in the job creation process, which according to me is vital to strengthen the Indian economy. The other key takeaway for me was the introduction of the 10% Long-term capital gains tax. In the longer term, I think taxing capital gains is healthy for the overall economy. Needless to say, there will be a knee-jerk reaction to this in the market, but my guess is that this would be short-term in nature.”

Naveen Aggarwal, Partner & COO Tax, KPMG in IndiaAggregating agriculture for inclusivity – Clear focus on improving the fundamentals to achieve the twin objectives of improving farm productivity and making exports competitive in the run up to the government’s ambition of doubling the farm income by 2022. The Government’s commitment to farmer welfare is evident by institutionalizing mechanisms such as development of gramin agricultural markets, increasing MSPs, promoting cluster based agriculture, developing last mile infrastructure and a fillip to realise the untapped export potential of the sector. An undeterred focus on providing Direct Benefits Transfer to farmers will be a catalyst in realizing the fortune at the bottom of the pyramid.

Nilaya Varma, Partner and COO | Infrastructure, Government and Healthcare (IGH) Practice -Head of Government and Healthcare Practice-KPMG in India“Total Health Protection Scheme as a precursor to UHC is very welcome. Scheme Design and creating the right Digital Health Infrastructure would be critical for this to be successful and avoid delay. Leveraging PPP for creating the announcement of 24 New Medical Colleges is necessary for this to be successful”.

Rajaji Meshram, Director, Infrastructure, Government and Healthcare Services, KPMG in India 
Union Budget 2018-19 allocates INR1.48 lakh crore for capital expenditure in Railways, the highest ever allocation in the history of Indian Railways. The focus of investment is on safety, electrification, track doubling/tripling and rolling stock such as train sets, wagons, coaches and locomotives. The announcement of setting-up first train set in 2018 is a welcome step as train sets have better acceleration characteristics as compared to conventional locomotive hauled trains. Station redevelopment programme has also got a decisive push with a target of 600 stations. Investments have also been announced for suburban railways in Bangalore and Mumbai cities. The paradigm shifting High Speed Railway project between Mumbai to Ahmedabad was formally launched in September 2017. The announcement of setting up of a specialised institute focussed on high speed railway technology is well timed as the HSR project enters the construction phase. The Budget also announced modernisation of good sheds which is important for increasing railway modal share in freight traffic.