Though it was an interim budget, it has a long-term vision, said Meela Jayadev, President of FTCCI reacting to the interim budget Union Finance Minister Mrs. Niramala Seetharaman presented in the Parliament on Thursday morning. Meela Jayadev, along with Senior Vice President of FTCCI Suresh Kumar Singhal, and a few committee chairmen addressed the media immediately after watching an hour-long live telecast with 150 attendees.
There was not much deviation from the fiscal path of the previous years. The various proposals, including rural housing mooted in the budget, are a boost to rural housing, skill development, tourism, agriculture, and aquaculture. Nirmala Seetharaman’s budget includes development philosophy --social and geographical strata. It covered all elements of inclusivity. It has a long vision of making India Vikasit Bharat by 2047. The budget addressed four priority sectors such as empowering the poor, women, youth and farmers, he added
The focus on Solar Roof-Top and its plans to provide free solar electricity up to 300 units is a welcome measure which will help in reducing Carbon footprint and promote Renewable energy on a big scale, Meela Jayadev added the finance minister has given the right focus to Green Energy, EV Eco-system and logistics infrastructure, he said.
Speaking further, Meela Jayadev said, the completion of 3 Railway Corridors for Energy, Mineral and Cement and Port Connectivity Corridors under PM Gati Shakti scheme undoubtedly contribute to future economic growth. The increase in capex from 11.05 Lakh Cr to 11.11 Lakh Cr (3.4% of GDP) gives a boost to infrastructure development leading to the creation of jobs and business growth. The estimated fiscal deficit of 5.1% of GDP for 2024-25 is in the right direction, he said
We expected some benefits to income taxpayers, the President of one of the most dynamic regional chambers, FTCCI said. People were looking forward to this budget expecting some relief by increasing the standard deduction amount and also increasing tax slabs. However, the status quo was maintained in terms of Income Tax and some other taxes, which may be due to the interim nature of the budget and when the new finance minister presents a full-fledged budget in July soon after the General Elections, we hope to expect more soaps including tax relief, Meela Jayadev sai
Meela Jayadev said permitting more new medical colleges, which we expect quite a few for every state, will be a positive step towards the government's commitment towards 'universal health care'.
The Policy of the union government is laid out well in the budget, which I am sure is expected to give a boost to the economic growth of the nation. It is a fantastic budget, Suresh Kumar Singhal, Senior Vice President of FTCCI said. Being a vote-on-account budget, the financials are not laid out. Boosting rural housing by announcing their plans to construct 2 crore houses in the next five years is welcome and is a step towards ensuring housing for all. The other salient feature of the budget is its thrust on infrastructure investment and development. It will have a positive impact on many other sectors such as cement, steel and others. I see lowering the fiscal deficit as a positive sign of fiscal discipline and a healthy economy, he added.
Suresh Kumar Singhal further said that the government thought that facilitating MSME growth would be an important task. Skill development remained a central focus in the Budget to cultivate a workforce prepared for the jobs of the future. The setting of the corpus of one lakh crore with 50 years of interest-free loans for sunrise domains is the most welcome move, he added.
Nirmala Seetharaman announced that the creation of infrastructure for producing clean energy, EV charging networks etc. is the need of the hour. These and many initiatives announced in the interim budget will boost the manufacturing sector, Suresh Kumar Singhal said.
Chartered Accountant VS Sudhir who is a Chairman of the Direct Taxes Committee of FTCCI said conventionally the vote of account would not present any changes in taxation. The finance minister has followed this convention and has not proposed any tax changes either in income tax or GST. However, there are two proposals for income tax which have been bought out in this interim Budget. The extension of income tax exemption which is given to IFSC startups expiring on 1st of January 2024 has been extended to 31st of March 2025. The other proposal is to write off a small, disputed Tax amount up to Rs.25,000 or Rs.10,000 ranging from the financial years 1996 to 2015 this will ensure the procedure is for about 1 crore taxpayers.
The just presented interim budget had laid down a roadmap for the next 5 years, VS Sudhir said. On the whole, it is a futuristic budget, he added.
Irshad, Chartered Accountant and Chairman of the GST and Customs Committee of FTCCI said keeping the fiscal deficit for F 2025 at 5.1% of GDP against 5.8% in the current fiscal is a good thing and a welcome one. The bond market has already reacted positively to this, he said. Keeping 5.1% of GDP as a target for fiscal deficit is welcome.
Further, there were a lot of expectations about GST Amnesty on the similar lines of Income Tax Amnesty, but we are disappointed. There are many small-time traders for lack awareness and have not filed GST in the first two years of its implementation. Today they are facing a burden of penalties, interest etc. I am sure this request will be considered in the full-scale budget to be presented in July
The Budget has emphasized streamlining customs to improve international trade and laid focus on developing port infrastructure, he added
Prem Chand Kankaria, Chairman of, the Capital Markets and Investor Protection Committee of FTCCI said the interim budget was silent on populistic schemes. Such schemes always add a burden to the economy. The budget presented is an extremely good budget.