Mumbai, February 1: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today launched the Budget for the financial year 2017-18. The budget includes various measures to boost the Indian economy such as housing for the poor; relief to farmers; credit support to MSMEs; encouragement to digital transactions; assistance to pregnant women and senior citizens; and priority to Dalits, tribals, backward classes and women under the Mudra Yojana apart from other such measures.

Here is how various industrialists in the country reacted to this year’s budget:

Jimeet Modi, CEO, SAMCO Securities

Budget is forward looking with simplistic orientation to invigorate the economy by focusing  on ease of doing business, lower fiscal deficit targets thereby creating room for lower interest rate regime, increasing disposal income in the hands of middle class by lowering direct tax incidences, encouraging honesty by capping cash transactions either in the form of expanses or donations.

It is a step forward to transform the economy into meritocracy by trying to unshackle the past legacy of black money and political clutches. The simplification of procedural hassles for the common man and at the same time giving them tax concessions seems  sensible which is done to neutralize the effects of demonetization. Agriculture credit push to the tune of Rs 10 Lakhs Crores is positive for the entire rural economy combined with increased coverage under Bima Phasal Yogna would further galvanize the rural purchasing power. Focus on affordable housing and infra status there upon would help reduce interest cost for all and greatly boost the housing for all mission.

Ashish Shah, CEO and Founder, Vertoz

“The budget presented by the Finance Minister is encouraging for different strata of society. From agriculture and rural economy to digital initiatives and from FDI to relaxation in tax slab in the entry category, the Finance Minister had something for all.

 As a tech-based advertising firm, Vertoz welcomes these measures announced today to promote the digital sector. From infra layout to digital transactions and from introduction of Aadhaar Pay to cyber security, Budget 2017 is certainly a booster for the digital economy.”

 Punit Goenka, MD & CEO, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL) 

Budget 2017 speaks a lot about the Government’s positive & committed approach towards creating a stronger & balanced economy. Being directionally right & focused on spending in growth centric areas, it clearly reassures the fact that Remonetisation is in! ”

Rajan Samuel, Managing Director, Habitat for Humanity India,  

The budget this year has focused on strengthening the rural areas by building households for the families in need, improving local infrastructure, creating opportunities for youth and women through skill development and providing water facilities for villages that are open defecation free. At Habitat for Humanity, we believe that no matter who we are or where we come from, we all deserve to have a decent life. We deserve to know we have the power to take care of ourselves and build our own futures. This is what unites us. Through shelter, we empower. Habitat for Humanity India’s initiative are aligned with the Government of India’s  ‘Housing for All by 2022’ and ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’. We have built 1,74,771 homes and 1,44,540 sanitation units thereby impacting 9,43,448  individuals across 20 states in India. In future as well we aim to continue our partnership with the Government of India to achieve the target of building 1 crore homes by 2019. Our shared vision is building a better India where everyone has a decent place to live. Because every single one of us deserves the opportunity for a better future.” (ALSO READ: Budget 2017: Here are 15 major incentives announced for industries)

Surendra Hiranandani, CMD, House of Hiranandani.

I would term it as a reform-oriented budget where the expenditure was well directed towards economic growth and development, especially in the rural areas. It also reflected the government’s concern and priority to improve the investment climate with a view to stimulate growth. The massive push for improvement in infrastructure including record capital expenditure for roads, railways will indirectly benefit the real estate sector in the long run.

 We welcome the move to grant infrastructure status for affordable housing as it will act as an catalyst to the government’s vision of “Housing for All by 2022”. This will lead to higher participation by private players in this segment as they can have access to institutional funding and other government subsidies. Along with tax rebates for the salaried class which will lead to higher disposable income and interest subventions this can be a potential winner in the long run. However, the government should redefine affordable housing clearly keeping in view the different geographies in India.

Kunal Bahl, Co-founder & CEO, Snapdeal:

We commend the focus on growing the digital footprint in the country  –  enhancing digital infrastructure, capping cash transactions, reducing cash donations, using Adhaar Pay to enable more digital payments are significant measures. Initiatives make an impact when there is continued attention and the announcement of today builds on the demonetization efforts of last few weeks.

We also welcome the emphasis on skill development and technical education – this will enable India to successfully harness the demographic dividend. The attention to affordable housing, greater employment in rural areas are the right interventions to build a more equitable society.

Comments of Ms Chanda Kochhar, MD and CEO, ICICI Bank on the Union Budget for 2017 – 2018

The Union Budget has achieved the right balance between providing a growth impetus and maintaining fiscal prudence. It has comprehensively addressed all areas of socio-economic priority: farmers, poor & under-privileged sections of society, infrastructure development and strengthening of the financial sector. The Finance Minister has rightly prioritized investment in infrastructure and the rural economy, with a focus on inclusive growth and capacity building. The increase in capital spending and the proposals for investment in a range of areas from affordable housing to roads and railways would not only have a multiplier impact on other sectors of the economy but also enhance employment generation and make the growth inclusive. The thrust on digital transactions will increase the size of the formal economy and also make the payment systems more convenient and efficient. The tax measures are aimed at improving direct tax mobilization by broadening the tax base and improving tax administration. The continuity in policy, with the over-arching objective of sustainable and inclusive growth under-pinned by good governance, is very welcome.

Neelesh Talathi, CFO-Pepperfry.com:

“Promotes Growth, Builds Digital India’

The Union Budget 2018 has set the right priorities as India takes head-on the challenging global economic environment. The emphasis is rightly on growth with a slew of initiatives including higher allocation to infrastructure, increased emphasis on affordable housing & more disposal income in the hands of middle class Indians.

The Budget continues to focus on transforming India as a Digital Leader by allowing for easier flow of capital to create jobs and fostering innovation in our country, connecting Bharat and encouraging indigenous manufacture of POS terminals. These steps towards creating a digital economy will help grow our ecommerce ecosystem.

Anant Maheshwari, president, Microsoft India:

The Finance Minister has presented a balanced budget, underlined by the continued push to using technology to aid a digital economy. As India strengthens its position on the global map, the need for skilled youth is crucial. The budget’s focus on extending market relevant training for the youth and setting up 100 international skill centers across the country, is a positive move. The emphasis on science and technology for students, and launch of SWAYAM, will further empower India’s youth for the future. I am glad to witness the increasing focus on cybersecurity, which is critical to securing the economy’s digital transformation. The reduction of corporate tax for MSMEs is a welcome move and will boost the economic growth. The momentum in the implementation of GST is promising and I look forward to seeing it unfold in the coming months.

FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO) 

FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO), the women business wing of national business body FICCI have welcomed the Union Budget for the Financial year (FY) 2018 and termed it as the major thrust towards making women as an integral part economic growth.

“FICCI Ladies Organisation applauds the e government for bringing forward an inclusive budget. Concerted efforts have been made to keep the budget proposals in line with developmental priorities of the nation and will yield dividends for India.” Said MS Vinita Bimbhet , President , FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO) in her budget reaction

 “It is commendable that the Government plans to empower over two and a half lakh SC, ST & women entrepreneurs through Stand-up India initiative. Fourteen different sectors have been identified under the Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana for the empowerment of tribal people. We hope that women will benefit from this.” Ms Bimbhet said .

Varun Berry, managing director, Britannia Industries Ltd

Rural markets have suffered for the longest period of time. This year’s been an okay monsoon; the last two years have been very bad. And then demonetization came, so it slid again. But hopefully with these measures coming in, I’m sure that the rural economy is going to start to spur once again and that’s going to be very good for companies like ours. That’s really is the next frontier as far as consumption is concerned.