Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman's Union Budget has received appreciation as well as new suggestions from the corporate world. Most chief executives called the Budget a bold one, especially for continuing reforms.
Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran says the FM has continued the trend of productive expenditure. Chandrasekaran added that the Budget is consistent with the PM's vision of making India a digital superpower, sustainability leader and healthy nation.
"This statement of intent is clearly supported by a plan for the future, and backed by allocations — specifically in the areas of infrastructure, digital transition, planet resilience, education and health — to support Indian ambitions," says the Tata Sons chairman.
Venu Srinivasan, chairman at TVS Motor Company, said the big boost to capital expenditure would give a fillip to the Indian economy. He expressed strong support for measures related to the electric mobility space in the Budget to promote clean and green mobility, mainly introducing battery-swapping policy that will be instrumental in supporting an efficient EV ecosystem. "There is an impactful thrust towards renewable energy incentives with an increased focus on reducing infrastructural waste for a greener tomorrow," he adds.
Gopichand Hinduja, co-chairman, Hinduja Group, calls the Budget a great roadmap, but the success of the measures would depend on implementation. Dheeraj Hinduja, executive chairman, Ashok Leyland, says the battery swapping policy and special EV mobility zones will help in the smooth transition to electric vehicles. Prashant Ruia, Director, Essar Capital terms it a bold one that can encourage a massive hike in public investment.
Rajesh Gopinathan, MD and CEO, TCS, says the decision to introduce e-passport will further streamline overall experience and enhance security. "The initiative to introduce a Digital Rupee in the form of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) is an extremely futuristic decision."
P B Balaji, group CFO, Tata Motors, opines that for the Indian automobile sector, a significant contributor to the nation’s GDP, the budget offers continuity and additional opportunities to drive multi-year growth. "Specifically, the robust increase in capex by 35.4% to ₹7.5 lakh crore and a comprehensive investment plan for infrastructure is a significant growth booster," he adds.
Martin Schwenk, managing director and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India, says the industry needs a broader holistic view on the strategy around developing electric mobility for the passenger vehicle segment. "A mid-to-long term planning for demand creation is needed and we hope the fine prints will have ripple effect and passively stimulate growth for the auto industry."
Satyakam Arya, managing director & CEO, Daimler India Commercial Vehicles, says boosting road infrastructure and logistics should keep the commercial vehicles industry on a positive trend. We will, however, need to look at the GST rate for battery charging and swapping as a service going forward, he further mentions. "The indication that unblended fuel will attract additional duty of ₹2 per litre may put pressure on the current auto industry environment, at the same time will hasten the transition," he avers.
Vikramadithya Gourineni, executive director, Amara Raja Batteries, says while battery swapping can play a pragmatic solution for India’s electric mobility needs, there is also merit in introducing higher safety rated battery packs compatible with faster charging.
Anil G Verma, executive director and president, Godrej & Boyce, says logistics costs in India count among the highest in the world. "Creation of infrastructure is the best way to reduce the costs and introduce competitiveness in the economy to serve both the domestic market and exports," he says.
Nagesh Basavanhalli, group CEO and MD, Greaves Cotton, says focusing on 4 core pillars of productivity, climate action, financing investment and PM Gati Shakti programme will strengthen infrastructure and the MSME sector.
Mahendra Nahata, MD, HFCL, believes that the expected spectrum rollout for 5G in 2022, combined with a scheme for design-led manufacturing for 5G equipment under the PLI scheme will not only lead to advancement in the telecom sector, but will also help create employment opportunities.
Ankit Agarwal, MD, Sterlite Technologies, says the Budget targets digital connectivity for all through optical fibre and digital services in 100% of the villages by 2025. It also sets the foundation for India’s 5G readiness through spectrum auctions, R&D impetus, USOF allocation along with a boost for domestic manufacturing through a timely ‘design-led manufacturing’ scheme, he further adds.
Sunil Duggal, group CEO, Vedanta, says the plan to launch sovereign green bonds for green infrastructure to reduce carbon intensity and thematic funds to provide blended finance to sectors like climate action and digital economy shows that government is now following up its commitment at COP 26 with credible action.
Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO, Flipkart Group, says the creation of the technology and innovation-based Unified Logistics Interface platform, and the development of cargo terminals will further boost an efficient supply chain ecosystem in India and create millions of new livelihood opportunities.
Sunil Mathur, MD and CEO, Siemens, says the increased capex outlay of ₹7.50 lakh crore demonstrates the intent of the government to create the necessary impetus for the economy. "Stability in tax policy is also a welcome step," he adds.
Manish Sharma, CEO, Panasonic India, says it was encouraging to see the focus on clean energy. We look forward to details on the battery swapping policy and participate in India’s electric vehicle story, he adds.
Sanjay Dutt, MD & CEO, Tata Realty & Infrastructure, says the allocation of ₹48,000 crore for FY23 to housing projects with an aim to build 80 lakh residences for PM Awas Yojana (PMAY) is a much-needed push to create newer and affordable inventories for home buyers. The ambitious housing scheme has deliver 53.42 lakh houses so far.
V S Parthasarathy, vice-chairman, Allcargo Logistics, says the PM Gati Shakti scheme will get more firepower with higher allocations across the board to propel all related sectors, including logistics. The development of multimodal logistics parks will further spur economic growth, he added.
Vivek Bhatia, managing director and CEO, Thyssenkrupp Industries India said concessions in import duties on raw materials and export incentives are the right moves to make India a global manufacturing hub.
Rajesh Jejurikar, Executive Director — auto and farm sectors, Mahindra and Mahindra, says the battery swapping policy can offer a practical alternative to increase adoption of electric vehicles.