New Delhi, Feb 1 (PTI) Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has presented a Union Budget laying a strong foundation for making India a 'Viksit Bharat’ or a developed nation by 2047, opined experts.
The finance minister on Thursday presented a Rs 47.66 lakh crore Budget with a focus on all the sectors of the economy.
It is the last major economic document of the government ahead of the general election to elect the 18th Lok Sabha.
"The Interim Budget 2024 lays a strong foundation for building a prosperous and inclusive India, in line with the vision of 'Viksit Bharat’. We echo the sentiment of empowerment for every section of society, particularly the 'Garib', 'Mahilayen', 'Yuva', and 'Annadata'," said Godrej Industries' Chairman and MD Nadir Godrej.
Ranen Banerjee, Partner and Leader Economic Advisory, PwC India said the government has walked the path of fiscal prudence, and it is heartening to note that the fiscal deficit target for FY24, pegged at 5.8 per cent, will be overachieved.
He further said there has been no change on the taxation front, and one has to wait for the full budget for any changes, with the government sticking to the norm of not making major announcements in an interim budget.
According to Puneet Kaura, Chairman, CII Delhi State Council and MD and CEO of defence sector MSME Samtel Avionics, India's journey towards self-reliance demands robust technological development, especially in critical areas like defence.
"In this context, the finance minister's announcement...to soon launch a new scheme to boost deep-tech for the defence sector is indeed a welcome decision...This will be instrumental in realizing the vision of a truly self-sufficient India," he said.
Commenting on the interim Budget, Ajay Singh, CMD SpiceJet and President, ASSOCHAM said "It is India first Budget".
"A confident budget of a confident government that focuses on the objective of ensuring that India becomes a USD 5 trillion economy by 2025 and a developed nation by 2047," he said.
He further said the emphasis on clean energy, technology and digital infrastructure will make India a world leader.
On announcements regarding the electric vehicle (EV) sector, H S Bhatia, MD of Kelwon Electronics & Appliances - Manufacturing Partner of DAEWOO India said the Budget's explicit focus on funding charging infrastructure aligns perfectly with the industry's needs, providing a solid foundation for the widespread adoption of EVs.
"This initiative opens new horizons, creating entrepreneurial opportunities for vendors and employment prospects for skilled youth in the manufacturing, installation, and maintenance of electric vehicles," he said.
K Balachandran, Co-founder and CFO, IRIS Business Services Ltd said, the budget stands out for the restraint shown by the finance minister on expenditure plans in this election year along with the better-than-expected performance on the fiscal front.
"There seems to be a certain compression on expenditure in social schemes in FY24 as well which also aided in bringing the fiscal deficit under control. Going forward, both private investment and consumption would have to fire for the economy to grow at a pace in excess of 7 per cent. The continued focus on digital, transport and rural infrastructure, ease of business and manufacturing sector-oriented incentives should aid this process," he added.
Ayush Lohia, CEO, Lohia Auto said the Budget's emphasis on supporting MSMEs, coupled with the extension of the concessional tax rate for new manufacturing units, is a promising boost for the auto industry.
"This aligns with the broader vision of making India a 'Viksit Bharat' by 2047," he said.
Saurabh Rai, CEO, ARAHAS Technologies said the introduction of 'Kartavya Kaal'—a call to duty for the private sector to significantly boost research and innovation—resonates deeply with their ethos.
"This budget not only fosters a circular economy and sustainable development but also emphasises India's role on the global stage through initiatives like the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor," he said.
Rajiv Agarwal, MD & CEO, Essar Ports opined that with a substantial increase in infrastructure outlay, the budget has rightly given a thrust to multi-modal connectivity by implementing three major economic railway corridor under PM Gati Shakti programme.
"These initiatives will go a long way in improving logistics efficiency and reducing cost. This will surely elevate India's logistics and infrastructure landscape," he added.
Rohit Arora, CEO and Co-founder, Biz2Credit and Biz2X welcomed the strategic measures aimed at strengthening MSMEs and the focus on innovation in the BFSI sector.
D S Negi, CEO, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute & Research Centre (RGCIRC) said initiatives like the establishment of a committee to create additional medical colleges by leveraging existing hospital infrastructure under various departments and promoting vaccination of girls aged 9-14 to prevent cervical cancer are steps in the right direction.
"These measures will certainly help address key issues of shortage of health workers, increase access to quality healthcare, and prevention of life-threatening diseases," Negi said.
Shikhar Aggarwal, Joint Managing Director, BLS International said the travel and tourism sector serves as a crucial economic driver for India, and this year's Budget underscores the commitment to fostering its growth and development.
"The government's fast-track development and investments in airport infrastructure and road connectivity projects will play a pivotal role in boosting connectivity," he said.
Akshat Khetan, Founder, AU Corporate and Legal Advisory Services said the government plans to continue economic policies fostering growth, inclusive development, and skill enhancement.
The government aims to address societal changes, including population growth challenges, with a commitment to strengthening the economy, creating opportunities, and realising the dream of a developed India by 2047, he said. PTI NKD NKD ANU ANU