The budget presented by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will stimulate economic growth as it lays stress on development of infrastructure and confers several benefits upon the MSMEs, according to G. Sambasiva Rao, president of the AP Chambers of Commerce and Industry Federation.
Railways and roads
Welcoming the budget, he said the proposal to improve railway infrastructure through the public-private partnership model was a good move, as ₹50 lakh crore investment would be required over the years for the purpose.
‘Bharatmala’, with an investment of ₹80,250 crore, to lay 1,25,000 km village roads was also a welcome move. The development and maintenance of transport infrastructure to reduce congestion and improve access to rural markets would have a positive ripple effect on the agricultural sector, he said.
Boost to MSMEs
The credit boost to the MSMEs through ₹350 crore interest subvention and 2% interest subvention for GST-registered MSMEs on fresh or incremental loans would help businesses and boost the slumping economy, Mr. Sambasiva Rao observed.
Introduction of ₹1 crore loan for the MSMEs would bring great relief to small businesses, making easier accessibility and processing of loans through a single portal.
The increase in turnover limit to ₹400 crores for companies to avail themselves of 25% corporate tax would lead to more capital in the hands of businesses to invest in growth, he added.
President of the Andhra Pradesh Food Processing Industries Federation P. Bhaskara Rao, however, expressed his apprehensions over the budget.
He pointed out that from the viewpoint of Andhra Pradesh, the Union Budget was disappointing as there was no specific mention of any of the projects such as Polavaram and Amaravati construction. There was no mention of allocations to various Central educational institutions coming up in the State, he added.
In general too, the budget did not address major problems such as stimulating the economy, job creation, or bringing the economy out of the slowdown phase. The only welcome feature was that labour laws were being simplified and rationalised, he added.
‘Could have been better’
CEO of Symbiosis Technologies O. Naresh Kumar said the budget was good, but could have been better.
“The 2% reduction in interest rate for the MSMEs is an encouraging move, but it could have been 4%. It would have put the Indian industry on par with the global lending rates,” he said.
Another good initiative was rebate of ₹1.5 lakh on loans for electric vehicles.
“It will encourage people to buy green vehicles, reduce pollution and bring down fuel consumption. The GST on such vehicles is also slashed from 12% to 5%,” said Mr. Naresh. But the industry captains were unhappy when it came to A.P. They opined that not much had been given to the State, and there was no mention of projects like Kadapa Steel Plant.