Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday presented the Budget 2021-22 and said that the government aims to shore up the economy, which was badly hit by the novel coronavirus pandemic. In her third budget speech in Lok Sabha, Sitharaman said that the Centre has made the accounts more transparent.
She said: “We are absolutely upfront with fiscal deficit. We not only ensured repeated review of capital expenditure and ensured that spending was encouraged and not delayed.”
“Our fiscal deficit which started at 3.5 percent during February 2020 has increased to 9.5 percent of GDP. So we have spent, we have spent and we have spent. At the same time, we have given a clear glide path for deficit management,” the finance minister added.
According to Sitharaman, the budget comes at a time when the economy needed an impetus. “All of us decided to give impetus to the economy and that impetus, we thought, would be qualitatively spent and give necessary demand push if we choose to spend big on infrastructure,” said Sitharaman.
Soon after the budget was presented, people from the different industries started sharing their opinions and reactions on the same. Here are the following:
Manish Sharma, president & CEO, Panasonic India, said: “For manufacturers, the government reiterated its commitment to reforms like the introduction of Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme with a budget outlay of Rs. 1.97 lakh crores across 13 sectors which reaffirms their intent to provide impetus to domestic manufacturing, while elevating India’s position as a global manufacturing champion. We look forward to the implementation details here to participate. The increased spending on infrastructure to improve roads and public transport is also a positive move and will provide easy access to raw material.”
Gunjan Malhotra, director, Komaki Electric Vehicle Division, said: “We consider ourselves rather fortunate that despite the massive devastation caused by the pandemic, the E-vehicle segment has mostly remained shielded from the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic. That said, the industry can still benefit from receiving government support. Besides the economic aspect, the government also has an added incentive to invest in the E-vehicle segment as it can contribute towards the betterment of the environment. Rising air pollution caused by fossil fuels has been the subject of concern for a while, and the E-vehicle segment can be the solution everyone has been looking for. By offering tax deductions on the interest on loans for EVs, removing the restrictions to avail input tax credit of GST paid on automobiles, and reducing the GST on lithium-ion batteries from 18 percent to 5 percent, the government can give a boost to the sector.”
Sohinder Gill, director-general, Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles, said: “For Clean Air, setting aside an amount of 2,217 crores for 42 urban centres with a million-plus population is a good move. The fund could be utilized to spread awareness about the benefits of using e-vehicles to the environment and its contribution to make the air clean. The government’s plan for strengthening the public transport sector under PPP models with an outlay of Rs 18000 crores for operating 20000 buses is encouraging for the EV industry. The scheme could strengthen the EV industry if more e-buses could be supported through the scheme.”