Union Budget 2023 countdown: Wishlist of India Inc.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will deliver the Union Budget 2023–24 to Parliament on February 1. This is the final comprehensive Budget before the 2024 general election.

Whether it’s the local population hoping for tax breaks or the foreign business community eager to reap the benefits of the country’s burgeoning manufacturing sector, expectations and hopes are high.

There are speculations that the government may give a variety of tax breaks for the middle class, including women and the elderly. Technology, agriculture, health, education, and manufacturing are all likely to receive larger budget increases.

ET Insights talked to some industry experts, and here’s what they expect from the upcoming budget

Suvajit Karmakar, the CEO and whole-time director at ALD Automotive, when asked about his expectations from the upcoming budget, said that the industry would want the government to look at them more favourably as the tax rates are very high. He said that leasing is directly related to the product that they lease, so whatever rates are applicable to cars are also applicable to the automotive industry.

He also shed light on the fact that the industry contributes to the treasury of the government, and if they are looked at more favourably, the contribution that they will be making would be much larger. He gave an example of how the UK or Netherlands or any other automotive market larger than US, their leasing contributes to nearly 40%, while India’s contributions are less than 1%. If this contribution moves up to 40%, then the level of revenue contribution will rise.

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Aegon Life Insurance is hopeful that incentives like GST exemption or a reduced GST slab can further help meet the needs of consumers. Pension/annuity proceeds should be made tax-free in the hands of policyholders, or a deduction for the principal component should be allowed. An aggregate deduction of up to Rs 1.75 lakh, for the premiums paid for life and health can be introduced to nurture the eco-system of insurers, InsurTechs, and consumers.

Sandeep Gulati, Regional CEO-South Asia & Managing Director-India, Egis, said, “I would think that the momentum has to be amplified.” After monetisation, for instance, things have not progressed as quickly as they should have. Air India is an exception. To a large extent, monetisation has been successful, however, there are still many underutilised assets. Additionally, the release of assets such as Infrastructure Investment Trust (InvITs), which would result in an increase in the country’s capital expenditure.”

Sanjaya Mariwala, Executive Chairman and Managing Director, OmniActive Health Technologies Ltd., India, and Founder President, AHNMI, said, “There are two to three small things regarding GST that the Budget needs to address. We are very high on the GST rate chart. The government needs to incentivize the preventive healthcare product industries and apply 5 to 8 percent GST rates instead of 18 percent. This will help consumers save money and maintain optimal health. If this happens, I think it will be brilliant. Other than this, I just hope that the economic conditions of our country improve, and the people prosper. I believe entrepreneurs will play a major role in our country’s development.”

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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