Union Budget 2021-22: Here is What Leading Marketers, Planners and Digital Experts Have to Say

Industry Watch | February 2, 2021 | Feature

BookMyShow Usha International Vedantu Dentsu R K Swamy Media Group

Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman tabled the Union Budget 2021-22 in Parliament on February 1, 2021, with clear focus on the growth of infrastructure and healthcare, but not on other severely affected sectors like Events, Media and Entertainment, Hospitality or Tourism.

The pandemic’s impact on the economy has resulted in a weak revenue inflow, however, industry experts say that the high spending-oriented Budget will usher in more cash flows and make the economy take rapid strides.

Here is what players from different industry sectors have to say:

Ashish Hemrajani, Founder & CEO, BookMyShow:

"We thank the Government and the Finance Minister for a forward-looking Budget 2021 that puts the thrust on infrastructure, healthcare and capital expenditure to stimulate growth and accelerate recovery. The Government’s continued impetus to a Digital India by way of support to start-ups and Internet businesses through the ₹1,500 crore fund to boost digital payments is a step in the right direction towards creating value through entrepreneurship for the economy. Additionally, the Government’s efforts to iron out compliance issues by decreasing the timelimit for re-opening of income tax proceedings to three years from the present six years as also increased threshold for tax audits supported by greater technology deployment to streamline the process is well appreciated. However, the entertainment ecosystem the world over remains the keystone for travel, tourism and hospitality industries which are growth engines for any economy and have been the worst-hit through the pandemic. Budget 2021 did not address the long-pending relief measures for the media and entertainment industry by way of easing infrastructure roadblocks and rationalizing the extremely high GST rates on live entertainment with that levied on cinema. While Budget 2021 marks a positive step in the direction of sustained growth, we hope the Government will provide some fillip to the entertainment industry that is a significant contributor to the aspiration of a $5 trillion economy, enabling employment opportunities, adding significant heft to the country’s growth.”

Dinesh Chhabra, CEO, Usha International:

“This Budget is expansionary and focuses on the nation’s growth, bringing a positive sentiment to the overall economy. Strengthening the healthcare facility of the country is the need of the hour and it’s heartening to see the Government’s commitment to the welfare of the society. The Government’s announcement on providing financial incentive to promote digital mode of payment will further boost the ‘Digital Revolution’ in India and is tailored to further accelerate growth rate. Further, the exemption duty on steel and copper scrap, up to March 2022, will also help control the rise in price of consumer goods that will translate into healthy sales in the coming summer season. Giving a boost to agriculture and rural on the one hand and the MSME sector on the other will go a long way in strengthening India we want to build. We are confident that the budget allocation for FY 2021-22 will provide the much-needed thrust to the V-shaped growth trajectory of Indian economy. This Budget clearly indicates the Government’s intent on rebuilding a new India.”

Vamsi Krishna, CEO & Co-founder, Vedantu:

“The National Education Policy has been a strategic move towards guiding the development of India’s education. To strengthen the policy further, this Union Budget is focusing on initiatives like National Digital Educational Architecture (NDEA) which will provide a diverse education eco-system for the development of digital infrastructure, educational planning, governance, and administrative activities. The complete shift from using assessments to not only judge the cognitive levels of the learner but also using it as an opportunity to identify the unique strengths and the potential is a student-centric approach that will lead to the holistic development of a child and provide them a greater edge, globally. Further, I would like to see more investments and budget allocation to go into the education sector to enhance it with more trending technologies which will make education accessible to students in the farthest corners of the country.

Ashish Bhasin, CEO-APAC and Chairman-India, Dentsu:

“According to me, this is a great Budget for the economy as well as for the advertising industry. It is clearly a growth-oriented Budget and I am particularly enthused about the investments in infrastructure and health. What is also good is that the taxes have not been raised and the process of taxation has been attempted to be simplified. Disinvestments and borrowings have been proposed as the preferred funding route, rather than increased taxation, which is helpful. Whenever the economy does well, the advertising industry benefits. Hence, I feel this economic growth that the Budget fuels will result in good growth for the advertising industry this year and we should be positive and bullish, both about India’s economic future as well as for the advertising industry.I also like the thrust towards increased usage of Digital, including in governance, starting from the symbolic usage of an India-made tablet to read the Budget from, by the Finance Minister.

However, one has to still see the fine print because the important thing is that the ideas presented must result in smooth on-ground implementation, where our track record has not been that great in the past.Overall, I find this a good, growth-oriented Budget, with some benefits for almost every section of the economy and hopefully this should bring our GDP growth into double digits, making India the world’s fastest-growing economy this year.”

Sandeep Sharma, President, R K Swamy Media Group:

"It is a good, progressive Budget and has considerable positives to driving India’s growth post-COVID era. The increase in capital expenditure, added spending on roads and infrastructure, augmenting railway infrastructure, urban infra will give an impetus to industry activity and generate jobs. Further, direct tax reforms and easing the tax compliances are a progressive step forward. Going forward, the industry would look forward to rationalising GST further and increased spending power in the hands of the common man by a cut in personal income tax rates. Nowadays, reforms are an ongoing process and the Budget is meant to be a macro statement of policy intent. To that extent, it has been a good and balanced Budget."

Kunal Lakhara, VP of Finance and Operations, Pocket Aces:

“The Union Budget 2021-2022's revised fiscal deficit estimate for FY21 has taken on a realistic approach that is focused on spends which are much needed to revive the economy. The tax holiday given to start-ups for an additional one year brings relief to enabling the sector to sustain and grow, as we recover from the pandemic. Further, the move to encourage one-person companies without any restrictions is a step in the right direction. This will go a long way in encouraging more people to come forward to set up innovative businesses that solve the challenge of the day, and grow the high-potential start-up ecosystem within the country.”

Rajan Navani, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, JetSynthesys:

“The Union Budget 2021 is a forward-looking one, with massive spend commitment by the Government across many sectors, combined with large divestment and monetisation, along with privatisation of two public banks and one insurance company. This is a great trajectory for banking in India. Also, the increase in FDI in insurance to 74% with management control will help in attracting FDI from the world, further boosting the economy. I’m particularly excited about the Government’s commitment to set aside an outlay of Rs 50,000 crore for the National Research Foundation, the setting up of a new fintech hub, and an allocation to incentivise digital payments. Most importantly, the proposed use of data analytics, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, optimising the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and tax portals, is indicative of the New India of 2022.”

Aneel Gambhir, CFO, Blue Dart:

“The Budget is in line with our expectations. The proposed solutions include a succinct focus on improving road and railway infrastructure; investments in National highway corridors and economic corridors will aid in the speedy movement of goods and improve turnaround time which, in the long run, will bring down logistics costs significantly.

The National Highway work planned in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal, Assam will further assist in the final goal of last-mile delivery and we are eager to see its results on our business. In the long term, all the expenditures could be assisted with the proposed introduction of the DFI which will speed up the infrastructure development in India. Apart from this, the focus on the manufacturing sector in the Budget would also help the logistics sector grow further.”

Kamlesh Patel, Chairman and MD, Asian Granito India Ltd:

"It is a growth-oriented inclusive Budget with focus on infrastructure, investment, MSME and health sector to revive growth on fast track. The measures are expected to give the right momentum to the economy in the medium to long term. Tax reforms and tax simplification measures, especially reducing the time-limit for reopening of assessment to 3 years, are steps in the right direction. Higher allocation to infrastructure, extension of exemption for the purchase of affordable houses till March 2022 and tax exemption to rental housing projects will provide necessary boost to the ceramic industry.”

The Budget has clear focus on growth of infrastructure and healthcare but bypasses other severely affected sectors like events industry, media and entertainment or hospitality.

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