Post Budget-2016 Reactions

The much awaited Budget -2016 has been announced. This budget has left many sectors happy and for many it has been a sad one and has left them thinking. Post Budget-2016 announcement Techspirit brings you reaction from people across various sectors:

Dr. GSK Velu, Chairman and Managing Director, Trivitron Group of Companies: Focus on enhanced healthcare facility for rural population and medical insurance of 1 lakh coverage for one third of population across the country and additional Rs 30,000 for senior citizens is laudable, but would have been happier if some concrete steps to bring down overall healthcare cost was announced in the budget.

Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley must be applauded for bringing budget’s focus on rural community as well as senior citizens. Budget’s proposal to set up 3,000 medicine shops in rural areas and insurance scheme for senior citizens is noteworthy and noble intent of low cost access to dialysis centers in every district to benefit over 2.3 million estimated ESRD patients in India. But then, given India’s humungous population with majority of people with modest income, the biggest challenge that our country focuses is to ensure low cost quality healthcare access to majority of Indians. Government needs to realize that medicines are just one component of healthcare cost and at times not the major component of healthcare cost also. Medical devices are equally critical part of overall healthcare cost as medicines and diagnostics. If the government had focused on giving a major boost to medical device manufacturing in the country and also ensured a robust MRP regime, then it would have served two purpose with one shot – i.e. (a) Lower the overall healthcare cost and better price stability and (b) lead to sharp reduction on import dependency.

Sean Blagsvedt, CEO and Founder, We are delighted with the government’s decision to skill one crore youth over the next three years. Broad based education is key to any country goals of increasing productivity and salaries for all citizens; India recognizes that digital literacy must be a part of that education too. Towards that end, we strongly support the two schemes announced for digital literacy to cover six crore households in rural India and look forward to everyone being able to leverage their skills and digital literacy to improve their livelihoods.

MR Archit Gupta, CEO and Founder, Tax relief for low income earners who live on rent but do not get HRA -can reduce Rs 36,000 from their gross taxable income. This deduction was stuck in time and will be helpful for taxpayers in non-HRA category.

Tax relief in section 87A to those earning below Rs 5lakhs. This is only allowed to RESIDENT individual. Where Total Income Less Deductions (under Section 80) is equal to or less than Rs 5,00,000. Seems there will be a possible amendment in Section 80EE for first time home buyers – First home buyers to get addl deduction of Rs 50,000 if home loan < Rs 35lakhs and cost of house < Rs 50lakhs.

The Finance Minister has intended to give this benefit in Section 80EE to the lower income group who are purchasing their first house. Will be the much needed thrust to the housing sector in tier-2 and tier-3 cities. Section 44AD amendments – Significant development for small enterprises and professionals such as lawyers and doctors, interior designers etc who can now relieve themselves of cumbersome account keeping and audit requirements by availing this scheme. This inclusion of professionals bound to see immense popularity. And will make the simple 3-4 page ITR-4S popular.​

Anurag Avula, Founder and CEO, Shopmatic: It’s great to see reforms being proposed in favour of entrepreneurs, not only in urban India but in all parts of the country. The move for forming the National SC/ ST Hub with the Ministry of Micros SME to support SC/ ST entrepreneurs, is heartening to see.Its also great to see that the Special Patent Regime proposed to power innovation and research has been initiated, which further fosters the country’s creative spirit.

It takes a lot of time and effort into running and building a successful business. What is great to note is that a bill is being introduced for ease of doing business and to enable registration of companies in a day, will certainly ease the process.​In totality we are quite pleased with the startup and entrepreneurial announcements, specifically the Special Patent Regime proposed to power innovation and research that we believe will nurture and mentor the next wave of tech stars that will drive a successful economy.​ ​

Vinod Murali, Managing Director, Innoven Capital: Given the enormous debt burden on Indian corporates, measures which help in improving overall credit health of the economy are welcome and the Finance Minister’s move to hold the fiscal deficit targets at prior levels despite pressure to allow for growth, should be commended. This was not a budget with high expectation of drastic reform and many of the announcements have been tactical or to improve efficiencies. There is more sensitivity to entrepreneurship which is a good start but this area needs more attention in the years to come.​

Mr. Sreevalsan Menon, Founder and CEO, Medikoe: Overall very neutral for Healthcare sector, focused primarily on Insurance, however govt should have given thrust around sectors like Pharma, R&D, Rural healthcare centers,Affordable Healthcare for larger population,service tax exemption on healthcare,” this initiative must have stimulated the healthcare sectors, which must have lead to Access and affordable healthcare to the entire population of India.

Mr. Pradeep Singh,CEO and Co Founder, Vidyanext: On education, the government needs to focus more on quality not just quantity. The latest Annual Status of Education Report (ASER 2014) shows that while school enrolment is high (96.7%), learning outcomes are alarmingly low. One out of two students in grade 5 cannot read text of grade 2 level. 55.9% of class 8 students cannot do simple division.

While the budget has welcome initiatives to increase educational reach across the spectrum, what is missing is an action plan to simultaneously improve learning outcomes. One solution is to help teachers become more effective by giving them easy-to-use technology tools that help students learn better. This will serve the twin goals of improving learning outcomes while simultaneously ensuring digital literacy for the new generation.​

Mr.Vikram Oswal, Founder, Woozoe: The 100% FDI in marketing of food products produced and manufactured in India sounds promising. I was expecting the decrease in service tax cess as 14.5% in the previous year’s budget seemed unacceptable by the public, which made a lot of services expensive. When it comes to Start-ups, in my opinion, exemption of tax from these companies for 3 years will provide a good boost to many start-ups as when a company begins to grow it needs a huge amount of financial support. With the tax exemption, a startup can look at focusing more on its growth without worrying about taxation.

Siddhartha Bhattacharya,Country Director, India ACCESS Health International: I welcome the Union Budget, which has announced the provision of health insurance of up to Indian Rupees One Hundred Thousand (INR 100,000) per family, with an additional top up of Indian Rupees thirty thousand (INR 30,000) applicable for senior citizens. While it is heartening to know that the Government will focus on reducing both out of pocket and catastrophic medical expenditure, we hope similar attention will be paid to primary dare and preventive packages under this announcement. These are also a source of out of pocket expenditure.

Provision of free preventive and primary care forms the backbone of a successful universal health coverage model. Health insurance coverage that goes beyond a pure hospitalization program and takes into account investment in essential and cost effective interventions, such as preventive and primary care activities, demonstrates value for money of scarce financial and human resources.

Additionally, the announcement of a National Dialysis Service to address the high costs involved in renal dialysis and the opening of three thousand Jan Aushadhi stores across the country are a step forward toward providing improved health benefits to all, especially the economically weak strata of the population.

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