The Union Budget 2018-19 announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitely reflected the government intent to improve both rural and urban infrastructure. Architecture Update offers reactions from players across the industry.
Mehernosh Pithawalla, VP and Global Head – Marketing, Sales & Innovation, Godrej Security Solutions
“The Union Budget 2018 has given the much needed importance to infrastructure, safety and comfort of passengers by announcing the highest ever capital expenditure plan in the history of railways. With the redevelopment of 600 major railway stations being taken up by Indian Railways Station Development, the ‘Safety First’ policy is definitely the cornerstone of railways towards safety of passengers. The decision to provide CCTVs at all stations and on trains to enhance security of passengers is a commendable decision as it is the need of the hour. The proposal to expand the airport capacity to more than five times of the present 124 airports that the Airport Authority of India has, to handle a billion trips under the new initiative- NABH Nirman, also will call for the need for increase in the adoption of security surveillance for the security of passengers. We welcome the proposed changes in customs duty which will create more jobs in the country and incentivise domestic manufacturing and Make In India in the electronics sector.”
KE Ranganathan, Managing Director, Roca Bathrooms Pvt Ltd.
“Overall a good budget which is well thought out to take India on a sustained growth path. Focus on demand drivers like Housing for all by year 2022, over 2 Cr toilets in 2 years to be built for making India ODF (Open Defecation Free), Education sector spending, Medical facilities (Modicare) for poor families, Investments in Railways, Airports, Smart cities etc. are bound to generate sufficient demand to drive GDP at 7-7.5% levels in the year ahead. Perhaps the Government could have looked at more concessions for Corporates to spend more on Capex, which is a key measure of growth. Also with Rupee stabilising and Oil prices under control – both of which have led to lower forex outgo for the Government – it would have been prudent to drive down inflation through bringing down prices of essential items. Lower inflation will always lead to higher surplus funds, which will be channelled to higher consumer spending. Water for all households in 500 cities is a big dream. This calls for linking of rivers which should be the top agenda. Also thrust on exploiting natural resources like Solar & Wind power is missing in this budget.”
Sumit Joshi, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Philips Lighting India
“We welcome the union budget’s strong focus on inclusive development, with allocations for enhancing both rural and urban infrastructure. It gives a big boost to rural infrastructure by ensuring electricity access to all rural households under the Saubhagya scheme. Additionally, the allocation of INR 2.04 Lakh Cr for developing smart cities will go a long way in creating world class urban infrastructure.”
Sebi Joseph, President, Otis India
“The Union Budget 2018-19 is certainly a positive move that aims to increase convenience for the common man. Given the rising urban population, safe and effective traffic solutions are imperative in managing crowds.”
K.M. Pai, Executive Director, OBL
“The Union Budget recognises the role of “Infrastructure sector” as growth driver of the economy with an estimated investment requirement of massive INR 50 lakh crore. An all-time high allocation has been made to the rail and road sector. The Finance Minister has again shown an interest to develop smart cities and bullet trains, but more action is needed at the ground level. On the direct tax front, the infrastructure sector did not get any relief.”
Nand Kishore Chaudhary, Founder, Jaipur Rugs
“The annual budget for 2018 showed a lot of potential for rural development. I truly believe with more access to funding for women’s self-help groups, rural haats, and improved infrastructure such as consistent electricity and better roads, the ceiling was raised further for our artisans and their work. We will have more opportunities to seek out governmental help in order to expand our doorstep entrepreneurship model and train more weavers, especially women, to take up the craft. With better rural infrastructure, everyone wins; our network of weavers have better resources to work with, our consumers will have a larger selection of products available to them sooner, and our company can further expand our mission of untapping the grassroots potential.”
Amit Shah, Managing Director, Classic Marble Company
“The Union Budget is mainly focused on agriculture, education, healthcare sectors and upliftment of the poor section of the society. This will indeed be a huge challenge to the present Government since these sectors are poorly managed or have been neglected for many years in the past. As far as real estate sector is concerned, although there were no direct incentives or concessions announced in the budget, the goal of housing for all by 2022 whereby the Government has targeted building 1 crore houses under PMAY (Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana) is expected to develop the Tier II and Tier III cities across India. The move will give a major boost to the industry. Also setting up a dedicated housing fund under the National Housing Bank for priority sector lending will escalate the demand since home buyers will be provided with the ease of credit for aspirational or affordable homes. Major allocation of budget on Infrastructure projects will increase the connectivity across country and will help in growth of the industry. There is disappointment on income tax part, as there were expectation on changes in Income tax slabs or extra benefit to new home buyers for the large section of salaried persons in metro cities which could have given much needed pace to the stagnating real estate sector. Specifically regarding the marble & granite industry, the impact of budget has been marginal with increase in customs duty on account of Social Welfare Cess. However with proposed investments in infra and housing sectors this marginal increase can be absorbed by the expected growth path set by the government in the budget.”
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