Budget-2019 is iconic in more ways than one. The presenter, Nirmala Sitharaman, has joined a field that has been dominated by men for decades. Incidentally, the only other woman to present the budget was Indira Gandhi, way back in 1970. Therefore, not surprisingly, the budget provides a positive outlook with a boost towards women power in the Indian economy and how they are truly capable of contributing towards the goal in every conceivable way.
Swami Vivekananda had rightly said a century back, that there is no chance for the welfare of the world unless the condition of its women is improved. He believed in giving women full freedom to grow, and the same is echoed by Sitharaman’s budget. The Government has already been supporting and encouraging women’s entrepreneurship through various schemes such as MUDRA, Stand up India and the Self Help Groups (SHG) movement. To further encourage women’s enterprise, the budget proposes to expand the Women SHG interest-subvention programme to all districts.
Overall, it is a good budget with a lot of focus on reforms and good governance, paying ample attention to Swachh Bharat, pollution control and environment. Moreover, it sets an ambitious target of achieving a $3 trillion economy this year and $5 trillion by 2024.
What is in it for business organisations, SMEs, startups and the employees?There is a reduction in corporate tax. Currently, the lower rate of 25 per cent is only applicable to companies having annual turnover of up to Rs 250 crores, but the budget proposes to widen this to include all companies having annual turnover of up to Rs 400 crores. This will cover 99.3 per cent of the companies. Now only 0.7 per cent of companies will remain outside this rate.
Promising to start a television programme within the DD bouquet of channels exclusively for start-ups, the budget sets the right tone for growth in this sector. The channel will serve as a platform to promote startups, discuss issues affecting their growth, and connect them with venture capitalists for funding and tax planning. This channel shall be designed and executed by startups themselves.
“Focus on startups is a good thing. Look at China, for instance— it has invested heavily as far as startups are concerned. India, fortunately is only picking up momentum now. The talented students from top institutes, such as the IITs and IIMs will be motivated to plunge into starting their businesses instead of choosing jobs,” opines Amit Das, CHRO Times of India Group.
Prem Singh, CHRO, JK Group, opines, “I applaud the promise to boost startups. This shows ‘what’ the government wants to do. However, the ‘how’ part is not clear. I would imagine they will take due note of the fact that associations, such as the National HRD Network(NHRDN) or All India Management Association (AIMA), IITs and the business schools can play an important role in promoting the start-up culture in the country, by way of mentoring /coaching young entrepreneurs.”
Continuing the government’s campaign to make India digital, there is enough and more to accelerate digitisation through investments in technology (computer peripherals), boosting digital payments and upskilling the youth.
Apparently, to strengthen the core industrial sector there is a continuous allocation of funds to improve infrastructure. In addition, the thrust towards improving new-age digital technologies such as AI, will help generate employment and build future capabilities.
“Overall, in terms of employment generation, there has been a focus on it through investments made in sectors such as education, tourism, technology, infrastructure, and so on,” says Das.
“Government should try and create some schemes that directly lead to employment generation by boosting investments in all sectors in India, and also foreign investments,” remarks Singh.
Decenteralisation of public-sector units from 25 per cent to 35 per cent will boost economic growth. “Valuation of some of these companies will be a question mark based on their profitability and the way they are run today,” points out Das.
“Goal of reaching a 5 trillion economy in the next few years is a laudable promise. Upto 1 crore loan for the MSME sector within an hour is a welcome commitment. However, what I see missing is the lack of any concerted efforts towards boosting industrialisation. This is so important for the creation of employment. I wish this finds a much bigger place in the budget!” exclaims Singh