Tabled in Parliament on Monday by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the Economic Survey has estimated that the Indian economy will grow by 7-7.5% in 2018-19, re-establishing India as the world's fastest-growing major economy.
Every budget rides high on the expectations of taxpayers and the finance minister has a challenging task of balancing tax cuts and increased revenues.
"Considering the government's vision to achieve Housing for All by 2022, we believe affordable housing development requires a long-term perspective supported by easy home finance at very affordable interest rates. It is therefore, the honourable finance minister must offer sizeable support to the urban middle-class population in terms of higher limits of exemption on home loans in the Budget 2018-19. The housing finance companies like us have a key role to play in boosting the government's efforts towards affordable and low-cost housing in metros as well as in tier-II and III cities," said Monu Ratra, ED and CEO, India Infoline Housing Finance Limited.
For the real estate sector, long pending demand of its recognition as industry, increase in tax rebate limit and single window clearance are among key expectations of the leaders.
Getamber Anand, Chairman, CREDAI and CMD, ATS Infrastructure Ltd. said, "The real estate opportunity to boost GDP mustn't be missed by the Finance Ministry in this budget. We expect government to increase the exemption limits for deduction of interest from the income of the middle class and salaried homebuyer. Also the interest rates must further be rationalised as must tax rates as the burden is ultimately passed onto the consumer."
He further elaborated, "On the supply side, we respect the changes that the government brought in last year into the sector by giving it "Infrastructure status for affordable housing", but RBI has not given any directions to the banks per se on reducing cost of capital for projects which qualify as infrastructure. Also under section 80 IB, the push for smaller houses is welcome but we have requested the government to increase the size from 30 and 60 sq. m. to 60 and 90 sq. m. because this is a practical size which is even aspirationally more attractive to the homebuyer."
"Also for smaller towns the condition that 80% of FSI must be achieved is not practical and should be reduced to about 50%. Having said that we are very hopeful that the government in its wisdom like last year will bring in some new exciting announcements for the real estate sector this year too," he added.
"We expect the honourable finance minister will announce increased tax rebate limit, so that the consumers may find more disposable income to buy their chosen dream homes. He should also give a sympathetic ear to the long pending demand of introducing single window clearance system in this budget to help the developers fulfil their promises to home buyers and ensure timely delivery of projects. We also expect the government to grant industry status to real estate sector to facilitate ease of doing business and access to construction loan at a cheaper cost. At Solitaire Group we aim to develop a slew of international quality residential projects and industry status, if granted, will surely become instrumental in turning our dreams into reality," said Arjunpreet Singh Sahni, Executive Director, Solitaire Group.
Pankaj Kumar Jain, Managing Director, KW Group said, "We have a lot of expectations from this year's budget as the real estate sector is completely marred by rising input cost and week buying sentiments. We expect the honourable finance minister to announce a specific mechanism to regulate the cost of key raw materials like cement and steel to help the industry produce affordable housing units for the masses. Such an announcement will also strengthen the spirit of Housing for All initiative. We also demand that the government should immediately grant industry status to the real estate sector and open new avenues of financial support for the developers."
"We expect finance minister to recognise real estate as an industry in the upcoming budget since it stands as a major contributor in economical growth of the country by providing employment to millions and supporting various ancillary industries. This would certainly have a bearing on overall project costs since developers would be able to raise funds at lower rates and cut down on capital costs, eventually bringing solidity to the realty segment and turning GOI's dream of "Housing for All by 2022" a reality soon. Single-window clearance and cheaper home loans would be a blessings to revive the stagnant growth and to lure homebuyers to invest in this sector," added O P Agarwal, CMD, SIR Group.
"There is a crying need for opening new avenues of financial support from the government in this budget to effectively manage the overall resources in a manner to enhance productivity using innovative technologies. The Indian manufacturing sector is already on the cusp of growth led by innovation and we look forward to a slew of strategic announcements in the Budget for the year 2018-19, so that the industry may realise its full potential soon. In a nutshell, we are looking forward to an industry-friendly budget with designated funds allocated to accentuate the growth of the industry over the coming years," said Nitin Aggarwal, CEO, Prayag India.
"With the Government's continuous push towards speedy initiation of IT, digitisation and various technology-driven initiatives, we are very positive about the upcoming Union Budget 2018-19. Industry-friendly moves like the simplification of Customs procedures and relief in GST rates are among our key expectations. We would also hope that in this budget the Government will take the spirit of Make in India several notches higher by introducing efficient policies to promote domestic manufacturing of future-proof technological IT products." said Lalit Chaturvedi, Asst. V.P. Marketing, Kyocera Document Solutions India.
Maneesh Mathur, VP - Sales and Marketing, King Koil said, "We expect this year's budget to benefit consumer at large by rationalisation of personal income tax slabs so to increase purchasing capacity of Indian families and encourage them to invest in lifestyle products also which eventually affects the way they live and even sleep. Currently, cost of living is highly accentuated by rising inflation hence tax relaxation and more money available with the people would stimulate demand for industries, ultimately furnishing a boost to economical growth of the country."
Arush Gupta, Director, Okaya said,"We expect the upcoming Union Budget 2018-19 will surely drive the next wave of growth in water purifiers and power back-up industry which is keenly awaiting conducive business environment to unleash its full potential. Union Budget 2018-19 should also continue the subsidy on lead-acid batteries. We wish the honourable Finance Minister would offer a wide range of benefits in this budget to those manufacturers who are following all the rules and regulations."
The healthcare sector has also pinned high hopes on the upcoming budget, as Siddharth Gupta, MD, Hicks India said, "We expect government to re-look at GST rates on medical devices since currently it is pegged at 12% which could affect the overall cost structure of the healthcare sector and even a minor relief may result in delivery of affordable healthcare services to the wider population. Also, some basic products like thermometers and hot water bottles should be moved to tax slab of 5 from 18%."
"We expect the Union Budget 2018-19 will have provisions of bringing relief to the international level Condom manufacturers like us, so that the consumers can be benefited by affordable pricing of our most impressive product portfolio developed through extensive research into their preferences and needs," said Anupam Ghosh, Director, Anondita Healthcare Limited.
With the ambitious Make In India movement gaining momentum, India is well poised to become a leading manufacturing hub and exporter to the entire world.
Haji Kamruddin, Managing Director, Servokon Systems Limited said, "We are expecting a booster dose of reform-oriented policies in this year's budget. We also expect the government to stress more on improving the ease of doing business which will further help build investor confidence in the manufacturing sector."
"As the industry is currently struggling to cope with the reduced consumer demand, we also expect favourable change in the Income Tax slabs and rates leading to more disposable income in the hands of the consumers to spur consumption," said Sunil Jain, Director, Baltra Home Products.
Echoing similar sentiments, Rakesh Zutshi, President, Electric Lamp and Component Manufacturers' Association of India (ELCOMA) and Managing Director, Halonix Technologies Pvt. Ltd. said, "We expect the government to support the growth of LED manufacturing in India by providing major tax incentives, besides announcing a couple of favourable policies in the upcoming Union Budget 2018-19."
"In order to fulfil the vision of Make in India, such encouraging measures are urgently required. At ELCOMA, we have successfully travelled a long way fulfilling our mission to promote and develop co-operation among the manufacturers of electric lamps and components with simultaneously endeavoring to transform India into a global manufacturing hub of superior, but economical LED products." he concluded.