Budget 2022: The world is reeling under the impact of a coronavirus-led pandemic for over two years now. During this course, many business sectors faced challenges when they were hit by lockdowns leading to repeated interruptions. Though the pandemic has taught the world to adapt to the new normal, many are still struggling to get back on track and expecting some sort of relief, help from the government. Ahead of the Union Budget 2022-2023, let's take a look at what different business sectors are hoping for from the Modi government.
Krishnan Ramachandran, CEO, and MD, Niva Bupa
"As the country reels through the ongoing threat of Covid pandemic, securing the health of oneself and our loved ones is of utmost importance today. The Government could consider doubling up of medical insurance limit under Section 80D to Rs 50,000 in light of higher medical expenses post-Covid. One of the major challenges for low penetration of health insurance is the affordability factor. The 18% GST which is currently levied on health insurance products increases the premium amount which acts as a hindrance for many prospective policy buyers. Reduction of the GST amount for health insurance plans will make the products affordable for the masses and lead to higher penetration across consumer segments.
To further enhance the efficiency of healthcare delivery, the healthcare industry too needs to be regulated so that mandates around standardisation, health technology assessment, quality and price transparency could be built in to ensure consumer protection.
Raja Vishal Oberoi, CEO, Market Xcel
In 2022, with Omicron looming, the expectations from Union Budget 2022 continue to circle economic recovery, respite to MSMEs.
MSMEs are the second largest employment generators, providing jobs to around 11 crore people in India. Furthermore, they account for 48% of exports from our country. With the rising cases of Omicron and the arbitrary restrictions imposed by the various state governments, MSMEs expect financial support from the central government to revive the sector's growth.
Reforms surrounding import substitutes promote self-reliance and boost domestic manufacturing. As 30% of GDP, MSMEs expect the government to reduce the compliance burden in all aspects, be it taxes, loans, audits, or licensing. Including green energy as part of MSMEs' policies will also help create a sustainable economy and decrease domestic reliance on energy imports.
Niraj Singh, Founder & CEO, Spinny
The pandemic has radically changed consumers’ mobility preferences. With more and more people being reluctant to use public transport, personal mobility has naturally become the best and safest choice now. Owning a car of your own is not a lifestyle preference but more of a necessity for every household. Uncertain economic conditions make used cars a better value proposition and online used car platforms make search, discovery, and purchase of second-hand cars more seamless and trustworthy than ever with the use of technology and focus on customer satisfaction.
To further support this, the Government should introduce more incentives to buyers and sellers to boost the penetration of this segment by incorporating tech advancements and modern solutions with contactless home deliveries, thereby ensuring safety and convenience to customers at every point possible.
A uniform GST rate of 5% on the margin for all used vehicles could be a great move and make this segment organized. This will eventually ramp up the demand for second-hand cars by pulling in more customers. Likewise, the government should also look at empowering the EV sector by making electric vehicles more affordable to the common masses and strengthening the existing charging infrastructure to boost customer confidence. Owing to the rapid increase in vehicular pollution, pushing for a shift to EVs would be the step in the right direction. And for this, the government should evaluate less taxes on EVs and vehicles in general, and consider expanding the possibility of tax deductions on EV loans as well as on other vehicles, too.
Srividya Kannan Founder, Director-Avaali Solutions Pvt Ltd.
The tech sector is still reeling under the effects of the ‘great resignation’, and coupled with increased customer demand, talent attraction is a key priority. Budget 2022 should give a significant boost to the startup ecosystem. Tax on ESOP’s should be levied only against the sale of shares for all DPIIT recognized startups. There should also be incentives for employee training and development skills to ensure a well-equipped workforce to meet the growing tech skill demand. The budget should announce reduced GST rates for the MSME sector, providing the much-needed impetus for further growth. Also, credit terms for billings from this sector should be brought down to 30 days from the current mandate of 45 days.
Divyata Shergill, Founder at ShaadiWish
As the pandemic shows no sign of abating any time soon, the main objective of the budget should be to reduce input costs, minimize compliances and incentivise start-ups by giving tax exemptions. If the pandemic hits the economy in the same catastrophic manner as the second wave, the GOI should consider providing a salary support package for start-ups (like the US and UK models). Lastly and most importantly, as the focus seems to be shifting to online education, it is imperative that children from underprivileged backgrounds are provided necessary support to ensure that they do not opt-out of the learning system. In a nutshell, the theme of the budget should be to provide a protective shield and safety net to ensure stability and progress in the year 2022.
Avneesh Kumar Agarwal, Founder & CEO at SpeckyFox
The pandemic has really impacted areas like the hotel and hospitality sectors, small-scale businesses, MSMEs, and people have lost their jobs too. This year's budget should focus on reviving the travel, hotel, and hospitality sector by giving them sops like interest-free loans, reduction in taxes and GST. Due to the pandemic, we all have learned that strengthening the public health infrastructure and bringing pollution control measures are a must for our country. The Finance Ministry needs to focus here too.
The demonetization, GST, and now pandemic have really hurt the small scale industry and MSMEs really badly. MSMEs contribute 30% to the country's GDP. This budget should give them the utmost priority in giving them tax rebates, relief in GST, and other sops. Currently, the GST is the same for a product bought from an MSME as well as a large MNC. If the government is asking and promoting the "Make in India" regime, support to MSMEs by reducing the GST for them is a must. The GST rates and structure needs to be rationalized for small businesses.
The government also needs to bring a lot of revolution in individual tax structures. The tax rates need to be reduced so that the common man can get more money in his purse. This will help to generate the demand and economy. In addition, keeping different tax rates viz 10% for capital gains and 30-40% for high salary bracket people might not make sense. These two rates can't be clubbed in one go but the difference needs to be reduced. Last but not the least, the divestment of the PSUs should be fastened seeing how good the stock markets are even during pandemic times. A plan needs to be chalked out for the top 10 PSUs.
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