The interim budget is here and all eyes are on Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Despite it being the vote on account, the expectations are high from the Modi government. Be it real estate, the steel sector or fintech, all have something to ask from the government.
“The steel sector faces a dual challenge with the profitability being squeezed due to escalating input costs and a decline in prices fueled by cheap imports. To ensure a robust future, we advocate a 20% increase in infrastructure spending to Rs 12 Lakh Crore, offering a vital boost to steel demand. Doubling the import duty is imperative to counter the influx of low-cost imports from China and other Asian countries under the FTA. Additionally, strategic measures, including ramping up metallurgical coal production and washing, are crucial to address cost and uncertainty linked to coal imports. Introducing incentives for a Circular Economy through the Scrap-EAF Route will play a crucial role in decarbonizing the sector,” said Sanjeev Agrawal, President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
On real estate, Agrawal said, “We think we are at the beginning of a multiyear upcycle, and housing demand will continue to be cheerful and optimistic as India’s economic prowess expands and its inhabitants’ spending power rises. As India approaches the milestone of being the third largest economy in the world with a $5 trillion GDP, we are optimistic about the strength of the housing market, even though there may be some caution leading up to and during the elections.”
Mukund Kulkarni, Chief Executive Officer, of Pepper Advantage India said “The digital banking ecosystem in India is poised for significant advancements. This optimism is supported by India’s fintech industry, which is on track to reach a substantial $150 billion valuation by 2025, making it the third largest globally and exemplifying its rapid growth. As we approach the 2024 Budget, expectations are high for an increased focus on Digital Banking, support for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), and initiatives towards enhancing financial inclusion. Guidelines for continuous evaluation of NPA system is also required to maintain the effectiveness in the banking system.”
Yogesh Mudras, Managing Director, Informa Markets India, said that the industry is keenly watching for policy measures that will shape their economic landscapes. “The Finance Minister’s announcements hold the key to the economic trajectory of these crucial industries. With a commitment to boost green energy to 500 GW by 2030, we anticipate sustained attention on the increased allocations for bio-energy, solar, and wind, alongside higher capital expenditure in green hydrogen and battery storage infrastructure. Recognizing the critical role of energy storage for grid stability, we applaud the proposed policy incentives for Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS). The Budget is anticipated to extend existing schemes, including the Production Linked Incentive and viability gap funding.”
Mudras advocated for policies that stimulate green hydrogen demand, reduce GST on crucial components, and increase funding for R&D to create a stable environment for growth. “As India is poised to become a global food leader, Budget 2024 should be the culinary catalyst we need. A 30% reduction in post-harvest food loss will boost farmer income by $20 billion. Additionally, 5 million new jobs can be generated by a 10% rise in food processing, thereby unleashing $100 billion in export potential. AI-powered sensors can slash food waste, and blockchain can ensure farm-to-fork transparency. Budget 2024 presents a realistic and achievable roadmap for unlocking the transformative potential of the Indian food processing and food industry,” he said.