GUWAHATI, Feb 1: The Union Budget 2021-22 tabled by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today evoked mixed reaction from the trade community in Assam.
The Federation of Industry and Commerce of North Eastern Region (FINER), one of the largest trade bodies of the region, has hailed the Union Budget. Welcoming the Budget, FINER President Pabitra Buragohain said that the pivotal point in the Budget is prioritising of growth by spending more, and spending on asset creation, and not spending in revenue account.
“The government has chalked out a spending programme which is focused on capital expenditure, which will spur growth. An almost 7 per cent budget on capex is a lot of money, and will ensure government gets good return on this expenditure going ahead which will speed up the dream of a $5-trillion economy. Despite the pandemic the government has not raised any new taxes, which is surely commendable,” Buragohain said.
In the context of Assam, he said that the Budget will open up new job avenues, particularly in the core sectors of health, education, agriculture and logistics. The small players in the MSME sector will largely gain as the Budget allocation has been increased by two-fold in FY22 and many of the compliances are eased out.
Former Chairman of FINER and Budget analyst RS Joshi termed the Budget as the most befitting and an unprecedented response towards the COVID-19-hit economy.
“Size of the Budget has gone up exponentially, capex at a new high and the most daring feature of the Budget is that good chunk of additional resources would come from monetisation of government assets and disinvestment and privatisation of PSUs and PSBs,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mahabir Prasad Jain, President of Kamrup Chamber of Commerce (KCC), while reacting to the Budget, said, “The Union Budget is a balanced measure, but there is nothing special for the North-east. Monetary help to tea garden workers is good, but at the same time we need a plan to revive the entire industry.”
Further, he opined that there is a need of a riverside highway project in the State which will control the erosion as well as boost the economy.
Expressing his views on the Budget, Kamal Mour, Vice-Chairman of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, said that the Union Budget 2021 could be seen as a step towards easing of compliance burden.
“Relief to senior citizens above 75 years from filing tax returns is a welcome move. Moreover, relaxation in definition of small companies would boost the MSME sector. Introduction of a dispute resolution committee for small taxpayers would surely reduce litigations in tax administration and recapitalisation of public sector banks would be a saviour for the banking sector. Another welcome step is to promote one-person company (OPC) with no restrictions on paid-up capital in India. However, there was no specific relief announced for taxpayers in the Budget,” he said.
Reacting to the Union Budget, Ranjit Barthakur, Chairman of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), North East Advisory Council, said, “We welcome the focus on infrastructure, particularly the decision to set up a Development Financial Institution (DFI) with a projected lending portfolio of Rs 5-lakh crore and the move to enable debt financing by foreign portfolio investors. This has the potential to give a much-needed boost to the infrastructure sector.”
He also welcomed the decision regarding creation of a ‘National Monetisation Pipeline’ for brownfield infrastructure assets.
The Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has termed the Budget as a bold, growth-oriented and historic Budget in many ways.
“ICC compliments the government for keeping higher fiscal deficit target of 9.5 per cent this year and 6.8 per cent for the next year which would be funded through borrowings and disinvestment. Industry would like to thank the Union Finance Minister for keeping the taxes more or less unchanged during these trying times. The Budget lays strong emphasis on ease of doing business, reduced compliance, transparency and trust which is much needed at this time of economic crisis,” an ICC statement said.