Jayant Mhaiskar, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, MEP Infrastructure Developers
“The Union Budget 2018 has struck a fine balance between fiscal prudence and providing growth boosters to the economy. It is a progressive budget and in line with the development priorities of the Government. The Finance Minister has made a strong attempt to pump prime the rural economy, agriculture and infrastructure sector. The Government continues to boost the infrastructure sector, which is the backbone of the country’s overall development, with a proposed Rs 5.97 lakh crore additional budgetary allocation for infrastructure. Ambitious Bharatmala Pariyojana has been approved for providing seamless connectivity of interior and backward areas and borders of the country to develop about 35000 kms in Phase-I at an estimated cost of Rs5,35,000 crore. To raise equity from the market for its mature road assets, NHAI will consider organizing its road assets into Special Purpose Vehicles and use innovative monetizing structures like Toll, Operate and Transfer (TOT) and Infrastructure Investment Funds (InvITs). Overall, a populist budget which adheres to the fiscal discipline, with emphasis on growth and development of the economy.”
Vinayak Chatterjee, Chairman, Feedback Infra
“It is a realistic Budget that recognises two clear realities: Agrarian distress and that this is the last year of the present government before the general elections. For the first time, a Budget has focussed so deeply on creating a slew of rural infrastructure projects and provided a huge budgetary support for them. Secondly, it has not yielded to the temptation of announcing any new mega-projects. The Finance Minister has gone to great lengths to explain how intensely the government is monitoring the execution and completion of all ongoing mega-projects like smart cities, Bharatmala, Sagarmala, UDAN, etc. The foot on accelerator story to pump prime the economy through continuous public expenditure in infrastructure is still alive because the figure that the Finance Minister himself read out is 21 per cent increase in all infrastructure projects this year. That’s a huge increase.”
Vineet Kashyap, Managing Director, BL Kashyap & Sons
"The budget has been indifferent to real estate and construction; both the sectors are still waiting on industry status. A few positives in low cost housing, which again doesn't address the lagging problems in the space. There is a lot of infrastructure investments, we have been seeing an uptake in infrastructure, hope this would further it. In order to bring in positive sentiments, corporate tax should have been made lower for all industries when dealing with different taxes and cess"
Pradeep Misra, Chief Managing Director, Rudrabhishek Enterprises
“The budget is on the expected lines. The Finance Minister has been able to keep balance between the growth concerns and the expenditure in social welfare schemes such as healthcare and education. The challenge would be to see how the resources are mobilized for these purposes. The fiscal deficit of 3.5 per cent this year against target of 3.3 per cent is however certainly a concern area. But that was natural owing to the increased government expenditure. There is adequate emphasis on the infrastructure sector. As the finance minister stated, under AMRUT scheme water supply contracts for 494 projects worth 19,428 crore awarded, and 115 aspiration districts have been identified taking various indices of development into consideration. The construction of a tunnel under the Se-La pass in Arunachal Pradesh has been proposed that will develop 10 prominent tourist destinations as Iconic tourism destinations. Airports Authority of India now has 124 airports which will be expanded by five times. Under smart city mission, 99 cities have been selected with an outlay of Rs 2.09 lakh crore. Rs 1.48 lakh crore have been allocated for Indian Railways. All these initiatives will overall boost the infrastructure industry and benefit the other industries associated with the same. Focus on MSMEs will have direct impact on employment scenario. We were expecting the infrastructure industry status for the real estate sector, which has again been overlooked in the policy announcements. The rationalisation of GST for the properties purchase was also required for the industry which is going through very sluggish phase. Overall, we look forward to a positive holistic effect of the budget.”