New Delhi: Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2021-22 on Monday with significant changes to the taxation process. The Union Minister announced the scrapping of income tax for senior citizens under certain conditions, new rules for removal of double taxation for NRIs, and a reduction in the period of tax assessments among other measures. Start-ups will get an extension in their tax holiday for an additional year. In health care, Sitharaman announced a total expenditure of around Rs 2 lakh crore on healthcare with Rs 35,000 crore on Covid-19 vaccine development.

Several industrialists and experts told The Sunday Guardian that the budget is “in line with their expectations” and they are looking forward to on-ground impact. Robin Bhowmik, Chief Business Officer of Manipal Global Academy of BFSI, said: “Overall, a great balancing act by the Finance Minister and a budget for growth. The creation of a DFI, two PSBs being privatized, and one general insurer in addition to the Rs 20K crore capitalization of public sector banks will also provide a stronger response to the NPA situation post-2020 and better transparency. Raising foreign investment in insurance from 49% to 74% is also going to boost this sector, given the fact that India is significantly under-penetrated for all insurance products, including life and health. Increased number of taxpayers seems to be a positive change and pre-filled tax forms will make lives simpler. It’s good to note that there is no addition of a short-term cess for Covid which would have been a dampener. A lot of people who were expecting personal tax relief to boost spending were disappointed and this should have featured to boost short term sentiments.”

Aneel Gambhir, CFO, Blue Dart, said: “We are pleased to know that the Budget is in line with our expectations. The industry is eagerly waiting to see the results of these measures in our field of work. The proposed solutions include a succinct focus on improving road and railway infrastructure; investments in National highway corridors and economic corridors will aid in the speedy movement of goods and improve turnaround time which, in the long run, will bring down logistics costs significantly. The work on national highway planned in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal, Assam will further assist in the final goal of last-mile delivery and we are eager to see its results on our business.”

Shabnum Khan, Founder, 750ad Healthcare Pvt. Ltd. said: “We have experienced the need for better healthcare in the country and hence the setting up of 17,000 rural and 11,000 urban health and wellness centers is a great step. But, when we look at the figures, the allocation of healthcare budget, is a very slight increase of 5.7% to Rs 67,484 crore compared to the last year’s Rs 63,830 crore. This is lesser than the target spending of 2.5% of GDP on healthcare. Another major need of the hour was to dedicate budgets towards data protection to set up an infrastructure to safeguard all the online data saved in the healthcare sector.”

Ashwajit Singh, Managing Director, IPE Global, said: “As I had hoped, the government has given a booster shot to the sector that contributes a near 30% GDP to the economy. The budgetary boost will surely give a fillip to the overall socio-economic growth agenda of the country. With nearly 63 million MSMEs in India employing about 111 million people, the increased allocation will support more job creation, export promotion and hopefully meet the desirable goal of upping their GDP contribution to 40% in the next 5 years.”

Dr Chenraj Roychand, Chairman, Jain Group said: “The budget brings with it good tidings for the education sector, the highlight being the announcement of establishing 100 new Sainik schools in partnership with NGOs and other private academies and setting up of Central University at Ladakh.”