Industry’s Captains Comments on Budget 2016-17

    Mr. Vipin Sondhi, MD and CEO, JCB India
    As expected, rural India has a massive impetus to the turning of the wheels of the economy in the union budget for 2016-17. The budget has a massive rural thrust with a focus on farmers andspecific to rural roads and irrigation.Since only 46% of farm land area is irrigated; it leads to vagaries of the monsoon and hence the focus. Another major impetus is the 100% electrification of villages by 2018 and finally a boost to rural sanitation under the Swachh Bharat program.

    The union budget 2016 is also well aligned to PM's vision of 'Make in India Campaign' by enlisting nine key pillars to help transform India. Infrastructure sector is a key contributor and the focus to address core growth issues including agriculture, social programs, rural development, education with skill development and job creation, financial reforms, policy reforms in terms of ease of doing business; fiscal discipline and tax reforms would definitely give impetus to the economy.

    The one major area addressed by the union budget was to revive the economy through stimulation of demand. 85% of stalled road projects are back on track and the government is upbeat by announcing an investment of total Rs. 97,000 Crore in the Budget 2016-2017 to road sector.This also includes the all-important Prime Minister Gramin Sadak Yojna (PMGSY). The budget has an emphasis on physical infrastructure with the allocation for roads, national highways, irrigation put together at Rs. 2.13 Lac Crores, itwill create jobs in rural India in the Construction sectoras it is the next biggest employer after Agriculture.

    Infrastructure projects supported by programs like Fasal Bima Yogna, Krishi Sichai Yogna, others and ensuring skilling of one Crore youths over the next three years through 1500 multi skill training institutes would act as catalyst for bolstering domestic demand. These steps would further look at strengthening Indian economy amidst the current global uncertainties making India as one of the bright spot in the world.An indication towards the roadmap for GST would have been an additional boost for the economy.

    The finance minister has addressed the key issue of PPPs in accepting to set up a mechanism for dispute resolution, re-negotiation of PPP projects because projects have a life cycle of 15 to 20 years and finally a credit rating system for infra projects to be developed rather than to be based on perceptions alone. This has been handed over to NitiAyogwhich will develop a credible plan for divestment.

    As far as ease of doing business is concerned, public procurement will use technology to make it easier and transparent. This is good news for corporates which makes it easier and simpler. Through make in India, there was a demand for correction of customs duties and this has been taken on board.It will encourage value addition and there must be a graded duty structure for raw materials, semi-finished and finished goods as they all have a demand in the sector.

    All in all, a progressive budget which looks at consolidation and setting up of a platform for growth. Over all, the budget is constructive and will be instrumental in laying the foundations for long-term sustainable growth fueled by domestic demand.
    Mr. Anand Sundaresan, Vice Chairman & Managing Director Schwing Stetter India's quote on the budget.
    The huge investment proposed on the infrastructure development like road, airport, railway and power projects will definitely give a fillip to construction equipment manufacturers. The road equipment manufacturers are likely to be benefitted the most because of the huge investments planned in the national highway sector as well as in the upgradation of state highway roads to national highway level.

    After a dull period of almost 3 years, the construction equipment manufacturers can look at growth in the coming years.

    Significant emphasis on irrigation projects and rural road projects under PMGSY scheme will also help the construction equipment industry. This will create enormous opportunities for smaller capacity construction equipment. I expect that the current manufacturers will not be able to meet the anticipated demand, which will lead to opening up the opportunity to many new manufacturers. Many sops are also given for the building / real estate industry, which should give a boost to the sick real estate industry.The tax reforms and the expressway created for settlement of disputes on various infrastructure projects and PPP projects are most welcome. Overall the Budget is quite good and progressive and will be an elixir to Make in India concept.
    Mr. Pradeep Jain, Chairman, Parsvnath Developers Limited on the Union Budget 2016
    The Hon'ble finance minister has presented an excellent Union Budget. The Union Budget has focused on rural development, large infrastructure development in order to spur economic growth of the country and to come at par with global infrastructure.

    The budget did bring cheer for common man with an increase in the HRA tax relief from Rs 24,000 to Rs 60,000 that would immensely benefit those living in rented houses.

    Besides this the proposal of giving deduction for additional interest of Rs 50,000 per annum for loans up to Rs 35 lakh (provided the value of the house does not exceed Rs 50 lakh) to the first time home buyers along with other exemptions would provide boost to the affordable housing segment. On the other hand, 100% exemption of profit for developers and exemption from service tax for construction of houses less than 60 sq. meters will encourage supply in the affordable housing segment and would be instrumental in achieving the vision of hon'ble Prime Minister's 'Housing for all' scheme. Also scrapping of dividend distribution tax on Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) would make investments attractive for global investors in the real estate sector.

    Having said that I would like to emphasize that the real estate sector was expecting focus on the sector but it seemed that hon'ble minister overlooked the pain of real estate developers.

    The real estate sector is traversing through a very tough time and we hope that hon'ble finance minister will consider the requirements of the sector to enhance liquidity and other concerns including private funding to real estate sector and easing of home mortgage loans.

    Besides specifics on real estate sector I would also like to make a special mention regarding the proposed Dispute Resolution Scheme (DRS) aimed at reducing litigation and providing certainty in taxation.

    There are about 3 lakh tax cases pending with the 1st Appellate Authority with disputed amount 30 being 5.5 lakh crores and under this proposed scheme the government aims at reducing this number substantially thereby creating an environment of transparency and build trust amongst taxpayers.
    Mr. Raj Kalady, Managing Director, PMI India
    "Infrastructure is one of the important aspects of the economy, and I am glad it received its due by being outlined as the fifth pillar out of the nine, supporting the Budget theme, 'Transform India'.

    We welcome the Finance Minister's announcement to undertake new projects and address the languishing ones to streamline and expedite the sector's growth. However, these initiatives underline the urgent need for incorporating good project management practices to complete the projects/programs on time and within budget.

    It is established that lack of key organizational capabilities is one of the key reasons that lead to unsuccessful project outcomes across organisations. PMI's Pulse of the Profession®: The High Cost of Low-Performance highlights that organisations which effectively use formal project management practices waste 13 times less than organizations that don't.

    We hope that the government takes necessary steps to increase the success ratio of the various nation-building projects. One of which could be, a change in the RFP process for selecting organizations involved in nation building projects. We highly recommend that the Government considers the project management capabilities of the organization in addition to the existing selection parameters. This would, in turn, lead to successful outcomes, create a better future and a healthier economy."
    Mr. Amit Gossain, Managing Director, Kone
    Here are the top developments from union budget which can make a difference to our industry :
    1. Removal of dividend distribution tax on REITs : The last significant tax hurdle for the launch of REITs in India has been removed. REITs are listed entities that primarily invest in leased office and retail assets, allowing developers to raise funds by selling completed buildings to investors and listing them as a trust. The REITs have now been kept out of the purview of dividend distribution tax. This move will now encourage the launch of REITs in India, thereby addressing the funding / liquidity concerns of developers. This will result in increased real estate activity in the commercial and office space and a benefit to elevator industry.
    2. Affordable housing also got major support in the form of 100% deduction for profits to an undertaking from a housing project (for flats up to 30sq.m. in four metro cities and 60sq.m. in other cities) approved between June 2016 to March 2019, and completed within three years of the approval. Besides this, the additional deduction of Rs 50,000 to first time home buyers will also help affordable housing.
    3. The housing sector will also derive significant benefit from the boost given to infrastructure segment.
    4. The investment of 97,000 crs on roads and increased focus on rail and airport connectivity will pave way for creation of additional townships and increase in real estate activity
    5. However, there were expectations of the much-awaited 'industry' status to real estate industry which has not been met in this budget. Other measures like setting-up of Real Estate Regulatory Authority, extension of time limit for IT deduction to buyers of delayed residential projects could have given great benefit to real estate industry. But, they have not been considered now. They are good for long term measures.

    Mr. Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII
    The Finance Minister presented a well-rounded package of reforms and growth-oriented measures in the Union Budget 2016-17. The Budget proposals addressed issues in nine critical areas ranging from agriculture and the rural sector to financial sector and banking. Given the current global context of slowing growth and threat of financial turbulence, the Budget needs to be commended for giving a boost to growth and investment without disturbing the path for fiscal consolidation.
    Mr. Amandeep, Director and CEO OCL and DCEL
    "It is a forward looking budget and we expect that the positive announcements will benefit the cement and manufacturing sector. Middle and low income groups are benefitted by providing exemption on service tax on construction of affordable home and increase in tax exemption on home loan, a boost to first time home buyers. That makes housing more affordable. Infrastructure being part of the key pillars of the budget is something to look forward to in the long run. With 85% road projects coming back on track and 50,000 km of state highways to be taken up for upgradation as national highways we expect to see a boom in the demand for cement and Rs. 2.31 lakh crore being allotted for infrastructure is a big step. Focus on giving a boost to rural economy through agriculture and related sectors will give rise to demand in the long run."
    Mr. Abhishek Goenka. Partner - Tax, PwC India
    'The third budget speech by Hon'ble Finance Minister (FM), Mr. Arun Jaitley is focused on measures in agriculture & rural sector and infrastructure & investments in India. While certain tax reforms have been introduced for the real estate sector, the long pending demand for grant of industry status continues to remain. Exemption from dividend distribution tax in the REIT structure demonstrates the intent of the Government to promote listing of REITs. With this exemption being introduced, REIT listing should not be too far from becoming a reality. The Government has introduced tax holiday and deductions on affordable housing projects which speak loud that it is keen to make their vision of 'housing for all' a reality.'
    Mr. Shashi Kiran Shetty, Founder & Chairman of Allcargo Logistics
    "The Indian government's vision of 'Transforming India' was very well articulated in today's budget speech of Finance Minister. On one hand the measures announced in agriculture, rural and healthcare sectors will increase the confidence of rural India while on the other financial and tax reforms will increase the confidence of investors. Besides, the government's focus on skill development, job creation, infrastructure development and higher education will help create more job opportunities.

    From a common man's perspective too, the budget has presented some good news. Measures such as increase in HRA and lesser tax burden on individuals with income less than Rs 5 lakh will surely be welcomed.

    The government's impetus on increasing the efficiency and modernizing of ports and improving the road infrastructure will definitely provide a fillip to our sector. Overall this is a realistic budget with more focus on rural and infrastructure development while keeping the fiscal deficit in check."
    Mr. Pau Abello, Managing Director, Roca Bathrooms Products Pvt. Ltd.
    "We as a brand, have been the frontrunners in the industry to promote self-hygiene and clean environment for the people in the country. Abiding to the PM's commitment towards, Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, the allotment of Rs. 9,000-cr for the campaign is bound to give results this year to the sanitaryware industry. Other key takeaways from this budget like, additional discount of Rs 50,000 on home loans (Upto Rs 35 Lakh) for the first time buyers and 100% exemption of profit for developers and Exemption from service tax on construction of affordable houses up to 60 square metres will also help grow the real estate industry and consequently the allied sector like ours."
    Mr Surendra Hiranandani CMD, House of Hiranandani
    The budget 2016 outlined the shift in focus to the rural economy as the finance minister introduced a slew of taxes and cess to be imposed on services to help rural welfare programmes. It also reflected the government's concern and priority to improve the investment climate with a view to stimulate growth. The massive push for improvement in infrastructure including outlay for roads, railways and development of smaller airports to improve connectivity will benefit the real estate sector in the long run. The abolishment of DDT is a welcome move and will put the REIT structure in India at par with global standards. REIT listing will soon be a reality. The finance minister also announced certain other measures to bring investment into the real estate sector, while giving special emphasis on affordable housing, few long pending demands of the real estate sector were not met in the budget. Industry status to the real estate sector, single window clearance, tax concessions on home insurance premiums are some of the measures that could have significantly boosted the sentiments in the sector.
    Mr. Manoj Gaur, President CREDAI NCR
    "Union budget 2016 has focused on some key issues which is positive for real estate sector. In some major declarations made in the budget regarding affordable housing, it is clear that government is keen to give a boost to affordable housing segment, being also in lined with government's initiative to provide housing to all by 2022. 100% Service tax exemption has been given to make houses up to 30 sq mtr in 4 metros and up to 60 sq mtr in others. We believe that his policy for affordable segment will benefit the home buyers, especially the middle and lower income group. Increased tax rebate to 60000 will benefit those living in rented houses in a big way. Certain issues related to direct and indirect taxes have been addressed which is good. The biggest disappointment was that the real estate did not get the infrastructure status which was long pending demand of this sector."
    Mr. Shrikant Joshi, CEO & MD, L&T Realty:
    The Union Budget 2016-17 focuses substantially on affordable housing which is in line with PM's vision of housing for all. Service tax exemption for construction of affordable housing up to 60 sqm. under state and central housing schemes and 100% tax deduction to an undertaking from a housing project for units up to 30 sqm. in four metro cities and 60 sqm. in other cities, approved during June 2016 to March 2019, and is completed within three years of the approval. This move will provide much needed boost to the affordable housing schemes. However had the area restrictions not been there, scope of this initiative would have been much wider.

    Removing the last hurdle for REITS, i.e., the withdrawal of dividend distribution tax (DDT) will finally pave the way for their introduction in India. Once in play, REITs will bring in lot more investments in real estate space and will create much needed liquidity among the market participants.

    Announced deduction of Rs. 50,000 per annum in interest for home loans up to 35 lacs for homes costing not more than 50 lacs is a welcome move and will give an impetus to demand in that spectrum of housing. This will give confidence to customers who were till now contemplating to buy.

    With the Indian government confident of meeting its fiscal deficit target, further rounds of interest rate cut is expected. This will boost the real estate sector by bringing much needed affordability into the market. Also, planned increase in spends on Infrastructure sector (Roads, Railways etc.) will augur well for real estate with the linkages that both sectors have.
    Mr. Harpreet Singh, Partner - Price Waterhouse & Co LLP
    The finance minister's announcement of "highest ever allocation of Rs.38500-cr to MNREGA may have a significant impact on availability and cost of labour for construction. The Real Estate and Construction Sector being still largely labour dependent would have a significant adverse impact. This could further this has come at a time when the sector is not doing well.

    Development of new credit rating system for infrastructure is a welcome move, while the details of the credit rating mechanism have not been announced, the Finance Minister in his budget speech has indicated that the risk profile for infrastructure would need to be viewed differently given the long cycle time of these capital projects and its unique challenges.
    Mr. Dimitrov Krishnan, Vice President and Head, Volvo CE India.
    "Broadly speaking, the budget plans are progressive and in-line with what we were expecting at Volvo CE. There remains a strong emphasis on the road building sector which is very encouraging to see, both for us and for our customers. In addition, there is a focus on developing rural infrastructure and this is also good news for the construction industry. The commitment to provide power, water and homes to these areas should be a strong source of activity for our industry, as well as contributing to the overall development of India."

    "Looking at the budget we can also see the influence of ongoing global uncertainty in the economic markets. It seems that the government understands that while the economies of many other countries remain depressed, growth for India will have to be driven domestically. The only real downside in the budget was that there is still no clarity on the issue of GST. And while this remains a question mark there will still be a lot of uncertainty for businesses, both small and large."
    Mr. C. Sasidhar – Managing Director, Krishnapatnam Port Company Limited
    "The budget 2016 reflects for a very promising infrastructure and investment push with increased budgetary allocation for key infrastructure areas such as roads, railways and ports. The nine pillars laid down in the budget provide a holistic approach for bringing about a socio-economic transformation while reinvigorating the infrastructure sector through Public-Private Partnership (PPP).

    Implementation of Indian Customs Single Window Project and initiatives to reduce the cargo release time and the transaction costs of EXIM trade will bring in the required boost in terms of ease of operations while also making the sector more attractive.

    Also the SAGARMALA project which has already been rolled out was a very welcome move for the port sector and it is now all set to receive a fresh boost with the current budget now planning to develop new greenfield ports both on the eastern and western coasts of the country with a budget allocation of Rs. 800 crore."
    Mr. Neeraj Gulati, MD – Assotech Realty Pvt Ltd
    "The announcements in the budget are focussed on the affordable housing segment with emphasis on private public participation. The deduction of Rs 50,000 on the interests to be paid by first-time home owners on a loan of Rs 35 lakhs for a ticket price of not more than Rs 50 lakhs will lead to a rise in demand for mid-income and affordable housing segment. Secondly, the announcement of 100% deduction on profits for those developers undertaking affordable housing projects in metros and other areas and the proposal for service tax exemption on construction of affordable houses up to 60 sq.m. under Central and Sate Government schemes will provide direct boost to the Government's intent to get more private developers in the affordable housing segment."
    Mr. Gaurav Gupta, General Secretary, CREDAI RNE
    "The budget is a balanced and a growth oriented budget. Strong Push has been given to affordable housing by incentivizing developers of 100% Income Tax exemption on construction of houses up to 30 sq. meters in metros and 60 sq. meters in non metros. With a proposal of zero service tax on this, it will go a long way in creating enough housing stock where demand actual exists. Developers too will be motivated to construct as Income tax exemption is a must in thin margin affordable housing projects. By introducing an additional deduction of Rs 50,000 on interest for loan up to Rs 35 lakh, Finance Minister has given some reason to cheer to the first time home buyers. A major relief is that no excise will be levied on RMC produced at the construction site. Demand for industry status, raising limit on Interest repayment from 2 lacs to 4 lacs remain unheard which was looked upon with high hopes from the entire sector."
    Mr. Deepak Kapoor, President CREDAI Western U.P.
    "The budget has brought relief to the housing sector; however, overall expectations of the realty sector were high which have not been met. In a move to boost the housing demand, deduction of Rs 50000 has been given on a loan of up to 35 lakhs. There has been allocation of funds for infrastructure development which includes construction of road networks and setting up of 300 urban clusters. Affordable housing has been given a fair share. This would kick start the real estate in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities along with new mushrooming areas in major cities as well. Direct Dividend Tax (DDT) is now exempt from REITS. This was very much required to make REITS efficiently functional. Much to our disappointment, Industry status and single window clearance system could have been the biggest game changing reforms for real estate sector which were not even mentioned in the budget.
    Mr. Sanjay Rastogi, Director Saviour Builders Pvt. Ltd.
    "With a fiscal deficit target of 3.5%, government had come up with a very growth oriented and a balanced budget which may fetch positive results in long run. There have been some major announcements for Realty sector which are good for both customers as well as developer community. Our long pending demand for Real estate regulator and single window approval has not been addressed which is quiet disappointing. But, the move to improve the affordable housing segment through tax exemptions is commendable. Rent-givers have also increased tax exemption limit of Rs 60000 which was earlier subjected to Rs 20000 only. Furthermore, infrastructure development has been assigned a decent amount which eventually will benefit real estate."
    Mr. Om Chaudhry, Founder & CEO of FIRE Capital and Chairman & CEO, Astrum Value Homes
    "We had lot of hopes from the budget, some of which have been fulfilled while others remain unmet. On the whole, the demands of real estate sector have not been fully met and budget has fallen short on our expectations. There have been some important subjects which have been touched by the government satisfactorily. Affordable housing has been addressed suitably by giving 100% deduction to entities to make houses up to 30 sq mtr in 4 metros and up to 60 sq mtr in others. First-time home buyers will now be getting an additional deduction of Rs 50,000 on interest for loan upto Rs 35 lakh where the cost of house should not exceed Rs 50 lakh. Such steps will boost the housing demand and will reduce the burden on the pockets of home buyers. No clarity on implementation of GST and RERA bill is again a setback for the sector."
    Mr. Anil Kumar Tulsiani, CMD, Tulsiani Constructions & Developers Pvt. Ltd
    "There have been some important declarations in the budget for real estate sector but many of our demands still remain pending. Industry status, GST & RERA bill, single window clearance system were looked upon with high hopes from the entire sector but have not been fulfilled. Well-thought decisions on affordable housing have been taken to boost the demand in this segment. Announcement to set 300 rurban clusters under Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission and allocation of funds for infrastructural development are other positive reforms for realty sector."
    Mr. Suresh Garg, Secretary, CREDAI Western UP
    "There have been slew of reforms which have been taken up in this budget session. Real estate too has got its share from the budget but still there are few demands which are waiting to get a final nod. To boost affordable housing which is in line with the government objective to provide housing to all, tax exemptions have been given. DDT is also now exempt from REITS which is a positive announcement for realty sector. Rent-payers and first time home buyers have also been considered and their tax deduction limit has been enhanced. These measures will benefit realty sector in a big way but still a lot was expected from budget which was not fulfilled."
    Mr. V.P. Mahendru, Chairman, Eon Electric
    It is pleasing to see the Government sticking to its fiscal deficit target as it will give a boost to the overall economy. Changes in customs and excise duty rates for capital goods sector is an encouraging sign for industrial growth as it will help reduce costs and improve competitiveness of domestic industry. The proposal to provide 100% village electrification by May 1, 2018, is indeed very welcome as it in line with the Nation's overall vision to provide 24X7 electricity. This will also create headroom for energy efficiency such as use of LED will be vital in achieving the Nation's vision.
    Mr. Bikram Sen, Chief Executive Officer, ArthVeda Fund Management
    "The budget announcement allowing 100 per cent deduction for profits to housing projects building homes up to 30 sq metres in the four metro cities and 60 sq metres in other cities should increase supply of affordable houses. This exemption would bring in about 15% upside on profits after paying the MAT tax for the developers building such projects, making it easier for the developers to attract foreign and domestic investment for housing projects. This will encourage even developers, who are hitherto in upper/luxurious segments to get into affordable housing.

    The government's service tax exemption on houses less than 60 sq m, and the additional exemption of Rs 50,000 for housing loans up to Rs 35 lakhs (for homes below Rs 50 lakhs) are both likely to improve first-time home buyers' sentiment and boost demand. This should prompt developers to deploy more money into building affordable housing.
    Mr. Kashi Nath Shukla, Chairman Managing Director, Tashee Group
    "The government has finally realized that ease of doing business has to become realism to spruce up the GDP. The government's service tax exclusion on houses less than 60 sq m, and the added exemption of Rs 50,000 for housing loans up to Rs 35 lakhs for residence not higher than Rs 50 lakhs will together expected to progress for the first-time home buyers feeling which will further give confidence to the buyers to spend more in this segment".

    "Also the freedom for affordable housing projects would bring in a 15-20% benefit on profits after giving the MAT tax and for a real estate developer building up such a project would make it easier to draw foreign and domestic investment for housing projects"

    The budget has also increased the limit of deduction of rent paid under section 80GG from Rs 24,000 per annum to Rs 60,000, to provide relief to those who live in rented houses. This will enhance disposable income in the hands of end-user, which should also increase ability to re-pay home loans (there enabling more people to take such decisions) and also improve rentals thereby making investments in housing more attractive. The announcement of removal of DDT on real estate investment trusts should give a boost to REITs and improve the markets for commercial properties.

    In essence, the budget has tried to address supply side as well as demand side concerns, at least on the affordable housing front. This should bring in much greater supply, spur construction activity and employment connected to it."
    Mr. Rohit Gera, MD, Gera Developments & VP, CREDAI – Pune Metro
    "Given the challenging economic conditions, the Finance Minister has done a remarkable job. Showing a clear road map for farmers to double their income in 5 years, focus on infrastructure, capitalization of banks as well as reducing tax terrorism are welcome steps.

    Government has given a major push to infrastructure in this budget by allocating huge funds for the road and rail sector. Announcement on development of new greenfield airports, revival of undeserved airports, highway upgradation, bringing stalled road projects back on track and constructing more rural roads will give much needed boost to the realty sector and put the smart cities initiative on a fast track.

    On the subject of housing, there are a number of measures addressed toward the consumer as well as the industry with a view to address the housing shortage in the country.

    The consumers are benefitted with greater interest deduction for first home buyers, as well as an enhanced deduction from Rs. 24000 to Rs. 60000 for rent paid where there is no HRA provision.

    For the industry, the objectives of meeting the housing shortfall are unlikely to be met for a number of reasons. First being that the project has to be completed within 3 years with the Occupancy Certificate (OC). Given the time, the OC takes leaves about 30 months to complete the project. When combined with the clause that the project must consume 80% or 90% of the FAR, means the projects will only be small sized so as to meet the time line criteria. Secondly, the bill says the scheme is applicable to the cities of Mumbai Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai and 25 km around these. However, for all other areas it is applicable only to the municipal or cantonment jurisdictions. This means areas outside the municipal limits are excluded from the scheme. It is likely that this is a drafting error as the letter doesn't match the spirit, but as written the scheme will not make a major impact."
    Mr. Farrokh N. Cooper, Chairman & Managing Director, Cooper Corporation Pvt. Ltd.
    "During the earlier BJP regime there has been roll backs on many bold decision taken by then Finance Minister on political grounds. However now with Mr. Arun Jaitley presenting a positive budget I am sure there will be no roll backs because it is the wish of the people and the need of the hour for India move ahead not roll back.

    The budget is pro-rural, pro-farmer, pro-common man. They have rightly seen the need to increase the income of the people who virtually live on grass roots and are the grass roots of the country. This in itself will generate tremendous GDP. We congratulate Mr. Arun Jaitley for his vision and we are sure that in the history of India his budget will be seen as a landmark.

    We acknowledge the concessions he has given for the export sector and simplification of tax administration and litigation. The Finance Minister has gone into great details in the agriculture sector when he has acknowledged the importance of honey in the economy and it is our wish that the sweetness and flavour of honey permeates throughout the economy.

    Also as quoted in bible "let there be light" Mr. Jaitley has promised light to all the villages throughout India in a defined timeline manner. It is a welcome progressive move to give warmth to the rural people."
    Mr. Arun Lakhani, CMD – Vishvaraj Infrastructure Ltd.
    The union budget 2016-17 is a step forward for the welfare of the people and growth in the country. For the infrastructure development the government has announced fund allocation of at Rs. 2.31 lakh-cr that would aim to enhance the infrastructure base of the country. guideline for renegotiation of PPP contracts is a long standing demand from international investors and will make the investment environment much more risk neutral. It is a a big step towards overseas funding comfort for PPP in infrastructure. Around 228% higher grants to gram Panchayats & urban local bodies in accordance with FFC recommendations will augment development process significantly in terms of providing basic facilities like clean healthy water, sanitation, and other basic amenities leading to smart towns of future . This budget restores balance in Rural Bharat and India Inc. The approach of the Finance Minister is one of quantum jump rather than tinkering, which would accelerate the development process and put the Indian economy on a sustainable growth trajectory, while further expediting the "Make in India" programme and 'Swaach Bharat Mission'.
    Mr. Mayur Shah, Managing Director, Marathon Group
    We would like to congratulate the Finance Minister in presenting a budget that promises economic growth through digitization, rural and skill development and heavy expenditure on infrastructure. The real estate industry welcomes some of the announcements like exemption of dividend distribution tax from Real Estate Investment Trust (REITs). Provisions like 100% deduction to undertaking for construction of affordable housing and additional tax deduction on interest paid for loan amount on house less than Rs 50 Lakh is worth appreciating. These measures will boost affordable housing in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region and will at the same time achieve the Prime Ministers dream of Housing for All'. Increase in tax deduction from Rs 24000 to Rs 60000 for those living in rented house will also benefit the housing sector indirectly.

    However, the Finance Minister could have done few more things for the real estate sector that needed attention. Industry status at par with infrastructure for priority lending below 10% would have been icing on the cake. Single window clearance scheme were other topics that remained untouched.
    Mr. Aman Agarwal, Governing Council Member NAREDCO & Director, KV Developers
    "We hail the budget speech presented by Hon Finance Minister, Mr. Arun Jaitly. The budget is pragmatic, wide-ranging and inclusive given the emphasis on infrastructure development. It clearly lays focus on key areas of core sector growth, inclusion, fiscal far-sightedness and tax streamlining. We sincerely applaud the decisions made to boost the sector specially for affordable category.

    Major push for the first time home buyers in the form of deduction for additional interest of Rs. 50,000 per annum for loans up to Rs. 35 lakh. Raise of HRA upto 60000 is really commendable and would be directly favourable for middle income group.

    With giving 100% deduction for profits to an undertaking from a housing project for flats upto 30 sq. metres in four metro cities and 60 sq. metres in other cities, approved during June 2016 to March 2019. Also, Removal of Dividend Distribution Tax (DDT) would pave the path of reality of REITs. Another one the exemption of service tax on construction of affordable houses up to 60 sq. Metres. These reforms will surely help the investors and developers.

    However, we were expecting to get an infrastructure status in the budget. This would have allowed the sector reap some more benefits in terms of funding.
    Mr. Sunil Khanna, President and Managing Director of Emerson Network Power India.
    "The Government has tried to keep a healthy balance between inclusive growth and fiscal consolidation amidst global volatility and additional burden on account of the 7th pay commission, OROP. With an important focus on digitation, the government has shown good intent in keeping up the momentum of the Make In India and Digital India Mission. The government has shifted its focus from large cities to rural areas showing a clear intent to uplift those who belong to the bottom of the pyramid, especially the agricultural sector and focus on creating skilled labor. The effort to incentivize the Make In India program by way of domestic value adding in the Electronics Manufacturing Systems segment is a step in the positive direction as is the removing of custom duties. This augurs well for us as majority of the spending in our industry is on imported ESDM Electronic System Design & Manufacturing items. From a taxation standpoint, lowering of Corporate IT Tax for companies not exceeding Rs. 5-cr turnover to 25% plus surcharge is a positive move as it offers incentives to SMEs and SMBs in the country to focus on their growth. Another proposal that will benefit the country and stimulate start-ups on the growth trajectory is the amendments to the taxation for new manufacturing companies incorporated after is 1ST March 2016 as they will now have the option to be taxed at 25% plus surcharge and cess provided they do not claim profit linked to investment."
    Mr. Vikram Kotnis, Founder and Managing Director, Amura Marketing Technologies Pvt. Ltd.
    "We would like to congratulate the government for presenting a promising budget. The budget is in alignment with the PM's vision - housing for all.The budget delivers a good move for the low income group, below 60 sq mtrs, in the affordable housing segment as it eases out the service tax. 100% exemption of profit for developers and exemption from service tax for construction of houses less than 650 sq feet will spur new launches in the affordable segment. The demand for the mid income segment is high and tax collected by the government from this sector is 10-14%, hence the budget could have provided a relief in service tax for 80-90 sq. mt. segment (compact 2bhk)."
    Mr. Kaushal Sampat, President & MD – India, Dun & Bradstreet
    "In the backdrop of the prevailing domestic and global economic scenario, the Government has delivered a well-balanced Budget that has adhered to the fiscal consolidation roadmap without compromising on the development agenda. This should provide comfort to investors from the macro-stability perspective. Moreover, the Rs 2.18 trillion outlay on roads and railways, along with initiatives in the housing, construction and the electricity sector is a great positive for the infrastructure sector. There have been, however, areas which have caused certain disappointment such as the Rs 250-bn towards recapitalisation of public sector banks - which seems a tad inadequate and the return of the dividend distribution tax. That said, a number of systemic interventions is what sets this budget apart. Measures such as a one-time scheme for dispute resolution for pending retrospective tax amendment case, the bill to amend Companies Act, proposed introduction of the bankruptcy code, focus of digital economy are significant moves that could go a long way in improving the ease of doing business in India. Overall, agriculture, infrastructure, social & rural sector and small Entrepreneurs are the largest beneficiaries of this Budget. The strong accent on rural sector is a significant move that is aimed at reviving rural consumer demand."
    Mr David Walker, Managing Director, SARE Homes
    "Union Budget 2016-17 is a mixed bag for the real estate sector. We are pleased to see that the government has stuck to the 3.5 per cent fiscal target as this will give head room for the reduction in interest rates which will benefit all sectors of the economy and particularly the housing sector. The Finance Minister's proposal that any distribution out of SPV income to REITs and INVITs with specified shareholding not being subject to Dividend Distribution Tax (DDT) will spur investments in REITs. The additional exemption of Rs 50,000 for housing loans up to Rs 35 lakh – provided the house cost does not exceed Rs 50 lakh – is welcome too. Excise duty exemption on ready-mix concrete used in construction sites augurs well for the construction industry. While plans to meet the fiscal deficit targets are a good move, some of the key issues in the real estate sector have been given a skip. The real estate sector's expectations of being accorded Industry and Infrastructure status have not been accepted. Furthermore, the fact that there was no mention about action being taken to expedite GST and the Real Estate Development Bill is disappointing."
    Mr. Shailesh Puranik, Managing Director, Puranik Builders Pvt Ltd
    "The Union Budget 2016 presented by the Finance Minister today has tried to infuse confidence in the real estate market by unveiling a slew of measures to boost affordable housing, but unfortunately it fails to recognise the sector with the 'Infrastructure Status' (Industry) which we have been demandingfor long.

    We support wholeheartedly the Finance Minister for some of the measures he has taken to boost affordable housing by making provisions like 100% deduction to undertaking for construction of affordable housing and additional tax deduction on interest paid for loan amount on homes less than Rs 50-lakh. The Finance Minister has also addressed the issue of REIT through the exemption of dividend distribution tax

    Exemption of service tax for houses less than 60-metres will also benefit the real estate developers engaged in creating affordable housing in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. The move would also complement the Prime Minister's ambitious dream project of 'Housing for All'.

    An increase in tax deduction from Rs 24,000 to Rs 60,000 for those living in rented houses will also benefit the rented flat-holder, thereby complementing indirectly the housing sector.

    The Finance Minister must be complimented for rationalisation and simplification of the tax structure that will reflect ease of doing business for the corporate sector in terms of certain processes

    However, the Finance Minister could have done much more for the real estate sector—for example, the sector has been clamouring for industry status since long but in today's Budget there was no mention of this. Similarly, the issue of a single-window clearance system which would have tremendously benefitted the realty sector was also left unaddressed.
    Mr. Jatin Paul, Co-Founder
    "We give a thumbs-up to the Budget – It has all the ingredients to push the Start-Up India and Digital India initiatives that have been the Govt.'s much talked of programs. Focus of the FM towards promoting entrepreneurial spirit among women and the initiative to give Skill Development the much needed Budgetary support will help innovative ideas and ventures see the light of the day, in addition to creating new job opportunities".
    Mr. Aman Nagar, Director, Paras Buildtech
    Overall the budget’s direction is positive with several macro factors making way for a better economic regime. However, with the consecutive bad years for real estate there were few facets been ignored as the expectations were high. Exemptions provided on Housing loan interest for first time home buyers and affordable housing is really appreciating move. Investment plan of 970 billion rupees ($14.1 billion) on building roads will help to complete work more quickly which would further help in urbanization of places and development of various real estate projects. The proposed real estate bill on REITs will revive the realty sector in India.
    Mr. Anuj Goel, Executive Director, KDP Infrastucture Private Limited.
    The budget is positive and balanced. Exemptions on home loan interest rates for first time buyers and for affordable housing will optimize the homebuyer sentiments. It will also encourage the customer to take decision to buy their dream home and will also boost the affordable housing segment and real estate sector as a whole. Scrapping of dividend distribution tax on Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) is a welcoming step also the reduction in service tax for houses built under 60 square metres will lead to only positive growth of the sector.
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