Budget 2024 Expectations: Diverse Voices Echoing Hopes Across Sectors

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Budget 2024 Expectations: Diverse Voices Echoing Hopes Across Sectors
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Budget 2024 Expectations: Diverse Voices Echoing Hopes Across Sectors

24th January 2024, 04:44:52 PM IST

As the anticipation builds for the unveiling of Budget 2024, voices from various sectors echo their expectations, providing a glimpse into the diverse hopes that shape India’s economic landscape. Here’s a snapshot of key insights from industry leaders and experts:

1. Insurance Sector Calls for GST Revision:
Rakesh Goyal, MD of Probus Insurance Broker, advocates for a reduction in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on insurance products. The current 18% GST rate is considered high, and the industry looks forward to a more consumer-friendly revision. Goyal emphasizes the need for greater flexibility in health insurance deductions and specific deductions within Section 80C, paving the way for a favorable environment for both insurers and policyholders.

2. Boosting Education Loans for Overseas Studies:
Rohit Sethi, Director at ESS Global, anticipates an increase in the maximum loan amount available for studying abroad. The move aims to support students opting for programs with high tuition costs or in expensive locations. Sethi highlights the potential inclusion of subsidized interest rates to make education loans more accessible, with the decision influenced by the government’s priorities and overall budgetary considerations.

3. Fiscal Consolidation and Infrastructure Focus:
Deepak Agrawal, CIO Debt at Kotak Mutual Fund, expects the government to adhere to its fiscal consolidation glide path. With a predicted fiscal deficit to GDP ratio for FY25 in the range of 5.3% to 5.5%, Agrawal emphasizes the continued focus on capital expenditure. He also anticipates borrowing requirements to be met with flows from the J P Morgan Emerging Market Bond Index, starting from June 2024.

4. Empowering Fintech and Digital Lending:
Ranjan Kumar, Head of Accounts & Finance at RupeeRedee, highlights the importance of facilitating easier and more cost-effective credit access for fintech players. The sector seeks adjustments, including more flexible Loan-to-Value (LTV) ratios, tax breaks, and a framework for data sharing. These measures are seen as crucial for stimulating growth in the fintech industry and fostering innovation.

5. Startup Ecosystem and Access to Capital:
Yogesh Gupta, Chief Business Officer at Bimaplan, anticipates policies attracting both domestic and foreign capital to foster growth in the startup ecosystem. The wishlist includes tax credits for early-stage startups, addressing concerns like angel tax, and substantial changes in medical insurance premiums for a more affordable and accessible healthcare landscape.

6. Digital Lending Sector’s Key Role:
Roshan Shah, Co-Founder & CEO of VoloFin, emphasizes Budget 2024 as crucial for unlocking the full potential of the digital lending industry. The sector looks forward to policies promoting responsible lending practices, enhancing data security, and ensuring equitable access to credit, positioning it as a dynamic force in driving economic resilience.

7. Focus on Women Empowerment:
Ramneek Singh Ghotra, Chief Growth Officer at Finvasia Group, calls for improved access to capital for women. The expectations include a robust focus on skill development, rural entrepreneurship, and measures to strengthen social security, accessible healthcare, and financial inclusion for women.

8. Healthcare Infrastructure in Rural Areas:
Barkha Amin, Trustee at Bhailal Amin General Hospital, Vadodara, stresses the need for allocating 3% of GDP towards uplifting the medical and healthcare ecosystem, especially in rural areas. The expectations also include a reduction in custom duties on imported medical devices to 2.5% to encourage technology-led hospitals.

9. Privatisation of PSU Banks and MSME Sector Support:
Jyoti Prakash Gadia, Managing Director at Resurgent India, advocates for privatisation of select PSU banks and fiscal support for the MSME sector. The MSME sector expects cheaper finance, support in supply chain management, and expansion of the One District One Product (ODOP) plan for national-level incentives.

10. Revamping Public Transport Infrastructure:
Manish Rathi, Co-Founder and CEO of IntrCity SmartBus, calls for a budgetary framework to develop centralized bus terminals on national highways. The proposal aims to enhance essential public transport infrastructure, creating convenient boarding points and facilitating the shift from private cars to public transport.


11. AI Sector’s Wishlist:
Ajay Setia, CEO of InvincibleMeta.AI, proposes separate budgets for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Metaverse, similar to the successful Startup India program. Certification and funding for companies working on advanced technologies could drive innovation and facilitate regulation implementation.

12. Renewable Energy Focus:
Akash Kalra, Subject Expert on Transfer Pricing and International Economics, suggests allocating more funds for subsidies and incentives to encourage investments in renewable energy sources. Introducing tax benefits and funding for research and development can accelerate the growth of the renewable energy industry.

13. Healthcare Expenditure Increase:
Gautam Khanna, CEO of P.D. Hinduja Hospital & Medical Research Centre, calls for an increase in healthcare expenditure to move closer towards universal health coverage. As India’s population grows, a higher allocation (2.5% to 3.5% of GDP) is deemed necessary to meet the evolving healthcare needs.

14. Unlocking Gold’s Financing Potential:
George Alexander Muthoot, MD of Muthoot Finance, proposes granting ‘priority sector status’ to gold loans and allowing a ‘Gold linked credit line via UPI.’ These measures can leverage the significant idle gold reserves in Indian households for immediate financing needs.

15. Market Expert’s Recommendations:
Hardika Shah, Founder & CEO of Kinara Capital, emphasizes reinstating the tax rebate for Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) and removing the cap on the Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) scheme. These measures aim to fortify the MSME sector, enhance financial inclusion, and encourage gender-lens investing.

As Budget 2024 approaches, these varied expectations underscore the importance of a comprehensive and inclusive budget that addresses the unique needs of each sector, steering India towards sustainable and inclusive growth. Stay tuned for live updates and in-depth coverage as Budget 2024 unfolds.

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