Forecasts Surfacing Around Interim Budget 2023-2024
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Forecasts Surfacing Around Interim Budget 2023-2024

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A lot of speculation has been swirling around the Interim Budget 2023-2024, including economic forecast and financial forecasting from various industries. These forecasts regarding the potential course of the government’s Interim Budget 2024 are aimed at increasing consumption, reshaping policies to provide manufacturers with equal opportunities, allocating strategic funds for infrastructure development, emphasizing agriculture, and more. There are only a few weeks left for Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to make an appearance on February 1 at parliament with her red briefcase in hand to present the 2024 Budget Forecast. Here are a few anticipations from industry experts.

Telecom Infrastructure Providers Seek Rationalization of TDS Provisions

In their wish list for the budget, telecom infrastructure providers have called for the rationalization of TDS provisions and an increase in the tax depreciation rate. They are also seeking the availability of input tax credits on telecom towers.

JK Lakshmi Cement’s Arun Shukla Calls for Addressing Rising Input Costs, Import Duties

"Amidst robust infrastructure development, we anticipate strong cement demand, spurred by increased budgetary support for roads, railways, and rural projects, and further boosted by initiatives like PMAY. I would like to draw the government’s attention to helping address rising input costs through GST rationalization and easing import duties on key materials like coal and petcoke.

FMCG Industry Expects Less Turbulent Market this Year

The FMCG industry is upbeat and anticipates a less turbulent market in 2024. Additionally, the yearly budget presents a crucial chance to establish the course for empowerment and sustainable growth, particularly in the rural sector. It is hoped that new rules would effectively address issues facing rural communities while protecting the interests of oilseed farmers. Therefore, this will positively impact industries associated with rural environments. The emphasis on capital investment is commendable, as it guarantees inclusive development while simultaneously promoting economic growth.

Moglix’s Partha S Dash Stressed on Factors to Support India’s Green Transition

Partha S Dash, Managing Director, Moglix, says, “ It would be great to see greater adoption of the bridge health monitoring system and predictive artificial intelligence to identify physical assets that need repair and maintenance and thus direct resources and fiscal outlay accordingly".

"I strongly feel that solar rooftop installations need to go mainstream in the household sector to truly give wings to India’s green transition and should figure on the honorable FM’s checklist”.

BFSI Expects Changes in Regulations to Promote Innovation

The BFSI industry is expecting reforms in regulations that will promote innovation and simplify regulatory conditions. Increased tax breaks for people, more incentives for female investors, support for smaller industries like microfinance, and the settlement of tax disputes impacting domestic and foreign online travel companies are all anticipated in the upcoming budget.

Quantum Energy India’s Chakravarthi C Extension on FAME II

Chakravarthi C, Managing Director, Quantum Energy India, says, “With the imminent expiration of the FAME II subsidy program in March 2024, there is a collective call from stakeholders to extend it, ensuring ongoing efforts to enhance the affordability and accessibility of electric vehicles for consumers. Extending the program would not only solidify support for the EV industry but also align with the government’s ambitious target of achieving 30 percent electric vehicles on Indian roads by 2030.

Travel and Tourism Industry Experts Highlight Areas Helpful to Boost Tourism in India

Experts proposed that tax collected at source (TCS) on international travel packages be standardized at five percent (instead of the current 20 percent and five percent slabs). Experts believe that the goods and services tax (GST) input credit scheme needs to start for both domestic and international travel. In addition to the expectations listed above for the Interim Budget 2024, the travel and tourism sector also points out specific areas, such as infrastructure and inbound travel, that the government should prioritize to boost tourism in India.

ABBS School of Management’s Dr. Madhumita Chatterji Emphasizes Fund Specific Allocation 

Dr. Madhumita Chatterji, Director, ABBS School of Management observed that in 2022, the Standing Committee on by Education, Women, Children, Youth and Sports observed that student financial aid schemes were insufficient to cover the cost of higher education. This is because most expenditure from the scholarship is towards course fees. (Report No. 337, Standing Committee on Education, Women, Children, Youth and Sports, on “Demands for Grants 2022-23 of the Department of Higher Education”, Rajya Sabha, March 16, 2022). The government should earmark specific funds for self-funded autonomous institutions approved by AICTE and offer the PGDM degree as these institutions have to depend totally on student fees.”

Experts Hope for a Positive Picture for the Real Estate Sector

Experts predict that the Interim Budget for 2024–2025 will present a positive picture of the real estate industry. They see significant changes to the tax code, reduced GST rates, and a more straightforward framework for REITs' taxes as ways to increase investment and demand in the affordable housing market. Experts recommend better financing availability, digitalization projects to increase transparency, and debt restructuring options for financially troubled developers. All things considered, the real estate industry anticipates a thorough legislative framework in the 2024–25 Budget to support resilience and expansion in the wake of the pandemic.

MSMEs Hope Improved Business Climate

Like other sectors, the Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSME) sector is recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic. The sector had a 33 percent increase in credit demand in the first quarter of FY23–24. Requests for greater involvement in public procurement opportunities, along with steps to make the tendering process easier to navigate and give MSMEs an even playing field. All of these requests work together to improve the business climate for MSMEs by supporting development, creativity, and long-term economic viability.

Agriculture Industry Expects Raise in Agricultural Credit Target

The government is expected to guarantee that every qualified farmer has access to institutional financing and to significantly raise the agricultural credit target to Rs.22–25 lakh crore for the upcoming fiscal year in the upcoming interim budget. A further proposal pertains to augmenting the monies under the MGNREGA system, which guarantees employment in rural areas and provides farmers with a greater reward.