Who wants what from Nirmala’s budget today

Anticipation is high in Bengaluru as the Karnataka MP and minister presents her first budget

Some designers are seeking subsidies for the handloom sector, which they say needs support. DH Photo

As Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presents her budget on Friday, expectations are high.

The challenges she faces are numerous — a stalling economy, agrarian distress, record levels of unemployment, receding investments and so on.
 While she walks the tightrope, Metrolife asked some in Bengaluru what they want from the budget.

Performing arts 
Broadbase grants 

Many theatre artistes struggle to make ends meet and the governments do not do much to help. Theatre doesn’t pay enough for them to make a living. Though there are central government allocations, by the time the money reaches the state, officials and touts swallow them up or choose their favourites. Budgetary allocations should be fair and the government should ensure the money is used well and only for creativity.
Divya Karanth
Theatre director 

Rationalise GST for hotels
I believe the biggest boost to growth and employment today will come from the services sector, especially tourism. The government has already announced the creation of 70 new airports and the expansion of existing airfields to enhance regional connectivity. What is now needed is a review of taxes, rationalisation of GST rates for hotels, and strengthening of infrastructure at key tourist sites. The government should take steps to support the aviation industry by lowering fuel prices.
Vishal Suri
MD, SOTC Travel

Boost primary healthcare
The focus has to be on primary health care -- we need to devote greater attention to safe water supply, sanitation, nutrition, vaccination, and care of mothers and infants. Though health is a state subject, the central government has a role in developing modern healthcare in underserved areas and upping standards of medical education. The pricing of government health schemes does not support quality secondary or tertiary care. Pricing should be more realistic for such schemes to really take off. Moves towards widespread price control and overbearing legislation and regulation of healthcare services may be counterproductive in the long run.
Dr Deepak Balani
Chief of Medical Services, Sakra World 

Food and beverages
Allow input tax credit
The entire industry is looking forward to input tax credit being allowed in the sector. Currently, we are the only sector that has not benefited from the implementation of GST. Which has made both capex (capital expenditure: money spent to buy and maintain fixed assets) and opex (operational expenditure: for day-to-day expenses) higher by 15-20 per cent. Allowing input tax credit will be a big boost in an industry that is an employment powerhouse.
Riyaaz Amlani
MD and CEO, Impresario Entertainment & Hospitality 

Fashion design
Provide tax holiday
A boost in the retail industry can come in the form of tax holidays. I really hope the budget talks about subsidies for the handloom sector as we are struggling hard to revive the age-old Indian craft.
Sailesh Singhania

Allocate 10 per cent of budget
Nationally, RTE implementation compliance is just 12 per cent. Experts say that at the current rate of allocation, it will take at least 80-90 years to achieve full implementation. We need at least 10 per cent of the total budget allocation for education to address this. This will also enable filling of more than 10 lakh teacher positions nationwide.

The centre is implementing a programme called Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan by merging three major programmes; Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan and teacher education. It is challenging to implement the new programme as a meaningful partnership between central and state governments since education is in the concurrent list. Therefore, I demand a minimum of 10 per cent of the union government budget for education.
Dr Niranjanaradhya V P
Senior Fellow, CCL-NLSIU 

Real estate
Exempt tax, speed up approvals
Realty sector is the second largest contributor to the GDP in India. The slew of reforms in the last couple of years has reinstated the confidence of buyers in the sector and the sector is attracting foreign investors. CREDAI expects the government to exempt tax on unsold inventory, reduce GST on construction material, provide industry status for the sector, and set up single windows for speedy project approvals.

We also request an extended deadline for affordable housing projects (profits from developing affordable housing are now tax-exempt if projects are approved before March 31, 2019). We need quality funding for construction (including increased foreign investments), and a tax holiday for development and leasing of IT/ITeS spaces.
Austin Roach
President, CREDAI Karnataka

Lower rates, help regional movies
India is known for its cinema and many people would want to enjoy their off days at the movies. High ticket and food prices have made this tough and only a small portion of the audience comes to theatres as a consequence.The lowering of GST has greatly helped the industry. What we now need are more initiatives like the Janatha Theatres, to exclusively screen Kannada or regional movies.
Shruti Naidu
TV and film director and producer 

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