Budget 2021: Government should recognise agri NBFCs, says expert

Government should recognise agri NBFCs — Prabhat Chaturvedi, CEO, NAFA

Prabhat Chaturvedi, CEO, Netafim Agricultural Financing Agency (NAFA) urges the government to recognise agri NBFCs — the government recognises other NBFCs like MFIs, Housing Finance etc. “Agri NBFC as a sector is not discussed as a class. It is a niche. It is not recognised as a separate class,” he added. He further expects budget 2021 will help reduce the cost of borrowing (for NBFCs like NAFA) from the market.

FAME scheme be extended by two-three years — Sulajja Firodia Motwani, founder and CEO, Kinetic Green

The Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and EV (FAME) scheme which was launched in 2019, has been helpful in promoting electric vehicles (EVs) in the country. Sulajja Firodia Motwani, founder and CEO, Kinetic Green Energy & Power Solutions is just hoping that the government extends the scheme by two-three years. The scheme is expected to end in 2022. “So, we are requesting the government to extend FAME by two-three years — considering FAME took some time to implement and then immediately COVID came in.” Motwani is hopeful the government will take this call either during the union budget or later.

Introduce tax benefits to encourage health insurance among masses —Mayank Bathwal, CEO of Aditya Birla Health Insurance

COVID-19 has exposed many gaps in the overall healthcare system. Thus, healthcare is expected to be the focus of the budget 2021. “There is a need to increase the capacity structure in the healthcare delivery structure. Though, the government responded extremely well during the pandemic,” said Mayank Bathwal, CEO of Aditya Birla Health Insurance in his budget expectation. He added during the pandemic it was found that patients with insurance felt their sum insured for health insurance for low, whereas, many others were not even insured. “There is a need to encourage people who are not insured. In the short term, there is a need to create fiscal benefit.”

Incentives should be give to the farmers to save energy and water — George Rajkumar, Country President, Grundfos India

The government should strengthen its budget allocations towards initiatives that will enhance and transform the agriculture industry, suggested George Rajkumar, Country President, Grundfos India. He expects the government to further adopt solar power into the Indian agricultural landscape through initiatives like the PM KUSUM Scheme. “Last year’s budget allocation of INR 22,000 crores for the power and renewable energy sector was a major push for the country’s journey towards leveraging sustainable sources of energy,” Rajkumar added.

Encourage more technology and start-ups in agriculture — Ravichandran Purushothaman, President of Danfoss India

There is a need to move from production-driven agriculture to demand-driven agriculture, said Ravichandran Purushothaman, President of Danfoss India. To achieve that he felt the government will have to offer at ground level. He suggested the government encourage more technology and start-ups in agriculture. “They should encourage more start-ups in agriculture. It will help transform agriculture.”For the budget 2021, he expects the government to introduce schemes that will encourage youth of the country to look at agriculture.

Exempt selling of old gold from capital gains— Somasundaram PR Managing Director, India of the World Gold Council

To encourage recycling of gold, Somasundaram PR, Managing Director, India of the World Gold Council suggested the government should look at introducing capital gain exemption for selling of old gold. He further added the need to introduce EMI facilities to buy gold, to reduce duty etc are some common ways to help the industry grow. “For the last few years, every second year, the government has made announcements or other about gold,” Somasundaram added. Since 2015, many changes and announcements took place like domestic spot exchange, comprehensive gold policy, International Bullion Exchange etc. He urged the government to fasten the implementation of these announcements that were made in past budgets. “It is more about execution of past announcements.” He further added rise in duty and higher GST put pressure on compliant players. “Making it easy for compliant players will not drive demand but drive compliance,” Somasundaram stated.

Give sops to the construction and housing industry — YS Chakravarti, MD & CEO of Shriram City Union Finance

The best way to revive the economy will be to stimulate demand. To stimulate the demand, YS Chakravarti, MD & CEO of Shriram City Union Finance urged the government to increase government spending on infrastructure and offer sops to the construction and housing industry. “This is mainly because many other industries can benefit from this as the construction industry is one of the largest employers of manpower,” he said. He also suggested that the regulator and the government should provide NBFCs with tax relief on the provisions made, like it has allowed banks. It is one demand that has been pending from the NBFC side. He added, “This will allow NBFCs to create adequate provisions. This does not mean that NBFCs are not. It is just that it will allow NBFCs to create buffers in their provisions.” Thirdly, the regulator should create a special body to regulate and monitor the fintechs, he added.

Focus of the government should continue on agri infrastructure, says Kapil Dev, EVP and Head agribusiness of NCDEX

Lauding the government for their efforts in agriculture, Kapil Dev, EVP and Head agribusiness of NCDEX, said that the efforts of the government in agriculture are remarkable. He went on to add that the kind of discussion and reforms that have taken place in agriculture have never taken place before. While sharing his expectation for budget 2021, he said, “The focus of the government should continue on agri infrastructure that is something that will bring in efficiency.” He highlighted that efficiency in post harvest management still needs to improve further. “There was no push for new age infrastructure for so long. So, that should be the focus.” In addition, he said the other support is required in the financial inclusion side in terms of funds that are coming out for FPOs (farmer producers organisation). There are funds kept aside for FPOs but there is a need for ground level implementation as well. “FPOs are facing challenges in the case of working capital, formation of FPOs, getting registered, getting mandi license, and other issues.” This needs to be addressed, he said.

Look at fiscal relaxation as an investment for the future, not as expenditure for today, says Vineet Aggarwal, MD of TCI

To revive the economy, Vineet Aggarwal, Managing Director of Transport Corporation of India (TCI) and President of Assocham shares five industry expectations. He said that considering India is coming out of a pandemic (like the rest of the world), the expectations from the government are fiscal relaxation, increasing infrastructure spending, increasing expenditure on health and education; revival of demand and job creation. Commenting on fiscal relaxation, he said, “This fiscal relaxation will be more like an investment for the future, not an expenditure for today. It will help India move out of a pandemic in a V-shaped manner or faster rate of recovery.” He also stressed on the need for the National Infrastructure pipeline to accelerate, among other expectations. “The trickle down effect of this is huge. It is not only giving employment at all levels. But also creating that demand for a lot of products to build that infrastructure.”

Treat dairy farmers on par with other farmers - R S Sodhi, Managing Director, GCMMF

Milk and animal husbandry has been treated differently from crops even though it comes under agriculture and allied activities, stated R S Sodhi, Managing Director, GCMMF. Thus, he urged the government at least in this union budget 2021 to recognise dairy farmers as equals. “In the case of dairy and animal husbandry farmers, there are 100 million farmers and 80 per cent are landless and marginal. At least, an agriculture farmer has some parcel of land.”

So, the agriculture farmers are better placed than those landless farmers, yet benefits usually are given to agriculture farmers, Sodhi added. “Animal husbandry is contributing 27 per cent to agriculture husbandry.” In addition, he said, with the passing day the contribution of agriculture to GDP is decreasing and animal husbandry is increasing. “But when it comes to allocation of funds, animal husbandry gets step-motherly treatment.”

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Government should not consider levying (COVID) cess on its mass - Aseem Dhru, Founder and CEO of SBFC Finance

COVID-19 has already affected many lives and businesses, and there is no doubt the impact it had on government coffers. But to manage its expenditure the government should not consider levying (COVID) cess on its mass, urged Aseem Dhru, Founder and CEO of SBFC Finance to the Finance Minister.

“If the government rationalises taxes, it will earn more rather than levy more taxes.” He added the best way to attract more taxes is by easing or reducing taxation. In addition, a former HDFC banker stated that it is time the government looks at reducing direct taxes and increasing slightly indirect taxes. “This will allow people to have more money in their hand,” stated Dhru. He stressed that taxes can be collected in the way of GST. Echoing the view of businesses, he said it is important India looks at increasing government spends and encourages consumption in the economy.

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Give benefit to middle and upper middle class home buyers - Niranjan Hiranandani, MD of Hiranandani Group

As a budget expectation, Niranjan Hiranandani, MD of Hiranandani Group urged the finance minister to extend the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of 90 per cent to the middle and upper middle class. At present, LTV is 90 per cent for the affordable housing segment. “The other segment of the society — middle and upper middle class — needs the same benefit to whole home buyers,” said president of NAREDCO. He added further that 2020 the COVID year was “the culmination of problems that were there for the last three years in the real estate industry.” Keeping in mind the metro residents, he stated the standard deductions for the home buyers should be from Rs 2 lakh to 5 lakh. He stated such measures will boost the real estate industry and also will be beneficial to home buyers. He also emphasised on affordable rental housing.

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Don’t expect government to give tax relief; it is not in position to do so - Madan Sabnavis, chief economist of Care Ratings

The main task of the government during the budget 2021 will be to move from the 8% fiscal deficit to say 3%, says Madan Sabnavis, chief economist of Care Ratings. He added fiscal deficit will be the focus this year. He further explains everyone is expecting tax reduction, but the government is not in the position to do so. In this budget corporates will be looking at reduction of corporate tax further, he added. He stated that bank recapitalisation is absolutely required especially public sector banks that are owned by the government. In addition, the flexibility given to banks will hit them and NPAs ought to rise. “We still are talking about a double digit rise in NPA,” he stressed. He added there is a pressing need for the government to recapitalise banks.

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