We caught up with Mr. Vyas for his take on Budget 2003-4. He talked at length on the hits and misses of the budget, and gave his views on the industrial and investment climate in the country. Definitely worth a read.
Mr. Mohandas Pai, CFO - Infosys
The finance minister has fulfilled most of the aspirations of the IT industry. Providing the tax exemptions also upon change in ownership or shareholding in case of amalgamation or de-merger will expand the market.Investments in 2 international airports and roads will improve the infrastructure for better connectivity. Tax rebates for dividends and capital gains will help reduce the cost of equity for companies in the knowledge sector.
Mr. Ashwin Dani, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Asian Paints (India) Limited
Infrastructure sector continued to be given priority by the sanctioning of Rs 810 billion (US$ 17 bn) that will be invested for the modernisation of airports, seaports and development of new road projects. The Finance Minister has continued the rebate of Rs 150,000 on taxable income for individuals who have availed loans for housing. Construction companies will get income tax exemption for approved housing projects upto 2005. All this will benefit the housing sector and will have a positive impact for the paint industry. Lowering of customs duty and a 50% reduction of surcharge on corporate tax will benefit the sector.
Mr. H. K. Press, Ex. Director & President - Godrej Consumer
The budget has only partially met the expectations of our industry. The main positive is the reduction of the maximum rate of import duty from 30% to 25%. The reduction of IT surcharge may not help to stimulate demand for our flagging categories. The much needed reduction in excise duty did not come through except fro rationalization of alcohol based toiletries. Thus the budget has not taken the opportunity to take the business to a higher plane.