By Anindita Acharya
India’s health and pharmaceutical industry is satisfied with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Union Budget 2022. Stressing on the need to strengthen mental health services, especially owing to Covid-19, the FM announced a plan to set up a National Tele Mental Health programme in India, under which 23 tele-mental health centres will be launched with the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) as the nodal centre.
The healthcare sector has also welcomed the commencement of an open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem, which will consist of digital registries of health providers, unique health identity, and universal access to health facilities.
Anish Agarwal, CEO and founder of online pharmacy Tablt, described Sitharaman’s Budget 2022 as progressive. “National Digital Health System is a commendable step as it will consist of digital registries of health providers, thus providing a unique identity that will give universal access to healthcare facilities. This will add value to the entire health ecosystem of India,” Agarwal added.
The textile industry will see an 8.1 percent increase in FY 22-23 compared to the projection for FY 2022. Navin S Rao, co-founder of online apparel store The Kaftan Company, is looking forward to the implementation of the amended proposal for ‘The Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme’. “This opportunity reduces external dependencies in terms of machinery and accessories procurement and as a result improves production efficiency with potential for further scalability,” he said.
The business fraternity is also all praise for the government’s master plan for PM Gati Shakti National, a Rs 100 lakh-crore project to build holistic infrastructure in the country.
Vinkesh Gulati, President of the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA), says the Gati Shakti National Master Plan will be a significant step on the path to development. “The government’s plans to develop 25,000 km of new highways will result in a push for infrastructure spending, which will result in an increase in commercial vehicle sales, as well as an addition of 2,000 km of roads under a new scheme known as ‘Kavach’. Also, the extension of the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee (ECLG) scheme is a remarkable move by the government to support micro, small and medium entrepreneurs (MSME) as they emerge from the slowdown caused by the pandemic,” said Gulati.
Kishan Jain, director at Goldmedal Electricals, thinks Budget 2022 will push electronic manufacturing in India. The FM has announced an easing of policies and an allocation of Rs 19,500 crore for production-linked incentives (PLI) to manufacture high-efficiency modules. “Today, India’s manufacturing industry has incredible potential to place the country on the global manufacturing map, concurrently boosting several employment opportunities for India’s youth. Further to this, the Finance Minister also announced duty concessions for electronic items. This will further boost the sector, and enable domestic manufacturing of high growth electronic items,” he said.
From use of electric vehicles to a battery swap policy, the FM announced a series of measures to aid the Indian auto industry. Venkatram Mamillapalle, country CEO and managing director, Renault India, praised the government’s focus on battery swapping and push for clean tech. He also said better roads will have a positive impact on the automotive sector. “In addition, the government’s decision to strengthen the rural economy through minimum support price (MSP) payment of Rs 2.73 lakh crore with an aim to aid the farming sector, will increase disposable incomes, improve public sentiment in rural areas and boost the aspirations in rural and semi-urban markets when it comes to personal mobility,” said Mamillapalle.
Complimenting Sitharaman on her fourth Budget, Rishabh C Kothari, president, Merchants’ Chamber of Commerce & Industry (MCCI) feels that the Budget is a fine balance between demand stimulus, continued capex push and fiscal consolidation. “The Budget is very balanced. It boosts spending on growth-oriented policies that create jobs, boost manufacturing, and help agri-economy and infrastructure creation. In short, a mix of short-term boost and long-term structural emphasis,” he said.
Ketan Sengupta, CEO of Bengal Peerless Housing Development Company, has also praised the Budget, which recognized the need for development of tier 2 and tier 3 cities, with 50 percent of the Indian population scheduled to move to urban areas. “Though there have been no specific steps like increasing tax exemption limits against home loan principal or interest, this Budget will spur real estate growth in the long term,” said Sengupta.