The budget fell short of expectations while the market was looking forward to some meaningful reforms. What we found instead, were a set of proposals that were neither bold, nor clear. It’s more or less Status Quo. The FM retained the fiscal deficit at 4.1 per cent of GDP, but unfortunately, there is little information on the roadmap to getting there. The budget is unequivocally positive for the infrastructure, manufacturing and banking sectors; however, no incentives were given to the pharma industry. There is a need for the country to have universally accessible, affordable and effective healthcare and in order to do this, it is imperative for the government to offer tax incentives to encourage innovation in R&D and assist in developing and honing Indian IP – none of which has been addressed.
Having said that, there is, some renewed focus on healthcare in rural areas. Setting up research centres on TB towards affordable healthcare, along with 4 new AIIMS is a welcome move but what really needs to be done is the expansion of the healthcare budget, new investments to create medical infrastructure and ramp up the existing public health structure, investments to promote local manufacturing and research – which was missing in the budget.
The indicated implementation of GST will of course be positive as and when it happens. Furthermore, while the FM spoke about the government’s commitment to SEZs to revive and boost economic growth, there was no clarity provided on the specifics. This year’s budget is a let-down, with too much promise and little depth.
– Ramesh Swaminathan, Chief Financial Officer, Lupin