It is a Budget with a strong emphasis on agriculture, education, healthcare and infrastructure.
For the pharma industry in particular, the exemption of clinical trials from the service tax, concessional rate of 5 per cent customs duty for R&D institutions registered with the Directorate of Scientific and Industrial Research and reduction in customs duty for specified machinery for the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors are welcome steps.
The extension of weighted deduction on R&D expenditure for a further period of 5 years is also welcome.
The pass-through status granted for venture capital funds in respect of investments in undertakings in biotech and R&D of New Chemical Entities also indicates that the government sees these as sunrise sectors.
The expenditure of FBT on free samples and displays will prove to be beneficial for the Pharma industry.
Overall, while the market may have expected more, I believe that this is a Budget with a vision focusing on priority areas.
A. Vellayan, Vice Chairman & Director, Strategy, Murugappa Group
The Finance Minister's budget has been like his previous budgets, a step in the right direction. India is growing at a good pace and the Finance Minister's steady hand has guided the economy well and will continue to do so.
But it has still not provided much needed relief to the fertiliser and sugar industries. The Finance Minister has increased the fertiliser subsidy by Rs 5000 crore over the current year while it is clear than an additional Rs15,000 crore will be required.
This will again put the fertiliser companies in hardship as is happening this year. The budget did not provide any relief to the sugar industry.
The industry is currently in very bad shape and help from the Finance Minister would have benefited lakhs of farmers across India. It was also very disappointing to us that the Finance Minister did not reconsider the Fringe Benefit Tax.
As told to Shobha Warrier