Gunit Chadha, Deutsche Bank
We are living in very exciting times. Economy is growing at 8 per cent , Inflation at 4 per cent, Sensex over 10,000 mark. Tax collection is growing at 20 per cent . In these exciting times if the finance minister has made the Budget relatively unexciting, why are we complaining? It's a good stable budget. The tax regime is stable. I don't think we need to change the script.
Uday Kotak, Kotak Mahindra Bank
This is a positive Budget at the macro level. You have seen correction in both fiscal and revenue deficit for 2006-07. The revenue deficit is coming down to 2.1 per cent and fiscal deficit is coming to 3.8 per cent. This is very positive on a macro level. If the markets were looking for some immediate props - I do not think most of us expected any immediate props for the market place - therefore this is a Budget for a long-term investor in the Indian economy and the short-term trader will have to ride with the day to day volatility of markets. This is really a Budget, where I remember Greenspan phrase, "Do no harm to markets" and the Finance Minister has taken that seriously.
Nimesh Kampani, JM Morgan Stanley
The finance minster has introduced MAT at 10 per cent . When a private company shares its shares which are not listed company shares, one pays MAT tax even if one has put the money in three years bond. The finance minister said that this 10 per cent will also be applicable to the shares which are listed company shares sold by the investor. If that is true, then in effect the FM has introduced a 10 per cent long-term capital gains tax through the MAT. I think we need clarification on this because he only made a small remark. Whether he removed the long-term capital gain from the unlisted companies, or he levied the tax on the listed companies through MAT, all this requires a greater clarification.
Falguni Nayar, Kotak Investment Banking
What I liked about the Budget was the fiscal responsibility, which was good as well as the social sector spending and that will drive the economy growth. I think infrastructure is going to derive our next phase of growth. Also, I think the FM has not done enough and that he could have done more for the debt markets.
Sumant Sinha, AV Birla Group
Increase in the MAT rate is certainly going to be a negative. But all said and done, tax rates are going to be increased as the tax space is widened. I think there were specific steps that the government could have taken. They announced road projects, they announced the Golden Quadrilateral being completed in a short period of time. But there was not anything beyond that.
Ashok Wadhwa, Ambit Corporate Finance
There is an increase on MAT from 7.5 per cent to 10 per cent and that is supported by an extension from 5 years to 7 years, for offsetting the credit. On capital gains tax vis-à-vis MAT, the FM says that if one is a corporate, covered by MAT and one has capital gains tax, then until now while those capital gains were not added to the profit book in determining MAT, they shall be added now. Companies that have capital gains have a double whammy or double hit, because not only has the rate gone up but capital gains will now be included in determining book profit, which will again be subject to MAT and that is not good news at all.
Kiran Mazumdar - Shaw, Biocon
I am most disappointed to see that the budget has not provided for incremental investment in science and technology. Research and development is seen as the next big opportunity for India Inc. To establish India as a laboratory of the world, fiscal policies need to support the high investment needs and the long gestational timelines of this segment. Industry has been seeking fiscal support through a 5 year weighted tax deduction, lower duties on R&D consumables and Equipment - to be on par with other competing nations; and duty free import of enabling technologies to promote collaborative R&D.
Sunil Mittal, Bharti Enterprises
To my mind this is a remarkable Budget, considering a number of schemes, the number of outlays that have been announced and yet when you see the revenue deficit, 2.1 per cent , it is an amazing job. It is a very-very well balanced Budget. There has been no major hit in corporate fields. Number of schemes have been rolled out. Fiscal deficit remains less than 4 per cent .
Cherian Varghese, Union Bank
I was a bit apprehensive that the exemption on housing loans and instalments, investments will be taken away. Since it has not happened, the retail segment should continue to be buoyant. The lending opportunities will continue. The FBT particularly for contribution to pension funds up to 1 lakh has been exempted. That's also a great relief for us.
Pawan Munjal, Hero Honda
There are three or four disappointments in the Budget. Things that could have been done, which has not been done include; labour reform which is a crying need today in India. He spoke of it yesterday but there was no mention of that today. He talks of subsidies in the Budget but there was no mention of where they would actually get reduced or cut down; and that's little bit of disappointment. That's something he could have done while he was doing so many other things. I think, announcing FBT with minor modifications is still not a good idea
Rahul Bajaj, Bajaj Auto
I think this Budget should be judged on the expense high, whatever the amount is Rs500,000 crore; how it will be spend, how well it will be implemented. So growth with social justice is what he has talked about which I think all of us in the corporate sector support.
Malvinder Singh, Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd.
There was a deduction in excise duties for HIV-Aids drug, cancer drug, which is positive. It will certainly help the people get more cost affective medication. At the same point of time, there was also a reduction in some of FBT items linked to the pharmaceutical industry, which is a welcome move
Jagdish Khattar, Maruti Udyog Ltd.
Our models, Omni, Alto, 800; the price reduction for all of them will range somewhere between Rs11,000-Rs12,000 to Rs20,000-Rs21,000, we will work that out.