The sector is also relieved that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s 2021 Union Budget has proposed no increase in taxes which alongside the holistic growth that the budget seeks to promote will stimulate consumer sentiments.
In his remarks to the media about the Ninth Union Budget under the Narendra Modi Government, K. Madhavan, President of the Indian Broadcasting Foundation, said that it will lend the necessary stimulus to economic growth. “This is a growth-oriented Budget that will provide a strong and much-needed impetus to the economic growth engines in the wake of the pandemic. The focus on privatisation and support for start-ups and innovation will benefit the overall corporate sector and in turn help the media and entertainment industry, as it will lead to strong advertising growth.”
Hailing the proposed investments in infrastructure and health, Ashish Bhasin, CEO-APAC and Chairman-India, dentsu, said, “It is clearly a growth-oriented Budget,” adding, “what is also good is that the taxes have not been raised and the process of taxation has been attempted to be simplified. Disinvestments and borrowings have been proposed as the preferred funding route, rather than increased taxation, which is helpful.” Adding a note of caution, however, Bhasin added that “smooth on-ground implementation” was the key, “where our track record has not been that great in the past”.
Praising the budget, especially for its focus on good governance and women’s empowerment, Anupriya Acharya, South Asia CEO, Publicis Groupe, said “Budget 2021 is very pro-development with the vision of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.” Referring to the proposed spending on the health sector, among other components, Acharya said, “it should not only help in economic recovery but also drive strong growth agenda. Such an increase in capital expenditure even after the economic crisis due to the pandemic, the contraction in economy, bleak global outlook etc must definitely be appreciated.”
Referring to the government’s project of setting up a world-class fintech hub in the country, Acharya said, “it will help bring together new technologies like big data, AI, and blockchain to transform the way that financial services are delivered, making them cheaper, more efficient, more convenient and more inclusive”.
Furthermore, the 100 percent tax exemption for startups for three years, amendment of Companies Act to allow new start-ups to register in one day, allowing NRIs to invest through OPC (One Person Company) to open up opportunities in the area of health, hygiene, water, clean air, and sanitation will be good for the economy, Acharya noted.
In the print sector, Indian Newspaper Society President L. Adimoolam hailed the Finance Minister, saying, “The Finance Minister has set up a huge outlay for agriculture, infrastructure projects, and disinvestment of PSUs. With infusion of funds to banks, extending minimum wages for all types of workers, and radical changes in direct taxation, money circulation can be expected in the market.”
The radio sector has reasons to cheer. Saying the budget was overall positive, Prashant Panday, MD & CEO, Mirchi, said, “as far as the media industry is concerned, there is not much that directly affects it, although overall growth and job creation should lead to a recovery in fortunes. In all, we see the FY22 Budget as a good beginning of the recovery efforts by the government even though a lot will need to be done in the coming years.”