Budget 2017: Promotes Growth, Builds Digital India
The Union Budget 2017-18 has set the right direction as our country takes a challenging global economic environment head-on.
The emphasis is squarely on growth with a slew of initiatives including higher allocation to infrastructure, increased emphasis on affordable housing and higher disposal income in the hands of India’s middle class. The suite of measures on real estate, lower holding period for long term capital gain, larger homes under affordable housing affect everything – steel, cement, employment of unskilled labour, bank financing etc. This standalone has the potential to create a virtuous investment cycle.
Infrastructure is the other booster dose. What may seem like a simple protocol change – abolishing the separate presentation of Railway budget – reveals a grander ambition of an integrated end-to-end logistics framework with Railways as the center piece. The strengthening of the multi-modal transport system with railways and highways sector plays a critical role in improving the supply chain and logistics ecosystem in the country. This is a clear win for all sectors particularly e-Commerce players delivering goods across India.
The Budget also bolsters the consistent efforts by our government to cement India’s leadership in the ‘Digital World’. Every aspect of the budget emphasizes on Digital – be it cashless payments, encouraging indigenous manufacture of POS terminals, connecting Bharat, promotion of Bhim App, introduction of Aadhar Pay, etc. These are progressive steps which will fundamentally change how we as a country transition into a digitized avatar. Digital inclusion will drive financial inclusion, digital payments will be the new norm and e-Commerce a way of life. This emphasis on Digital will empower citizens and make the customer king.
The budget also recognizes the role of entrepreneurship and the need to foster innovation. The start-up eco-system will leapfrog with easier flow of capital and extension of tax benefit to 7 years. In the brick and mortar context, MSME’s are the original start-ups. Here again, it is heartening that the Government is investing in skill upgradation and providing tax relief for the MSME sector. The Indian furniture industry is pre-dominantly unorganized, accounts for about 2% of our GDP and employs over 50 Lakh people. We anticipate that these measures will provide an impetus to India’s furniture industry. The Pepperfry marketplace continues to be committed to a strong partnership with small business owners and craftsmen; together we shall help 20 million Indians create beautiful homes by 2020.