“In the midst of the economic slowdown in the country, the retail industry performed fairly well. From the budget 2020, we expect the government to re-consider GST rate on apparels and clothing, thus ensuring more money in the hands of the middle class leading to an increase in demand and consumption. This will positively impact the retail industry and will also provide a much-needed boost to the economy. This year, we see an enormous opportunity for the retail companies to expand their presence in tier II /III towns,” said Mr Deepak Bansal, Director, Cantabil Retail India Ltd. on 2020 budget expectations.
Financial Year 2019-2020 has not been the best for the Indian economy. With economic slowdown and GDP growth of only about 5 per cent, the country has high expectations on Union Budget 2020-21. Let us look at some more expectations from the upcoming budget to be presented on Feb 1, 2020, by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
Union Budget 2020 Expectations
Dr Anshu Sharma, Co-Founder, SEEDS said, “The pressures of climate change and increasing disaster losses, in particular, need our attention in terms of disaster risk reduction as an integral part of our financial planning. A society can be sustainable only when its people and assets are safe and secure. We hope that the Union budget 2020 will pave the way for risk-sensitive planning across sectors, and make it possible to ensure India’s recent international emergence as the initiator of the acclaimed Coalition of Disaster Resilient Infrastructure which is supported with a demonstration of resilience-building on our home front.”
He added, “Resilience building will require investments in early warning systems, emergency management capabilities, and planning and disaster preparedness at the institutional as well as community levels. It is well known that a large part of our schools, hospitals and other critical buildings, often called life-line buildings, are not safe enough. A national financial commitment is needed to make existing infrastructure safe from disasters and ensuring that new developments have safety features built-in from the beginning. The social development and environmental sectors are at a cusp right now, facing intense pressures and yet also looking forward to constructive support towards a fair, clean and safe future. The Union Budget 2020 is a critical one, wherein we also hope to see intentions of such a future which is strongly backed with the investments that it needs urgently. Constructive conversations around a developed India with basic services such as housing, water and sanitation secured for all and long term development seeded in improved education and health services, need a big financial push for them to convert into reality for each individual in the country. Such investments however also need to be mindful of the changing risk scenarios, and need to be safe against the changing climate and evolving disaster risks.”
From the healthcare sector, Dr Kalpana Apte, CAG-Pratigya Campaign for Gender Equality and Safe Abortion and Secretary-General, FPA India said, “India’s public expenditure on health now stands at 1.28 per cent of the GDP and is way lower than the average expenditure by countries clubbed as among the “poorest” in the world, namely South-East Asian countries such as Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand etc. Furthermore, many public health specialists have expressed disappointment over the Centre’s pledge to invest 2.5 per cent of its GDP into healthcare by 2025, when the global average will be about 6 per cent. For strengthening the infrastructure and manpower requirements of the health system, there is an immediate need to increase the allocation for health expenditure need to be raised to at least 2.5%-3.5% of the GDP. Hence, it is important to establish quality health care services across the country, and increase investments in sexual and reproductive health, while also bringing about focus to contraceptive and safe abortion access in particular by expanding the provider base and prioritizing women’s health, which will have positive impact on the overall health of the country.”
Mr Arindam Haldar, CEO, SRL Diagnostics said, “Currently in India, our healthcare policies do not see the entire healthcare value chain, which includes – prevention of diseases, treatment and health insurance, as a whole. There’s a need to connect all the dots together if India wants to achieve its goal of universal health coverage. A successful PPP model for diagnosis and treatment and health insurance coverage can become a major instrument in achieving this target on the agenda of India. The government needs to understand that diagnosis not only has important implications for patient care, but public policy decisions are often influenced by diagnostic information, such as setting payment policies, resource allocation decisions, and research priorities. For instance, to achieve POSHAN Abhiyaan targets, the government can embark on a health screening project, in partnership with private players, for young children to study their risk towards non-communicable diseases, anaemia status, and level of micronutrients. This would assist the Government to understand the prevalence of health risks among the children across the state and formulate granular level nutrition and health programmes for the children.
We commend the intent expressed by the government regarding the goals and increased fund allocation for Ayushman Bharat – PMJAY. But what’s missing even today is a health care scheme that provides cover for an out-patient department (OPD) and diagnostics expenses. Indian healthcare spends entail huge “out of pocket” expenditure, thus there is a need for inclusion of diagnostics spends under the ambit of insurance, which would further help Indian consumers to reduce the financial burden.”
Speaking for education and children’s welfare, Ms Richa Prasant, Founder of Sunaayy Foundation said, ” Government should ensure availability of a skilled workforce that can effectively handle CSR Sector & take Social Responsibilities. Generate more employment & opportunities for the youngsters. We also hope that the government should focus more on education especially for the underprivileged section. More and more school should be built and the quality of the schools need improvement through basic amenities. We want that government should definitely work for the improvement of life of children who are indulged in activities like child labour, trafficking, begging, etc.”
A Young entrepreneur, Saagar Panchal, Founder & CEO, Hireavilla Hospitality Pvt ltd says, “One of the biggest challenges before the Modi government is to rescue the Indian economy from a slump. The statistics ministry expects the economy to grow at 5% in the current fiscal, the slowest pace of annual growth since 2012-13. I am still optimistic about recovery and foresee the economy quickly picking pace. The travel and hospitality industry has a huge potential to create a number of employment opportunities, increase services and enhance tourism. This year, I hope that our government focuses on steps to provide capital to the industry players. This could be in the form of incentivizing banks and other financial institutions to lend money to industry participants especially start-ups in the sector. Furthermore, I have high hopes on the government to lower tax rates and remove exemptions, revisit tax regulations especially for start-ups like that of mine. This will not only provide tax reforms but also enhance the efficiency of tax collections.”