IndUS Business Journal

Startups raise 766 financing rounds in February

Mar 2, 2016 0

WALTHAM, MA–Startups in the United States raised 766 financing rounds in February, a seemingly strong number amid market volatility and the bubble talk that has hung around recently, according to PitchBook.

In its monthly snapshot, PitchBook said that more than 70% of the capital invested during the month was deployed in roughly 11 percent of the deals closed, however, including the $1 billion round for Chinese sports streaming platform LeTV and an almost $800 million financing of cinematic reality company Magic Leap.

PitchBook-logoHere are the key highlights:

33 February deals (<4%) raised $50 million or more.

33% of the total deals were made at the early stage, whereas late stage accounted for 20 percent.

6 new and existing unicorns attracted funding rounds.

Source: PitchBook

Other facts from the PitchBook:

“82 VC-backed companies were exited by investors in February. Notable acquisitions of the month include Microsoft’s $450 million purchase of Xamarin and the $410 million buy of Ellipse Technologies by NuVasive. After more than a month with zero U.S. IPOs, February saw three VC-backed companies enter the U.S. markets through an initial offering—Editas Medicine, Proteostasis Therapeutics and AveXis.

605 VC investors were active last month, though just one investor (New Enterprise Associates) completed double-digit deals and only 142 (23.5%) completed more than one. Deal activity during the month breaks down as follows—seed: 19%, early stage: 54%, late stage: 25%.

36 VC funds closed last month, courting more than $7 billion in commitments. Seven of those vehicles closed on $500 million or more, including General Catalyst Group VIII ($845 million) and Index Ventures Growth IV ($700 million). Nearly two-thirds of the new funds were closed by U.S.-based investors. Chinese VCs closed four vehicles, adding more than $1.3 billion.”

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India’s 2016-17 budget credit positive: Moody’s and Fitch Ratings

Mar 1, 2016 0

Chennai–Global credit rating agencies — Moody’s Investors Service (Moody’s) and Fitch Ratings — termed India’s fiscal budget for 2016-17 as credit positive for sovereign rating, but pointed out certain uncertainties.

“The budget is modestly credit positive for the sovereign, since it indicates a continued commitment to gradual fiscal consolidation by bringing down fiscal deficits to 3 percent over the next two years,” said Atsi Sheth, a Moody’s associate managing director for the Sovereign Risk Group, in a statement.

“However, the proposals did not contain significant measures to address structural fiscal challenges, such as the government’s low tax revenue base and the vulnerability of government finances to economic shocks,” added Sheth.

“This situation suggests that any deficit reduction will come from either cyclical upswings or tactical fiscal management, rather than a broad-based fiscal consolidation strategy,” Sheth said.

According to Moody’s while the budget is moderately positive for most sectors, it is negative for public sector banks.

The credit rating agency said the budget is credit negative for public sector banks due to its insufficient allocation of capital for the sector, as the government has stuck to the capital infusion road map announced last year, budgeting Rs.25,000 crore in capital injections.

However, increased recognition and provisioning for non-performing loads (NPL) will require a corresponding front-ending of capital requirements, which suggests that capital constraints will remain a key credit weakness for public sector banks, Moody’s said.

The budget’s changes on tax and duties are credit positive for energy and commodity producers, but negative for auto-makers.

Finally, the budget is positive overall for India’s securitisation markets as changes in the distribution tax norms for securitisation trusts will improve investors’ post-tax returns and make investments in securitisation products more appealing, which could attract a new class of investors to the asset class.

According to Fitch Ratings, the budget contains a number of elements that could be positive from a sovereign rating perspective over the medium term, but uncertainties regarding implementation of the reform agenda and meeting targeted revenue growth remain.

Fitch Ratings said the Indian government retains its vision on how to structurally improve the economy and create sustainable growth and cited reforms relating to financial sector, agriculture and liberalisation of the foreign direct investment regime announcements.

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Piramal Enterprises acquires US firm for $24.5 million

Mar 1, 2016 0
Ajay Piramal, Chairman, Piramal Group

Ajay Piramal, Chairman, Piramal Group

Mumbai– Piramal Enterprises on Tuesday said it has acquired US-based healthcare software firm Adaptive Software for $24.5 million.

“Piramal Enterprises’ step-down wholly owned subsidiary in the USA, Decision Resources Group today announced the acquisition of all of the assets of Adaptive Software and entire control and ownership of its wholly owned subsidiary, AdaptiveRx on February 29, 2016,” it told the Bombay Stock Exchange in a regulatory filing.

“Total potential consideration to be paid to Adaptive is $24.5 million,” the statement said.

Adaptive Software, located in Kansas City, currently offers to health plans and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) a suite of software solutions that streamlines formulary management, pharmacy networking, pricing, and pharmacy benefit design.

“No governmental or regulatory approvals are required for this transaction,” the statement added.

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India key to Jeep’s bid for new sales record in 2016

Mar 1, 2016 0

Detroit–Jeep expects to shatter its global sales record again in 2016, its 75th anniversary, thanks to the production this year of up to three models in China and the brand’s sales launch in India.

Last year, Jeep sold a record total of more than 1.2 million vehicles worldwide.

CherokeeThe automaker, a division of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles that specialises in off-road and sport utility vehicles, will this year assemble two additional models at the company’s plant in Changsha, China, which in late 2015 began producing the Cherokee, Jeep CEO Mike Manley told EFE.

Localised production in China is crucial to Jeep’s ambitious global expansion strategy.

Manley acknowledged that Jeep had been at a competitive disadvantage in China until now as purely a vehicle importer but he said the situation would change this year with expanded output at Changsha.

“The good news is that now we have a very intense programme. The first vehicle has been localised (in China). The second will be localised by the middle of the second quarter. And the third vehicle by the end of this year or the beginning of the next,” Manley said.

In another move that contributes to Jeep’s expansion strategy, the brand began selling its Grand Cherokee and Wrangler models in India in February.

“For me, India is a fascinating market. Its growth potential is almost limitless, but it’s never really materialised,” he said.

Jeep will be marketed as a high-end brand in the world’s second-most populous country and sold initially on a limited basis through Fiat’s existing dealership network in India.

Although the global economy is poised for a slowdown in 2016, Manley said Jeep would eclipse its record of 1.2 million vehicles sold in 2015, thanks in large part to the Chinese market.

The US market, where automakers set a annual record last year with 17.5 million new cars and light trucks sold, will grow slightly in 2016, as will Europe, Manley said, though cautioning that Brazil would have a “very difficult” year.

“It will help that we began local production of the Cherokee in China,” he said, adding that will help Jeep surpass last year’s results.

“In our 75th anniversary year, we need to break the world record set in 2015, which was a great year for the brand and one I was very pleased with,” Manley added, recalling that the new C-segment Jeep, a replacement for the Compass and Patriot models, also will be launched in 2016.

A big part of the brand’s success in 2015 was the start-up of production at the new Jeep plant in Goiana, a city in the northeastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco, where the Renegade model is being produced.

Manley said Jeep’s experience in Brazil had been so positive that he was looking to replicate the Goiana model in China.

The situation in the Chinese market was one of the areas of perceived weakness, Manley said, adding that as an exclusive importer Jeep suffered from “pressures” in the Asian giant though that market grew by between 6 and 8 percent last year.

The CEO acknowledged that the volume of Jeep vehicles imported into China fell in 2015 but he said the situation had begun to improve with the start of production of the first vehicle in China.

“I’m pleased that we’re in the transition phase from being exclusively an importer to a more local brand. That helps us because I think this year is still going to be one of significant ups and downs in the Chinese market,” he added.

Mark Allen, the head of Jeep design, and Jim Morrison, Jeep’s product marketing manager, say the company’s enduring success in its 75th anniversary year is due to its product range and historical legacy.

“The key to Jeep’s success boils down to its products. A portfolio of solid products that has continued to expand and become increasingly relevant for a growing number of customers, just as we’ve done here in the United States,” Morrison said.

Allen, for his part, said Jeep’s new products were rooted in the automaker’s past.

“We’re the only brand that does this. All the Jeeps we design have an element of our first Jeep. From the seven-slot grille to the trapezoidal wheel openings,” he said.

“In terms of style, going back to your first vehicle of a brand that never intended to be a brand and using those ideas … very few people, in fact no one else does that,” he said.

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Manufacturing conditions improve in February

Mar 1, 2016 0

New Delhi– Manufacturing conditions in India improved for the second consecutive month in February with the rise of new orders, exports, output and purchasing activity, key macro-economic data showed on Tuesday.

In February, the Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) – a composite single figure indicator of manufacturing performance – remained unchanged from January at 51.1. An index reading of above 50 indicates an overall increase in the economic activity, and below 50, an overall decrease.

“The Indian manufacturing economy edged further in the right direction during February, eking out modest gains in new orders and output,” said Pollyanna De Lima, economist at Markit, which compiles the survey.

Despite faster expansion in new business and growth of new work with Indian manufacturers’ production volumes rising in the month under review, the rate of expansion was marginal.

Though February saw a loss in growth momentum, underlying demand improved along with new business from overseas.

According to the index, weaker rise in costs lead to the first reduction of selling prices in February since September 2015.

For the first time in five months, Indian manufacturers’ reduced average selling prices lead by softer increase in input costs and on efforts to get new work. However, the rate of discounting was only marginal.

According to the sub-sector data, consumer goods emerged as the best performing category where output growth rates and new orders outperformed intermediate goods firms.

“Concurrently, the investment goods industry saw a deterioration in business conditions, with output and new orders remaining in contraction territory,” said the index.

Though input costs rose for the fifth month at a stretch in February, it happened at a weaker rate.

The gains made by low oil prices were offset by higher prices paid for imported raw materials like metals along with the effect of rupee depreciation against the US dollar.

“Goods producers continue to benefit from lower crude oil prices in global markets, which put a brake on inflationary pressures. In light of these numbers, the RBI has scope to loosen monetary policy to spur the economy,” De Lima said.

In February, employment across Indian manufacturing sector was broadly unchanged with anecdotal evidence indicating that companies avoided hiring due to cost consciousness and relatively soft demand conditions.

For the second successive month, manufacturers’ buying levels increased, but at a weaker pace along with input stocks while finished goods declined for the eighth month at a stretch.

Delayed client payments resulted in work backlogs accumulation in February.

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Foreign capital will build Indian food processing infrastructure

Mar 1, 2016 0

New Delhi–Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Tuesday said the 100 percent FDI in domestic food processing announced in the Budget 2016-17 will lead to creation of infrastructure funded by foreign capital.

“This step will lead to creation of ‘swadeshi’ infrastructure with ‘videshi’ money, and will help farmers get remunerative prices for their produce, transfer of technology and modern agricultural practices,” she told reporters here.

Harsimrat Kaur Badal

Harsimrat Kaur Badal

She also said a unified agriculture marketing e-platform will be set up to bring markets to the farmers’ doorsteps.

This coupled with 100 percent FDI in marketing of food products produced domestically would result in big buyers reaching out to farmers for their produce, she added.

Last month, Harsimrat Badal had called for fully opening up FDI in multi-brand retail of food products produced and processed in India so as to benefit farmers and reduce inflation.

“I have requested the prime minister that 100 percent FDI in multi-brand retail of those food products which are produced and processed in India should be allowed. So that those big companies can create infrastructure especially for the agriculture sector and bring the latest technology for the farm sector,” she said at the eighth Global Food Processing Summit organised by industry chamber Assocham.

She noted that FDI in multi-brand retail has come in the food sector in India, for example, in her home state Punjab.

“It has benefitted everybody, there is no trader in the middle who has lost out, there is no farmer who has lost, no industry has lost out, so it has been a win-win situation and it has been a tried and tested formula,” she said.

The minister also said the government plans to open four more mega food parks by the end of the current fiscal.

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India has 84 billionaires, Mukesh Ambani 34th in world in Forbes list

Mar 1, 2016 0

WASHINGTON (Wire Services)—India has 84 billionaires. Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani again topped 84 Indian billionaires in Forbes 2016 list of the world’s richest people once again headed by Bill Gates with a net worth of $75 billion.

Ambani with a net worth of $19.3 billion was ranked 36th among world’s 1,810 billionaires with an aggregate net worth of $6.48 trillion, down from $7.05 trillion last year.

Mukesh Ambani (Photo: Wikipedia)

Mukesh Ambani (Photo: Wikipedia)

Technology guru Gates, who has topped the list for 17 of the last 22 years was followed by Spanish clothing retailer Amancio Ortega, best known for the Zara fashion chain, with Warren Buffett remaining in the third spot.

The US led with the greatest number of billionaires, with 540, followed by China with 251, Germany with 120, India with 84 and Russia with 77.

China had the most of 198 newcomer billionaires, adding 70 to the list. Thirty-three newcomers were from the US, 8 from India and 28 from Germany.

Notable newcomers included Flipkart cofounders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal (No. 1476) of India.

India’s top ten: 1 (world ranking 36) Mukesh Ambani $19.3 bn; 2 (44) Dilip Shanghvi $16.7 bn; 3 (55) Azim Premji $15 bn; 4 (88) Shiv Nadar $11.1 bn; 5 (133) Cyrus Poonawalla $8.5 bn; 6 (135) Lakshmi Mittal $8.4 bn; 7 (184) Uday Kotak $6.3 bn; 8 (196) Kumar Birla $6.1 bn; 9 (219) Sunil Mittal $5.7 bn; 10 (233)Desh Bandhu Gupta $5.5 bn.

Telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu (No. 4) dropped two spots, and his net worth decreased to $50 billion from $77.1 billion last year.

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos (No. 5) moved up to the fifth from the fifteenth spot last year; his net worth increased to $45.2 billion.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg (No. 6) moved into the top 10 for the first time. He was the biggest gainer with his fortune going up by $11.2 billion for a total net worth of $44.6 billion. He is the sixth richest in the world. The biggest loser was Helu. (IANS)

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Jaitley opens coffers for rural India, unveils another tax amnesty

Feb 29, 2016 0

By Arvind Padmanabhan

New Delhi–Focusing on rural economy and infrastructure with minor rebate for small taxpayers but amnesty for defaulters, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday unveiled a Rs.19.78 lakh crore ($300 billion) budget for 2016-17, earmarking more money for health, literacy and roads.

The focus on rural economy and the promise to double the income of farmers in five years came against the backdrop of a distressed agrarian economy, fewer jobs and assembly elections in five states this and next year.

The direct impact on taxpayers from the proposals announced during the 100-minute budget speech will be a Rs.3,000 rebate, benefiting 20 million assessees. Those living in rented homes will get a higher exemption of Rs.60,000 now, against Rs.24,000 earlier. But the tax slabs remain unchanged.

At the same time, withdrawal of provident fund and pension upon retirement are partially taxable.

Jaitley also announced an amnesty for those with disputed tax claims, with a waiver of penalty on amounts up to Rs.10 lakh. He said 300,000 such cases were pending before appellate authorities, for an amount totalling Rs.5.5 lakh crore.

Similarly he also unveiled a limited tax compliance window from June 1 to September 30 for people to declare their undisclosed incomes, with a tax liability of 45 percent of value, including the surcharge and penalties — together with immunity from scrutiny, enquiry and prosecution.

His other steps include a pilot project to extend the direct cash benefit transfers, currently in areas like cooking gas to the fertiliser sector, as also Rs.25,000 crore for the recapitalisation of state-run banks that are under financial stress on account of mounting bad loans.

While there were misgivings over money set aside for additional capital for banks, Jaitley told a press conference later that more money will follow as and when warranted. “The budget is not the last word on this,” he said, adding he was also open to consolidation of commercial banks.

On cutting subsidies, he promised a bill soon to use Aadhaar for direct transfer of cash.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was quick to appreciate the budget and said its focus on development of agriculture, farmers, women and rural areas will give a major push to India’s agrarian economy. “It will also help the poor man realise the dream of owning a house,” he said.

Jaitley also said the government will meet its fiscal targets but said that from next year he proposed to do away with the classification of plan and non-plan expenditure — a move bound to stir up a controversy.

“I have weighed the policy options and decided that prudence lies in adhering to fiscal targets. Consequently, the fiscal deficit in revised estimated 2015-16 and budget estimates 2016-17 have been retained at 3.9 percent and 3.5 percent of GDP, respectively,” he said.

Jaitley also enhanced the total expenditure for this fiscal to Rs.19.78 lakh crore from Rs.17.85 lakh crore in the revised estimates for this fiscal — a hike of 10.7 percent — while the plan expenditure component was revised upward by 15.3 percent.

“A broad understanding over years has been plan expenditures are good and non-plan expenditures are bad. This results in skewed allocations in the budget,” he said, adding this would be dispensed with from 2017-18 to focus on revenue and capital classification of expenditure.

This move is likely to face stiff opposition.

Jaitley, a lawyer by profession, decided to bring his fellow practitioners under the service tax net of 14 percent. He also imposed an across-the-board cess of 0.5 percent on services towards farmer welfare, which will add 50 paise for every Rs.100 one spends on food to mobile bills.

He also left the market mood sullen by proposing to hike securities transaction tax for options to 0.05 percent from 0.017 percent, levy an additional dividend distribution tax of 10 percent payable by recipients in excess of Rs.10 lakh per annum and 1 percent surcharge on luxury cars.

This was enough to sully the market mood. The sensitive index of the BSE dipped sharply to a 52-week low soon after the finance minister read out these proposals, but eventually recovered slightly towards the end of the day, but still down 152.30 points, or 0.66 percent, at 23,002.00 points.

Jaitley said the bulk of his tax plan was in nine categories: Relief to small assessees, boosting growth and employment, incentivising “Make in India”, encouraging pension, promoting affordable housing, pushing rural economy, reducing litigation, taxation simplification and accountability.

Among the various sectors, the allocation for the ministry of agriculture and farmers’ welfare was enhanced by 93 percent to Rs.44,485 crore, for rural development by 10.7 percent at Rs.87,765 crore and for health and family welfare by 13 percent to Rs.39,533 crore.

A major boost was also given to infrastructure including energy with a 11.3 percent hike in the outlay to Rs.246,246 crore, as also for human resource development with allocation up by 7 percent at Rs.72,394 crore.

The budget also used the opportunity to send out signals to the global investor, seeking to ease the foreign equity norms. Notably, 100 percent such equity will now be permitted in multi-brand retailing where the produce sold has been processed and sourced locally.

In a bid to boost entrepreneurship, a lower corporate tax rate has been proposed for small firms with a turnover of below Rs.5 crore, to 29 plus surcharge and cess, and 100 percent deduction of profits for three out of five years for start-ups set up between April 2016 and March 2019.

Similarly to boost “Make in India”, changes were proposed in customs and excise levies on certain inputs to reduce costs and improve competitiveness in sectors such as IT hardware, capital goods, defence, textiles, minerals fuels, chemicals and petrochemicals, and aircraft and ship repair.

Jaitley opened his speech saying while the global economy was in stress, India was still going strong. “The risks of further global slowdown and turbulence are mounting. This complicates the task of economic management for India,” he said.

“We see these challenges as opportunities.”

He also used the opportunity to make a political statement. “Our initiatives in the last 21 months have not only placed the economy on a faster growth trajectory but have bridged the trust deficit, created by the previous Government.”

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Indian budget sets divestment target of Rs.56,500 crore

Feb 29, 2016 0

New Delhi– The government aims to garner Rs.56,500 crore through disinvestment in state-run undertakings in the next fiscal, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Monday.

Presenting the Budget 2016-17 proposals in parliament, Jaitley said of the total budget estimates, Rs.36,000 crore is estimated to come from minority stake sale in public sector undertakings (PSUs), while the balance Rs.20,500 crore will come from strategic sale in both profit and loss-making units.

For the current fiscal, the finance minister pegged the divestment receipts from minority stake sale in PSUs at Rs.25,312 crore as against the target of Rs.69,500 crore.

Volatile market conditions have impacted the government’s disinvestment plan this fiscal and it has so far sold stakes in 6 PSUs – Rural Electrification Corporation (Rs.1,608 crore), Power Finance Corporation (Rs.1,671 crore), Dredging Corporation of India (Rs.53.33 crore), Indian Oil (Rs.9,369 crore), Engineers India Ltd (Rs.640 crore) and, most recently, NTPC (Rs.5,030 crore).

Jaitley also announced that the Department of Disinvestment would be renamed as the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management.

He said central PSUs are being encouraged to divest assets in order to raise resources for new projects

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Infrastructure, housing reforms in Budget boost spirits of India Inc

Feb 29, 2016 0
Indian Finance Minister

Indian Finance Minister

New Delhi– Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s attempt to boost the rural economy, affordable housing and infrastructure got thumbs up from majority of India Inc, a few others remained apprehensive about the imposition of excise duty on jewellery products.

Here is businessmen said about Budget 2016-17:

Harshavardhan Neotia, president, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry

The finance minister has made a strong attempt to pump prime the rural economy and the infrastructure sector. This would yield dividends and we foresee a multiplier effect in the form of demand generation and employment creation over time. The state of the agriculture sector on account of two consecutive years of monsoon failure was precarious and it deserved the attention that was needed. Additionally, we see a lot of emphasis on affordable housing segment which will also result in forward and backward linkages and thus propel growth.

Sumit Mazumder, president, Confederation of Indian Industry

We believe that the focus on macroeconomic stability, boosting domestic demand and continued economic reforms would further cement India’s position as a haven of growth in a fragile global economy. Low-cost housing will be a huge demand multiplier, and CII welcomes the many initiatives on this.

Sunil Kanoria, Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India

Realising well the limitations brought in by slow demand and global slowdown, the budget has rightly put emphasis on creation of employment through Start-Up India and Skill Development. However, rationalisation of and simplification of tax rates would have benefited the overall ease of doing business, especially keeping in mind that GST implementation seems to have been pushed ahead.

Mahesh Gupta, president, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry

We are happy that our suggestion to increase deduction on exemption for income tax on interest paid on home loans has been partly accepted as there is an additional exemption of Rs.50,000 for housing loans up to Rs.35 lakh, provided cost of house is not above Rs.50 lakh which will give a boost to the real estate sector.

Moody’s

Looking ahead, the 2016-17 budget target appears to recognize that pressures on the expenditure side are mounting, given the significant costs of funding government employee wages and benefits, as well as bank recapitalization costs.

Praveenshankar Pandya, chairman, Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council

We are apprehensive of the introduction of excise duty on jewellery products for the first time in several decades. In India, jewellery is largely produced by the SMEs and they are not equipped to follow the rigid compliance of excise norms. The imposition of excise would severely impact jewellery production in India resulting in loss of employment to the uneducated but skilled jewellery workers.

Pratik Agarwal, vice chairman, Sterlite Grid and director, infrastructure business at Vedanta Resources

The revised tax framework on Infrastructure Trust (InVit) will exempt Dividend Distribution Tax (DDT) in respect to distributions made by SPVs to the infrastructure trusts. Infrastructure trusts are one the most efficient vehicles to attract equity from long term investors like pension funds, insurance companies and other institutional investors. We feel that the amendment introduced in this budget will encourage developers to pursue their InvIT listing plans.

Sunil Duggal, CEO, Dabur India

I am quite happy with the government continuing the rural focus and looking at enhancing allocation to MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Guarantee Act), besides focusing on skill development for the rural populace. These initiatives would help promote entrepreneurship among the rural populace, add jobs and put more disposable income in the pockets of the rural consumer, improving their standards of living and ensuring continued rural demand for branded consumer goods.

Kamlesh Rao, CEO, Kotak Securities

Union Budget 2016 has struck a fine balance between fiscal prudence and providing growth boosters to the economy. Higher securities transaction tax on options could be a cause of concern as it pushes up the cost for derivative participants.

Subho Ray, president, Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI)

The association has welcomed the proposal to set up a dedicated e-marketing platform for agriculture and hopes that the innovation of the digital industry will be harnessed for this. The association has also welcomed move to expand the digital literacy scheme in rural India and setting up of a Higher Education Financing Agency.

Anuj Puri, chairman and country head, JLL India

While three of the real estate sector’s major expectations – increased house rent allowance deduction, removal of dividend distribution tax (DDT) from real estate investment trusts (REIT) and boost to affordable housing by allowing 100 percent deduction on profits made by entities constructing them – have been addressed, the Budget offered no financial protection from project delays to home buyers. The biggest announcement with implications for the real estate sector in India was removal of DDT from REIT.

Krishna Kumar Karwa, managing director, Emkay Global Financial Services

From a capital market perspective, there is a huge sense of relief that long term capital gains tax is status quo. However increased securities transaction tax on options and dividend tax on above 10 lakh dividend receipts is disappointing. The allocation of Rs.25,000 crore for bank recapitlisation is slightly disappointing though the finance minister has assured that if required they will provide more resources.

Shivendra Bajaj, executive director, Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises, Agriculture Group (ABLE-AG)

Although the soil health card scheme, Fasal Bima Yojana and common e-market platform will help in improving the agriculture sector in the country, it is disappointing to see no encouragement for agri-biotech research by public or private institutions for augmenting the sector.

Manish Sharma, president, Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association, and managing director, Panasonic India and South Asia

We are happy with the government impetus on Make In India by providing tax and duty benefits and these will go a long way in strengthening the manufacturing capabilities of India. Another important milestone has been the use of technology to increase accountability of the government, authorities, and courts is a welcome step and will provide the right fillip to fast track procedures and will become the growth engine of the country.

Bhairav Dalal, partner- Tax, PwC India

‘Housing for all’ seemed to be the flavour of the real estate part of budget today. The direct and indirect tax benefits for affordable housing should catapult the smart city initiative. Additional deduction of interest would incentivise the first home buyers to own the houses.

Vinay Khattar, senior vice president and head of research, Edelweiss Broking

A stable fiscal picture with appreciable spending on infrastructure and a consumption boost from pay commission, OROP (One Rank, One Pension) along with further room for the Reserve Bank of India to easy monetary policy may give stock markets some reasons to rebound.

Rajeev Dimri, leader, indirect tax, BMR and Associates

While no firm commitment on GST timelines was made, the industry expectation was to align existing central indirect tax regime with the proposed GST framework.

Sandeep Ganguly, CEO, U2opia Mobile.

With the amendment to the Companies Act to ensure speedy registration and a boost to start-ups, we believe that this budget will spearhead the growth of a robust start-up environment across the nation.

Saurabh Srivastava, co-founder, Indian Angel Network

It would have been great if capital gains tax regime for unlisted companies was aligned with that for listed companies, at least for investments made by SEBI registered AIFs (Alternative Investment Funds). This would end the discrimination against domestic venture capital funds as foreign funds anyway pay no capital gains tax by investing from Mauritius and other treaty friendly countries.

Aman Agarwal, governing council member, National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO) and director, KV Developers

The budget is pragmatic, wide-ranging and inclusive, given the emphasis on infrastructure development. It clearly lays focus on key areas of core sector growth, inclusion, fiscal farsightedness and tax streamlining.

Chandan Chowdhury, managing director-India, Dassault Systemes

We believe that programs such as Digital India, Start-Up India and Smart Cities need a strong technological infrastructure that must be supplemented with budgetary support from the government. The Rs.2.31 lakh crore earmarked for the infrastructure aligns well with the vision to build connected cities via highways and railways.

Umang Bedi, managing director, Adobe South Asia

Specifically for the IT industry, the proposals outlined in the Union Budget 2016 promise a significant expansion of the domestic market and add thrust to the government’s overall digitisation agenda. Schemes like the digital literacy mission to e-educate rural households will work towards bringing more and more Indians into the folds of the connected world.

Pushpinder Singh, CEO and co-founder, Travelkhana

The initiatives and tax benefits announced for promoting the agriculture and food processing sector will help in lowering the cost of food and dealing with food inflation as a whole. Although we would have loved to see lowering of service tax on services from restaurants as it would indirectly help the food sector. That has unfortunately not happened.

Pankaj Munjal, chairman and managing director, Hero Cycles

The emphasis on road infrastructure in particular would pave the way to a robust economy as well. At Hero Cycles, we are committed proponents of cleaner modes of transport and in this light the pollution cess on vehicles is an extremely encouraging step.

Zoya Brar, MD, founder, Core Diagnostics

On the health care front, the announcement of district dialysis centers is very very beneficial for the thousands of people struggling with kidney disease. Improving supply of drugs by setting up 3,500 drug stores will also help the health care sector.

Sreedhar Prasad, partner, e-commerce and startups, KPMG India

National Digital Literacy Mission scheme, electrification of villages, as well as the enhanced focus on building roads would assist this sector in its growth in rural India. Enhanced focus on e-enabling the farm produce market is a welcome move considering the emphasis on the food sector in e-commerce.

Pankaj Mohindroo, national president, Indian Cellular Association (ICA)

The differential duty regime available for promoting domestic mobile handset manufacturing in India has now been enhanced and extended for mobile handset adapters/chargers, batteries and headsets/speakers of mobile handsets for supply to mobile manufacturers. The domestic manufacture will attract only 2 percent excise duty while imports will face 29.441 percent duty, giving a 27.441 percent protection to domestic manufacturing vis-a-vis importers.

Shrikant Shitole, managing director, India, Symantec

Protected and secure technology infrastructure fostering engendering trust will be critical to success of projects like e-marketplace, digital vaults for certificates and e-procurement. Legislative backing for Aadhaar should have requisite privacy provisions.

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