Budget 2021: High Expectations

The budget for 2021 is around the corner. BW HOTELIER spoke with Gurmeet Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, Johnson Controls-Hitachi Air Conditioning India Ltd, and Keerthivasan Subramanian- Founder & CEO, Playtoome to understand their expectation from the upcoming budget.

Expecting bold and decisive steps

Commenting on the steps taken by the government so far, Gurmeet Singh, Chairman, and Managing Director, Johnson Controls-Hitachi Air Conditioning India Ltd said, "I want to express my gratitude to all the front-line medical staff for their tireless and selfless efforts in helping us fight the pandemic. Over the past year, we have witnessed the Central Government rising to the occasion by taking several bold steps to revive the economy and, more specifically, the manufacturing sector. The revision of the definition of MSME, introduction of several support provisions for MSMEs under the Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Package, and introduction of the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme, to name a few, have started to bring back the positive sentiment in this labour-intensive sector."

Speaking about his budget expectations, he added that the proposal to cover Air Conditioning products under the Phased Manufacturing Program (PMP) and the imposition of the import ban on refrigerant filled Air Conditioning units will help in improving local manufacturing in the industry. 

"As we begin to turn the page on the pandemic, the aftershocks of this pandemic, seen in the form of rising commodity prices, a sudden surge in ocean freight costs, rising fuel costs, rising NPAs in the banking sector to name a few, pose a serious threat to our economic recovery," he said.

"It is a fact that our country lags behind our peers in the penetration of Room Air Conditioning, which is currently at around 6 per cent - this is clearly a huge opportunity for growth. Putting Room ACs under 18 per cent GST slab from the existing 28 per cent would not only help the manufacturers in combating these cost increases but also support strong growth of the sector. As the Finance Ministry prepares to announce the budget, we look forward to more such bold and decisive steps 'unlike anything in the past 100 years," he concluded.

Take under consideration the difficult times 

Narrating a similar account faced by the start-up sector, Keerthivasan Subramanian- Founder & CEO, Playtoome said, "Due to the pandemic, the funding has dried up in the start-up sector. This has already resulted in aspiring entrepreneurs deferring their businesses and launches. The situation makes it challenging for early-stage start-ups, which have just sprouted and need a constant working capital resource. Also, there has been a reduction in foreign investments."

Expressing his expectations from the budget, he continued, "The budget needs to take under consideration the difficult times that the new start-ups are going through and announce steps that would encourage the inflow of financial support to put the wheel in motion again."

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