With Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman set to present the Modi government’s eighth Budget on February 1.

Pandemic burdens small to medium players with debts
By Mr Pranav Dangi, Founder of Hosteller”The prolonged effect of Covid-19 pandemic on the overall hospitality sector has created a burden on small to medium scale players to service their debt obligations. Ongoing pressure on such players to maintain high operational standards, as required in the hospitality industry, has pushed them towards higher operational costs and thereby, towards the inability to service their debts.We feel, in the 2022-23 budget, the GoI shall create provisions to create liquidity for the travel & tourism industry, provide directions to the central bank to roll out low-interest working capital loan schemes and expedite the paperwork process. This shall navigate the industry through the difficulties imposed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Tax deduction for home loan interest should be increased to Rs 5 lakh
ByMayur Shah, Managing Director, Marathon Group”To pass on greater benefits of home ownership, the government should consider increasing the available tax deduction for home loan interest under section 24B from Rs. 2 lakh to Rs. 5 lakh and also consider increasing the home loan principal deduction under section 80C from the current 1.5 L limit.The definition of affordable housing should be revised from the current limit of Rs 45 lakh to at least Rs 75 lakh or else the criteria should be changed to only apartment size of under 60 sqm in metros, and not the cost of the flat, as the cost in metros is invariably higher than non-metros . This would level the playing field and give a big boost to buyers in metro areas. Currently, very few projects within the city come under the definition of affordable housing when in fact, the need of the hour in a city like Mumbai is to create a more affordable housing stock. The project eligibility deadline for affordable housing also should be extended to 2023.The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana benefit for the first-time homebuyers in the Middle Income Group lapsed on 31st March 2020 and should be extended further so that first time buyers are encouraged to enter the market”

Budget must continue concessions in home loan interest rates
ByLakshay Jindal, Director and CMO, Jindal Mechno Bricks”The budget 2022 is, indeed, one to look forward to. The stock market touched an all-time high in valuation the previous year, and we witnessed many multi-billion dollar so-called ‘start-ups’ being listed on the Stock Exchange. On top of that, the Real Estate sector, which had been dormant for quite some time, has picked up pace again, and the market has considerable liquidity today.I hope this budget continues the concessions in home loan interest rates, which have been the key driving force for the real estate market in India. The time is just right for the government to boost its spending on affordable housing under PM-Awas Yojana. This move will further strengthen the growth prospects of the Real Estate sector. Another opportunity to seize is the trend of manufacturing facilities shifting away from China. The government should incentivize establishment of such facilities in India. There should be some budget allocated to build large logistic hubs, medium and high-skill training institutes, upgradation of infrastructure, and the like, in order to facilitate global investments in the manufacturing sector. Lastly, I expect large government spendings on the renewable sector. There could be introduction of schemes that accelerate investments in production, distribution or consumption of renewable energy.Another, big expectation is schemes or tax concessions that are targeted to help the middle class of the country. Inflation, which is a record high, has adversely affected the savings of the middle class. It has been evident that the more this class saves and flourishes, the faster our domestic demand comes back on track.”

The stock market will jump up and overall expect a populist budget
By Mr Anil Lala, Managing Director, Fanzart,”The budget will be a progressive continuity of the last years budget policies fueling economic growth. I expect the government to ease repayments from borrowers especially those businesses impacted by covid. The stock market will jump up and overall expect a populist budget.Since the retail sector has been badly impacted due to covid I expect the government to boost the sector with ease in financial support from lenders and improvise policies to help the sector get back on its feet.”

A tax concession to developers for unsold inventory can be directly passed on to customers by way of price reduction
C N Govindaraju, Chairman & Managing Director, Vaishnavi Group,”Reduction of GST on cement from 28 per cent to 12 per cent and reduction of GST on steel from 18 per cent to 12 per cent, thereby bringing down the overall cost of construction. Reduction of rate of interest on housing loans.PMAY scheme eligibility is currently INR 45 lakh. The eligibility for metros should ideally be increased from INR 45 lakh to INR 65 lakh so that more home buyers can avail themselves of this benefit.A tax concession to developers for unsold inventory can be directly passed on to customers by way of price reduction. This will serve a two-fold purpose in terms of clearing of unsold inventory and completion of projects.”

Introduce PLI for the furniture and associated industries
BySrikanth Iyer, CEO and Co-Founder, HomeLane“This is the opportune time to introduce PLI for the furniture and associated industries.The real estate industry is going through an unprecedented boom globally post Covid and India is no exception. This has led to the demand for home interiors shooting up and the Indian furniture industry is in the middle of an unprecedented boom in the organised sector. This is projected to be close to 30Bn$ in FY22.However, the manufacturing is still being done in other SE Asian countries as the overall costs are still much higher for manufacturing in India. Given that there is a global crisis in the supply-chain because of which costs are temporarily high, it is the appropriate time to give a significant boost to the large players in the furniture industry to manufacture in India. I would request for the Minister to consider a PLI for the furniture and associated hardware industries. This will ensure that we are able to divert most of the manufacturing requirements domestically thereby generating much needed employment, investments and help the industry break from the stranglehold from China and other countries.”

India seen boosting budget spending on infrastructure
India plans to raise spending on infrastructure in its annual budget next week to set the economy on a firmer footing, but fiscal constraints leave little chance of concessions for households hurting from the pandemic, officials said.

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