50 print CEOs analyse Budget 2015 The Noel D'Cunha Sunday Column

The new government’s first full Union Budget 2015 has announced measures and reforms that promise to reignite animal spirit and market sentiment. We find out what the print fraternity thinks about it.

01 Mar 2015 | By Noel D'Cunha

Pranav Parikh
TechNova Imaging Systems

What I heard was very growth-oriented.
I feel very positive.
A typical Narendra Modi 360-degree view and guts and action-focused.
The budget is unaffected by recent political commotion.
It is well balanced in terms of catering to multiple income groups and interest groups.
Plus it is totally consistent with the PM's vision and promise and with the needs of India.
I didn't expect Big Bangs anyway.
Most important: it's an ambitious budget but doable.
Fully admire the ability to identify and push all keys economic social and political buttons.


KS Khurana
President of IPAMA

The budget has nothing in store for middle class and MSME sector. Looking at what unfolded, I'm baffled. How can we achieve the target of Make in India? Furthermore, the second round of the increase in service tax means more burden on industries and the common man. The corporate tax reduction helps government to raise party fund from the corporate sector. It is very discouraging for the print industry. Achche din ke liye ab 2019 tak raah dekhni hogi.


Anil Brahmbhatt

Three things: Due to rise in construction units (six-crore in urban and rural areas), demand for ceramics and therefore, demand for ceramic printing will rise. Excise duty on electric and hybrid vehicles waived so printing demand from auto sector will rise. 1000 MW of solar plants to be set up, demand for printing solar panels, etc. will rise.


P Narendra
Pragati Offset

I am very happy with the budget as the GST is now a reality. Tax cut to 25% over four years is a bonus. Push on infrastructure is the need of the day. I can look forward to acche din.


Gautam Pai
Manipal Technologies

A creative and holistic budget without too many bold initiatives which in any case cannot be implemented. It supports agriculture, infrastructure, corporate, individual and lays a direction for the future. GST timeline and corporate tax reduction signal will help.


Dev Nair
President of AIFMP

This budget is focused on ease of doing business, Make in India, infrastructure, social sectors. Introduction of GST from 1 April 2016 will definitely rejuvenate the industry and make manufacturing more competitive.

The Centre says it will implement Goods and Services Taxes (GST) from next year. In that case, different taxation for service and excise makes no sense. As you know the AIFMP (the apex body of printers) has been trying to reduce the excise duty.

The Budget has been themed around the PM’s initiatives like Make in India, Swaccha Bharat, and Skill in India. If the three themes deliver the goods, then it shall benefit the print industry in a big way.

I like the focus on infrastructure development. Especially the investment of Rs 70,000-crore along with the risk-sharing  mechanism for PPP projects. This should help set up print training institutes.

My area of concern is, the Government and RBI are on a collision path in the future. This does not augur well for the Indian economy.


CP Paul
APL Machinery

My question to government is, where is the blueprint for Make in India project?
They have reduced import duty on 22 items. How will an Indian player stand against the clout of the foreign goods?
One positive sign is that duty on LED is reduced by half.

Sangeet Gupta

If India grows  at 7.4% per annum, it is good news for the packaging convertors. Rising sales across all sectors will create greater demand for the top printing and packaging companies. The tax rate coming down from 30% to 25% in the four-year horizon is a good point, benefits the organised sector. If a company plans to set up a new plant, go to Hyderabad / Telangana/ Andhra Pradesh. Good incentives, now excellent tax benefits too. Service tax is rising; it will touch 14% this year and perhaps 17% next year (any rate near/equal to the combined GST Rate). Service-tax to be levied on service provided by way of entertainment events or concerts, pageants, non-recognised sporting events, etc. These are sometimes done by the commercial printers, as even managers. So, yes it affects them, bang upfront.


Kunal Vohra
Repro India

The rupee slide in 2013-14 and the oil price collapse in 2014-15 have cured India’s current account woes and restored growth in exports. India’s new GDP reporting system has put India back on the growth track ahead of government action to sustain it. These, and the change in government, have led to better foreign investor sentiment and inflows. This happy inheritance has given the finance minister room for reform. The benefit of his many policy initiatives will be long-lasting and put India on a better path.

The FM declared policies for long-term relief of poverty, better housing, sanitation and rural jobs. Improved focus for subsidies should deliver non-inflationary growth in rural living standards. JAM – direct payment of benefits under Jan Dhan Yojana (J), beneficiary verification through the Aadhar cards (A) and mobile phone interface (M) – is the key. The plans for social security, including pensions, are precursors to labour law reform.

The speech offered predictable and stable direct and indirect tax systems and a new corporate bankruptcy law.


Anand Limaye
India Printing Works

A closer look at the budget tells us that not everything is a great idea.

The Budget gives a boost to higher learning and with the promise of providing one major central institute in each state. The government on Saturday earmarked Rs 26,855 crore for higher education, an increase of over 13 per cent over last year. However, at the same time, there is a huge question mark about the flagship education programme Sarva Shiksha AbhiyaanI think education is the responsibility of any government.

With the absence of textbooks and workbooks for students from class one to class eight; the cost of education will rise for the guardian. This is because the workbook was free. Now it will cost Rs 250 per book when produced by a private international publisher.

The other thing that worries me is, the proposal to declare tax evasion and parking of illegal money abroad as an offence under the Indian money-laundering law. This could lead to imprisonment as long as 10 years. This means the official authorities and law enforcement department will have a field day harassing businessmen; and extorting bribes under the threat of the ten years.

The government has been promising achche din. But where is the achche din? I think Shiv Sena will deliver its promise of achche raat before that.

P Sajith
Welbound Worldwide

The budget seems to have not addressed stimulants needed for make in India. Increase in service tax is not favorable to organisations like us who have considerable stake in technical services. Education also has been left out of any additional or new budget supports.
DD Purkayastha
ABP Publications

It is not pro reforms. It is pro simplification. There are no incentives for foreign investors. Industry will be burdened by another burden of service tax and cess. 
Anant Goenka
Indian Express

It is a very balanced and responsible budget. The service tax increase was expected and will add some pressure to the print media business, but given sentiment and, overall ambitious economic growth targets , we're optimistic for topline growth in the long run.

Faheem Agboatwala
Hi-Tech Printing Services

Overall a progressive budget, while several points may and should lead to FDI inflow and general development, some claims are tall, and I only hope they are fulfilled. Generally, everyone is waiting for a comprehensive implementation of GST, and I sincerely wish this announcement of 2016 becomes a reality.


Ajay Aggarwal
Insight Group

Comprehensive. FM has touched upon many areas. If the government can  deliver, it is going to boost the GDP and turn India into a vibrant economy. This budget is walking the talk of all that the PM mentions in his speeches. As I dig deeper, I find it is a great budget. The GST from 1 April 2016 and corporate tax of 25% in the following four years will spur the corporate and private sector, which has been experiencing an inertia due to sluggishness in the economy. The budget will enable these sectors to take a major lead in increasing the GDP of the country in the following few years.


Bhargav Mistry
Grafica Flextronica

Budget is not important. As the Indian government has an annual revenue shortfall of Rs six lakh-crore. First, let them manage themselves properly before they can help others. Every year after the budget people discuss in detail about the pros and cons and so called experts give their opinion and advices but I feel in last 60 years there are instances where poor has become rich, the rich have become super rich and in few cases rich have gone bankrupt. Was this due to any budget? Absolutely not. Smart and clever businessman knows how to make money from any budget. So don't get caught on budget and experts' verdict. Remember one thing -keep innovating. Nothing will stop you from growing.


BR Murali
Sumulas Colour Lab

GST plan is most welcome. I think, with the implementation of GST, multiple incidences of taxes and leakages on account of unavailability of tax credits can manage inflation and create buoyancy in the economy. From my point of view, the fine print needs to be understood.


Manoj Mehta
Manipal Utility Print Systems
Sab ka saath, sab ka vikas ... This is going to happen with this budget. It is a very creative and intelligent budget. Reducing five per cent corporate tax will attract more foreign investment. Growth-oriented  budget will definitely boost economy. I am awaiting to read the fine print.


Rupesh Sawant

From the first look, it seems like a practical budget. It's not over-populist. The government seems to be very bullish on a growth rate of 7%+. That's good news for our fraternity. In addition, GST in 2016 is a decent plan and visa on arrival for citizens of 150 countries is a very big thing for print. Tourism means more budgets for print and more to print.


Sunil Daddikar
Unique UV

Good thought-over budget and with just a tad bit of old-style  populism. I think it should be a start to change of mind states.


Ranesh Bajaj
Creed Engineers

GST must see the light of the day.  Hope no further postponements beyond 2016. Welcome the reduction in corporate tax and custom duties. Double-digit growth looks real now. It's time for India to rock and roll.


Manmohan Singh
Prince Digi Graphics

It's a semi-good budget. However, by increasing service tax it burdens the small-scale industry. Nevertheless, my target for a contribution in India's growth will be to come into extra 2% income tax.
We need to focus on quality and productivity for reducing imports. 


Avijit Mukherjee
Ricoh India

There is nothing new in the budget for the middle class or the industry. We expected more saving opportunities thereby increasing spare income for increased consumption. Government is trying to spend on BPL, elderly people, transparency and infrastructure, which if implemented well, may boost GDP. Entrepreneurship, manufacturing easy loan availability may boost business, depending on implementation. We can hope for effective implementation of government scheme, to increase flow of funds to the bottom of the pyramid.


Shubhasis Roy
Bobst India

Pro poor budget but with a growth orientation for mid-term horizon. I am delighted to see that major impetus is given in social security areas for the masses in the form of a unique insurance programme delivery mechanism of subsidies and skill development. Signaling of investment friendliness of government by way of lowering the corporate tax in a phased manner is also a good move.


Pankaj Kalra
Xerox India

I think overall it is a good budget. It is a positive and forward looking budget with a clear roadmap on the government initiatives, including the GST rollout in 2016.


NS Manku

Budget 2015-16 leaves a lot to be desired, although there are glimpses for social security of labour engaged in unorganised sector. Increase in service tax to 14% and excise duty increase, ignored the industry’s long pending demand to enhance the limit from 1.5-crore to five or ten crore. Continuing with existing culture of exemption is not healthy for the quality of products and services and encourages undesirable practices to prevail. MSME is a major sector for generation of 85% jobs, and apparently nothing appears to have been covered to assure this sector.
The impact of the budget can be gauged once all the details are available, for instance, PF contribution by employees. The other announcements are relevant for large enterprises etc.


Sonal Sheth
Sheth Printograph

We were expecting few positive reform policies for uplifting the manufacturing sector. An increase in service tax will increase cost component specially for our service-oriented products. However, the 2% reduction per annum for the next four years in corporate tax should bring in some relief. Even so, a lot of allocation to the social sector should satisfy general public. Nothing, in particular, for printers. I still need to go through fine print. High flying hopes of reviving economy have been grounded.


Anuj Mehta
Paper Bind

Excellent job done. A modest effort in making insurance, pension, taxation reforms better. Looking forward to seeing its implementation.


Asgar Sanchawala
Progressive Printing Press

The budget is not very impressive. Expectations were much greater.
Reduction in corporate tax on one hand and increase in excise and service tax more or less nullifies the amount of savings.


Neeraj Dargan
Manroland India

Overall corrective steps taken in right direction for industry in general but nothing to cheer about on operatives. Higher service tax and corrections in duty on Chinese imports are balancing steps with GST to a more certain, simplified tax regime.


Rajesh Agarwal
SRK Technologies

From the beginning, I was impressed with the Prime Minister's style of working and this budget has his reflection. This is a growth-oriented  budget which asires to takes the economy to 8.5 per cent and if that happens, then India is flying.


Puneet Datta
Canon India

I think the budget is good on many fronts. It should help gross domestic product growth. The large investment into infrastructure the great emphasis on agriculture and social infrastructure will help. The fact that government wants to bring corporate tax rate to 25% in four years is a good move. The GST implementation date is a welcome move, and the people will be encouraged by it. GAAR postponement is a big positive and should bring fresh inflows.
However, there is an increase in service charge for FY16 so effective tax rate goes up by 34.6%. We have got excise rate going up, we have got service tax rate going up of course to align them to GST. However, this combined together means a big pressure on financials for corporate India. Overall, the budget was balanced and positive.


Parag Shah
Hi Tech Systems

Rightly directed and skillfully defined budget. Rather than being populist it is definite and growth-oriented.


Shailesh Sharma

Great initiative to balance growth with common man's needs like health and social security. I would look forward to implementation of the same.

Amar Chhajed
Webtech Labels

It is a very confident budget, which pushes for growth and savings. Abolishing wealth tax and phased reduction in corporate tax rate are big decisions. Focus on the poor is evident and welcome. Major moves towards pension and social security will have great long-term benefits for the society. An option to ESIC contributions was also the need of the hour. Overall, the budget points to a healthy growth story for India in the time to come.


Amitabh Luthra
Printers’ Supply Company

Wealth tax abolishment should spur individuals to engage in more wealth creation - good for industry! Prima facie looks like a common man's friendly budget with emphasis on encouraging investments.


Prakash Gurumoorthy
Group FMG

Overall, the budget looks good. More thrust on manufacturing and infrastructure. Good changes on social security-related schemes. Service tax rate increased, which will affect ITES /BPO sector providing services to Indian customers. Overall, I rate this budget as good.


Mahesh Kode

A balanced bullish budget. This is just what the country needs! Implementation will be the key.


Ajay Gandhi
Kunal Enterprise

It is an average budget. We were expecting more as an individual. However, as a company, it is valid that it will benefit in long term as corporate tax will reduce from 30% to 25% in four years. Furthermore, a lot of initiatives for manufacturing, which will lead to greater technology investment. So that will help to bring modern technologies. Lot of good news for senior citizens.


S Udupa
Quenby Transfers

Very encouraging and reformist, the budget will definitely boost confidence among investors.
It is little disappointing for the common man since there is no change in tax structure. Most of them expected an increase in the limit.


Vijay Ayappan
Olympus Pre Media

Corporate tax reduction is a positive one but majority of print and packaging industry fall under the MSME group; and here the budget is not friendly.


Shyam Patnaik

It's a great forward looking budget. No political frills. Good for industry as corporate tax is reduced. Incentive for the industry to invest more in the business.


Aditya Surana
Indo Polygraph Machinery

Overall a positive budget for the industry. Increasing thrust on infrastructure. The savings and reduction in corporate taxes are all very good signs. Ultimately, this will lead to more investments. Although the increase in service tax leads to a bit more costs in AMCs plus our labour cost to customers.


Ashwini Deshpande
Elephant Design

Nothing dramatic or disruptive. Higher service tax means taller project expenses for hiring creative services. For our industry, there is no sign to growth.


Firoze Reshamwala
Lucid Prints

To me, it seems like a mixed budget where excise and service tax have gone up on one hand and income tax has been lowered on the other.

Milap Shah
PrintStop India
Very happy about the GST announcement. Hopefully it is implemented in the true sense and it becomes the only tax to be paid.


Bipin Tanna

This is how a budget should be. A growth oriented, something for everyone, no-nonsense budget.


R P Jain
MLBD Publications

There's no place for books in the budget! Obviously real education in the current budget offers no incentives or encourages book industry, which has been suffering over the years. Has the government been ever favourable to give benefits to increase reading habits of future generations?


Vishal Ambasana
Gujarat Printers

Looking forward to see changes in taxation structure for printing industry and graphic services. The  import duty should be reduced to prosper new developments in areas like printing machinery and consumables. Because, today major materials used in jobs are imported, and due to heavy taxes in varied segments it makes the profit ratio  a meagre one.

Kamal Chopra
Foil Printers

The present budget is very disappointing for Punjab. This is because the so-called talk about cooperative federalism has been given no muscle but for allocation through finance commission. Plus there is reduction in grants for central schemes. The net impact will be reduction in money in hands of the state govt. How will Punjab service its Rs 1.3 lakh-crore liability without help from the centre and dwindling revenues is highly problematic I think Punjab has got a stepmotherly treatment from the Modi government.

Plus there is no relief in income tax. So if you are not able to save, then the government makes sure that you are not able to save through higher service tax. This makes telephone bill, eating in restaurants, internet, wi-fi, banking and insurance products,  marriages, hotels , tourism, hospitalisation, medical treatment etc to cost more. Now add food inflation to it. In a nutshell, you don't save. You do not save so you pay taxes. The government wants to make the economy cashless. My question to the finance minister, do you want common man to have less of cash in his bank or pocket ...


Amit Chavan 
Repro India

The budget looks slightly tilted towards the corporate clan. However, the deeper thought being the corporate entities contribute almost one-third tax collections and with such offerings, investments are sure to rise and with it the employment opportunities. Looks like a longer-term plan and not just pleasing mentality.


Datta Deshpande
Pratham Technologies

This budget favours growth in all industrial sectors. This will boost printing and packaging industry too. I am quite optimistic about this. Decision to curb black money is also a positive step. Overall, I am happy.


Dhanvi Shah
Marvel Art Gallery

The overall budget is very positive and helpful in creating a base for a newer and stronger India. Though no major announcements but the way it has been designed will help mobilise more jobs and investment in India. I was expecting support for printing units; especially SMEs which I guess we have to wait as an industry.

K Selvakumar
Lovely Offset

Good that corporate tax is reduced by 5 per cent and wealth tax is abolished. Positive to note that GST is going to be implemented next year. Government's resolve to destroy black money and benami transactions is welcome. The government's commitment towards Swacch Bharat scheme is appreciated.  


Amit Pal Singh
Guru Nanak Machinery Company

Union Budget was eagerly awaited as every sector of industry was expecting big sops from the Modi government.  I hope that the much-awaited GST will be implemented in FY 2016-17, which will boost business and simplify taxation system. Excise exemption limit should have been increased. I was expecting new policies for MSME units to revive them from on-going recession in the market. Increase in excise duty and service tax will add up burden to the industry. In spite of this, we have a great zeal to grow with the economy.


Ajay Mehta
SMI Coated Products

The budget is a reflection of the thought process towards more transparency and simplification of the tax structure. Removal of SAD, wealth taxes are some of the steps reflecting the direction of the government. Placing emphasis on electricity generation and additional roads is steps in the right direction.


TP Jain

The Budget 2015 is just an incremental effort and an exercise of continuity. It does address some core issues like infrastructure, tax reforms, simplification of approval processes for businesses, etc. but falls short on big thrust for "make in India" and bold economic reform initiatives, which can be termed as visionary or path breaking.

In my opinion, it is a lost opportunity for Modi Government to show that they are different and can make a difference.

Anonymous (on the funny side)
I welcome GST. The tax structure in India is so complex and cumbersome. There is income tax, sales tax, excise tax, corporate tax, customs duty, octroi, FBT, etc. Now with GST there will be only one tax to pay. It makes life simple. Since now there is only one tax to evade.


Anonymous (on the funny side)
I think printers should understand gray balance before they claim to understand budget.
And the day when one set of CMYK plate is sent to 10 top print firms and all print the same colour that day the Indian printing industry will truly progress.
Expert Speak
Vinod Kumar Jain
All India Federation of Master Printers

Union Budget (2015-16)

The proposals that will be of interest to the printing fraternity are:

- Establishing of an Electronic Trade Receivables Discounting System (TReDS) for financing of trade receivables of MSMEs, to take care of the working capital problem faced due to long receivables realisation cycles.

- Allocation of a corpus of Rs 20,000 crores and credit guarantee corpus of Rs 3000 crores to create Micro Units Development Refinance Agency (MUDRA) Bank for the SME sector to boost the growth of small businesses and manufacturing units.

- Proposal to reduce the rate of income tax on royalty and fees for technical services from 25% to 10% to facilitate technological inflow to small businesses at low cost.

- Proposal to abolish wealth tax and replace it with an additional surcharge of 2% on the super rich with a taxable income of Rs 1 crore.

- Increase in central excise duty from 12.36% (incl. cesses) to 12.5% on Chapters 4819 (except 48192010), 4820 and 4821.

- Increase in the present rate of service tax + education cess from 12.36% to 14% on service tax payable as service receiver.

- Reduction in SAD from 4% to nil.

- The proposals for skill development.

Expert Speak
C G Ramakrishnan
TechNova Imaging Systems

Overall very good budget. This government has set the economic direction of the country. We have to read the Economic Survey, the railway budget and the union finance budget in totality. Directionally, very strong message of growth.

A few quick points

- Structural change proposed by the Finance Commission yesterday:  More money in the hands of states. Now almost 62% of the total taxes collected goes to the states. This is federalism at work.

- It is a good combination of taking  Long term measures and  reviving Immediate issues.

- Big theme of bringing back growth and a GDP of 8-8.5% in 2015-16  and double digit in next few years. Focus on iInfrastructure, agriculture and social Infrastructure

- It reinforces and commits now specifically on the timeline of the  biggest reform i.e. GST  from April 2016.

- Huge focus on infrastructure.  Very badly needed. Additional spending of Rs 70000-crore in next year. A small step towards the beginning of a great infrastructure decade of India.

- Big signal to the corporate sector that Investment cycle can be started. Wherever capacities are already built and not utilised, better capacity utilisation potential in future years.

- Deepening of bond structure in India: potential for raising overseas debt for infra funding in next decade.

- Lot of measures being announced on ease of doing business in India  for Indians and foreigners.

- Some tax concessions for individuals which leave little more in the hands of the tax payer

- Lower corporate tax from 30% to 25% in the next four years is a big plus

- Cyclically India is in a sweet spot. Lower crude prices, Lower CAD, Lower inflation etc

- Combining the cyclical factors with structural reforms is a great heady mix for potential high growth decade.

My message: Acche Din Zaroor Aah Rahe Hain. Exciting times for India stock in the global market

Rating: 8/10

This discussion is now open for comments