The Union Budget 2019-20, presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Friday, hardly had any mention about health, much-hyped project `smart cities’ and slabs for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) remained unchanged, according to several doctors, industrialists and architects.
Dr G S Grewal, representing the Alliance of Doctors for Ethical Healthcare, said, “This the first time in recent times we got oration from a finance minister regarding a budget that does not have much about health. In 2017-18, the allocation in the health sector was 2. 4 percent of the total budget while this time, it has been curtailed to 2.25 percent after tragedies of Gorakhpur and Muzaffarpur. The BJP government says that they will increase health budget by 2.5% of GDP in the coming 5 years. But if that has to be done, budget need to grow by 30 percent per year. However growth is hardly 10 percent per year when inflation also increases.”
Talking about the industry front, Gurmeet Singh Kular, President of Federation of Industry and Commercial Organisation (FICO) said that budget failed to address the concerns of MSMEs.
“The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had approved change in criteria for classifying MSMEs from ‘Investment in Plant & Machinery’ to annual turnover. However in the present budget, they have not yet been announced,” he said.
As per the new classification, enterprises having annual turnover less than or equal to Rs 5 crore fall under the ‘micro’ category. Units having turnover between Rs 5 crore to Rs 75 crore will be classified as small enterprises, whereas those having turnover between Rs 75 crore and Rs 250 crore will be classified as enterprises.
Sanjay Goel, Chairman Indian Institute of Architects, Punjab chapter said, “In terms of future growth, the budget is good. But there is no major direct relief for middle-income group or lower-income group. There was no mention of smart cities, or towns or villages except futuristic roads, railway networks and cargo transportation through rivers.”
S S Bhogal, from United Cycles Parts and Manufacturers Association (UCPMA) said, “We had sent suggestions to rationalise GST on bicycle parts and bicycles. However it has been unheard. Imports from China is affecting the local bicycle industry. “
Upkar Singh, president of Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU) said, “There is no relief to automobile industry. Sales of two wheelers, cars, commercial vehicles, tractors has hit a low and most of the units in Punjab supply components to automobile companies and hence we too are indirectly affected with this slow down.”
Ashok Kumar Juneja, vice-president, CICU, who also represents Punjab Tax Bar Association as its chairman said that only corporate tax rate has been reduced to 25 percent in the Budget. He asked the finance minister to reduce the tax rates of registered units, Hindu undivided families ( HUF) as well to 25 percent as it can increase the tax compliance.