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Construction : Web Exclusive | February 2018 | Source : CW-India

Budget Reactions | Power

Manish Nuwal, MD & CEO, Solar Industries India
“Defence: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s move to set up 2 defence production corridors is the right step to boost the `Make in India’ initiative aimed at self-sufficiency in ammunition procurement. It also compliments initiatives taken in the past to nurture domestic defence production capability that will make India self-reliant in meeting our defence needs.
Infrastructure: Allocating Rs.5.97 lakh crores to improve India’s infrastructure is a firm step towards bringing it at par to Asian levels. We see rising demand for industrial explosives due to encouraging measures such as the target to complete construction of 9,000 km of national highways this year by the NHAI. Spent on rural roads out of total allocation for Rural development is also enhanced in big way and these will boost demand industries explosives.”

Tilak Raj Seth, Executive Vice President-Mobility, Siemens

“The allocation for railways is Rs 8.4 lakh crore and this is 13 per cent more than last year, which is good. There is a re-emphasis on the issue of electrification, which we know from recent announcements is enhancing. The government has already stated that 4,000 km would be completed this year. Secondly, the Finance Minister also mentioned about the focus on safety and capacity addition in terms of implementation of Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS), which is the need of the hour. Also, 160 km of suburban lines will be added. There is also a proposal for doubling of 90 km of suburban lines in Mumbai. These will provide impetus to more and better urban services in areas where it is required. The announcements, therefore, are in the direction of industry expectations. Another key direction given by the Finance Minister on infrastructure projects is that they will be monitored at the highest level, which means that the addition and implementation of projects will be timely and efficient. The announcement by the Finance Minister of a Railway University in Vadodara is an extremely good step for skill development in the railway industry as the pace of addition is quite high. Being a specialised industry, it requires a different skilling regimen. It might not solve everything in terms of skill development in the Indian railway industry, but it is still an important step.”

Rakesh Khanna, CEO, Orient Electric

“This was a balanced budget with focus on rural development, housing, health and infrastructure in line with the Government’s long-term economic vision. While the budget gave relief to MSMEs with turnover up to Rs 250 crore, it failed to address the Corporate tax rate issue for larger corporates. The budget reiterated the focus on rural development which we believe will provide an opportunity for the electrical industry to work with the government. Also, the government’s proposed plan to create a dedicated affordable housing fund in line with its plan of providing housing for all by 2022 is good news for the allied segments. Another welcome move is the announcement of identification of 372-point plan on ease of doing business which will attract investments and improve the overall business climate.”

Rajiv Bhalla, Managing Director, Barco Electronic Systems

“The Union Budget 2018-19 is a balanced budget that I believe will help drive & sustain long-term growth for India. The increased focus on higher infrastructure spends, smart cities, digital India, and healthcare is a step in the right direction. With 99 smart cities being selected and an amount of over Rs 2 lakh crore being allocated, it will give the nation a significant opportunity to upscale its Infrastructure as a growth driver. In addition, doubling the Digital India budget allocation this year is a step ahead towards becoming a digital-first economy which will assist in reshaping and empowering the country by leveraging technology. The budget also brings momentum to India’s Healthcare by announcing Rs 1,200 crore for 1.5 lakh wellness health centers, which is set to bring advancements in the Indian Healthcare sector.

Furthermore, we hope that impact due to the increased customs duties will offset the government’s dedicated push towards promoting manufacturing in India.

All in all, the budget is set to have a transformational impact and give a massive boost to the economy.”

Gyanesh Chaudhary, MD and CEO, Vikram Solar

"Budget 2018-19 is not very encouraging for the renewable and solar energy sector. The government has missed out on a major opportunity to take a lead towards combating climate change. The recently released Economic Survey highlights the impact of climate change in India especially to farmers. It mentions that rainfall extremities have increased in the past 10 years and climate change can potentially reduce farmer’s income by the range of 20-25%. Renewable Energy, especially solar can play a very crucial role to reduce the impact of climate change on our communities. Unfortunately, the budget has not taken steps to create an eco-system which would make combating climate change a possibility. The budget has very limited allocation to MNRE with a target to achieve 11 GW of installations in the next financial year. Allocation to SECI has also seen a reduction. A large chunk of the coal cess which was earlier transferred to National Clean Energy Fund now goes towards GST compensation fund. The budget does not talk about any alternative mechanism which would fund clean energy installations in India. In terms of energy security, currently we import 85-90 per cent of our solar modules, which threatens our energy security. The current provisions in the budget does not mention any support for the manufacturing industry which has been highly discouraging for the sector. We hope that government will take additional steps to increase installations of solar power plants by providing direct and indirect support."

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