Prologue: As part of our series focusing on the Union Budget 2019, we’ll be highlighting the opinions of industry experts and see what they think and expect from this year’s Budget. In this article, Berta Castells, who’s a Spanish expat working in India to facilitate Spanish businesses’ and cultural integration in the Indian market discusses her Union Budget 2019 expectations. Read on!
Well, I think India needs to take care of the growing population and invest in the infrastructure sector. It’s impossible to survive without potent infrastructure and logistics and therefore, citing that, I believe railways will be another sector which will be focused on, and highways will also receive a major boost via the Union Budget 2019. Added to this, the Government has done a great job in electric vehicles so that is another sector which will be looked at.
There must be focus on the metro trains as well, as metro has now expanded to over 50 cities but the need to develop it in a pan-Indian network will require strong investment and allocations.
However, there must be a focus on local/native players, in terms of manufacturing and less focus on outsourcing it for foreign intervention. Local players are focused on railways, freight corridors, electric vehicles, etc. and that is something which should be promoted more over the years and should be given appropriate focus via the budget. More efforts should be made in developing as well as manufacturing in India, be it in terms of production of efficient railways systems, bullet train technology, etc.
Moving to manufacturing, I believe there’s a global confusion regarding the manufacturing sector. The US-China trade war drastically affected companies like Huawei and that is something which is making India slightly more favorable as a business destination in terms of manufacturing. As a result of that, Apple decoded to set up a factory in India instead of China and focus on production here.
However, the key to this sector will be the international trade relations and where production is emphasized.
It’s great to see that FDI has been liberalized in India, with 100% FDI being approved via automatic route in many sectors. However, in sectors where the focus is on local production via projects like the Make In India campaign, FDI becomes relatively less prioritized.
As for ease of doing business in India, the aim of the Indian Government is to continue to escalate the EOBD ranking on a year-on-year basis. The country must focus on becoming more and more accessible, more transparent in terms of policies, etc. to show it to the world that it is ready for mega projects with foreign collaborators.
Processes like digitization, automation, etc. and continued focus on the infrastructure sector will be the key to this. A lot of these services depend upon a strong network and as of now, it is evident that Indian network is still growing and needs some more time to compete on a global level. Over the next 5-10 years, it should be made a focus area and strides must be made to improve the same.
Personally, I feel Mr. Narendra Modi is doing a great job in promoting the country and that is something which should continue over the following years too. International relations and FDI will play a major role in driving the Indian economic scenario so the consistent maintenance of good relations between India and other countries will be pivotal. Therefore, this budget should focus holistically on encouraging trade relations and bilateral relations between India and other countries.