Hinduja group cautiously optimistic

MUMBAI: The Hinduja group core management team has reacted to Budget 2003-04 by stating that the media and entertainment sector could benefit indirectly from the measures announced for the IT sector. However, disappointment has been expressed at the increase in service tax and duties reductions for cable related infrastructure.

The following are the reactions of the various heads of business units.

IndusInd Network Entertainment CEO RC Khanduri

"No direct significant announcements for the media sector. However, it could benefit from the benefits accruing to other industries such as FMCG and telecom who would increase ad spends to attract more customers."

IndusInd Media and Communications director Ashok Mansukhani

"Cable industry's demand for being equated to IT as information infrastructure industry has been ignored. Its request for appropriate reductions in customs duty and excise on the entire value chain required for installing conditional access has been rejected. The increase of service tax at a time when customers are resisting increased subscriber rates will cause further problems."

Hinduja group CVIL COO Ravi Mansukhani

"Increase in service tax to 8 per cent will pose problems, as most advertisers having large clients do not pass on service tax to broadcasters."

Ashok Leyland Finance MD S. Nagarajan

"Investments in roads, airports and finance centres at Rs 600 billion will stimulate demand, employment opportunities and overall economic growth."

Gulf Oil Corporation MD SS Pramanik

"Focus on infrastructure is extremely positive. Question is can the government back it up with funds and innovative financing?"

Gulf Oil Corporation lubricants division COO V. Ramesh

"Except for the duty reduction in additives, the customs duty has no effect on our industry at all. On the excise front there is no difference or sops to this industry, which is reeling under pressure of negative market growth."

Hinduja Foundation president SK Bapat

"Various initiatives in the budget concerning health, education and poverty alleviation would open up possibilities for taking up new projects/schemes by charitable institutions like Hinduja Foundation."

Hinduja National Hospital director finance NS Shenoy 

"For the first time in the history of independent India, importance of the health care Industry has been recognised by the finance minister, making it a part of the five basic priorities for quality of life." 

Hinduja TMT CEO R Mohan

"Extending the 10A and 10B benefit to amalgamation and de-mergers of companies is a good initiative as it will boost M&A activities. Reduction in excise duty on preloaded software for the IT Sector as well as capital goods is a welcome sign."

Hinduja TMT president technology KV Seshasayee

"Increase in FDA cap to 74 per cent and reduction of 5 per cent import duty on telecom and IT components will benefit telecom sector."

IndusInd Bank MD Bhaskar Ghose

"Raising of ceiling for FDI in public sector banks from 49 per cent to 74 per cent is likely to attract foreign banking interest in local banks as subsidiaries. Further the proposed amendment to allow mergers and acquisitions in public sector banking segment is a welcome move. Finally proposed buyback of high interest securities from banks and exemption from tax of the use of resultant profits for NPA write-offs is a practical and welcome step.

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