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Budget 2014: Hope and growth on marketers’ mind

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MUMBAI: “Ache din aane wale hai” will go down in the history of political campaigns in India as it helped Bharatiya Janta Party win by a landslide.

Narendra Modi with the campaign clearly earned brownie points not only from the common man but also the marketing fraternity. While the new power packed government is gearing up to present its first budget statement, the world of business across is highly confident about the outcome.

There is a list of worries that the government needs to pay attention to. Inflation continues to be high; it is currently over 6 per cent. With monsoon expected to be low this year it will also highly impact the subsidies on food, fuel and fertilizer.

This has been reflecting on marketing spends by different sectors of the economy.

Indiantelevision.com speaks to marketers from across sectors on their expectations from the budget.

‘Hope is new driver of positivity’

Future Group president (customer strategy) and CEO (Bengal warriors & T24) Sandip Tarkas hopes that the budget addresses inflation, job creation and through it attains customer confidence.

He believes that confidence will lead to consumption and thereby heightened economic activity in all spheres.

“This will lead to more jobs, more ad spends, more investments and will impact the M&E industry as well. Consumption builds economy; and increased consumption resulting from increased confidence will start a virtuous cycle of investments as against a vicious cycle of holding on to spends that we are currently caught in,” he says.

Philips India consumer lifestyle president ADA Ratnam is of a similar opinion. “I am expecting the government to come up with a strong and positive budget which will spur the growth. We need the good old GDP growth rate back and I’m confident we will be back on track soon,” he adds.

‘Be liberal on tax issues’

Godrej Appliances business head and executive vice president Kamal Nandi has a sincere request from the FM on the direct taxes front. He is expecting an increase in the income tax slab values in line with inflation. According to him, there should be an increase exemption limit for medical expenses (from Rs 15000 to Rs 25000) under 80C.

Along with this, he wishes for an increase tax exemption limit for conveyance allowance limit from Rs 800/month to Rs 1500/month with an increase limit for tax exemption under 80CC from current Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakh. “This will encourage purchase of hi-end and energy efficient appliances, exemption on interest, as applicable in the case of home loans, to be rolled out for consumer loans also,” he opines.

As it is understood that real estate is the second largest sector that contributes to the country’s GDP growth, Tata Housing marketing - head Rajeeb Dash also thinks from the consumer point of view, there should be reduction in home loans and the slab of tax benefits should widen.

“As a real estate brand what we are expecting from the budget is benefits for the end users. We know that the slowdown has hit the common people badly, with the budget announcement the economic momentum should come back in action. From a community point of view infra status is what is needed for the benefit of the developer,” mentions Dash.

‘Support the SMEs’

American Swan director and CEO Anurag Rajpal thinks that there is a need to boost the growth of home grown industries to be at par with their counterparts in China and other Asian countries. He is of the opinion that a strong focus on the e-governance initiatives should streamline the procurement process of technology and services with a strong focus on participation from SMEs.

He wants the policy reforms to be such that it is consistent and long-termed. Currently, he believes that homegrown industries are doing business on thin margins due to high rise in cost of raw materials and interest rates. This has been detrimental especially for small-scale industries to sustain their business.

“The country today has abundance of talent but it is limited to very few skill sets. There is a need for change in the education system to further improve the skill sets of the youth which addresses the needs of different verticals. Focus on skills development will be helpful in the long-term in creation of job opportunities,” he concludes.

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