The Union Budget was presented in the Parliament on February 1, 2017. The Budget laid a thrust on digital economy, while, on the back of demonetization, it attempted to pull the economy out of the recent slowdown.

Responses from Industry Thinkers and Business Leaders

The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) commends the efforts put by the finance minister in presenting a reform-oriented Budget, mainly focused on rural, social, and infrastructure sectors, which will help in further strengthening the foundations of the Indian economy. The massive thrust on infrastructure sector, in general, and on the social and rural sector in particular, will go a long way in generating additional income and employment. This will provide direct and indirect impetus to the growth of the broadcasting sector through enhanced spends on advertisement. The 5 percent tax relief provided to the MSME companies is also a step in the right direction. IBF welcomes the finance minister's proposal to allow carry forward of minimum alternate tax (MAT) up to a period of 15 years instead of the present 10 years and is certain that the government would revisit this issue on a priority basis in line with the overall theme of its Budget to promote infrastructure in the country, both physical and digital.

"India is already the world's fastest-growing economy. The Union Budget presented by the finance minister will help in consolidating the benefits of this unfolding economic regime. We are also hopeful that some of the specific proposals and concerns raised by the broadcasters in the pre-Budget memorandum are addressed soon."

Punit Goenka

President, IBF

"The Foundation was extremely hopeful that the government would consider the suggestion for granting infrastructure status to the broadcasting industry along with permission to carry forward of losses in case of amalgamation or merger as that would have made the M&E sector a more viable engine of speedy growth."

Girish Srivastava

Secretary General, IBF

"I am particularly enthused by the strong reforms push for digitization and look forward to digital transactions increasing in the country. This augurs well for digital consumption of video content. The M&E sector has a lot to gain from buoyancy in the economy at the aggregate level and I believe this Budget has delivered on that front."

Sudhanshu Vats

Group CEO, Viacom18, & Chairman, M&E Committee, CII

"Like in the past two years, the Budget did not have much respite or specific announcements for the M&E industry. While the announcement to abolish FIPB in light of successful e-governance was surprising, further liberalization in foreign direct investment (FDI) policy will be keenly watched in context of the M&E industry."

Naveen Aggarwal

Partner-Tax, KPMG India

"Budget 2017 is neutral for the M&E sector although the consumption-centric Budget will put more money in the pocket of the common man and hence help the advertising and broadcast industries. The radio broadcast industry has requested specific policy measures like 5 percent GST rate, reduction in custom duty for CapEx, etc. We look forward to the announcements when GST rates are announced."

Tarun Katial

CEO, Reliance Broadcast Network

"100 percent rural electrification by 2018 is a major step toward truly realizing the dream of Digital India. Moreover, it will contribute in a big way to India's GDP and help economic as well as social development. Electricity and telecom go hand in hand. It will increase sales of gadgets. It will increase consumption of content on all screen types, be it television, smartphone, iPad, laptop, or any other screen. Television will definitely see a huge increase in viewership due to more content being consumed, which in turn will encourage advertising spends of brands to rise."

Joy Chakraborthy

President-Revenues, TV18, & CEO, Forbes India