Union Budget 2021 India – #RPBudgetReactions2021

Union Budget 2021 India – #RPBudgetReactions2021
Feb 2021 , by , in Realty+ Connect

Dr. Niranjan Hiranandani, National President NAREDCO,

Commenting on the Annual Budget, said, “It is a get well soon type of Budget, the ‘V’ shaped recovery being powered by the Covid-19 vaccination program.” On real estate aspects, the proposals for the annual budget reinforce the Government’s focus on affordable housing. For the home buyer, the second extension of the deadline till 31 March 2022 for the additional Rs1.5 lakh tax deduction given on loans taken to buy a house in an affordable housing project is welcome, as is the developer whose affordable housing projects also get an extension for tax benefits, for projects completed till March 31, 2022. Similarly, tax exemption for notified affordable housing for migrant workers, and the deduction on payment of interest for affordable housing being extended by a year will give a fillip to this emerging segment. As affordable housing attracts only 1% GST and Rs 1000 stamp duty in the state of Maharashtra will augment the production of affordable housing in the state. The enhanced spending on public infrastructure projects like ports, railways, airports, warehousing, gas pipelines, metro, economic corridors is laudable and welcomed by industry that will give impetus to the employment generation and attract the essential investment to lift up the economic revival.

“The strong focus on digital covering setting up of a Fintech hub at Gift City, seen in sync with moves to enhance digital payments and use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning etc. in governance, will give a fillip to creation of Digital India,” he concluded.

Given the challenged scenario, the proposed annual budget has been largely positive, no major taxation enhancement is something that is welcome. As the Prime Minister pointed out last year saw mini budgets across the pandemic impacted time frame; the unsaid thing for most industries across the economy is that similar steps may happen with more positives in the offing. Continued focus on ‘Minimum Government, Maximum Governance’ will enhance ‘ease of doing business’, this government spending will provide stimulus for GDP growth, and is laudable.”

 

Jaxay Shah, Chairman, CREDAI National

The Indian Government has proved its mettle by presenting a landmark Union Budget 2021–2022, which majorly focuses on post-COVID revival of the Indian economy. The budget will be considered as one of the best  in the last decade, as it rightly lays the foundation for the nation’s survival, revival and sustainability. It rightly prioritizes Healthcare, Infrastructure, MSME, Renewable Energy and Start-ups as the key drivers of India’s economic growth and prosperity. The key announcements have been well-received by most industry experts and thought leaders. The Budget is pro-citizen as the Indian Government has not levied any COVID cess despite the humungous Government spending to mitigate the impact of pandemic.

With healthcare gaining primary focus worldwide as the Covid-19 pandemic rages on, India has launched  its vaccination drives, which is clearly the largest in the world. Considering the same, the Government has strengthened the healthcare spending by 137% on Public Health and has allocated dedicated funds to the sector. Pertaining to the real estate sector, the exemption of Tax Holiday on Affordable housing projects till March 31, 2022 will be  a crucial step in fulfilling PM’s vision of  Housing for All by 2022. Additionally, the proposal  to make dividend payments to REIT (estate investment trusts) and Invit’s (Infrastructure investment trusts) exempt from TDS along with exempting of duty on steel and copper scrap for a specified period is  a much required relief for the Affordable Housing sector which was ailing under immense stress owing to the pandemic. The creation of the Asset Reconstruction Management Company in the banking sector to transfer bad and stressed loans is a great reform which would reduce the stress on accounts of NPAs and bad loans.

This is clearly a budget for growth with next level reforms, focusing on the healthcare, infrastructure and financial sectors and establishes a stable tax regime and higher borrowing for CAPEX.The Budget 2021 – 2022 has laid the stepping stone for India’s post-COVID revival mission and has placed India on a global map in terms of resilient economic growth.

The specific reforms pertaining to disinvestment and monetization, opening-up of insurance, and clean-up plan for stressed assets are all signs of a confident and self-reliant India. The announced measures will help create a favourable ecosystem for business both nationally and internationally.

 

Ashok Mohanani – President, NAREDCO Maharashtra

The Government has put their best efforts to put the economy back on track after the adverse effects of Covid-19 pandemic that the entire country went through. It has focussed a lot on infrastructure in this budget. This will indirectly help boost the housing demand especially in the Tier II & Tier III cities.

The Government’s decision to further infuse Rs. 20000 crore for public sector banks will help address liquidity issues to a large extent. The proposal to extend the Rs 1.5 lakh benefit on interest paid on affordable housing loans by one year to March 31, 2022 is an exceptional move which will boost the affordable housing segment and help to achieve the Prime Minister’s vision of Housing for All. It will also ensure that more and more homebuyers get to avail this benefit. The reduction in tax burden on senior citizens above 75 years will give a push to the senior-living projects.

Also, the Government’s continuous efforts to promote ease of doing business and digitization will help the real estate sector business in a long way going forward.

As anticipated, it’s a very futuristic budget from the economy point of view.

 

Arpit Mehrotra, Managing Director – South India, Colliers International

Great announcements like railways and airports to be monetised, toll roads, TGCL, oil and gas pipelines, etc., as they will lead to opportunity for more land being monetised. Disinvestment, National monetisation pipeline to be launched and dashboard to track the process will bring in transparency and lead to more investments.

 

Deepto Roy, Partner, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co.

“A DFI was the need of the hour for the infrastructure sector. The sector needs a long term source of funds and the banks have a significant liquidity issue. Therefore the introduction is a welcome one. However this is a concern around the source of fund. Unless the DFI has access to cheap international source of funds it may meet the fate of previous attempts at securing institutional long term funds in the past.”

 

Ratul Puri, Chairman, Hindustan Power

“The thrust of the Budget is on reviving the economy. It is positive and refreshing in its scope and scale. All the announcements are forward looking and will put India back on the growth trajectory. The announcement of ₹3.05 trillion package for discoms is encouraging and will reform the ailing power distribution sector. Prime Minister Narendra Modi government’s focus on improving financial health of state power utilities will ensure consumers get more choices as it will promote competition, reliable power supplies and make sector attractive to foreign investors, besides giving overall boost to the industry.

The Budget has also given a boost to non-conventional energy sector by allocating Rs 1,000 crore to solar energy corporation and Rs 1,500 to renewable energy development agency. It is a welcome move.”

 

Pradeep Aggarwal, Founder & Chairman, Signature Global

“In Real Estate sector, Affordable Housing is set to get boost from the tax holiday being extended for one more year till March 31, 2022 and Rs1.5 lakh for interest paid on loans to purchase an affordable house being extended another year. The demand for affordable housing is at an all time high, and we will focus on fulfilling it. we will keep contributing to PM Shri Narendra Modi’s mission of ‘Housing For All’.  The focus of the government on infrastructural development and MSMEs will lead to job creation, which will help people get financially stable. Looking at the experience of people in last one year, affordable housing will get more buyers as people want to secure their lives by owning a home”.

 

Amit Kapur, Joint Managing Partner, J Sagar Associates

“The budget speech expectedly has given a strong signal for infrastructure development focusing on actualizing the ambitious national infrastructure pipeline targeting an investment of Rs.111 lakh crores over 5 years. The signal comes from the announced budgetary allocations and decisions (a) central allocation of Rs5.54 lakh crores, (b) state allocations of Rs.2 lakh crores, (c) announcement to tap into budgetary resources of PSUs and wide ranging InVITs monetising assets in highways, power transmission, gas pipelines, dedicated freight corridors, airport.  The above announcements are strengthened by announcement of establishing Bad Bank in nature of AMC; a development financial institution with a seed investment of Rs.20,000 crores and a target to be build a lending portfolio of Rs. 5 lakh crores in 3 years; an extensive disinvestment program with target of Rs.1.75 lakh crores; zero coupon bonds that will help arrange the infra financing. The devil lies in the details and the success in reviving the economy would depend on effective structural reforms in infrastructure sectors removing barriers to growth + how the government goes about monetising the land bank and assets held by PSUs. ”

 

Anuj Puri, Chairman, ANAROCK Property Consultants

Considered ‘the Margaret Thatcher moment’ for the FM, Union Budget 2021-22 was literally a make-or-break event. The circumstances are unprecedented – it is the first budget presented after a pandemic which shattered the economy globally, and in India. The impact of the pandemic has been catastrophic with early govt. estimates indicating a 7.7% contraction in FY 2020-21 – the biggest GDP growth plunge in over four decades. Expectations across sectors were at an all-time high, though the fiscal pressures on the finance ministry are nothing short of crippling.

As expected, healthcare got the highest priority in resource allocation and policy support including INR 64,180 Cr outlay under PM Aatmanirbhar Swastha Bharat scheme. It bodes well for healthcare facilities and wellness-oriented real estate.

 

Dr. Samantak Das, Chief Economist and Head of Research, JLL India

A Pro-infrastructure and investment Budget

Given that the economy is well on its path to recovery, Union Budget 2021 has focused on enhancing expenditure while keeping the fiscal targets at bay in the short term. This Budget focuses on augmenting infrastructure with a special focus on expediting urban infrastructure projects which will act as a strong catalyst in driving real estate in urban areas. There is also a continued thrust on the agriculture sector which is likely to result in higher incomes and drive consumption.

The proposed easing of restrictions on leverage by InvITs/REITs will attract more REITs listings and thus higher investments into real estate. The announced monetisation of surplus land of government and government bodies is a welcome move; however, the implementation will need to be monitored.

While the government has not announced any significant fresh policies and / or programs pertaining to real estate, its commitment towards boosting affordable housing remains intact. The Budget has extended the benefit of additional interest deduction on home loans for first-time homebuyers in the affordable segment. Further, there is a time extension to claim the tax holiday on profits from affordable housing projects until March 2022. The government continues to promote affordable rental housing schemes by providing tax exemption for notified rental housing projects. This will accelerate the pace of investments in this scheme and is likely to fall in line with achieving the overall objective of Housing for All.

 

Annuj Goel, Managing Director, Goel Ganga Developments

“Hon’ble PM Narendra Modi has always laid special emphasis on the ambitious Housing For All and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) projects. Now, even in Budget 2021, Union Finance Minister Nirmala  Sitharaman by announcing tax holiday for affordable housing, Modi government has made it clear that Housing For All is one of the top priorities of Modi government.

Also, tax exemption for notified affordable rental housing projects in the interest of migrant workers is a win-win both for migrants and realtors. As Hon’ble Nirmala Sitharaman in Union Budget 2021-22 has given special priority to Real Estate, these decisions are bound to show positive impact in realty business in future.”

 

Ankush Kaul, President – Sales & Marketing – Ambience Group

The focus of the Union Budget 2021-22 is to improve economic efficiency and infrastructure growth. Increased focus on infrastructure growth and capital expenditure will impact the overall growth of the real estate sector too. A good infrastructure could propel the development of real estate, both commercial and housing, along the transit corridors, highways and newly proposed airports.

 

Dhruv Agarwala, Group CEO, Housing.com, Makaan.com and Proptiger.com

“Amid a sharp improvement in consumer sentiment with regard to property purchases post the start of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, the government’s move in the Budget to extend the benefit of additional Rs 1.5 lakh tax deduction on home loan interest, until March 31, 2022, will act as a further impetus to the residential property sector. This move will augur well, especially for the affordable housing segment, which will also benefit from the decision to offer a tax holiday for affordable housing projects for one more year, to boost supply.

The support announced today by the Honourable Finance Minister for rental housing too will go a long way in boosting the real estate market and will ease a lot of pressure points in the rental home market. This will also help migrant workers to a great extent and will support them in remaining in metros and other big cities during times of financial hardships such as the one presented by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the long-standing demand of the real estate industry to expand the definition of affordable housing so as to include homes priced more than Rs 45 lakhs in big metro cities, has sadly not been addressed.

The infusion of lakhs of crores into India’s infrastructure segment, with a focus on improving connectivity, will be particularly beneficial for India’s housing sector. The proposed debt financing for REITs and InvITs, and the setting up of the Development Financial Institution for augmenting funds for infra and the real estate sector is expected to provide a major fillip to the sector, and will attract more investments in the sector.

The proposed extension of the tax holiday for start-ups by one more year, a tax exemption for relocating funds to IFSC, and a tax holiday for the aircraft leasing business in GIFT city, are some of the other measures that would also help India’s real estate sector as a whole.”

 

Satish Kumar Agarwal, Chairman and Managing Director, Kamdhenu Group

“We are quite positive on the future with the government very bullish and focused on building infrastructure in the country in various areas – agriculture, railways,  health, roads, housing and affordable housing ,  etc. So overall there is expected to be a lot of infrastructure building activities in the coming future and all that would need our products including paints.  The recovery of our economy will be construction and capex led and we are well prepared to play our role. We are back to our pre covid manufacturing capacity and ready to take on the new opportunities that may come our way and contribute our best to the mission of a $5 trillion economy and nation building”.

 

KE Ranganathan, Managing Director, Roca Bathroom Products Pvt Ltd.

“Our Hon’ble FM has given the near-perfect ‘Vaccine’ to the Economy for faster recovery. The ‘jab’ will be very effective as seen from the huge jump of +35% in Capex spending and the fiscal deficit widening from 6.8% to 9.5. Indeed a bold step to pull the demand side up through these higher allocations for spending.

The ‘Jab’ will spread to all parts of the Economy body: agriculture getting a big target of 17 lakh Cr funding, urban infrastructure, railways and roadways a major chunk of over 3 lakh Cr allocation, affordable housing with tax breaks, Swacch Bharat with 1.15 lakh allocation, textile getting a big boost etc. On the people side good to see GIG / Platform workers getting protected with better social security benefits. Relief for senior taxpayers from filing returns is in the right direction.

Overall the health of the Indian economy will re-bound faster with this well thought out vaccine.”

 

Kamal Khetan, Chairman and Managing Director, Sunteck Realty Ltd.

“The Union Budget has packed some great ideas and a definite direction for strong economic growth ahead, especially through infrastructure, capital expansion and banking and financial services. For real estate, the move to extend the tax holiday available for the purchase of affordable houses as well as for the affordable rental housing projects is a welcoming move as it would further strengthen the confidence among both developers and homebuyers.  The move will certainly prompt more demand, especially among first-time buyers who generally fall in the lower and mid-income segments.  Also, the extension of the tax holiday on affordable housing projects for developers by another year will increase the project launches in this segment as they would get additional time and resources. Apart from this, the mega infrastructure development and upgradation to be undertaken across India will add much value to the real estate sector.”

 

Rohit Gera Managing Director, Gera Developments

Commenting on the Union Budget 2021, Rohit Gera, MD, Gera Developments said, “The scale of the impact of the pandemic is indicated in the fiscal deficit being at 9.5% of GDP for the year. Given the challenges, the Finance Minister has done a good job with regards to focusing on pushing the growth drivers of the economy. The push of capital expenditure is positive as is the disinvestment as well as monetization of assets to generate revenue for the government.  Record GST collections in the last few months as a result of simplification and increased technology led vigilance will continue to help boost revenues for the government.

With regards to the real estate sector, the government has continued on its stated path of doing away with sector specific sops and in light of this, the extension of the interest rate deduction for home buyers as well as extension of tax holiday for affordable projects by one more year is welcome.

Simplification of processes and rules for the SME segment will help ease the cost and efforts of compliance which is very good for the SME sector.”

 

Sankey Prasad, FRICS | Chairman & MD (India) | Colliers International

“Overall the proposed Union Budget for FY 2021-22 is positive as its driven primarily by an impressive 34% increase in capex investments in the construction and development of real infrastructure. These investments will spur large scale construction activities, which will create many more jobs, generate more income and boost overall demand in the economy. Not burdening the citizens and businesses of the country with additional taxes is very welcome and will go a long way in strengthening confidence in our economic recovery. We are hopeful that proper and quick implementation of the Government’s aim to disinvest, privatise and monetize assets with also improve the overall business sentiments and environments. These initiatives will bring in large volumes of private investments from abroad where there is high liquidity.

However, there were no specific announcements to boost the ailing real estate sector, other than the extension of incentives for interest payment on affordable homes by another year, tax incentives for notified affordable rental housing and some tax relief for dividends received from REITS. The sector needs to be nurtured in-toto for its contribution to GDP specifically, but more importantly, for being a necessary input in all economic activities.”

 

Shishir Baijal, Chairman and Managing Director, Knight Frank India

“The country has faced an unprecedented event with COVID-19 pandemic, which warranted tough policy measures while walking the fiscal tightrope. In this light, the government has done a commendable job through its investment push.

In context to the real estate sector, budget announcements relating to monetisation of infrastructure and real estate assets will help increase private sector participation and also assist government in enhancing fund flow for development of critical infrastructure assets. The government has also continued its focus on affordable housing segment by extension of tax benefit by one year. Amid the prolonged pandemic scenario, this extension was needed to support the latent housing demand in the country. Further, the relaxation on tax compliance for REIT investors will further improve the marketability of such products considering we are likely to witness new REITs this year”.

 

Surendra Hiranandani, Chairman and Managing Director, House of Hiranandani

The union budget presented is visionary and has focused on the nation’s growth. With its focus on the agricultural and rural sectors, infrastructure, health, education, job creation, digital economy, etc, it is a holistic budget that will have an overall positive impact on the economy . With the growth outlook looking promising and support in terms of government spending, we will witness a noteworthy traction in the real estate sector too this year. The government has played a tough balancing act between providing demand impetus and keeping a watch on fiscal deficit.

Though real estate has not got anything directly from this budget, there are announcements that will indirectly help the sector.  Allotment of a massive capital expenditure corpus in order to enhance and support national highway projects, roads and other ancillary infrastructure shows the continued commitment of the Government to strengthen connectivity across the country which in turn will largely improve real estate over the next few years. While affordable housing continued to remain a priority area for the government with few additional reforms, the government could have given further boost to real estate which fuels the Indian economy as it is the second largest employer after agriculture and supports over 250-allied industries. There have been many pressing concerns in the real sector that have not been addressed such as easing liquidity, reduction in levies/taxes, tax deductions on home loans to give impetus to buyer sentiment, granting of industry status to the overall real estate sector and implementation of single window clearance amongst others.

Overall, while the social sector has received good support and is welcome, we are convinced that the government will do its best to get the economy to bounce back, and sustain long term growth of the real estate sector too with substantial measures in the near future. We also hope that there will be more announcements soon to enhance ease of doing business for the developers and are optimistic that with green shoots in the economy in sight, the real estate sector is ready for explosive growth in the post pandemic era.

 

Gagan Randev, National Director – Capital Markets & Investment Services, Colliers International

“The proposed Easing of InVeits/REITs will be massively positive in getting new REITs going and attracting fresh investments in Real Estate”.

 

Bhupindra Singh, Managing Director – Regional Tenant Representation (India) & Office Services (North India), Colliers International

“Increased limits for FDI in Insurance is going to be big booster to the BFSI office demand in India. 49 to 74% is a huge leap”.
“Vehicle Scrap Policy comes into play from April 2022. This will start a huge demand for Scrap Parks near each and every Metro city. In the West these are typical massive land banks and are typically taken on Lease. It will be interesting to find out the Land usage for this, will this be a part of Industrial or Warehousing approvals”.

Hemant Daga, CEO, Edelweiss Asset Management
In a global economy which is flush with liquidity, the budget has strategically opened the doors for global capital to fund the growth needs of India. This is a master stroke. A big thrust on monetisation of operational assets like roads, airports, transmission towers etc is a clear win-win for both the government and investors. This will not only help the government to manage its fiscal deficit, but will also help unlock capital for investing in other greenfield infrastructure projects. There is considerable interest from global pension funds and insurance companies for these assets and the long-term, inflation-indexed cashflows make this space very attractive for patient institutional capital.

The creation of an infrastructure-focused Development Finance Institution with a capital base of Rs 20,000 Cr (~ $3 bn) is a very good initiative from an economic standpoint. By providing finance for infrastructure projects, which are envisaged under the National Infrastructure Pipeline, this will provide the stepping stone for funding infra projects in India. Coupled with this the zero coupon bond issuance by IDFs to fund infra projects is another enabler for capital to flow freely.

The budget connects capital to infrastructure which has been the biggest missing link. What we now need is meticulous structuring of these initiatives and good execution.

 

NK Patel – President, Institute of Town Planners India (ITPI)

Given its tight finances and high fiscal deficit because of the pandemic, the government has done well to come out with a balanced budget, with enhanced spending on healthcare, agriculture, education, infrastructure, etc. There are several welcome measures for real estate and infra sectors. The safe harbour limit for primary sale of residential units has been hiked from 10% to 20%, which will incentivise buyers and developers. To facilitate launch of more affordable housing schemes, the government has extended the tax holiday on such projects till March 2022, and has also extended the additional interest deduction of Rs. 1.50 lakh on purchase of affordable homes. Similarly, tax exemption for notified affordable rental housing projects has been allowed. The Development Financial Institution will ensure funds availability for infra projects, which will boost investments in this critical area. By allowing debt financing in INVITs and REITs by foreign investors, the FM has further eased access of finance for these instruments.

Manas Mehrotra, Founder, 315Work Avenue

The Union Budget 2021 has predominantly focussed on revitalizing the rural economy which is a good move and this will act as a boost to the economy and increase demand in tier-2 and tier-3 cities as well. The budget could have had some specific measures for the coworking sector to enable its higher growth. However, the proposal to not have TDS on dividend is welcome. A positive is also dividend on receipt basis rather than advance taxes schedule which will enable shareholders to plan cash flows better. The extension of tax exemption and exemption on capital gains for start-ups by one year will help the start-up sector which will indirectly boost the coworking sector too.

As coworking is playing a vital role in the economic growth of the country, the Government could have recognised it under special schemes like REIT to handhold the industry for better growth. As the industry is going competitive, it would have been good if the rate of TDS on coworking services was reduced. It would have been enabled us to provide real estate solutions to clients at economical rates and helped in better flow of working capital. Apart from these, input tax credit under GST is an important issue that concerns the sector. The government has not enabled co-working firms to claim input credits on work contract and construction services supplied, as detailed under GST provisions. This would have checked the increased outflow of cash that co-working firms are currently experiencing. We were also hoping that input tax credit under GST be extended to developers so that it could be passed on to companies who lease out space and thereby reduce their overall costs. Going forward, a single window approval approach is also required by coworking, instead of having to seek multiple approvals for the same business.

The post lockdown scenario is bringing in a wave of new opportunities for the coworking players as companies seek out alternative options to reduce costs and capital expenditure. As companies look to resume business, redesigning and restructuring of existing real estate will pose yet another challenge, however coworking spaces will be able to respond to design changes required post-COVID-19 quicker and more efficiently than traditional office spaces. Overall, the co-working industry is looking at improvement in the ease of doing business. The government could assist in this a great deal by addressing regulatory concerns and by encouraging more coworking firms to open up through a series of both financial and non-financial incentives.

 

Dr. Nitesh Kumar, MD & CEO, Emami Realty
“Being the first budget after COVID Pandemic the budget holds immense value & importance. The government has addressed the need of infrastructure development and given a handsome boost especially in Bengal and Tamilnadu that will be indirectly beneficial for Real estate also.  The Additional deduction of interest payment up to Rs 1,50,000 for first-time buyers of affordable homes (under Section 80EEA), and profit-linked tax exemption (under Section 80IBA) for developers will again be beneficial for under-construction projects and tax incentive for affordable rental housing projects.

We were expecting some more measures to boost the real estate sector of tax reliefs for individuals have not been met. In nutshell we can say it is a balanced budget.”

Amit Agarwal – Co-Founder & CEO – NoBroker.com

“The Union Budget 2021 was a balanced one with several encouraging proposals for the country’s real estate sector. For instance, the FM announced that more economic corridors are being planned to boost the development of roadways to improve inter- as well as intra-state connectivity. Plans were also announced to expand the metro coverage as part of additional budgetary allocation towards the development of infrastructure across India, with a special focus on developing Kochi Metro, Chennai Metro Phase 2, Bengaluru Phase 2A and B, Nashik and Nagpur Metros, among others. These proposals are bound to improve real estate projects in tier-2 and tier-3 regions by enabling a more seamless movement of people and resources to and from the urban centres.

The Hon’ble FM also proposed to amend InvIT and REIT structures for debt investors to drive greater ease of fund raising and providing the much needed momentum to the commercial real estate asset class. One of the amendments will focus on making dividend payments to REIT and InvIT exempt from TDS. However, we will have to wait for the details about the proposed amendment to know the actual scope of the impact that the reforms will drive.

The FM has also promised to accelerate structural reforms in line with the Aatmanirbhar packages announced last year by the PM in line with Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of making India a self-reliant and self-sufficient nation. This, along with the proposal of instituting a separate administration structure to promote ease of doing business, will provide a major fillip to the new-age real estate startups and businesses aiming to bolster the sector’s growth. Finally, FM Sitharaman has said that affordable housing projects can avail tax holiday for another year till March 31, 2022. Through this step, the Government has sought to improve home buying prospects in the affordable housing segment by bringing down costs without affecting the operational stability of developers.”

 

Rohit Poddar, Managing Director, Poddar Housing and Development Ltd. And Joint Secretary, NAREDCO Maharashtra
“The government has primed itself to catapult economy on a trajectory of a stronger recovery with specific announcements on privatisation, disinvestment and monetization.  A 34% increase in capex and overall no tax hike has boosted the equity market sentiment. The privatization of two public sector banks and one general insurance company will bring a new dimension to the lending construct in the country. For affordable housing, the extension on deduction on payment of interest by one more year will help in offering the much-needed convenience for the home buyer. Affordable housing tax holiday extension up to March 2022 will boost the recent momentum in housing demand. The single registration system for migrant workers is a positive aspect for companies to reduce the hassle and focus on the larger development.  Furthermore, relaxation of tax to NRIs, additional interest deduction on the loans, and no TDS on REITs will potentially help the real estate sector in increasing the liquidity and cash flow. Giving relief to NRIs from double taxation will give a sentiment boost to the real estate sector. Overall, the budget has covered most of the aspects, now we will look forward to the RBI announcement in this week.”

 

Sushil Mohta, Chairman, Merlin Group and President , Credai West Bengal

The 2021-22 union budget has been a sensible budget. It puts money into healthcare, sanitation, infrastructure and agriculture. Monetization of surplus land and huge investment on Metro, airport, and highways are good initiatives.

By and large this is a good budget focusing on growth in long term. We welcome the big picture of boosting the FDI, Ease of doing Business on the Tax administration and compliance.

  1. a) There are no TDS coupled with applicability of the lower tax in case of tax treaty with countries. This will attract FDI particularly in commercial real estate and REIT.
  2. b) The emphasis on health care, huge investment in infrastructure, manufacturing and agriculture is definitely a way forward for India to become a $5 trillion economy
  3. c) In the context of West Bengal, the Government has committed up gradation of 675 km National Highways including upgradation of existing road connecting Kolkata to Siliguri  with investment of 25000 Cr is a welcome move.
  4. d) Another welcome move is a 20000 Cr allocation for capitalization of the bank by creating an Assets Reconstruction Company. This may ultimately bring much larger funds with 20000 Cr as base capital. The Government will also unlock surplus land which may be available for real estate projects in urban areas.
  5. e) It is also a welcome move that there is lot of steps for ease of doing business which has been proposed by the Government by reducing the re-opening of

income tax assessment bringing faceless system in Appellate Tribunal, relief to NRI in their accrued income to avoid double taxation

Real estate is the second-highest generator of employment and contributes more than 8 per cent   to the economy. Both the developers and buyers hoped that the Budget 2021 would introduce   reforms like tax sops and correction in prices which could further benefit and stabilize the industry.

We expected necessary sops to the real estate sector to revive like reduction of GST on under construction projects and bringing back Input tax credit. We expected more liquidity to buyers to boost the consumption by raising the ceiling of the rebate on the home loan interest from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakhs. This could have proved to be a helpful measure to attract more and more customers to invest in properties.

However the budget has extended the tax holiday on affordable housing to 31st March 2022  which will promote the launch of more affordable housing projects . This is a welcome decision. It has also extended deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh for loan taken till 31st March 2022. Kolkata is the city where 60% of projects are in the affordable segment category. I feel we would witness more launch of such projects in India.

 

Murali Malayappan, Chairman and Managing Director, Shriram Properties Ltd.
I would say, ‘this is a well-balanced, progressive, and revolutionary Budget – the best one possible, in a never seen before challenging circumstance. This is a budget focused on growth and welfare and it will act towards the restoration of normalcy to the movement of people and their livelihood activities.

Supplemented by the various stimulus packages announced from time to time by the Government since the outbreak of the pandemic, this budget will surely help to sustain the economic recovery that is achieved now, through the measures like increased investments in healthcare and infrastructure. Rs 2.23 lac crores allocation for Health care and wellbeing, and allocation of Rs 35000 crores for covid vaccine program, are laudable and the right moves at this juncture.

Government is well aware and appreciative that rapid vaccination would create far more value for the GDP than its actual cost. Approval of two vaccines for emergency use, with approval for another two likely to come soon, gives the indication about Government’s seriousness about faster vaccine administration to masses. This is justified and this is as important as spending for national defence.

Similarly, allocation of Rs5.54 lac crores for capital expenditure and Rs1.18 lac crores for Road Development are much needed progressive measures.

Obviously, with the above growth measures, the fiscal deficit will be much higher than the previous years. But the outlay is inevitable and an essential step. Fiscal deficit is set to jump to 9.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product in 2020-21 as per the revised Estimates. This may be sharply higher than 3.5 per cent of GDP that was projected in the Budget Estimates.  We have to acknowledge the slump in government revenues amid the pandemic, which has led to a sharp rise in deficit and market borrowing. A new roadmap for fiscal consolidation announced in the budget is well-timed.

As to affordable housing, extension of eligibility of erstwhile tax sop on home loan up to FY22 and extension of tax holiday for affordable housing projects by one more year is a breather and booster.

Overall, this is a “Growth” budget!

 

Arvind Hali, MD & CEO, Motilal Oswal Home Finance Ltd

“Budget FY22 has tried to bring back what the pandemic in FY21 took away – “Demand” – from Housing and Housing Finance Industry.

Today’s Union Budget has hit the right nerve holistically towards both Demand and Supply side. The extension in date of claiming additional interest deduction of Rs. 1.5 L by 1 year from Mar-21 to Mar-22 shall provide the necessary impetus to boost demand as well as create much-required positivity in the overall ecosystem. Buyers shall have more left in their hands and thus can pre-empt their decisions that were put in the cold bag. The announcement shall awaken the ones who had delayed property purchase as well as pull-up the new demand to own a house. The upper limit capping at Rs. 45 L property to claim additional deduction towards loan interest brings the apt focus i.e. affordable housing finance and affordable properties.

Similarly, on supply-side intervention, the Budget extended the tax holidays, by one year, on profits earned by developers in affordable housing projects approved by Mar21.

Other points like keeping the tax regime unchanged shall bring cheers to the LIG & MIG segments of the society which form the customer base of affordable housing finance & properties; Clear push on Infra development generates employment as well as makes affordable housing projects more accessible which are usually at the periphery of cities, and TDS exemption on dividend payment in REITs shall make them exciting investment option leading to impetus in real estate development – most of which is in the affordable segment.

It is a practical budget – a booster shot for housing & allied industry aligned to the PMAY’s Mission of Housing for All by 2022.”

 

Sanjay Dutt, MD & CEO, Tata Realty and Infrastructure Limited

“The lockdown in 2020 and its subsequent continuation in 2021 has caused lot of disruption and set back to the economy as well as the real estate sector. The Government therefore had to focus on providing relief to people and the industry. We welcome the Government’s intent to deliver a growth oriented budget. However, we had expected the government to do more for the sector because of the multiplier effect it has on the economic growth. The Government’s measures in 2020 have only provided some relief. The budget provided an opportunity to consider lowering GST on building materials, no GST on JDA and TDR, extended the tax benefit from affordable to mid housing would have made a significant impact. Additionally, allocating additional capital for distressed funds could have eased the liquidity needed for last mile funding, allowing FDI in ready to move in inventory to unlock capital and provide for liquidity to NBFC, Banks and Developers.

Acknowledging the role of NRI homebuyers and increased interest amid the pandemic, the government’s decision to reduce NRI residency limit will help. Raising customs duty on solar inverters to 20% from 5% is likely to add to the cost of the commercial and residential developments while monetization of land is likely to provide more land for development and arrest its rising cost.

For the investor community, we are pleased with the proposal to make dividend payments to REITs (Real estate investment trusts) and INVITs (Infrastructure investment trusts) exempt from TDS. The Indian real estate sector is at an interesting juncture and I strongly believe REITs will define the future as they allow investors to expand their range of properties. The Finance Minister’s plan to introduce a Bill to set up a DFI (developmental financial institution) for long-term funding infra projects with a capital of Rs 20,000 crore and lending Rs 5 lakh crore in the next 3 years is a great move for India’s sustainable infrastructure. We look forward to working with the government for these crucial infra projects by leveraging the Tata brand to contribute to India’s exciting growth story.”

 

JC Sharma, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, SOBHA Limited

“Some of the proposed laudable steps related to the housing segment will certainly give a fillip to the buyers of affordable homes as the time period of taking loans to buy such homes have been increased by another year i.e. – till March 31, 2022. This will help consumers to continue to avail additional tax benefits of Rs. 1.5 lakh u/s 80EEA of the Income Tax Act for another year. By extending the period by one more year, the Government has clearly indicated its emphasis for the affordable segment of housing. Section 80 EEA provides tax benefit up to Rs. 1.5 lakh on the interest paid on loans taken for affordable residential housing. This benefit is over and above the tax benefit of Rs. 2 Lakh available u/s 24 (B) of the Income Tax Act on interest on the housing loan.”

Further, he said, “It is heartening to note the Government’s focus on “Housing for All” and affordable housing as priority areas. Additionally, the announcement of tax holiday for the affordable housing developers for one more year for developing affordable rental housing projects as a part of the Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Awas Yojana- Urban to ensure affordable housing for the migrant workers is admirable.”

Further he emphasized, “Needless to add, these proposed steps will strengthen the overall real estate sector and boost confidence amongst buyers and builders alike. However, if long standing demands of the sector like granting industry status, rationalising the GST rates (by allowing the input tax credit), access to funds and ensuring longer repayment cycles, lowering tax on raw materials, and increasing Rs. 2 Lakh tax rebate on housing loan interest rates to at least Rs. 5 Lakh could have been taken – it would have gone a long way to support the real estate developers and generate healthier housing demand. This would have had a lasting positive ripple effect on the national economy.”

 

Harshavardhan Neotia, Chairman, Ambuja Neotia Group

“Union Budget 2021-22 is very well balanced & tax friendly. Despite the huge fiscal deficit, the focus of the government is clearly on spending on infrastructure, healthcare and key social programmes to revive the economy. The announcements relating to disinvestment, monetization of infrastructure and real estate assets will help increase private sector participation as well as assist government in enhancing fund flow for development of critical infrastructure assets. The government’s continued focus on affordable housing segment is commendable. Union Budget 2021-22 charts out a vision to speeden up economic recovery, post pandemic. Though sectors like hospitality, tourism and aviation have been severely impacted by the pandemic, they didn’t find mention in Union Budget 2021-22 probably because the government is waiting for the economy to open up post normalization of social activities”.

 

Rishi Jain, Managing Director, Jain Group:

The Budget is a subset of a Grand Plan, steps are in the right direction and only has positives for the housing and real estate sector.

Infrastructure and Housing go hand in hand, the priority allocated to infrastructure and the housing sector is laudable.

The easing of more and more compliances and unnecessary departmental formalities is also in line with easing of business is encouraging.

Because most reforms are already announced during pandemic times, I personally was not expecting any Big Bang reforms. The steps to improve ease for small and medium scale businesses and taxpayers deserves a thumbs up.

 

Abhishek Bharadwaj, Chief Marketing Officer, Shristi Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd:

It is very encouraging to see that the current budget has continued its emphasis on affordable housing as a priority area. The extension of eligibility of additional deduction of interest of Rs 1.5 lakhs for loan taken to purchase an affordable house will surely boost the demand for real estate in the country. The extension of tax holiday for affordable housing projects will also help the developers. The new tax exemption for the notified Affordable Rental Housing Projects for the migrant workers is also a welcome step. The increased allocation in infrastructure spending will also boost the real estate sector indirectly. As a whole, the budget is encouraging for the sector.

 

Arya Sumant, Managing Director, Eden Realty

Government had already done many mini budgets over the course of the last financial year due to the Covid-19 pandemic so it was expected that there wouldn’t be many big bang reforms. It is an extremely balanced budget and it is heartening to see that Affordable Housing is still being given a major push and the additional year announced for tax breaks is going to provide the required boost to the real estate sector for post-pandemic era. The reduction in import duty for steel is also going to help the sector grappling with high construction cost for the past several months.

 

Jitendra Khaitan, Managing Director, Pioneer Property Management Limited.

The additional deduction of 1.5 lakhs by the FM granted upto March 31, ‘22 will keep the momentum positive to the real estate industry and towards residential buyers too.

Arvind Subramanian, MD and CEO of Mahindra Lifespaces

“The 2021 Union Budget was progressive on multiple counts, including health, sanitization, new institutional structures and the infrastructure needs of the economy.

On the residential real estate front, the proposal to extend the additional 1.5 lakhs tax exemption available to first time home buyers on the purchase of affordable homes will boost end-user demand in the category. The tax holiday on affordable housing projects till 31st March 2022 is a supply side stimulus that will aid developers. Combined with the all-time low home loan interest rates, these initiatives are expected to provide a strong stimulus to affordable housing market.

The Budget has also identified warehousing and allied services for the asset monetization program for core infrastructure assets.  These initiatives will help drive the growth of the infrastructure sector and bodes well for planned industrial parks and integrated cities. As a pioneer of green buildings in India, we welcome the plans for energy transition and increasing investment in renewable and sustainable energy initiatives. Such initiatives are laying the groundwork for an urban India that is environmentally resilient and responsive.”

 

Sanjay Daga, Chief Operating Officer, Runwal

“The first digital and post-pandemic annual budget exercise has delicately crafted a strategy to boost redistributive and equitable growth, reviving investment and giving fillip to ease of doing business. Union Budget 2021-22 is forward-looking document and aims to revive demand and elevate economic growth. We welcome the government’s move to extend tax holiday by one year for affordable housing projects and exemption from TDS on dividend paid to Real Estate Infrastructure Trusts / Infrastructure Investment Trusts. We would have expected granting Infrastructure status to the entire Real Estate sector which could be beneficial for lenders, developers and home buyers and will enable access to liquidity and speed up project completion. Setting up of Development Finance Institution to address funding gaps, highest infrastructure spending, recapitalisation of banks, boost to divestment and monetisation of government assets will surely ensure increase in the growth momentum. Overall, the budget covers major themes such as health, which is on expected lines, sprucing up of infrastructure to ensure growth and job creation and ease of doing business. And we would also like to add that the budget is favourable for corporates and individuals, as there is no new tax burden being implemented.”

 

Deepak Chhabria, Executive Chairman, Finolex Cables Limited

‘Manufacturing is an integral part of global supply chains, with the potential of core competence and cutting-edge technology. To sustain the double-digit growth, some of the initiatives will help bring scale and size in critical sectors, develop and nurture global champions and provide employment to the youth. The power sector has seen several reforms and achievements in the past 5 to 6 years. The Union budget 2021 announcement on the expansion of the metro rail network and augmentation of city bus service will create more avenues for companies like ours. To boost the non-conventional energy sector, the government has provided an additional capital infusion of INR 1,000 crores to India’s Solar Energy Corporation and INR 1,500 crores to Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency.

Furthermore, to encourage domestic production, the government has also increased duty on solar inverters from 5% to 20%, and on solar lanterns from 5% to 15%. Additionally, reducing duty on copper scrap from 5% to 2.5% benefiting copper recyclers. With Atmanirbhar Bharat, the government has already unveiled plans in core sectors to stimulate economic growth and spur investments.’

 

Pavitra Shankar, Executive Director, Brigade Enterprises Ltd.

The Union Budget reflects the Government’s commitment to continuity of policy.  The extension of the additional 1.5 lakhs income tax deduction on home loan interest for affordable homes is a welcome move for the end customer; however, it would have had added impetus had the Government considered extending the time for completion of affordable housing from the current 5 years to around 7 years. We are hopeful that recommendations from the real-estate sector will be addressed as soon as possible, especially with regard to lowering GST on cement and reinstatement of Input Tax Credit. Expanding capital expenditure in infrastructure is a welcome move as it will expand connectivity and push investment in smaller cities. The social security benefit extended to construction workers is a welcome move. While the Hospitality and Tourism sectors which were the worst hit by the pandemic were hopeful of a boost in the Union Budget, it is unfortunate that both sectors have found no mention in the current budget. We hope that the Government will take appropriate steps to help these sectors to stabilize. The extension of the tax holiday for the startup sector is encouraging. We urge the Government to consider addressing individual verticals such as the prop-tech sector to boost the growth of startups which is driving innovation and technology in the real-estate sector.

 

Bijay Agarwal, MD, Salarpuria Sattva

“The Finance Minister’s digitally presented budget strikes a good balance between growth and fiscal foresight for the Real Estate sector. With the recently hit COVID crisis and changing economic trends worldwide and in India, any additional tax burden due to such pandemic would have been a huge stress for the payers. With FM announcing no changes in tax and managing it at their own excellent planning and resources to provide relief to the pandemic-hit common man, MSME, business as well as to focus more on driving economic recovery, this has been an exceptional step taken towards the growth.

We welcome the proposed easing of InvITs (Infrastructure Investment Trusts)/REITs, which has immense potential for boosting global and domestic investors, thus increasing funds for the real estate sector. This increased ability to raise more debt capital will provide access to additional asset acquisition funds, which could lead to the rapid closing of lower-cost transactions.

The government has announced establishment of Asset reconstruction and management company for stressed assets of banks. An Asset Reconstruction Company and Asset Management Company will be set up to consolidate and take over the current stressed debt and then manage and dispose of the assets to Alternate Investment. This would only help in quicker resolution of non-performing assets.

The move of Tax exemption for notified affordable rental housing projects till FY 2022 and the additional deduction of interest of Rs.1.5 lakhs for loans taken on purchase of an affordable house, that has been extended for one more year, will set the growth trajectory of the segment and will be instrumental in fulfilling the Govt’s mission of ‘Housing for all’.”

T Chitty Babu, Chairman and CEO, Akshaya Pvt Ltd.
We congratulate Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman on budget speech in the Parliament today. We welcome the move in launching a portal to maintain information on gig workers and construction workers. This could help in monitoring the health and also in providing the benefits. We also welcome the major proposal about boosting the road, rail and airport infrastructure for a robust public transport. This will ease the mobility and now people will also think about property investments outside the city. This budget allocation towards pubic transport will definitely reduce the air pollution resulting in a healthy and peaceful living. Government’s decision to extend eligibility of erstwhile tax sop on home loan up to FY22 and the proposal that affordable housing projects can avail tax holiday for one more year can ease financial constraints on the real estate developers. It will certainly boost the real estate sector and accelerate it towards the growth wave. Homebuyers can expect a slew of options in the coming quarters as developers get the due support from the financial institutions as well as the government.

 

Ajay Piramal, Chairman, Piramal Group

“I would like to commend the Finance Minister for a well-balanced and realistic Union Budget 2021-22 designed to put India’s ongoing business cycle recovery on a much more solid foundation. The Budget’s high focus on public capital expenditure, relaxing fiscal deficit targets and concrete plans to support financial markets through recapitalisation of public sector banks, and an asset reconstruction company for bad loans will provide the necessary impetus to restore economic growth. While the Budget is cognizant of the country’s immediate economic needs, it also lays out a medium term vision of 3-5 years.

Furthermore, the introduction of a Development Finance Institution (DFI) to fund long term projects will complement the high focus on infrastructure. With banks remaining evasive towards long term institutional exposures, the DFI is expected to ensure availability of credit for projects with long gestation periods.”

 

Ravindra Pai, Managing Director, Century Real Estate Holdings
“We were hoping the budget would include steps to address the immediate liquidity issues and changes in the GST regime. The Government, however, has focused more on affordable housing while taking far-sighted measures. With the establishment of a professionally managed DFI, we expect infrastructural improvements leading to more road projects and eventually more housing developments. The health and insurance benefits for construction workers and migrant labourers will support the gig economy and ensure availability of labour supporting the timely completion and delivery of projects. The extension of tax holiday for affordable housing and increase in the safe harbour limit will definitely help in augmenting housing demand in the mid-income segment. This year’s budget, though unlikely to have any immediate impact, will aid the sector in the long-run,”

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