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Industry Lauds Interim Budget 2024, Sets Expectations for July 2024 Budget

With the close of FY-24 near, India’s Interim Budget 2024 is set to come into force on 1st April 2024. Even though not being a full-scale budget on account of the Lok Sabha polls scheduled for April-May 2024, it is instrumental in indicating the general financial stand of the Government.

“Increasing Capital Expenditure by 11.1% a Welcome Step” – CII President

Expressing his views on the Interim Budget, Mr. R. Dinesh, President of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), said that the 11.1% increase in CapEx to Rs. 11.11 lakh crore is a “very welcome step”. However, he added, “The capital expenditure target is lower than our forecast, but it is a significant increase from 10 lakh crore, with an increase of another 1 lakh one thousand crore. So, it’s good, but obviously, we would have been happy with 20 percent.

On the subject of the country’s fiscal deficit target, Mr. Dinesh said that the Interim Budget’s 5.1% fiscal deficit target is “a significant step forward” against CII’s recommended target of 5.4%. “The theme of this Budget is continuity and making sure that growth is taken care of while balancing the need for equitable growth, he added.

“Roadmap for Ensuring Gas-based Economy in India” – Indian Gas Exchange MD

Bio gas plant
Biogas Plant (Representative Image)

Interim Budget 2024 stressed Compressed Biogas Blending Obligation (CBO), which mandates the phased blending of Compressed Biogas (CBG) with Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Piped Natural Gas (PNG).

Mr. Rajesh Kumar Mediratta, MD & CEO, Indian Gas Exchange said that CBO would help in “greening the gas supply chain and balancing the demand-supply for clean fuels”. He added that this goal would be furthered by financial assistance for the procurement of biogas aggregation equipment.

Announcements in the Green Energy Segment Garner Wide Support

Offshore Wind Project (Representative image)

Mr. S.K Gupta, CFO, AmpIn Energy Transition, welcomed the Interim Budget’s focus on the area of Renewable Energy (RE), and lauded the extension of Viability Gap Funding (VGF) for offshore wind projects. Currently, India has no offshore wind projects, and for this reason, the budget extends VGF for the development of 1 GW of offshore wind generation projects.

Mr. Sharad Pungalia, MD & CEO, Amplus Solar, reiterated his support for the VGF by saying, “This provision addresses a critical need in propelling the growth of offshore wind energy which had gone on a flat trajectory in last few years”.

There was also widespread appreciation of the Pradhan Mantri Suryodaya Yojana, which targets rooftop solar installations for 1 crore households.

Budget Opens Doors for Job Opportunities and Entrepreneurial Ventures in EV Sector – Neuron Energy CEO

Electric-vehicles
Electric Vehicle Charging (Representative Image)

Mr. Pratik Kamdar, CEO & Co-Founder, Neuron Energy highlighted the focus of the Interim Budget 2024 on expansion of the Electric Vehicle (EV) ecosystem in India. Mr. Kamdar expressed that the initiatives would “enhance and fortify the EV ecosystem by bolstering manufacturing and charging infrastructure”. He further added, “These investments not only pave the way for increased EV sales and adoption but also open doors for burgeoning job opportunities and entrepreneurial ventures within the sector”.

Coal Gasification & Liquefaction Projects to Benefit the Chemical Sector – ICRA Senior VP

Coal Gasification
Coal Gasification Plant (Representative Image)

Mr. Girishkumar Kadam, Senior Vice President & Group Head – Corporate Ratings, ICRA, complimented the Interim Budget for considering setting up Coal gasification and Coal liquefaction facilities in India. Given the abundant coal reserves in the country, the stated intent to implement a 100 MT coal gasification & liquefaction facility will benefit the chemical sector, through improved domestic synthetic natural gas availability and lowering the import dependency on ammonia & methanol in the long run”, said Mr. Kadam.

Eyes Set on July 2024 Budget Post Lok Sabha Polls

Several industry players received Interim Budget 2024 as a positive indication of the Government’s future financial policies and expressed their expectations from the July 2024 budget.

Mr. Gupta from AmpIn Transition Energy expressed hope that the final budget would be instrumental in matters such as, “…rationalisation and realignment of the renewable policy framework between the state and central government…to tap the large C&I (Commercial & Industrial) segment”, reduction of import duty and GST on critical raw materials for RE equipment, PLI schemes for domestic production of solar energy generation equipment, extension of Income Tax benefits to new GenCos for FY-25, and larger investments in the RE sector.

In the EV space, Mr. Kamdar of Neuron Energy expressed his hope that the full budget in July 2024 would revive the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME) scheme by bringing the “much-anticipated” FAME-III scheme.