Budget 2018-19: What the ad industry wants from the Finance Minister

With just a couple of days to go for the presentation of the Union Budget for 2018-19, the advertising industry is upbeat about a Budget that will spur overall growth in India’s economy. Ashish Bhasin, Naresh Gupta and Ramesh Narayan share their Budget wish list with Adgully… 

Ashish Bhasin, Chairman & CEO South Asia Dentsu Aegis Network:
I anticipate that the Union Budget of 2018 will drive growth, and whenever the economy grows, the advertising industry benefits. I see a particular thrust from the Government in the areas of infrastructure development as well as rural development. We have had a reasonably good monsoon, the rural economy is starting to look up and another push in the same direction  will significantly benefit all consumption-led sectors, including FMCG, which are heavily advertised. 

I think the Government will make efforts to ensure that there is more money in the pockets of the common man, hopefully by giving some relief on the income tax front and will use technology for better tax compliance, thereby keeping the fiscal deficit under control. The fiscal deficit is very important from the point of view of controlling inflation. 

Ashish Bhasin
Ashish Bhasin
Specifically for the advertising industry, I hope that there are some simplifications around the services part of the GST that are announced. While GST has been a progressive step for the country, my feeling is that the services sectors were relatively less focused upon and hence, the step that was supposed to simplify indirect taxation has actually ended up complicating it significantly, particularly for advertising agencies that operate out of different cities and states and service clients who may be based all over the country. Under the thrust of the Government for ease of doing business, I hope this issue gets addressed. The advertising industry doesn’t mind paying the taxes, but needs simplification of processes which are taking away too much of unproductive manpower and blocking working capital. 

Overall, I feel that India is poised to see better economic growth over the next 10 years and a little bit of help from the Government policies, through the Union Budget of 2018, will further help the economy outperform the rest of the world. 

Naresh Gupta, Managing Partner and CSO, Bang in the Middle: 
This is what I would like to hear: 

Naresh Gupta
Naresh Gupta
A new initiative that makes it easy for homegrown companies to look beyond the shores and start to explore the global markets. Maybe there is a whole venture fund that the Budget creates that help small but really competent companies look beyond India. Why should Ola, for instance, be just an Indian company? Why can’t the next Spotify be one of our homegrown apps? Why can’t the world see a global communication company from India? 

Make it easier for the private sector to invest in growth. Massive investment in small and informal sector is needed to make India grow at the speed of China. 

I would also like to see a massive investment in sports infra in India; if India has to solve its current health crisis, it can be solved only by investing in sports infra. Make it financially viable for schools to push sports, for colleges to build infra, for corporates to look beyond just the health insurance premiums. This Budget can start a revolution. 

Ramesh Narayan, Founder, Canco Advertising:

Ramesh Narayan
Ramesh Narayan
To me, the Budget itself is just a date. There have been sound structural changes and I am optimistic that these will transform into robust growth for the economy in the next three quarters. 

The advertising industry is a reflection of the health of the economy. If the economy does well, the advertising industry does well. I wish the Finance Minister continues on the path of overall reforms. In any case, this is an election year and it augurs well for the advertising industry.

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