Budget 2018: Focus on right areas, but missed opportunity in terms of GST - Ashish Bhasin
Reacting to the Union Budget 2018-19, Ashish Bhasin, Chairman & CEO, South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Network, has welcomed the focus on the rural and agricultural sector. He also welcomed the emphasis on Digital, particularly higher-end digital areas like Artificial Intelligence and usage of Block Chain, which he was confident of providing a further digital thrust.
“The Budget has focused on the right areas, particularly the rural and agricultural sector, which is definitely going to spur rural demand in the coming months and years. The rural economy needed a boost. I also like the fact that the Finance Minister has focused on Ease of Living rather than just Ease of Doing Business and has introduced Healthcare benefits which will benefit nearly 50 crore Indians. It is a landmark step.
The emphasis on Digital, particularly higher-end digital areas like Artificial Intelligence and usage of Block Chain shows that the Government is committed to providing a further digital thrust. The steps being taken, like provision of free WiFi and other forms of Internet to all parts of the country will be extremely beneficial in the long run for the digital sector. It will help agencies like ours who are partnering clients for Digital Transformation.
I am sure the introduction of Long Term Capital Gains tax on equities will soon be digested by the industry, but in some ways I see a missed opportunity because the simplification of GST processes for the services sector would have gone a long way to help the advertising industry. The advertising industry doesn’t mind paying the taxes, but abhors non-productive, complex procedures, including filing of hundreds of returns every year.
Overall, I think the right sectors have got the incentives and, therefore, it should be good for the country. If it is good for the country, it will be good for the economy, and once the economy grows, the advertising sector will benefit from it.”