Easing of export norms, a cut down in the Income-tax slab, restructuring in 80 C, more allocation of budget in re-skilling and up-skilling are some of the significant expectations that experts from across the industries are waiting for the Finance Minister to announce on February 1st, 2020.
Well, people can only hope and expect to have a robust budget this year, and especially the CHROs, given their concerns about people and the workplace. Since jobs and employment were the key elements of the manifesto of the Bhartiya Janta Party, it will be interesting to see what Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has to offer this year.
Senior HR leaders have high hopes from the government to jump-start the perceived slow-down in the economy with some friendly announcements that will help in employment creation.
Job creation will remain a core demand throughout the year for the country. But, with the budget around the corner, people managers start expecting some big announcements that will boost the employment rate.
Dr. Virendra Saroha President HR, ACE, mentioned that it needs no reiterating that job creation should be the topmost agenda in this year's Union Budget.
He said, "The government should also develop skills development programs for mid-level employees to enhance their capabilities and boost their career growth. This, in turn, will play a pivotal role in the growth of the industry and the economy at large."
Bobby Joseph, President, Human Resources, BVC Logistics, said, "Tax SOPs must be extended to the salaries bracket who are bogged down by Personal Income Tax. Standard Deduction limits need to be raised. Also, retirals like PF, Gratuity & Pension scheme need to be revisited to bring some respite to the retiring employees. Tweaking these schemes frequently also impacts one's loyalty to such statutes. Schemes around Skill Development need a stimulus package to generate employment opportunities in a Weak Economy and revive the unemployment graph that has plagued the country."
It can be recalled that last year industries across genres have laid off thousands of employees due to the economic slump. Noopur Jain, Director, HR & Admin, Tupperware India, also bats for a robust job creation budget. Talking to People Matters, she said, "The authorities should definitely look at increasing liquidity to drive demand and consumption in the market and enhance credit growth for job creation. The focus should be retained on generating more job opportunities across various sectors while investing in skilling the real force, which is a part of the nation's existing talent pool. Greater budget allocation to the HRD ministry would definitely enhance training & skilling activities, strengthening the start-up ecosystem of the country."
Swaminathan Subramanian, Chief People Officer, Reliance Capital, feels that Job creation will be a fundamental morale booster in an environment mired by layoffs. He said, "There are expectations of direct government infrastructure investments, FDI policy changes allowing for higher participation in restricted industries, and furthering the agenda of ease of doing business."
Skill development becomes the most important factor after job creation. The government is running multiple campaigns to promote skilling in the country.
Arrman Chaudhry, President- People & Culture, M3M Group shares that the upcoming budget should focus on increasing employability through skill development schemes to create long term avenues for sustenance to the talented workforce.
Bratindra Sanyal, Head of HR, Lendingkart, also batted for skilling. he said, "Infusion of liquidity in the sector is critical, it will help create more opportunities to equip the Millennials and the Gen-Z with skillsets that will boost employment, and hence their induction into the mainstream."
The significant policy led impetus towards improving the ease of doing business will further contribute to a future ready workforce. A relook into taxation and aligning it more towards market needs will be a welcome step."
Neeti Sharma, Senior Vice President, TeamLease Services believes that the conversation on unemployment has been on the forefront for a while now. She said, "A bigger problem in India is unemployability and not unemployment. The upcoming budget needs to strongly look at vocational training, apprenticeship and advanced learning technologies to solve the un-employability in India. In other words, the Skilling and Education budgets should focus on Repair, Prepare and Upgrade of our workforce."
Ease of doing business
Ashutosh Mishra, Head – HR, Dish TV India feels that the government should aim at improving the ease of doing business and thereby creating a conducive environment for employment generation. He added, "A rationalized and simplified approach to income tax structure with reduced slabs and removal of surcharges will boost the general sentiment. The government also needs to further strengthen the National Pension Scheme by increasing the limits. Tax exemption limits on Leave Encashment and Gratuity on retirement have to move up to support the aging population."
Experts also believe that further on employee care side deduction under 80 C towards savings in Insurance, PPF, Tuition Fees, etc. should be increased from Rs 1.5 lacs to Rs 2 Lacs to cover up the high cost of education and encouraging employees for savings and coverage under Insurance. Also, to encourage employees to safeguard their Pension benefit, the employee's additional contribution of Rs. 50,000 to be increased to 1 lacs in NPS for tax exemption purposes.
Ruth Aarthy Asha, Head - HR Business Partner, Maveric Systems also said, "We are in a place where our millennial populace is our greatest strength, as a nation. We must therefore celebrate them and come up with more policies akin. Another policy that favoured balance, in my opinion, was that of raising the investment limit under 80C from INR 1 lakh to INR 1.5 lakh, something I truly applaud with incremental spending capacity of Indians en masse. It is important that such progressive policies keep being brought to light which incentivise the average taxpayer to earn more, save more, spend wisely and pay taxes honestly. A lovely example of this was the fact that direct tax revenue had increased by 75+% by FY2019. The heart of the Budget needs to be the people."
All in all, the list of CHROs’ expectations is long-will the government be able to deliver all of these will be revealed in a matter of few days.
What are your expectations from the budget? Do drop us a line.