Budget 2019: What is Indian industry expecting from Narendra Modi’s Government

By : |June 27, 2019 0

On 1st Feb 2019, the interim budget was presented by Modi Government, now after getting a huge success in Lok Sabha elections 2019, once again Modi government is ready to present the budget.  Ms Nirmala Sitharaman, the first lady finance minister of India will present the union budget 2019 in parliament on July 5 2019. From startups to large enterprises, there are huge expectations from the upcoming union budget in terms of a compelling vision, economic growth and digital infra.

Let’s have a look at some of the comments on the upcoming budget from industry leaders.

 

Saurabh Saxena, Country Director, Micro Focus India

“The 2nd term of the Government at helm ensures a perfect opportunity to rehabilitate the economy for sustainable development in India. India is heading towards becoming a knowledge economy. With the rapid digital transformation happening across industries, the cybersecurity concerns have also risen significantly. It is hence imperative for the government to ensure data privacy of Indian citizens so that they are truly empowered to use IT infrastructure and e-governance services. We look forward to collaborating with the government to help our nation in their digital transformation journey. As such, we hope to have policies around Information Technology that would provide the industry with certainty and enable them to invest in a long-term strategy. Moreover, we hope to have tax-friendly policies that would contribute significantly to the country’s GDP, and owing to the huge workforce and India’s potential, we are confident that the government will come up with innovative reforms.”

Anil Valluri, President of NetApp India & SAARC

“The re-election of this government ensures continuity of the Government’s compelling vision for India to boost the economy and put India on the technology superhighway by 2030. Through the Union Budget 2019, it would be key for the Government to put the spotlight back on its flagship initiatives like Digital India enabling digital infrastructure as a utility to every citizen, governance and services on demand, and digital empowerment of citizens. With the help of technology, the government should focus on catalyzing the smart city programme, to become growth engines for the country’s economy. We definitely look forward to seeing the government fortify the investments in the Artificial Intelligence sector as indicated in the interim budget so that the benefits of AI technology can reach the masses. Priority should be laid on delivering this in the short, medium as well as long term – in order to shape the architecture of our society into a global one.”

Sudhindra Holla, Director, Axis Communications, India and SAARC

“We believe that with the re-election of NDA government will ensure the continuity of its vision 2030 and continue the momentum on infrastructural development of highways, ports, transportation and rural connectivity. We expect more investment in Geospatial and Defence sectors, envisioning India to become the launch pad for satellites as part of Vision 2030. We look forward to seeing the Government fortify investments in the defence and border security for protecting our soldiers who are the pride and honour of the nation. Furthermore, with its flagship initiatives of Smart City and Digital India, the focus on internet penetration in rural areas would help democratize AI for citizens. Priority should be laid on delivering these to augur the economy by providing a growth impetus that lays down a vision for the next 10 years.”

Vineet Chaturvedi, Co-Founder, Edureka

“The future of the Indian professional sector, especially IT and IT services, hangs on how soon they can adopt the skills relevant to future economies. Investments in skills and education can be directly mapped to a country’s commitment to economic growth, and at the moment, a re-skilling allowance for all tax-paying individuals can be a catalyst for faster and wider adoption of skills. There is already talk of the government planning on incentivizing corporates to invest in skilling their workforce, but a rebate that treats skills on par with allowances such as HRA, LTA, DA is the need of the hour to help retain our country’s reputation as a skilled powerhouse and give a boost to our GDP. Also, a re-classification of re-skilling in GST to treat it as a necessity and not a luxury would help accelerate up-skilling among Indian professionals.”

Rustom Irani, MD- Hitachi Payment Services

“Notwithstanding the effort to make India a less-cash society, cash still holds prominence in all our day to day payments. In order to build a less-cash society, the government should build a mechanism where everyone in the country is empowered with regulatory, social, commercial and infrastructure framework that will help in last mile access to financial and other primary services. The idea to create 1 lakh digital villages in the next 5 years in the interim budget was one step towards creating such a framework. We expect that the upcoming budget will have more emphasis on financial literacy, push towards creating technology-led infrastructure and additional distribution channels in rural areas for last mile access.”

Himanshu Pujara, Regional Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Euronet Services India

“With measures being taken to make cash and digital payments more accessible to the common man, the Government has demonstrated its willingness to work towards a more financially inclusive and empowered India. From the past few years, the Ministry of Finance and the RBI has been creating an enabling environment for the payment sector. We are optimistic that in this budget Govt will provide tax relaxations for fintech companies and payments players which will led us to increase penetration and provide better customer service through constant innovation.”

Hardika Shah, Founder & CEO, Kinara Capital

“NBFCs play a critical role in the economic growth of India, they are no longer a niche side business. Any measures to ease capital flow will go a long way towards easing the liquidity crunch in the market, such as relaxing the FPI norms. And extending TDS exemptions for interest payments to NBFCs, just as banks and insurance companies enjoy.”

Jeevash Vaid, Founder, Kuppies

“As an Entrepreneur in FMCG Food Business, we hope that the government reduces the GST from an average of 18% to 12% for essential frozen food items. The restaurants are paying only 5% GST whereby everyday packaged eating items should also be reduced. We would like to further see some more encouraging policies favouring the Frozen Food Industry since Frozen foods are the best form of preserving the food items.”

Bhavin Patel, Co-Founder & CEO, LenDenClub

“It is imperative to focus on skill development which is one of the major issues today. As the country grows and develops, the quality of the population will need to be extremely skilled to be able to give an excellent outcome. Another major factor to be considered is Digital India, one of the largest successful initiatives by the Government of India that still needs to have a structured roadmap to reach its final goal. A plethora of startups are seen embracing Digital India initiative but the Government needs to organize its energies and efforts in a way to have optimum benefits.

Overall, Skill India and Digital India can really change India’s future if planned and executed well and therefore, I feel, the upcoming budget should focus on these two initiatives. Apart from this, I feel that the Government should also concentrate on the development of Fintech sector, as the sector has enough potential to assist the Government to provide financial services to all citizens and overall help in shaping the Indian economy. In particular, this will only drive the citizens to invest, make payments, take loans, avail insurance and loan facilities – everything digitally.”

Anand Kumar Bajaj, Founder & CEO, PayNearby

“Financial inclusion and creation of employment opportunities are the two main pillars that will ensure that the economically deprived sections of our society get a chance to change their circumstances and lead better lives. In the last interim budget, the Government’s announcement to create 1 lakh digital villages in the next 5 years is a great initiative in that direction. Though our country has taken rapid strides towards financial inclusion in the last few years, we are still largely a cash-based economy. More than 45% of the country’s bank accounts have no transactions and only 13% of Indian adults borrow through formal channels. The creation of a regulatory, social, commercial and infrastructure framework that will help in the creation of the last mile access of financial and other primary services to the larger India is thus one of the primary needs of the subcontinent.

We are optimistic that the upcoming budget will have sops that will push and help amplify efforts in that direction. A key area where we are expecting reforms is relooking at the GST that is levied on services aimed at financial inclusion. GST of 18% on products that have wafer-thin margins creates a huge burden in the system and needs intervention to make the proposition attractive for incumbents and new players. Also, changing the definition of start-ups to increase the threshold turnover is necessary as financial services include products that swell the turnover, but due to wafer-thin margins, our PBT ratios are way lower than normal industries. As distribution forms a key peg and is one of the primary drivers to create last mile access, it is important to create an environment where the last level agent is incentivized to enter this business. A key area to look at in this direction is the exclusion of TDS on commission paid to retailers working for financial inclusion. The last level agent who deals with the end customers may not have the right means to apply for a no TDS certificate and still bear TDS while earning lower than the minimum slab. We request the government to help us remove the burden of TDS on them.”

Abhishek Gandhi, Co-Founder & CFO, RupeeCircle

“Fintech companies are the one trying to solve the problem of financial inclusion in the country and disrupting and modernizing finance as an industry. This being said, the biggest gap fintech face today is to reach out and instil confidence in the Indian masses which are known to be conservative in their approach to adapt to changing financial trends in the country. The interim budget 2019 was a populist budget which was welcomed by most. However, P2P as an industry still struggles to attract the Indian investor. Angel tax, which is a major pain point for the start-ups was also not addressed in the interim budget. The government did take initiatives to ease taxation for start-ups, promote AI and digitization of the economy, but they need to be further addressed and simplified so that start-ups can make the most of it.

There are quite a few expectations from the budget for start-ups, Fintech and P2P players : –

a. Taxation for start-ups need to be further simplified and angel tax should be addressed. Also, start-up employees can be given additional tax exemption so that start-ups can attract more talent to join them.

b. Creating awareness and supporting the Fintech reach out to the Indian masses is expected from the budget. Also, promotion of technology to ease out processes of the customer onboarding through Aadhar stack would be a major boost for most Fintech players.

c. P2P investment can be given a separate exemption from taxes as it is helping to get the underserved masses to the mainstream of financial inclusion.

Also, the income from P2P lending is taxed, but the losses incurred by the lender is not set off against the profits. This shall be looked into.”

 

Virendra D Sanghavi, Managing Director, Aarvi Encon Limited

“Our sector is involved in Supply of Manpower to various organizations for their short term need. So they do not have to undergo a long process of interview, selection, appointment & lay off. It also helps to get talented staff at a short notice and at an economical rate.

We expect that Govt. departments also start taking advantage of this sector instead of permanent hiring. We have been noteworthy charge in various Govt. companies like HPCL, BPCL, Gujarat Gas, etc. But that is not prevalent in all companies as their HR Department feels that their power is curtailed. Our sector also suffers on most of Govt. companies want to give the lowest bidder, instead of value analysis to select the best suitable vendor with proven competence.

All most all clients do not pay any interest to MSME delayed payments for outsourced staff. Some Code of Conduct and fear to be established by SEBI and the Finance Minister can direct SEBI to make such rules. Food & Housing at remote locations where refineries are situated is a big problem for outsourced staff. Some schemes of lower value housing shared be made compulsory for such projects as they spend on their permanent staff. This will attract and retain qualified & experienced technocrats at remote locations. Along with large Refineries, Petrochemicals plants it is essential to plan for local Schools, Hospital and encourages Hotel establishment. Present Labour License implication/rules are very clumsy. Time concerning and non-productive. It engages a high degree of corruption and forces good companies to withdraw from the supply of competent staff.”

 

Bhavin Turakhia, CEO, Zeta & Flock

“For the upcoming budget, two key areas to focus are – technology and India’s salaried population. India’s online economy has made significant strides, shifting from a largely ‘cash on delivery’ model to now clocking a massive number of online digital transaction. In the upcoming budget, an increased focus on giving better sops to build an infrastructure that can continue to empower individuals digitally will further boost our economy. Also, with technological disruption being key for startups’ growth today, we would urge the government to encourage investments in technology hubs that will help strengthen technologies such as AI, ML etc. The government must also work towards bringing in some respite to GST, by reducing the tax slab for technology services and products, encouraging the early adopter market to flourish.

For salaried employees, in the past few decades, we haven’t witnessed any increase in several allowances that are offered. For instance, the meal allowance is only ₹50 per day; while children education allowance has a limit of just ₹100 per month and the driver salary limit is only Rs 900 per month. It would be of great benefit for the salaried people employees if the Union Budget 2019 considers increasing the limit of such employee tax benefits.”

Kishan Jain, Director, Goldmedal Electricals

“We are hopeful that the government would continue the good work it began carrying out in its first term with regards to GST, Make in India, and the host of initiatives it has undertaken in the power / FMEG sector. In the upcoming budget, we also expect that the Government continues its keen focus on improving India’s infrastructure as this coupled with ease of doing business would ensure India becomes a USD 5 trillion economy by 2025 as envisioned by the Prime Minister. Additionally, I am confident that the Government will continue to promote manufacturing in India through its ‘Make in India’ initiative as this would not only provide a boost to Indian companies but also aid in creating more employment opportunities.”

 

Jitendra Chaturvedi, Director & Co-Founder, Batooni Mobile Advertising

“The economy has seen the tightening of regulations in the past few years. Now the time has come to unleash the animal spirits of entrepreneurs and let a million businesses flourish. We need a jungle of new businesses and ideas that generate employment for a large number of semi-skilled people, and not curated gardens that favour a few. I hope this budget reduces the compliance burden so that businesses may focus more on growth.”

 

Javed Tapia, MD & CEO, Clover Infotech

“The Indian IT services industry is at a watershed moment. It has strongly aligned itself to ride the global digital transformation wave. There is a huge demand for skilled talent in IT services and the budget should earmark funds to address this. A thriving IT services sector will not only augment exports but also fuel the growth of our consumption economy. The government must introduce favourable policies, tax benefits etc. for skilling manpower and provide much-needed employment boost. Enabling IT companies to strengthen India’s digital capabilities and train and employ human capital to seamlessly work on new-age digital technologies is the need of the hour.”

 

Dr. Arun Singh, Lead Economist, Dun and Bradstreet

The government’s commitment to support entrepreneurs could be evidenced in the form of credit guarantee schemes, easing of regulatory requirements for start-ups and time savvy technology introduced for tax compliance. In the Interim Budget, the government increased allocation to Interest Subvention Scheme for Incremental Credit to MSMEs by 25% over the previous year’s allocation. Given the current slowdown in MSME credit, it is expected that the government would announce further measures to improve the ease of access to finance for MSMEs.

• An increase in the target for lending under Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) is anticipated. Either new schemes that provide collateral-free loans of up to Rs 5 mn would be launched under PMMY or the existing ceiling of Rs 1 mn would be raised.

• There may be an increase in fund allocation for setting up new technology centers.

• Some measures to improve the welfare of small traders, such as establishment of National Traders’ Welfare Board, creation of a National Policy for

Retail Trade and a scheme on the lines of Kisan credit card and providing merchant credit cards to registered merchants are also likely

Ms Savitha Kuttan, founder & CEO, Omnicuris

“With the introduction of the central government’s Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection scheme, the burden on the healthcare scheme is only expected to rise. As it covers 50 crore households or 500 million people, healthcare isn’t only getting more accessible but also becoming more efficient in diagnosing and treating patients with a strong primary care system in place. The need of the hour is the primary care system should be strengthened in such a way that they are capable of doing the initial assessment, diagnosis and basic management and appropriate referral if needed be. A thorough assessment and investigation at the primary care or secondary care can lead to a significant saving of resources in the territory level. The government should facilitate more Continuous Medical Education (CMEs) to upgrade their skills which can solve the problem of shortage of trained doctors.”

 

K. K Ghosh, Chief Administrative Officer, Jindal Naturecure Institute

“Disease patterns have undergone a significant shift over the last two decades, and the disease burden for non-communicable diseases has gone up. With over 60 % of the deaths caused by NCDs, we are in the midst of a growing epidemic. These diseases require regular visits to the hospital and put a dent in patients’ wallets and there is a growing need to educate people on the benefits of holistic preventive care systems such as yoga and naturopathy. Last year, the Union Government increased the allocation for the AYUSH Ministry by 1630 crores to promote education and research in indigenous systems of medicine. When Shripad Naik assumed office as Minister of State in the AYUSH Ministry on May 30, he stressed on the need to increase the infrastructure required for the dissemination of indigenous healthcare treatments. We hope that government will increase the budgetary allocation this year, and lay out a roadmap to better integrate the use of naturopathy and yoga as these two systems can be developed with minimum cost into our primary healthcare systems. This will help us reduce the burden of NCDs in the long term and bring down the economic burden of health for patients with limited financial resources”.

 

Rajesh Ranjan Singh, COO, WISH

A lot rides on the allocation for the healthcare sector in the upcoming Union Budget, especially considering the fact that the interim budget left a lot to be desired in terms of a concrete future roadmap to improve healthcare delivery systems. Health spending needs to go up from 1.15 % to 2.5 % of the GDP by 2025 if we are to get closer to meeting the UN’s sustainable development goals and achieve universal health coverage. Although the healthcare sector attracts a lot of investments from private players, most of them go to secondary and tertiary centers while the bedrock of the health industry, primary healthcare, is in shambles with just one primary healthcare center for every 51,000 people. The proposal to set up 1.5 lakh Health and Wellness Centers in rural areas by 2022 is ambitious, but the government needs to leverage public-private partnerships to make it a reality. We also hope that the Union Minister allocates resources to roll out more programs that focus on promoting preventive care practices to reduce the disease burden of non-communicable diseases, which are currently responsible for 61% of all deaths in the country, a number that is only set to go up due to rapid urbanization and lifestyle changes.”

Sunil Goyal, MD and Fund Manager, YourNest

“In the upcoming budget 2019, we look forward to the Government taking more initiatives to enable increased investment into the startup sector. Some pathbreaking initiatives such as allowing charitable trusts to commit a small portion of their corpus to Venture Capital will go a long way towards catalysing increased investment opportunities. This will also result in large-scale job creation. The trusts have to comply with investment norms under the Rule No. 17 C in relation to Section 11 (5) of the Income Tax Act for availing income tax exemption (on donations under section 80 G). These funds are currently invested mainly in long-term Government Securities.”

“India needs radical steps to make capital available for entrepreneurship. We believe that allowing the National Pension Scheme to invest a part of its corpus in VCFs is a step in the right direction. The Government can consider mandating some part of PF to be invested in Venture Capital. By mandating a part of the investment from the monthly contribution of the provident or pension funds in the venture capital funds would, in a way, enable the employed to create more employment for the next generation.”

“As the start-up ecosystem matures, it faces several working capital issues which, in turn, hinder its long term growth. We believe that the current norms for GST & TDS are blocking significant money. A workable solution, within the guidelines and definition for startups is much desired. The Government must ease the current process of obtaining approval of the reduced rate of TDS with this simple amendment. Mandating banks to give a loan under priority sector lending for startups to deposit GST until receipt of payment can ease the capital concerns of startups. A long-lasting solution will be to make TReDs grow at a rapid rate like UPI.”

 

Sameer Aggarwal, Founder & CEO, RevFin

Tax Benefits to promote cashless economy: First step is to do a voluntary disclosure of cash scheme, with no tax implications. This will put money into banks. Second is to create a scheme (like SEZs) where small traders below certain earning should be given tax exemption from income earned through the digital medium in certain geographical regions. Geography can be defined on the basis of areas of high cash utilisation and low bank presence.

Ease of Doing Business for the SMEs sector: A few small steps will help here. First, all tax and ROC compliance should be done once a year in a specified time frame and as a single process. Even new compliance requirements should be done as part of this rather than doing as a one-off at different times during the year. This will reduce the time and cost of using professional services. The process like TDS payments should be done through a direct debit process which should include all banks rather than a few banks only.

More Clarity in the E-KYC process: E-KYC using Aadhar should be allowed for certain types of organisations. This includes utilities (gas, electricity, internet, phone etc) and financial services (banks, NBFCs, insurance etc). The policy must clearly state requirements in terms of process, technology infrastructure and data security. Companies satisfying the criteria must be given full access to e KYC services without the need to make large security deposits or the need to go through intermediaries. Access to Aadhar based E KYC is important but so is the need to keep the cost of that low for organisations and ease of use.

Financial inclusion for imparting and increasing awareness for digital payments: The government must launch a national education program (like pulse polio or hum do humare do) to educate the country on benefits of digital payments. This must be done through private partnerships by extending tax benefits to small traders taking digital payments (mentioned above). National and state curriculum must also have financial literacy as a subject which should include practical classes taken by financial services companies (another way to get private partnership).

The main points to cover are:

Money must first be deposited in banks, then all transactions should be done digitally. This will help create baking transactions and the establishment of income for people. Once this is done they can get access to credit which in turn will help them build a good credit history/score thereby getting access to more forms of credit like mortgages. Once all this happens then they get access to wealth products like savings, investments and insurance.

Funding problem: Investments made from capital gains (like sale of property or shares) into startups should be made fully tax exempt. Further, long term capital gains from start-ups should be made tax exempt. Recognition as a startup should automatically qualify companies for a startup fund which would have up to a 3-yr repayment holiday until the startup is established.

Startup Ecosystem: government should set up a hundred hubs across the country. These would be physical hubs where startups will have access to shared services (like legal, accounting, PR, company secretary etc) and will also have office space at reasonable or no cost. 3-4 such hubs in every state will motivate people from all parts of the country to start up and with an automatic start-up fund and the hub services, they will have little entry barriers.

Policy: The government must have a clear way to ‘recognise’ startups. Once an idea or a company qualifies, it should have complete access to all facilities and exemptions, be it funds, hub services or tax benefits.

 

Mahesh Makhija, Partner and Leader, Digital and Emerging Tech, EY

“With the goal of making India a $5tn economy by 2024, the government is likely to introduce measures in the budget to encourage the growth of start-ups, especially in new growth industries like AI and machine learning. We would expect the government to further expand on the measures announced in the interim budget and allocate additional funds to support deep tech segments like AI, Robotics and Machine Learning.”

 

Rajarshi Bhattacharyya, Country Manager, SUSE India

“The interim budget in early 2019 rightly focused on digital transformation and the need to enhance technologies such as IoT, AI, ML, Robotics across key sectors like Manufacturing, BFSI, healthcare. With the upcoming budget, the Government with its ‘Digital India’ vision should look to pushing reforms on digital innovation and creating policy frameworks that encourage MSMEs in India to invest in deep tech locally. First steps the Government needs to take is to improve infrastructure that supports disruptive technologies and enable companies like SUSE to align strategies in sync with ‘Digital India’. With a little encouragement from the policy makers by making regulatory compliance policies more friendly, there is potential to boost India’s digital footprint and innovation journey.”

 

N Nagasatyam, Executive Director, Olectra Greentech

We strongly believe that the EV (Electric Vehicles) adoption in our country certainly needs support from the government. Though the long-term benefits of EVs are multi-fold still the relatively higher cost of acquisition of an EV is a bottleneck in its adoption. We expect the government to include Electric Vehicles in Priority lending sector so that the prospective buyers can be encouraged to move towards this environment friendly transport option. The financial assistance will help in compensating the cost difference of the EVs making it more attractive for the buyers.

 

Uttam Malani, Executive Director, Centuary Mattresses

“We feel that the industry sentiment is currently low and a stimuli may be needed to accelerate the economy back onto the growth track. Reforms in the housing sector, and government spending on healthcare & education should be a focus area. Stability in the policies is extremely critical to encourage the business owners to take calculated risks and generate more employment. Sustained initiatives to incentivise environment protection and sustainability should be rolled out in the larger interest of the people.”

 

Hari Thalapalli, Chief Executive Officer, CallHealth

“Over the last few years, the Indian healthcare sector has witnessed a major overhaul in order to attain the Prime Minister’s goal of ‘Healthcare for all’. This year, we are looking forward to some measures from the Government that incentivize HealthTech companies to improve the accessibility and affordability of quality healthcare. With more people adopting technology for various needs, it will be most appropriate if the government’s health policy will accelerate the adoption of technology to address the unmet medical needs for millions. In this budget we are hoping to have clearer policies around different segments of heath-tech including e-pharmacy, remote monitoring of patients, digital prescriptions and video consultations. We are excited to see a positive turn out from the Government to encourage start-ups across all domains, particularly in Healthcare”.

 

Ms. Radhika Choudary, Co-Founder and Director, Freyr Energy

Renewable energy has a lot of importance these days, especially Solar. Though subsidies are provided to some of the customer categories but instead of that we would recommend an income tax benefit which is an easier way for the government to monitor and monetize the current action plan. These would benefit an individual, residential, commercial or an industrial customer as they don’t have any Income Tax benefits to go solar at this point.

In current times, water and power are the two things we must conserve very efficiently, hence, we would expect government to mandate the industrial establishments to have Solar as a certain percentage of their power mix.

The net metering policy announced by the Central Government are witnessing implementation issues at the State level hence transparency in the same is very much required to see the desired results.

 

Rahul Paith, Chief Operating Officer, DocOnline

“For Healthcare Industry, I believe there are 3 areas that need immediate attention in this budget.

First of it being the Public Private partnerships – Ayushman Bharat was a great initiative by the Government of India that was much required for the country. But in order to realize its full potential and maximize the benefits, there is a need of enhanced fund allocation and introduction of PPP models for larger participation from private players, as 80% of the healthcare services in the country are provided by the private sector. PPP models would not only ensure a business boost for the private sector including the start-ups but will also contribute to nation’s growth.

Second key area would be the GST benefits which also need to be extended to the start-ups and other players in the healthcare sector, beyond the core healthcare service providers. Due to its absence, we are not able to capitalize on the pass-through benefits. While we pay GST when we procure anything for our business we are GST free when sell the services to customer. Resulting in a cost burden for us. In industries like IT, there is input and output GST which provides a balance.

Third important aspect is the ‘Angel Tax’ – Government needs to take solid steps to reduce this burden for start-ups. Getting an investment in the current economic scenario is not easy. Angel Tax deduction from the difficultly brought in investment greatly hurts the start-ups.

Overall, healthcare as an industry touches each and every citizen of the country and people have been seeking positive reforms for the sector. We expect the government to take it as a priority area this budget, allocate more funds, announce steps that encourage private sector and start-ups to do business and provide quality services to every section of the society”.

 

Ameen Khwaja, Co-Founder and CEO, PTron

“In the upcoming budget, we look forward to seeing some steps from the government to promote local manufacturing and tax reforms. One of the critical campaigns like Make in India is already transforming India into a global manufacturing hub however an equal focus should be kept on implementing Skill India Mission to fulfil the growing need of skilled manpower to sustain the manufacturing entities.

Adding more jobs to rural economy that is currently suffering due to agrarian distress would definitely help in employment generation as well as better spending capacities.

And, since GST is evidently helping India progress financially, the government should further ease the GST norms encouraging more commercial establishments to register and add to the GST collections. Lowering the Income tax rates would help in increased purchasing capacity and with the growth in consumption, the indirect tax earning of the government would increase. Currently, 21% of government spending is borne by earnings through individual income tax. This can be compensated to some extent by indirect taxes that stand to benefit with increased consumption due to fall in individual tax burden. I think this is something that government should definitely explore.”

 

Pranav Maheshwari, Co-founder of Vista Rooms

“This government been quite proactive on tourism related initiatives. Udaan is one of the initiatives that is already taken to connect the entire country via airline routes, and building airports and the railways will be important even going forward. This government has also been very quick to build roads and highways, so we are hopeful that this will continue, making offbeat destinations more accessible. Electrification and the availability of power supply 24 x 7 is very important from a local tourism perspective as well.

Besides infrastructure, from a startup point of view, I think we are looking forward to quick processes for GST refunds so that the working capital isn’t blocked.

I think what affects tourism the most in India is the spending power for the middle class, so if the government takes measures to ensure that the middle class has disposable income, that is something that would inevitably benefit the travel and tourism industry.”

 

Kumar Abhishek, CEO & Co-founder, Amazon backed ToneTag

“Among various agendas, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken steps to promote young entrepreneurs in the country. The startup ecosystem is eyeing the Union Budget 2019, as the government is slowly recognizing the potential of startups and framing policies that create a favorable environment for them. While the Startup India Scheme has definitely provided multiple benefits to startups in the form of easy license clearance, tax cuts, and minimum regulatory interference, there is still scope for many more reformative policies which will further ease out the journeys of start-ups.”

Alok Mittal, CEO & Co-founder, Indifi Technologies

“Credit inclusion for MSMEs is a critical imperative to enable growth and job creation in India. We expect the upcoming budget to define concrete steps to mobilize access to financial services and empower the fintech companies that facilitate them. For instance, facilitating access to wholesale capital, and extending credit guarantee schemes such as MUDRA can help in bolstering the impact and reach of these initiatives. Similarly, opening up API based access to data within government and banking domains can help expand the reach of digital credit.”

 

Dilip Modi, Founder and Chairman, DiGiSPICE

There is great anticipation around the presentation of Union Budget 2019. After a consecutive majority mandate received by the BJP and this being new Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s maiden budget, market stakeholders are following the proceedings with keen anticipation. Also, the strength of its electoral mandate enables the government to initiate long-term transformational projects. Technology will play a great part in this transformation and already we can see various projects under the National e-governance plan taking shape across states. Maharashtra has set an example of optimized digital adoption and we can see the central government and many other states adopting AI, machine learning and data analytics to bolster public service framework.

Dedicated ‘Special Digital Zones’ like SEZs, operational subsidies, reducing import duties on essential hardware and components, guidelines to safeguard Intellectual Property and development of institutions to aid in upskilling are areas that will continue to receive focused attention. Incentives can be expected to promote greater adoption of digital solutions in the SME and MSME sector. As india emerges as a service-sector driven economy for the long run, digital infrastructural investment, both for enterprises and for the nation, will become essential. The Union Budget 2019 will feature decisions that go a long way in optimizing the transparency and judicious utilization of resources. There is a great opportunity for us to use Aadhar as an authentication platform to drive financial inclusion across semi urban and rural India.

 

Aditi Balbir, Founder and CEO, V Resorts

Tourism plays a vital role in the growth of the economy of our nation contributing to a large proportion of GDP, leading to job creation. Considering the increased inbound travel, it has become one of the fastest growing service industries in the country with great potentials for its further expansion. Although last year’s Union Budget was a setback to India’s promising Hospitality and Tourism industry, this year we are expecting more attention on this sector, favorable policies, fund allotments for startups and better tax reforms. The most crucial concerns right now are water crisis, endless traffic jams, pollution control, waste management, etc. Therefore, we also look forward to amending some policies and initiative around the same for green and sustainable tourism. The government should be approachable and willing to listen, even to the smallest of start-ups and initiatives towards bridging our requirements with them. In addition, there is a need to have advanced infrastructure to further the growth of tourism in India

 

Anil Kumar Prasanna, CEO, AxisRooms

“Expectations are very high with the continued BJP Government at centre. In the hospitality industry we are still looking at a reduced single rate GST, this can boost the domestic and inbound traffic to the business. Being a startup, the schemes like CGTMSE and Mudra loans are not yet transparent, banks and financial institutions are unaware or keep asking collateral for such loans, if this can be simplified then this can boost employments and also reduce stress on entrepreneurship, and would also request for bigger outlay spend for this loans.”

 

AbhishekBansal, Co-Founder & CEO, Shadowfax

“We are expecting that the new Finance Minister NirmalaSitharaman will initiate some remarkable steps to ease and escalate the growth of the logistics industry. Having witnessed the thrust of BJP government on digitalization in its earlier outing, we have immense hope for more of the same thrust for better and Advanced Technologies.

A directed focus on more advanced technology coupled with the upcoming 5G spectrum will give a growth impetus to the logistics sector in India. We look forward to a set of sector-specific policies for better handling of pertinent issues faced, which will be a major milestone for the logistics sector. For the past five years, the ruling government has been really supportive of Entrepreneurs & Startups companies, which gives us hope that the new budget will have some powerful package for logistics as well.”

 

VinaySinghal, Co-Founder & CEO, WittyFeed

The Startup Industry Eagerly Awaits the Government to Walk the Talk during the Union Budget 2019

India has become the second largest startup hub in the world. The Union Budget 2019 is bringing in a robust hope for the startup and technology industries in India. What will be interesting to see is whether the expectations will be met with similar vigor and thirst by the Government of India this time around.

The plight of dealing with Angel Tax has been intact for long. Angel Tax has emerged as one of the key issues faced by the Indian startup ecosystem. A lot more regarding the same needs to be addressed by the Government to boost angel investments in the country.

The technological disruption directly shapes the future of startups and with the upcoming Union Budget, we expect to witness a clear vision around how technology, especially AI, and startups will be dealt with in unison.

The startup ecosystem is expecting the government to provide for simpler regulations surrounding the tax levied upon Employee Stock Options (ESOPs). The same goes for StartUp India, Government of India’s flagship initiative wherein policies abound but the realization on the ground differs the expectation. It will help if the intent on paper is transformative enough to change the landscape of startups in India for real.

Accelerating innovation-driven entrepreneurship and business creation through startup-ecosystem is crucial for large-scale employment generation, so says the Government. Hence, it’s high time for the Government to ensure that they walk the talk and bring about a significant difference on-ground with the upcoming Union Budget 2019.

 

VinayAgrrawal, Founder & CEO, Hubbler

“For a Make in India vs Register in India, We founders have a huge expectation from the upcoming budget to make India the preferred Hub, especially for the startup sector. Tax woes like Angel Tax continue to haunt Indian entrepreneurs and investors. Several Indian startups, although operating in India, have registered their companies in Singapore to benefit from the mature funding opportunities, ease of doing business, lower capital gain tax from selling of shares by investors; Continue the policy of reducing corporate taxes, and stable economic policies (Lowering the Compliances required to be met by Startups, reduced or zero rate of TDS, encouraging VCs by requiring less stringent paperwork). Indian startups are literally going places today & the overpowering regulations can dampen the spirits & the Pride of Make in India & Registered in India”.

 

Avneet Singh Marwah, Director and CEO of Super Plastronics Pvt. Ltd, a Kodak brand Licensee

Taxation (Custom Duty, GST and Make in India)

“As a part of the television manufacturing industry, we request FM to reduce the GST to 18% on all the TV panels as 28 % is the highest tax charged on televisions in the world.

Additionally, there has been more than Rs 2500crs worth of import of TVs in the past UNDER FTA (Free Trade Agreement) under zero percent duty. This doesn’t favor the companies who support Make in India Campaign of the government. This agreement must be cancelled or it should be confined to import of selective goods.”

Infrastructure

“In last 5 years, there have been positive developments in the infrastructure sector. Our ranking in the global infrastructure has improved. Our expectation from the Union Budget 2019 is that the government should lay more focus on building express corridors to connect Tier 1 cities with Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. This will help many companies in reaching out to these cities without any hassle.”

 

Praveen Agrawal, Managing Director, OakNorth

We expect sustained push towards a digital-first economy, which would include support for R&D and AI, reduced regulatory restriction on use of technology in financial services sector, and simplified tax deduction at source (TDS) and repayments in online lending.

 

Rahul Singh, Co-founder & CEO of Ithaka

Travel startups bleed to compete with foreign registered travel companies as GST is not applicable on them. GST becomes a big amount as ticket sizes are big for travel bookings and hence affect the decision of traveler in choosing where to buy from. Also, sending money to vendors outside India could be easier to further promote making of global companies out of India.

I also have high hope from this budget on startup ecosystem and want immediate removal of angel tax, which has been haunting both entrepreneurs and investors for a long time. Government should also encourage VCs by requiring less stringent paper work for funding.

To make our PM’s dream a reality, startups should focus on innovation, rather than compliances. There should be single window for all compliances. Also, to boost employee retention and wealth creation for key people in a company there should be simpler regulations on ESOPs.

 

Saurabh Srivastava, Chairman & Co-founder of Indian Angel Network

“We are deeply appreciative of the hard work done by DPIIT/CBDT and bringing out the Angel tax notification in February, which has alleviated start ups’ problems to a large extent. Our expectation from the forthcoming Union Budget is further alleviation of regulatory friction impeding the growth of start-ups and angel investors. We hope that the Finance Ministry will take steps to align errant AOs who are still not falling in line with the spirit of the notification and harassing start ups. We also hope that the Government addresses the issue of tax authorities misusing laws such as Section 133(6) of the Income Tax Act to harass investors in start ups, raising the issue of valuation all over again. This brings to nought the sanctity of all the hard work done by DIPP and CBDT in the past months to exempt genuine start ups from Angel tax.

Moreover, Section 56 should be eliminated completely to encourage Angel investment in MSMEs. While DPIIT has uplifted start-ups in its February notification, MSMEs in general( which do not meet the DPIIT definintion), have been left out. Further, we seek clear messaging and simplification of executive processes from the Government regarding other taxes in which start-ups are usually caught up.

We welcome the President’s ambition regarding of 50,000 start ups by 2024 and hope we will cross it even earlier.”

 

Kamal Dutta, MD India, Skillsoft

We’re now witnessing the fourth industrial revolution and with it the evolution of new age digital technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Cloud Computing. Shortage of these new age skillsets can be met by the govt. developing guidelines for various industries in order to create mandatory learning for employees especially in the IT, BFSI sectors. The government should provide some support in the form of incentivizing companies investing in the reskilling, upskilling of their workforce for the digital age.

With the shortage of skilled workforce in the deep tech sector, reskilling of employees in AI, ML, IoT will help grow India’s IT sector and sharpen its competitive edge amidst the changing business landscape. There should also be some tax benefit for individuals investing in their own training and development.

Introduction of more industry specific and customized skill development programs like the ‘Skill India’ can help organizations acquire, retain and grow their talent base which will ultimately help these grow their capabilities and reshape India’s skilling and reskilling landscape. The ultimate benefit will be to the young and growing Indian population to secure good jobs, strengthen their career path and continuously keep learning to stay updated and ahead of the curve.

Ishan Gupta, MD Udacity India

The current government’s Digital India initiative has played a pivotal role in empowering the country with digital assets. In the last few years, we have witnessed an exponential growth in the adoption of digital platforms for education, healthcare, banking and more. In the upcoming budget, I expect the Finance Minister to focus on providing equal opportunities to the readily available 500 million internet users while further expanding this base and the gamut of digital services to create a thriving knowledge economy. The Government should also focus on challenges like data security to ensure a sustainable digital transformation.

 

Sandeep Aggarwal, Founder & CEO, Droom.in

Our expectations from the Union Budget 2019-20 are pretty straightforward. With e-commerce being one of the most dynamic sectors in India at present, it has become imperative for the government to make the environment as conducive as possible for domestic players to survive and thrive in. The government should also make GST on e-commerce inapplicable for five years, along with facilitating R&D to drive innovations.

Further, there should be a single-window approval for the incorporation and establishment of a company. The capital gain taxes need to be done away with. Lastly, an internet company based out of India should be able to list itself to any stock exchange, and not just the Indian one. By undertaking such initiatives, the government can ensure that the environment becomes highly favorable both for established as well as emerging players in the e-commerce industry across the country.

 

Saahil Goel, CEO & Co-founder, Shiprocket

The government has done a lot to boost the startup ecosystem. In the upcoming full budget, we are expecting some key initiatives to be announced.

Though govt. gave a breather from Angel tax to DPIIT registered start-ups with share capital, including premium, of up to Rs.25 crores, we expect an increase in the exemption limit to up to Rs.50 crores. Moreover, Sec.68 of the Income Tax Act needs to be relaxed so that the start-ups no longer have to prove the source of investments made by their investor, failing which the department can tax the share premium received. Sec. 80IAC Income Tax, mandating govt. certification also needs to be amended to give effect to the angel taxation exemption intended by the govt.

Further, the budget is expected to encourage private investments by giving sops and simultaneously stepping up public investments across key areas such as logistics and infrastructure. Liquidity crisis needs to be addressed on a war footing by relaxing the norms around NBFCs and their funding.”

Anil Nagar, Founder and CEO, Adda247

The Union Budget for 2019-20 has touched the right notes for increasing the demand and growth in the economy. It will help in stabilising the incomes of the lower and middle class sections of the society including the farmers and workers of the unorganized sector by reducing the risks. It will automatically increase the purchasing power of the lower and middle class families. It indeed is a game changer for the country.

 

Ms. Saania Singh, Co – Founder, Zero Gravity Aesthetics

Though there is always a demand for immediate finance within the business ecosystem, a lot of banks are ill-equipped in terms of supply. In the upcoming budget, we expect the government to make working capital available at a lower rate of interest, especially for start-ups.

To level the start-up ecosystem, the government needs to widen its attention beyond the IT industry start-ups and take a more holistic approach. It should also work on start-up funding policies for women entrepreneurs and ensure efficient implementation of these policies.

 

Gaurav Jalan, Founder & CEO, mPokket

“Our expectations from the Union Budget of 2019-2020 are fairly forthright, in terms of ease and unification of compliances for Fintech companies. Fintech has the potential to play a significant role in shaping the future of the country’s economy, and a fairly consistent and conducive environment will enable startups to follow a proper procedure that facilitates proactive compliance along with helping avoid unnecessary costs.

We believe that creating such a favorable environment will allow Fintech to survive and thrive in the ecosystem. Moreover, we hope that Fintech companies are allowed to participate in the recent initiative by SIDBI to provide loans under an hour, as well as in the various measures being taken under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojna.

Low levels of financial inclusion remain a critical factor affecting the development of the Indian economy, and Fintech has the potential to address this challenge. So we expect a better infrastructure that promotes and facilitates the digitalization of transactions in the remote areas of the country. This will enable Fintech companies to serve the underserved segments of the population, thereby driving true financial inclusion in India”.

 

Varun Gera- Founder and CEO of HealthAssure

“Current healthcare system is now at spotlight from social as well as political needs and requires more funds and attention. Prepolls announcement of Ayushman Bharat now requires allocation of funds and implementation on both inpatient as well as outpatient commitments. Honouring this commitment is important but will not be easy for the Government to significantly reallocate the budget from other areas to Health.

I expect NDA government to bite the bullet and at least triple the government healthcare budget over the next 2 years from low of 1.2% currently.

There are many countries with high costs and inefficient healthcare operating systems. For this reason, apart from allocating appropriate budgets, its important for government to initiate appropriate building blocks, take right decisions and good implementation in this sector to further develop the healthcare ecosystem in India.”

 

Deepak Maheshwari, Director of Government Affairs, India, ASEAN & China, Symantec

“As a young and aspirational New India marches forward in its transformation to a Five Trillion Dollar Economy, the role of the Trillion Dollar Digital Opportunity is paramount – as seen in broad and deep technology adoption at scale and speed; most visible in government services, education, healthcare, financial services, entertainment and information via smart mobile devices, extending beyond interpersonal communication. In addition, the role of technology will also be instrumental for inclusive growth and innovation.

With the ubiquitous hyper connectivity and horizontal integration of technology across all walks of life, it is not at all surprising that cyber security threats featured amongst the top four risks by the World Economic Forum in its recent report. India is neither immune nor an outlier to this global phenomenon.

To foster trust in technology and bolster overall security, it is imperative that India enhances its cyber security readiness and posture, especially in the critical infrastructures including governance, banking and financial services, energy, telecom and smart cities.

The budget should mandate setting aside 10% of the respective technology budgets for every government project exclusively for cyber security, as per the recommendations of the NASSCOM Task Force set up in response to the Prime Minister’s behest.

Besides enactment of data protection, we need a comprehensive National Cyber Security Strategy, both enriched via public consultations; and aligned with global best practices.”

 

Ravi Vishvanathan, Director, PayMate

Tweaking the Angel Tax has not helped in resolving the matter. The tax just needs to go, and the entire section needs to be deleted altogether.

RBI’s Vision 2021 needs to be backed by bold measures in the Budget: –

Reduced Tax Rate for businesses spending less in cash than the threshold level.

Lower stamp duty on contracts and agreements.

Start-up Entrepreneurs in Fintech sector arrange for finance from family and friends and the restrictions on loan from friends and relations need to be relaxed to a great extent.

NEFT/RTGS should become a 24/7 facility (with a half hour window for settlement if required).

Fintechs operate on a low margin and Tax Deduction on Gross Revenue results in negative cash flow for these entities. Either Fintechs should be exempted from TDS or alternatively, Zero/Lower Tax Deduction Certificates should be issued by default based on self-declaration.

 

Devendra Parulekar, Co-Founder, SaffronStays

“We hope to see Budget 2019 focusing on rationalizing the GST rates for the domestic travel industry, as the top end customer segments are choosing to holiday abroad, with the current GST bracket ultimately impacting the domestic travel economy. This in turn creates a ripple effect on the employment rates. The hospitality industry is a big contributor when it comes to providing employment and it needs to be actively encouraged. One of the ways of doing so is ensuring that domestic travel becomes an affordable option for the Indian traveler.

Also, the focus needs to be on National Skill Development Corporation to train our youth in hospitality operations, housekeeping, front office, cooking and other skills related to the industry, as it create a ready pool of employable resources for the industry.

Another important aspect that takes away from the domestic travel industry’s growth is the lack of adequate infrastructure. The focus should be on developing amenities like building good quality roads, constructing public restrooms on highways and petrol stations that makes road trip safe and women-friendly. Just taking a few mindful steps can go a long way in nudging the domestic travel industry upward on the growth trajectory. Lastly, I want budget to encourage more eco-friendly and sustainable solutions to reduce energy consumption as it can contribute positively towards boosting the economy. Even simple steps such as investing in solar panels and building further awareness on using alternate energy sources of power generation can go a long way in making our country more sustainability focused while still pushing for economic growth. We can’t have a singular lens towards growth anymore; the onus lies with the government as much as it does with the population of the country to imbibe an empathetic lens and work towards building economies that are flourishing that don’t cost us the environment we want to flourish within.”

 

Ms. Tanul Mishra, CEO, Afthonia Lab

“While the government has started work on strengthening and promoting the incubator ecosystem in India, there is still a wide chasm to cover. It is indeed encouraging to see the rapid strides being taken to close the gap with a number of incubators being launched in the country over the last few months. Alongside, I hope that the government will focus on a better outreach plan for the incubators as they help startups with resources to sustain through their seed years. Secondly, I am hoping the government would launch more initiatives like SEBI sandbox for the fintech industry as it will help bridge the gap between the regulator and the fintech companies and also foster meaningful innovation with complete awareness of a complex financial framework. Having this crucial access will also enable startups to test their products or services in a close to real environment. I also hope to see the government explore public private partnerships of incubators since a mix of both can help the startups with the best insights, knowledge and access. Finally, I believe that the RBI’s Vision 2021 needs to include a key area that the roadmap is silent on – KYC which would be essential for on boarding customers.”

 

Shankar Prasad, Founder, Pureplay skin sciences(India)

Focus on infrastructure
Infrastructural bottlenecks (e.g., power, water, urban transport) are still the norm, rather the exception. Besides fund allocation, taking steps to improve the speed of execution of infrastructure projects would greatly improve the speed and efficiency of doing business, and would also make us export-competitive.

Incentives for small and medium-scale manufacturing
It is becoming amply clear that agriculture cannot support the existing workforce dependent on it, leave alone create new jobs. A lot of the surplus agricultural workforce is being absorbed directly into services, but largely in unskilled jobs. Manufacturing is a long-ignored sector that has the potential to transform the economy. Simply put, we need to make things easier for the manufacturing sector, and the reforms have to span land, labour, capital access, tax incentives and ease of compliance. A lot needs to be done here.

Simplification of customs duties
We have drifted away from a simple customs duty structure, to a multi-tiered one with confusing structures. This is leading to disputes, incorrect assessment and precious time and money lost while clearing shipments. It would help to have a single rate of customs duty for most items, other than those in special categories.

Abolition of equalization levy
The intent here was to get large online companies like Facebook and Google to stop tax-arbitraging. What is happening in reality is that it is business-as-usual for these large corporations, and the additional financial and compliance burden of equalization levy is falling on small advertisers which have no better option than these online giants to advertise with. It’s an idea whose time and utility have both come and gone. Neither is it resulting in any substantial revenue mop-up for the treasury.

Varun Gera, Founder and CEO, HealthAssure

“Current healthcare system is now at spotlight from social as well as political need and requires more funds and attention. Prepolls announcement of Ayushman Bharat now requires allocation of funds and implementation on both inpatient as well as outpatient commitments. Honouring this commitment is important but will not be easy for the Government to significantly reallocate the budget from other areas to Health.

I expect NDA government to bite the bullet and at least triple the government healthcare budget over the next 2 years from low of 1.2% currently.

There are many countries with high costs and inefficient healthcare operating systems. For this reason, apart from allocating appropriate budgets, its important for government to initiate appropriate building blocks, take right decisions and good implementation in this sector to further develop the healthcare ecosystem in India.”

 

Dr. Rishi Bhatnagar, President-Aeris Communications & Chairman IET IoT Panel India

“The interim budget undoubtedly introduced policies to push the country towards a digital economy. I strongly believe the upcoming budget will fuel the Indian IT companies towards innovation which is the core and utmost important aspect of taking digitization at a full swing in India.

Lowering the GST slabs in manufacturing devices can pose as an opportunity for the youth to lead India in this endeavour with innumerable innovative start-ups. This will not only take India closer to the vision of a digital India but also widen the talent pool by creating new jobs. For an incessant spur to Make In India and Digital India, initiatives, like making National centre for Artificial Intelligence and building Centre of Excellence in collaboration with universities, will open the path for the youth in India to leverage the new state-of-the-art development infrastructure and upskill themselves to widen the job opportunity pool for themselves.”

 

Snehashish Bhattacharjee, Global CEO, Denave

“To ensure technology, disruption and innovation continue to prosper, a robust R&D support is a must. Clearly, expectations have risen notches post the interim budget ’19-’20 which initiated the conversation towards building a digital India. It held promise of greater focus on emerging technologies with plans of a National programme on Artificial Intelligence (AI) comprising establishing a national centre on AI along with Centre of Excellence (CoE).

It is now important that the pace of the change is quickened and we hope the government will have multiple things in their bucket to offer in this section. Also, India has emerged as a land for budding talent in IT/ITeS industry, it is imperative for government to start recognising the young talents and work on the notions to widen the job pool for them. Easy accessibility of their technical capabilities will carve the path to catalyse Indian job ecosystem”

 

UdayaBhaskar Rao Abburu, CEO & Managing Director, iRAM Technologies

“Today, MSMEs are facing the problem with liquidity due to non-cooperation from banks. Although the government has the CGTMSE scheme, it is still not being implemented properly by banks. My expectation from the budget is that MSMEs and Indian start-ups should be given preference to participate in smart cities projects. In order to boost domestic manufacturing, we expect our honorable Finance Minister to provide duty exemption to those vendors who import raw materials for smart cities projects. This will give price parity for Indian manufacturers to compete against Chinese imports.”

 

Shashank Dixit, Founder & CEO, Deskera

“Right on the top of my wishlist for this year’s budget are schemes to create jobs as that is integral to a lot of other systemic issues outside of unemployment such as affordable housing. More, high-quality jobs typically help address all other societal problems. I strongly feel SMEs taking to digital tools and becoming more efficient, will drive better jobs and outcomes. These initiatives will help us avoid stimuli, such as Universal Basic Income Schemes and other alternatives.

The only other piece on my wishlist is to abolish the angel tax for government recognized startups and SMEs. It’s unfair in structure and policy and curbs growth within SMEs and is largely detrimental to building a world-class startup and SME ecosystem in India.”

 

Sanjit Chatterjee CEO of REVE Antivirus

“The government had taken some good measures in the interim budget earlier. Given that this will be the first set of policies to be rolled out by the new government that has been elected into power, a lot of hopes and expectations are set on the budget for 2019. This year, we expect the government to rationalize the GST to 15% to boost the software industry.

It is imperative that they strengthen the startup quality norms, in order to ensure that authentic and good-quality products by genuine players are available in the market. We hope to also see more encouraging reforms that will reinforce the start-up ecosystem in India. It gained rapid momentum with the launch of ‘Start-up India’ and Make in India campaigns.

We look towards the introduction of more such programmes which can further be taken to the global level as well. Last but not least, we expect more preference to be given to software developed in India. With an increased threat of data pilferage and other issues today, it is also time that more emphasis and focus are given to budget allocation for cybersecurity”.

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