Union Budget 2019: Post Budget Reactions from Indian Industry Leaders

By : |February 1, 2019 0

Finance Minister Piyush Goyal presented sixth and final budget 2019 of the Narendra Modi government’s before the polls. He highlighted the initiatives of the government and announced the farmer income support scheme of Rs 6,000 per year and many other schemes. Different industries like healthcare, Tech, AI, Logistics, real estate, etc. had their set of expectations and now some of them are quite happy. We have incorporated the reactions of numerous industry leaders.

 

Sanjay Jalona, CEO & MD, LTI (L&T Infotech)

“The continued support by the government on new age concepts such as AI that has the power to emerge as not only national assets but global disruptors is a huge trigger to further advancements in these fields. The role of such exponential technologies in driving the nation’s development is immense and provides a much-needed avenue to address and overcome pertinent age-old issues. Furthermore government’s vision for 2030 to place India as a modern, technology-driven, high growth and transparent society including leading the world in transport through electric vehicles and energy storage devices further emphasizes the role of digital technologies in transforming not only businesses but overall living standards.”

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Rajiv Bhalla, Managing Director, Barco India

We laud the budget presented by Mr Piyush Goel today and believe it is a populist budget overall. Mr Piyush Goel announced 9 top dimensions to this budget and Make in India and Digital India were central to it. Expanding rural industrialisation using modern digital technologies to generate massive employment is the Fourth Dimension of the vision. This will be built upon the Make in India approach to developing grass-roots level clusters, structures and mechanisms encompassing the MSMEs, village industries and start-ups spread in every nook and corner of the country. India is now on the way to becoming a global manufacturing hub in various sectors including automobiles and electronics, defence and medical devices.

At Barco, we believe, building an ecosystem to spur local manufacturing is key for India’s success and a steadily growing economy. Not only does it amplify job opportunities, but also gives a competitive edge to build products and solutions “In India, For India.” This will allow companies like us to build quality products in the country, and focus on helping drive better outcomes for our customers. This will also help local manufacturers negate a price-focused strategy rather than a quality focused strategy.

 

Sumeer Chandra, Managing Director, HP Inc. India

“The focus on leveraging emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence to enable a positive impact on the lives of people is an encouraging step. Further, the expansion of rural industrialization using digital technologies, development of clusters encompassing the MSMEs, village industries and start-ups, will boost rural manufacturing, job creation and strengthen the overall economy.

We appreciate the government’s budget focus on empowering the middle class and the rural population. Initiatives such as monetary support for farmers and higher exemption limit in personal income tax slab would provide higher disposable income, thereby, leading to higher spending. I believe, this will lead to consumption growth, giving impetus to overall economy.”

 

Deepak Maheshwari, Director – Government Affairs, India, Symantec

“The Budget acknowledges the pivotal role of digital technology in India’s evolution to a five-trillion dollar economy over the next five years. Budget proposals such as those on artificial intelligence, one lakh digital villages and the thrust on RFID usage will not only fuel entrepreneurship, but also unleash enormous job opportunities.

In addition, with the continued momentum on digitizing transactions using Aadhaar and the need for real-time monitoring and evaluation of effectiveness and efficiency of various government schemes, the critical role of cyber security resilience and data protection towards fostering and inculcating trust cannot be over-emphasized.

It would be desirable that the forthcoming full budget later this year mandates setting aside 10 percent of the technology layout of every government project exclusively towards cyber security, as per the recommendations of the NASSCOM Task Force. The ensuing consultations on data protection legislation should result in a comprehensive, forward-looking, world-class enactment that enables and empowers people and businesses to use technology with confidence.”

 

Anand Kumar Bajaj, Founder & CEO PayNearby

“The “Thank you note” to Tax payers, made us feel officially proud for the first time. Focus of Govt on Rural and Startup is clearly visible and this is a long term impact work. We are glad that we are a Startup working towards helping accomplish critical activities which are part of the vision of Govt. Certain modules of Startup growth hack and customer retention have been applied to reward Good Behaviour and we stand validated by the Government for our business models.

Farmer support income through Aadhaar is suggestive of the fact that the construction has begun on the Base (Aadhaar). True grass root level of marginalised beneficiaries have been identified amidst migrants, nomads, small farmers, small tax payers, small businesses and retiring small salary earners. The budget has been well received, benefits are immense and the future is bright. Environment feels like Diwali in February.”

 

Maulik Doshi, Senior Executive Director – Transfer Pricing and Transaction Advisory Services SKP Business Consulting LLP

“As expected the budget has been populist where many sops have been provided to middle class tax payers and farmers. Overall it appears to be a good budget with a mix of populist and pragmatic statements. The most important aspect was maintaining the fiscal deficit targets even after doling out benefits. Real estate sector has also been given impetus by extending tax holiday for affordable housing, increasing period from 1 year to 2 year for taxing notional rent on unsold inventory, rollover capital gains benefit for 2 houses, etc. This will go a long way in meeting government aim of housing for all by 2020.”

 

L C Singh, Vice Chairman, Nihilent Limited

“The impetus provided by the government in propagating the advancements in Artificial Intelligence for building nation’s assets is indeed heartening to know. The plan to set up a National Centre for AI augers well for positioning India at the centre of global innovations.”

 

Arun Gupta, Founder and CEO, MoMAGIC Technologies

” The national program on AI by the Indian government is the right direction to create grass root level interest among Indian techies. With big data and analytics, AI will play a key role in several areas including retail, logistics, pharma, e-commerce and security etc. We also foresee AI tech to push the AdTech Setor and in turn the digital marketing and mobile marketing.”

 

Sudeep Singh, Chief Evangelist and CEO, GoWork

“The complexities of acquiring spaces have been eliminated to a considerable extent due to RERA, safeguarding the interests of the investors. Also, India being world’s second largest start-up hub and with the push of the Digital India initiative, we will witness a tremendous increase in job creation. With more ventures coming in action, there will be an extensive need of modern offices and co-working spaces which will create endless opportunities for blue-collar workers as well.”

 

Gautam Raj Anand, Founder and CEO, Hubhopper

“The government has done a fantastic job of making the internet accessible to millions of Indians. Now its’ the job of Internet companies to localize their products and content so that the increased access to data can be satiated and utilized with an equal amount of content and user-friendly experience.”

 

Ashish Nayyar, India MD, OakNorth

“National Artificial Intelligence Portal will be a good step towards making Indian economy more FinTech inclusive. Hopeful that SME Finance would be one of the focus areas for leveraging ML and AI. I think this portal’s framework would be based off a robust data infrastructure. A crucial sub-step would be ensuring financial data (both electronic and non-electronic), as applicable to SMEs, is housed in a robust data lake with adequate protection mechanisms. Once we create a viable data economy for SME’s, the ML and AI frameworks can be applied to meta data of such SMEs.

The AI frameworks would then be able to generate insights on SME sectors which haven’t access to finance purely due to lack of bandwidth and ability to harness such data. This in turn would ensure SME access to finance in our country is at par with other nations (if not better). With the portal coming up and streamlined data access (with protection), FinTech ecosystem would receive exponential growth.”

 

Ajit Kumar, Founder & CEO, RupeeCircle

“The proposal to digitize 1 lakh villages over the course of the next 5 years will benefit the Fintech companies to further drive financial inclusion to the Indian masses. The FM’s announcement to provide full tax rebate to individuals with income up to Rs 5 lakhs will benefit over 3 crore middle class families including the employees of many startups. We look forward to the National Artificial Intelligence Portal because now the innovative Fintech segment can tap into new and emerging technologies and use AI to the betterment of the society.”

 

Akshat Saxena, co-founder, ePayLater

“It is a progressive budget with a clear push towards socio-economic growth of the country with a focus on agriculture, SMEs, and the working class. The budget touched upon almost every strata of the society. We also welcome the government’s proposals that incentivize MSMEs. The budget proposes bringing down the corporate tax for firms that reported turnover up to Rs 250 crore, from 30% to 25%, thereby reducing the tax burden on MSMEs.

There is visible thrust for digital solution and new age technologies as the budget specifically mentioned the envisaging of a National programme on artificial intelligence and Digital India being an integral part of the long term vision.”

 

Udaya Bhaskar Rao Abburu, CEO & Managing Director, iRam Technologies

“We welcome the budget! It is a people focus budget. Our honourable standing finance minister Piyush Goyal announced the series of measures in Budget 2019 – 20 to promote AI and infrastructure, and we as a company are looking forward to its future scope.

iRAM would be standing with Mr. Goyal’s initiative to build next-gen infrastructure physical as well as social for a $10 trillion economy and to provide Ease of Living. This will also mean opportunities for the smart city venture and companies like iRAM. We will be working closely with the government to make basic facility available like smart parking solutions, smart lighting solutions, infrastructure etc.

Also, the announcement to build a Digital India that reaches every citizen by creating innumerable start-ups and jobs, will give a major impetus to the smart city initiative. National centre for artificial intelligence is under consideration. Along with that a national AI portal will be developed soon, and this is a very welcome step for IoT enabled companies like iRAM.”

 

Akshay Chaturvedi, CEO & Co-Founder, LeverageEdu

“It was good to have Piyush Ji talk about India’s growing startup ecosystem, reflecting it is something that the government takes pride in. The GST reforms are a welcome step too. Hoping different departments in the government will work with each other, for example the DIPP and Income Tax authorities, which will really make growth seamless for startups, so that they are able to better serve the New India.”

 

Sreeraman, Co-Founder, Agrahyah Technologies

“A ‘no harm budget’ for both India and Bharat. With interest subvention for farmers and high rebates on income tax, this a well-balanced interim budget for both urban and rural Indians. The budget puts more money in the hands of people, a welcome move.

With the election around the corner, the budget aims to focus on increasing consumption and expedite revival of an economy which faced headwinds from the previous initiatives such as DeMo, RERA, and GST.

A revival of demand in real estate, auto, and consumer goods are obvious which also increases the number of loans disbursed by a bank, thus blowing tailwinds for all major sectors driving the consumer economy.

India is leading in mobile data consumption in the world, coupled with increased connectivity and cheapest data plans, we can expect increased consumption not just in consumer goods, but also multimedia content consumption on mobile. With 1 lac villages poised to be transformed into Digital Village, it will be a windfall for digital payments, e-services, and content-driven companies.”

 

Rajesh Uttamchandani, Director, Syska Group

“As India is poised to become a USD 5 trillion economy in next five years, there is an immense opportunity for Indian organizations to develop and flourish. With the rapid proliferation of new age technologies such as internet of things, artificial intelligence and others, we welcome the Government’s keen focus on building a digitally vibrant India in the next few years.

This will provide an opportunity for companies such as Syska to introduce IoT enabled products that are affordable in the Indian market and help in developing smart cities. Additionally, as energy efficient product & solutions are seeing increased adoption, we are pleased with the Government providing 143 crore LED bulbs to rural areas. This resonates with our mission of providing energy efficient LED lighting solutions that are ‘Made in India’ to every Indian household.”

 

Alok Mittal, CEO & Co-founder Indifi Technologies & active angel investor

“The budget announcement in relation to MSMEs and Startups are welcome. Enabling more digital lending for MSMEs, and removing the friction around angel tax would be key enablers to realizing their potential.”

 

Kumar Abhishek, CEO & Co-founder, ToneTag

“It is a very refreshing budget, particularly for the mid salary segment and farmers. With the central government giving 6k assured income, it will be a great relief for farmers if the state government also contributes 6k against farm loan waivers.

India will soon be at the global forefront of digitalization with the mission to convert one lakh villages into digital villages. The country will also see a significant technological advancement with the introduction of the new national advancement on AI. The ease of obtaining loans will largely benefit entrepreneurs to expand their business and generate more job opportunities.”

 

Anil Valluri, President, India & SAARC Operations, NetApp

“The Government, in its Budget 2019 today has articulated a compelling vision for India, both for the medium and long term. It has provided direction, and a finite and ambitious goal for India, of becoming a USD 10 trillion economy by 2030. I look forward to the details and to the Government marking progress against it. For the short term, this is a budget that has something for everyone, but more particularly the middle class, the agricultural community and marginalized sections of society. The sense of inclusion, financial as well as welfare is welcome and much needed to build the force for a stronger nation that can march towards what I call Vision 2030.”

 

Divya Jain, CEO, and Founder, Safeducate

“The Government’s push to the unorganized sector is a welcome step for the logistics vertical, which is characterized by a large number of unorganized players; and the pension scheme for the 4.2 crore workers in the numerous industries announced, in a way will help in streamlining the workforce and will address the issue of giving a decent life to them post their working age.

With the scheme of modernizing the villages, and going digital will help in Skilling the youths in such villages, making them self-reliant and finding progressive careers for themselves while contributing to the household incomes as well. In most of the villages, women are still not allowed to go out of their homes – Digital villages will help to reach those women and skill them. Even though through various schemes such as PM Mudra Yojana, Government have been trying to educate women and work towards the cause of women empowerment, but still a lot of women have been deprived of it – Digital villages will likely ensure such benefits reach them faster now.

 

Beas Dev Ralhan, CEO, and Founder, NextEducation India Pvt. Ltd.

“India needs to integrate itself with the global big bang of technology, and the government has taken a welcome step towards it by declaring a nationwide programme on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the Union Budget 2019. This programme involves the establishment of a National Centre for Artificial Intelligence along with other centres of excellence, and the development of a national AI portal for the advancement of 9 high-priority areas including education.

This will help us catch up with the leading nations such as the US and China, who are using AI and data sciences to personalising education. Apart from this, the Digital India scheme, with more than 3 lakh common service centres, is aimed at bringing digital infrastructure to every nook and corner of the country. The government intends to build 1 lakh digital villages with an internet connection and digital devices in the next few years. This, in collaboration with EdTech companies like us, will help realise the national vision of ‘Education for All’.The

National Education Mission has been allocated just 38,572 crores. However, we were expecting a better cut towards the education sector”.

 

Souma Das, Managing Director, Teradata India

“The finance Minister today once again underscored the ‘Digital India’ impacting lives of every Indian. The investment proposed by the government in the field of Artificial intelligence and allied technologies will pave a strong foundation for making revolutionary transformation in the scope of governance and the opportunity to provide seamless and improved citizen services experience. We welcome the government’s decision to establish National Centre for Artificial Intelligence.”

 

Shobhit Bhatnagar, Co-Founder, Gradeup

“The budget announcement that the Government will set up a national centre for artificial intelligence to look into AI programmes is a welcome move. With this, we hope that we get the right set of people, agency and minds to lead this initiative. A policy was much needed from the govt. around usage of data and AI, so that India can lever on its own creation of data and not just be a digital colony. India is fast becoming the largest consumer of data in the world and we are generating a lot of data while innovating new products and reaching out to new audiences. If this policy is made and executed correctly with the right system design, it will also be a great value add for consumer startups.”

 

Sangita Reddy, Joint Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals Group

“The interim budget threw light on the Government’s dedication to a healthy India with a distress-free healthcare system. The budget mentioned the Government’s aim to bridge the urban rural divide and provide benefits that people in a city have to those staying in villages. Healthcare should be a critical component of these efforts. We must not lose this opportunity to address the urban-rural imbalance in health infrastructure and ensure specific policies to encourage private sector to invest in the same. The announcement of a National Centre on Artificial Intelligence is also a big positive. AI today has great potential in transforming and designing new tools which will equip doctors in the fight against non-communicable diseases. At Apollo, we have already taken the first step with an Intelligent Platform designed to predict cardiovascular disease risk score for Indians.”

 

Rajesh Srivastava, Executive Chairman, Rabo Equity Advisors

“We welcome Government’s decisions on interest subventions for farmers both in quantum and the tweak to extend subvention for crop loss due to calamities across the loan tenor instead of just 1 year shows the feel for woes of farmers. Direct Benefit Support of Rs 6000 per year under the new PM Kisan Samman Yojana has to be sustainable and hence should be framed to intertwine productive use of the subsidy. The scheme has a huge outlay of Rs 75,000 crore for the year 2019 and would be interesting to see the impact on resources. I think the move to segregate the Department of Fisheries from the Department of Animal Husbandry is also well thoight out as fisheries was getting subsumed in other parts of animal husbandry. I am missing thrusts on yields based insurance which is a must for farmers. I am also missing a follow up announcement on increasing credit flow to food processing. I remain convinced that we need a Nabard like institution in a PPP model to catalyse credit flow to food processing, which is as valuable to farmers as primary agriculture.”

 

Simon George, President, Cargill India

“Quite a strong rural economy and agri push in the Interim Budget. We are particularly optimistic about the Central Govt. sponsored PM Kisan Yogjna, the Direct Benefit Transfers to small holder farmers. Though a lot more can be done but nevertheless a good move that will help farmers align better with market. Many more initiatives including market reforms like implementing model APMC act, Essential Commodity Act etc. is required to achieve the objective of doubling farmers’ income by 2022.

The interest subvention scheme of total 5% to famers engaged in animal husbandry and fisheries is also a positive development helping farmers through lower interest rates. Additionally the MNREGA outlay increase to Rs. 60,000 crore will result in rural employment and infrastructure growth.

More money in the hands of the farmers and consumers through the Tax reforms will provide further impetus to the economy’s growth.

Good to see Indian government looking at promoting use of renewable power and becoming a world leader in transport revolution. Cargill as a company globally also focuses on sustainable practices that can support the environment.”

 

Sunil Gupta, MD and CEO, Avis India

“The statements given by the government in toady’s Budget highlight the intention of the government to promote road transportation by building new highways. Building 27kms of highways per day will make India the fastest highway developer in the world. The growth in the network of highways will lead to the creation of direct jobs and contribute to tourism. The Sagar Mala project will improve port linkages and drive the export of cars, critical for Make in India. We are supportive of Vision 2030 mentioned by Mr.Goyal in the context of electric vehicles (EVs). The Budget was largely silent on concrete incentives for EVs but we hope that in the next FAME policy, the Government will spell out incentives for all stakeholders in the EV ecosystem – manufacturers, charging infrastructure providers and operators. Promoting the manufacture and use of electric vehicles is a rare multi-benefit initiative, reducing the carbon footprint of transportation, air pollution and crude imports. Also, abolition of customs duty on components for assembly of lithium batteries for EVs in India and promotion of green-field EV battery capacity in India will drive Make in India.”

 

Surajit Das, Co-founder and CEO, Routematic

“Not much was talked on startups in the budget this year. The 2% interest subvention on MSME loans will help to get access to capital. Areas, where we wanted more allocation, were higher education to improve talent pool and some innovative thinking around reducing capital gains tax for VCs which could make India the preferred investment destination for VCs.”

 

Rajesh Agarwal, Co-Founder, Micromax

“We, at Micromax, respect and welcome the government’s budget reforms. This year’s Budget has brought significant changes, focusing on various key aspects which are largely stressed upon our overall economic growth – Rural, Agriculture, job creation, healthcare, housing, Structural reforms and infrastructure development, which will help stimulate and strengthen the Indian economy. The emphasis on establishing a programme to bring in direct efforts towards building a holistic ecosystem for Artificial Intelligence is an impressive development. The government’s proposal of giving a full tax rebate to individual taxpayers with an income of up to 5 lakh will empower the Indian consumer. Moreover, the government’s announcement around expanding Common Service Centres and creating digital infrastructure in the villages will be a significant step in the Digital India mission and growth of the Make in India initiative. With India leading the consumption of voice calls and mobile data usage, it is fascinating to note our constant progression towards becoming a global hub for manufacturing.”

 

Vartul Jain, VP – Finance, GreyOrange

“It is heartening to see the Government’s continued focus on its flagship programs, Digital India and Make in India, as key drivers to the nation’s economic growth, with a greater focus on digitisation in the rural economy. In line with this agenda, the announcements to set up a national centre for Artificial Intelligence and development of an AI portal through identification of nine priority areas in the segment will be critical to promote the adoption of these emerging technologies in the country and to position India as a front runner in this space across the globe.

The extension of the GeM platform, with a focus on supporting domestic trade and services, retail trading and welfare of traders augur well for the development of these sectors. The continued impetus to boost MSMEs and empower traders will contribute towards the growth of small businesses, fostering innovation and employment.

On the whole, we believe the Government’s thrust on technology along with the emphasis on internal trade in this year’s budget are defining steps, the results of which will be crucial in realising the vision of the $10-trillion economy in the long run.”

 

Krishna Kumar, Founder and CEO, Simplilearn

“It is heartening to see Government’s continued efforts to further the digitisation agenda aligning with the vision of creating a Digital India. While the move will help India to enable millions of jobs in the next few years, but it should also address the need of getting the current talent pool global-ready for tomorrow. This will happen through a robust skilling, reskilling and upskilling model of the current workforce by government, companies and institutes. We expected the government in today’s budget to pass on few benefits for the ed-tech and skill-tech sectors by extending tax benefits and incentives for players, corporates, education institutions or even end users by giving tax exemption. Simplilearn is committed to the cause of skilling and reskilling Indian workforce and will continue to invest and collaborate with government and public-private institutions in days to come. This step goes right in our vision to position India as a digital talent capital of the world.”

 

Kumar Srinivasan, CEO, MatchMove

With more than 250 million unbanked population in the country, and 40% of bank accounts lying inactive, the creation of 1 lakh digital villages in the next 5 years, as announced in the Union Budget, will provide Digital Payment companies a great opportunity to integrate this populace to a formal economy by designing simplified digital payment experience for them.

 

Sunil Sharma, Managing Director Sales, India & SAARC, Sophos

“With India poised to become a USD 5 trillion economy in the next five years, we welcome the Government’s proposal of ensuring the growth of SME’s & rural India through initiatives such as promotion of digital villages. Additionally, through steps such as the establishment of a national centre on artificial intelligence, the Government plans to skill India’s youth, through the adoption of new technologies such as AI, so that they can reach their full potential.

As the technology landscape evolves rapidly, along with the infinite opportunities that it provides us, there are also a myriad of new challenges especially in terms of IT security and data protection. Even though Indian businesses (67%) were the highest hit by ransomware with an average impact cost of approximately USD 1.17mn and 2018 being the year of serious data breaches, there was very limited focus on IT security in the budget.

That said, while we welcome the Governments proposed steps in strengthening the MSME & SME sectors that provide employment to millions of people, there still remains a pressing need for further investment in technology for data protection and IT Security, both from the Government and organization’s standpoint.”

 

Tarun Bhalla, CEO & Founder, Avishkaar

Budget 2019 will prove to be a godsend for the Artificial Intelligence (AI) sector in India. With over 200 AI start-ups currently innovating AI-based solutions in the country, they’ll help serve the society and help make a marked difference in the education, healthcare, transportation, infra and agricultural sectors of India.

It’s great to see the government sending out a clear signal by launching National Artificial Intelligence Portal. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is here to stay and will play a significant role in the future of the country. What’s more heartening is the fact that the government is willing to invest in AI in major sectors – education, healthcare, transportation, infra and agricultural in the country.

This is a step in the right direction. Sourcing 25% requirements of government projects will give a much-needed boost to SMEs. This will enable them to take powerful strides into becoming a major player in their local regions. Of course, this will also work in favour of Make in India and serve as a nice little thing to toot about.

 

Vikas Garg, Co-Founder EzySlips

“Major focus of this Interim Budget is to empower middle class and the farmers. No tax with income upto 5 lakh is a great move. As per the Interim Budget, 1 Lakh Villages will be digital in next 5 years. This will boost up the startups who work on the T3 and T4 towns and villages.This will be great step in coming days for the Ecommerce and logistics MSME’s and increase their reach. Proposal for allowing quarterly filing for turnover less than 5cr a welcome move for the small scale companies. Overall its a good budget.”

 

Tarun Dua, Managing Director and Co-Founder E2E Networks

“The budget speech was a well deserved pat on the back by the government for their many achievements. The alleviation of agrarian distress via direct cash transfer and interest subvention is a commendable step. The income tax slab increase to 5 Lakhs is a welcome step and so are other measures benefitting the middle class. Overall it is a very balanced and fiscally responsible budget with no massive increase in spending. Budget has given another push to Artificial Intelligence and Digital India amongst other initiatives like digital villages.”

 

Bhavin Turakhia, Cofounder of Zeta

“The 2019 budget has touched upon critical areas such as enhancing tax exemption for salaried employees and digitising the entire tax filing process. The decision to carry all tax verifications via an anonymous digital interface and processing all tax returns within 24 hours displays the Government’s strong intention to build a digital nation, whilst putting convenience in the hands of its citizens and ensuring complete transparency. Finally, the increase in the standard deduction for salaried citizens from INR 40, 000 to INR 50, 000 is an encouraging move as more than 3 crore middle-class taxpayers will now get the tax benefit of almost 4700 cr. In addition to this, the Government of India has also exempted tax for employees earning an annual income of up to INR 5 lakh which is a welcome move as it gives more liquidity to the taxpaying citizens of the country.”

 

Vishal Gondal, CEO and founder GOQii

“The 2019 budget looks promising for the healthcare sector; we have seen some major initiatives and announcements that will potentially change the health Index of India. One of the key highlights is the establishment of a system that ensures a stress free environment and comprehensive wellness for all. Keeping in mind that 55 per cent of India’s workforce are millennials, this is definitely need of the hour. Therefore, paving way for a stress-free India is directly proportional to its growth. The healthcare announcements made in the budget are a welcome move and will help build a strong economy. This will provide opportunities for companies like GOQii to contribute to making a stress-free India and creating a space that encourages preventive healthcare over curative.

Further, Ayushmann Bharat’s vision of improving the lives of 50 crore Indians which will potentially result in cumulative savings of INR 3,000 crores by the poor, is a testimony that the Government of India is strengthening the nation’s health ground up. We support the same philosophy that is making healthcare easily accessible for all Indians and governments efforts are evident through increased focus on making medicines, healthcare services and other health related instruments more affordable.”

 

Dr Ajay Data, CEO, Data Xgen Technologies

“It is promising to note that the government has included and prioritised digital drive in its 10-Point agenda for holistic development in long term roadmap -‘Vision 2030’. On the growth of digital economy in rural areas, the government plans to create one lakh digital villages in the next five years, which will impact many lives. In this process, as mentioned in the budget, millions of new jobs will be created in the ecosystem which is indeed a welcome move.”

But on contrary to the expectations of the sector, the Interim Budget 2019 has very little to offer in terms of incentives to boost innovations. There was no mention of higher allocation of fund for tech start-ups or any kind of support to the software product companies.

“We hope in its regular budget, the government would support software product companies and offer incentives to boost innovation. The sector also expected measures which would provide a level-playing field for tech companies. To give a new momentum to Digital India campaign, there is a need to bring in a holistic policy for Data Hosting and its accountability. There is need for an authority or regulatory body that oversees the implementation and action for entire data flow and storage in India.”

 

Abhishek Kumar, Regional Director, South Asia, Oncam

“This interim Union Budget brings in great investments in Railways, Technology and infrastructure, which will certainly boost the IP surveillance industry market. With all trains to be progressively provided with the state-of-the-art amenities like surveillance and significant investment going into increasing the number of airports, this will assist the industry to broaden its horizon. At Oncam, we truly believe that the government’s aim for one lakh digital villages in the next 5 years, in addition to setting up the National Artificial Intelligence Portal, will enable the growth of advanced technologies in the country. Furthermore, these developments will also catalyse the growth of the surveillance industry.”

 

Jaheer Abbas, Senior Regional Director – SEA & India, Limelight Network

“India today is on the forefront of digital consumption which is being driven by its burgeoning digital infrastructure and rise of advanced, tech-driven services. As also noted by the Finance Minister, the monthly data consumption in India has increased by over 50 times during the last five years. This year’s budget comes with a promise to take this development a notch above by also including 1 lakh villages in India’s digital bandwagon. We believe that these upcoming Digital Villages, especially considering the fact that around two-third of the Indian population dwells in rural geographies, will greatly intensify the adoption services and technologies within the country.”

 

Sanjeev Gulati, Country Director India and SAARC at VIVOTEK

“The inclination of IP surveillance industry towards the AI technology is expected to further boost with the establishment of National Artificial Intelligence Portal. Not only this, the ongoing smart surveillance projects in railways is another positive development as Indian railways have been allocated a lion’s share in this year’s budget. India, on the other hand, is also fast-developing its highways with a prime focus on rural roads. Smart surveillance can tangibly increase the efficiency of authorities on keeping a track of such projects which will later also ensure safe and secure traffic management.”

 

Satya Kalyan Yerramsetti, Founder & CEO of Telebu

”The government has continued to stress upon digitalisation, as reflected in the interim budget 2019 announcement. In the words of the interim Finance Minister, digitalisation is going to play a key role in achieving sustainable growth and development. The government further aims to achieve one lakh digital villages in the next 5 years and we believe that it is going to pave the way for India to emerge as one amongst the leading digital economies, across the globe. The current plans and aspirations of the government will also boost the rural digital economy. At Telebu, we are excited to be part of this wave of change, as it helps accelerate our overall goal of proliferating into rural, as well as tier-2 and tier-3 cities. We will continue to build innovative enterprise communication products for Indian enterprises, MSMEs, start-ups, non-profit organisations and more.

 

Neeraj Sharma, Country Head – UNISOC India (formerly Spreadtrum Communications)

“The interim budget 2019 carries strong markers of the success of the digital revolution in India, further paving the way for India to emerge as the digital economy in times to come. As announced by the interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal, India presently leads the world in the consumption of mobile data, which has grown 50X in the last 5 years. Owing to Make in India, the number of mobile and parts manufacturing companies have also grown from a mere 2 to 268, creating enough jobs in the economy. The government further aims to support leading technologies like AI by developing a National Artificial Intelligence portal and has set its eyes on achieving one lakh digital villages in the next 5 years. This serves as a strong growth impetus, with the next wave of digitalization belonging to the hinterlands of India. Driven to transform mobile communication, we at UNISOC look forward to supporting manufacturing products that will enable this next wave of digital revolution in India.”

 

Abhishek Chakraborty, Executive Director, DTDC Express Limited

“With the government looking to give an impetus to digitization and building digital infrastructure along with the income tax limit increased to 5 lakhs, e-commerce volumes are expected to rise. An average Indian youth who is aspirational and will now have more available income is expected to spend on ecommerce platforms thereby giving a boost to logistics. We welcome govt.’s move on taking initiatives to digitalize export/import transactions and abolishing custom duty on 36 capital goods, this would further push import movements. Such initiatives will definitely boost international movements.”

 

Sampad Swain, Co-Founder & CEO, Instamojo.

Although an interim budget, the anticipation had been high across various sectors – thus indicating the focus areas to be covered by the government. The scenario however looks positive for the MSMEs, given the initiatives announced by the government. While ease in obtaining loans for MSMEs continues to remain the need of the hour, additionally aided by the government’s 59-minute loan portal, the hike in the GST threshold has certainly brought about a major relief for MSMEs. Additionally, the government’s aim to empower 1 Lakh villages digitally only gives us further hope to identify an addition of more MSMEs in the country, which is currently populated with 6.3 crore enterprises, given that digital adoption by small businesses has always been a challenge to fight through, for the fin-tech sector. Further, the reduction in the GST slab from 18% to 6% could be a great move to encourage new and aspiring entrepreneurs to begin new ventures.

The government’s mandate of 25% of goods procurement from SMEs will help the sector scale up, not only in terms of quantity, but will also enable wider reach, thus expanding to different markets. This budget has opened doors to a new focus area – women entrepreneurs in the MSME sector. Supply of goods to the government will help women-owned SMEs and MSMEs achieve stability in business, and scale-up further.

 

Prashanth G J, CEO at TechnoBind

“The one thing that stood out in the Budget is the putting up of the Vision 2030. While there are no details available as yet in terms of the implementation of this vision the fact that the government is thinking long term is well appreciated.

The focus on the Digitisation will go a long way in improving the social and economic fabric of the country – be it creation of jobs, uplifting the lower end of the society reducing the income gap and many more. The announcing of the 5 Lakh Digital Villages is really welcome. It will go a long way to leverage the benefits of technology right up to the grass root level. Especially in a country like India which has always been challenged from a penetration of technology this will be a big boost.

Also, another good thing that we got from today’s budget is Income Tax returns being processed within 24 hours. While one needs to wait and watch in terms of the practicality of this but it’s a welcome move in the right direction.  Overall a pretty good budget!!”

 

Krishna Raj Sharma, Director & CEO at iValue InfoSolutions

“Despite being an election year, it’s good to see Government allocating money where its required – farmers, middle class families, pension scheme for unorganized sector, more allocation to health, education and defense.

Despite missing out on Fiscal deficit target for current as well as next fiscal, the FM took rating agency and investors in to confidence by explaining the need for supporting farmers which was well received as seen by the market reaction.

With GDP growth being upgraded, 0.1% to 0.2% slip of Fiscal deficit should be manageable. Good to see FM recognizing and rewarding honest tax paying middle class citizens with tax exemption up to 5L salary along with higher TDS.

Overall good interim budget sending the right signals.”

 

Rajendra Chitale, CFO at Crayon Software Experts India Private Limited

“It’s a budget with many sections of the society being the beneficiaries. It is specially a poor and middle class centric budget as it increases the money in these households. This can trigger consumption and lead to further growth. Phasing out human intervention in tax returns, verification and scrutiny is a good initiative which can help reduce corruption. Overall, it is a good budget.”

 

Anant Raghute, MD, Innowave IT Infrastructures Ltd.

“India’s economic growth is pegged at 7.2% to 7.5% in 2019 and 2020. As per the Interim budget announcement today, India is aiming to become a $10 Tn economy in the next 8 years & $5 Tn economy in the next 5 Years.

We welcome the decision to make 1 lakh villages digital in the next 5 years. This combined with Jan Dhan, Aadhaar mobile, and direct benefit transfer will be game changers for realizing the benefit of technology in delivering better governance. Potential rolling out of NTP 2018 will further enhance telecom operated citizen services.

Emerging technologies such as AI, block chain, GIS enabled services, LIDAR will facilitate connectivity. While physical infrastructure is key, integration of technology for practical use can only be facilitated through central policy initiatives with parallel initiatives from state governments.

GIS enabled citizen centric services have already enabled better data management & access right from disaster management, Health, agriculture, water management, public transport, Bio tagging to rural & urban infrastructure.

Now that the momentum on e-governance is there and the citizens are experiencing the benefits out of it, believe the time is ripe for the next big wave of investments in e-governance across India. We at Innowave IT are more than happy to do our bit in making this happen and ensure delivery of the right and most effective solutions when and where needed.”

 

Nikhil Mantha, Co-Founder & COO, Piggy

Macro – Markets seemed to be satisfied with the fiscal prudence shown by the FM especially before elections with fiscal deficit target being 3.5% and Current Account deficit target being 2.5% of the GDP in line with expectations. Though the final mathematics of expanding benefits and foregoing taxes remain to be seen.

Biggest plus is introducing the Rs.3,000/month pension scheme for the unorganised sector. Also positive steps taken for Agriculture with the interest rate subvention and Rs.6,000/year direct benefit to farmers with upto 2 hectares land. The budget seems to have covered major constituencies of Farmers, SMEs and Middle class. Yet I feel not enough was done for job creation and to boost our crumbling industrial infrastructure.

Startup – No clarifications on Angel tax was disappointing. But the increased focus on AI from announcement to launch a National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Portal is a step in the right direction. AI will have a major role in disrupting multiple Industries and as a nation it is important that we understand it’s significance and take steps to promote innovation in it.

Taxation and Middle Class Benefits – Welcome move by the FM to give tax breaks to people with income upto Rs.5 lakh and effective income of Rs.6.5 lakh taking section 80C into account. Also increase in standard deduction to Rs.50,000 and exemption on interest income on savings to Rs.40,000 are a big plus. This will go a long way in boosting consumption in the economy. No sops for mutual funds though which is a little disappointing.

 

Arvind Mediratta, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer at METRO Cash & Carry India

The last budget before the general elections is prudent and people focused budget. Direct benefit transfer of Rs 6,000 per year to farmers with less than two hectares land holdings and the outlay of Rs75,000 crore under the PM Kisaan Samman Nidhi will benefit the farming community and will give a major boost to rural disposable income. The big announcement of tax rebate to individuals with income up to Rs 5 lakhs will bring in huge relief to the individual taxpayers. The twin step is likely to push discretionary spending in both rural and urban class.

Interest subvention to farmers engaged in animal husbandry and fisheries, and the mega pension plan for unorganised sector workers is a great announcement. The 2 percent interest subvention announced for MSMEs is a positive development that will strengthen the micro, small and medium sector.

 

Prakash Mallya, Vice President, Sales and Marketing Group, Intel

Today’s Budget clearly showcases the importance of a digital-first India and the government’s commitment to drive innovation and technology advancement in the country. With the government setting a target to become a $5 Trillion economy in the next 5 years, Intel believes that emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and 5G will play a crucial part in this vision. Firstly, the government’s focus on the rapid adoption of AI in India by announcing initiatives like the National Center for AI and a National AI Portal, is a step in the right direction to drive technology adoption in the country. At Intel, we have been working on various AI-led initiatives with the government and will continue to collaborate with the country in its digital transformation mission. Secondly, the Budget also pointed out the growth in the telecom sector; this definitely provides impetus towards building a strong 5G ready ecosystem in the country. Additionally, the government has set a goal to create 1 lakh digital villages in the next 5 years taking technology penetration to a new level, that can help build a truly digital India.”

 

Monish Salhotra, Co-Founder, EBTL

This budget definitely is a masses’ budget but at the same time it shows the forward looking attitude of the government by announcing National Centre and Centre of Excellence for Artificial Intelligence across the nation. We welcome more such initiatives by the government to strengthen technological dominance of India. It seems, we as a nation are all set to embrace Industry 4.0

 

Vinu Cheriyan, CFO & Director Operations, Sennheiser India

“For this year’s budget, the government has made some significant announcements that are aimed towards strengthening Digital India. The creation of 1 lakh Digital Villages in the next 5 years will truly set the tone for a digitally empowered country. We applaud the government’s focus on digital infrastructure and the digital economy. With India leading the consumption of mobile data usage in the world and the cost of voice and data calls being one of the lowest, there is immense potential for the growth of the entertainment industry, further giving an impetus to the audio accessories industry.

The government’s Make in India initiative has also resulted in positive impact, with the mobile and parts manufacturing companies increasing from 2 to more than 268, creating huge job opportunities across. Taking that further, the aim is to expand rural industrialization using modern digital technologies to generate massive employment.

Further, A National Programme on ‘Artificial Intelligence’ envisaged by our government is a welcome initiative towards putting futuristic technologies like AI in the hands of the Indian consumer. With India poised to become $5 trillion economy in the next 5 years, the government’s proposal of giving a full tax rebate to individual taxpayers with an income of up to 5 lakh will empower the Indian consumer.”

 

Saurabh Arora, Founder & CEO, Lybrate

It is laudable that the Finance Minister has outlined the government’s vision of a healthy India with ‘distress-free and comprehensive wellness system’. The government launched Ayushman Bharat scheme last year that aims to provide medical care coverage to about 50 crore Indians. Envisioning a healthy India and taking a step towards it will have a far-reaching positive effect in the years to come on the country’s healthcare delivery system. Accessible and affordable quality healthcare is the need of the hour and therefore, the announcement of the 22nd AIIMS in Haryana is also a good measure in the direction of universal health coverage.

Another noteworthy policy that will enable the reach of healthcare to several of the most backward districts of India is the Aspirational Districts Programme. While we were looking forward to some conducive polices for healthcare and healthtech startups alike, the announcement to establish a National Centre on Artificial Intelligence will boost the usage of AI in the field of healthcare and the step is a push for healthtech startups like Lybrate, which are already using AI to make healthcare accessible and affordable.

 

Meena Ganesh, MD & CEO, Portea Medical

The Interim budget this year is in favor of two sections: the common man seeking access to quality and affordable healthcare; and the organizations providing this. Given the rising cost of healthcare, the reduction in prices of essential medicines, stents, and knee implants will come as a boon. The budget is also in favor of startups using technology to make breakthroughs and deliver healthcare innovatively. The National Centre for Artificial Intelligence will be an enabler in using technology to make diagnosis, treatment, and tertiary care more accessible and better. We would have been happy to see some policies in the area of home healthcare. Overall, it has been a budget inclined towards addressing the concerns of the masses.

 

Krishna Ulagaratchagan, Co-Founder & CEO, healthi.in

The government has launched three key initiatives that will, together, have a significant bearing on the health of the country. First, it is encouraging to see that the government is establishing a National Centre for Artificial Intelligence to direct efforts in the area of using technology. Our hope is that the government will consider healthcare as one of its nine core focus areas.

This will help India become a leader in innovative healthcare solutions and improve the efficacy of the treatments delivered across the country. Second, the government intends to build 1 lakh digital villages with an internet connection and digital devices in the next few years. And third, the government is making healthcare more affordable and accessible by providing access to medical care for about 50 crore Indians, and perhaps more going forward.

Together, Ayushman Bharat, AI for healthcare and digital villages, will extend the reach and access of such digital health solutions to the parts of the country that are currently underserved by quality healthcare. We would love to see preventive healthcare also be factored in this grand vision for a healthier, digital India.

 

Carl Ngo Co-founder and CEO of Mobiistar, India and Global

The Budget 2019 is certainly pro-growth and will increase the purchasing power of the Indian Middle Class. It is heartening to see that the government recognizes the poignant role of digital technology in India’s evolution to a five-trillion dollar economy over the next five years. Announcement around national scheme on Artificial intelligence is a welcome move and will give an impetus to the technology ecosystem in India. With focus on development, it is a progressive budget and will be a next big leap in India’s growth story. The delivery however will be contingent on effective implementation of these policies.

 

Anand Vilayannur – COE AND Co-founder Tattva Mittal Group

“The Budget 2019 has brought good news for almost everyone. A lot was expected from this budget and most of it has been covered. While representing the Budget 2019 Piyush Goyal mentioned in the beginning that RERA and Benami Transaction Act 1900 are helping to bring transparency in the sector. Total number of 1.53 cr houses have been built under PMAY scheme which shows that the sector has fared well in providing homes for the middle and lower class along with the govt.

The Budget has proposed to provide the benefit of rolling over capital gains if the investment is made in not just one, but two residential houses. This benefit would be offered for an amount of upto Rs 2 crore which is a once in a lifetime benefit for any individual. With the recent GST meeting announcement and the newly announced budget we truly hope the year sees a positive uptick for the real estate sector.

The No tax on Notional rent on second self-occupied home takes of some load from home buyers. The threshold limit for TDS on rental income has been increased to Rs 2.4 lakh from Rs 1.8 lakh currently, as home owners with rental income have something to cheer about. Income Tax relief on notional rent from unsold houses extended upto 2 years which brings some relief.

For individuals with gross income upto 5 lakh get Income Tax rebate, is surely a great step. Even the standard deduction increased from 40,000 to 50,000 should be impactful for middle-class section. Looking in minor details the budget will bring most daily use item now under 0-5% tax slab under GST. The increase in Tax free Gratuity from 10 Lakh to 20 Lakh will indeed become a major relaxation for the middle class.

As per the budget speech, last 5 years have witnessed a wave of next gen structural reforms, we are today the 6th largest economy in the world besides generating high growth rate we contained double digit inflation and resorted fiscal balance by the end of 2018. Infrastructure wise India is fastest highway developer in the world with 27kms of highway built each day which is surely proud news for us.

By 2030 India will lead the energy revolution in the world with the electric vehicles as mentioned by Piyush Goyal during the budget in one of the 10 dimensions to be focused by the govt. This new India will only drive on electric vehicles but also would not have to import oil and will produce electricity on our own domestically. With all the challenges set to achieved in place India is poised to become reach $5 Trillion economy in the next 5 years, it looks like the government has already laid the foundation for the coming decade. The country now looks forward for the most interesting and awaited Elections this year.”

Arun Nathani, CEO, Cybage

“This budget is providing major boost to real estate segment through fiscal incentives like extension of benefit Under Section 80 IBA, no tax on notional rent on unsold inventory for two years, no notional rent on two self-occupied properties instead of one. Additionally, direct benefit of INR 6,000 to small farmers will provide positive sentiments and will have positive cascading effect on GDP growth. We welcome the step to promote AI hubs in India which will help to build technical competence and have long lasting impact from technology point of view for the future of India.

This budget has populist and election oriented flavour, Government will have to balance the spending and keep the fiscal deficit under control.”

Arun Balasubramian, Managing Director – Qlik India

“The interim budget, the government has rightly comprehended the necessity and competence of digital technologies such as AI, machine learning, big data and more. We are glad to find out the government’s plans of developing a National Artificial Intelligence portal, which will significantly boost research and development measures and thus allow businesses of all sizes and sectors to gain better data-driven and decision-making insights and advance the nation in competitive global space.”

 

Sachin Dev Duggal, Founder & CEO, Engineer.ai

“Being a global entrepreneur highly invested in the technology industry, with a zeal for AI, it’s excellent to hear the announcement from Finance Minister Piyush Goyal that India will create a National Centre for AI. Considering the global market for AI is expected at around $190 billion by 2025, this puts Indian companies and organizations at the forefront of capturing the AI market. Well done.

Alongside a 2% interest subvention for loans to MSMEs, these actions can boost entrepreneurial development across India, which can continue to enhance the Indian economy. The idea of a strong, stable, entrepreneurial Indian economy will help retain and expand global investment capital, as well as increasing global operations across the country.

Additionally, the idea of transforming 1 lakh digital villages can have numerous benefits. This includes creating and managing the IT infrastructure to make digital villages possible, and increasing education around technology, thus having the potential to expand the workforce (to operate said global operations).

Overall, the technology sector made gains today, which offers India a bright future of the efficient solutions that technology could bring to the country, continent and world.”

 

Sunil Jose, Senior Area Vice President and Country Leader, Salesforce India

“We are delighted to see the Government’s focus on setting up a National Centre for Artificial Intelligence (AI) in order to bring the benefits of AI and related technologies to the common person. In a recent research commissioned by Salesforce, 65% of Indian respondents were positive about AI and its usage. Businesses using AI have the opportunity to amplify our human intelligence, better connect to consumers and impact societies like never before. We are delighted and welcome the government’s visionary step to support and democratise access to AI and related technologies. This is equally important for businesses like Salesforce is the penetration of AI skills among the workforce. Globally, all eyes will continue to be on India and we look forward to being a part of this journey.”

 

Jürgen Hase, CEO, UNLIMIT

“We welcome the Government’s plan to create digital infrastructure for 1 lakh villages in the country. The successful implementation of the Digital Village project will play a vital role in India’s digital transformation and vision to become a USD 5 trillion economy in the next 5 years. Cost effective and smart irrigation management system, connected gram panchayats, better education system and mobile health services which are enabled through Internet of Things, will lead to job creation, financial inclusion and provision of an economically viable village ecosystem.”

 

Priya Mahajan, Head of APAC Public Policy & Regulatory Counsel, Verzion Enterprise Solutions

“We are glad to note that the Indian Government has made consistent efforts and undertaken initiatives to foster the growth and developments of disruptive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT) and Robotics. We welcome the Government’s plan to create a national program on Artificial Intelligence which would be catalysed by the national centre for artificial intelligence as a hub, along with other centres of excellence. We are glad that 9 priority areas have been identified and the Indian Government is working closely to empower the MSME sector.

Moving forward, we need a good regulation that enables innovation by building public trust, a flexible approach to ensure policy is technology neutral and future proof that also covers AI and other emerging technologies. Regulatory simplification can lead to many benefits including greater regulatory certainty and predictability, regulatory outcomes that minimize compliance costs and inefficiencies, a more prosperous environment in which innovation thrives, and a boost to economic competitiveness. India should take the lead by creating a strong and balanced regulatory framework to build on, which could set the global standard for a sustainable approach to AI technology.

This will enable India to attract the attention of global brands, inspire innovation, and become a global technology leader.

 

Aditya Loomba, Jt Managing Director, Eco Rent A Car

“This budget has brought some much-needed relief to the real estate industry. The large budgets assigned to defense purchases were also much needed. The abolishment of customs duty on capital goods is also welcomed.

However, GST needs to be revised for various sectors especially the hospitality sector where it’s currently very high especially for Self Drive Car Rental services. I hope the government will give its due importance to the Tourism and Passenger transport business and relax the taxation in the coming financial year.”

 

Varun Burman,Founder, zipNACH

The budget clearly indicates the digital push by the government. With all benefits rolled out for different sector would use the DBT channel which is a great positive for the economy both from transparency and efficiency point

Benefit of rollover of capital tax gains to be increased from investment in one residential house to that in two residential houses, for a taxpayer having capital gains up to 2 crore rupees is a big push for the infra sector and HFC’s in particular as the demand will go up immediately. From start up perspective the Angel tax was not mentioned and this comes as a disappointment as was mentioned in about wishlist.

Overall it’s a populist budget, however it has been done intelligently as lot of personal sops extended have also been shown constructive outflow from individual perspective which will definitely boost the economy.

 

Girish Shivani, Executive Director and Fund Manager, YourNest Venture Capital

“In 2018, the start-up ecosystem witnessed a venture capital investment of more than $10.5 billion. To nurture the startups especially in deep-tech and artificial intelligence, the government’s announcement of a National Centre of Artificial Intelligence in the Union budget 2019 is a welcome move. This will further promote the use of technology, digitisation and will aid in job creation. As a VC, we were also hoping for some clarity on the Angel Tax issue that is currently plaguing the ecosystem.”

 

Suman Reddy Eadunuri, MD, Pegasystems India

“The government has given fair impetus to the technology sector, and indicates its commitment to use technology as a platform to build a Digital India that reaches every citizen, by transforming 1 lakh villages into Digital Villages.

Focusing on AI in two consecutive budgets, the announcement of a national centre for AI supported by Centres of Excellence in 9 priority areas conveys how important this key technology is for the government, as the country aims to become a $5 trillion economy in the next 5 years. This furthers the announcements in AI investments and institutions made in 2018 which expands the scope of research and collaboration. However, the industry is looking to understand how these institutions are creating a favourable environment to foster entrepreneurship or AI research, and how the investment is creating on-ground impact, helping enterprises and deep-tech startups to create market value. The national AI portal is a good move to facilitate the vision of Minimum Government, Maximum Governance as part of Vision 2030, being a catalyst for emerging technologies, and a platform to unite the efforts of a massive institution like the central government.

The emphasis on increasing tax-paying base, and reducing tax burden on middle class, in addition to GST show the government’s overall commitment to plug leakages and improve tax collection processes. The reform of the tax environment shows rapid strides towards efficiency and transparency. Given the interim nature of this budget, expectations around corporate tax, Place of Effective Management and skilling involvement in the IT sector have been missed. We are hoping the full-fledged Budget in July will address key expectations and boost the output of the industry.”

 

Ranjeet S Mudholkar, Vice Chairman and CEO, FPSB

“The Budget proposals are good and shall benefit the tax payers across all income slabs by putting more disposable income in their hands. By having given this option to spend the said amount to the taxpayers, it is upto him to choose to spend and pay indirect taxes, viz. Goods and Services Tax (GST) or to save. From Financial Planning perspective the savings can be channelized by the assessee into his long term investing for which various options are available in the market.

The Mutual Fund industry has been doing an exceptional job in drawing people into long-term goal-linked investing which is helping to build-up savings for the common man. For this the ‘Mutual Fund Sahi Hai’ campaign has hit the right chord with the investors.

Other provisions such as no notional rent on 2nd home, increase of TDS threshold on interest income from banks and post offices from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 40,000 and the GST, indicated that the Government is moving towards a tax regime where taxes shall be based on consumption.”

 

Anant Raghute, MD, Innowave IT Infrastructures Ltd

“India’s economic growth is pegged at 7.2% to 7.5% in 2019 and 2020. As per the Interim budget announcement today, India is aiming to become a $10 Tn economy in the next 8 years & $5 Tn economy in the next 5 Years.

We welcome the decision to make 1 lakh villages digital in the next 5 years. This combined with Jan Dhan, Aadhaar mobile, and direct benefit transfer will be game changers for realizing the benefit of technology in delivering better governance. Potential rolling out of NTP 2018 will further enhance telecom operated citizen services.

Emerging technologies such as AI, block chain, GIS enabled services, LIDAR will facilitate connectivity. While physical infrastructure is key, integration of technology for practical use can only be facilitated through central policy initiatives with parallel initiatives from state governments.

GIS enabled citizen centric services have already enabled better data management & access right from disaster management, Health, agriculture, water management, public transport, Bio tagging to rural & urban infrastructure.

Now that the momentum on e-governance is there and the citizens are experiencing the benefits out of it, believe the time is ripe for the next big wave of investments in e-governance across India. We at Innowave IT are more than happy to do our bit in making this happen and ensure delivery of the right and most effective solutions when and where needed.”

 

Sanjay Motwani, Vice President, Raritan-Asia Pacific, Raritan-a brand of Legrand

“We welcome the government budget announcement of creating 1 lakh digital villages by next 5 years which will further increase the usage of data exponentially. As announced, data consumption has already grown 50 times in last 5 years and has made data centers critical for seamless data experience. Also government of India vision of digital economy 2030 for digitisation of government processes and private transactions will require huge capacities expansion by all stakeholders going forward in data centers .including private and public sectors. Going forward India needs to invest substantially in building data centers both hybrid and distributed especially to achieve its vision of smart cities and digital India which will also aid India’s Make in India policy”

 

Snehashish Bhatacharjee, Global CEO, Denave

“The budget gives much awaited technology push for the fast paced Indian economy. The CoE of Artificial Intelligence (AI) reaffirms government’s intention and interest in pushing India to develop as hub of emerging technologies. It shall also prove to play a pivotal role in massification of ground-breaking technologies as well as providing headwind to the ongoing skill development and job creation agenda. It is a huge opportunity for the tech start-ups, and the contribution of India Inc. in the initial stages of implementation shall prove to be significant.

The budget overall is positive and covers the entire gamut of economic pillars in one go – farmers, youth, start-ups, women, middle-class segment, defence, green energy, industries etc. It promises to make social security accessible to the unorganised segment. The intent with which the budget has been designed will be best experienced with an effective execution.”

 

Nikhil Arora, Managing Director and Vice President, GoDaddy India

“We welcome the Union Interim budget 2019-20 and the government’s focus towards helping small businesses, startups and women-owned MSMEs. With impetus on strengthening the digital infrastructure, e-marketplace, initiatives supporting rural India and emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, government has reiterated its commitment to bring a holistic and sustainable technology-led development for the country. Moves to allow tax payers with income upto Rs. 5 lakh to get full tax rebate and abolish custom duty from 36 capital good are consumer friendly steps that will help put the money back in the consumers’ pocket and encourage ease of doing business. In this year’s budget, we were hoping for a solution for the current credit issue troubling MSMEs. But at the same time, we are positive about the India government’s push towards digitally transforming the nation, and will continue working with our partners to ensure we play our part in realizing this vision, providing right tools and solutions to enable small and independent businesses to get their ventures online and grow successfully.”

 

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

“Companies are deploying considerable investments in emerging technologies to match customer expectations. To support the deployment of these emerging technologies, skill development and enhancement is imperative amidst the current digital disruption scenario. According to MDSE’s annual report, 2017-18, the demand for skilled labor in 34 sectors across industries has been estimated to be over 12.8 Cr between 2017 and 2018.

Interim FM in this Interim Budget has announced the decision of making the National centre for Artificial Intelligence and building Centre of Excellence. The Government of India has opened the path for the youth in India to leverage the new state-of-the-art developments and upskill themselves to widen the jobs pool for themselves. We appreciate the GOI’s perspective of making India digitally enhanced and look forward to add value by providing the Indian talent with opportunities to grow in the IT industry.”

 

Rajesh Uttamchandani, Director, Syska Group

“As India is poised to become a USD 5 trillion economy in next five years, there is an immense opportunity for Indian organizations to develop and flourish. With the rapid proliferation of new age technologies such as internet of things, artificial intelligence and others, we welcome the Government’s keen focus on building a digitally vibrant India in the next few years. This will provide an opportunity for companies such as Syska to introduce IoT enabled products that are affordable in the Indian market and help in developing smart cities. Additionally, as energy efficient product & solutions are seeing increased adoption, we are pleased with the Government providing 143 crore LED bulbs to rural areas. This resonates with our mission of providing energy efficient LED lighting solutions that are ‘Made in India’ to every Indian household.”

Vishal Gondal, CEO and founder GOQii

“The 2019 budget looks promising for the healthcare sector; we have seen some major initiatives and announcements that will potentially change the health Index of India. One of the key highlights is the establishment of a system that ensures a stress free environment and comprehensive wellness for all. Keeping in mind that 55 per cent of India’s workforce are millennials, this is definitely need of the hour. Therefore, paving way for a stress-free India is directly proportional to its growth. The healthcare announcements made in the budget are a welcome move and will help build a strong economy. This will provide opportunities for companies like GOQii to contribute to making a stress-free India and creating a space that encourages preventive healthcare over curative.

Further, Ayushmann Bharat’s vision of improving the lives of 50 crore Indians which will potentially result in cumulative savings of INR 3,000 crores by the poor, is a testimony that the Government of India is strengthening the nation’s health ground up. We support the same philosophy that is making healthcare easily accessible for all Indians and governments efforts are evident through increased focus on making medicines, healthcare services and other health related instruments more affordable.”

 

Deb Deep Sengupta, President & MD, SAP

“The inclusive nature of Budget 2019 – with its focus on small farmers and unorganized workers is a welcome move indeed. SAP has long pursued a dream of creating more inclusive growth in the Indian economy – Code Unnati has already empowered over 700,000 Indians through digital literacy. When digital literacy joins economic support – the ability of the marginalized to enter the mainstream increases manifold. We believe this budget will further our nation’s ability to foster inclusive growth.”

 

Javed Tapia, MD, Clover Infotech

“One lakh digital villages, the announcement of a national centre for artificial intelligence, and an AI portal are very encouraging steps taken by the government in this interim budget. This will enable AI to reach India’s last mile and help us to leverage digitisation and data to change lives for the better.”

 

Ravi Vishvanathan, CFO, PayMate India Pvt. Ltd

Here are my top 6 observations: –

1) 10 Dimensional Vision Statement is an extremely good corporate-like approach to National Development

2) Monthly/ Annual Direct Income Support to Farmers is the first step in migrating from Intervention in Markets to Direct Financial Support

3) MSME – 2% Interest Subvention is a welcome move in making their borrowings competitive

4) Social Security for Unorganised Sector with matching Govt contribution – This is an early sign of a maturing nation but calls for excellent execution skills

5) TDS on Interest from Banks/Post Office – increasing the limit to 40,000 per annum provides major relief to retired people/senior citizens and those deploying their limited savings in these instruments

6) Rebate of 100% on Tax for Taxable Income up to Rs.5 lacs is a positive step in rewarding compliance.

 

 

Varun Rathi, COO and Co-Founder, Happay

“This is certainly a budget with full of long term vision and the government is undoubtedly poised towards building India into a stronger economy which is modern and technology-driven. Digitization and automation has clearly become the new mantra of the government- the 10 dimensions for Vision 2030 reinforces the importance of technology in transforming India. Additionally, the step to create a portal on artificial intelligence will help the common man to understand the importance of AI. Data is the backbone of AI. Currently, there is a lack of structured data availability in India. Having said that, this doesn’t look infeasible at all and timing couldn’t be better than this to launch a nationwide AI center. UIDAI, NPCI and GST council has laid the foundation of the most important piece of the puzzle – getting the identity, demographic, financial and skills data recorded in a structured manner. An AI council can now start laying some ground rules and create a regulated and open platform for anyone to innovate and create value for India”

 

Kunal Agarwal, Co-Founder and CEO of Priority Vendor

“As India’s largest early payment platform, we at Priority Vendor believe that the interim budget carries some of the significant developments, especially for our SME partners. Businesses registered as SMEs will now receive a 2% loan relaxation by the government, thus easing their access to organised credit facilities. Furthermore, the announcement also gave a boost to SME suppliers, making it mandatory for the government projects to source 25% of their requirements from SMEs. The segment has also been bogged down with the GST compliance, however as per the announcement, SMEs with a turnover of less than 5 Cr need to only file GST once in three months.

While the SME segment would be appeased, we believe the interim budget to also be forward-looking. India has already emerged as the second largest hub for start-ups and the government has vowed to support advanced technologies like AI by setting up a national centre for artificial intelligence. We believe it will propel India on the path of emerging as the key centre for growth and innovation. With artificial intelligence constituting the very fabric of our platform, we are excited about this development and look forward to being part of an innovating, enterprising, and digital India.”

 

Dilip Modi, Founder and Chairman, DiGiSPICE

“While populist measures were expected, Budget 2019 has offered a lot more in terms of benefits to stakeholders across economic segments. A tax exemption of up to INR 5 lacs, significant agricultural allocation and focus on social upliftment projects has made it a feel-good budget. This Budget, however, is also very forward-thinking, with substantial emphasis laid on facilitating digitization and building technology infrastructure. Announcements such as the development of 1 lakh digital villages bolster rural India’s digital growth story. At the same time, the inception of a national programme on AI to harness the benefit from new age technologies shows the government’s increasing prioritization of economic optimization by handholding technology. A centralized National Centre of AI, along with centers of tech-excellence across nine priority areas, also reflects the government’s concern to achieve comprehensive national literacy in the latest digital tools and concepts such as Analytics, AI, machine learning etc. Most importantly, the integral role played by technology in Vision 2030 of an India powered by digitized government processes and optimized private transactions makes this budget a foundation stone for the future.”

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