Union Budget 2020: Expectations of Industry Leaders

What expectations our industry leaders have from our Hon’ble Minister of Finance, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, in this union budget 2020

CIOL Bureau
New Update
Union Budget 2020_ Pre Budget expectations

On 1st February 2020, our Hon’ble Minister of Finance, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, will be presenting the union budget 2020. Industry leaders have their own opinion and requests for the Govt.


The India Cellular & Electronics Association (ICEA) has already written a letter to Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, requesting the government to reduce the GST and remove BCD on Air-Purifiers dated 22nd July 2019.

Union budget 2020 is only two weeks away, here we have shortlisted top expectations from industry leaders.

CP Gurnani, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Tech Mahindra


“Realizing the dream of India becoming a 5 Trillion Dollar economy by 2025 truly outlines the ‘art of possible’ and depends largely on the choices we make.

Digital continues to be the cornerstone of India’s strategy, therefore, sharpening focus on enhancing skills in new age technologies like 5G, improving the quality of education, and nurturing the start-up ecosystem are some key measures that will accelerate India’s IT exports and will help sustain its global competitiveness.

As part of the Union Budget 2020, we hope to see focused initiatives by the government that will help India fortify its digital growth momentum and contribute to the global growth story. With 1.3 billion consumers and a large talent base including over 400 million millennials, India can play a key role in scripting a unique success story amidst the global economic slowdown.”


Rajiv Bhalla, Managing Director, Barco India

“As the country gears up for the Union Budget on Feb 1, the Indian economy is dealing with several issues including a drop in GDP, liquidity crunch, rising inflation and low tax revenue. While the Centre took multiple measures to boost the slowing economy, some of which have borne fruit, we believe that more steps are needed, especially in promoting growth in rural consumption and labour-intensive segments.

Barco remains positive on the India growth opportunity and we look forward to favourable measures from the Centre, predominantly in the technology-enabled sectors and the domains we cater to – medical imaging, smart cities, technological innovation in tourism, among others.”


Priya Mahajan Head of ASPAC Public Policy & Regulatory Counsel, Verizon

“There is great anticipation around the presentation of Union Budget 2020. As Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is set to present the Union Budget on February 1, we’re optimistic about the upcoming announcement.

We are expecting that the government will initiate some remarkable steps to foster the growth of the Information and Communications Technology industry. A key area where ICT industry is expecting reform is ensuring predictability, consistency and rationalization of levies and taxes including a reduction in the  License fee to promote innovation and investments in the sector to achieve PM Modi's Digital India vision.


We hope that the government is considering rationalization of levies and taxes for the ICT sector including a reduction of the license fee, which is currently at 8%.”

Sheshgiri Kamath, Co-founder & CEO, Kapture CRM

“The tax cuts implemented by the finance minister, combined with the new fiscal boost that was announced recently are sending the right signals to the markets about the government's intent to address the economic concerns. We expect to see a cutting edge impactful budget this time around which focuses on landmark reforms.


With the recently announced RBI eKYC and other digital measures, the internet economy is going to witness some key reforms. 2020 should be an interesting year for consumer internet startups."

Praveen Agrawal, Managing Director, OakNorth India

“Despite its strong fundamentals, the slowing economic growth, rising inflation, subdued consumption, and job creation are just some of the key challenges currently plaguing the Indian economy. One way to overcome these economic headwinds is to empower startups, particularly Fintechs, that help create a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation, facilitating sustainable economic growth and generating large-scale employment opportunities.


The fintech landscape in India has been expanding with businesses popping up in the fields of payment applications to alternative lending. This rapid growth of the industry needs to be supported by its main stakeholders – which are governments and regulators, financial institutions, incubators and accelerators, and finally the users.

Startups not only fuel employment, they also help in creating a skilled workforce. While the government pushes for higher employment figures through policies, and large corporations struggle to create jobs in an adverse economic environment, it is the startup ecosystem that has emerged as a ray of hope to fulfil the employment aspirations of the country.

In today’s technology age, it is evident that most of the innovation will be seen from startups rather than larger established companies. All policies that facilitate this innovation will drive India’s future growth.

To foster a spirit of entrepreneurship, we hope that the government in its 2020 budget brings game-changing reforms that offer relief and tax sops to the startup ecosystem. We expect the budget to ease regulatory norms as startups currently must go through numerous compliances that are put in place by various regulatory bodies.

We hope budget 2020 will continue with the momentum started with ‘Start-up India’ that enabled self-certification, income tax exemptions, rebate in filing patents for new companies. We expect that this year’s budget will see the government introduce policies that will help startups collaborate with corporates and the academia to nurture further innovation, drive skills development and create employment opportunities for the country’s youth.

This could include strengthening science and technology initiatives, streamlining disbursements for startups, facilitating advanced R&D infrastructure, and providing tax incentives to fuel innovation. Additionally, an increase in personal income tax exemption limits should spur demand and consumption, providing a much-needed stimulus to the Indian economy.

Vinay Agrrawal, CEO & Founder of Hubbler

Startups like us have a huge expectation from the upcoming budget to make India the preferred hub for this sector.

Some expectations that we want are: to consider Unlisted securities treated at par with listed securities when taxed for long- term gains.  GST has already become one of the biggest economic reforms that our country has witnessed.

To make it more successful, there needs to be a simplification in the filing process for companies. GST is now accountant-friendly, it needs to become business-friendly as well. Also, startups with less than 25 cr turnover should get automatic exemptions from TDS.

We spend money faster to grow faster. But because of TDS, our precious funds get stuck, costing us dearly in terms of working capital and interest.

Yagnesh Sanghrajka, Chief Financial Officer at 100X.VC

“Few initiatives are key to startup ecosystem's growth in India viz. Scrapping of Sec 56 of ITA, Single window clearance in banks for overseas transactions, Easing the taxation of ESOPs and Scrapping of Valuation report requirements on investment in startups up to 25Crs by various regulatory agencies like ROC, Income tax dept.

In addition, setting up a Special VC fund by the Govt to promote and invest in early-stage startups will go a long way in boosting our economy and reach the $5 tn. milestone before 2025.”

Prashant Solomon, MD, Chintels India and the Hon. Treasurer for CREDAI NCR

“The real estate segment, especially the residential sector, saw some growth in 2019 thanks to the Centre’s strong efforts at improving liquidity and pushing growth. In the new year, we are looking forward to more such measures to boost the segment as the industry still needs various enablers to get out of the rut.

We are hoping the Union Budget will announce a one-time roll over or restructuring of existing loans. We are also looking forward to the Centre’s measures aimed at improving liquidity and lowering home loan rates, taxes and stamp duties as these will ensure buying interest from end consumers says

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Vice-Chancellor, World University of Design

“With an eye on the future, Union Budget 2020 must focus on quality and tax- free education and skill development. If we look at the current scenario, there has been a shift in the nature of jobs and career choices amongst the youth. The budget must incorporate necessary policy revisions required to meet future job demands and to make India as one of the leading higher education destinations in the world.”

Rohit Malik, Founder & CEO, Clicbrics

“Real estate is one of the key drivers of a country’s economy. Policy changes like RERA and Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act 2016 have ensured transparency and streamlining the sector. We look forward to concrete measures around liquidity and alternate investment fund to revive consumer and investor sentiment. We also expect the government to focus on lowering of taxes, home loan rates and reduction in stamp duties which will have a positive impact on the sector.”

CA Maneet Pal, Partner of I.P. Pasricha & Co

“With GDP at lowest rate in 11 years, Industry expects a lot from this Budget. We believe the government should reduce GST and personal taxation rates to revive domestic consumption in economy. We also believe government might bring Tax dispute settlement scheme to recover pending disputed demands”

Swathi Bavanaka, Co-founder & COO,

“For the year 2020, we are optimistic that the Union Budget will renew focus on startups and the fiscal impetus they need. Last budget missed the mark when it comes to major inclusions for the technology startup sector, we are optimistically looking forward to a course correction this year.

As India is becoming a hub for home grown start-ups, it would be great if the Government can take this up as a priority area in the budget, allocate more funds and announce policies that would encourage the startup sector. This will help create a more welcoming ecosystem for the industry players and catalyze innovation.”

Amit Sharma, Founder & CEO, Narvar

“India is on one of the largest and the fastest-growing markets for digital consumers and accounts for the world's second-largest internet market. With easy access to data and digital proliferation across the country, we have started seeing an increasing number of online shoppers from smaller cities and towns, thereby boosting business prospects for MSMEs.

We hope for this budget to invest in spreading the expanse of digital infrastructure and enable consumers from small towns to have access to e-commerce. Measures to increase disposable income will further enhance the digital economy. A level playing field between retailers will see increased participation of MSMEs and aid in growth of small retailers in India."

Manish Lunia - Co-Founder of

"MSME sector has been the backbone of the Indian economy with over ~30-40% contribution to GDP despite social, logistical and, resource-based challenges. The Indian businessman has battled the woes of Demonetization, GST implementation, Banking Crisis and Credit crunch, etc. in the past 5 years and pessimism around the system is under-represented, if at all.

The Budget 2020 should make efforts to empower the growth of MSMEs by providing them access to required credit with the help of supporting financial institutions with encouragement on data, credit guarantee, and easy documentation for availing finance along with expanding prospects of business across Sectors. Incentivization on using digital adoption by MSMEs will also be a stronger requirement while easing compliance around the same."

Jashan Arora, Director, Master Capital Services Ltd.

"The Govt so far has been on a spree to boost demand and also support India’s corporate. Though we witnessed a sharp negativity that was built into the market and economy after Union Budget 2019-20, but we also saw a 10 per cent cut in corporate tax, which is great. Based on the consensus in the markets, we are further expecting of some cut in personal income tax rates or readjustment of the slabs also in the upcoming budget 2020.

Considering the sharp slowdown in the growth of private consumption in the first half of the current fiscal, hit by fewer jobs in the market and the lack of easy credit following stress in the non-banking finance sector, the Indian consumer has pulled back on spending. I think, Union Budget 2020-2021 can now focus on boosting rural demand to perk up the economy. For economic recovery, the demand needs to go up and that’s when the game will change and returns will come from mid and smallcaps."

Ankit Dudhwewala, Founder, CallHippo & SoftwareSuggest

"Last year has been tough for the Indian economy. With the GDP growth rate going down deep, I believe there should be some short-term remedies to stabilize the economy first, combined with a well-structured long term plan to keep all the industries in faith. Looking at the meetings the Prime Minister has had with the industry experts in the past few weeks, I am sure something fruitful has come out of it and will reflect in the budget.

As far as the IT sector is concerned, cybersecurity is still a major concern and we should see some dedicated allocations for that. Making digital payments mainstream is still a major priority of the govt which directly benefits all-digital businesses like us. Expecting some big steps in that area too.

Overall, the budget 2020 should be and most likely to be a mixture of some sweet and some bitter announcement."

K. G. Prabhu, Group Chief Financial Officer, Smartlink Holdings Ltd.

“As India is gradually moving forward on the path of digitization, for Union Budget 2020, government should focus on giving a strong push to the initiatives that will drive the process of digital adoption across various sectors. We are expecting that the upcoming budget will have measures to encourage domestic manufacturing by introducing polices that will allow global companies to collaborate with Indian companies and manufacture in India.”

Himani Narula Khanna (Co-Founder & Director) & Pooja Grover Kapoor (Co-Founder & Director) of Continua Kids

“India’s healthcare has been unique in a way that private sector contributes equal to or more than the government sector whereby the people working in the private sector, especially those who are startup look forward to government not only for directions but also help.

It is not an easy task for any startup to show a turnaround more so in a brick and mortar model prevalent in healthcare. We are quite optimistic that this government has already given a lot of focus on start-up and with every passing year it's going to increase.

It's easy for a start-up to become crack up if not provided with adequate support from everyone around especially from the government. There are hardly few people in healthcare who are trying to revolutionise and who don’t have deep pockets otherwise providing world-class healthcare to the needy is not an easy task.

Anil Kumar Prasanna, CEO, AxisRooms

We have seen some promising steps for startups by the recent government starting with removal of Angel Tax, MSME Loans of 1 Crore and Mudra loans, the key problems persisting the policies are execution.

Especially most of the time MSME site for loan approval is always down as even with approval some startups have had problems to secure this loan. Every year we see the allocation of large amount of money for startups, from the last allocation of 10000 crores.

We had only seen 30% allocated or deployed funds that is too less compared to the allotted funds and there is still no accountability if this money has actually gone to start ups or is with fund management companies like SIDBI. We need a more informative website and team to manage similar to Enterprise in Singapore for all start up related initiatives and assistance.

Aditya Kumar, Founder & CEO, Qbera

"The Fintech lending sector is booming in India courtesy of the massive demand that the market offers. Reducing the Angel Tax rate from the current 30% for investors funding emerging startups and reducing tax burdens on established startups is a move that would be highly beneficial for Fintech lenders in the upcoming budget. The government should also look to set-up an innovation fund to enable startups to effortlessly raise funds and realize growth aspirations for 2020-21 and the years to follow."

Ramki Gaddipati- CTO & Co-Founder, Zeta

"Aspiring to become a 5 trillion economy by 2025 is very ambitious and for that to happen we need to bring growth back on track. I would like to see wide ranging reforms across all areas instead of focusing only on 1-2 sectors only.

The Budget should further evaluate ease of doing business and take a pragmatic view on issues like angel tax, which actually may be hampering growth. I also think that digital infrastructure needs another push, especially in the areas of banking and payments so that it can be made more inclusive for tier 2 and tier 3 cities.

Lastly, to increase consumer spending, I think the government could also reduce the personal income tax slabs so that people have more cash in hand."

Rakesh Kharwal, Managing Director, India/South Asia & ASEAN, Cyberbit

The Digital India initiative has done a remarkable job and as Digital India 2.0 gets contemplated, the focus of the government should be to build superior trust in technology. It must earmark at least 10% of the technology budget for cybersecurity initiatives.

The government must add stimulus to the market segment and the economy at large. Perhaps, a good way of doing it can be to include simulation-based cybersecurity training solutions like Cyber Range in the Skill India campaign.

We also hope to see more provisions for academia to spend on new technologies like Cyberrange and expand their facilities to help students with exposure to real-time applications. It will help in addressing the gap of more than 1 million professionals in the Indian cybersecurity industry while also aptly positioning the segment for the ripe global market.”

Rachit Chawla, Founder & CEO, Finway

"Better liquidity and sector-specific incentives to MSMEs should be the top priorities of the Finance Minister in the Union Budget 2020-21. 6.5 per cent GDP growth in the coming fiscal is not a formidable task once liquidity resurges and conditions of MSMEs get improved.

There is a strong connection between the health of NBFCs and health of MSMEs. The financial goals of the latter depend a lot on the financial stability of the former, and their collective growth is an index to economic growth. IL&FS and DHFL crises bring drastic repercussions on India’s financial markets and MSMEs, the back-bone of Indian Economy are still bearing the brunt of reduced liquidity in the market.

A large number of MSMEs are struggling with financial challenges, and without special subsidies, their sustenance is difficult. It is very much shocking that out of 6.33 crore MSMEs in India, only 0.05 lakh are medium enterprises, and they usually deprive of Public Procurement Policy which mandates 25 per cent procurement from MSEs.

They are also barred from availing delayed payment reliefs through facilitation councils. So, to revamp the economy, the Finance Minister should take adequate measures which may empower the NBFCs and consequently ensure better prospects for the MSMEs."

Rishabh Mehra, Managing Director, and CEO, Digital Mall of Asia

"With the increasing demand for online purchasing, more and more businesses are moving to e-store from brick and mortar stores, also e-Commerce has revolutionized the way companies are doing business and as a head of an eCommerce platform, I would request govt for GST obligations for both offline and online traders to be the same and also to provide more clarity on policy guidelines pertaining to eCommerce. I hope that Govt sees this as a major opportunity and spends higher on infra and rural programs and tax cuts to boost personal consumption."

Ramkumar Narayanan, VP Technology & Managing Site Director, VMware India

"I am hoping that the government will continue to renew its focus on the Smart Cities mission and help iron out the challenges of infusing capital in cities with public-private partnerships to give the project, the fillip it needs.

The time is ripe for the government to foster a culture of innovation using emerging technology and adopt a new digital approach to strengthen businesses and workplaces of the future. Incentivizing research and development in the IT sector with special emphasis on R&D in emerging tech could be a step forward. Other areas that would gain momentum, if it received the government’s attention and collaboration would be waste management, conservation of water and the environment."

Suganthi Shivkumar, Managing Director for ASEAN, India, and Korea, Qlik

"The current government’s focus on aspects such as digitisation and data handling is fantastic and the IT industry has great expectations from the Union Budget 2020-21. We hope that the upcoming budget has provisions that can strengthen progressive initiatives such as ‘Make in India’, ‘Digital India’, and the ‘Smart Cities Mission’. Given how data and analytics is enabling organisations to bolster productivity through smarter, more effective work, the government must also look to incentivise data analytics and AI projects as well as introduce technology-friendly policies and better tax structures for the industry.”

More importantly, it must look to increase the ease of starting-up a company, as it will help in creating more job opportunities for the country’s youth. The IT sector will continue to drive success for businesses across industries with our innovations while also creating new high-value jobs with evolved skillsets, including data literacy. We are hopeful that the budget announcement will help companies in this sector recover from the recent slowdown and optimally realise its growth potential to drive a large-scale transformation within the economy."

Shashank Dixit, CEO, Deskera

“I am very optimistic about this year’s Union Budget and believe that the primary focus should be on simplifying the GST filing process. This move will greatly benefit SMEs who are the backbone of the Indian economy. While the GST council has taken several steps to simplify the process over the past couple of years, there still exists some lingering issues such as matching of B2B invoices, uploading information on tax returns and compliance burden of SMEs. Also, small businesses that are registered spend a considerable amount of time in obtaining state-wise registration, filing of multiple returns, generation of e-way bills and maintenance of separate books of accounts for each registered entity. I believe that once these issues are addressed, it will increase transparency in the system and bring accuracy to the return filing process. This in turn will prepare the Indian economy for its next phase of growth.”

Bhavin Turakhia, Founder & CEO, Flock

“The two important sectors that should be an area of focus in the coming Union Budget should ideally be – technology and startups. Last year, we saw India jump 14 places to be 63rd among 190 nations in the World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking, a testimony to the fact that India has made significant strides in making it easier for startups to set up their operations. In the upcoming budget, we would like the government to bring in measures to ease the compliance and filings guidelines for startups and eradicate the current penal provisions. Also, with technological disruption being a catalyst for the growth of startups today, we expect the government to make significant investments in technology hubs that will help strengthen emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, internet of things etc. As India is witnessing this boom in digital technology adoption, it has put us on the global map and we need to ensure that we take the relevant steps to ensure that our country is at the center of the fourth industrial revolution."

Bishan Jain, Director, Goldmedal Electricals

“The Indian manufacturing sector has become one of the most attractive destinations for investments in the recent past. While the government has already unveiled plans to boost growth in manufacturing, construction sectors and improving infrastructure, the government should ramp up its efforts in the upcoming budget. The government must underline its continued commitment towards electrification of villages across the country. Furthermore, it should definitely put in additional efforts on solar energy projects, with the right incentives, which can be a valuable avenue for income generation and also help combat climate change. As consumers are becoming more aware about environment sustainability, there should be more focus on promotion of sustainable solutions that will help in reducing India’s carbon footprint.”

Kunal Lakhara, VP of Finance and Operations, Pocket Aces

"We are very optimistic about a recovery and foresee the economy quickly picking pace. The media and entertainment industry has a huge potential to create a number of employment opportunities, increase export services and enhance tourism. In the last budget, the benefit of single-window approvals was a major boost. This year, we hope the government focuses on steps to provide capital to the industry players. This could be in the form of incentivizing banks and other financial institutions to lend money to industry participants especially start-ups in the sector. Furthermore, the government could do very well by lowering tax rates and removing exemptions, revisit tax regulations especially for start-ups. This will not only provide tax reforms but also enhance the efficiency of tax collections. On the personal front, the government should reduce taxes by enhancing the slab rates. With lower tax incidence, more will be left with the consumers to spend and consume, which in turn will create demand for products and services".

Sandeep Patil, Managing Director, Truecaller

“The Prime Minister has laid out a vision of making Bharat a $5 Trillion Economy by 2024. Expectations from this budget are high for reforms that will drive higher growth across sectors and improve ease of doing business for entrepreneurs, companies and investors alike. We urge greater encouragement for policies and technologies that will help realize the aspirations of Digital Bharat and Make in India."

Edgar Dias MD, India, F5 Networks

"In view of the slowing economic growth in India, the technology sector has a vital role to play in elevating India’s GDP growth, India is one of the fastest-growing technology hubs in the world and it is essential for the government to continue investing in infrastructure, cybersecurity and digital transformation projects to ensure that we continue being in this leading position as well as to future proof our economy. With the country on the precipice of digitalizing services across both public and private sectors, the government should focus on funding cybersecurity initiatives to combat the evolving nature of threats that are hindering the progress of digitalization in India. Beyond this, the government should also continue to fund more R&D projects, in line with the ‘Make in India’ initiative, to enable innovation and adoption of emerging technologies that can shape the IT infrastructure to propel digital transformation in India further."

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

"The Government has been paying a lot of attention towards energy efficient processes to help streamline business and markets today, and hence we are hopeful that then honourable Finance Minister will announce awaited reforms and allocation of resources to help the sector achieve more growth at the grassroot level.

The Govt Infra projects should provide exception from GST and Customs duty to lower the cost of project. This will help in contractors and Large system integrators to make investments available for multiple projects. Consequently, all PPP projects shall be payment / legal guaranteed by Govt, so that investments can happen in this sector without a hesitation about legal troubles when Govt changes.

We would expect lowering the GST on Batteries which are used in Electronic Vehicles. Though GST Counsel has reduced the GST on EVs from 18% to 5%, they did not reduce the GST on batteries fitted at factory from 12%. This needs to be lowered further as batteries form major portion in any EV. This change will make affordable EVs.

Apart from that, Income Tax rate slabs have to be reduced to make the cash available for tax paying people, so that they can support the economy growth by spending more and income-tax deduction towards interest paid on a home loan, on a self-occupied property should be doubled. This will help the real estate sector and also to banking sector.

In addition to this, deduction under Section 80C of the Income-tax Act, 1961 should be increased to 5 Lakhs, which will then enable employees to save money for their retirement and exemptions for individual tax payers such as Children education, differently abled dependent medical expenses should be increased at par with real expenses. Currently children education expenses are limited to Rs 100 to Rs 500 Per month. This is not sufficient for the present landscape. We expect total education fees/dependent medical expenses to be considered for tax exemption."

Chandan Barve, Chief Administrative Officer, ES Asia & Site Head, Sun Life ASC India

"Fintech is rapidly progressing in India and the start-up eco system is acting as a catalyst. While the Government has made considerable strides over the last couples of years with e-KYC, digital payments and Neobanks, there is immense scope for the industry to grow. Driving ‘digital Financial Inclusion’ in smaller towns and non-urban areas is a key expectation from this budget.

While e-payments, Aadhar and e-KYC have made a significant difference in tier 1 towns, we hope the Government will announce a policy framework and budget to drive financial inclusion in smaller towns and rural areas, both for businesses as well as consumers.

Enhancing technology infrastructure like internet, wifi and promoting digital literacy in these areas will be key to progress digital agenda. Incentives to promote digital payments in non-urban areas should be considered in the budget. We expect the Government to provide tax relief and allocate separate fund for fintech start-ups who will play a pivotal role in innovation.

So far, small to mid-size organizations are struggling under current tax norms and we hope these will be relaxed to boost industry growth and revive market sentiment.

Finally, we hope the Government will allocate budget to set-up/ develop AI enabled digital infrastructure in fintech space. This will advance understanding of consumer behaviour, predict future trends and also provide early warning signals on potential NPA’s.”

Jyoti Roy, DVP Equity Reearch Analyst, Angel Broking Ltd.

“The Indian economy had decelerated sharply post the NBFC crisis with GDP growth coming at 4.5% for Q2FY20. The upcoming budget therefore assumes greater importance given that India is coming out the worst slowdown since 2013 when India had a twin balance sheet problem. While the Government has already taken steps to revive the economy we believe that they will use this budget as a platform to announce further measures which will help growth to get back on track.

While the corporate tax cut is expected to spur investments over the medium term, markets are expecting the Government to cut personal tax rates which will help consumption demand. We also expect the Government to increase allocation to the Infrastructure and affordable housing sectors given their strong multiplier effect on the economy. In the budget we also expect the Government to increase import duties on specific goods in order to encourage domestic manufacturing and also try and address the liquidity issues surrounding the NBFC and the housing sector.”

Jaikishan Parmar, Sr Equity Research Analyst, Angel Broking Ltd.

“It will be a tough task for the Finance Minister this time around to prioritize between managing fiscal prudence or opting for an expansionary policy, the latter one might prop bond yields and the results could be inflationary. The present concern for the BFSI sector is that the excess liquidity in the system is not reaching to the NBFCs and effectively not to a beleaguered sector where credit is required more for survival than expansion.

There could be many ways the budget can help the BFSI sector, but to improve the overall health of the Banks/NBFCs/HFCs, the government should focus on improving the bigger sector, which can lift GDP growth i.e. real estate and infrastructure.

The real estate sector contributes to over 8% of the Indian economy, and hence, support to this sector will eventually improve the overall health of the balance sheets of the banks. Though government has announced Rs25,000cr AIF, it needs to allot funds faster to stressed/stuck projects, which will improve the sentiments of home buyers.

Further, only increasing the infra spending in infra will not work, and hence, government should bring holistic plans such as land acquisition planning and improve coordination between the myriad departments involved.

Moreover, fast resolution mechanism for a stressed asset, creation of infra bank and continuation of partial guaranteed scheme liquidity for NBFCs will also work in a positive direction.”

Aurko Bhattacharya, Co-Founder, ePayLater

"Financial inclusion remains a critical concern, and digitization has the potential to effectively address the same. This can be achieved by taking steps to promote digital payments and improve the supporting infrastructure for digital payments. The Government should introduce budgetary concessions for digital transactions and thereby reduce dependency on cash.

The digital lending industry has been playing a very important role in accelerating financial inclusion, helping India transition from a cash economy to a digital economy. Thus, digital lending needs to be given a boost. Tax benefits are needed for regulated entities involved in digital lending.

We expect the government to usher in a new set of reforms in the upcoming budget and hope for higher tax relief, and further clarity on Aadhaar based eKYC. At the same time, a push on security standards for various platforms offering financial services would be necessary for people to gain confidence in dealing with digital currency.

The introduction of RBI sandbox comes across as a positive development made in this sphere, and the FinTech industry expects more such policies and reforms this year."

Shubh Bansal, Co-Founder, Truebil

“We have strong expectations from the Union budget when it comes to reduction in GST charges as it will encourage foreign investors to invest more in Indian startups. One of the biggest steps from the Indian government in tax norms has been the relaxation of the angel tax for the startups registered.A reduction in personal income tax is necessary as it will put more money in the hands of the consumer. The assumption being that this extra money would then be spent on buying goods and/or services, thereby stoking demand”

Dr. Vidya V Bhat,Medical Director, Laparoscopic Surgeon & Fertility Specialist, Radhakrishna Multispeciality Hospital & IVF center

"As we look forward to some key announcements in 2020 Union Budget, there is also high expectation from the healthcare sector. As a Gynecac endoscopic surgeon and IVF specialist, I would expect a favorable budget for patients suffering with infertility.

Welcoming a baby is a life changing decision but infertility diagnosis is not completely covered as insurance companies might cover one kind of treatment, but they might not cover another. I hope that the government takes some important step towards covering these treatments.

Another important point that we hope the Government focuses on is to reduce GST exemptions on medical equipments so that we can invest on newer medical equipments and in turn give quality healthcare at low cost to vast majority of population across the country.

GST has increased the cost of various medical equipments due to which we end up paying more tax and at the end we are unable to procure the best of equipments that is currently available. So, to make healthcare more affordable, high taxes levied on medical equipment need to be reduced."

Amit Gupta, CEO & Co founder at Rapyder

"We are optimistic about the country's economic growth as he foresees better days compared to the current slow down. He said, "India, no doubt continues to remain the software development hub for the world. More hurdles in the path of MSME growth would be removed as I foresee a significant relaxation in the lending aspects for MSMEs to survive the current economic changes.

Government could relax some of the compliances, which were mandatory earlier. It will also address the issue of delayed payments to MSMEs. The ecosystem of MSME lending is set to see significant transformation. Thanks to better access to authentic data from various credible sources that provide a better understanding of the nature of the specific business, its growth potential and profits.

Government will become even more citizen friendly, by providing a boost in consumer confidence with lowering personal income tax in the coming budget. This is inturn is expected to fuel demand of goods and services, leading to consumer-spending more for buying and consumption."

Shailesh Shah, Co founder at Strta Consulting

"India needs to garner over $10 trillion to get its urban infrastructure going in the correct direction. We need relevant, innovative and bold policy interventions to help make this happen. In the short term, we need to foster exports and domestic consumption while we start thinking beyond taxes the way we currently are to balance budgets.

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code is a step in the right direction but is in its infancy in comparison to the depth and width the nation needs to resolve thousands of cases and trillions of rupees. As a nation, we need to commit to monetary policy that helps align inflation and interest rates to massive growth."

Dr. Vaibhav Kapoor, MBBS, MS & Co founder at Pristyn Care

"As a startup trying to increase the accessibility and affordability of minimally invasive surgical technologies beyond the confines of corporate hospitals in Tier-1 cities to Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities, we could benefit a lot from partnerships with the government.

Existing infrastructure of government hospitals, coupled with experienced surgeons and latest technology from the private sector can go to great lengths in ensuring that the vast majority of the population, that was previously bereft of the benefits of quality secondary care, can now be guided on the path to health.

As the largest and sole provider of Laser General Surgery treatments in India through Ayushman Bharat, Pristyn Care has already taken steps in this regard to extend the benefit of Government schemes through a hassle free patient experience, but now the Government must also include provisions for such partnerships in the upcoming Union Budget.”

Gautam Bansal, SVP Finance, Shiprocket

“A comprehensive eCommerce policy would provide future direction and confidence in the industry and help investors/ entrepreneurs take decisions faster. There needs to be incentives given out to the smaller businesses as against currently growing multinational monopoly, without jeopardizing the business confidence of foreign investors in India as an investment destination.

Also, Govt. needs to come out with a special package for the logistics sector, especially smaller enterprises and start-ups. To start with, Govt. needs to enter a dialogue with logistics eCommerce start-ups and come in govt.-private partnership models for infrastructure/ tech/ skill development and tax sops for strengthening logistics in India.” -

Siddhartha Gupta, CEO, Mercer|Mettl

"As we are chasing to be India’s third-largest economy soon with a GDP of $8.4 by the end of this decade, India has to leverage the demographic dividend that it’s currently enjoying. Through this budget, I hope to see more money being pumped into reskilling and skilling in emerging technologies that could define the path for future growth potential.

For our industry as well as in general, our budget expectations lay in more investment in laying foundation and infrastructure for skill development through education that is practical and provides hands-on experience in technology."

Ambika Sharma, Managing Director & Founder at Pulp Strategy

"The Union Budget 2020 has a critical role to play towards economic growth as it also deals with policies beyond merely financial budgets & impacts everyone. India is one of the fastest-growing and evolving digital markets in the world today and is rapidly moving towards digitization. I would like to see the government roll out measures that support and drive the growth of the SMBs in the service sector who are a vital link to the digital Indian economy.

The governments move to reduce tax for Indian companies is good, and will see a boost for all sectors. I would like to see more initiatives towards the ease of doing business. The boost can be in the form of simplifying the taxation on fundraising, single-window taxation, quicker refunds etc. We also hope that the budget will delineate more specific plans for connecting the remote villages through high-speed optic fibre networks and building Wi-Fi spots for a digitally integrated country and connecting remote villages with the hinterland. Such a move will also impact the advertising industry positively in addition to the rest of the country."

S N Bhattacharya, Secretary, Life Insurance Council

“For a pension plan issued by life insurance companies, an individual contribution to the pension fund is deductible under section 80CCC under the overall limit of section 80CCE of INR 150,000. The Finance Act 2015 inserted a new sub-section (1B) under Section 80CCD of the Income Tax Act to encourage investment in NPS by any individual by allowing an additional deduction of INR 50,000 over and above the INR 1.5 lakhs available under Section 80CCE of the Act. It is recommended that in order to reduce gap between taxation of pension policies issued by Life Insurance Companies vis-à-vis NPS of the CG, the additional deduction of INR 50,000 for premium paid (as available for NPS) should be extended to pension policies issued by Life Insurance Companies.

Life insurance meets the twin needs of providing protection as well as long-term savings with the goal of meeting living needs. It is particularly needed in the absence of the Government’s social security scheme that is present in many global economies. We request that Honorable Finance Minister Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman consider a separate deduction to be provided for premium paid on individual life policies. If no separate deduction is provided, the existing limit of INR 1,50,000 (i.e. section 80C) should be enhanced from INR 1,50,000 to INR 3,00,000, since the existing limit of INR 1,50,000 is too crowded with both short-term and long-term investment vying for its share."

Kamlesh Rao, MD & CEO, Aditya Birla Sun Life Insurance

“In the upcoming budget, we expect the government to focus on bringing more people under the ambit of Life Insurance, promote long-term savings and encourage capital formation. In a country with inadequate social security, protection offered by life insurance is inevitable; however, lack of its penetration is plaguing the industry.

Introducing separate deduction of Rs 50,000 for first time life insurance buyers and an additional capping of Rs 50,000 for someone purchasing a pure protection (term) plan will put life insurance on fast track. Another important move would be to encourage women to insure their lives and savings. Extra tax benefit for women policyholders will be a significant step.

Moreover, relaxation of section 10(10)(D), where minimum sum assured is required to be 10 times of annual premium will be a desirable move. The budget should also bring about measures to bring parity between pension products offered by life insurers and NPS. Lowering rate of GST at 12% (with input tax credit benefit) will be beneficial for both policyholders and companies. These measures will pave the growth path for the LI sector, besides increasing the security net of the nation’s people at a very low cost.”

Tarun Chugh, MD & CEO, Bajaj Allianz Life

“Collectively as an industry, we do see a lack of parity in the tax treatment of pension products of life insurance companies and pension products under National Pension Scheme (NPS). Both the products have similar objective of building long term savings for meeting retirement goals, hence, this disparity should be addressed by the government in the Union Budget 2020.

Further, in order to enable customers to see life insurance beyond a tax saving tool and invest in it to fulfil their long term financials goals, the government should either consider a separate deduction section or enhance to limit under Section 80C of Income Tax Act, 1961, to INR 3,00,000, since the current limit of INR 1,50,000 is too low to cater to all the contributions it covers.”

Pankit Desai, Co-founder and CEO, Sequretek

"Right now, most of our customers are in a hunker-down mode not willing to take long term bets especially in discretionary spend areas like cybersecurity. As an entrepreneur, we would be watching keenly on confidence-building measures that the government comes out with for improving the business sentiment, which should hopefully trigger the increased spend cycle."

Kavita Mehta, Founder, Caymus Technology Ventures

"The National Skill Development Mission aims to train a workforce of over 700 million over the next 5 to 7 years. However, the country doesn't have the learning infrastructure to handle this type of volume. As such, adaptable and inclusive learning platforms become critical to delivering against this promise. The government could offer a tax break to private organizations that are creating products and services that help millions become more skilled and therefore contribute to the country's growth."

Kalpit Jain, CEO, Netcore Solutions

"IT has been a major contributor to the Indian economy for over 2 decades now. However, the industry itself is undergoing a tectonic shift from service-based to product-based SaaS companies. The market opportunity for SaaS stands north of a trillion-dollar and India is well poised to emerge as the leader.

It is hence imperative for the government to ensure the formation of policies that enable the software product based companies to flourish and compete with the global giants. Netcore is committed to contributing to the economy and collaborating with the government in multiple ways.

As such the government needs to facilitate indigenous founders through funds and tax relaxations to decrease the excessive reliance on venture capital funds. The government can also look at funding product focussed research to build India's competency and leverage in the long run in the SaaS space."

Anil Joshi, Founder & Managing Partner, Unicorn India Ventures

"There is a need for Tax Parity between listed and unlisted startup capital gains tax, especially for unlisted entity since, investors are always looking for a long term investment into Startups, there are always uncertainties. An equal treatment with listed entities at par will be a game changer for the industry.

In addition, ESOP taxation challenges should also be addressed taking into account ESOP exercises where liquidity is not guaranteed but tax liability comes instantly. This is a very uncertain scenario especially when it's an unlisted entity.

The employees are liable to pay tax, considering the fact that at the time of liquidation it can be zero. When employees exercise liquidity that time it should be taxable and a fair chance to employees should be given."

Rajesh Mehra, Director & Promoter, Jaquar Group

“Easing liquidity will be the primary expectation for the sector from the Union Budget 2020-21. Initiatives from the government that act as consumption boosters for the affordable segment like rebates on housing interest loans, would greatly help put back the power into the hands of the consumers.

Alternative investment funds for stressed residential projects, and GST recalibration on construction raw materials will reduce the price burden passed on to home buyers – especially in the Tier 3 and 4 markets and boost construction in those markets. For the lighting segment too – incentivising consumption for LED lighting would pave the way for energy conservation overall.”

Dr. Pulkit Mathur, CEO at Queppelin

"Deep tech which includes Augmented Reality, Computer vision, Artificial Intelligence will play a big role across sectors in accelerating India's quest towards becoming a $5tn economy. Driving greater value as well as job-creation will both be impacted by it. We, therefore, would like to see the FM incentivise this sector. Deep tech should be a special focus separate from the IT/ITeS SEZ sunset clause which also should be extended beyond 2020."

Shekhar Sanyal, Director and Country Head, IET India

“The Indian work scenario is changing at a rapid pace and the workforce to drive this change is currently not industry-ready. It is important that the government puts aside significant resources to research, understand and implement the necessary steps to create the work employer and skills ecosystem that will allow India and its workforce to continue to be globally competitive and valuable. With the upcoming budget the government should keep a fund just focused on creating an education system that will provide skills for the future as well as get ready to reskill the current workforce to make them future-ready.

The government regulatory framework around skilling and future of skilling and work require continuous research and input which the budget should allow for. It should also aid the growing pool of micro - entrepreneurs and the Gig economy, by setting up frameworks and an institutionalised body to monitor it.

The budget should also cater to the needs of students by providing exposure to new technologies and create facilities that exposes to these technologies.

It should also have provisions for academia to spend on new technologies and expand facilities to help students with exposure to real-time application of new-age technologies”

Dr. Rishi Bhatnagar, Chairman, IET IOT panel and President, Aeris Communications

“We saw the 2019 budget give prominence to AI and IoT under the reskilling initiative, investing Rs 436 crore towards the PRIME (Programme for Reskilling/ Upskilling of IT Manpower for Employability) programme. This year, however, there is a pressing need for the government to take a closer look at developing emerging and frontier technologies. This can be achieved only if the government incentivises domestic innovation and encourages the liberalisation of norms. We are looking at the 2020 budget to drive the development of rapidly emerging technologies such as AI/ML and IoT domestically, which is the most effective way for India to move towards dynamic development and global relevance.”

Amitansu Sathpaty, Managing Director, Best Power Equipments

"There are no incentives, benefits and support for the existing MSMEs in the manufacturing sector. From the budget, we expect that the Government should create a business friendly environment by giving tax credits, free land, worker training, low interest loans,infrastructure improvements and help fast tracking licensing and permitting. The Government should also support in terms of sponsoring our sectors' exposure to the International markets. The Government's initiative to promote Make in India can only be possible when the government starts funding which will help us as a sector to represent Indian manufacturers".

Dr. Ranjit Nair (PhD AI), CEO and Founder of Germin8

"One of the biggest areas where countries are vying for dominance is Artificial Intelligence, which is expected to have a huge impact not only in commerce but also in areas like health, national security, cybersecurity, food security, education, and global warming. Unfortunately, countries like USA and China are leaving India behind in terms of AI research, AI entrepreneurship and government investment in AI.

The following are some things that the government could do:

1. AI Grand Challenges: The government can announce AI grand challenges that are open to teams from academia and industry that involve solves an important problem for India. The government’s role in this would be to give a crisp problem definition, provide access to the data and of course provide a good cash prize. Such AI grand challenges will result in important problems getting solved, new startups and jobs, and capture the nation’s imagination and give an impetus to the field of AI.

2. Make it easier to access capital: One of the biggest challenges that startups face is early-stage funding. The government could announce a fund on the likes of Singapore’s Temasek that will invest only in early-stage Indian AI startups. Also, the government could announce lower long term capital gain’s tax for investing in AI-based startups. This will encourage more angel investment into AI start-ups.

3. Improve AI talent in the country: While there are a lot of engineers being produced in India, we still lag behind other countries in terms of the number of AI PhDs and AI research. The government should make more research grants available for AI research and should also offer incentives to institutes that invest in AI training.

4. Ease of doing Business: Government focus should be on bringing policies that encourage AI companies. There should be less red tape, more freedom from the government departments so that entrepreneurs can be focused on building solutions without unnecessary distractions."

Anjani Kommisetti, Country Manager - India & SAARC, Raritan & Servertech (brands of Legrand)

“2019 has been a year of technological transformation for private sector. However, with digitalization picking up quickly, we have seen an increased rate of cyber crimes. We expect the government to help in combating cyber crimes by introducing stringent regulations to enhance the country’s cybersecurity readiness.

Last year, the government’s focus was more on elections and we saw a low action on IT infrastructure projects. This year we are hopeful to see increased investments that will encourage initiatives to faster achieve the Digital Economy mission by 2030.”

Sameer Aggarwal, Founder & CEO, RevFin

"While several schemes have been announced for start-ups, these schemes are not benefitting or reaching all start-ups. I would like to see a clear and comprehensive framework to qualify companies as start-ups. This will set a high bar for qualification and better governance within the start-ups as well.

All qualifying start-ups should have certain benefits guaranteed to them, which include tax benefits, capital availability, ability to participate in tenders etc. Several start-ups, especially bootstrapped ones find it difficult to scale. Profitability also remains a challenge.

In order to make start-ups scale and profitable, supply of capital is crucial. For this one specific measure would be to launch a loan scheme for start-ups. This scheme can be made available through public and private sector banks, at their best available interest rates.

All qualifying start-ups should be able to get this loan without any additional requirements and the government could provide guarantees to banks up to a certain proportion of these loans. The only restriction would be on the amount of loan, for which criteria could be defined on a combination of equity and revenue/cash flow."

Amitt Sharma, Founder & CEO, VDO.AI

"India has developed into the second-largest startup centre in the world and thus the startup founders like have a huge hope from the upcoming Union Budget 2020. We expect the upcoming budget to be a favourable one for all of us. We expect the government to keep on supporting startups and new age economy businesses in the same way as before so that we flourish more aggressively and aid to the development of India.

Further reduction of Corporate Tax, a more favourable regime for taxation for startups has been a long-standing desire for our community and I hope these areas would be taken care of."

Upmanyu Misra, Co-founder & CEO, Cianna Capital

"The NDA government has achieved a decisive mandate that will not be tested for at least 2-3 years. Therefore I hope they focus on fixing infrastructural issues in the economy rather than falling in the trap of synthetically aiming for 6% growth.

Inflation and interest rates are in a manageable range. Budget should be geared towards fixing jobs which will be the key for long term growth. For that, we need a positive mood within Corporates. But Corporates need help with their balance sheet. This help can be provided via a two pronged strategy – make foreign equity route palatable for all stakeholders and provide tax exemptions in a meaningful manner.

On the tactical side, we should spend money to modernize RBI and templatize investment processes. We need to attract foreign debt as developed equity markets are getting too hot and 2020 may see rising interest in India private debt. Masala bonds are not easy for small to mid sized transactions.

Whether or not the NDA encounters geopolitical earthquakes in 2020, it is likely to face major headwinds resulting from internal policies such as NRC, CAA etc. Therefore it is their best opportunity to apply long terms fixes to the economy and set it on a path to political autonomy and policy credibility. Make hay while its sunny."

Shailja Dutt, Chairperson and Global MD, Stellar Search

"With a steadily falling GDP, manufacturing at its lowest ebb in a while and consumption refusing to bounce back , it would be imperative for the budget to usher in optimism and instil a greater degree of confidence across companies, investors and consumers.

The main ask from this budget is to boost demand to spur growth and support the country’s ailing vitals. The ask is not just on the tax front but also creating employment opportunities via privatisation of state owned enterprises, investment in growth focussed infrastructure and looking at industry specific solutions to assist regrowth in the fast degrading manufacturing sector, especially the auto sector."

Shakir Ebrahim, Founder of GoBisbo Broadcasting Network Pvt. Ltd. and Creator of Bisbo

"To build confidence in India's data, the government needs to reveal the true extent of the budget deficit, currently in the 3.5% range. The major change should be a move to the accrual accounting system from its current actual basis. This way future freight revenues from NTPC or Coal India cannot be added to current years' revenues, nor can payments be delayed to another accounting year to show a smaller deficit.

Off-budget borrowings, like loans taken by the Food Corporation of India, to the tune of over 150,000 crore and from others PSUs be included in the calculated figure. The deficit figure may double to between the 6-7% range, but markets will rally on the basis of transparency."

Aditya Agarwal, Co-Founder, Wealthy

"All eyes are on the Union Budget 2020. Given the current status of the economy, reviving investments and consumption demand is key to restore the confidence of both the common man and market entities. This would help investments to flow in and provide a much needed boost to the economy.

It would be in the country’s best interest to focus on investment options for big budgets. We are hoping for the government to accord Cat 3 AIFs with a tax pass through status and simplify NRI participation in our financial market via Equity Mutual Funds, Debentures and other market linked instruments.

The under penetration of the insurance industry is also an opportunity that can be leveraged. Creating a central repository of insurance policy data through PAN would be beneficial in taking insurance to the nooks and crannies of India where it is required the most. A reduction of GST on Health Insurance would also prove to be a positive enabler in this regard."

Basavaraj Puttappa, Founder and CEO, Zeva Astras

“In the wake of recent developments, it is apparent that the economy is showing signs of a slowdown. The government is on the ‘disaster management’ mode to get the economy back on track. Given the situation, the Budget is expected to focus on immediate measures to propel the economy towards growth.

The government has already reduced corporate taxes and might also consider cutting down personal taxes. Such a move will increase consumption levels and stabilize the economic slowdown. However, this would increase the fiscal deficit and might put inflationary pressures on the economy. Thus, along with the tax relaxations the government can push-up the tax exemption levels on long-term capital gains. Formulating such a strategy would increase investment and boost the capital market.”

Rakesh Deshmukh, Co-founder and CEO, Indus OS

“The growth story of the Indian start-up ecosystem has been outstanding in the last decade. With a record $14.5 bn* funding raised in 2019 alone, the industry has played a pivotal role in the Indian economy. This Union Budget is highly important for further amplification of innovation in the sector and potential of each budding entrepreneur in the country.

We are expecting a robust investment from public and private bodies, especially to help promote and strengthen emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, the internet of things, etc., The industry is banking on simplified regulations, market access and funding to incentivize digital technologies to bridge the infrastructural needs of the diverse audience in India.”

Shepreneur Savitha Kuttan, CEO, Omnicuris- a health tech & social medical enterprise

"The disease burden of non-communicable diseases is steadily on the rise. They are currently responsible for 61 percent of deaths in the country. We need major incentives and tax breaks and formulate strong policies to achieve universal health coverage.

With a shortage of over 600,000 doctors and 2 million nurses, and just 0.9 hospital beds per 1000 people, our healthcare system needs more manpower and infrastructure in both rural and urban sectors. The government needs to allocate funds to bridge course authorising community health workers to practice modern medicine can help make up for the chronic lack of availability of primary care physicians in rural and remote areas.

With dismal insurance penetration rates and the lack of insurance for primary OPD visits, India also has one of the highest out of pocket health expenditure rates globally, pushing over 58 million people into poverty annually. The temporary economic slowdown also means that public spending on health might shrink, which is not something we can afford.

More importantly, as long as the government spending remains low, the labour productivity in the health sector is not going to go up. However, Niti Aayog’s latest report identified five areas of focus for the future of the health system, including restructuring health financing, integrating service delivery, educating patients, and boosting digital infrastructure to increase access to quality healthcare.

The government needs to put all these things under consideration while allocating the budget in the healthcare industry and revamp the state of healthcare in India.

Also, as a woman entrepreneur, I expect that Narendra Modi government’s Union Budget will once again lay its emphasis on the achievement of females in various fields. As women constitute just 14 percent of the national entrepreneurial force, there should be a committee that will ensure gender equality, boosting confidence on the part of investors, a safe social environment, and the ease to juggle work and family life.

The government should continue encouraging more women entrepreneurs to come forward and spread their wings. There should be a committee to evaluate and suggest measure to improve women's welfare and this move would be beneficial to empower the fairer sex in the society.

There should be easy loans schemes which will help in boosting more women entrepreneurs to come forward and spread their wings. It is essential to understand that empowering women entails equipping them to be completely independent, financially, physically and mentally.

The Government should step up measures to improve women's safety, starting with round the clock helplines, crisis centers, fast track courts, and programs to educate them on their rights. Legal authorities must be welcoming towards women so that criminal acts do not go unreported."

KR Raghunath, Senior Chairman, Jindal Naturecure Institute

"The countdown of Union Budget 2020 has already begun and the expectations from everyone have risen already. Even we as a firm believer of naturopathy are expecting major initiatives from our Government, who has been taking enormous steps to promote ayurveda and yoga in day-to-day life.

Time and again it has been seen that AYUSH systems have immense potential to tackle the rising healthcare burden of Non Communicable diseases (NCDs) in India. Besides yoga, Government should promote naturopathy and make it a part of school and college curriculums, and set up a committee to introduce naturopathy practices in universities.

Standardizing naturopathy practice is the need of the hour as it will enable us to lay down strict standards that have to be adhered to by all Naturopaths. With a population of over 133 crores, the government really needs to leverage the resources of alternative medicine systems so that universal health coverage can be achieved. Legitimizing naturopathy and conducting mass awareness campaigns to educate the masses is the right way forward."

Nakul Kumar, Co-Founder & COO, Cashify

"While the Indian economy has hit a rough patch, the refurbished phone sector in India has been on an all-time high last year. As a part of the startup ecosystem and the refurbished industry, we expect the Union Budget 2020 to give a further boost to the sector by strengthening the startup quality norms, so that good quality and authentic players are available in the market.

The recommerce trend is breaking all barriers of selling smartphones and influencing pre-owned smartphone users to sell their smartphones without taking hassles of negotiations and prices. Thus the budget should focus on promoting a more safe and secure ecosystem and at the same time democratize technology for an amplified and unified reach."

Pavan Kushwaha, CEO & Co-founder, Kratikal

"With cyber-attacks becoming increasingly more sophisticated in nature, it is the need of the hour to invest in security measures that ensure the cyber threat posture of organizations. Even with an evident zeal amongst businesses to employ such sophisticated and advance solutions, it is equally important for our policy-makers to allot a part of the budget for advancement in technologies that strengthen cybersecurity.

Considering the significance of cyber security in view, allotting a part of the budget can be considered as the stepping stone to a secure and stronger cyber-infrastructure. This percentage of the allocated budget is deserving with the vision to give employment to the skilled workforce and fill up 3.5 million job positions in the domain of cyber security, that are expected to remain unfilled by the year 2021. With the influx of funds, more advanced and improvised cyber security solutions will be employed which will help in further strengthening the cyber security posture of organizations"

Shobhit Bhatnagar, CEO & Co-Founder, Gradeup

"Our Education sector plays an important role in empowering our youth. The EdTech industry is a key component of our education sector. Therefore, the government should offer tax benefits to EdTech startups in the form of exemptions.

The issue of angel tax has still not been properly resolved. As a result investors are reluctant to invest heavily in promising startups because if they do decide to invest heavily then they end up paying a significant tax on it. Therefore, investors require clarity on this front so they can start to invest freely"

Zishaan Hayath, CEO & Co-Founder, Toppr

"Fundamentally, an overhaul in the education system is required. At the moment, many of our graduates are ill-equipped for the job market. Investing in higher education will be a priority for this budget, particularly since the presiding economic conditions will make potential students hesitant to study further, as they’d prefer to secure jobs instead. Efforts need to be made to help students upskill."

Alok Mittal, CEO & Co-founder Indifi Technologie

"We duly welcome the budget announcements made, specifically pertaining to MSMEs and digital payments segment. The government has undertaken strong steps to give a big boost to MSMEs while encouraging and facilitating a cashless economy. The budget has contributed to three most important factors for MSMEs-ease of credit accessibility, greater security for small players through the pension offering and greater transparency as well as convenience in tax processes.

The government has proposed to establish an online portal that will enable loans of INR 1 crore to be distributed to MSMEs within 59 minutes, which immensely enhances the ease of credit for MSME enterprises. Additionally, the government also planned to establish a payment portal dedicated to MSMEs that can eliminate the delays in payments”

Kumar Abhishek, CEO & Co-founder, ToneTag

"The growth of a rapidly developing economy like India definitely lies in developing a more robust and frictionless cashless payment system. The proposed initiatives by the Government to promote digital modes of payment will help in reducing the infrastructural cost of cash management and contribute towards a transparent economy."

Lakshmi Mittra, VP – Center of Excellence (CoE) and Clover Academy, Clover Infotech

“With initiatives such as Skill India, the government has taken great strides towards training the young talent. India has a significant young population of more than 800 million. New-age technologies are disrupting business models and creating numerous opportunities for the youth. However, there’s a considerable gap between what is taught in education institutions and the actual skills required by the industry. The government should introduce measures to empower institutions that are proactively working towards bridging this gap and creating highly skilled human capital for the country.”

Raj Padhiyar founder Digital Gurukul.

"With the rapid Digitalization in Education industry since last few years – High expectations from Government Of India in the upcoming Budget 2020.

Considering the Booming of Digital courses – Government Of India should set up a professional accreditation body for skill-oriented Digital courses.

India has been slower to adopt technology in learning than other countries like China, Singapore. We have observed that technology-led learning is highly effective in closing the skills gap.

To address that, Like IIT, IIM - Edtech companies should be allowed for Government grants for dedicated research/innovation & facilitate global partnership across Edtech companies.

To promote the importance of New age skills - Government of India’s “RTE” should be rebranded as “Right to Quality Education” & PIB should be allocated dedicated budget to promote importance of Digital courses for Job, entrepreneurship in tier- 2,3 cities & rural areas.

Considering the current employment of India which is highest in the last 45 years - It is high time the government gives due recognition to Ed-Tech companies to be the forefront to address unemployment & at the same time boost the role of Digital Education in the upcoming Union Budget 2020."

Karmesh Gupta, Co-founder, WiJungle

"Cyber Security being one of the crucial elements of digital empowerment, attention on both industry and public is need of the hour. From Industry perspective, government should focus on establishing specialized Cyber Security Incubation Centers and R&D Labs to bring up more product companies and make India a global center of innovation.

Further, we look forward to incentivization/aide for startups in standard testing certifications & also open basic public testing labs accessible to startups on subscription model. This would help domestic companies to compete conclusively against foreign players.

For citizen well-being, govt. must launch mass cyber education & awareness drive through web programs, evolving existing offline IT certification programs, introducing it as a subject in the school curriculum. etc. for two major purposes such as develop workforce & reduce the current shortage and substantially bring down cyber theft and losses".

Gaurav Gupta, Co-Founder, Navia Life Care.

"We would like Government to partner with healthcare startups to implement their projects and help them establish quality care for the people. The budget should aim to create healthcare facilities in small towns and rural areas. Ayushman Bharat is a nice step towards universal healthcare in India but better healthcare facilities need to be implemented.

There are lack of doctors in public centres and are currently not able to serve. Technologies for doctors like video conferencing and diagnostic tools helps the doctors to diagnose the patient and assisting with services across the country.

Government needs to allocate appropriate budget for the development of healthcare ecosystem in the country. To provide good quality healthcare in rural India needs to be taken care of like building healthcare infrastructure in rural and remote areas.

The government must help the startups to grow through the implementation of tax benefit to angle investors for investing in the startups and to reduce the GST for the new entrepreneurs.

MoHFW came up with the National Digital Health Blueprint in July 2019, we hope that the government would take significant strides in that direction with specifications in the budget towards implementation of digital health in the government hospitals.

Last year, the then Finance Minister announced that the Government of India has envisaged a national program for artificial intelligence (AI) in a bid to leverage the technology and take it to the masses, we believe that there would be bigger contribution in the form of budgetary allowance towards that.

We hope that there would be specific guidelines given to government agencies on prioritizing the implementation of AI driven technologies in their organizations and departments."

Ankur Choudhary, Co-Founder & CIO, Goalwise

“Given the state of the economy, there are a lot of expectations from the budget. The government should do more to incentivise investments in startups especially in the fintech sector in order to expedite financial inclusion.

A common KYC for banks, investments and insurance will go a long way in accelerating that goal.Regulations need to provide stability and clarity and not change abruptly without due consultations. On the personal finance front, overhaul of income tax slabs is long due.

Also, we are hoping that the income tax deduction limit under section 80C gets raised to 2 lakhs”.