Union Budget 2020: How Indian industry leaders reacted to Nirmala Sitharaman’s budget?

By : |February 3, 2020 0

On 1st February, finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman delivered 137 minutes long Budget speech. The union budget 202 tried to strike a balance between fiscal consolidation and supporting growth.

But was it satisfactory to Indian Industry leaders?  Here are the reactions of Indian Industry leaders –

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

“The Union Budget 2020, is  encouraging , forward looking and would ensure the necessary boost to the Digital India Vision. The Budget duly recognises the transformational impact of  emerging technologies such as AI, IOT, Big data, Cybersecurity,  ML and Robotics on the economy . The digital growth momentum is steered further and India definitely has a key role to play in the global economy and future  of technology and innovation. We believe that India has a unique success story and a step towards being a global technology leader. This budget definitely favours new age digital economy and we look forward to further growth in the sector”.

Dr. Keshab Panda CEO&MD, L&T Technology Services

“From a perspective of the engineering and technology services industry that thrives on innovation, the government’s move to re-revitalize the IP filing and protection process is a welcome step. Additionally the thrust on quantum computing as a key focus promises to further consolidate India’s position in the global digital transformation landscape. The announcement of proposal to set-up Data Centers is also a step in the right direction in terms of acknowledging the importance of data and data analytics.

Overall, the budget puts the role of technology in limelight spanning across all the three focus areas as announced by the government namely aspirational India, economic development and a caring society.”

Ritesh Gandotra, Xerox India

“If this budget had to be known for one thing, it would be the length and breadth of technology infusion across all aspects. Technology and data are changing the world and the latest Union Budget rightly makes these its mainstay. The focus on data, digital records, connectivity and data security across key citizen services underlines the government’s faith in technology to deliver better governance, a safer society and a more competitive economy. The proposals for building data centre parks and setting up the ambitious National Mission of Quantum Technology and Application are significant announcements to put the technology intent into practice.”

Rajiv Bhalla, MD, Barco India.

“The 2020 Budget has been drafted around the key themes of talent, technology, entrepreneurship and sustainability and we applaud the Centre’s efforts at boosting the economy.  The Hon’ble Finance Minister has maintained focus on tourism by announcing that iconic destinations will be connected by “corporate” trains like Tejas and with the plan to develop 5 archaeological sites into iconic sites. Five new smart cities have also been proposed and Barco looks forward to partnering with the Government in this direction.”

Snehashish Bhattacharjee, Global CEO, Denave

“The standout announcement on technology in Union Budget 2020 is the realisation of emerging technologies in India’s growth trajectory and how digital revolution will see the next wave in the upcoming time. It was an incremental budget with multiple bold and visionary steps for $5 Tn economy by 2025. The focus on emerging technologies, agriculture, healthcare and education is welcomed and much needed in a country like India. The skill development fund allocation should help realize the benefits of the demographic dividend we boast of as a country. For any business to thrive, the upcoming salesperson need to have definitive skillset which we believe can now be focussed on with the allocated funds. On the other hand, we were anticipating the government to pay due attention on data localisation. It is one of the biggest challenges for private companies as it leads to increased costs for expanding data centre capacity to fit customer data which were hosted outside India. As addressed by FM Nirmala Sitharaman to bring out a policy to build data centre parks throughout the country, it is a great step to support a data driven businesses in every step of their value chains. The intent with which the budget has been designed will be best experienced with an effective execution.”

Dr Rishi Bhatnagar, President, Aeris Communications.

“We welcome and feel motivated with the budget announced today by FM highlighting ‘Technology’ as one of the important pillars that will help in making India a $5 Tn economy soon. Triggering the digital revolution with use of new-age technologies like IoT, AI and Machine Learning in economic, healthcare and agriculture development, government should also focus on using the allocated funds for automation and mechanisation in these fields. With these initiatives, technology companies like Aeris will be able to provide IOT technology services like efficient waste management and higher productivity in the field of agriculture, utilities, finance, asset assurance and fleet management and more. On the other hand, the new budget initiatives positively addressed the skill-gap problem. The upcoming digital era presents a complex skilling challenge with a clear need to develop the skillset. The apprenticeship embedded degree, online education program and study in India program will equip the upcoming Indian professionals with the essential knowledge and competencies to navigate the data-driven world of tomorrow. Having said that, we are excited to see the next steps on how the plans are being executed.”

Vikas Garg, Deputy CFO, Paytm.

“We see this budget as a good step in direction to become a $5 trillion dollars economy. As a technology player embedded in India’s technology ecosystem, we welcome the government’s vision to build Data Centre Parks in the country. The government’s focus on enhanced digital connectivity, and focus on emerging technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, along with the allocation towards quantum computing are sure to provide a fillip to India’s economy.”

Loknedra Ranawat, Founder & CEO, WoodenStreet

With the focus on economic development, entrepreneurship, which has been the spirit of India is being given high value. A better environment for growth will be provided by opening portals to assist new entrepreneurs. Investment clearance, cells will also be set up to help with the funding process. Electronic manufacturing is in focus and different measures will be taken to enhance the local production. The Government will also launch e-marketplaces which will open various opportunities for SMEs. A total of Rs. 27,300 crore is also allocated to industry and commerce which will also give a boost to the start-up story in India.

Ms. Yogita Tulsiani, Co-founder, iXceed Solutions.

“For the budget in 2020 it is a great achievement that India’s economy is 5th largest economy now.  Its very promising and the avenues for recruitment in India are more now.

Now local bodies will also offer an internship to fresh engineers. FM proposes a national recruitment agency to conduct online common test for non-gazzetted posts which will speed up the things .

The focus on AI, ML, IoT, Data Centre etc  across India is the need of the hour in today’s fast paced technological revolution.”

Ritesh Jain, Co-Founder, FlexiLoans

Nirmala Sitharaman has presented a holistic budget and it is an extension of ambitious schemes announced by the government for doubling farmers’ income, infra boost, etc. This instills confidence in the industry that the government is serious about its programs and deadlines. If these schemes are successfully executed it will put the economy on a growth path and create demand in the economy.

This budget also supports MSME focused Fintechs by

(i) extending provisions of subordinated debt to entrepreneurs focused on MSME’s,

(ii) extension of provisions CGTSME scheme,

(iii) mechanism to solve for liquidity crunch for NBFC’s and

(iv) allowing NBFC’s to participate on Treds.

Fintechs can take benefit of this growth stimulus and SME focused initiatives.

Abhishek Kothari, Co-Founder, FlexiLoans

The Union Budget 2020 has shown a ray of light for the Fintech sector, with FM Nirmala Sitharaman stating that India will embrace a shared economy with aggregators displacing regular business. The importance of Analytics, IoT, and AI has been recognized in this budget, as they are set to change the world. A policy has been announced to set-up data centre parks all through the country.

Furthermore, she went on to add that public institutions, which are at Gram Panchayat level, will be provided with digital connectivity, as Fibre to home will link over 100,000 Gram Panchayats in FY21, through BharatNet. For this, Rs 6,000cr have been allocated to BharatNet. Moreover, Rs 8,000cr is also being allocated to set up for National Mission on Quantum Computing and Technology.

It is good to see technology find a significant mention in the budget. If done correctly, setting up Data Centre Parks, Fibre to home and investments in quantum computing, have the ability to create a digital connected India. The proof is always in the execution.

Ms. Ambika Sharma, Managing Director & Founder, Pulp Strategy

“The latest budget announcement for the year 2020 -21 bears vast potential in shaping India’s road towards achieving its target of emerging as a 5 trillion dollar economy. With India currently posed as the fifth largest economy in the world, I am particularly enthralled by the government’s decision to optimize new-age disruptive technologies such as Machine Learning, robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) towards attaining a seamless and integrated service sector. Further advancing the digital revolution in the country is the government’s resolution of developing state-of-the-art data centers across the nation. Moreover, the FM’s proposal to allocate Rs 6000 crore for connecting 100,000 Gram Panchayats by FY21  will also prove instrumental in accelerating India’s journey towards becoming a tech –enabled nation.

Also admirable is the government’s successful implementation of the Beti Bachao and Beti Padhao scheme which was reflected by the high gross enrollment of girls in all levels of school education. With the budget modeled towards realizing a progressive and equal women-centric society, the Finance minister also highlighted the fact that presently more than 6 lakh Anganwadi workers are equipped to upload status of more than 10 crore households. The government’s decision to provide Rs 35,600 crore for nutrition related programs and Rs 28,600 crores for women – linked programmes will vastly help in furthering women empowerment and gender equality.”

Ms Sadiya Khan, Founder, Akund Communications.

“According to a recent report by World Bank, despite making up 48% of the Indian population, women have not benefitted equally from its economic growth. 65% of women are literate compared to 80% of men.

Budget 2019-2020 did not have much to offer to the Indian women but this year the Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman has allotted of Rs. 28,600 cr for Women-Centric programmes in FY21 which will be deployed for schemes like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Mahila E-Haat, Working Women Hostel, Mahila Police Volunteer, NIRBHAYA, SWADHAR Greh and other such schemes. This will encourage women to come out, educate themselves and become independent, increasing women workforce in the country.”

Dr. Pulkit Mathur, CEO, Queppelin

“It was heartening to see FM Sitharaman recognise the importance of Deep Tech is driving the next wave of growth in India. From AI in Ayushman Bharat to Data Centre Parks to allocation of Quantum Tech….there was enough in that Budget for the Technology sector to be enthused about.”

Rajesh Uttamchandani, Director, Syska

“We welcome the steps taken by the Government in the Union Budget towards boosting electronic manufacturing in the country. The electronic industry has huge potential both in terms of manufacturing in India and job creation and will provide a major impetus for growth. This will further enhance the exports of networked products. Another important step taken is the further push provided by the Government for its smart cities mission. It aims to create 100 cities with state-of-the-art infrastructure that includes intelligent lighting, Wi-Fi access points, leading to enhancement of the quality of life of every citizen while building efficient living spaces for future generations. As a company, Syska  has been striving towards developing technology-driven, energy-efficient and affordable solutions that positively impact the lives of our customers. With India heading towards mass urbanization, we are aligned towards promoting sustainability, enhancing social development and creating new employment opportunities through rapid digital innovations.”

Ms. Divya Jain, Founder & CEO, Safeducate

“We are thrilled that the Union Budget has touched upon the greater finance needs for educational institutions in order to attract good teachers. For this, the decision to look at ECBs are FDI is definitely a step in the right direction.  The setting up of apprenticeship programs within 150 higher education institutes will have a significantly positive impact on skill development. Similarly, urban local bodies providing fresh engineers with job opportunities for one year, allowing them to learn on the job, will contribute to a highly-skilled workforce. The announcement of Rs 99,300 crore outlay in favour of the education sector in 2020-21 and a separate Rs. 3,000 crore for skill development is a welcome move for sure.

FM Nirmala Sitharaman has fittingly identified the rising demand for teachers, nurses, paramedical staff and caregivers abroad and the pressing need for skilling programs for professionals in these domains. The stellar success of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao is evident from the fact that gross enrollment of girls is 94.32 percent in elementary levels, 81.32 percent in secondary level and 59.7 percent in higher secondary level as compared to boys. We are looking forward to further promotion of girl child education as the program continues to gain scale.”

Dr. Apoorv Ranjan Sharma, Co-Founder and Managing Director, 9Unicorns

“The NDA government’s continued efforts towards bolstering the startup landscape in India are commendable. Like the previous year, Union Budget 2020-21 focuses on the improvement of ease of doing business for startups. The proposal to set up an investment clearance cell that will provide end-to-end facilitation and support to entrepreneurs is a step in the right direction. Under this initiative, startup owners will receive pre-investment advisory, information on land banks, as well as a faster clearance on the state level. We believe this will present unbridled opportunities to entrepreneurs and the overall startup ecosystem in the country. Another positive move in favour of startups is postponing of taxation for employees for 5 years, along with ESOP taxation in the hands of employers of startups being deferred. As an accelerator for early-stage startups, the budget announcements meet our expectations.”

Chander Agrawal, Managing Director, TCIEXPRESS

“This year, the government has introduced reforms that are in line with the vision of integrated national infrastructure. The reforms include monetization of 12 lots of highway bundles by 2024, the institution of a governance framework for ports, the establishment of 9,000 KMs of the economic corridor, and PPP model in transportation alongside others. Further, 100 additional airports will be developed under the UDAN initiative by 2024 which will improve national connectivity and catalyze freight movement.. We welcome this year’s budget.”

Bishan Jain, Director, Goldmedal Electricals

“The Union Budget 2020 has provided enormous opportunities for companies looking to set up manufacturing facilities in the country. The steps taken by the Government towards making India a manufacturing hub by providing impetus on electronics manufacturing in India will give a further fillip to the Government’s flagship Make in India initiative. Additionally, the budget also provides emphasis on making every district of the country an export hub, with the Government allocating Rs 27,300 crore for the development and promotion of industry and commerce in 2020-21. This initiative will enable Indian companies to develop the infrastructure and manufacturing capabilities required to build products that can be exported. We also welcome the Government’s commitment towards boosting emerging technologies such as internet of things, (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), Analytics and the creation of a sustainable environment to combat climate change. As a company, Goldmedal Electricals has always been at the forefront of introducing innovative and sustainable solutions that make our planet not only smarter but also sustainable for future generations.”

Rahul Sharma, MD-India, LogMeIn

“Budget 2020 looks very promising. We are particularly enthused about the FM’s announcement of seamless delivery of digital services as part of the next wave of digital revolution. AI, ML, Analytics, IoT, Robotics are making giant inroads in India, as was observed in the budget. The policy being introduced to build data centre parks throughout the country will help enhance the digital infrastructure to a significant extent. We are looking forward to the next phase of Digital India which will be a big growth driver for businesses and individuals alike.”

Aakrit Vaish, CEO, Haptik

“As digitization and advanced technologies continue to gain momentum, we welcome the Budget 2020 announcements. Once again, the Finance Minister’s emphasis on machine learning, robotics, AI and IoT will help boost India’s digital journey. A significant proportion from the allocation of INR 3000cr for skill development should focus on these cutting-edge technologies. We are also delighted to witness proposals such as the linking of 100,000 Gram Panchayats through the enhancement of Bharat Net and setting up of data centre parks across the country. As national systems become more sophisticated and our workforce is equipped with the relevant skills, we will truly see the next wave of digital revolution, with greater scope for large-scale indigenous innovation.”

Suganthi Shivkumar, Managing Director, ASEAN, India & Korea at Qlik

“We appreciate the government’s decision in the 2020 Budget to dedicate the necessary funds and resources towards developing revolutionary and breakthrough technologies such as ML, robotics and AI to further the skills that will prepare us for the next wave and accelerate India’s journey towards becoming a digital giant. With data equated as the new oil, the government’s plan of building cutting-edge data parks across the country is equally important. Furthermore, the governments initiative of allocating Rs 6000 crores to enable unabridged digital connectivity in over 100,000 Gram Panchayats through the Fiber to Home BharatNet scheme holds brilliant potential in securing India’s passage towards achieving tech-empowerment for the remote sector.

Pavan Kushwaha, CEO & Co-Founder, Kratikal

“Digital India does not seem like a far-fetched dream with honorable finance minister Ms Nirmala Sitharaman allocating Rs. 6000 crores for BharatNet.

Currently, the Indian population registers at 1.38 billion. Out of 1.38 billion Indians, there are 560 million internet users in the country and this number is growing by 18% every year. It has been estimated that by the year 2021, the digital population in India will cross the mark of 800 million.

This will lead to a boost in the usage of digital products and we are aiming to provide security solutions that will help in securing these applications and products.”

Zishaan Hayath, CEO & Co-Founder, Toppr

“This year’s budget focuses largely on skill development for young professionals. While the focus on scaling up youth’s skill set is necessary, the budget had a glaring lack of initiatives for primary and secondary education which is the foundation of one’s life and career.

The budget also announced that certain examinations will be moved online. This is a welcome development, especially as JEE and NEET are now online as well. While this makes examination and evaluation process more efficient, it also encourages students to prepare online for exams. Technology is the future of education and the more we can do to get our students to study online, the stronger our education system will be.

However, we need more clear and concrete steps that could upgrade our education system significantly. A lot more thinking and fast execution is needed to make education advanced and personalised.”

Shobhit Bhatnagar, CEO & Co-Founder, Gradeup

“As an EdTech entrepreneur, I am pleased that the government has announced a degree-level full-fledged online education programme, which will be offered by institutes ranked in the top 100 by the National Institutional Ranking Framework. Online education is the way forward if we have to provide affordable, accessible and quality education in the country. Apart from that, the proposed Common Eligibility Test for recruitment to non-gazetted govt posts will result in saving a lot of time and effort of aspirants. And of exam conducting bodies because students prepare for a multitude of exams every year; with each government body having a different selection procedure and requiring separate preparations. However, it remains to be seen what steps the government will take to ensure this.”

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

“We welcome the budget. Our honourable standing Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the series of measures in Budget 2020-2021 to promote the power and Infrastructure sector, and we as a company are looking forward to its future scope.

iRAM would be standing with Mrs. Sitharaman’s initiative to make the industry and commerce sector more technologically enabled with an emphasis on building Smart Cities, as well as the reforms that will be added in the development and infrastructure policies. We will be working with the government to drive the Smart City growth initiative through deployment of our various IoT based smart systems.

Furthermore, the budget allotted for the Infrastructure and renewable sector will aim at creating a more holistically developed, technologically driven future of the country, and iRAM Technologies, as an IoT based company, hope to keep up to par and additionally support the government in creating a New, Smart India.”

Akshay Chaturvedi, Founder & CEO, Leverage Edu

“It’s great to see the Union Government’s focus on education. The FDI part was in waiting for a long time, glad to have it come through – it will really help us make a big leap! Online education programs, introduction of new courses that will push students into careers of tomorrow, and of course ‘the Indian SAT’ for promoting #StudyInIndia – all are in the right direction, and I am personally very excited about us at Leverage Edu helping execute some of these parts”

Kunal Jain, Founder & CEO, Analytics Vidhya

I welcome the Government’s initiative to open Data Center Parks across the country as the finance minister has rightly said that ‘Data is the New Oil’. This will lead to the digitisation of the rural areas while providing various employment opportunities to the people across the country. Also, I would appreciate the use of AI & ML by the government in Aayushman Bharat Scheme to improve the healthcare services and eradicate tuberculosis in India by 2025.”

Anish Kapoor,CEO, Infinix India

“We welcome the Union Budget 2020 announced by the government as it proposes a scheme focused on encouraging the manufacturing of mobile phones and electrical equipment, this will further give a boost to government’s Make in India program.”

Rishabh Mehra, MD and CEO, Digital Mall of Asia

We welcome the Union Budget 2020 announced by the government as it will boost startups, tax burden on employees due to tax on Employee Stock Options to be deferred by five years or till they leave the company or when they sell, whichever is earliest.

Agendra Kumar, President, Esri India.

“The budget has some very positive proposals for the GIS (Geographic Information System) market. There are several areas where the hon’ble Finance Minister has announced allocations of funds which will directly benefit from the use of GIS.

It is heartening to see the allocation of Rs 11,500 Crores in 2020-21 for Jal Jeevan Scheme, this will certainly help in improvement in water resources and providing 24×7 water to households. Also Rs 12,300 allocated to Swatchh Bharat Mission for 2020-21 will help in roll out of initiatives for disposal and processing of solid waste and waste water. These two schemes are very important for the country and GIS can help in the management of water resources, water distribution and in achieving the objectives of Swatchh Bharat mission.

5 new Smart Cities have been announced in collaboration with states, apart from the allocation of Rs Rs 103 lakh Cr for infrastructure in the form of 6500 projects for housing, supply of safe drinking water, clean energy, health care for all. GIS has been supporting the growth of Smart communities and in improvement of liveability of the cities.

GIS was the heart of R-APDRP program that aimed to reduce the power distribution losses by various electric utilities in the country. Now the announcement to make smart metering mandatory by all DISCOMs in the country will bring-in an important reform, the installation and management of smart meters can easily be handled through GIS based systems.

Mapping on land on both sides of railway tracks for generation of solar energy is driven by GIS and so are the other areas like expansion of sea ports, development of Inland Waterway and 100 more airports. It has been announced that the National Gas grid will be expanded from16200Kms to 27000 Kms. GIS is already been used in installation and management of Gas pipelines and distribution; the expansion of Gas grid will create more opportunities for the use of GIS and other geospatial technologies.”

Nakul Kumar, Co-Founder and COO, Cashify.

The Budget 2020, is a step in the right direction for a more promising time to come for India’s startup environment. It is very encouraging to see that the Government has perceived startup as a key job creator as well as an engine of growth which form the backbone of our economy. Tax reforms on ESOPs, and increase the turnover limit for start-ups from Rs 25 crores to 100 crores will boost the start-up system and will lessen the burden from complying with complex red tapism.

This year, the budget also focussed towards fuelling growth of early- stage start-ups by introducing initiatives such as setting up portal- based investment clearance cell for offering end-to-end facilitation services at the Central as well as State level in funding and a portal will be set up thereby  creating more opportunities for startup owners.

Yashash Agarwal, CEO, Gamezop

“FM’s proposal of delaying tax collection on the exercise of ESOPs is a welcome move. The current structure looks to collect taxes too early causing employees to not exercise vested shares. Easing direct taxation for eligible startups will encourage businesses to chase the right metrics and not just growth at the by bleeding money. The definition of “eligible startups” must be broadened to bring more companies in this fold.”

Harsh Jain, Co-founder and COO, Groww

“Making policy for data center parks for digital resources like fintech, AI, aggregator platforms along with the connection of 1 lakh villages via optical fiber internet is great news for digital India. This will definitely increase digital penetration into India that was unthinkable before.”

Sorabh Agarwal, ED, ACE

“ACE welcomes the announcement of the budget on behalf of the Construction Equipment Industry. The budget 2020 is special in itself as the economy has seen a major dip in the last fiscal and the industries are expected to recover through this budget. The Construction Industry has absorbed a slump recently and is expecting to rebound its growth with the budget allocation of 2 trillion in the transport infrastructure. Prioritising and focusing the Public Private Partnership projects is another welcoming move for the Construction industry, this will significantly create the funding opportunities for the homegrown brands and generate employment opportunities in the sector.”

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

“This has been a historic budget, I would rate it 8/10. This is common man’s budget. From education to infrastructure, govt has ensured promising new projects. This would encourage buying and would improve market sentiments. In terms of Electronics and TVs, we were expecting reduction in GST to 18% and extent the 0% duty on open cell panel.”

Rohit Manglik, CEO, EduGorilla

“The Union Budget 2020-21 clearly focusses on education and skill development through outlining a series of progressive steps in this direction. The proposals of internships in local bodies for engineering students and facility online education for the deprived section are in line with the goal of Skill India. Moreover, the announcement of a full-fledged online education programme by educational institutions will complement conventional education and ensure greater equity in access to education. The proposals of the Union Budget along with the proposed New Education Policy will go a long way in boosting the education sector in the country.”

Venkatesh Rangachari, Co-founder, GroCurv

“Indian start-ups today are fuelling economic growth for our country. We are encouraged to see the provisions for the start-up fraternity proposed by the finance minister and welcome the various initiatives announced today.  Start-ups attract employees with the Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP), and the ESOP tax deferment for 5 years is a positive step towards allowing early-stage start-ups to be competitive in recruiting and retaining good talent. The government’s scheme to provide subordinate debt for entrepreneurs is also another significant development and we are eagerly waiting to see the details of the proposition. Moreover, lowering income tax slabs is a good move, and will create more wealth for young hires by allowing more net income in hand.”

Sunil Patwari, CEO, Rashmi Rare Earth Limited

“We laud the budget presented by Ms. Sitharaman today. She stated that the Government could announce a Rs. 36,000 crore fund to provide production linked incentives (PLI) to smartphones makers. Building a complete ecosystem to spur local manufacturing is the key for its success. This scheme will support the manufacturers to offer quality products at competitive prices, generating ample employment opportunities and boosting the domestic economy. Our request to the Government to give preferential treatment to Indian companies having 100% local equity over their Chinese counterparts. Faster and hassle free implementation of Incentive Schemes is the call of the hour.”

Anil Joshi, Managing Partner, Unicorn India Ventures

“FM’s first full Budget has something for everyone. She tried to address employment generation issues, providing access to education, emphasized on embracing tech and next-gen concepts like IoT, AI and ML. We are happy to see that the FM has kindly agreed to long pending demand from industry on ESOP, the new guidelines will certainly help startups attract good talent and reward suitably through ESOP, the ESOP guidelines will help in structuring the benefit to deserving employees. The increase in the turnover limits from Rs 25 cr to Rs 100 cr for claiming off-set on profits is a welcome announcement. It will boost cash flow situation at early-stage startups who sometimes fail before take off because of liquidity crunch. Also, by exempting companies with turnover upto Rs 5 crore, from audit, reduces compliance burden on them.

The Govt has also proposed a policy on early life and seed stage funding for startups to validate their business idea and run POCs, we believe, this would help grass root development and will encourage more university led IPs would good boost for innovators. However, the fine print will tell us what kind of financial support would early stage startups get in the coming months. We hope the procedure to avail these services are less complicated. Also, our industry’s demand on tax parity still remains unattended. However, we are hopeful that the govt will give it thought in time to come as we are continuously seeing the focus on startups and investors increasing in the last 5 years. Overall, it is a Budget with an aspiration to revive the economy from its current slowdown.

Kavita Mehta, Founder & CEO, Caymus Tech Ventures

“The Union Budget 2020 has allocated over Rs One lakh crore for education and skills upgradation in India. That the focus on education and skills was well rounded and didn’t seek to push one or two top verticals like technology and management streams was especially promising. The FM focused on providing access to education for people from underserved and poor sections, making technology and digital formats the delivery mechanisms. Further, in order to open up employment opportunities the creation of initiatives such as one-year long internships and apprenticeships for. Clearly, the idea is to use technology to reach more young people, provide access to education, and empower them to land in-demand jobs.

It is encouraging to see announcements like New Education Policy, financing the education system to attract top talent, online degree courses, bridge courses for support staff, and making India a global education hub. The Government recognizes the urgency with which the world’s largest working age population needs to upskill in order to have a positive impact on society and the economy. FM’s repeated emphasis to deliver education through portals, designing of new courses and providing viability gap funding for colleges and State Government, will help meet aspirations of young Indians who are comfortable using technology to educate and upskill themselves.”

Pravin Agarwala, Co-founder & CEO, Betterplace

A Bangalore-based tech platform managing end to end lifecycle of blue-collar workers in India, by working with close to 1000 enterprises who employe blue-collar workforce.

Good move in terms of taxation on startups. All startups are looking at the road towards profitability and deploying that back into the company to expand thereby increasing employment. Increasing the revenue limit to Rs 100 crore and duration to 10 year,  a great move forward. The other key aspect is ESOPs. Employees who come on board with ESOPs and build a company along with the founders. It has been a long-standing demand to tax them only at the realisation of ESOPs. The proposed deferred payment of 5 years in tax liability will ensure people get what they deserve and also encash at the first potential opportunity. This would excite them to be part of startups and increase the importance of ESOPs. This would also encourage more employees to participate in the program. Moreover, this would also help more liquidity in the market as the transactions would take place. A win-win for startups and its team.

Jobs generation across the spectrum was also a key point in the Budget speech. There is a need to generate both blue and white-collar jobs for the Country’s youth. While on one hand setting up of online degree courses and internships would give a boost to the education sector, we believe that the infrastructure sector which is set to see massive govt-funded projects being rolled out would generate jobs for grey and blue-collar workers. We work closely with the National Skill Development agency and would be awaiting keenly for a detailed plan to employ youth in construction, operation and maintenance of infrastructure being built in the Country. Furthermore, we find the proposal to design bridge courses for nurses, caregivers and paramedical staff for postings abroad quite promising for the semi-skilled sector. The Ministry should take a leaf out of this and see if the same can also be implemented in India as we see demand for such roles also growing rapidly in the domestic market too.

Pushkar Mukewar, Co-CEO, Drip Capital

“Indian exports to China have been growing in recent years, and the country is among the top three countries India exports to. Indian exports to China grew 25.6% to $ 16.75 billion in FY 2018-19 from a year ago and were projected to grow around 4% for FY 2019-20. However, if the spread of the new Wuhan coronavirus 2019-nCoV forces a prolonged lockdown in China, retail consumption and raw material demand are expected to fall. Seafood exporters in Kerala are already feeling the pinch, and prices of commodities like soybean and cotton are also facing uncertainty. China is a huge driver of international trade, and an extended lockdown of the country because of the outbreak is likely to cause trouble for exporters in India and elsewhere.”

Rajat Jain, CIO, Principal Mutual Fund

“Given the slowing economy, the finance minister has tried to stimulate consumption by reducing tax rates esp. to the persons in the lower tax bracket. The continued focus on rural areas and infrastructure is welcome. The government has been reasonable in forecasting the nominal GDP and the growth in tax rates.”

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Chandrahas Panigrahi, CMO and Consumer Business Head, Acer India

“This is positive budget overall from the technology focus point of view. We are pleased that the Government is allocating Rs. 8,000 crore for the National Mission on Quantum Computing and Technology. The government’s move on encouraging manufacturing of electronic equipment in India is also a big step as this would provide much needed impetus to technology and manufacturing sector, which has been developing capacities and generating employment opportunities. Also, more focus on technology such as Machine Learning, Robotics, AI will support the industry to grow and establish India as a robust ecosystem for technology and innovation.”

Ankit Prasad, Founder and CEO, Bobble AI

A good thing about the #budget2020 is that they have kept StartUps in mind w.r.t. Income tax deduction, deferred taxation on ESOPs and all other policies which are adopted. However, that said, we as an industry are jaded by the past – there have been issues when it comes to implementation and have been at the receiving end of the IT Department courtesy misinformation of angel tax, for example. Here’s hoping that this year will be different and that there will be no friction whilst implementing and executing the proposed policies.

Gagan Vermani, Founder & CEO, MYSUN

“Budget 2020 was a mixed bag for the Solar Sector. To boost generation and use of power, the government has brought institutional changes in some schemes. It expanded the ‘PM Kusum Scheme’ to 20 lac farmers to set up grid-connected solar farms on barren lands making ‘Annadata an Urjadata’. The setting up of grid-connected solar farms on barren lands would reduce the dependence on thermal and other non-renewable resources. Further, the setting up of large solar-powered capacity alongside rail tracks is in line with the idea of Green India.

The thrust on the integration of smart meters is good for the end-users and would push Discoms to provide better services at competitive prices. The 22,000 Cr is kept for the power and renewable sector, but the bigger question will be where and how that will be utilised. The key highlight was the Government admitting the distressed situations of the DISCOMs and assuring to work with them, which may relax sudden change of policies in key aspects like Net Metering.

The FM did leave a grey area when it comes to custom duties on imports and it will be a game of wait and watch there. The government’s pro-environment approach is visible with its stress on the ‘clean air scheme’. The abolition of the dividend distribution tax will encourage further investments in the renewable energy sector.”

Srinivasa Addepalli, Founder & CEO of GlobalGyan Academy

“It is heartening that the Budget speech recognised the gap between industry expectations of skills and those that are currently being developed by the education system. Initiatives around internships and apprenticeships to encourage connect between the academic and real worlds are welcome. While the Government seeks to launch online degree-level programs, we believe these should not just be restricted to existing universities but opened up to private players, so that young Indians can experience true innovation and competition in the higher education space”.

Rajiv Kapoor, Vice President, India & SAARC, Cambium Networks

“The Union Budget provides a major boost to the interests of broadband services enablers and aligned stakeholders as one of the major takeaways that evidently emerged was the fact of connectivity being at the core of all key pursuits planned by the government. Towards this, initiatives announced such as providing push to smart metering, setting up five new smart cities, establishing new data centres across the country and more importantly the allocation of Rs.6000 crore towards BharatNet to provide connectivity to 100,000 gram panchayats within this year itself, augers well for the telecom industry.”

Nikhil Arora, VP and MD, GoDaddy India

“The Union Budget 2020 is a reflection of the Government of India’s vision and commitment towards delivering an inclusive growth. The proposed reforms especially those focused towards MSMEs and startups such as provision of seed funding for early-stage startups and setting up of a portal based investment clearing cell, will further help to bolster growth of independent ventures in India.

Big announcements like deferred payment of ESOPs, as well as the creation of an e-market place for MSMEs, are also laudable steps by the Government towards uplifting the overall entrepreneurial spirit in the country. We also believe that the proposed allocation of INR 99,300 for education and the allocation of INR 3000 for skilling initiatives, can be instrumental in delivering better educational infrastructure and innovation.

As India gears up to chart the next chapter in its strong growth story, we at GoDaddy continue to work in collaboration with the Government and our partner ecosystem, to help entrepreneurs and small businesses grow their ventures online, with our easy-to-use and affordable tools and solutions.”

Kunal Patil,Co-Founder, WorkIndia

Providing internet to villages is a very important initiative taken by the government given that broad basing of employment between rural and urban is critical and usage of the smartphone for job search is expected to be significantly higher in the rural segment.

This year’ budget proposes to set up a national recruitment agency for the conduct of computer-based online common eligibility tests for recruitment to non-gazetted posts: FM. This is a highly critical initiative by the government.

The government may consider a public-private partnership on certification panel to make them more effective & separately providing post-specific training would make these candidates significantly better suitable to perform in these(non-gazetted) roles.

Narayan Mahadevan, Founder, BridgeLabz

This year’ Budget the FM has rightly focussed on skill development, education and job creation. More importantly like the focus on Fresh Engineers Job in the first year after engineering. This is a great acknowledgement by the government.

This is because India has the world’s largest supply of Graduating Engineers every year and if they can be somehow made employable, they can truly become Global Workforce in Deep Tech Area. I wish Government finds ways to support and incentivise Startups and more importantly use startups to make engineers employable and make India the largest source of tech employable workforce for the globe.

Amol Arora, Vice Chairman & MD, Shemford Group of Futuristic Schools

“By 2030, India is set to have the largest working age population in the world. It is good to know the Government has acknowledged this and the need for the education sector to have greater finance to attract good teachers..

In the previous Union Budget, the Government allocated ₹94,800 crore towards the education fund. This time the Finance Minister has announced Rs 99,300 crore outlay for education sector and Rs 3,000 crore for skill development. But I feel the rise is just not enough to match the current need.

Considering the option of External Commercial Borrowings (ECBs) and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for education sector was much-needed. The government should look beyond ECB & FDI but also attract more domestic investments and talents. This requires political will to permit return on capital since Investment in Education will give the highest ROI for the country.

We require to cover more students, add better infrastructure and most importantly — improve the quality of education. 150 higher education institutes being given apprenticeship programmes by March 2021 is a welcome announcement as it will promote skills and employability.

We are looking forward to contemporary and emerging trends being incorporated in the curriculum with National Education Policy 2020 which is going to be announced soon. It’s disappointing that the Government hasn’t passed on any benefits for the Ed-tech and skill-tech sectors by extending tax benefits and incentives for players, corporates or education institutions by giving tax exemption.”

Akhand Swaroop Pandit, CEO & Founder, Catalyst Group

“This budget states about the new education policy(NEP), Which will be announced soon and this time the focus will be on attracting experienced and qualified teachers & the Education sector needs greater finance to attract good teachers and thus ECBs and FDI will be leveraged. A total of 150 higher education institutes will have apprenticeship programs by March 2021.

Urban local bodies will provide fresh engineers a job opportunity for one year, says FM. This will help engineers learn on the job which is actually good because in India major population of engineers lack the skills required for growth which will be tackled here.

The major step towards boosting online education is the introduction of degree-level full-fledged online education programmes to be offered by the top 100 institutions in the country. Also Degrees can be taken online soon and will be offered by the Top 100 NIRF ranked institutes. This time the education sector is under focus and the introduction of online courses and degrees will definitely prove to be a big step towards digitalisation of Indian education system.

FM also announces Rs 99,300 crore outlay for the education sector in 2020-21 and Rs 3,000 crore for skill development and as suggested by the FM By 2030, India is set to have the largest working age population in the world which is definitely going to boost the economy.”

Shrey Kumar, Co-founder, Aadvik Foods

“Focus of Government on entrepreneurship and agriculture sector in this year’s budget will boost the confidence of a lot of entrepreneurs in the agriculture segment. The setting up of cold chain infrastructure in the country is much needed and it is good to hear that govt is planning to improve the same.

FM’s focus on easing out the investment related problems to start-ups such as pre investment advisory will also be really helpful to young entrepreneurs. Overall the budget looks positive towards start-ups and improving the logistics and infrastructure of the agriculture segment. Also, we appreciate government’s move and it would be great to see the milk production capacity doubling from 53.5 MT to 108 MT by 2025”

Ankur Choudhary, Co-Founder & CIO, Goalwise

“On the personal finance front, the 2020 budget has not lived up to the expectations of the taxpayers. While increasing the insurance cover for bank depositors from 1 lakh to 5 lakhs is a positive and much awaited step but on the income tax side, it has been a disappointment.

Although a new tax regime with lower tax rates has been introduced, the removal of all exemptions including even 80C exemptions, will water down its benefits. On top of it, the option to choose the old or the new income tax regime will just complicate filing income tax returns which was already a complicated process for individual tax payers.

Although the Dividend Distribution Tax has been abolished at the company level but now it will be taxable at the hands of the investor. For startups and MSMEs, the increase in turnover limit and number of years to avail tax exemptions benefits is a positive.

Also, no audit for companies with up to Rs 5 crore turnover and amending the Companies Act to remove criminal liabilities for offences that are civil in nature will improve ease of doing business”.

Dinesh Kumar Kotha, Co-founder & CEO, ConfirmTkt

“The Announcement of Teja Type trains in a PPP model to achieve modernisation is a good move. We see Rs. 6000 Cr. infusion to boost internet connectivity across India as an opportunity, which will enable more people to use internet based services like booking train tickets and improve digitisation.

In the budget, an equal foundation stone has been laid to boost local tourism by connecting railways to tourist places, this will ensure revenue opportunities by planning newer routes & new trains. In the phase where railways are looking to rationalise the freight charges due to stiff competition from other logistic players, the announcement of Kisan Rail will improve railways freight revenue, it will be a win-win situation for both farmers and railways.

Newer investment on the seamless multimodal connectivity should have been focused a bit as city travel has become a biggest pain point in metro cities. Proposing the PPP Model would be beneficial with a little hand holding from the government in terms of equity funding should have been a big plus”.

Pathik Shah, CEO of DB Digital

“Promoting and building data center parks across India and improving connectivity through BharatNet seems like a great move forward – it would be great to leverage both to enable seamless interchange of data across local government bodies and also enabling access to it to private companies to build innovative applications leveraging that data – just like the data.gov initiative by the US government; and that could also help drive data localization forward – depending on the specifics.

The way they should be structured should be very similar to UPI – making technology entrepreneurs from across India lead the strategy, architecture and execution of the network and making it open so anyone can plug in – from existing tech giants to startups.”

Venkatraman Swaminathan, Vice President & Country General Manager, Schneider Electric IT Business India

“The government’s intent to rollout a policy to enable private sector to build data center parks throughout the country is a welcome move. We believe this is in view of government’s efforts to push data localization as data will be one of the key drivers of economy.

Localized data centers which can be accessed and controlled from a centralized system will significantly improve data privacy and security allowing free flow of data within borders. We at Schneider Electric shall be happy to partner with the government in furthering this initiative.”

Sanjay Sudhakaran, Vice President – Digital Energy, Greater India Zone at Schneider Electric

“As per Union Budget 2020, the allocation of INR 6,000 Crores for BharatNet to digitize 1 lakh gram panchayats is a step towards making India digitally more connected. These new initiatives will help improve telecom and internet services in rural and remote regions of India.

Digital India initiative will see a new wave as citizens in deeper pockets will gain further access to services like e-governance, e-health, e-education, and e-banking amongst others. In addition, the announcement of allowing the private sector set up data center parks across the country will help in data localization and protection.

We welcome the government’s decision in announcing additional Smart cities in building a robust digital infrastructure. This also aligns with the Internet of Things (IoT) taking over the lives as automation has made lives simpler and buildings smarter. Schneider Electric is committed towards working hand in hand with the government of India in this digital transformation journey.”

Gerald Jaideep, CEO, Medvarsity Online Ltd.

The 2020 budget allocation for healthcare is perceptibly moderate with a vision of some good opportunities for the medical fraternities and some cons that need to be addressed.

The PPP model to deal with the shortage of doctors as proposed in the budget-2020 is going to be substantially beneficial to the Indian healthcare sector. The tie-up of medical colleges with district hospitals for increasing the number of doctors that provide care to the patients will enhance the overall quality of the Indian healthcare ecosystem as this will lead to a greater number of skilled doctors in the Indian medical fraternity.

The penetration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) as mentioned in the budget is going to bring a revolutionary change in the operations at healthcare facilities. Incorporating technologies in the daily tasks like documentation and approval through all the levels of the hierarchy will help hospital facilities reduce the total time of the patient journey right from the admission to identification of the condition, treatment, and healing. This, in turn, is going to make a significant difference in the overall turnaround time and cost, which will prove to be beneficial to both – patients and the healthcare facilities.

On the nursing front, the ecosystem is going to observe overseas opportunities of jobs as a lot of European countries such as the UK need Indian nurses in their healthcare workforce. However, it is important to focus on educating nurses to overcome the language barrier that they face in foreign nations will need an action plan. Educating nurses in foreign languages will also help them to upskill as they will be able to take up career advancement courses in those languages.

While the budget allocation for healthcare is declared as an overpromised INR 69,000 crores, it’s imperative to have a proper plan of action to bring the necessary change in healthcare as targeted in the Ayushman Bharat campaign.

The budget also promises a viability gap funding for hospitals and medical colleges to provide doctors with more DNB and FNB courses under the NBE for bridging the skill-gap in the Indian medical fraternity. However, the funding misses on a stern action plan to produce results.

Online education degree is poised to get approval; however, it is still actionable only for the top 100 institutions due to which other online education organizations’ contribution to the evolution of healthcare will be limited.

Irwin Anand, MD, Udemy India.

“We welcome the focus on education, skill development and new-age technologies in this year’s budget which focuses on furthering the employability of Indians through the government’s Skill India Mission launched in 2015. The step by the government to facilitate the educational needs of the growing working-age population and students who do not have access to higher education by offering online education programs from the top 100 institutions of the country is commendable. It will allow students from around the country to have quality education and learn from the best institutions in the country.

Optical Fibre program, connecting 100,000 Gram Panchayats in FY21 will provide a great opportunity for students to learn new skills online at affordable rates. Also, the upcoming policy to set up data centre parks throughout the country will provide more jobs for the youth.

The attempt to address the huge demand of teachers, nurses, paramedical staff and caregivers abroad by focusing on skill-development is also good and it will create more job opportunities.”

Pankit Desai, Co-founder CEO, Sequretek

The Budget every year rides on massive expectations from the salaried class, corporates, MSME and startups. For the last few years, startups, tech, VC investments, govt aided funding started finding regular mentions but fund allocation to these areas were never eye-popping. But FM gave us a pleasant surprise by announcing Rs 8,000 crore on National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications. For companies like ours in cybersecurity space, it is a good move if it becomes a model for creating a replicable cyber forensics setup. Today each state has its own setup and there are some universities that have build out capabilities, but there is no standardization. With increased cyberattacks, the need for a national capability to identify the perpetrators and supporting law enforcement would be welcome. Devil lies in detail, though, so we will need to understand these initiatives once the fine print is available. Having said that, Startups are finding quite a bit of mention in the budget, making them a key part of the growth strategy. We are happy to see that the representations done by the startup ecosystem seem to have found resonance in the budget.

Kalpit Jain, Group CEO, Netcore Solutions

The Budget 2020 was expected to perform a balancing act between agriculture, manufacturing and technology sector — the key drivers of the economy. We believe FM did justice to all 3 by announcing forward-looking programs and initiatives. For a global technology player like us, setting up of data parks in India is a welcome move as this will ensure enhanced data safety because servers and allied infrastructure is likely to be hosted in India, globally benchmarked practices of data encryption will ensure that customers’ data is not misused or profited from as the momentum around Data Protection Law gathers steam. This may just be a pre-cursor to that. While we await for the finer print, programs like Knowledge Clusters should help younger tech companies in securing their IP and safeguarding their core product codes. It will also motivate them to apply AI, ML and deep tech for more refined solutions of existing problems in the Country.

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