With an aim to Transform, Energize and Clean (TEC), the Indian Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley announced the country’s much awaited Union Budget 2017 this morning. As the expectations of the technological industry were soaring high, it was noticed that technology did bag a lot of mentions in the speech as a major enabler of a lot of governmental initiatives.
Here are some Indian leading technology leaders who give us a sense of what the Union Budget 2017 holds in it for the financial year ahead:
Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder & CEO, Paytm
It is a digital economy budget. Government has pushed the digital theme in every area of the budget. Every person from a small shops to consumers are pushed towards the digital economy. Tax benefits, incentives to use digital payments and extending loans based on a digital footprint will create a larger merchant ecosystem for digital payments.
Incentives for labor intensive sectors including housing, farming and dairy will help SMEs to create new jobs. Focus and attention to bank NPAs, as well as increasing bank capitalization is great step towards strengthening the financial system of the country.
Govind Rajan, CEO, FreeCharge
FreeCharge welcomes the policy measures aimed at accelerating the adoption of a digital economy in India. The incentives for adoption of fintech equipment, expansion of digital infrastructure in under-served areas, Aadhar Pay for wider adoption by merchants and capping cash transactions at INR 3 Lakh, all together have kept the spotlight on building a less-cash India. In doing so, we will all help build a transparent and efficient future for our country.
Kunal Bahl, Co-founder & CEO, Snapdeal
We commend the focus on growing the digital footprint in the country – enhancing digital infrastructure, capping cash transactions, reducing cash donations, using Aadhar Pay to enable more digital payments are significant measures. Initiatives make an impact when there is continued attention and the announcement of today builds on the demonetization efforts of last few weeks.
We also welcome the emphasis on skill development and technical education – this will enable India to successfully harness the demographic dividend.
Dinesh Agarwal, Founder and CEO, IndiaMART
It is a good year for SMEs, India’s backbone given the direct and indirect reforms announced for them. Five special tourism zones will enhance MSME development and bolster schemes for employment in textile, transport, agriculture, leather and hospitality sector. Ease of Doing Business for SMEs will thrive with push for infra in digital economy, Aadhar-enabled payment systems, m-wallets and digital payments.
A lower borrowing cost and increased access to credit is on the anvil as a result of the government policy on currency and Banks being well nourished. With FIPB being abolished and maximum FDI coming from the automatic route it will aid diversified business.
For many micro sized businesses the Presumptive tax rate has been reduced from 8% to 6% for non-cash receipts of upto INR 2 Crore (US$300,000 approx) is also very good and would lead to less cash and transparency as well as help in broad basing the tax base.
Shashank Dixit, CEO, Deskera
We welcome the tax exemptions that the Government has announced for SMEs and start-ups. Small and medium scale industry got a drop of 5% on their tax rate, which according to the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, would benefit 96% of businesses. SMEs form the bulk of the middle class and employ more than 40 percent of India’s workforce. For a holistic growth of the economy it is essential to bring in reforms in the sector.
The skill upgradation program and tax relief for the MSMEs are steps in the right direction. However, fundamental and institutional reforms are required for the growth of the sector. I was expecting more policy measures for the SMEs and the IT sectors at the grass root level.
Digital transactions were encouraged by offering small business under the presumptive income scheme. For all income through digital transactions under this scheme, the presumptive profit would be 6% and not 8%. I am hopeful that this budget would provide the much-needed boost to the economy and help it register better growth than the past year.
Kushal Nahata, CEO and Co-founder, FarEye
The move of Railways to implement integrated transport solution with logistics players is a big leap in providing visibility to large consumers of agricultural products. Using indigenously developed FarEye logistics technology solution Railways can provide real-time visibility to their customers as proven digitization and mobile technology can add a competitive edge that Railways is seeking to grow goods traffic, especially of perishable agricultural goods.
Dushyant Jani, Founder and CEO, Mobclixs Technologies
The decision on the allocation of INR 10,000 crore (US$1.5 billion approx) for the Bharat Net project will provide high speed broadband will definitely change the game for VAS businesses in the future. With increased number of people accessing the internet, the number of VAS users will also increase.
Infrastructure development in terms of highways, shipping, and airways will help in public transportation. Further, the newly announced income tax slab of 25%, for the income bracket of INR 50 crore (US$7.5 million approx) for startups, will help entrepreneurs in the efficient allocation of funds. However, the detailed announcement on the GST bill is still on the charts and companies now are eagerly awaiting the same.
K Krishna Moorthy, Chairman, India Electronics and Semiconductor Association
Proposal on making India a global electronic manufacturing hub will boost manufacturing the electronic manufacturing market in the country. This in turn will focus on electronics manufacturing and plans to set up electronics clusters across various towns and cities.
The huge investment in manufacturing will bring in more capacity creation within the country, though some amount of deterrence for blindly importing the products will happen simultaneously. Allocation and incentives of schemes like M-SIPS and EDF to INR 745 crore (US$110 million approx) will reflect a strong commitment to promote local value additions in electronics manufacture. The overall tax reliefs given to start ups and MSME’s will boost sustainable employment and the quality of start-ups in the design led manufacturing sector.”
Venkatesh P, Director- Platforms and Solutions, Maveric Systems
There is a credible shift in terms of social spend and an acknowledgement of things that need roll back like MAT. The focus on MSME is welcome given its ability to generate employment across the nation. It is always better to look at the focus of the budget- it lists ten themes, six of which relates to social sector; nothing on spurring economic growth or promoting investment; it looks like the emphasis is on the social development than economic growth, but unfortunately it is an inference than a clear statement of the budget.
Rohan Gupta, COO, Attero
We are glad that the government raised allocation for electronics manufacturers to INR 745 crore (US$110 million approx). However, we must not forget how multiple reports, last year, pointed towards the increasing problem of e-waste in the country. Along with the funds to encourage manufacturing of electronics, if the government could have introduced a nominal advance recycling fee for all electrical and electronic products, such a move could have covered the recycling cost of end-of-life products, thereby moving bulk of the nation’s e-waste to the formal recycling sector. We hope that such details will be covered in the fine print.”
Suman Reddy, MD, Pegasystems India
As for the startup community, we were expecting a lot more tax incentives and provisions for easier setting-up or closure of business. Given that India is expected to have 20,000 startups in the three next years, effective policies is critical to simulate growth.
From a digitization point of view, the government’s decision to shift to digital platforms benefiting the public across sectors such as small-scale business, healthcare and railways, will help accelerate our growth towards becoming a digital-economy. By enforcing all sectors to adopt digital economy, there is an in-direct but positive impact on the start-up community. Thereby, creating opportunities to innovate and set-up new businesses.
Prabhakar Jayakumar, Country Manager, DigitalOcean
The Government’s announcement to allow eligible startups to avail their 3-year tax holiday in a block of 7 years as against the earlier 5 years is a useful one and should give further impetus to the Startup India initiative.
Also, the intent to move towards a cashless economy and initiatives to strengthen the digital infrastructure augurs well for the ecosystem.
Pradeep Dadha, CEO and Founder, Netmeds
We welcome the move of Government for amending the drug rules to allow reasonable medicines reaching out to masses in a better way. The amendments in Drugs and Cosmetics Act will improve the way Pharma sectors is serving people in the country. Additionally, we welcome Governments’ initiative of ‘Aadhar based health record for seniors citizens of our country to provide them with healthcare facilities hassle free.