BUDGET 2019: Addressing the macro economic agenda


By MYBRANDBOOK


MYBRAND BOOK

The newly formed Modi Government 2.0 as it will become a guide for upcoming reforms and policies in the next 5 years to lead. Nirmala Sitharaman, Finance Minister had presented its first budget today, the focus is on what the Government has in mind to address pressing economic challenges the country is battling with - fall in consumer demand, reduced investment & savings and depleting agriculture incomes. Investors have low expectations about big ticket reforms, considering the crisis in the non-banking financial sector, the slowdown in the economy and a wide fiscal deficit that has shrunk the financial resources of the Government.

 

The auto sales have fallen in double digits for the third month in a row in June, GST revenues are below the One Lakh Crore mark this month and both manufacturing and core sector growth rates dropped in May. As per the Economic Survey 2019-20, the RBI is expecting GDP growth rate to inch higher to 7.2-7.5% between October to March 2019-20, from the current five-year low of 6.8%. Higher oil prices, overall global slowdown and weaker exports some of the reasons for fall in growth. She has proposed to make PAN and Aadhaar interchangeable, allowing those who do not have PAN to file income tax returns.

 

India’s plans to ease the rules in single brand retail are set to help Apple Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo and OnePlus. They want to open their own stores in India. Since, the FDI inflows into India have remained robust despite global headwinds. The Economic Survey is tabled by the Finance Minister in the Parliament every year a day before the budget. This year's Survey is different as it based on 'blue sky thinking' or unrestricted ideas to boost economy, focuses on behavioural changes to address issues like gender inequality, savings and health and use of data to unlock growth potential.

 

It's a budget for all. The impetus on digital payments is encouraging for the entire cashless ecosystem. It has addressed issues which will make 'ease of living' for the poor, the middle class and more tax on rich. The budget gives a concern on the Petrol to get costlier and the housing relief to middle class is a welcome move.

 

Dr. Deepak Kumar Sahu, President & CEO - VARINDIA

 

“Union Budget 2019 is very path breaking, with the intention of the Government to bring back the economy on track to become a USD 5 trillion economy in 5 years. Announcement for disinvestment target of over Rs 1 lakh crore and it will continue to pursue strategic disinvestment of Air India and other PSEs.

 

The government reiterated its intention to invest Rs. 100 lakh crore in infrastructure and said an expert committee will be set up. A singly monthly return for GST was also introduced. Secondly, a good move by the government’s plan to re-energize the education sector is a positive step to boost the morale of young learners. Lastly, I would say, it's a very comprehensive budget.”

 

 

 


Sudhindra Holla, Sales Director - Axis Communications India & SAARC

 

“The Union Budget 2019 depicts the milestone set towards reaching USD 5 trillion economy by investing on infrastructure, digital economy and job creation. It brings us one step closer the economic growth as part of the five years plan with key focus on infrastructure development allocating budgets for roads, ports Infrastructure and logistics. We welcome the government’s focus on the construction and development of highways under the National Highways Programme, to ensure creation of National Highways Grid of desirable capacity. Also applaud the continued focus and investments towards rail infrastructure by announcing and an investment of 50 lakh crores.

 

We also look forward to the focus on improving skills of our youth in areas such as Artifical Intelligence, Big Data, Robotics, This in turn will ensure more stability of jobs both in India and abroad. Furthermore, doubling allocation to Digital India will empower the semi-urban geographies and provide businesses to upscale and help in the country’s vision to a digital-first economy.”

 


 

Avneet Singh Marwah, Director and CEO - Super Plastronics Pvt. Ltd, a Kodak brand License

 

“As expected, this was a historical budget by the government covering almost all sectors, from education, infrastructure to manufacturing. One of the highlights of this budget for the industry is - the corporate tax bracket, which is expanded to bring companies under its umbrella with a turnover of up to 400 crores. It will cover almost 98% of the companies in India. Ease of doing business and filing of tax returns will save a lot of time and costs for companies. Also, an e-assessment procedure which has been proposed will be a game changer for the tax assessment structure in India.

 

We were also expecting a reduction of custom duties on Open cells, as TV's under FTA have generated revenue of more than 4500 crores, which in turn is impacting the growth of ‘Make in India’ initiative. Secondly, an expectant cut in the GST rate for televisions of 32 inches and above was not announced. The government has also mentioned strict policies and legal action are to be taken against unorganized trade in India, which is now 15% of the market share and a revenue loss of $1 billion. This is also going to help in boosting our industry immensely.”

 


 

Debajit Roy, Country Director - QAD India

 

"The government's move to lower the GST on Electric Vehicles has opened new avenues for the industry. Reducing the GST on EVs from 12 per cent to 5 per cent can be seen as a big step in favor of sales of EV cars in India. The deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh on the loan interest to purchase an electric vehicle in India will not just benefit the industry but also for consumers who are looking to switch to electric vehicles.

 

There is pool of the companies emerging in this space to evolve the entire ecosystem and the opportunities created by government will enable these companies to penetrate fast. Moreover with the liquidity gap being addressed in this budget, the industry will even move forward towards economy's growth."

 

 


 

Abhishek Kumar, Regional Director, South Asia - Oncam

 

“The Government has earmarked Rs. 50 lakh crore for the development of railway infrastructure. A sizeable part of it will be diverted towards avant-garde surveillance solutions for smart management across railway stations as well as various nodes in railways. The Union Government's focus is also on rural infrastructure expansion and we believe that surveillance will be an integral element in this development. Another key takeaway for the surveillance industry is that the Government also has a positive view towards the Artificial Intelligence technology and will be promoting indigenous research and development around AI, Big Data, and Robotics. Further, it has taken a slew of measures aimed at the Indian startup ecosystem, who will be looking towards the AI technology and security for development of high-end products and ensuring seamless processes. We appreciate the Finance Minister and her team for meticulously balancing all dynamics to bring about favourable market results."

 

 


 

Snehashish Bhattacharjee, Global CEO - Denave

 

"The budget, overall, is positive and covers the entire gamut of economic pillars in one go - farmers, youth, start-ups, women, middle-class segment, health society, green energy etc. Extending the 25% corporate tax applicability to INR 400 Cr turnover companies (pretty much 99.3% of the organizations in the country) is in line with the commitment of this government to reduce corporate tax across segments. The FM, acknowledging the angel tax issue will give a boost to the start-up ecosystem, which will set our course towards nurturing the camaraderie of technology and innovation. It shall also prove to play a pivotal role in boosting and increasing employment opportunities. Further, the Gaon Gareeb & Kisan forum will help in improving the quality of life at the grass-root level.

 

The budget will serve the country with an environment to grow and experience the best, with the entire gamut of economic verticals coming together to bring India’s vision into reality."


 

Sriram S, Co-Founder - iValue InfoSolutions

 

“Interim budget stole the limelight on popular front being just before the elections. Hence the scope for more SOPs were limited with challenges to lower tax collections and lower growth issues. With limited options the government did try to send positive signals for reviving business growth and enhance consumer spending.

 

Good to see focus and thrust on basic needs like water, electricity, clean cooking medium in rural areas. 25% corporate tax for business up to INR 400 Cr is a great relief to all growing entities providing employment. INR 70,000 Cr capital infusion into government owned banks this year to boost credit along with boosting capex on Digital initiatives Pension benefits to INR 3 Cr retail traders and shopkeepers whose annual turnover is upto Rs. 1.5 Cr is a good move.

 

The MSMEs, an integral part of India's economy, has witnessed a better allotment of funds. Loans up to INR 1 Cr for GST registered MSMEs on fresh or incremental loans @2% interest will help in growing business at affordable costs. 1.5L deduction on affordable homes and EV should help in boosting domestic real estate sentiments along with promoting green commute.”


 

 

Jaya Vaidhyanathan, President - Bahwan CyberTek

 

“Overall it is a positive budget both from growth and regulatory points of view. I am glad that our Finance Minister started with “India Inc. understands Make in India”. As a Fintech company that is made in India, we strongly welcome that sentiment, and we are hopeful that there will be more SOPs for FinTech’s in India. This combined with the Regulatory sandbox that came up recently will bring a lot of innovation into the FinTech industry in India. The next best aspect of the budget is the focus on NBFC, and we truly appreciate that the Govt will provide a one-time 6-months partial credit guarantee for public sector banks, for the purchase of pooled assets of financially sound NBFCs. We look forward to a continued focus on the sector. On the regulations front, we think the proposal of the housing finance sector returning to RBI is welcome if it effectively materializes. A couple of more highlights, one is the exemption of IT scrutiny for funds raised by start-ups. I believe this will encourage entrepreneurship and innovation across the country. Second is the FDI support for the aviation industry as it is going through lots of changes with limited operators.”

 


 

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

 

“Within just four years since its launch, impact of the Prime Minister Modi’s visionary program Digital India is visible everywhere, from accelerated growth in digital payments to increasing simplification of tax returns. No wonder, it is one of the ten pillars for realizing his vision of India’s evolution and development over the next decade.

 

Accordingly, Union Budget 2019 highlights the crucial role of interoperable and digitally enabled platforms and grids from energy and taxation to highways. In addition, the focus on fostering and supporting technological innovation is loud and clear whether one looks at Artificial Intelligence and Robotics or 3D printing and Virtual Reality.

 

However, if not protected well against vulnerabilities and malicious actors, crippling of digital systems or data breaches can have far-reaching and devastating impact, especially in critical information infrastructure sectors. Hence, the government must set aside ten percent of technology budgets exclusively towards cyber security. In addition, cyber safety must become part and parcel of the Digital Literacy and Financial Inclusion initiatives.”


Sampad Swain, CEO & Co-Founder, Instamojo

 

“With India set to become a $3 trillion economy this year, the first union budget by the Modi 2.0 government has introduced several benefits for the MSME sector. Over the years, MSMEs have been battling to get loans, given their inability to produce relevant assets as evidence. In fact, the current gap between the demand and credit supply within the Indian MSME sector is about $230 billion. The introduction of the 1 crore – 59 minute MSME loan brings great relief to small business owners, making easier accessibility and processing of loans through a single portal. This in turn will translate into the stability and growth of the sector, with the sustenance of existing business and birth of new ones. Also, the pension programme for 30 million retail traders is an encouraging move, keeping in mind that the Indian retail space is still majorly driven my small business owners and traders. This not only brings a long-term life plan for these traders, but also helps towards the gradual formalizing of this majorly unorganized sector.”

 


 

Atul Rai, CEO and Co-Founder - Staqu

 

The new Government's first Union Budget has perfectly balanced all essential parameters of our economic dynamics including infrastructure enhancement, skill development, job creation, and technological advancement. This has been done while also creating favourable environment for businesses and especially, tech-centric start-up. We would specifically like to highlight the Government's strong focus on the indigenous Research and Development with establishment of National Research Foundation will promote indigenous technological development, particularly around globally scalable technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and Robotics. We believe that this will pave the way for cutting-edge indigenous solutions and make India a technological epicenter in the international grandstand."

 

 

 


 

Kartik Walia, Head of Operations (India) - Amplify.ai

 

"We see multiple positive takeaways from this year's budget. The government, while adding greater impetus on digital adoption and infrastructure enhancement, has a positive outlook towards promising technologies including Artificial Intelligence and Big Data. It has recently announced the launch of National Artificial Intelligence Center and National AI Portal and now, in the Union Budget, has promised to build skillsets in ultramodern technologies such as AI, Big Data, and Robotics. The Government's technology-centric strategy is highly appreciable and we believe that favourable results will be visible in the near future.”

 

 

 

 

 


 

Tarun Bhalla, Founder & CEO, Avishkaar

 

”I’m delighted to hear the Government will be working towards improving our youth skill levels in AI, Big Data, IoT along with Robotics. These skills of the future will ensure that our youth are prepared and able to secure jobs both in the country and abroad. It’s a commendable step helping align education with industry requirements.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Aakrit Vaish, Co-founder and CEO - Haptik

 

The demand for specialised skillsets in niche technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning has increased drastically. The government has recognized and addressed this schism by pledging to train 10 million youth in industry relevant skills like AI, IoT and Big Data. We, at Haptik are also constantly empowering the developers and enthusiastic engineers to build next-generation conversational AI on a daily basis. We are delighted to see that our government is also putting efforts to improve the skills of our youth in newer areas such as Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Robotics.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Pranav Roach, President - Hughes Network Systems

 

“It is encouraging to see Budget 2019 taking cognizance of the growing opportunities in the space domain and also talking about increasing India’s global footprint in this sector. This is important because the Indian satellite communications sector is perhaps the only industry still stuck in the 2G era and suffers chronic capacity shortage resulting in users continuing to pay much higher than global rates. There is a surge of investment and innovation in the space sector globally driven by private sector but in India the private sector is locked out and a huge investment and employment opportunity is being lost.”

 

 

 

 

 


 

Akshay Singhal, Founder - Log 9 materials

 

“Income tax deduction on loans for EV purchase is an extremely welcome move by the new Finance Ministry. EVs are pricier than usual vehicles as initial cost, hence this will boost adoption. Relief from angel tax is also a big thumbs up and relief for start-ups. However, better structuring is required for deployment of Fund of Funds to ensure benefit to high technology intensive start-ups which fall in the category of high risk, high reward. This is important for development indigenous core technologies like battery manufacturing, fuel cell manufacturing, etc.”

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Anjali Amar, Country Manager - Verizon Enterprise Solutions

 

“We welcome the Union Budget's focus on closing the technology skills gap in the face of disruptive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, and Robotics. The economic and societal benefits that these technologies are poised to deliver means that it is imperative to reskill India's IT workforce. This will ensure that tomorrow's IT executives will be armed with the necessary knowledge to future-proof India's digital future.

 

We are also pleased to note the Government's initiatives in promoting digital payments. This is a recognition that digital payments sector is no longer considered niche and is crucial for the digital transformation of India. As India strives towards a digital and cashless economy, the Government should also continue to strengthen its cyber-security framework. A robust data protection system which is technology-neutral and based on international norms with principles of transparency, accountability will be the catalyst to fuel investment and innovation in new services.”

 


 

Satish Reddy, Chairman- Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories

 

While welcoming the emphasis on start-ups and education sector as a good move, he said there, however, was nothing to fuel growth in the healthcare and pharma sectors, which was disappointing. I was particularly keen on seeing a change in the weighted deduction for R&D which did not happen. A positive policy move of this kind would have spurred R&D and innovation in pharma and other sectors.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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

 

“The government’s focus on positioning India as the top destination for research and innovation augurs well with the interests of the ER&D industry. Moreover, the announcement on providing support to the skill development initiatives related to AI, IoT, 3D printing, VR, Robotics has the potential to establish India as a global talent hub for digital technologies. Lastly, earmarking Rs.10,000 crore over a three year period towards building a wider ecosystem of electric vehicles is a welcome move. It is now for the value chain players to come together and replicate the success achieved by Indian ER&D players for global auto majors on the EV front.”

 

 

 

 

 


 

Siddharth Viswanath, Partner and Leader, Cybersecurity, PwC India

 

“It is good to see the finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman promote Digital India in her maiden Budget speech. The focus on BharatNet program which aims to connect every village block via high-speed broadband and on creating a pool of skilled professionals in areas such as AI, robotics, VR, 3D, etc, is commendable. For India to be truly digital and fit for future economy, we also need to nurture and build cyber skills and technologies.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Vamsi Krishna, CEO & Co-Founder, Vedantu

 

“Digitization has given a major boost to the robust education system in India - the second largest market for e-learning after the US. Therefore, a National Education Policy to bring India’s higher education system on par with global standards will be a big leap towards bolstering the e-learning market. The government’s plan to re-energize the education sector is a positive step to boost the morale of young learners. On the back of this emerging technologies such as AI & ML will help in spreading education across the country.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Vineet Chaturvedi, Co-Founder, Edureka

 

"This union budget has given due importance to skilling and education which is a welcome move in today's skill-driven industry. The expansion of Skill India to include AI, IoT and other futuristic technologies hits the nail on the head and the establishment of National Research Foundation is a major boost towards building India's technical competence. Additional allocation of budget to Bharatnet will also have a deep impact on skilling rural India as it has the potential to open up online learning to students and professionals from remote villages. All in all, I am happy that Education has received 10% higher allocation in this budget which will help schools and higher education institutions in the country invest in catching up with industry requirements."

 

 

 


 

Abhishek Jain, Tax Partner, Ernst and Young

 

"The budget from an indirect tax perspective was mostly aligned to the Government's Make in India, cleaner India and ease of business agenda. Proposal of Legacy Dispute Resolution Scheme was much sought for by industry players as most of them wanted to settle litigations of the past after stepping into the new tax era.  Also, rate rationalizations for strategic goods like defence equipment, etc are welcome for the nation as a whole."

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Gaurav Hinduja, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Capital Float

 

“The Government continues to identify the MSME sector as being critical towards increasing our country’s GDP and employment. The push for increasing acceptance of digital payments, Interest subvention scheme and waiver of MDR charges are key to MSME economy which will not only boost financial inclusion but will also create a conducive environment for NBFCs including fintech players to grow and succeed.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Rajan Navani, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, JetSynthesys

 

“The ease of Angel Tax comes as a welcome move for the start-up community. Further, the introduction of an e-verification mechanism gives an impetus to companies improving ease of doing business, driving efficiencies for investors, and bolstering the start-up ecosystem in India. To deliver on the country’s Digital India vision, we believe that an increased focus on initiatives for new-age skills in Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Robotics, etc. will further bridge the gap between technology and talent. This sets the tone for the industry to move from Start-up India to Scale up India.”

 

 

 

 


 

Kunal Wadhwa, Partner – Indirect Taxes, PwC

 

"GST amongst key structural reforms in the last 5 years to bring India to $3 trillion economy.  Clearly GST has included various businesses under the formal economy and would continue to support the country's economy to grow and reach the $5 trillion target for the economy."

Secondly, the legacy dispute resolution scheme under indirect tax is a big move to clear the pending backlog of indirect tax disputes under the central laws covering central excise duty and service tax giving immediate revenue to the government.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Sudhir Singh, Managing Director, Marg ERP Ltd.


"SMEs and MSMEs will play the most significant role in achieving India's ambitious target of becoming a $5 trillion economy by 2025. To give a positive push and create a productive environment for this segment to flourish, there is a need for perfect ease of doing business environment, nurturing a demand based skilled manpower and wide adoption of technological advancements in SME and MSME sector. Allotment of Rs 350 Crore for 2 per cent interest subvention for all GST-registered MSMEs under the interest subvention scheme is a step in the right direction.

 

The Budget has also given a boost to Nation’s entrepreneurial spirit by extending Standup India scheme till 2025, setup of 80 Livelihood business incubators and 20 technology business incubators to develop 75,000 skilled entrepreneurs in agro-rural industries, encouraging women entrepreneurs and several other measures to streamline labour laws, education, and rental housing segment which will have a direct impact on startups in the country."


KNM Rao, Co-Founder & CEO, Quick Ride

 

“The new government has come out with a well-defined budget keeping a 10-year vision in mind to promote India’s digital economy. We appreciate the Finance Minister’s proposal to start a new TV channel exclusively for Startups on Doordarshan which will serve as a platform for startups like us to disseminate information to the industry. In addition the holistic set of tax benefits will be an added advantage and a major boost to thousands of startups in India. Other key initiatives such as no service fees on the digital payment, reduction in the tax rate of electric vehicles and special forum for collecting funds for social enterprises are welcome moves.”

 

Lastly, while delivering the Union Budget speech, FM Nirmala Sitharaman said,"It took India 55 years to reach a $1 trillion economy. When hearts are with hopes and aspirations, we added $1 trillion in just five years. The common man was served even when transformational reforms were laid out. We have to invest heavily in infrastructure. Citizens felt the difference in every nook and corner. Our focus has been mazboot desh ke liye mazboot nagrik (strong citizens for a strong nation)."


 

 

 

Manoj Ladwa, Founder and CEO, India Inc.

 

The Finance Minister has signalled to reform the Indian factor markets – land, labour and capital – which a majority of analysts acknowledge as the big drag on the economy. She announced that 44 labour laws will be crunched into four codes that will simplify laws and reconcile the many contradictions and conflicts that now bedevil India’s labour market. She was short on details, but in terms of signalling, it sent out a powerful message that the Modi government is serious about making India a globally competitive investment destination.

 

Sitharaman, took another step towards redeeming the pledge of reducing corporate tax to 25 per cent for companies with a turnover of an estimated $57 million. This means 99.3 per cent of all companies will now pay tax of 25 per cent of their net profits – bringing India closer to the tax rates of competitor economies such as the ASEAN nations.

 

I see many experts and analysts on Indian television channels questioning why this lower tax rate wasn’t extended to all companies, i.e. why 0.7 per cent of companies were left out. It’s a fair point. Hopefully, it will be addressed in the coming years.


 

Dr. Jaijit Bhattacharya, President, Centre for Digital Economy Policy Research

 

"Very comprehensive budget with deep structural reforms laid out, that is the need of the hour. Heartening to see continued focus on social safety net in both urban and rural areas and new focus on extending pension to small shopkeepers. The continued focus on public spending, including on infrastructure and housing, would help get the economy on track to become a USD 5 trillion economy in 5 years."

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Dr. Omkar Rai, Director General, Software Technology Parks of India (STPI)

 

“As government has taken so many remarkable reforms with this budget for boosting the economy, we are on the path of achieving a sustainable GDP growth rate of 8% in becoming a $5 trillion economy by 2024-25. Government focus on aggregating the services of key sectors such as infrastructure, energy, developing model for public-private partnership intending towards lot of collaborations by way of leveraging emerging technologies, FDI, ease of doing business, focus on R&D and digital economy shall definitely change the functioning of industry verticals and increase their productivity, which, in turn, will help in creating massive job opportunities and ensure all-inclusive growth of the countrymen. This development will eventually bring less-privileged people into the mainstream of the society.”

 

 

 


Pankaj Muthe, Program Manager, Academic Program, APAC - Qlik

 

“The government’s continued push to improve the quality of higher education in India is extremely commendable. The allocation of INR 400 crore to create a world-class higher education ecosystem in the country will definitely improve the quality of talent that joins the workforce. The focus on the amplification of skills in new-age tech domains such as AI, IoT, Big Data, and Robotics will also help to address the severe skills shortage that businesses across India are facing at present, apart from opening newer avenues of career growth for Indian professionals. The government should also make stronger efforts to incorporate data literacy training at the grassroots level and incentivise organisations to launch data literacy training initiatives for their employees. Doing so will equip current and future Indian professionals with the required knowledge and competencies to navigate the data-driven world of tomorrow.”

 


 

Abhishek Goenka, CEO & CFO - CoWrks

 

“This was a budget with many differences. On the positive side, there was more focus on strategic initiatives, such as no charges on fund transfers, tax deduction on loans for EVs, interchangeability of Aadhar and PAN and the various measures on easier KYC. Added to this, the proposed 4 codes to cover all labour laws is extremely positive. These initiatives will have a catalytic effect in not just achieving the specific objectives but also, a larger spiral of increased compliance and economic extension.

 

On the flip side, there hasn’t been adequate emphasis on fiscal discipline, and the approach of a sharp increase in tax rates for the rich as the only revenue enhancement measure is unimaginative to say the least. I am also disappointed that the corporate tax rate has not been reduced across the board.”

 

 


Anand Ramachandran, CFO - Ingenico ePayments India Private Limited

 

“This budget is a good synthesis of continuing the Digital India mission with improving efficiency. The proposal to set up a payment platform for MSMEs for online presentation and payment of invoices will not only help cash flow but also give a huge boost to Digital Payments, as the entire supply chain will now be incentivized to go Digital. Also the platform opens up possibilities for accessing lower cost funding. The other two moves for no MDR for businesses above 50 crores turnover and 2% TDS on cash withdrawals more than 1 crore per annum are a further nudge to industry to lower the entry barrier to Digital Payments and disincentivize use of cash. Overall, a positive budget for the payments industry.”

 

 

 

 


 

Suman Reddy, MD - Pegasystems India

 

“The main objective of the Budget as set by the Finance Minister is to set the groundwork for PM Modi's aspiration of a $5-trillion-dollar economy. Arguably, one of the biggest beneficiary of this vision would be the technology industry. Following up from technology-related announcements during the interim budget including a national AI-centre and the Digital India vision, the government has acted on additional expectations from the sector. The elimination of excessive scrutiny through the angel tax through an e-verification process will improve the trust factor in valuation activities. Also, the government has put the first step forward with skilling focus on emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics. However, the government has not elaborated on the latter, further to NASSCOM’s recommendations to show its commitment with an initial fund of Rs. 500 crore, and incentivize corporates to skill training by promoting spending. We also welcome the government’s move to allocate 25% of corporate taxes by increasing the ambit of companies from Rs. 250 - 400 crores of turnover. This will allow spending and boost the economy, while driving returns for the government.”

 


CP Gurnani, MD & CEO - Tech Mahindra

 

“We completely hail the government's vision of a New India that will thrive on the confluence of new age digital technologies, quality education and apt skilling. We look forward to partnering with the industry and academia to nurture the start-up ecosystem, and to fuel a culture of research and innovation that will help travel the road to India becoming a five trillion dollar economy.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Rajiv Bhalla, Managing Director - Barco India

 

“We are pleased with the government’s thrust on improving infrastructure and technology as catalysts for the economy going ahead. For India to be on the path to being the 3rd largest economy by 2030, the budget’s rightfully emphasizes that robust improvements are required in social infrastructure and education. The plan to set up 20 technology incubators to push rural development opens the stage for new initiatives that will enable India to become a $5 trillion economy in the years ahead. Additionally, the budget has emphasized on 17 ‘iconic sites’ which will be transformed into world-class destinations to provide an impetus to the tourism sector. All these initiatives, I believe, will assist in reshaping and empowering the country and will help to drive and sustain long-term growth for India.”

 

 

 


 

Karan Kumar, Co-Founder & CTO - Hogar Controls

 

“Union Budget 2019 has been a game-changer for internet availability across India. The announcement to step up the internet penetration in every corner of India is a concrete move towards bridging the digital divide that would further fuel innovations in the digital arena. The major thrust on AI, IoT, and 5G will allow us to come up as a global brand with the line of innovative automation solutions crafted specifically for the Indian market.

 

In this budget, we are seeing a lot of new initiatives which are the starting points for upcoming budding entrepreneurs on their journey towards realizing their dream start-ups. This should be a great platform for a start-up like ourselves to initiate tax planning, investment opportunities through dedicated bouquet channels set up for this sector. These initiatives will help us in giving a better understanding of the tax, statutory and regulatory framework in India.”

 

 


 

Sudeshna Datta, Co-founder & Executive Vice President - Absolutdata

 

"We are happy with the government’s vision for a technology-driven economy that prioritizes emerging technologies as the prerequisite for future growth. From promoting digital payments to training millions of youngsters in emerging technologies such as AI, Data Analytics and Machine Learning, and soft skill such as foreign language training, the initiatives are focused on empowering the future workforce with a ‘global-first’ perspective. This will significantly strengthen India Inc.’s capabilities for the future. Moreover, the allocation of INR 400 crores to develop world-class institutions focused on research and innovation is a huge step towards transitioning India from a service-focused economy to an innovation-driven one.

 

Additionally, the Hon’ble Finance Minister’s focus on women empowerment, by adding not just women-centric policies but propagating women-led initiatives, both in rural and urban areas, is a huge positive. Along with its proposal to form a dedicated committee to encourage their participation, the extension of the Stand Up India programme for another 5 years will be a key factor in enabling women entrepreneurs."

 


Kartik Agarwal, CEO - Staunch

 

Budget 2019 opens new windows for the Start-up ecosystem. We welcome the government's initiative of setting up a new channel of Start-ups to disseminate information in the industry. This will serve as a platform for companies like us to better understand the opportunities and gaps, match-making with venture capitalists and for funding and tax planning. Also, the ease in Angel Taxes will help boost investment in Start-ups.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Yogesh Bhatia, Founder - PreLoved Device

 

“We welcome the initiatives announced by the honorable Finance Minister to boost the start-up ecosystem. The measures made by government will encourage fresh investment in the sector because of the set off of losses and increase in the period of exemptions of capital gains. The proposed TV Channel will be useful to prospective startups and rationalization of requisite declaration filling will make it easier for startups to operate and focus on their core activities.

 

The vision of the government to train 10 million industry-relevant skills such as Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and IoT will open new avenues for employment.”

 

 


Arun Gupta, Founder and CEO - MoMAGIC Technologies

 

“This is a welcome move by the Indian govt. to lay emphasis on skill training for data science, AI and Big Data etc. as these are skillsets of the future growth engine in the tech industry. Many Indian companies including ours have been focusing on data science to provide cutting edge offerings in the space of digital mobile advertising and having a trained resource pool will drastically cut down the timing for training them.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Rahul Sharma, Managing Director-India, LogMeIn

 

"We would like to congratulate India's first female Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, for presenting an admirable budget. The Union Budget is a step in the right direction and strengthening the ICT infrastructure and the digital penetration in rural geographies. The Finance Minister has introduced the PPP model for BharatNet and has set up a committee to rationalize tax structure, review USOF, and the spectrum usage charges. This will considerably improve the industry dynamics as revenues continue to fade in the market. The Honourable Minister has further proposed several schemes to build skills, infrastructure, and conduct R&D around cutting-edge technologies including Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, which is another key takeaway."

 

 

 

 


 

Nivruti Rai, Country Head, Intel India and VP, Data Centers Group - Intel

 

“It's a welcome move for the technology ecosystem and I am happy that the government is focusing on high-end technology manufacturing. I believe that this initiative complements India's strengths as a global hub for technology development and adoption. This will add further impetus to design, product development and design-led high value manufacturing in India. This also bolsters India's “Make in India” initiative and will enhance the country's competitiveness and growth.”

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Sharan Grandigae, Founder and CEO, Redd Experience Design

 

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi gets ready for his second term in office, the country awaits the creation of favourable economic conditions that will not only allow new industries to grow, but also ensure energy and food security which are going to be the most important issues in the coming decades.The budget should take a two-pronged approach where on the one hand, it continues to encourage start-ups to form and grow and on the second, to boost the development of alternative energy industries.

 

The government has made advances in spurring start-ups on several fronts but has also adopted policies that make it harder for them to operate. There are fewer start-ups in India today than in even a small country like Israel. There have also been far fewer success stories to come from our country even though we have such a large talent pool. This can only mean that more efforts need to be made to make it easier for start-ups to establish themselves, raise funds, file taxes and hire and manage human resources while reducing the obstacles posed by licenses. The government should also continue to incentivise the establishment and development of start-ups in tier-3 and -4 cities as well. The potential pay-off from helping to build such an ecosystem cannot be fathomed as it could possibly change industries completely or give birth to new ones that aren’t even on our horizon today.


 

KT Prasad, Country Sales Director, Zendesk India, on 'The Union Budget 2019'

 

"This is a forward-looking budget designed to accelerate commerce by encouraging foreign investment while also giving local home-grown businesses a leg up, and propelling job creation are encouraging steps towards boosting India's long term economic growth. The impetus on improving youth skills in disruptive technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics reinforces the government's efforts towards building a Digital India. It is also encouraging to see initiatives that will boost India's standing on the global technology stage, such as establishing National Research Foundation (NRF) to promote research in AI, accelerating the Standup India program for budding women entrepreneurs, easing FDI rules, and proposing a host of enhancements to the digital payment systems among others. Businesses in India - large or small, new or established - are well-positioned to harness these opportunities by breaking free from outdated legacy technology and infrastructure and adopt more agile, scalable technologies that will empower them to achieve rapid growth. I would give this budget a thumbs up."

 



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