Update 2: Startups jubilant, others expected more

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Budget 2016-17Following Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s presentation of the Union Budget 2016-17 on Feb 29, reactions have been pouring in from the industry, industry bodies and experts. But they have been rather guarded in their utterances. While the industry at large doesn’t see much for them in the budget proposals, they do acknowledge the measures aimed at giving a boost to the government’s programmes like #MakeInIndia and #DigitalIndia, and a policy push to promote the #Startup campaign:

Mohan Reddy, Chairman, NASSCOM

Our wish list for Budget 2016 included three key priorities – policy bottlenecks including ease of business; nurturing startups, products and ecommerce sector; and clarifications on transfer pricing to enable inward investments in India. The Budget only partially covers these priorities. Extension of Section 10AA for SEZ units till 2020 is a positive outcome though the imposition of MAT on startups will not allow the full impact of the benefits to be realized.

R Chandrashekhar, President, NASSCOM

The Finance Minister’s speech had a strong emphasis on leveraging technology to transform India. The initiatives announced, combined with a swift implementation of Digital India, will help digitise India and provide effective citizen services. We would urge the government to move forward at a swift pace and build an effective PPP model.

Rayomand Joshi, Co-founder & CEO, RedMango Analytics

The Budget is inclined towards development of rural India and that is a welcome step. However, it has little to offer startups in India. The Budget provides for lower tax for companies with a turnover of under Rs.5 crore, which will only incentivise small scale start-ups — those unable to cross the Rs.5 crore barrier. This will restrict startups that are on a high growth trajectory from availing this benefit.

Secondly, it would have been great if certain defined details of the tax holiday with more concrete numbers were presented such as:

  • Applicable from so and so date
  • Any startup is a company formed post so and so date
  • Which tax is exempt (Service tax/ VAT/ CST/ Excise/ Income tax and TDS/ DDT etc.)? If it’s just income tax, it doesn’t help, since there is already 10 per cent TDS, which is deducted before any services payment

Thirdly, although providing wifi on stations will enable travellers. However, it would be more beneficial for travellers if the Government implemented Wifi aboard trains considering telecom network already exists at stations.”

Ramesh Mamgain, Area VP, Commvault India and SAARC

The large budget outlay for infrastructure segment, smart cities, Digital India, education, healthcare, citizen service projects, insurance and Skill India will a give boost to modernisation programmes. This will create a spinoff effect on an enterprise’s IT spend, too. Besides, bank recapitalisation will help in improving the health of banks, and thereby allow them to finance old as well as new-age ventures.

Vineet Yadav, Co-Founder of Rideji

The Budget is not just a collection of numbers, but an expression of our values and aspirations. The Union Budget 2016-17 is a very well thought out budget, I am happy to see the focus on infrastructure development, which will further give a boost to our domain. Moreover, the Finance Minister mentioned Public Transport needs in his speech, which is a very encouraging sign for us. We are looking forward to benefit from Start-Ups programme and will try our level best to contribute to the Indian growth story. Overall satisfied with the Budget, but will look forward to its implementation.

Harshavardhan Neotia, President, FICCI

Overall, the budget proposals are in line with the development priorities of the nation. The Finance Minister has made a strong attempt to pump prime the rural economy and the infrastructure sector. This would yield dividends and we foresee a multiplier effect in the form of demand generation and employment creation over time. The state of the agriculture sector on account of two consecutive years of monsoon failure was precarious and it deserved the attention that was needed.

Additionally, we see a lot of emphasis on affordable housing segment which will also result in forward and backward linkages and thus propel growth. Sticking to the fiscal framework is another major plus and should offer comfort to the international community. Attempts towards tax simplification and improving the tax litigation framework are also noteworthy.

Sunil Kanoria, President, ASSOCHAM

The government has rightly realised that a sustainable and equitable growth model cannot be built as long as the rural economy is in distress.

With successive monsoon failure, the farm sector was in distress and the Finance Minister with a clear vision of the Prime Minister. Narendra Modi has tilted the balance in favour of the agriculture sector, which would certainly yield dividends for the entire economy and provide a solid foundation for a robust economy.

A huge commitment of Rs 2.18 lakh crore on the rail and road infrastructure will not only kick start the economic growth but would also result in having a multiplier effect on India’s economy.

Debjani Ghosh, MD-South Asia, Intel & President, MAIT

The Budget is strongly focused on bridging the divide between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’, and good work by the Government in identifying the right priorities for focus under the nine pillars called out by the FM. This Budget, unlike any other, has not treated technology in isolation but integrated the effective use of technology across all the strategic imperatives in keeping with the intent of a Digital India. This budget has laid emphasis on governance reforms and ease of doing business, while highlighting the need for enhancing educational skills in order to make India a knowledge-based economy.

But, we are disappointed with announcement of the R&D incentives reducing because we believe that it is critical for India to be one of the most innovative countries in the world and this move could be detrimental in building India as an innovation hub. I strongly urge the government to re-consider this move, as any restrictions on the R&D ecosystem are likely to decelerate innovation in the country and restrain the ambitious Make in India and Digital India vision.

Nitin Kunkolienker, Vice President, MAIT

We hail the Union Budget announcements. IT hardware companies expect prices of devices like modems, routers, set-top-boxes to go down by 8 per cent within a year and about Rs 10,000crore investment in local production capacities.

The change in duty structure will encourage manufacturing of consumer premise equipment like modems, routers, digital video recorder, STB for internet, IP camera, etc. We expect investment of about Rs 10,000 crore for their local production. I expect their prices will go down by 8 per cent in first year and by 10 per cent in one-and-a-half year.

Anwar Shirpurwala, Executive Director, MAIT

The Union Budget has met our demands partially to help the Indian ICT industry move from assembly to next level of manufacturing. However, certain products have been missed out. We hope that preferential duty tariffs will be extended to include components and parts that go into the manufacture of laptops/notebooks in the near future. Having existing manufacturing facilities, this will help to unleash the full impact of ‘Make in India’ and realise the twin goals of higher domestic value addition and local employment generation.

For the first time the government has clearly put an effort of creating an integrated approach by building connectivity through road, rail, air and waterways. Measures taken to proliferate use of technology and increase overall penetration of IT in the country are commendable.

Pankaj Mohindroo, National President, ICA

The differential duty regime available for promoting domestic mobile handset manufacturing in India has now been enhanced and extended for mobile handset adapters/ chargers, batteries and headsets/ speakers of mobile handsets for supply to mobile manufacturers. The domestic manufacture will attract 2 per cent excise duty while imports will face 29.441 per cent duty, giving a 27.441 per cent protection to domestic manufacturing vis-a-vis importers. Further, a broad category of inputs including parts, components and sub-parts has been exempted from excise as well as CVD of customs when used for manufacture.

The actual date of implementation of this duty dispensation should be postponed to 01-06-2016 in case for mobile adapters / chargers and 01-09-2016 in case of batteries and wired headsets, considering the lead time required to set up manufacturing operations for these components / accessories.

ICA said the size of components industry pertaining to mobile phone chargers, batteries and wired headsets by 2018 will be Rs 7,000 – Rs 10,000 crore.

Rajiv Nath, Forum Coordinator, AIMED

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley must be applauded for bringing budget’s focus on rural community as well as senior citizens. Budget’s proposal to set up 3,000 medicine shops in rural areas and insurance scheme for senior citizens is noteworthy and noble intent of low cost access to dialysis centres .

But then, given India’s humungous population with majority of people with modest income, the biggest challenge that our country focuses is to ensure low cost quality healthcare access to majority of Indians. Government needs to realise that medicines are just one component of healthcare cost and at times not the major component of healthcare cost also. Medical devices are, equally, if not more as critical a part of overall healthcare cost as medicines and diagnostics. If the government had focused on giving a major boost to medical device manufacturing in the country and also ensured a robust MRP regime, then it would have served two purpose with one shot – i.e. (a) Lower the overall healthcare cost and better price stability and (b) Lead to sharp reduction on import dependency.

Pawan Gupta, Co-founder, Curofy

The Budget is very favourable for the startup ecosystem in India. From registering startup within a day to reducing corporate tax for companies with revenue less than Rs.5 crore, the Budget spoke of “Achhe Din” for the startups. The ecosystem needed a sentiment push and I think it got it.

I personally like the provisions of capital gains not to be taxed on investments by fund of funds for startups and lowering the long-term capital gains duration from three years to two years. These measures should improve the confidence of investors. Combined with Bankruptcy laws, they should work wonders for the ecosystem.

In healthcare, the government has expanded health cover by Rs.30,000 for senior citizens and provided Rs.1,00,000 cover to every family in the country. In a country where so many people go without proper treatment due to lack of funds, the healthcare cover extension should improve healthcare spending. There is obviously a big opportunity for startups and companies in the insurance sector. Emphasis on generic drugs through PM Jan Aushadi Yojana gives further boost to homegrown generic pharmaceuticals.

However, the Budget proposals are low on how healthcare infrastructure will be created and how the Doctor-Patient ratio will be improved. These are the biggest problems plaguing the industry.

Siddhartha Roy, CEO of

The Union Budget 2016 has stepped in the direction to pave the way for rural digitisation with a focus on digital literacy. The aim to connect 6 crore households will provide a stronger reach and deeper penetration for digital and technology-driven services in rural India, thus allowing residents a plethora of services. The digital literacy scheme announced by Mr Jaitley in rural India will not only give rise to increased manpower, but also boost employment generation. The Budget is an indication of the government’s resolve towards the Digital India scheme. We, at Hungama, are committed to building a connected and digital India.

M P Vijay Kumar, CFO, Sify Technologies Limited

In order to make the Government’s social and infra spend effective, a good monitoring and audit system through independent accounting firms across the country is critical. Even if one per cent of spend towards audit is actioned, the productivity of spend will increase by three times and we will see intent matching action. Intent has to grow beyond mere announcement in the newspapers. Equity of economic growth through social spend will also curtail inflation in the long run and help economic growth.

Taxing Dividend in hands of individual is retrograde. As profit is already after tax and there is dividend tax of 20 per cent, another tax in the hands of the individual is unwarranted. It will also impact HNIs investing in start-ups/encouraging enterprise. Capital market has lot more role to play for economic growth and this could have been avoided.

Altaf Halde, Managing Director – South Asia, Kaspersky Lab

The overall Union Budget 2016-17 is encouraging for the common man, especially the tax relief in HRA. The announcement of Digital Literacy scheme to be launched to cover 6 crore additional rural households is a welcome move. This will not only boost the fast adoption of digital technologies across the country but also encourage digital means to reach out to consumers and different markets. Startups getting 100 per cent tax exemption for 3 years except MAT is again a good call taken by the government, as this will entice budding entrepreneurs to start their own business. Since we are targeting this sector for our software business, it could prove beneficial for us as well. Besides, it will also help in creation of more jobs in the country. Overall, it’s a balanced and realistic budget in difficult times.

Vishal Malhotra, Tax Partner, Telecom Practice, EY

Proposals introduced in Finance Bill 2016 are a mixed bag for the telecom sector. Proposal to amortise spectrum fee rather than allowing tax depreciation would have a negative impact on the cash flows of the telecoms besides resulting in ambiguity and litigation risk for the prior years when the operators have largely taken the position that spectrum is an intangible liable for tax depreciation. Clarification that consideration for sharing and trading of spectrum would be liable for service tax, however, is a huge positive, though it still needs to be seen if the states adopt a consistent position as regards levy of VAT on such transactions.

Reduction in rate of withholding tax on commission from 10 per cent to 5 per cent is again a welcome step though the industry would have preferred if the rate had been reduced to 2 per cent which is more in line with the dynamics of distribution of pre-paid services which comprises approximately 90 per cent of the revenues of the operators.

Introduction of dispute resolution and settlement provisions would again be a positive and should help reduce litigation facing this sector.  Applicability of BCD will also result in increased financial burden for the telecoms though introduction of lower excise duty regime for routers, modems and other CPE equipment may promote local manufacturing of such telecom equipment, similar to mobile phones.

Bharat Bhardwaj, Founder & Chairman of (TDO)

Although the Union Budget 2016 has given more impetus to agriculture and rural development, allocations for startups have also been made for tax deductions and registration process simplification. The new allocations are a welcome change as they allow flexibility and ease in government registration for startups as per the Companies Act. The rural digitisation scheme will add over 6 crore households, which will be connected digitally while also educating households about digitisation, this will aid technology start-ups widen their reach in the nation, which in turn will add to growth. The Union Budget 2016 has also announced tax allocations for startups, allowing some deductions; this will help founders as the initial 5 years of a startup are the most crucial with regards to finances. The Budget truly stands up to the Stand Up India scheme announced by the Prime Minister.

Prashant Singhal, Global Telecommunications Leader, EY

Telecom sector had high expectations from the Finance Minister, since several existing tax provisions were exerting additional burden on the industry and required urgent revamp. Proposals introduced in Finance Bill 2016 are a mixed bag for the telecom sector. While clarification introduced in taxation of spectrum fee and applicability of BCD may result in increased financial burden for the ailing telecoms, the same may reduce future litigation. Withdrawal of customs duty exemption on battery, chargers and headsets, and introduction of lower excise duty regime for routers, modems and other CPE equipment is in line with the government focus on local manufacturing and digital India.  Reduction in rate of withholding tax on commission to 5 percent is a welcome step for the telecom industry.

Pushpinder Singh, CEO & Co-founder, Travelkhana

The budget has been quite good on certain aspects although some future actions have been promised. We would have to wait and watch out for those initiatives. Those initiatives include: constitutional amendment to the Goods and Service Tax. This will be beneficial as a whole to the entire industry; amendments to the Company Law to make things simpler for startups; and Amendments to the bankruptcy laws to promote the ecosystem for startups

We also welcome the steps taken for promoting Agriculture and food processing. The initiatives and tax benefits announced for promoting this sector will help in lowering the cost of food and dealing with food inflation as a whole. Although we would have loved to see lowering of service tax on services from restaurants as it would indirectly help the food sector. That has unfortunately not happened.

Besides, we hail the initiatives announced for improving the transport sector. Entrepreneurs having a free policy to start interstate buses will really benefit the sector and the travellers in general.

Keshav Bansal, Director, Intex Technologies

With a great emphasis on the nine pillars of economy in the FY16-17 Union Budget, the Finance Minister has made a commendable effort towards creating a robust path for the future. We are happy that the budget has walked the talk for ‘Make in India’ by proposing changes in the customs & excise duty structure in components and sub-components to give fillip to the creation of domestic mobile component ecosystem.

Punit Desai, Co-founder & CEO, WelcomeCure

Apart from giving greater importance to agriculture and rural development, the Union Budget 2016 has also reserved allocations for startups, with regard to tax deductions and simplification of government business registration processes. The announcement of the rural digitisation scheme will add over 6 crore households, which will aid to a connected India, while also educating households about digitisation. This will help technology startups widen their reach in the nation adding to their growth. The change is welcome, as it will grant flexibility and ease in government registration for startups as per the Companies Act.

The Budget has also announced tax allocations for startups, allowing some deductions, which will help entrepreneurs as the initial 5 years of a startup are the most crucial with regards to finances.

Kenny Ye, MD, UCWeb India

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has presented a well-rounded and constructive budget, focusing on most critical aspects of the economy.

Thrust on farm sector, increased spending on rural development and infrastructure planning shows that this government means business. The record digitisation plan outlined is another major positive. The new digital literacy mission scheme will cover six crore additional households and bolster employability of rural youth. There is also the much-needed thrust on entrepreneurship training, higher education and skills development that will help make India a knowledge base. While the reduction in corporate tax is welcome, it is applicable only to select companies and is a minor negative. Measures to reduce tax hassles and address disputes, on the other hand, are a positive.

Tax exemption for Start-ups, amendments to Companies Act and allocation for Stand-up India scheme will further aid cost and ease of doing of business in India.

Jason Kothari, CEO,

Considering the liquidity issues and the subdued demand in the real estate sector over the last couple of years, we hoped for more from the Union Budget this year. We do welcome the government’s acknowledgement of the role startups play in job creation, and the tax holiday for the first 3 years of starting a company. We also expect the real estate sector to benefit from the government’s focus on the infrastructure sector, notably roads and highways, and its promise of a new more effective credit rating system of infra projects that will enable high quality projects to attract more funding. The digitisation of land records under the integrated land management system will go a long way in simplifying land acquisition for projects. The government’s service tax exemption on houses less than 60 sq.m, and the additional exemption of Rs 50,000 for housing loans up to Rs 35 lakh for homes not above Rs 50 lakh will both likely improve home buyers’ sentiment.

Nigel Eastwood, Group CEO, New Call Telecom

Overall, I would view this budget to have a positive push to industries across the board. This budget focuses clearly on growth, development and job creation with particular focus on start-ups by giving them support via exemptions for three out of five years. With government initiatives like National Digital Literacy Mission for Rural Households and Stand Up India Scheme in place, these will help boost the startup scenario for the SCs, STs women entrepreneurs as it will help reach out to these under-served sectors of the population by facilitating digital technologies for consumers and markets. This is a balanced growth-oriented budget with focus on accelerating on the fundamentals.

Arvind Vohra, Country CEO and MD, Gionee India

The ‘Make in India’ initiative by the Government has been in the limelight for a long time.  The Budget clearly depicts that the government is in full support of startups and Make In India initiatives. The Finance Minister has proposed changes in the customs and excise duty rates to boost Make in India drive. However, it is yet to be seen how it would affect the smartphone industry. In my opinion this will surely act as an impetus for the sector and will go on to make the industry more competitive. Government’s initiative towards the R&D sector to Accelerate Depreciation Limit to 150 per cent from FY2018 is also a welcome boost for the manufacturing sector.

Saurabh Arora, Founder & CEO, Lybrate

​The government has validated its intent through Budget to promote startup mindset in the country. Proposals like 100 per cent deduction of profits for 3 out of 5 years for startups established during April 2016 to March, 2019; lowering to two years the period for getting benefit of long-term capital gain regime in case of unlisted companies from the current three years; and making every bank branch facilitate at least two projects under ‘Stand Up India Scheme’ are aimed at encouraging more entrepreneurial ventures in the country.​

​One announcement that will help all startups across board is the Digital Literacy Mission Scheme for rural India, under which the government looks to cover around 6 crore additional household within the next 3 years. This is a great step towards digitising rural parts of the country, and when that will happen, it will provide the population residing there with the opportunity to benefit from online platforms like ours that enables communication between users and doctors from anywhere, anytime.​ ​Also, the ‘National Dialysis Services Programme’ under National Health Mission is also a remarkable measure to fix the issue of non-availability of renal dialysis centres in the country.

Ajit Patel, CEO & Founder, n-gage

The devil lies in the detail, but overall the Union Budget 2016-17 sounds exciting and promising for the IT and IT-related industries. Government’s ambitious announcement to achieve 100 per cent village electrification by 1st May, 2018 and a new Digital Literacy Mission Scheme for rural India to cover around six crore additional household within the next three years is commendable.

The allocation of Rs 1,804 crore for skill development and the proposed 1500 Multi Skill Training Institutes to be set-up, will definitely boost the employable population and generate more jobs for rural youths and in turn would help release the pressure in urban cities for want of employment.

Bengt Rittri, Founder & CEO, Blueair

We welcome the initiatives taken by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in this Budget to control the air pollution levels in the country. However, home and business owners as well as the air purifier industry need to be incentivised to get air pollution protection devices such as air purifiers in every Indian homes. To start with, reducing import duties on air purifiers can be a step that can be taken by the government.

Steps taken in this Budget on air pollution –

Air pollution in rural areas: The Finance Minister announced that the government will provide LPG connection in the name of women in rural households and Rs. 2,000 crore will be allotted for this. This will bring down indoor air pollution caused by the ‘chulhas’ (stoves) — burning wood, coal and animal dung as fuel, which is a major factor behind the occurrence of a slew of diseases, including respiratory diseases among women.

Vehicles to cost more: In a move aimed at checking the rising air pollution levels in the country, Mr Jaitley has levied additional taxes on Diesel and SUVs to pull down the demand. He announced 1 per cent Clean Energy Cess on LPG cars, 2.5 per cent on diesel and 5 per cent on SUVs as part of green measures and to encourage use of hybrid cars.

Clean energy cess: The minister announced a Clean Energy Cess in this budget to reduce the negative environmental consequences and increased pollution levels associated with industrialisation and urbanisation. It increased from Rs 200/ton to 400/ton on coal, lignite and peat.

Pradeep JainManaging Director at Karbonn Mobiles

The withdrawal of BCD, CVD and SAD exemption on mobile phone chargers, adapter, battery, wired headsets and speakers for actual manufacturing is disheartening and is likely to stifle the growth of Indian Smartphone players and impact their price competitiveness. The parts and components ecosystem in the country is still in its nascent stage. While the incentives on local manufacturing announced in the previous budget were welcoming, government should have allowed for a gestation period for local handset players to strengthen their manufacturing capabilities before withdrawing tax exemptions on completely built units.

Aloke Bajpai, CEO & Co-Founder, ixigo

The Union Budget 2016 has laid out big investments for the infrastructure sector which include allotment of funds for the development of roads and highways and an action plan to revive 160 non-functional airports. These steps come as a welcome move for the travel and tourism sector.

The focus on travel and tourism is further reaffirmed with the Finance Minister announcing the annual programme “Ek Bharat – Shreshtha Bharat”, which will aim at linking states and districts through exchanges in areas of language, trade, culture, travel and tourism.

Further, we also welcome the Government’s initiative to increase baggage allowance for international passengers and exempt passengers flying into India from filing the baggage declaration form if they are not carrying dutiable or prohibited goods. This will surely ease inbound tourism.

The current government’s focus on the Indian startup ecosystem is very positive and the Union Budget 2016 has reinforced support for entrepreneurship and startup businesses in India.

Rajesh AgarwalCo-founder, Micromax Informatics

The government has emphasised on schemes for digital literacy for rural India to cover 6 crore households in the next three years which executed well will kick start a next revolution in the PC and smartphone adoption in the country.

FM’s concerted effort to focus on multi skill development is a laudable effort. Focusing on education and job creation through skill development, his measures to bring in quality education and commitment to empower higher educational institutions will reap benefits in the skill development of the government. Providing an impetus for startups, the 100 per cent tax deductions for new startups for first 3 years will truly boost the burgeoning start up ecosystem in the country.

The proposal on reduction in excise duty  on inputs, parts and components, subparts for manufacture of charger/adapter, battery and wired headsets/speakers of mobile phone, being exempted from 12.5 per cent  to nil is a welcome move and will eventually promote the manufacturing of these components domestically..

However, the exemption from basic customs duty, CV duty, SAD on charger/adapter, battery and wired headsets/speakers for mobile phone being withdrawn will increase the cost of the mobile phones till the time the companies manufacture these product domestically.

In terms of the electronic manufacturing industry we expected a lot to be announced but there was not much reference in the budget for the same. There are a lot of steps the government needs to take to bring in a next wave of growth in the electronic segment of the country. On behalf of the entire handset makers of India, we expected the government to introduce regulatory restrictions for ETA (Equipment Type Approval) and licensing requirements from DOT to import low powered wireless equipment which are very critical for success of the Digital India and Make in India vision; but there was no mention of the same in the budget. We wanted the government to also focus on having a quicker and predictable time frame to complete CRS (compulsory registration scheme) formalities to comply nation’s product safety standards. Additionally, as the electronics and mobile handset manufacturing is touted to be the next growth engine for India, there was a dire need for income tax holiday to make it viable and attractive for the industry and investors just the way it is in countries like Vietnam.

Aakash Chaudhry, Director, Aakash Educational Services Pvt. Ltd

The push in the higher education, opportunities for skill development and focus on quality education is a welcome move. It turns the spotlight on both sides of the potential growth story – job creation as well as skill up-gradation.

The budget is promising as it supports 10 public and 10 private educational institutions to be made world-class which will further add to the opportunities for aspiring students to get exposure to right kind of faculty, infrastructure, jobs and market ready curriculum.

Varun Khitan, Co Founder UrbanClap

More than being a pro-startup Budget, as was expected, the financial layout for FY 2016-17 has taken into account the need to create entrepreneurs across the digital divide. On the one hand, there is focused support for women, while on the other, there is also a provision to impart entrepreneurial skills to the youth under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushalya Yojana. The proposal to open 1,500 multi-skill institutions with adequate allocation will be a value addition.

For emerging businesses there’s a slew of incentives to encourage angel investment and startup activity, in the process, create additional jobs. Steps in this regard are tax exemption for three years out of the first five years of startups’ existence; no capital gains tax proceeds are invested in government-approved fund-of-funds or if an investor is a majority shareholder are.

We look forward to speedy implementation of these proposals.

Beas Dev RalhanCEO, Next Education India Pvt Ltd

To realise the full potential of the demographic dividend that India is set to enjoy, and to prevent from that becoming a demographic liability, we need to find suitable avenues for employment and self-employment, through the focus on skill-development. We strongly believe that skill and aptitude identification and development has to start in schools itself. Teachers also have to be trained accordingly, something that is missed out in this year’s budget.

The total allocation of Rs 68,968 crores will play a significant role in inclusion of entire education sector from secondary schools to higher education and research centers. However, we could have had a more active engagement with the private sector which currently contributes well over 40 per cent of K-12 education in India.

Lastly, the concern on quality education and learning outcomes will increase the focus on infrastructure development. Since the government has promised to increase the number of IITs, AIIMS and other professional institutes, maintaining the quality will be yet another challenge. However, we believe the allocation in the Budget for higher education will go a long way towards resolving this problem.

Ravinder P Singh, Director – Solutions Strategy & Business Development, IoT, Smart Cities & Digitization, Dell India

Anouncement on Digital Literacy Mission Scheme in rural areas is a key stepping stone to achieve next level of human capital transformation. India is going through a massive transformation with Smart Cities, Make in India and Digital India initiatives that will have far reaching impact in the growth of urban and rural India. Technology is not only the backbone for these initiatives but also a critical stakeholder for the success and sustainability of these programs.  We welcome the government’s initiative as this will help in building digital infrastructure from the ground up that will help India grow much faster and better to enable economic growth.

Dell being a global leader in ICT Technology and end-user computing, we consider this as a good opportunity to work with both the government and private sector and be an active player in this journey.  We are committed to support these initiatives by providing the next generation of technology solutions and being the digital architects for such programs.

Venkatesh, Director – Product Division, Maveric Systems

  • Fiscal consolidation:emphasis on fiscal consolidation and sticking to the fiscal deficit of 3.5 per cent of GDP are welcome; this should therefore encourage the markets.
  • Reform in taxation:the proposed reform in taxation to reduce litigation, certainty of tax and also an affirmation of no retrospective legislation should help foreign investment into India.
  • FDI in food sector:the emphasis on the rural economy, food sector and also the coordinated move to provide FDI at 100 per cent into the food sector clearly shows the wholesome integration of the policies.
  • Improving employment:continued investments in the social sector to improve employment through skill-building and greater emphasis on higher education reinforces a promising future
  • Addressing the trade gap:simplification of procedures and extension of duty drawback benefits to an extended list of sectors in order to promote export growth should aid in closing the current trade gap.

Sudhin MathurDirector, Smartphones, Lenovo Mobiles Business Group

The rationalisation of custom duties and excise duties for raw materials, manufacturing for the IT and Hardware sector apart from various sectors to boost the Government’s Make In India sector are going to boost the manufacturing sector and lower costs for firms looking to do business in India.

Farrokh N. Cooper, Chairman & Managing Director, Cooper Corporation Pvt. Ltd

During the earlier BJP regime, there has been roll backs on many bold decision taken by then Finance Minister on political grounds. However, with Mr. Arun Jaitley presenting a positive budget, I am sure there will be no roll backs because it is the wish of the people and the need of the hour for India to move ahead and not roll back.

We acknowledge the concessions he has given for the export sector and simplification of tax administration and litigation. The Finance Minister has gone into great details in the agriculture sector when he has acknowledged the importance of honey in the economy and it is our wish that the sweetness and flavour of honey permeates throughout the economy.

Anand AgarwalCEO of Sterlite Technologies

The Budget with a total outlay of Rs 2.2 lakh crore, for roads, highways and railways, shows heavy focus on infrastructure development to boost connectivity. The outlay on Digital National Rural Mission is very positive in-line with the BharatNet creation.

With the aim to achieve the targets of ‘Digital India’, two schemes enabling digital literacy for rural India, e-procurement for agricultural produce, and digital depository to store school & college certificates, come at a crucial time when the country is about to leapfrog through the deployment of BharatNet.  The Budget has missed the industry expectation for a clear roadmap for GST rollout. However, the clarity on lack of Dividend Distribution Tax on InvITs clears out the confusion on this matter and paves the way for listing of Infrastructure Investment Trusts.

Ashwani Rathore, CEO & Co-Founder, SpiderG

Capital gains, tax exemption on investments and lowering the period from three years to two years for definition of long term capital gains in unlisted companies will pave way for new angel investors to invest in startups. With this initiative there will be growing funding support for startups in coming years.

Entrepreneurship learning through (Massive Open Online Course) MOOCS will provide access to educational resources across the country. The one day registration process for start-ups will also help the ecosystem to grow. These positive moves will spark a new energy in the startup sector which is expected to raise USD700 million and will generate around 5000 jobs in the next 12 months.

Hari Om Rai, CMD, Lava International

The industry is unhappy on the imposition of 2 percent SAD on populated PCBs used in manufacture of mobile phones and tablet computers. As much as half of production cost of a Mobile phone consists of populated PCBs and this imposition of 2 percent SAD will mean that the duty differential between complete mobile phones and its parts / components for manufacturing will be significantly diminished. India has not yet developed the eco-system for the complexity involved in populating a mobile phone bare PCB.

Nigel Eastwood, Group CEO, New Call Telecom

This budget focuses clearly on growth, development and job creation with particular focus on start-ups by giving them support via exemptions for 3 out of 5 years.  With government initiatives like National Digital Literacy Mission for Rural Households and Stand Up India Scheme in place, these will help boost the startup scenario for the SC, ST women entrepreneurs as it will help reach out to these under-served sectors of the population by facilitating digital technologies for consumers and markets.

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