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Interim Budget 2019 – Reaction From 21 Experts Across Industry

Here are the reactions from 21 Experts across industry on the Interim Budget 2019 –

 

Amit Kumar Singh, VP, Products & Digital Marketing, Travelyaari

 

Travelyaari welcomes the continued push on road connectivity, especially the rural road connectivity with a budgetary allocation of ₹19,000cr under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana. This continuation in infrastructure development is in right direction to push road connectivity which shall enable last mile connectivity, benefiting the remotest corner of country.

 

The CSC initiative to create 1 lakh digital village is another welcome step which shall remove inefficiencies in market and unlock new fair markets across India through eCommerce. We look forward to partner with government on such CSC initiatives. The mobile data penetration has already enabled 3 digits growth rates even for Travelyaari on mobile platform and with these initiatives we see this to be the story for next 5 years.

 

Greg Moran, CO-Founder & CEO, ZoomCar

These statements by the government certainly show that the policymakers are looking forward to a strong ecosystem driven approach to the problem statement of urban pollution. This should create an environment for long term investment on the part of the private sector.

 

Rajendra J Gandhi , Chairman & Managing Director, Stovekraft Limited

The interim budget has complemented expectations and popular speculations – the income tax respite for the middle class will positively impact their disposable income. On the ‘Make in India’ front, rationalisation of the customs duties and import/export procedures will provide considerable impetus to local manufacturers and exporters.”

 

Neha Bagaria, Founder & CEO, JobsForHer

The Government mandates 26 weeks maternity leave with a 400Cr proposal from last year to reimburse employers for 7 of the 26 weeks of extended maternity leave. Amendments to the Maternity Act, 1961 is significant, but what about balancing paternity leave directives?  Men should be incentivised to take longer periods of paternity leave as well. Paid paternity leave can have positive effects for gender equality at home and at work, disrupting prevailing stereotypes.

 

The conversation needs to move to ‘Parental Leave’ policies. Equal time off should be given to both parents and called family-friendly policies.  The Government needs to be committed to reducing the burden on working parents, particularly in the first 12 months, when it is difficult to secure quality childcare as seen in an online survey we conducted for women restarters, where 38% cited childcare as one of the biggest challenges to restarting their careers. The Government has to mandate ‘Parental Leave’ as opposed to just maternity leave to balance the scales which will definitely enable women to engage and remain in paid employment and progress in their careers.

 

The Government’s announcement of tax exemption for income up to Rs 5 lakhs, although gender-neutral, is optimistic for women returning to work. But is this enough of an incentive for women leaving the workplace by the millions? We need to see a stronger focus on hiring and retaining more women in the workforce. We need to see impactful women specific employment policies that can absorb and support women in the Indian workplace.

 

Mr Dinesh Kumar Kotha, Co founder & CEO, Confirmtkt

This is truly welcome step by the government towards focus on infrastructure. On the Railways end primary focus in safety is the need of the hour but also government should focus on solving one more bigger problem of waitlist tickets. As per the Indian Railways annual Report the passengers carried is almost constant from last 2 years.So there needs to be a focus on the improving the infrastructure, add more new trains , Cut down trains on the routes where there is a low fill rate and introduce these trains in the demand routes. The budget has given focus to improving facilities and maintaining the existing trains, over announcing new trains.

 

Anuraga Avula, Cofounder and CEO, Shopmatic

The 2019 budget announcements certainly reaffirm the government’s commitment towards building a Digital India and creating opportunities for small scale Indian businesses for running successful e-commerce businesses. Though the decision to bring changes in the FDI policy for e-commerce platforms was to level the playing field for small scale sellers, the interim budget announcement comes bearing more favorable news.

 

As announced in the interim budget, the government is aiming for one lakh digital villages in the next 5 years. This is going to prove as a strong economic driver by promoting digital payments and more importantly, exposing rural businesses to the prospects of selling online.

 

At Shopmatic, it has been our vision to help aspiring entrepreneurs enter the world of e-commerce without the common problems of capital expenses, complexities involved. Our app will certainly help drive adoption to e-commerce even from remote parts of the country. We are glad that the government is pushing for digitalization in Indian villages and will be utilizing this opportunity to enhance our reach in the hinterlands of India and assist the rural artisans, craftsperson, sellers, and businesses in coming aboard the digital wave.

 

Indroneel Dutt, CFO, Cleartrip

The Indian travel and tourism sector which has emerged as a key growth driver didn’t see any concrete provisions in the 6th and final budget of the current government presented by Finance Minister Piyush Goyal. While the list of 10 most important dimensions that will guide the government in Vision 2030  mentions next-gen infrastructure and digital India, the budget lacked clarity on allocations and how these could push the sector.

We were hoping to see some thrust on boosting the digital and payment infrastructure for sectors with big-ticket transactions like travel and a tax relief especially for indirect taxes (levied on the tourism and hospitality sector which is considerably higher than some of the major tourist destinations globally). For a market that expected a tax reduction basis promise in 2014 to bring it down to 25% in a phased manner, the corporate direct tax rates were left untouched which comes as a disappointment.

We hope these in addition to the purview of GST in accommodation space and removal of TCS (Tax collection at source)  in airlines industry are points that the government will bring to its consideration in the time to come.

 

Rishi Jain, Managing Director, Jain Group

It is a well-balanced and very mature budget. The FM has nicely walked the path of fulfilling the BJP election mandate of populist measures without overburdening the Economy with mindless doles and subsidies. I half expected more loan waivers and cross-subsidization, but interest subvention is a much prudent measure, clearly, there is great maturity evident in these proposals. The Real Estate sector has reasons to celebrate even though the measures are purely incremental and not structural.

 

The easing of the notional rent was a big relief, this spectre has been haunting developers for some time now. I welcome the move immensely. The housing for all motive is evident from affordable housing impetus, that is also wonderful news. The Capital gain relaxation, the TDS relaxation are all measures to remove government hindrances in transacting property. Undoubtedly, the real estate sector is bound to see revival ahead, how much and how quickly is anyone’s guess. But revival is just around the corner and the government is signalling happy times, rather achche din ahead.

 

Aakrit Vaish, CEO and Co-Founder of Haptik

With the announcement of National Artificial Intelligence portal, we expect India to be propelled on the path of leveraging advanced and disruptive technologies for economic prosperity and growth. We congratulate the government for this forward-looking budget.

 

Haptik is one of the world’s largest conversational AI platforms, with a client list that includes Fortune 500 brands such as Samsung, Coca-Cola, Future Retail, KFC, Tata Group, ICICI Bank, Mahindra Group, among others.

 

Dr. Subaran Roy, Associate Professor of Economics, BML Munjal University 

 

The direct income transfer to farmers is a good move compared with subsidies. But it has its own economic consequences. More importance should have been given to long term measures like improvement in agricultural infrastructure. In terms of jumpstarting the economy, I don’t see any important policy move. The other populist measure is the pension scheme for basic level workers. However, there’s no measure to further cut down on expenditure or generating revenues. The fiscal deficit is only increasing, which is not good for the economy in the long term. Needed more policies that encouraged corporate investments. Caution should be maintained because once a populist policy is introduced it’s very difficult to step back.

 

Nikhil Mantha, Co-Founder & COO, Piggy – Mutual Fund Investment App:

 

Macro

Markets seemed to be satisfied with the fiscal prudence shown by the FM especially before elections with fiscal deficit target being 3.5% and Current Account deficit target being 2.5% of the GDP in line with expectations, though the final mathematics of expanding benefits and foregoing taxes remain to be seen. Biggest plus is introducing the Rs.3,000/month pension scheme for the unorganised sector. Also positive steps taken for Agriculture with the interest rate subvention and Rs.6,000/year direct benefit to farmers with upto 2 hectares land.  The budget seems to have covered major constituencies of Farmers, SMEs and Middle class. Yet I feel not enough was done for job creation and to boost our crumbling industrial infrastructure.

Startup

No clarifications on Angel tax were disappointing. But the increased focus on AI from announcement to launch a National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Portal is a step in the right direction. AI will have a major role in disrupting multiple Industries and as a nation it is important that we understand it’s significance and take steps to promote innovation in it.

 

Taxation and Middle Class Benefits

Welcome move by the FM to give tax breaks to people with income upto Rs.5 lakh and effective income of Rs.6.5 lakh taking section 80C into account. Also increase in standard deduction to Rs.50,000 and exemption on interest income on savings to Rs.40,000 are a big plus. This will go a long way in boosting consumption in the economy. No sops for mutual funds though which is a little disappointing.

 

Mayank Bhangadia, CEO & Co-Founder, Roposo, India’s first-of-its-kind short video platform

It would be great if you could carry the same in your budget reaction stories.

 

“The government has delivered what it promised. The budget is, indeed, a huge relief for anyone and everyone. From farmers to startups, every person in India will benefit from this budget. It was really important to digitise rural India and show them the importance of Internet. The announcements of digitising 1 lakh digital villages in the next 5 years will prove to be just that. Tax exemption – the biggest announcement – is a massive relief for the middle class. Entrepreneurship is being promoted, which will clearly lead to jobs being created. The government has picked the pulse of job creation by boosting entrepreneurship, something which will most definitely lead to creation of jobs, especially for the youth. If that was not enough, the budget has taken care of unskilled laborers as well.”

 

Vipul Jain, CEO, Advancells 

“This is a great budget for patients as well as consumers. Last five years have seen massive improvement in healthcare services. Ayushmaan Bharat, world’s largest health scheme targeting 50 crore people is a boon for India. Prices of medicines and surgical instruments have been decreased dramatically. At the same time new approaches such as regenerative medicine are being streamlined into the main stream medicine.”

 

Ram Jaiswal, CEO, Checkmygaadi.com 

“This is a happy budget for our TaxPayers. However it was a neutral budget this time for Auto industry. Although, it has comprehensively focused on Electric cars which are a need of the hour in India, Keeping in mind the environment concerns. We are hoping for favorable policies on Startup Taxation and Fundraising in 2019 budget.”

 

Rajesh Ram Mishra, President at India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA)

We feel this interim budget by Finance Minister is progressive and inclusive. It focuses on leveraging new technologies to build countrywide digital infrastructure, skill building, driving growth of MSME segment.We applaud the vision to make India a USD 5 Trillion economy in the next 5 years. We feel a vibrant ESDM sector will play a key role in realizing this vision.The focus on National program on AI will unleash large opportunity in intelligent electronics and automation and will create new business opportunity in nine focus areas.Making 100,000 villages digital and 10,000 Crore investment in Telecom  infrastructure will make  universal broadband communication  a reality and will lead to pan India deployment of new IoT  based solutions. Participation of private sector in building products in strategic  electronics will get a big boost with INR 300,000 Cr Defence spending.Allocation for National Education Mission of INR 37,752Cr, coupled with the emphasis on Skill Development will enable easier access to skilled workforce for ESDM industry.

 

The tax relief for people with income less than INR 5L and interest rate subvention of 2 percent will help start-ups, MSMEs in ESDM sector as it will relieve the pressure on working capital.25% Government procurement from MSMEs, announcement to bring PSUs procurement under Government e-Marketplace (GeM) is a welcome change.  We would like to see more domestically designed, indigenously manufactured ESDM products to come under this and benefit from PMA. While intelligent electronics is bringing new opportunities, to enable large number of successful product companies in India,   we hope to see Angel Tax abolished for ESDM start-ups and we also suggest creation of a dedicated fund to incentive R&D. This being an interim budget, some of the large scale investments needed in semiconductor and electronics for building a digitally secured India should be taken up post-election.

 

Sudeep Singh, Chief Evangelist and CEO, GoWork- world’s largest co-working facility

 

The complexities of acquiring spaces have been eliminated to a considerable extent due to RERA, safeguarding the interests of the investors. Also, India being world’s second largest start-up hub and with the push of the Digital India initiative, we will witness a tremendous increase in job creation. With more ventures coming in action, there will be an extensive need of modern offices and co-working spaces which will create endless opportunities for blue-collar workers as well.

 

 Gautam Raj Anand, Founder and CEO, Hubhopper

 

“The government has done a fantastic job of making the internet accessible to millions of Indians. Now it’s the job of Internet companies to localize their products and content so that the increased access to data can be satiated and utilized with an equal amount of content and user-friendly experience.”

 

 

Atul Rai, CEO and Co-Founder of Staqu

 

The government has been banking on digital technologies such as AI, machine learning, big data and more. Thus, in the interim budget we had expected a significant boost by the government. We are glad to find out the government’s plans of developing a National Artificial Intelligence portal, which will significantly boost research and development measures in the field of Artificial Intelligence.

 

As a Gurgaon based Artificial Intelligence startup, Staqu strives to utilize technology in solving the real-world problems. Founded in 2015, the company provides state-of-the-art image recognition, language independent proprietary speaker identification, and text processing, including sentiment analysis, text classification and summarisation.

 

Surajit Das, Co-founder and CEO, Routematic

 

Not much was talked on startups in the budget this year. The 2% interest subvention on MSME loans will help to get access to capital. Areas, where we wanted more allocation, were higher education to improve talent pool and some innovative thinking around reducing capital gains tax for VCs which could make India the preferred investment destination for VCs.

 

 

Siraj Dhanani & A. Vijayarajan, Founders, InnAccel Technologies

 

Creating a healthy India with distress-free and comprehensive wellness system for all is a laudable aim, which can be achieved by the widespread adoption of indigenously developed medical technologies that solve problems faced by Bharat and India both.

 

Artificial intelligence has the potential to disrupt Healthcare Delivery in the country. With the focus on Digital India in the last few years and integrated with this New AI initiative will help us to meet some of the challenges in the Healthcare Industry.”

 

 

Deepak Sahni, Founder & CEO Healthians, India’s largest doorstep health test provider

 

The interim budget has taken into account the mammoth need for healthcare services for a growing nation. I commend the government’s effort to make healthcare affordable and accessible till the last mile.

 

Further, grants proposed for the small and medium enterprises are reassuring that the government is determined to encourage the startup ecosystem in the country.

 

However, the budget was silent on critical issues being faced by the industry such as angel tax, an incorporation of which would have helped the startup ecosystem at large.

 

 

India’s largest health test at home service provider, trusted by over 600,000 households. Founded in 2015, the company is driven by the vision to add 10 healthy years to every Indian’s life. It promotes wellness among all, and its diagnostic and chronic management plans have proven to be instrumental in effective disease management.

 

Author: Baishali Mukherjee

Profile- An independent writer and journalist for last nine years; presently working with Education World, Entrepreneur India, Scrabbl.com and Stoodnt.com. Worked as the content head for four books and have articles and features published in leading print and digital media spaces.

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