Union Budget Reaction 2020 By Industry Leaders

Mr. Dipesh Kaura, General Manager, Kaspersky (South Asia), said, “Government’s growing interest in the use of Advanced technologies such as Artificial intelligence, quantum computing, etc was definitely seen as the base of the IT budget for 2020 and an interesting move for Digital India. In today’s budget we saw the government allocating funds to make data centers across India which will also support their upcoming Data Protection Act. However we do hope that this budget will be majorly focused on protecting the stored data especially of sectors like BFSI and large enterprises that consist major quantity of critical data. As it was rightly said that Data is the new oil, it becomes increasingly important for a country like India to protect and secure their data moving forward and also invest in securing other vulnerabilities that may target India’s critical infrastructures, banking, and financial institutions and government bodies against the ever-evolving cyberthreat landscape.”

Supria Dhanda, Vice President and Country Manager, Western Digital India, said, “With the announcement of the Budget 2020, it is motivating to see the initiatives to further advance the technology sector. We look forward to collaborate with the Government and industry to fuel the vision for data-centric innovations. The government’s plan to enable the private sector to build data center parks across the country highlights the huge potential of data. Addressing the need for technology and stressing on the importance of AI, Analytics and IoT will enable the country to embrace the technological advancements required to succeed today. We are happy to see the Government’s efforts to drive a positive change and position India as a technology leader.”

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

Mr. Nipun Marya, Director – Brand Strategy, vivo India, said, “It is heartening to see that the Government has time and again recognized the significance of electronics manufacturing in today’s economy. The Union Budget’s significant focus on local production of mobile phones, electronics and semiconductor packaging is going to propel the Make in India vision further. We are excited about the detailed scheme, which will follow soon.”

Mr. Nikhil Arora, VP and MD, GoDaddy India, said, “The Union Budget 2020 is a reflection of the Government of India’s vision and commitment towards delivering an inclusive growth. The proposed reforms especially those focused towards MSMEs and startups such as provision of seed funding for early-stage startups and setting up of a portal based investment clearing cell, will further help to bolster growth of independent ventures in India. Big announcements like deferred payment of ESOPs, as well as the creation of an e-market place for MSMEs, are also laudable steps by the Government towards uplifting the overall entrepreneurial spirit in the country. We also believe that the proposed allocation of INR 99,300 for education and the allocation of INR 3000 for skilling initiatives, can be instrumental in delivering better educational infrastructure and innovation. As India gears up to chart the next chapter in its strong growth story, we at GoDaddy continue to work in collaboration with the Government and our partner ecosystem, to help entrepreneurs and small businesses grow their ventures online, with our easy-to-use and affordable tools and solutions.”

Mr. Haruto Iwata, Managing Director, Fujifilm India, said, “We congratulate the government on presenting the Union Budget 2020 for the common man and it’s encouraging to see that the government has taken the lead to deliver on its promise of excellence in healthcare. The government’s “TB Harega, Desh Jeetega” initiative to eradicate tuberculosis by 2025 is a significant step towards building a healthy Society. India being the highest recorder of TB cases in the world makes it imperative for us to understand the high risk of catching the disease. The government’s vision aligns with our mission to raise consciousness and promote advanced diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis among patients. Additionally, the government’s impetus on boosting the domestic manufacturing of electronics and medical devices in the country will reinforce the commitment towards raising awareness for early detection in India. Apart from this, the announcement to boost Artificial Intelligence is a great step to strengthen the usage of technology in the field of healthcare while intensifying the quality with accessibility and affordability. We believe that the government has put forward a progressive budget with a strong vision to take India’s social, economic and overall well-being to greater heights.”

Mr. Rajan S Mathews, DG, COAI, said, “We welcome the Government’s overarching positive theme for the Budget 2020-21, that includes enabling an aspirational India, through major fundamental structural reforms targeted at fostering healthcare, education, skill development, ensuring economic development for all and further a caring, humane and compassionate society. The Hon’ble Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, emphasised on country’s growth and Digital inclusion will hinge on advanced technologies such AI, Robotics, Machine Learning, analytics, among others, which essentially relies on telecom infrastructure. However, while the Union Budget laid major emphasis on boosting domestic manufacturing of network products, mobile phones, electronic equipment, semi-conductors and healthcare products and has allocated INR 27,300 crore for the development of industry and commerce by 2021, it is disappointing that there were no announcements made regarding the rationalisation of levies and taxes currently imposed on the severely distressed telecom sector and telecom infrastructure is not taken into consideration that is going to build out the country. The Budget proposed that the New India will be driven by innovations, AI and computing where data will be the new oil and other significant initiatives such as linking of 1 lakh gram panchayat to the Bharat Net program by this year and an allocation of INR 6,000 crore in this regard, none of our key recommendation appear to have been taken into consideration. A financially healthy and robust telecom sector is imperative to support all these future forward initiatives. It is also disappointing to note that telecom was not given an infrastructure status even though a slew of crucial reforms has been announced on infrastructure. The telecom sector, which is the backbone of the country’s economy, did not receive significant support.”

Mr. Vinu Cheriyan, CFO & Director Operations, Sennheiser India, said, “For 2020-2021 Union budget, the government has made some notable announcements that are aimed towards strengthening the industry and commerce sector. It also focuses on enhancing growth of youth with skill development. The allocation of Rs 27,300 crore for development of industry and commerce will help in the overall growth of the country. Government’s plans to announced a new scheme to encourage domestic manufacturing of mobile phones, electronics and semiconductor boards, to expand rural development using modern digital technologies to generate massive employment. Furthermore, allocating Rs 3,000 crore for the Skill India programme is also set to increase the skill based jobs in India. To further improve this and provide employment, 115 higher education institutions will also start apprenticeship from March 2021 which will benefit the youth of this country. This initiative will also help people in getting the appropriate jobs basis to their skillsets. Focus on AI, Internet-of-Things (IoT), quantum computing, a policy to build data centre parks across the country will help in channelizing the explosion of digital technology in the country. With government’s emphasis to increase digital penetration and consumption of mobile, will further strengthens India’s internet potential. This allows for immense growth possibilities for the entertainment industry, further giving a push to the audio accessories industry.

Mr. Leon Yu, Regional Head, India & South Asia, Asus, “At Asus, we believe that the Union Budget 2020 announcement has covered several pressing issues faced by the economy and is going to bring growth opportunities. All eyes would be on the manufacturing sector, with the FM proposing a scheme to encourage mobile phones, semiconductor packaging, and electronic equipment. The new scheme, Nirvik, is also going to offer respite for exporters, promising to settle refunds for electricity and VAT previously levied. Furthermore, the provision to bring digital connectivity to all public institutions at Gram Panchayat and allocation of INR 6,000Cr to bring fibre to home through BharatNet linking 100,000 Gram Panchayats in FY21 are also welcomed moves. With India’s rising aspirations reaching the rural locales, internet connectivity will pave the way for connected and smart consumerism. At Asus, we shall be pursuing ways to support the government in enriching India’s economy and traversing through rural India to ensure optimum growth and development. We also look forward to the policy on private players setting up data parks and shall be offering full support with our cutting-edge products and services.”

Mr. Nitin Kunkolienker, President-MAIT, said, “The emphasis on Mobiles the largest import bill in electronics and ATMP is welcome. The government needs to include IT, Datacom, Medical and other subsectors of electronics. While the scheme is still in the works this will result in rise in exports from India.”

Mr. Manu Jain, Global VP and India MD Xiaomi and Governing council MAIT, said, “Government’s move on increasing the threshold for small business requiring audit from 1cr to 5cr, if cash transaction is less than 5%, is a welcome move. This will spur technology adoption by them which will further increase the demand for PCs and POS.”

Mr. Suresh Pansari, Director, RP tech India, said, “The Union budget 2020 announced by Finance Minister Mrs. Nirmala Sitaraman is a most progressive budget, where the Government has given an impetus to the economy to achieve its $ 5 trillion mark by 2025. This budget focuses on structural reforms and the additional emphasis is been given on infrastructural development for a long term growth. The Government has further escalated its efforts to bring ease of doing business by lowering various compliances and simplifying the GST. The importance is been given to E-Governance for speedy approvals and transparent processes. This will boost confidence among investors who are keen to set up their businesses in India. The Government has also given major relief to tax payers by reducing the tax slabs for income below 15 lakhs. This will increase the cash flow and tax payers will be able to spend more, ultimately benefiting the industries. From the industry and economy point of view, the Government has proposed special incentives for mobile phones, electronics component, networking products and semiconductor units, which will push domestic electronics manufacturing and generate more employment opportunities.”

Mr. Prakash Mallya, VP, and MD – Sales and Marketing Group, Intel India, said, “The Union Budget highlights the role technology-enabled innovation can play in leapfrogging the nation. From integration in priority sectors like agriculture and healthcare to a continued focus on smart cities, the first budget of the new decade clearly outlines the significance of a digital-first India in realizing the country’s potential. I am especially encouraged by the efforts to use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to improve disease detection and pre-emption as part of the PM Jan Arogya Yojana. Such applications of emerging technologies combined with the focus on increasing the penetration of fibre connectivity in the nation have the potential to fundamentally impact the lives of millions in the coming years. Provisions to invest in and nurture local talent and entrepreneurship will go a long way in organizing India’s workforce and equipping them with the skills and measures needed to continue to innovate for India and for the world. Policies and investments enabling data centres and quantum computing and applications will help India spur the development of new breakthroughs across sectors. With the government’s target of a $5 trillion economy by 2024, Intel believes that technologies like AI, Internet of Things (IoT), and ML will continue to play a pivotal part in this journey. We look forward to further strengthening our work with the local ecosystem and with the government in enabling technology innovation and skilling India’s workforce to power the next wave of India’s digital revolution.”

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

Mr. Sunil Jose, Senior Vice President & Country Leader, Salesforce India, said, “We’re pleased to see Artificial Intelligence adoption emphasised in the budget by the government. At Salesforce we agree that there is a tremendous opportunity in India to reskill existing and develop new AI talent for jobs of the future. It’s also equally important that as we develop new advances in AI and skill new workers, that we make sure the ethical use of AI is a part of this development process. Salesforce stands by its commitment to expand its presence in the country by investing continuously in the country’s workforce. We feel that the Finance Minister’s announcement on creating programs with local bodies to provide opportunities for young engineers is a positive move.”

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

Dharmender Kapoor, CEO & MD, Birlasoft, said, “We laud the budget presented by Hon’ble Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The budget has clearly recognized the importance of Talent, Technology and Entrepreneurship in the growth of the country. It is commendable to see the continuous commitment of the government to bridge the skill gap and to develop India’s large talent pool, for which the govt. has allocated INR 3,000 crores towards skilling. Technology is a given and digital technology is the force driving the turmoil for this industry, whose future is yet to be unleashed. The proposal of a policy to set up data centre farms throughout the country will push more efficiency on data, as data is the new oil, but right now it is in the form of crude oil. The budget also focused on the national mission for quantum computing and application, this will position India with globally elite countries. India would probably be the third biggest and a pioneering nation if we can break into this technology. It is also commendable to see an extra push given to the manufacturing ecosystem in the country. The budget 2020 is a step forward in achieving the nation’s goal of a $5 trillion economy.”

Mr. Vartul Jain, SVP and Chief Financial Officer, GreyOrange, said, “It is heartening to see how this year’s Union Budget focuses on promoting India as an investment and innovation hub. Focus on entrepreneurship, skill development and supply chain economy as well as thrust on technology are important for the growth of the Government’s Digital India and Make in India programs. Measures such as an Investment Clearance Cell, early stage fund and multiple tax rebates and relaxations for startups–will help widen their scope and provide more opportunities. From a business perspective, Government continues to extend its support to MSMEs and bolster their growth by allowing for debt restricting, all of which will help boost the entrepreneur ecosystem. We also laud the Government’s focus on improving the supply chain economy. Measures such as geo-tag warehouses and establishment of efficient facilities at the block level will be key for ensuring zero wastage and optimizing resource allocation. We are now excited to witness how the industry makes the most of these initiatives for entrepreneurship and drive innovation to further the spirit of India Vision 2025.”

Mr. Dipesh Kaura, General Manager, Kaspersky (South Asia), said, “Government’s growing interest in the use of Advanced technologies such as Artificial intelligence, quantum computing, etc was definitely seen as the base of the IT budget for 2020 and an interesting move for Digital India. In today’s budget we saw the government allocating funds to make data centers across India which will also support their upcoming Data Protection Act. However we do hope that this budget will be majorly focused on protecting the stored data especially of sectors like BFSI and large enterprises that consist major quantity of critical data. As it was rightly said that Data is the new oil, it becomes increasingly important for a country like India to protect and secure their data moving forward and also invest in securing other vulnerabilities that may target India’s critical infrastructures, banking and finance institutions and government bodies against the ever evolving cyberthreat landscape.”

Mr. Saket Modi, Co-founder & CEO, Lucideus, said, The Union Budget 2020 presented by Honorable Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stressed on economic empowerment, wealth and job creation within the country through three key themes of Aspirational India, Economic Development and a Caring Economy and is focused on further amplifying India’s aim of reaching a 5 trillion dollar economy by 2024-25. The Honorable Finance Minister talked about how the proliferation of new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Analytics and Robotics is helping India drive technology leadership globally and the proposal to allocate Rs. 8000 crore for the National Mission on Quantum Computing and Technology will further amplify this. The proposal of a national cyber forensic university is also a welcome step and will significantly boost cybersecurity skills within the country and help towards developing a more mature cybersecurity ecosystem in India. Furthermore, the Government of India has recognized entrepreneurship as the strength of India and has announced a slew of measures to improve the startup ecosystem. Steps such as deferment of tax payment by employees on ESOPs, plans to setup investment cells for early stage startups will help drive India’s leadership in innovation and boost the overall startup mindset and ecosystem within the country. Overall, as India continues to develop on its digital and technology leadership, cybersecurity will continue to be ever so critical, and businesses will need to adopt Cyber Risk Quantification (CRQ) platforms to be able to better measure and mitigate cyber-risks in real-time.

Mr. Vamsi Krishna, CEO & Co-founder, Vedantu, said, “The vision of making education accessible to the farthest corner of the country will greatly benefit students. The allocation of budget to hone the skill sets of teachers and educators will positively impact quality learning and thereby provide a boost to the education sector. Additionally the 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. With better bandwidth internet, a qualified teacher located in a metro city can impart LIVE online classes to students in small town India, where there’s a dearth of quality education. Technology will soon disrupt the entire concept of the classroom and make it an extremely personalized, one to one teaching-learning experience tailored for each mind.”

Mr. Jitendra Chaddah, Chairman, IESA, said, “The vision for the semiconductor and electronics industry in the budget speech is encouraging. 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 and drives growth by providing cost benefits for electronics manufacturing in India. The scheme to boost the intelligent electronics & semiconductor ecosystem by the manufacturing of mobile phones, semiconductor packaging and electronic equipment, assures more investment. We foresee the sustained incentives by the government to promote local manufacturing will fulfil local demand and also enable India to become an export hub for electronics.”

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

Mr. Shobhit Mathur, Dean at Rashtram School of Public Leadership, said, “The announcement in the Union Budget of almost 1 Lakh Crore for the education sector is most welcome. Supporting research and innovation and increasing access to high quality higher education should be the priorities. The government should use the funds to set up a National Research Foundation (as suggested in the Draft New Education Policy) focussed exclusively on improving research and innovation. Additionally, to make higher education accessible, the government should subsidize student loans (rather than fund institutions). This will reduce the burden on households, promote competition for quality as students are free to choose high-quality institutions for their education.”

Mr. Nakul Kumar, Co-Founder and COO, Cashify, said, “The Budget 2020, is a step in the right direction for a more promising time to come for India’s startup environment. It is very encouraging to see that the Government has perceived startup as a key job creator as well as an engine of growth which form the backbone of our economy. Tax reforms on ESOPs, and increase the turnover limit for start-ups from Rs 25 crores to 100 crores will boost the start-up system and will lessen the burden from complying with complex red tapism. This year, the budget also focussed towards fuelling growth of early- stage start-ups by introducing initiatives such as setting up portal- based investment clearance cell for offering end-to-end facilitation services at the Central as well as State level in funding and a portal will be set up thereby creating more opportunities for startup owners.”

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

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

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

Ms. Divya Jain, Founder & CEO, Safeducate, said, “We are thrilled that the Union Budget has touched upon the greater finance needs for educational institutions in order to attract good teachers. For this, the decision to look at ECBs are FDI is definitely a step in the right direction. The setting up of apprenticeship programs within 150 higher education institutes will have a significantly positive impact on skill development. Similarly, urban local bodies providing fresh engineers with job opportunities for one year, allowing them to learn on the job, will contribute to a highly-skilled workforce. The announcement of Rs 99,300 crore outlay in favour of the education sector in 2020-21 and a separate Rs. 3,000 crore for skill development is a welcome move for sure. FM Nirmala Sitharaman has fittingly identified the rising demand for teachers, nurses, paramedical staff and caregivers abroad and the pressing need for skilling programs for professionals in these domains. The stellar success of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao is evident from the fact that gross enrollment of girls is 94.32 percent in elementary levels, 81.32 percent in secondary level and 59.7 percent in higher secondary level as compared to boys. We are looking forward to further promotion of girl child education as the program continues to gain scale.”

Dr Apoorv Ranjan Sharma, Co-Founder and Managing Director, 9Unicorns, said, “The NDA government’s continued efforts towards bolstering the startup landscape in India are commendable. Like the previous year, Union Budget 2020-21 focuses on the improvement of ease of doing business for startups. The proposal to set up an investment clearance cell that will provide end-to-end facilitation and support to entrepreneurs is a step in the right direction. Under this initiative, startup owners will receive pre-investment advisory, information on land banks, as well as a faster clearance on the state level. We believe this will present unbridled opportunities to entrepreneurs and the overall startup ecosystem in the country. Another positive move in favour of startups is postponing of taxation for employees for 5 years, along with ESOP taxation in the hands of employers of startups being deferred. As an accelerator for early-stage startups, the budget announcements meet our expectations.”

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

Mr. Yogesh Bhatia, Founder, and CEO, Detel on post Budget 2020, said, “We welcome the initiatives announced by the honorable Finance Minister to boost the start-up ecosystem. The measures made by the government will encourage fresh investment in the sector because the proposed scheme is set to focus on encouraging the manufacturing of mobile phones and electrical products. The government planned to reveal more of a detailed scheme to boost mobile phone, electronics products in the country and to initiate more of phones and electronics to be Made in India soon. We are glad for this opportunity that the government has taken and it encourages us to scale up our defined mission of connecting40croreIndians.”

Mr. Saket Modi, Co-founder & CEO, Lucideus, said, “The Union Budget 2020 presented by Honorable Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stressed on economic empowerment, wealth and job creation within the country through three key themes of Aspirational India, Economic Development and a Caring Economy and is focused on further amplifying India’s aim of reaching a 5 trillion dollar economy by 2024-25. The Honorable Finance Minister talked about how the proliferation of new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Analytics and Robotics is helping India drive technology leadership globally and the proposal to allocate Rs. 8000 crore for the National Mission on Quantum Computing and Technology will further amplify this. The proposal of a national cyber forensic university is also a welcome step and will significantly boost cybersecurity skills within the country and help towards developing a more mature cybersecurity ecosystem in India. Furthermore, the Government of India has recognized entrepreneurship as the strength of India and has announced a slew of measures to improve the startup ecosystem. Steps such as deferment of tax payment by employees on ESOPs, plans to setup investment cells for early stage startups will help drive India’s leadership in innovation and boost the overall startup mindset and ecosystem within the country. Overall, as India continues to develop on its digital and technology leadership, cybersecurity will continue to be ever so critical, and businesses will need to adopt Cyber Risk Quantification (CRQ) platforms to be able to better measure and mitigate cyber-risks in real-time.”

Mr. Sanjay Gupta, Vice President and India Country Manager, NXP Semiconductors, said, “The Union Budget 2020 takes a pragmatic approach to spur sustainable growth by maintaining focus on core aspects of the economy. It’s a progressive budget that lays thrust on the sectors which will enable India’s economic growth. We are excited to know that the government aims to make India a manufacturing destination for mobile phones, electronic components and semiconductors and keenly look forward to a detailed policy for the sector as it can pave the path towards making India a major semiconductor hub in the coming times. We also welcome the budget allocation of Rs. 8000 crores for quantum computing, that can open up a lot of new opportunities and commercial applications in the future. The government’s focus on new-age technologies like Data analytics, IoT and AI and improvement of digital connectivity can help the country achieve its goal of becoming a $5 trillion economy by 2025. Extensive use of these technologies will enable stakeholders across tiers to make faster and more evidence-backed decisions leading to business growth.”

Mr. Sunny Kataria, VP Auto, OLX, said, “The focus on the rural economy will be an integral factor for the auto industry as more income in the rural areas will translate to a spurt in demand for two-wheelers, Agri related auto products like tractors, cars such as entry-level cars and utility vehicles. I was glad that the government addressed the liquidity crisis of the NBFC’s which would mean more inflow of capital for the auto segment. The government allocating over 1.7 lakh cr for infrastructural development is a positive step towards ensuring more connectivity between key industrial corridors which should augur well for the automobile industry.”

Mr. Agendra Kumar, President, Esri India, said, “The budget has some very positive proposals for the GIS (Geographic Information System) market. There are several areas where the hon’ble Finance Minister has announced allocations of funds which will directly benefit from the use of GIS. It is heartening to see the allocation of Rs 11,500 Crores in 2020-21 for Jal Jeevan Scheme, this will certainly help in improvement in water resources and providing 24×7 water to households. Also Rs 12,300 allocated to Swatchh Bharat Mission for 2020-21 will help in roll out of initiatives for disposal and processing of solid waste and waste water. These two schemes are very important for the country and GIS can help in the management of water resources, water distribution and in achieving the objectives of Swatchh Bharat mission. 5 new Smart Cities have been announced in collaboration with states, apart from the allocation of Rs Rs 103 lakh Cr for infrastructure in the form of 6500 projects for housing, supply of safe drinking water, clean energy, health care for all. GIS has been supporting the growth of Smart communities and in improvement of liveability of the cities. GIS was the heart of R-APDRP program that aimed to reduce the power distribution losses by various electric utilities in the country. Now the announcement to make smart metering mandatory by all DISCOMs in the country will bring-in an important reform, the installation and management of smart meters can easily be handled through GIS based systems. Mapping on land on both sides of railway tracks for generation of solar energy is driven by GIS and so are the other areas like expansion of sea ports, development of Inland Waterway and 100 more airports. It has been announced that the National Gas grid will be expanded from16200Kms to 27000 Kms. GIS is already been used in installation and management of Gas pipelines and distribution; the expansion of Gas grid will create more opportunities for the use of GIS and other geospatial technologies.”

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

Mr. Bhavin Turakhia, Founder & CEO, Flock said, “We are delighted with the steps taken by the Government in the Union Budget towards providing an impetus to entrepreneurship and acknowledging that startups are major job creators. This year, the budget has allocated Rs. 3,000 crore for skill development, which will help in creating a future-ready workforce. The provision for setting up an investment clearance cell for entrepreneurs, an online portal to facilitate quicker business clearances, and a seed fund to support early-stage startups will all collectively attract foreign investment in Indian startups. At present, startup employees are required to pay tax whenever they sign up for ESOPs with a vesting schedule and also pay taxes on capital gains whenever they redeem their ESOPs. As a provisionary measure to this, the minister has proposed deferring the tax payment by five years, or until employees leave the company, or when they sell their shares—whichever is earlier. Additionally, we welcome the government’s move towards boosting emerging technologies such as internet of things (IoT), machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics which will provide a filip to the country’s digital economy. We believe that with all of these measures, 2020 will be a great year for the Indian startup ecosystem.”

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

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

Mr. Shailen Mehta, Founder and Managing Director, eJOHRI, said, “Digital revolution plays a crucial role in the growth of the Indian startup ecosystem and Initiatives like online tax assessment, facial assessments, facial KYCs will provide the much needed stack, essential for the growth of startups. ESOPs have become instrumental in Indian corporate and startup ecosystem to woo high-value employees and retain talent. Exemption of taxes on ESOPs will further encourage companies to introduce ESOPs in their companies at a large level, which in turn will allow them to attract world-class talent while keeping employee costs in check. India is the third largest startup hub in the world , the introduction of an Investment Clearance Cell and seed funding will provide a boost to young entrepreneurs of India who are enthusiastically looking to build a bootstrapped business, and build sustainable revenue businesses.”

Mr. Mahesh Ramamoorthy, Managing Director, APMEA- Banking and Payments, FIS, said, “The Government is determined to transform the country into a digitally empowered society. The acknowledgement of Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Machine Learning, and Internet of Things will further boost Start-Ups in the country, and further aid FinTech innovation. This will encourage the financial institutions and banks to embrace newer technology for enhancing customer experience and operations. A proposed policy to enable private sector build data-center parks is expected to bring in technology, investment, and employment opportunity in the country, while providing platform for structured data storage and security. And, through leveraging economies of scale one can witness lower cost of data ownership, and cost per transaction. The government’s move to connect digitally all public institutions at Gram Panchayat levels will boost transparency, accountability and online transaction. The increase in depositor insurance from 1L to 5L is a good move and long overdue. The increased insurance coverage will definitely improve depositor confidence and drive an increase in deposit led savings. Reiteration by the FM on having a Robust mechanism to monitor health of all scheduled commercial banks is a positive move on ensuring stability of the banking system.”

Mr. Ravi Goyal, Chairman & MD, AGS Transact Technologies Ltd’s, said, “The removal of dividend distribution tax will reassure the flow of FDI and make Indian equities more attractive. This year’s budget focused on entrepreneurship and early stage start-ups and the FM has provided a series of measures, that will encourage Indian start-ups whilst focusing on positioning entrepreneurs as job creators. The overall focus on boosting transport infrastructure will help pursue greater commercialization of highways to raise finance operating road assets. Recent developments to promote digital payments such as zero MDR are pre budget announcements and there was an expectation of a clear roadmap from the government on supporting digital payments infrastructure given the sector will be a major catalyst towards achieving the $5.5 trillion target.”

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

Mr. Prateek Mehta, Chief Business Officer, Scripbox, said, “Applaud the vision of the government and finance minister on these counts. and this one. There are some clear positives announced in this budget. The commitment to doubling the rural income by 2022, Increased allocation to infra development, education and skill development, science and technology. These are interventions that will impact the trajectory of the economy for the long term. The increased disinvestment target also iterates the commitment to reforms. The big announcement on LIC IPO will be something that is good for the financial markets. Applaud the vision of the government and finance minister on these counts. The changes in the tax code are also significant. I think it will be difficult for taxpayers to choose the regime. Depending on the stage of life, they might have deductions across sections because of investments, home loans, Sections 80 (C, D, E, G and their sub-sections). It will also be important to understand if a taxpayer can do a flip between regimes or not. Overall, it is a good attempt to put more money in the hands of the taxpayers. But we will need to read the fine print before making the choices and rejoicing on this.DDT being abolished and depositor insurance hike to 5L is a very welcome move. The dividend option of Mutual funds and also the dividend generated via stocks might become unattractive for a lot of investors from a tax perspective. Possibly selling systematically will become more tax efficient.Also, appreciate the moves on the start-up side. ESOPs not being treated as perquisite for a 5 year window is positive. Would have ideally preferred the tax liability to moved only to the point of liquidity as the liquidity cycles are long in start-ups. Moving the limits on Audit requirements is also a positive.As an economy that desperately needs to encourage the growth of capital markets via retail participation, not addressing and removing LTCG in the budget was a disappointment. Increased customs duty on medical equipment might impact the cost of those treatments for Indians – more expenditure on healthcare. Finally, as a marathon-runner, not too happy about the increased customs duty on footwear!!”

Mr Rakesh Kharwal, Managing Director, India/South Asia & ASEAN, Cyberbit, said, “The government has highlighted the role of digital technologies like analytics, IoT, AI, and quantum technology during this Budget Session. The burgeoning digital infrastructure of India needs a strong cybersecurity framework to support it. Now, since it has allocated Rs. 99,300 crores to the education sector and Rs. 3,000 crores for skill development itself, a good way to realize India’s digital vision could be by working on the cybersecurity front from the very beginning. The government may want to cover its tech initiatives with avant-garde simulation-based cybersecurity training platforms like Cyber Range for proposed cyber forensic university and Skill India campaign. This will help India in generating millions of jobs for the youth and also strengthening national security”

Mr Sanjay Katkar, Joint Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer, Quick Heal Technologies Limited, said, “For cyber forensics University – One major step announced by the FM involved the proposal for establishing a national forensic university and cyber forensic university. With cyber crimes increasing at a rapid rate, the need for cyber forensics has become more important than ever for a rapidly digitising country like India. The setting up of a cyber forensics university is a welcome move from the Government. This will definitely help in improving India’s expertise to solve complex cyber crimes.”

Mr.Mike Chen, General Manager, TCL, said, “At TCL, we believe that the Finance Minister has announced an encouraging Union Budget 2020. Proposing the scheme to encourage the manufacturing of mobile phones, semiconductor packaging and electronic equipment is a welcomed move and we look forward to a complete policy and leveraging the same to kickstart the domestic manufacturing through our panel factory in Tirupati. Furthermore, painting a futuristic picture in this year’s budget announcement, the FM also acknowledged advanced technologies like IoT, AI, and analytics changing the world. At TCL, we are forever committed to advancing our ‘AI x IoT’ ecosystem in India and will continue to invest in cutting-edge technologies to offer the best services to our customers in India.”

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

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

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

Mr. Piyush Kumar, Founder & CEO, Rooter, said, “It’s very encouraging to see that Indian Government regards entrepreneurship as “strength of India”. Start-ups can not only get a lot of foreign investment in India but also create thousands of jobs. The investment clearance and advisory cell for entrepreneurs is a great step to encourage new entrepreneurs and provide assistance. Moreover, the seed fund to support early-stage start-ups will help them to create quality market fit product before approaching VCs.”

Mr. Akash Gupta, Founder and CEO – Zypp (Earlier known as Mobycy), said, “The Union Budget 2020 paints an affirmative picture for the future. We are glad that the Finance Minister has emphasised on improving the air quality, citing that the matter of clean air is a matter of concern in large cities that have a population of over 1 million. To the same end, we believe that EV-powered everyday commuting solutions offered by Zypp through Electric Scooters and Logistics solutions will play a crucial role in times to come. The budget announcement further comprises positive news for India’s fast-growing start-ups. The proposal to set-up investment clearance cell for entrepreneurs along with assistance in funding would definitely prove to be extremely beneficial. Furthermore, increasing the threshold of start-ups eligible for tax deduction from an annual turnover of 25Cr to now up to 100Cr is another welcomed move. The FM has also increased the window for such start-ups to claim a tax deduction for 3 years out of 10 years now as compared to 7 years previously. Owing to the same, the start-ups will find it easier to take risks and not be burdened financially while pursuing trailblazing innovations. Deferring ESOPs for start-up employees is another affirmative move, giving employees of start-ups to postpone taxation for 5 years or whenever they exit the venture, whichever is earlier.”

Ms. Ambika Sharma, Managing Director & Founder at Pulp Strategy, said, “The latest budget announcement for the year 2020 -21 bears vast potential in shaping India’s road towards achieving its target of emerging as a 5 trillion dollar economy. With India currently posed as the fifth largest economy in the world, I am particularly enthralled by the government’s decision to optimize new-age disruptive technologies such as Machine Learning, robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) towards attaining a seamless and integrated service sector. Further advancing the digital revolution in the country is the government’s resolution of developing state-of-the-art data centers across the nation. Moreover, the FM’s proposal to allocate Rs 6000 crore for connecting 100,000 Gram Panchayats by FY21 will also prove instrumental in accelerating India’s journey towards becoming a tech –enabled nation. Also admirable is the government’s successful implementation of the Beti Bachao and Beti Padhao scheme which was reflected by the high gross enrollment of girls in all levels of school education. With the budget modeled towards realizing a progressive and equal women-centric society, the Finance minister also highlighted the fact that presently more than 6 lakh Anganwadi workers are equipped to upload status of more than 10 crore households. The government’s decision to provide Rs 35,600 crore for nutrition related programs and Rs 28,600 crores for women – linked programmes will vastly help in furthering women empowerment and gender equality.”

Mr. Abhishek Kumar, Regional Director, Onvu Tech, said, “This year’s budget includes a number of positive reforms for the surveillance and security agency. The government has announced the launch of Police Academy and Forensic Sciences, 5 more smart cities, 9,000 KMs of economic corridor, enhancement of tourist attractions, and improved business landscape for MSMEs alongside others. Security and Surveillance infrastructure is a core element of all of these reforms and will give a strong stimulus to the segment.”

Mr. Abhishek Kumar, Regional Director, Onvu Tech, said, “The government has announced a number of measures for the education sector with a whopping Rs. 99,300 crore budget. With it, courses will go online soon and Top-100 NIRF Ranked Institutes start offering them. The government has also announced positive reforms including Asian-African ‘Study in India’ program, establishment of Police Academy and Forensic Science, and integration of medical institutes with dist. hospitals. Rs. 3000 crores have further been allocated for Skill Development. Perhaps, all of these reforms will go a long way by including video-analytics-based EdTech solutions to them as well.”

Mr. Raman Singh, Chief revenue officer, Cloud Connect, said, “At CloudConnect, we wholeheartedly believe that the progress of the country lies in creating more opportunities for start-up owners. Thus, we duly welcome the decisions taken by FM Nirmala Sitharaman through the Union Budget 2020. She has rightly mentioned that entrepreneurship is the true spirit of India and has been its strength.
We appreciate the government’s emphasis on promoting cutting-edge technologies such as machine learning, robotics and AI in India. The commitment to tech-advancement to support entrepreneurship is evident in the government’s decision of building data center parks throughout the country and proposing INR 8,000Cr for over 5 years for the National Mission of Quantum Technology and Application. Finally, the setting up of investment clearance cells and portals for entrepreneurs in order to assist them in funding will give a significant boost to entrepreneurship in India.”

Ms. Meghna Suryakumar, Founder & CEO, Crediwatch, said, “The focus on enabling growth for MSMEs in today’s Union Budget is encouraging. Enabling NBFCs to extend invoice financing to MSMEs through TReDS, should enhance opportunity to fuel the Indian economy and widen the acceptability and trust by the BFSI sector. The extension of GEM e-marketplace as a unified procurement channel should bring more vendors (from the current 3.2 lac) onto the platform. Additionally, amendments to Factor Regulation Act 2011 should boost the MSME sector. On the Debt Recovery side for lenders, the allowance to smallers NBFCs to approach the DRT for smaller ticket size loans, would be beneficial in lowering NPAs & improving the asset quality. However, we expected to hear more clarity on the scheme to provide subordinate debt to be provided by banks for entrepreneurs of MSMEs since less than 15 % of the 50+ million Indian Small businesses have access to formal credit and there is a debt financing gap of the SME is over $1 Trillion. By allowing data centre parks in the country, the government has set a positive sentiment for the industry. While this will allow better infrastructure in storing and dissemination of data, we were expecting the government to touch upon incentives for setting up data centres which will allow Fintechs to scale faster at an economical cost. This coupled with the extension of Bharat Net (FTH) to 1 lac gram panchayats would add a significant boost to the Digital push in the country. Given that several steps have been taken in the past to drive the Corporate Bond market in India, the increase of FPI limits from 9% to 15% is a positive push to increase international participation in high quality borrowers via the debt route. This coupled with easy access to credit from banks & NBFCs should bring down credit costs in the medium term. For start-ups, considering the fact that in the initial years, one may not have adequate profit to avail this deduction, extension to avail the claim of deduction from the 7 years to 10 years is a breather. Deferral of tax on ESOP plans for start-ups should also help bring quality corporate talent to this industry.”

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

Mr. Ramesh Mamgain, Area VP for Sales India and SAARC, said, “The Honourable Finance Minister has laid the digital foundation for the growth of India. The proposal to set up data centre parks, displays the pivotal role of data in building and shaping India’s knowledge as well as growth. The proposed Rs.8000 crore outlay to for National Mission on Quantum Technology will spur development of new breakthroughs in promoting indigenous science and technology at a global level. Taking forward the digital mandate from the previous year to ensure Digital India; in Budget2020- the FM takes it a notch higher by ensuring that each public institution at gram panchayat level will also be connected digitally. In short – A data revolution for India is in the works.”

Mr. Paramdeep Singh, CEO FieldAssist, said, “Reiterating entrepreneurship as one of the emerging forces to drive India’s economy in the Union Budget has been the key highlight for SMEs & MSMEs sector. This will further bring in confidence and inspire people to take risks to flourish small to large scale venture. An investment clearance cell to provide end to end facilitation and support including pre-investment advisory will further provide impetus to the start-up sector. Improved productivity in businesses with new-age technologies will prove to be revolutionary in strengthening the overall ecosystem. The recent measures and policies combined will create a new dawn for India’s commerce industry leading to the revival of India’s economy.”

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

Mr. Venkatraman G S, Chief Financial officer, Subex, said, “Budget 2020 continues focus on government driven infrastructure spends to revive the economy. Simplification of income tax rates optically looks attractive however given that the choosing lower tax rates means letting go of exemptions available, may not lead to large scale adoption by people. FM also indicates direction of govt wanting to move towards lower tax slabs and moving away from exemptions. Decision to invest Smart cities a good move should lead to eco system of companies working in this space growing their business. Decision of govt to decriminalize civil acts in the companies act welcome, should help in improving ease of doing business, environment.”

Mr. Pushkar Singh, CEO of LetsTransport (one of the leading tech-logistics firms in India), said, “As stated by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the government is likely to increase spendings on infrastructure and the National Logistics Policy will be revealed soon. Accelerated development of highways with 2,500 km access-controlled highways will be beneficial in terms of transportation and logistics service efficiency. In fact, Implementation of National Logistics Policy will surely position India as a prominent global logistics player, ensuring a boost in trade and enabling market access expansion across sectors.”

Mr. Nilabh Kapoor, Business Head India, OLX People, Said, “Union budget 2020 is definitely a step towards boosting India’s economic growth. The very first theme of the budget, ‘Aspirational India’, promises better livelihood for all, access to healthcare and greater job opportunities through education and skill development. The boost to entrepreneurship, startups and skill development in the infrastructure sector is a welcome move that will help create jobs directly. A total of Rs 3000 crore has been allocated for skill development, which shows the government’s commitment towards encouraging employment growth rate and boosting the skill sector. The move to introduce a common eligibility test for recruitment for non-gazetted government posts will also witness a further push in employment opportunities in the government sector. The finance minister has encouraged the spirit of sharing economy and new technology like 3D printing, AI, IoT and ML, which will uplift the sentiments of the youth to further innovate and push India’s economic growth. The push for entrepreneurship through investment clearance cells will bring much cheer to a large portion of the nation. The union budget 2020 looks quite promising and could become a game-changer for various industries like manufacturing, real estate, healthcare, to name a few.”

Mr. R N Iyer, Founder and CEO, Vayana Network, said, “We welcome government’s focus on providing easier working capital to MSMEs. Access to easier working capital through digital means can be a great boost for MSMEs, details of the proposed mechanism need to be studied though. Enabling NBFCs to bid on the TReDS platforms can help by widening the number of supply chains accessing finance through these platforms. Specific sectors that could see growth revival include electronics manufacturing, healthcare and medical devices, and export driven sectors like pharma, auto-components, marine & fisheries, etc. We will continue to work closely with all institutions and stakeholders to take the fruits of these measures to the last mile MSMEs. ”

Mr. Nishant Pitti, Co-Founder & CEO, EaseMyTrip, said, “In tune with the present government vision to encourage Indian travellers to travel more and contribute towards the nation’s growth, this budget takes it a step ahead. The budget has focused on promoting tourism & travel with an overall budget of Rs. 2500 crores in year 2020-21. Government aims to develop 100 more domestic airports under the UDAN scheme. To promote travel via railways, government will focus on more Tejas type trains that will connect tourist destinations in India. The Finance Minister has also laid stress on the development of archaeological sites into iconic sites with on-site museums. Five such sites are- Rakhigarhi, Hastinapur, Shivsagar, Dholavira and Adichanallur. Government has also announced renovation of 4 key museums. Rs,150 crore have been allocated for the ministry of culture in 2020-21.
We are hopeful that this budget will open new avenues for the travel industry.”

Mr. Bhavin Turakhia, Founder & CEO, Flock said, “We are delighted with the steps taken by the Government in the Union Budget towards providing an impetus to entrepreneurship and acknowledging that startups are major job creators. This year, the budget has allocated Rs. 3,000 crore for skill development, which will help in creating a future-ready workforce. The provision for setting up an investment clearance cell for entrepreneurs, an online portal to facilitate quicker business clearances, and a seed fund to support early-stage startups will all collectively attract foreign investment in Indian startups. At present, startup employees are required to pay tax whenever they sign up for ESOPs with a vesting schedule and also pay taxes on capital gains whenever they redeem their ESOPs. As a provisionary measure to this, the minister has proposed deferring the tax payment by five years, or until employees leave the company, or when they sell their shares—whichever is earlier. Additionally, we welcome the government’s move towards boosting emerging technologies such as internet of things (IoT), machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics which will provide a filip to the country’s digital economy. We believe that with all of these measures, 2020 will be a great year for the Indian startup ecosystem.”

Mr. Shashank Dixit, CEO, Deskera said, “There are 3 key takeaways from the Union Budget 2020 for ease of doing business and the startup community. 1. The simplified GST return system scheduled to be launched in April’20 will reduce the compliance burden on SMEs. 2. The threshold for audit being raised from Rs. 1 crore to Rs. 5 crores will further provide a fillip to Indian SMEs. 3. With the abolishment of Dividend Distribution Tax (DDT), it is sure to make India an attractive investment destination.”

Mr. Kunal Lakhara, VP of Finance and Operations, Pocket Aces says, “Budget 2020’s revised fiscal deficit target of 3.8% of the GDP seems more realistic and focus on spends/ benefits was required to boost the economy. The thrust on entrepreneurship and tax regulations for both, startups and taxpayers is a move in the right direction. India is the third largest startup hub globally and the announcement of an investment clearance cell to provide end-to-end support to startup founders will encourage more youth to be job creators. Further, the ability to defer taxes on ESOPs will democratise wealth creation for startup employees, ensuring the right talent is benefitted. Finally, the decision to grant 100% tax exemptions to sovereign wealth funds on their investment in priority sectors will provide the much needed funding boost to the sector and create value in the longer run.

Mr. Barun Aggarwal, CEO, BreatheEasy Consultants Pvt Ltd., said, “It is a welcome move by the Central government to encourage states that are formulating and implementing plans for ensuring cleaner air in cities above one million population with allocation of Rs 4,400 crore. India is home to 15 of the 30 world’s most polluted cities. Several studies by globally reputed organisations like Greenpeace have confirmed that the concentration of PM 2.5 and PM 10 in ambient air over a 24-hour period, in about 300 Indian cities exceeds the national permissible levels of 60 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) and 100 µg/m3 respectively. Millions of people who live in these cities are exposed to the dirtiest air, and each year, about 1.25 million people die due to air pollution. In other words, air pollution is responsible for about 15% of annual total deaths reported in the country. The health burden of air pollution is tremendous with the risk of ischemic heart disease and COPD related disease getting high above 12 ug/m3. It also drives up the risks of stroke and lung cancer. Considering the health crisis of this magnitude, the government should give every possible support it can to various ministries in driving the economy towards an emission free future and need to aim for levels that are safe for humans as per the WHO. About two thirds of deaths from air pollution can be attributed to vehicular emissions. The factors that contribute to vehicular pollution are three: 1) number of vehicles on the roads, 2) number of kilometres driven by each vehicle per day, and 3) the emissions per KM per vehicle. The future is electric vehicles, we should make electric vehicles affordable. On the policy front, we need a stringent legal framework to punish the polluters. The government has the national level target of bringing down the concentration of PM 2.5 and PM 10 by up to 30% by 2024. But these targets are not notified under any act. There are no emission reduction targets for polluting sectors like transport and power generation. There are no targets for the cities. There is no regulatory body that has the authority to take action against air polluters and enforce NCAP measures. Without a legal framework and strict enforcement of pollution control regulations, the government’s well intended targets are not going to be achieved.”

Mr. Pradeep David, General Manager, South Asia, Universal Robots says, “We foresee a huge boost for the manufacturing sector considering that the projected GDP growth for 2020-21 is 10%, as opposed to just 5% last year. Whether small manufacturers or large, the rising tide will carry all boats and a 10% growth will benefit everyone. There is also a specific scheme that targets boosting mobile phone and electronics manufacturers. With huge global customers like Wistron, the electronics sector is a major focus for us, so this also shows a lot of promise. Furthermore, there is an emphasis on Make in India, specifically to boost MSMEs and further develop start-ups, defence manufacturing, automobile, and batteries, to name a few. All of these industries have manufacturing problems that would be solved by the deployment of collaborative robots. Overall, I foresee good things ahead this year, and hope the new policies will aid in stabilising the Indian economy and set it on a path of growth. “

Ms Archana Khosla Burman, Founder Partner, Vertices Partners, said, “Realizing the fact that women empowerment is key to social development and economic progress, Budget 2020 rolled out key women-centric initiatives and policy measures. An allocation of Rs 35,600 crore for nutrition-related programs in FY21 will ensure nutrition security and increased intake of nutritious diet for pregnant and lactating women. The budget also focused on laying guidelines for lowering maternal mortality rates in the country. Reiterating the government’s commitment to ensure sustained access for the girl child to quality education, the Beti Bachao Beti Badhao initiative has resulted in higher gross enrolment of girls in schools than boys. The allocation of Rs 28,600 crore in FY21 for women-linked programs holds the potential to increase women participation across the social and economic spectrum. Moreover, the initiative to introduce the Investment Clearance Cell is a welcoming move that will assist the women entrepreneurs receiving investments in their companies. The provisioning of 100% tax deductions on profits for eligible startups for three consecutive years and abolition of DDT will encourage entrepreneurs to pursue their business setup and expansion dreams. The move also holds the potential to benefit budding women entrepreneurs in the country.”

Mr. Harshil Mathur, CEO and Co-founder, Razorpay said, “The budget does meet some of the expectations from the FinTech industry and startups. The introduction of some sort of a tax relief on ESOPs was one of the biggest asks from the startup industry – this deferment of tax payment by five years, to me, is one of the biggest welcome moves by the government in this budget. This is a good start and I hope we see more focus on this going forward. Secondly, the reduction on corporate tax to 22% is an encouraging step. This is the lowest in the world and will be encouraging for Indian business’s. Lastly, the changed income tax slabs and rates is not only a huge income tax relief for individuals but will also lead to an increase in disposable income, thereby giving a boost to consumer spending.”

Mr. Suman Reddy Eadunuri, MD, Pegasystems India, said, The government’s decision to announce measures through the three themes – Aspirational India, Economic Development and Caring Society covers the aspirations of all. This interim budget, has a fair impetus on the technology sector. We see acknowledgement of the role of AI, Analytics, IoT along with schemes to deploy these technologies in the public sector. The setting up of a digital platform for seamless application and capture of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) moves us closer towards an era of enhanced public-private partnership where technology will play a decisive role. The implementation of a policy to build data centre parks throughout the country is another welcome move which will help immensely in data management. As the 5th largest economy of the world with a vibrant startup ecosystem, the announcement to create more opportunities for entrepreneurs and setting up of an Investment Clearance Cell which will offer assistance in funding will boost the industry. India’s plan to invest Rs 8,000 crore (~$1.12 billion) over the next five years in the National Mission on Quantum Technologies (NMQT) is a step in the right direction which will augment the industries dependent on these future technologies. India’s plan to come up with five new smart cities further solidifies its stance of a sustainable and citizen centric future which I am sure will elevate the quality of life.

Mr. Rakesh Jariwala, Partner – International Tax Services, EY India, said, “Removal of exemption on sale, distribution and exhibition of cinematograph film will subject theatrical revenues to domestic withholding tax considerations and could pose working capital considerations for already funding constrained film industry. Amendment of source taxation rule to include advertising income relating to customer based in India while global consensus is being formed on digital taxation rules may result in short term pain for the foreign businesses which do not have access to a tax treaty. Reduction of withholding tax rate on technical services to 2% will provide relief on potential rate related disputes on production services. Reduction in import duty of news print should help the ailing print businesses.”

Mr. Sandeep Bhambure, Vice President and Managing Director, India & SAARC, Veeam, said, “The government’s announcement of setting up a policy to build data centre parks throughout India for digital connectivity and the allocation of Rs 6,000 crores for BharatNet is a big step towards a successful Digital India initiative. This will increase the adoption of technologies such as IoT, Analytics and AI; leading to an unprecedented amount of data generation. Data management and protection will play a key role to safeguard the citizen’s data from cyber-breaches. Additionally, the implementation of intelligent data management platforms will help achieve positive outcomes from the data.”

Hemal Gathani, Co-founder of Zeux Innovation, said, “Two messages stand out from today’s Union Budget address for companies like us. One, the commitment being demonstrated by the Government to emerging technologies and initiatives being taken to improve the ecosystem – be it in terms of setting knowledge or technology clusters or announcing a National Mission on Quantum Technologies. Having relocated from US to start a company here, we are thrilled with the government’s resolve on this issue. Two, trying to do their bit in creating more stable start-ups – by resolving issues such as tax relaxation on ESOPs. Although much more is still to be done jumpstart the economy, but steps such as these will surely help stem the fall and lay new ground for growth. Government is walking the talk to make India a leading startup hub in the world. Government has announced numerous benefits for all the key stakeholders in the startup space – Employees, Investors & Promoters etc. This will go a long way to make India the preferred destination for startups.”

Mr. Prasad Sreeram, Founder and CEO, COGOS, said, ” Very interesting and encouraging Budget the honorable Finance minister Nirmala Sitaraman has presented. An outlay of 1.7 Lakh crore for transport infrastructure will give a major boost to the highways and create a large employment. Also instructing the Government bodies and agencies to involve the youth power of startups to create a quality infrastructure is a major validation of the work being done by us Startups. The majority of logistics cost today is in the City logistics which covers all the aspects of First/last/mid mile, warehousing and cold chain, hope to see a comprehensive Logistics policy giving impetus to the City logistics covering entire Bharat.”

Mr. Irwin Anand, MD, Udemy India, said, “We welcome the focus on education, skill development and new-age technologies in this year’s budget which focuses on furthering the employability of Indians through the government’s Skill India Mission launched in 2015. The step by the government to facilitate the educational needs of the growing working-age population and students who do not have access to higher education by offering online education programs from the top 100 institutions of the country is commendable. It will allow students from around the country to have quality education and learn from the best institutions in the country. Optical Fibre program, connecting 100,000 Gram Panchayats in FY21 will provide a great opportunity for students to learn new skills online at affordable rates. Also, the upcoming policy to set up data centre parks throughout the country will provide more jobs for the youth. The attempt to address the huge demand of teachers, nurses, paramedical staff and caregivers abroad by focusing on skill-development is also good and it will create more job opportunities.”

Mr. Sunil Sharma, managing director – sales, Sophos India & SAARC, said, “The Government’s Union Budget 2020 is built on the bedrock of emerging technologies including Artifical Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Internet of Things (IoT) and more. Initiatives such as building data center parks across India aiming to safeguard ‘data’, the most critical asset of organisations along with the digitisation of 100,000 Gram panchayat through its Bharatnet initiative will strengthen the digital fabric of the country. However, increased digital penetration brings along with it cybersecurity risks. As per a recent report, Indian IT managers detected 39% of threats on servers, 35% on the network, 8% on endpoints and 18% on mobile. Additionally, 90% of IT managers believe cybersecurity awareness and education among employees is a major challenge for organisations. That said, while we welcome the Governments proposed steps in strengthening the MSMEs that provide employment to millions of people, we need more impetus on building skilled cybersecurity professionals in the country. The government’s allocation of Rs. 3,000 crore towards skill development is a step in the right direction towards building India’s youth and economy.”

Mr. Ashwin Kumar, Director, Data Centre and Cloud Operations, Linode India, said, “With a focus on technology and innovation, Budget 2020 sets the foundation for India’s future. The allocation of INR 3000 crore for skills development will help bridge a sizable technological skills gap in the country and enhance the global competitiveness of small and mid-size businesses throughout the country, which today employ 40 percent of India’s total workforce and contribute nearly 30 percent to the India’s economy. We welcome all efforts that positively drive the key levers of modern business — innovation, growth and efficiency.”

Mr. KT Prasad, Country Sales Director, Zendesk India, said, “I believe the Union Budget 2020 will have a positive impact on helping further drive Indian businesses, given the current local and international market conditions. The startup sector will benefit greatly from the tax breaks, and the move to tax ESOPs on liquidation will encourage the retention of talent in the sector, poising it for continued growth on the global stage. We are happy to see the push for adopting AI and ML particularly in the healthcare sector, which will help boost access to services as well as quality of care for more people, and further infuse growth in the economy. It is also interesting to see that the government has invested Rs. 8000 crore to the National Mission on Quantum Technologies, which will ensure India remains a key global technology player. This move aligns and propels India into the future with an eye on data, communications, cybersecurity, and technology, and from Zendesk’s position as a global Saas company, this is particularly encouraging.”

CMA B Mallikarjun Gupta – Chief Taxologist, Logo Infosoft, said, “The fake invoices being issued in GST Regime has become a big headache for the Government and to punish such errant taxpayers the budget proposes hefty penalty equivalent to the aggregate amount of fake invoices issued or transactions omitted. The budget also proposes to levy equal amount of penalties on the person who has received or miss used to take input tax credit. These stringent provisions will definitely weed out the black sheep from the system. GST is also being strengthened to bring in transparency and weed out the errant taxpayers by way of stringent penalties and at the same time simplifying the return filing process and implementing e-invoicing. It is really a welcome move by allowing the NBFCs to finance the invoices of MSMEs through TReDs, this will really help the cash starved MSMEs for funds and most of them are in the unorganised sector, financing through the NBFCs will give easy access for funds.”

Mr. Deepak Kagliwal, Director & Head, Sales and Marketing at Blazeclan Technologies, said, “There is no doubt that our nation is rapidly moving from adopting global digital trends to redefining the entire digital landscape of the country. As a public cloud service provider, Blazeclan Technology is encouraged by the government’s recognition of the potential of big data and analytics. We align with the Finance minister’s analogy of calling “Data as the new oil’ as we believe that data lies at the core of ensuring scalability of businesses regardless of the industry they come from. Proposing relevant policies to govern and budget to grow, the government has provided a boost to one of the strongest arms of the Indian Economy.”

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