Here’s how the Indian tech sector reacted to the Union Budget 2020-21

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Mumbai: Indian tech sector including startups, fintech, e-commerce and electronics manufacturers had their many expectations from Union Budget 2020-21.

How many Indian tech sector’s expectations actually have been included or left out by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her budget speech need to be checked. FM Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2020-21 in the parliament on February 1, 2020.

For Indian tech sector, FM Sitharaman during her budget speech spoke on government plan’s to draft a policy on setting up data center parks in India, allocation of Rs 8000 crore for Quantum Computing under the National Mission scheme over the next 5 years and allocation of Rs 6000 crore for BharatNet initiative to digitize 1 lakh panchayats.

So it is best to know the reactions and comments from Indian tech sector’s honchos and experts from other industries on the overall budget 2020-21 announcements.

Dr. Keshab Panda CEO&MD – L&T Technology Services (LTTS)
“From a perspective of the engineering and technology services industry that thrives on innovation, the government’s move to re-revitalize the IP filing and protection process is a welcome step. Additionally the thrust on quantum computing as a key focus promises to further consolidate India’s position in the global digital transformation landscape. The announcement of proposal to setup data centers is also a step in the right direction in terms of acknowledging the importance of data and data analytics. Overall, the budget puts the role of technology in limelight spanning across all the three focus areas as announced by the government namely aspirational India, economic development and a caring society.”

Sanjay Jalona CEO&MD – LTI (L&T Infotech)
“Acknowledging the influence of technology in shaping new age economy is a distinct aspect of the Union budget. Focus on artificial intelligence and targets set for quantum computing is a step in the right direction to strengthen India’s position as a front runner in exponential technologies. From IT services perspective, it will be interesting to see if setting up more export hubs is encouraged by incentives for the industry that has been at the forefront of exports for the country.”

Rajiv Kapoor, VP – India & SAARC, Cambium Networks
“The Union Budget provides a major boost to the interests of broadband services enablers and aligned stakeholders as one of the major takeaways that evidently emerged was the fact of connectivity being at the core of all key pursuits planned by the government. Towards this, initiatives announced such as providing push to smart metering, setting up five new smart cities, establishing new data centres across the country and more importantly the allocation of Rs 6000 crore towards BharatNet to provide connectivity to 100,000 gram panchayats within this year itself, augers well for the telecom industry. “

Haruto Iwata, MD – Fujifilm India
“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.”

Takayuki Inaba, MD – NEC Technologies India
“The current budget proposals exhibit a determined approach of government to make India ready for new technologies. Rs 6000 crore allocation for the proliferation of technology to the lowest level of society by connecting 1 lakh gram panchayats through Fibre to Home connections for supporting basic social infrastructure is a welcome step. The vision of providing panchayat level public institutions with digital connectivity will help streamline the integrated development work and open big opportunities for several stakeholders in the country. Proposal to develop data center parks throughout the country is another major step towards digitization and capitalizing data resource available with government agencies.”

“This step will help analyze the data better and make a well informed decision regarding resource allocation for social development of a specific geography and demography. Allocation of Rs 8000 crore over 5 years for National Mission on Quantum Technology is another positive step towards taking the country to the digital era. All these efforts will promote the use of technology and digitization and play an important role in the overall development of the economy.”

Ichiro Oshima CEO – DMICDC Logistics Data Services Limited (DLDS)
“With the Budget 2020-21, the government has announced spending Rs 103 lakh crore over the next five years on National Infrastructure including logistics. The emphasis on proposing a National Logistics Policy to create a single-window e-logistics market is a positive and encouraging step for the industry. We welcome the governments push for infrastructure and economic activities with a proposal of setting up a 9,000-km economic corridor and 2,000-km of coastal roads.”

Deepak Kagliwal, Director & Head – Sales & Marketing, Blazeclan
“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.”

Supria Dhanda, VP & Country Manager, Western Digital – India
“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.”

Trishneet Arora – Founder & CEO, TAC Security
“Union Budget 2020 announcements by the Finance Minister Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman just a while ago are beginning to bring about more confidence in the development of the cybersecurity sector in India. With the allocation of Rs. 8000 crore for the National Mission on Quantum Computing and technology and an indication at the opening of Cyber Forensic University, the government‘s proposition for digital penetration to make FTTH accessible to 10 lakh gram panchayat via Bharat Net will help position India against global leaders in the sector. This will give a big boost to the cyber security industry.”

“The Finance Minister also announced establishing data centre parks for the private sector and a focus on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to enhance the health industry under the Ayushman Bharat scheme which further strengthens the confidence of the Cyber Security sector making its way into important industries, coming to the rescue of the national economic health. Also, with the proposition for five new smart cities in collaboration with states via PPP model will open up new opportunities for Quantum Technology generating new opportunities for different players in the IT sector. These budget announcements shall boost the Indian players’ morale in the cyber security space, giving boost to the further success of the Make in India and Digital India flagship campaigns of GoI.”

Venkatraman Swaminathan, VP & Country GM – Schneider Electric IT Business India
“The government’s intent to rollout a policy to enable private sector to build data center parks throughout the country is a welcome move. We believe this is in view of government’s efforts to push data localization as data will be one of the key drivers of economy. Localized data centers which can be accessed and controlled from a centralized system will significantly improve data privacy and security allowing free flow of data within borders. We at Schneider Electric shall be happy to partner with the government in furthering this initiative.”

Sanjay Sudhakaran, VP – Digital Energy, Greater India Zone – Schneider Electric
“As per Union Budget 2020, the allocation of Rs 6000 crore for BharatNet to digitize 1 lakh gram panchayats is a step towards making India digitally more connected. These new initiatives will help improve telecom and internet services in rural and remote regions of India. Digital India initiative will see a new wave as citizens in deeper pockets will gain further access to services like e-governance, e-health, e-education, and e-banking amongst others. In addition, the announcement of allowing private sector set up data center parks across the country will help in data localization and protection. We welcome the government’s decision in announcing additional Smart cities in building a robust digital infrastructure. This also aligns with the Internet of Things (IoT) taking over the lives as automation has made lives simpler and buildings smarter. Schneider Electric is committed towards working hand in hand with the government of India in this digital transformation journey.”

Sunil Jose, SVP & Country Leader – Salesforce India
“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.”

Prakash Mallya, VP & MD – Sales & Marketing Group, Intel India
“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 fiber 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 centers 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.”

Ramesh Mamgain, Area VP – Sales India & SAARC, Commvault and ex- DRDO scientist
“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.”

Chandrahas Panigrahi,  CMO & Consumer Business Head – Acer India
“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.”

Sandeep Bhambure, VP & MD – India & SAARC, Veeam Software
“The government’s announcement of setting up a policy to build data centre parks throughout India for digital connectivity and the allocation of Rs 6000 crore 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.”

Ajay Kaushik, Founder & CEO – Panacea InfoSec
“It is a visionary budget for Information and Data Security Sector. The budget takes care of the present needs of Digital India and looks forward to the future. FM clearly mentioned, ‘Data is the new oil’ that gives emphasis to data protection. Investment in Quantum technology and announcement of the policy for data center would also open a new door for digital revolution. The Finance Minister has lived up to the overall expectations in many ways. We are very optimistic and welcome the budget. It will give new dimension for Digital governance.”

Dipesh Kaura, GM – Kaspersky (South Asia)
“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.”

Gaurav Bali, Founder & CEO –
“The government has rightly and emphatically underlined the criticality of startups in the budget. By making things easier for startups, the government is sending a strong signal to entrepreneurs to stay invested in India. The push on data and knowledge centers, digital platforms for IPR and most importantly, support for early stage funding are key to creating a viable startup ecosystem capable of competing with other markets. Acknowledgment of Quantum Computing and future technologies is a key step to promote start-ups working in nascent fields.”

Atul Rai, Co-Founder & CEO – Staqu
“We appreciate the government’s emphasis on promoting cutting-edge technologies in India. In her Union Budget 2020 announcement, the FM observed that technologies like machine learning, robotics, AI, along with number of productive age group (15-65 years) are cross-cutting streams in India, which is a special attribute for our country.”

“While the government had previously set up a national portal for AI research and development, in the latest announcement, the government has continued to offer its support for tech advancements. The same is reflected in the Finance Minister’s promise of releasing a policy for the private sector to build data centre parks throughout the country and proposing Rs 8000 crore for over 5 years for National Mission of Quantum Technology and Application. At Staqu, through our continuous efforts on leveraging AI to meaningfully process data in the form of images, text, speech, etc. we look forward to supporting the government and helping India take the next leap in advanced technologies.

“We also welcome the proposal of National Police University and the FM making national security a top priority. With our AI-backed offerings in the policing operations, we hope to serve the largest interests of our civil society, ensuring optimum security through AI-backed digital products for policing operations and predictive policing.”

Maninder Bharadwaj, Partner – Deloitte India
“The setting up of data centric parks in our own jurisdiction will encourage innovation, the ease of accessibility, creation of jobs and in gaining competitive advantage in the era of globalization. Ever since the launch of Digital India initiative by Hon’ble PM in the year 2015, technology based solutions are being rapidly adapted by businesses. The security aspects during this rapid technology transformation should be considered a vital component to protect the digital universe from cyber threats which eventually could compromise the envisaged growth. Cyber everywhere, grow anywhere.’’

Jitendra Chaddah, Chairman – IESA
“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 fulfill local demand and also enable India to become an export hub for electronics.”

Dr. Vikas Joshi, Founder & CEO – Harbinger Group
“Although the budget is high on aspiration, it may fall short in substance. In a welcome move, the budget is aligned to employment-generation in emerging sectors with a focus on skill development, internships for fresh engineers from urban local bodies, and online degree programs from top academic institutions. However, growing the supply of skilled resources is one side of the growth story. The other side is growing the demand for such resources. A 10% growth target is aspirational, yet lacking in concrete pro-growth measures, especially in high tech industries. Although slashing corporate taxes and introducing faceless tax assessments are welcome measures, the budget has no benefit extended to the IT industry in particular.”

Pathik Shah, CEO – DB Digital
“Promoting and building data center parks across India and improving connectivity through BharatNet seems like a great move forward – it would be great to leverage both to enable seamless interchange of data across local government bodies and also enabling access to it to private companies to build innovative applications leveraging that data – just like the initiative by the US government; and that could also help drive data localization forward – depending on the specifics. The way they should be structured should be very similar to UPI – making technology entrepreneurs from across India lead the strategy, architecture and execution of the network and making it open so anyone can plug in – from existing tech giants to startups.”

Vartul Jain, SVP & CFO – GreyOrange
“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.”

Arundhati Bhattacharya, Volunteer – iSPIRT Foundation & ex- Chairperson, SBI
“India’s array of public digital infrastructure enables lending to MSMEs to shift from being solely balance sheet based — i.e. asset or collateral backed loans — towards more accessible cash flow based lending. The FM’s announcement in the Budget 2020 speech on the forthcoming app-based invoice financing the product makes this paradigm shift in lending to MSMEs a reality and will provide a much-needed boost to India’s growth.”

Sharad Sharma, Co-Founder – iSPIRT Foundation
“The Indian economy needs to become an innovation economy in the next ten years. This needs increased R&D investments in both public and private sector, early-stage rupee capital formation, ramp-up of digital public infrastructure, an aggressive shift to an open-API based value-chain and the creation of a zero-friction environment for our entrepreneurs. This Budget shows an intent to move in this direction. However, bolder and faster action is needed. Baby steps are not enough.”

Nakul Saxena, Director – Policy, iSPIRT
“The proposed 5-year deferment of tax payments on ESOPs by startup employees in the Union Budget, we believe, is a great move to attract high-quality talent to the startup ecosystem in the country. However, there are certain limitations to it which are restricting the benefits. The ESOP taxation changes in its current form apply only to around 200 startups recognised by the IMB (Inter-Ministerial Board), thereby, severely restricting its scope. Making it applicable to all DPIIT-registered Startups will empower all of the players to enjoy the benefits of the proposed changes, without unduly penalising others.”

Bhavesh Gupta, CEO – Clix Capital
“Reduced NBFC eligibility for SARFAESI Act is a well thought move that will help the sector to grow. Allowing NBFCs to be a part of TReDS will improve MSME access to credit, coupled with reduction in personal income tax slabs should spur consumption leading to growth.”

Akshay Mehrotra, CEO and Co-Founder – EarlySalary
“The Union Budget 2020 is an encouraging step in the right direction, with a focus on three themes – aspirational India, economic development, and compassion – to empower the common man. This year’s Budget aims to improve liquidity in the Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) sector. This move, in turn, will greatly benefit the Fintech industry. The decision, especially reduction in refinances options for NBFC to Rs100 crore, will give a much-needed boost to this sector.”

“The focus on micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) and bill discounting model will boost lending models further. It has also been proposed to defer tax payments by employees on ESOPs received from startups by five years. It will greatly benefit employees and increase the capabilities of the companies to attract and retain better talent needed in this space. This budget is extremely populous and aims to avail more cash to tax players. It all signals that this government aims to stimulate a slowing economy through this budget.”

Aakash Vaghela, Founder & MD – AV Organics LLP
“The Union Budget has some welcome announcements for startups and the economy at large. The setting up of an Investment Clearance Cell for entrepreneurs (which will also offer funding assistance), deferring the ESOP tax burden on employees for five years (or until they exit the company if this occurs earlier), the abolishing of audits for small companies with an annual turnover of Rs 5 crore are all steps that will create an enabling environment for startups. The digital refund of duties to exporters is another good move. The robust allocations for agriculture, infrastructure development, nutrition programmes and other segments could also help boost jobs creation. Nonetheless, the bottom line will vest on how well these programmes are implemented.”

Harshil Mathur, CEO & Co-founder – Razorpay
“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.”

R N Iyer, Founder & CEO – Vayana Network
“We welcome government’s focus on providing easier working capital to MSMEs. Enabling easier access to working capital through a digital framework can be a great boost for MSMEs. This can emerge as simple on-tap financing for B2B Ecosystems. Amending the Factoring Regulations Act to allow NBFCs to bid on the TReDS platforms can help widen the coverage of Corporate supply chains benefiting from 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.”

Vamsi Krishna, CEO & Co-founder – Vedantu
“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.”

Deepesh Agarwal, CEO & Co-founder – MoveInSync
“We appreciate the budget’s move to improve the ease of doing business in India through the benefits laid out for startups and MSMEs. The setting up of an investment clearance cell, in particular, will be a great step forward to promote entrepreneurship in India. Furthermore, the deferment of the tax burden on ESOPs to 5 years will help startups acquire and retain high-quality talent.

“The government is addressing climate change with more rigor given the allocation of Rs 4400 crore to improve the quality of air. It is reassuring to see the government’s continued impetus on sustainability with more focused measures to reduce emissions. The move to accelerate the development of road infrastructure coupled with the acknowledgment of the growth of a sharing economy will boost the shared mobility ecosystem in India. Additionally, the thrust for skill development will help improve the talent pool in the country. While the announcements have been encouraging, we would have welcomed more concrete goals to boost economic growth in India.”

Ratheesh Rajagopal, Director – MCube Corporate Solution
“This budget is full of many small ideas but is short of a single big bang reform. Fiscal prudence won over popularism, again which is a good thing. There’s something for everyone, let’s see how it plays out. No audits for MSMEs upto Rs 5 crore, change in personal income tax slabs, removal of DDT and huge fund provisions for infrastructure is all welcome. Implementation is the key”

Kunal Bahl, CEO & Co-founder – Snapdeal
“Thankful to the Hon’ble FM for accepting the start-up sector’s request for ESOP taxation reforms. Also, the higher time & turnover limits for carry forward of losses for startups will enable them to optimize growth decisions in formative years. Overall, Budget 2020 is a thoughtful weaving together of specific proposals to tackle varied issues. Measures to improve access to finance for MSMEs and reduced taxation for the middle-income segment are welcome steps. Boosting physical infrastructure, expanding digital connectivity and growing use of technology in government functioning are important building blocks for the long-term growth of the Indian economy.”

Sanya Goel, Director & Founder – Humsafar app
“We welcome Budget 2020: Govt proposes easing of tax payments for startups FM Sitharaman proposed easing of tax payments for startups with a view to promote growth of budding entrepreneurs “by deferring the tax payment by five years or till they leave the company or when they sell, whichever is earlies. Currently, ESOPs, or employee stock option plan, are taxable. We welcome announcement of an eligible startup having a turnover of up to Rs 25 crore is allowed a deduction of 100 percent of its profits for three consecutive assessment years out of seven years, if the total turnover does not exceed Rs 25 crore.”

Tim Nicolle, Founder – PrimaDollar
“The Finance Minister’s announcements under Union Budget 2020 introducing new schemes will help the small players in the export sector in a big way. The new Nirvik scheme introduces high insurance cover for exporters at a reduced premium. Simplified processes for faster claim settlements will be beneficial for both the exporters and the general insurers. It will lead to providing high insurance cover, reduction in premium for small exporters and simplified procedures for claim settlements,this will encourage export finance. This will boost exports. Coming to the MSMEs, the announcement for the subordinate debt for entrepreneurs is a big positive and will help the MSME sector benefit in a massive way. These seem to be sound measures that can stimulate profitable activities for players in the trade and finance sector.”

Harsh Jain, Co-founder & COO – Groww
“Making policy for data center parks for digital resources like fintech, AI, aggregator platforms along with the connection of 1 lakh villages via optical fiber internet is great news for digital India. This will definitely increase digital penetration into India that was unthinkable before.”

Archit Gupta, Founder & CEO – Cleartax
“Firstly the deferment of ESOP taxation at the time of exercise is a very welcome move. This will help motivate and hire high quality resources. The amendments to section 80IAC on relief to startups is lack lustre. This section has several conditions that need to be fulfilled and a lot of approvals built into it as eligibility criteria. The government needs to relax this more. Reduced compliances via single window for multiple compliances, reduced applicability of various Acts could really ease doing business in India and this will be more impactful.”

Meghna Suryakumar, Founder & CEO – Crediwatch
“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 lakh) 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 center 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 centers which will allow Fintechs to scale faster at an economical cost. This coupled with the extension of Bharat Net (FTH) to 1 lakh 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 startups, 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 startups should also help bring quality corporate talent to this industry.”

Sandipan Mitra, Founder – Hungerbox
“India has embraced the shared economy and welcomed the digital revolution with open arms. The Union Budget provides some important benefits for emerging entrepreneurs. With the corporate tax being slashed to 22%, companies can now have a little more room to breathe and benefit from the assistance in funding through the investment clearance cell that has been proposed. This budget has certainly addressed some challenges that were faced by budding start-ups and has made it easier for them to receive funding from investors.”

Ankur Choudhary, Co-Founder & CIO – Goalwise
“On the personal finance front, the 2020 budget has not lived up to the expectations of the taxpayers. While increasing the insurance cover for bank depositors from 1 lakh to 5 lakh is a positive and much awaited step but on the income tax side, it has been a disappointment. Although a new tax regime with lower tax rates has been introduced, the removal of all exemptions including even 80C exemptions, will water down its benefits. On top of it, the option to choose the old or the new income tax regime will just complicate filing income tax returns which was already a complicated process for individual tax payers. Although the Dividend Distribution Tax has been abolished at the company level but now it will be taxable at the hands of the investor. For startups and MSMEs, the increase in turnover limit and number of years to avail tax exemptions benefits is a positive. Also, no audit for companies with up to Rs 5 crore turnover and amending the Companies Act to remove criminal liabilities for offences that are civil in nature will improve ease of doing business.”

Anil Kumar Gupta, Partner – MicroSave Consulting (MSC)
“Interestingly budget talks about artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and Internet of Things (IoT) at quite a few places. It also refers to entrepreneurs and startups also. This focus is a good sign for entire start- up and technology community. The relaxed provisions of ESOP will help start-ups attract and retain top talent. Besides finally recognizing startups having a turnover of Rs 100 crore for tax holiday will boost the growth stage startups. Setting up of investment clearance will help the budding entrepreneurs to build new solutions for India’s diverse needs.”

Sanjay Goyal, Business Head – TimesJobs and TechGig
“I would term it as a ‘forward-thinking’ Budget. The announcement of Rs 6000 crore to boost internet connectivity is certainly a piece of big news for the internet and e-commerce industries. The announcement of a single investment clearance window for entrepreneurial projects will boost the ‘Startup India’ mission. There was also an announcement about opening internship opportunities with urban local bodies and Rs 1 lakh crore push for education, which will directly impact jobs and skill development. And, for those seeking jobs with the government sector, there’s a plan for setting up a national recruitment agency for the hiring of non-gazetted jobs. These and other announcements of investments in the Healthcare and other sectors will give impetus to the recruitment scenario.”

Dr. Vivek G. Mendonsa – Director-Sales | LYNX_Lawrence &Mayo
“The budget 2020 is a holistic and integrated budget, focused on promoting the ‘ease of living’ for a common man and ‘ease of doing business’ for SMEs, MSME’s and corporate. With a clear thrust on projects that work keeping sustainability and optimum use of resources in mind, the budget outlines plans to strengthen infrastructure relevant for renewable energy, transport, IT and agriculture, and allied industries. Further, a plan to offer employment opportunities to India’s young engineers, management graduates, and economists, in construction, operation & maintenance of infrastructure through the ‘Project Preparation Facility’, and the mandate for urban local bodies will provide internships to engineers for one year at district and state level, the budget displays a long term vision to make India a youth-led economy.”

“The proposal of 100% tax concession to sovereign wealth funds on investment in infra projects, budgetary allocations of Rs 22,000 crore earmarked for the power and renewable energy sector and allocations of Rs 4400 cr ore for clean air in cities with a population of over one million, expansion of the National gas grid from 16,200 km to 27,000 km, concessional tax rate of 15% to power generation companies, and government initiatives to forge global partnerships for environment, are impactful steps in the direction of building a robust infrastructure for sustainable energy resources.”

“Focus on building a strong IT infrastructure through the creation of ‘Data Parks’ for an effective and integrated digital network, is another visionary step to making India a robust digital economy. Focusing on transport, with the development of highways, waterways, and air-routes, especially the Krishi Udaan and Krishi Rail for agro produce transportation using cold storage, and enhanced connectivity of tribal and remote Northeastern states, are some of the impactful initiatives announced. All of these initiatives showcase the government’s commitment to driving an integrated, sustainable, and humane approach to economic growth, that will have long term impact on the wealth and well-being of generations to come (100 new Airports are coming).”

Rohit Kapoor, CEO – OYO India South Asia
“It is heartening to see a budget that focuses on improving standards of living as well as economic development. A grant of Rs 2500 crore for tourism promotion and the development of 5 iconic archeological sites and museums in the country are bright indicators of the renewed focus of the government on the travel and tourism industry. Apart from these initiatives, the overall focus on increased disposable income, better infrastructure, better connectivity and the digital push will help boost demand for the hospitality industry in India. It is also heartening that the government acknowledges and understands the role of entrepreneurs in both capital and job creation in the country. Government’s efforts towards creating more opportunities for startups will spur entrepreneurship.

Ramesh Nair, CEO & Country Head, JLL India
“The Union Budget announcement today continues to focus on affordable housing and infrastructure, more specifically, urban infrastructure and logistics. However we do not see significant impact on the realty sector. “

“Keeping in mind the limited fiscal room available to the government, the focus of the budget is to increase liquidity and enhance consumer demand through extension of benefits and simplification of personal income tax.”
· Emphasis on ‘Study in India’
o Will provide a significant boost to student housing which is set on a higher growth trajectory

· Private sector policy on data centre parks across the country
o JLL estimates $4 billion investment opportunity for data centres
o Industry capacity to grow from 350 MW in 2019 to 781 MW in 2024
o Industry revenue to triple in the next five years to $3.2 billion in FY 2024

· National Logistics Policy and viability gap fund for development of Warehouses
o To provide impetus for increasing warehousing supply
o Supply expected to rise from 211 mn sq ft in 2019 to 379 mn sq ft in 2023
o Net absorption of 36 mn sq ft in 2019 to get further boost
o Single window clearance to expedite supply as approval time expected to reduce by 6 months

· NBFC eligibility for SARFAESI Act reduced from INR 500 crore to Rs 100 crore Assets Under Management
o To empower more NBFCs to recover funds in stalled real estate projects
o Provide opportunity for funds to invest in stressed assets

· Enhanced focus on infrastructure – Rs1.7 lakh crore allocated to transport infrastructure including railways
o Delhi-Mumbai expressway to be completed by 2023
o Bengaluru-Chennai expressway to be completed by 2023.
o Government to provide 20% equity for Bengaluru Suburban Transportation Project
o 100 more airports to be developed by 2024
o 5 new smart cities proposed

Continued focus on affordable housing
· Extension of benefit u/s 80EEA to avail additional Rs150,000 interest deduction on home loans for first time home buyers
o This benefit (currently available for home loans sanctioned between April 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020), has been extended until 31st March 2021. This will continue the benefits the first time home buyers.
O Considering that a majority of home buyers fall in the lower and mid-income segments, this tax benefit will boost demand substantially.
O Will significantly benefit first time home buyers who will enjoy the benefits of interest subvention under the CLSS scheme and the extended tax benefits.
· Time extension to claim 100% tax deduction on profits from affordable housing projects until March 2021 u/s 80IBA
o This extension in the dateline will ensure continued interest of developers for the construction of affordable housing projects and help achieve the “Housing for All” objective of the government.
· Abolition of Dividend Distribution Tax and 100 % tax exemption for Sovereign Wealth Funds infrastructure investments with minimum lock-in of 3 years
o Investments in logistics and warehousing to get boost
o Investments in affordable housing projects to get more fillip

Sunil Patwari, CEO – Rashmi Rare Earth Limited, a part of Rashmi Group
“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.”

Dr. H. K.Pradhan, Professor – Finance and Economics, XLRI – Xavier School of Management
“Disappointment of the equity market appears an overreaction, but there are sentimental issues as regards the selling pressures gaining momentum across the board. In what way the removal of dividend distribution tax(DDT) helps the tax burden of investors, as they might pay up more by way of income tax. While small savings will be hit given the option to shift to the new income tax slabs, there is no clarity as regards the net flows into the equity market with the net reduction of income tax. Market was eagerly hoping for a correction in the Long Term Capital Gains Tax (LTCG) which the FM silently ignored. Government passes on the hard choice to the middle class in so far as their tax savings versus direct tax savings from income.

“Most importantly the fall in the Bank Nifty due to the additional burden on the banking sector due to five times hike in the deposit insurance costs, up to Rs 5 lakh per depositor. There are no clear policy measures as regards the banking sector is concerned, except that they are encouraged to raised borrowing from the market for additional capitalization. Disinvestment of the Life Insurance Corporation to the extent of 10 percent will bring substantial money for the government given their valuation which stands over 29 lakh crore. This along with the dilution of government remaining share in the IDBI Bank and the sale of Air India that has already announced which will add to government’s kitty.”

“The macro worries still remain, given that fiscal deficit targets raised to 3.5% of GDP along with a lower target of nominal GDP growth target of 10% for the FY21, and the unclear roadmap for the higher borrowing program of the government. Inflation is already catching up and the lowering of the interest rates path will be held back, the RBI’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is expected to keep the Repo rate steady. The Budget has not addressed the present demand slackening that has contributed to the growth slowdown, and particularly rural consumption, which might delay the revival of the economy in the near term. There is not much structural reform agenda in the Budget proposal, though there are no freebies and hike in the unproductive expenditures. The FM leaves the challenges of the growth revival to the market, as factors that would hinder would be higher interest rates going forward, unclear infrastructure financing plan, and specific measures to enhance credit flows from the banks and NBFC sector.”

“There is considerable focus on attracting foreign portfolio investment flows are placed in the budget, in the form of raising their share from 9 to 15%, opening up of Government securities to NRIs, and most importantly the incentives for the Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) in financing infrastructure. There are definitely scope for the growth of the corporate bond market, by way of FPI inflows and particularly into the companies that would benefit from the abolition of dividend distribution taxes.”

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