Interim Union Budget 2024

Interim Union Budget 2024: Here’s tech industry leaders’ reactions

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Mumbai: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Interim Union Budge 2024 in the Parliament on February 1. Although it is an interim budget before the general elections are held in the next few months, the Finance Minister has tried to present a very forward-looking budget without any changes to tax structure or policies.

However, from the perspectives of industries, the Finance Minister did ensure that the Interim Union Budget 2024 will have a strong and positive, growth-driven impact this year with a substantial increase in overlays. This includes monetary infusion for various central government schemes along with continued support and incentives to drive growth across industries.

India’s tech industry leaders on the Interim Union Budget 2024

Sachin Panicker, Chief AI Officer of Fulcrum Digital

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman‘s sixth consecutive budget presentation sets a decisive course for India’s future, rooted in the vision of ‘Viksit Bharat’ by 2047. The government’s emphasis on GDP – Governance, Development, and Performance, lays a sturdy framework for sustainable growth. With a focus on empowering youth and fostering innovation, the budget outlines a roadmap for unprecedented development over the next five years.”

“In addition, initiatives like the Skill India Mission, training, upskilling and reskilling 1.4 crore youth and establishing new educational institutions, reflect a commitment to human capital development and digital empowerment.”

“At Fulcrum Digital, we stand ready to leverage deep technology and the power of our youth to continue to create opportunities for India at a global level. As a global enterprise AI organization, we are committed to contributing to India’s growth story, and fostering innovation for heightened development.”

Puneet Gupta, VP and MD of NetApp India/SAARC

“The Interim Union Budget 2024 focuses on data-driven innovation, and this gives us much to look forward to. The Honourable Finance Minister has acknowledged the potential of deep technologies like AI in transforming varied industry sectors. In addition, the GoI’s focus on training, upskilling, and reskilling the nation’s youth through the Skill India mission is likely to place India well on the global map of tech-savvy nations.

“With India’s tech prowess growing, we expect the need for unified storage and intelligent data infrastructures to grow as well. Harnessing the power of data will be a key growth driver and differentiator for businesses across sectors. At NetApp, we are aligned with the government’s focus, with innovation in data management being at the heart of everything we do. Combined with the capabilities of our tech talent, particularly the youth, we are well poised to contributing towards building a ‘Viksit Bharat’ by 2047.”

Debashis Chatterjee, MD and CEO of LTIMindtree

“We welcome the interim budget’s focus on skilling, deeptech, R&D, innovation, and digital infrastructure, which are critical drivers for the IT industry’s growth. The Skill India Mission has helped in building a highly skilled workforce, and the Rs 1 lakh crore corpus with interest-free loans for tech-savvy youth will be a true game-changer. This will fuel innovation and entrepreneurship, fostering the next generation of tech leaders.”

“We welcome the interim budget’s focus on skilling, deeptech, R&D, innovation, and digital infrastructure, which are critical drivers for the IT industry’s growth. The Skill India Mission has helped in building a highly skilled workforce, and the Rs 1 lakh crore corpus with interest-free loans for tech-savvy youth will be a true game-changer. This will fuel innovation and entrepreneurship, fostering the next generation of tech leaders.”

“As we strive towards achieving the goal of “Viksit Bharat” by 2047, LTIMindtree stands committed to partnering with the government in its digital transformation journey. We believe this interim budget has laid a strong foundation for continued growth, with technology playing a pivotal role in shaping India’s future.”

“As we strive towards achieving the goal of “Viksit Bharat” by 2047, LTIMindtree stands committed to partnering with the government in its digital transformation journey. We believe this interim budget has laid a strong foundation for continued growth, with technology playing a pivotal role in shaping India’s future.”

Sunil Sharma, VP of Sales, Sophos India and SAARC

“We at Sophos are in complete alignment with the vision presented by the Honorable Finance Minister in the Interim Union Budget 2024, towards creating a prosperous and inclusive India. The highlighted emphasis on skill development, technology-driven innovation, and sustainable infrastructure resonates with our organisational mission, focused on empowering Indian businesses through state-of-the-art cybersecurity solutions.”

“The government’s steadfast commitment to increasing the cybersecurity budget from Rs 400 crore to Rs 750 crore within a year is a noteworthy development within the industry, and promises to address cybersecurity threats that may endanger the rapidly digitising nation.”

“The intersection of democracy, demography, and diversity, encapsulated by the ideology of “Sabka Prayas,” emerges as the key force that will unlock India’s true potential in the technology sector. Other significant initiatives such as the allocation of a substantial amount of Rs 1 lakh crore for tech startups and the strategic emphasis on deep-tech for defence, underscore the government’s dedication towards realising its Atmanirbhar Bharat vision.

“Within this transformative landscape, Sophos remains unwavering in its commitment to playing a constructive role in realising the vision of a cyber-secure India. Our dedication extends to equipping businesses with resilient cybersecurity solutions and nurturing a culture of cyber awareness, thereby contributing to the empowerment of citizens and the assurance of our digital future.”

Varun Babbar, MD of India and SAARC, Qlik

“The 2024 budget announcement signals a strategic focus on propelling the economy toward sustained growth. The government’s dedication to fostering growth, enhancing productivity, and creating employment opportunities aligns seamlessly with Qlik’s commitment to empowering businesses with transformative data solutions, including cutting-edge AI and ML applications.

“The emphasis on transformative reforms via NEP 2020 and the Skill India Mission, particularly in crucial tech and AI segments, highlights the immediate need for upskilling and reskilling – essential pillars where Qlik’s innovative data analytics, data literacy, augmented by AI and ML, play a pivotal role. The allocation of Rs. 1 lakh crore for Research and Innovation, coupled with interest-free loans, underscores the crucial role of the private sector.”

“Furthermore, the forward-looking initiatives supporting shore-wind energy demonstrate a commitment to technological advancement and resonate with Qlik’s vision for sustainability and impactful innovation.”

Sindhu Gangadharan, SVP and MD, SAP Labs India; Vice Chairperson of Nasscom

“The Interim Union Budget 2024 is reflective of the India’s sustained focus on Atma Nirbhar Bharat (Self Reliant India). The long-term financing and re-financing scheme with a corpus of Rs 100,000 crore with a 50-year interest-free loan to promote R&D in the private sector in sunrise domains, as well dedicated initiatives to promote Deep Tech/R&D in the defence sector underscore the commitment to position India as a global leader in the world of technology. The focus on skilling, upskilling, and reskilling of youth will ensure an industry-ready workforce to navigate the headwinds of a volatile marketplace.”

“Additionally, the extension of tax exemptions for eligible startups, granting newly incorporated ventures until March 2025 to claim tax benefits for three out of their first 10 years, is a progressive and encouraging move. By incentivizing entrepreneurship, the government is actively promoting the creation of a robust startup ecosystem, which is crucial for driving economic development.”

Sarvagya Mishra, Co-founder and Director of Superbot

“It’s encouraging that the government recognizes the importance of addressing skill development to meet the demand for a high-quality workforce in the emerging technology sector, crucial for India’s ambitious goal of a $5 trillion economy. All the initiatives mentioned in the Interim budget speech like the establishment of more IITs, IIITs, STEM courses etc., are cementing the foundation of the growing India, which is youth.”

“Commendably, the government’s embrace of deeptech in critical sectors like defence underscores our country’s progressive stance. Given that R&D is a capital-intensive step for businesses in deeptech, blockchain, machine learning, and Generative AI, increased allocation towards MUDRA schemes and the announcement of Rs 1 lakh crore corpus with 50-year interest-free support will undoubtedly fuel technological growth.”

Alok Dubey, CFO of Acer India

“The Rs 1 lakh crore corpus for interest-free financing is a massive boost for research and development. This will fuel innovation and create jobs within the technology sector. Empowering women entrepreneurs also adds a crucial dimension to diversity, enhancing the talent pool and fostering creativity within the industry. I am also happy to see a steadfast commitment to environmental sustainability. Overall, the Interim Union Budget 2024-25 has generated excitement within the technology sector. However, the industry awaits further details and calls for transparent implementation to ensure the success of these ambitious plans.”

Ashish P. Dhakan, MD and CEO of Prama Hikvision India

“The Indian Electronic Security Industry is hoping for more concessions and tax rebates for strengthening the manufacturing sector. This will help to enable the latest technologies and security products for the greater good. We sincerely hope that the Finance Minister would consider the key concerns of the key electronic security Industry stakeholders in the future policies and tax reforms. We are sure that the government will continue to support the Make-in-India 2.0 with a clear roadmap and policy structure. The Electronic Security Industry is expecting the continued government support to contribute significantly to the nation’s economic growth.”

Winny Patro, CEO and Co-Founder of Recordent India

“Culturally, we have got habituated to tremendous, transformative announcements during budget sessions. But I strongly believe the budgets are not always about transformation, it should always be in the frame of looking at how financially we have done, take notes and plan measures from it. Budget means plan financially better, see where we stand in terms of deficit and look at bridging gaps.”

“From the interim budget that our honourable Finance Minister has announced today, it is quite a balanced and hopeful one. Specially, about the highlights for businesses particularly MSMEs, I’ll like to take note of schemes extended for garment manufacturers which I have been anticipating and the “Loan for 50 years” initiative. These would provide quite an impetus for the sector and also a lot of relief for entrepreneurs in the garment manufacturing industry. The struggle of cash-flows for small and medium businesses has been perennial and has troubled entrepreneurs across the country post COVID, Loan for 50 years scheme is a welcoming one.”

Kaushal Sampat, Founder of Rubix Data Sciences

“In an election year, India’s Interim Union Budget 2024 has defied fears of fiscal recklessness, maintaining a commendable level of prudence. Despite the political climate, the government has opted for a lower borrowing number for the next year, signalling a commitment to fiscal responsibility. This budget stands out for its focus on infrastructure, capital expenditure, and fostering entrepreneurship—a clear continuation of a decade-long trajectory of GDP, to borrow the Finance Minister’s acronym for “Governance, Development, and Performance.”

“If India is to reach the ambitious target of $7 trillion GDP by 2030, it is important to focus on infrastructure development, energy security, skill development and emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship. The budget touches on all these aspects. Capex outlay has increased by 11.1%, there have been announcements on solar energy and electric vehicle infrastructure, and skill development is also being given importance.”

“The allocation of a significant 1 lakh crore for a 50-year loan dedicated to innovation, research, and development underlines the government’s recognition of the pivotal role these elements play in India’s journey to becoming a developed economy.”

“The budget speech not only highlighted government achievements but also provided a roadmap for the future, emphasizing macroeconomic stability, robust investments, and a thriving economy. With a fiscal deficit estimate below budgeted levels, a clear focus on reducing it further in the coming years, and targeted support for farmers, job creation, and infrastructure, India’s Interim Union Budget 2024 lays the foundation for sustained growth and development.”

Bharat Patel, Director and Chairman of Yudiz Solutions

“I strongly agree with our honorary FM Nirmala Sitharaman that MSMEs have the potential to compete at the global level. Establishing training facilities to equip MSMEs with skills, knowledge, and resources will benefit the economy and themselves both. We are talking about job creation, export potential, and societal development. On the other hand, a corpus of Rs 1 lakh crore with a 50-year interest-free loan, it’s a huge move indeed to support the IT sector.”

“It will empower companies like Yudiz to take long-term ambitious R&D projects in exploring cutting-edge technologies in the area of AI, AR/VR, Blockchain, Game and Web 3.0. It will strengthen the entire IT ecosystem and support the sector’s growth. The increased funding enables us to address challenges and progress without friction. I believe that the budget 2024 is a strategic roadmap that will propel India towards sustainable development and the modern phase of digital transformation.”

Archana Srinivasan, CFO of iOPEX Technologies

“The emphasis on GYAN, infrastructure and construction through schemes such as affordable housing and solar and EV investments is positive. The overall impact sets the tone for unprecedented development. We will wait to see the fine print for the changes in areas such as TCS. The budget is silent on the banking, IT sectors and we will continue to be optimistic on the proposed investments to result in more disposable income in the hands of the middle class and aggressively manage inflation.”

Shreeranganath Kulkarni, MD of InfoVision

“InfoVision warmly welcomes the budget announcement by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The introduction of a Rs 1lakh crore fund with a 50-year interest-free benefit for private sector research and development is a transformative step, particularly for innovation-driven enterprises like ours with a strong focus on edge technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML).

“The injection of such long-term, interest-free capital promises to substantially boost our research and development initiatives that serve not only India but also the global market. This financial support will undoubtedly speed up efforts to create top-tier innovations in India for the world. It underscores our commitment to leveraging India’s rich talent pool and contributes to our nation’s technological progress.”

Alok Kashyap, Founder and CEO of Yatiken Software Solutions

“In line with the government’s ambitious vision of technology contributing 20-25% to the GDP by 2025, this forward-looking budget charts a promising course for the IT sector. The allocation for EV infrastructure development is particularly noteworthy as it opens avenues for software development in EV systems, IoT integration, and data analytics. The Rs 1 lakh crore corpus for long-term financing is another indispensable boon for the IT industry, fostering innovation and research. Moreover, the Skill India Mission’s initiatives and tax benefits for startups provide a robust foundation for skill development and entrepreneurial growth.”