2019 Post-Budget reaction given by different Industries and CxO

On this interim budget for 2019; different industrialist and CxO have given their views that how this mid-budget will help the society and their businesses… Here are some of them.

Post-Budget reaction given by different Industries and CxOs

Mr Pankaj Khanna, Founder & MD, Gem Selections

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

Kunal Agarwal, Co-Founder and CEO of Priority Vendor

As India’s largest early payment platform, we at Priority Vendor believe that the interim budget carries some of the significant developments, especially for our SME partners. Businesses registered as SMEs will now receive a 2% loan relaxation by the government, thus easing their access to organised credit facilities. Furthermore, the announcement also gave a boost to SME suppliers, making it mandatory for the government projects to source 25% of their requirements from SMEs. The segment has also been bogged down with the GST compliance, however as per the announcement, SMEs with a turnover of less than 5 Cr need to only file GST once in three months.”

While the SME segment would be appeased, we believe the interim budget to also be forward-looking. India has already emerged as the second largest hub for start-ups and the government has vowed to support advanced technologies like AI by setting up a national centre for artificial intelligence. We believe it will propel India on the path of emerging as the key centre for growth and innovation. With artificial intelligence constituting the very fabric of our platform, we are excited about this development and look forward to being part of an innovating, enterprising, and digital India.

Mr. Rajeev Sharma, Head-Corporate Services & Strategic Planning, Mitsubishi Electric India Pvt. Ltd.

The interim budget for 2019-20 seems to be a balanced budget with support to sectors like agriculture and infrastructure for holistic development of the Nation. Railways, roadways, airways along the rail, road linkages, connectivity infrastructure, and 99 city Smart Cities Plan excites us. Also, the Rs.50 lakh crore investment plan for improvement and proper completion of the ongoing and upcoming infrastructure projects is a welcome step, we are hopeful that the budget supports the rapid development of the economy.

Mr. Gaurav Gupta, Co-founder and CEO, MyLoanCare.in

Budget 2019 was an opportunity for the government to provide the much-needed relief deserving sections of the society and it lived up to the expectations by rolling out many such measures in today’s budget. The tax payers finally earned praise and reward of their contribution to nation building as the government increased the income tax exemption limit to Rs 5 lakh and an increase in standard deduction limit. Similarly, the farm sector has been extended direct income support, the GST compliant MSMEs get easy access to loans and the unorganized sector has now been covered under a pension scheme, the first of its kind in India.

The real estate sector and home buyers can cheer for measures such as capital gains tax exemption on gains of upto Rs 2 crore even if sale proceeds are invested in two properties and extending the tax exemption on notional rent on unsold real estate inventory to two years instead of 1 year earlier. The budget also highlights government’s commitment towards rapid digitalization, online economy and simplification of tax procedures which should further improve ease of living and ease of doing business in India. Though the fintech sector wasn’t a prime focus as it has always been over the recent years, we are of the view that fintech-centric collaborations will also be announced during the full budget later this year.” We feel that the budget had all the positive notes and is a step forward in the right direction.

Mr. Karthik Ramaiah, Co-founder, Kobster

It’s heartening to note that the startup ecosystem saw over $10.5 billion of venture capital investment in 2018 in the country, and the sector is witnessing investments in Tier II cities too because of a maturing ecosystem. The aim to create one lakh digital villages in the next five years is laudable.

The fact that mobile data usage in India has increased by an exceptional 50 per cent within no time and the cost of data and voice calls in the country being possibly the lowest in the world came as pleasant revelations. Mobile and its parts manufacturing companies having grown from 2 to 268 now, creating thousands of jobs in both urban and rural areas of the country is great news and truly inspires the ‘Digital’ cause.

However, from a new age startup perspective, we feel that the Angel Tax issue shouldn’t have remained unaddressed. However, since the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), which has now been renamed to Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, is meeting up on the issue, we are expecting some positive outcome from it.

Raghav Gupta, Director – India & APAC, Courser

The Interim Union Budget 2019 augurs well for India’s vision of becoming a digital superpower. The announcements to develop an Artificial intelligence (AI) ecosystem in the country and skilling the youth for jobs of the future are bold steps in the right direction. As a global leader in online learning, we are excited to partner with both companies and governments to train the next generation of AI and machine learning experts by democratizing access to courses like ‘AI for Everyone’ from world-renowned experts.

Mr. Rajiv Bhalla, Managing Director, Barco India

We laud the budget presented by Mr. Piyush Goel today and believe it is a populist budget overall. Mr Piyush Goel announced 9 top dimensions to this budget and Make in India and Digital India were central to it. Expanding rural industrialisation using modern digital technologies to generate massive employment is the Fourth Dimension of the vision. This will be built upon the Make in India approach to developing grass-roots level clusters, structures and mechanisms encompassing the MSMEs, village industries and start-ups spread in every nook and corner of the country. India is now on the way to becoming a global manufacturing hub in various sectors including automobiles and electronics, defence and medical devices.

At Barco, we believe, building an ecosystem to spur local manufacturing is key for India’s success and a steadily growing economy. Not only does it amplify job opportunities, but also gives a competitive edge to build products and solutions “In India, For India.” This will allow companies like us to build quality products in the country, and focus on helping drive better outcomes for our customers. This will also help local manufacturers negate a price-focused strategy rather than a quality focused strategy.

Mr Piyush Jain, Co-Founder and CEO, ImpactGuru.com

The ambitious Ayushman Bharat remained the highlight of the healthcare initiatives of Interim Budget 2019. The harsh reality is India has a significant healthcare funding problem. The country witnesses 700,000 new cancer cases and 100,000 new transplant cases each year. Long-term illnesses such as cancer drain finances of not just those from below-poverty-line backgrounds but also middle-class patients.

Though 10 lakh patients have been treated so far under the scheme, a lot more is required to ensure complete health coverage of India’s 1.3 billion plus population. How fast can the implementation be? How will the Government deal with the fact, even Rs. 5 lakhs coverage is insufficient given the increased cost of secondary and tertiary healthcare in India with costs rising at 20% CAGR. These questions continue to be of critical importance as the development of a nation is ultimately determined by the health of its people.

Mr Rajesh Ram Mishra, President of IESA

We feel this interim budget by Finance Minister is progressive and inclusive. It focuses on leveraging new technologies to build countrywide digital infrastructure, skill building, driving growth of MSME segment.

1. We applaud the vision to make India a USD 5Trillion economy in the next 5years. We feel a vibrant ESDM sector will play a key role in realizing this vision.

2. The focus on National program on AI will unleash large opportunity in intelligent electronics and automation and will create new business opportunity in nine focus areas.

3. Making 100,000 villages digital and 10,000 Crore investment in Telecom infrastructure will make universal broadband communication a reality and will lead to pan India deployment of new IoT based solutions.

4. Participation of private sector in building products in strategic electronics will get a big boost with INR 300,000Cr Defence spending.

5. Allocation for National Education Mission of INR 37,752Cr, coupled with the emphasis on Skill Development will enable easier access to skilled workforce for ESDM industry.

6. The tax relief for people with income less than INR 5L and interest rate subvention of 2 percent will help start-ups, MSMEs in ESDM sector as it will relieve the pressure on working capital.

7. 25% Government procurement from MSMEs, announcement to bring PSUs procurement under Government e-Marketplace (GeM) is a welcome change. We would like to see more domestically designed, indigenously manufactured ESDM products to come under this and benefit from PMA.

8. While intelligent electronics is bringing new opportunities, to enable large number of successful product companies in India, we hope to see Angel Tax abolished for ESDM start-ups and we also suggest creation of a dedicated fund to incentive R&D.

9. This being an interim budget, some of the large scale investments needed in semiconductor and electronics for building a digitally secured India should be taken up post-election.

Mr Shekhar Purohit, MD, First Mumbai Consulting

This is a pro- welfare, aam-admi budget versus economic-push budget. The government needed to announce much more benefits and perks for the economy including key industries such as manufacturing etc. Full tax rebate for individual tax payers upto 5 lakhs is a much needed good news for the middle class and a welcome move by the Government. Roll-over of capital gains tax for second house purchase for individual buyers is also good news and likely to push the housing industry overall.

Mr Amit More, Founder and CEO- Finzy

Interim Budget 2019 is a power packed show by a government that would be subject to the test of re-election in 3 months from now. This interim budget has something for everyone – it has direct bank transfer for farmers, redemption for salaried tax payers for being honest, pension for unorganised sector, boost for housing and social security, rationalisation of IT assessment process and promotion of interest bearing investments. Theme has been disintermediation and digitisation. And this is the path that would lead to India becoming a USD 5 trillion economy in 5 years, sans red tapism and free from leakages and corruption.

This budget can provide major push to consumption, by leaving extra cash flow in hands of poor, lower middle class and salaried class. Consumption in turn would kick start capital expenditure and that in turn would lead to employment of our burgeoning population. Further leading to investment and consumption and setting in motion the much needed “multiplier effect”.

We welcome the budget, but are disappointed with no mention of much expected and much needed clarity on aspects of angel tax on startup investments. Possibly it will be addressed in DIPP roundtable scheduled next week on this subject. In addition, Peer to Peer (P2P) Lending industry, that symbolises disintermediation, automation, digitisation and democratisation of credit could have been brought under the list of eligible investments under section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961. Thus, ushering a new change that has the potential of solving large part of unmet credit requirement of wider population. And, prompt higher savings rate for lenders by disintermediating a large part of the NIM of existing financial institutions. Such qualification can prove to be a turning point for P2P industry in becoming a credible alternate investment option to existing fixed income investment options and Mutual Funds. We now look forward to this being addressed in the full budget of 2019 to be presented by the newly elected government in July 2019.

Mr Rajiv Kapoor, Vice President, India & SAARC

The government’s plans to set-up 100,000 digital villages in the next five years is a huge step towards leapfrogging India’s march on critical initiatives such as Digital India. By placing wireless connectivity at the heart of India’s development particularly in rural areas, the country is poised to further consolidate its position as the global hub for disruptive innovations.

Nikhil Arora, MD and VP, GoDaddy India

We welcome the Union Interim budget 2019-20 and the government’s focus towards helping small businesses, startups and women-owned MSMEs. With impetus on strengthening the digital infrastructure, e-marketplace, initiatives supporting rural India and emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, government has reiterated its commitment to bring a holistic and sustainable technology-led development for the country. Moves to allow tax payers with income upto Rs. 5 lakh to get full tax rebate and abolish custom duty from 36 capital good are consumer friendly steps that will help put the money back in the consumers’ pocket and encourage ease of doing business. In this year’s budget, we were hoping for a solution for the current credit issue troubling MSMEs. But at the same time, we are positive about the India government’s push towards digitally transforming the nation, and will continue working with our partners to ensure we play our part in realizing this vision, providing right tools and solutions to enable small and independent businesses to get their ventures online and grow successfully.

Dr Alok Roy, Chairman, Medica Hospitals Pvt Ltd

Now that the Interim Budget is announced, people of the country will look forward to how best the policies are implemented. In terms of healthcare, the citizens of India, will look forward to even better facilities and more infrastructural developments in deeper pockets and hinterlands. Upgrading the national health mechanism should always be a primary agenda for any government to come. We can see significant measures to help poor and marginal population of our country in this interim budget.

Mr Sunil Jose, Senior Area Vice President and Country Leader, Salesforce India

We are delighted to see the Government’s focus on setting up a National Centre for Artificial Intelligence (AI) in order to bring the benefits of AI and related technologies to the common person. In recent research commissioned by Salesforce, 65% of Indian respondents were positive about AI and its usage. Businesses using AI have the opportunity to amplify our human intelligence, better connect to consumers and impact societies like never before. We welcome the government’s visionary step to support and democratise access to AI and related technologies. This is equally important for businesses like Salesforce is the penetration of AI skills among the workforce. Globally, all eyes will continue to be on India and we look forward to being a part of this journey.” Sunil Jose, Senior Area Vice President and Country Leader, Salesforce India.

Mr J K Gupta, CFO, Tata Technologies

This is a forward-thinking, growth-oriented budget with a special focus for all, bridging the rural-urban divide, while embracing modern digital technologies for the holistic development of the nation. The initiative to create one lakh digital villages in the next five years shows its commitment to bridging the digital divide. The government’s recognition of the importance of clean energy to build a pollution-free India is evident through its Vision 2030 roadmap. The initiative envisions India driving on Electric Vehicles with renewables becoming a major source of energy.

Mr Satyam Kumar, co-founder and CEO, LoanTap.

Interest subsidy extended to GST Registered MSMEs will help smooth some of the pain faced by small promoters in the last 3 years. This will also reduce resistance towards formally adopting GST Practices, and expand the formal credit market. LoanTap believes this will benefit a very important segment of the economy, which has been ailing for quite some time.

Mr Monish Salhotra, Co-Founder – EBTL

This budget definitely is a masses’ budget but at the same time it shows the forward looking attitude of the government by announcing National Centre and Centre of Excellence for Artificial Intelligence across the nation. We welcome more such initiatives by the government to strengthen technological dominance of India. It seems, we as a nation are all set to embrace Industry 4.0

Mr CP Gurnani MD & CEO, Tech Mahindra

With digital and renewable energy at its core, Budget 2019 is reflective of India’s commitment to foster the growth of an inclusive, sustainable economy. It is great to see the Government’s vision align with our overall goal to promote the adoption of new age technology such as Artificial Intelligence, that will lay the foundation of a new, digitized India. The government’s decision to build 1 Lakh digital villages is a step in the right direction to bridge the urban-rural divide and as an industry, we are committed to making this vision come true – Make in India + Digital India = Modern & equitable India.

Mr Vineet Budki CEO & Founder, Guiddoo World Travels Pvt. Ltd.

Interim Budget 2019 has announced several steps to boost MSMEs and empower traders along with a big income tax bonanza for the middle class. We welcome the Finance Minister’s plans for the travel & tourism sector with special focus on air and rail travel. Plans to boost the Digital India Program, the impetus for startups and focus on job creation are some of the other big positives this year.

Mr Faisal Kawoosa Founder and Chief Analyst, TechArt – Technology Analysis, Research & Consulting

The biggest news for the technology sector is setting up of National Artificial Intelligence Portal. This will help leverage emerging technologies at a national level with India specific use cases paving way for Digital India 2.0. We need to embed more emerging technologies like 5G, Blockchain, Machine Learning, Industry 4.0, etc., to reorient Digital India so it propels towards achieving $1 trillion Digital Economy by 2025.

Setting up of 100,000 digital villages is also an important announcement. India will only reap the benefits of Digital revolution when villages are mapped to it. However, the definition needs to be of a mature digital village and not just providing high-speed broadband connectivity. The contours of Digital Village need to be specified and the infrastructure build-up enabling it needs to be ramped up fast. We have seen time and again how NOFN project has missed several deadlines so far.

The biggest disappointment would, of course, be for the telecom sector. From the operators’ point of view, when the industry is restructuring there should have been some support helping them reduce the cumulative liability of over 550 Lakh Crore. Similarly, even after recognizing how mobile handsets have contributed to Make in India, there was nothing announced for the industry where local brands are battling extinction.

Mr Vishal Parekh Marketing Director, Kingston Technology

This Union Budget reflects the Government’s commitment to digitalisation as a right step to help India gain a rightful place on the global technology map. Being one of the leading manufacturers of storage & memory solutions, we believe this initiative of extending a strong digital infrastructure to villages will facilitate significant penetration of computing-capable devices, hence further fuelling the growth of Data centres, internet-of-things and profitability of businesses. The Government has also envisaged a national programme on ‘Artificial Intelligence’ which is a progressive step towards leveraging technologies in every sector of economy impacting the lives of all citizens. As Kingston has already contributed towards enhancing the productivity of businesses, we are also looking forward to encouraging the Government’s vision of building an exceptional digital infrastructure for our nation till 2030. We see great potential in the aim of achieving the country’s growth by leveraging digital technologies as it will further encourage innumerable initiatives to promote digital literacy in the country, and millions of opportunities in this eco-system.

Mr Arun Nathani, CEO, Cybage

This budget is providing a major boost to real estate segment through fiscal incentives like an extension of benefit Under Section 80 IBA, no tax on notional rent on unsold inventory for two years, no notional rent on two self-occupied properties instead of one. Additionally, the direct benefit of INR 6,000 to small farmers will provide positive sentiments and will have a positive cascading effect on GDP growth. We welcome the step to promote AI hubs in India which will help to build technical competence and have a long-lasting impact from a technology point of view for the future of India.

This budget has populist and election-oriented flavour, Government will have to balance the spending and keep the fiscal deficit under control.

Mr Kunal Agarwal, Co-Founder and CEO of Priority Vendor

As India’s largest early payment platform, we at Priority Vendor believe that the interim budget carries some of the significant developments, especially for our SME partners. Businesses registered as SMEs will now receive a 2% loan relaxation by the government, thus easing their access to organised credit facilities. Furthermore, the announcement also gave a boost to SME suppliers, making it mandatory for the government projects to source 25% of their requirements from SMEs. The segment has also been bogged down with the GST compliance, however as per the announcement, SMEs with a turnover of less than 5 Cr need to only file GST once in three months.”

While the SME segment would be appeased, we believe the interim budget to also be forward-looking. India has already emerged as the second largest hub for start-ups and the government has vowed to support advanced technologies like AI by setting up a national centre for artificial intelligence. We believe it will propel India on the path of emerging as the key centre for growth and innovation. With artificial intelligence constituting the very fabric of our platform, we are excited about this development and look forward to being part of an innovating, enterprising, and digital India.

Mr Arun Balasubramian, Managing Director – Qlik India

“The interim budget, the government has rightly comprehended the necessity and competence of digital technologies such as AI, machine learning, big data and more. We are glad to find out the government’s plans of developing a National Artificial Intelligence portal, which will significantly boost research and development measures and thus allow businesses of all sizes and sectors to gain better data-driven and decision-making insights and advance the nation in competitive global space.”

Mr Satya Kalyan Yerramsetti, Founder & CEO of Telebu

The government has continued to stress upon digitalisation, as reflected in the interim budget 2019 announcement. In the words of the interim Finance Minister, digitalisation is going to play a key role in achieving sustainable growth and development. The government further aims to achieve one lakh digital villages in the next 5 years and we believe that it is going to pave the way for India to emerge as one amongst the leading digital economies, across the globe. The current plans and aspirations of the government will also boost the rural digital economy. At Telebu, we are excited to be part of this wave of change, as it helps accelerate our overall goal of proliferating into rural, as well as tier-2 and tier-3 cities. We will continue to build innovative enterprise communication products for Indian enterprises, MSMEs, start-ups, non-profit organisations and more.

Mr Sudhindra Holla, Sales Director, Axis Communications India & SAARC

The Budget 2019 depicts the milestone set towards the rise in GDP growth in the last five years. It brings us one step closer towards the economic growth as part of the five years plan with a key focus on infrastructure development allocating budgets for Roads, Ports, Transport and Infrastructure. We welcome the government’s focus on the construction and development of railways, airports, highways by announcing 100 more operational airports and doubling the passenger traffic.

Also, applaud the continued focus and investments towards Rail infrastructure helping Indian Railways attain highest safety recognition last year. This impetus is not only around Make in India but increasing speed, service and citizen safety with the upcoming Vande Bharat Express train announcement.

The government’s huge investment in highly advanced technological sectors like Geospatial and Defense, envisioning India becoming a launch pad for satellites as part of Vision 2030, reaffirms the Digital India vision holistically. Proposal towards raising the budget to Rs 3 lakh crore is a welcome move for protecting our soldiers at the borders who are the pride and honour of the nation. India is now definitely at the cusp of digital transformation and this infrastructural growth will augment its positioning globally.”

Deb Deep Sengupta, President & MD, SAP Indian Subcontinent 

The inclusive nature of Budget 2019 – with its focus on small farmers and unorganized workers is a welcome move indeed. SAP has long pursued a dream of creating more inclusive growth in the Indian economy – Code Unnati has already empowered over 700,000 Indians through digital literacy. When digital literacy joins economic support – the ability of the marginalized to enter the mainstream increases manifold. We believe this budget will further our nation’s ability to foster inclusive growth

Mr Rajesh Uttamchandani, Director, Syska Group (FMEG)

As India is poised to become a USD 5 trillion economy in the next five years, there is an immense opportunity for Indian organizations to develop and flourish. With the rapid proliferation of new age technologies such as the internet of things, artificial intelligence and others, we welcome the Government’s keen focus on building a digitally vibrant India in the next few years. This will provide an opportunity for companies such as Syska to introduce IoT enabled products that are affordable in the Indian market and help in developing smart cities. Additionally, as energy efficient product & solutions are seeing increased adoption, we are pleased with the Government providing 143 crores LED bulbs to rural areas. This resonates with our mission of providing energy efficient LED lighting solutions that are ‘Made in India’ to every Indian household.

Mr Vishal Gondal, CEO and founder GOQii ( Healthcare)

The 2019 budget looks promising for the healthcare sector; we have seen some major initiatives and announcements that will potentially change the health Index of India. One of the key highlights is the establishment of a system that ensures a stress-free environment and comprehensive wellness for all. Keeping in mind that 55 per cent of India’s workforce is millennials, this is definitely needed of the hour. Therefore, paving way for a stress-free India is directly proportional to its growth. The healthcare announcements made in the budget are a welcome move and will help build a strong economy. This will provide opportunities for companies like GOQii to contribute to making a stress-free India and creating a space that encourages preventive healthcare over curative.

Further, Ayushmann Bharat’s vision of improving the lives of 50 crore Indians which will potentially result in cumulative savings of INR 3,000 crores by the poor, is a testimony that the Government of India is strengthening the nation’s health ground up. We support the same philosophy that is making healthcare easily accessible for all Indians and governments efforts are evident through increased focus on making medicines, healthcare services and other health-related instruments more affordable.

Dr Rishi Bhatnagar, President-Aeris Communications & Chairman IET IoT Panel India

Companies are deploying considerable investments in emerging technologies to match customer expectations. To support the deployment of these emerging technologies, skill development and enhancement is imperative amidst the current digital disruption scenario. According to MDSE’s annual report, 2017-18, the demand for skilled llabourin 34 sectors across industries has been estimated to be over 12.8 Cr between 2017 and 2018.

Interim FM in this Interim Budget has announced the decision of making the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and building Centre of Excellence. The Government of India has opened the path for the youth in India to leverage the new state-of-the-art developments and upskill themselves to widen the jobs pool for themselves. We appreciate the GOI’s perspective of making India digitally enhanced and look forward to adding value by providing the Indian talent with opportunities to grow in the IT industry.

Mr Snehashish Bhattacharjee, Global CEO, Denave.

The budget gives much-awaited technology push for the fast-paced Indian economy. The CoE of Artificial Intelligence (AI) reaffirms the government’s intention and interest in pushing India to develop as a hub of emerging technologies. It shall also prove to play a pivotal role in massification of ground-breaking technologies as well as providing a headwind to the ongoing skill development and job creation agenda. It is a huge opportunity for the tech start-ups, and the contribution of India Inc. in the initial stages of implementation shall prove to be significant.

The budget overall is positive and covers the entire gamut of economic pillars in one go – farmers, youth, start-ups, women, middle-class segment, defence, green energy, industries etc. It promises to make social security accessible to the unorganised segment. The intent with which the budget has been designed will be best experienced with effective execution.

Mr Sanjay Motwani, Vice President, Raritan-Asia Pacific, Raritan-a brand of Legrand

We welcome the government budget announcement of creating 1 lakh digital villages by the next 5 years which will further increase the usage of data exponentially. As announced, data consumption has already grown 50 times in the last 5 years and has made data centres critical for seamless data experience. Also, the government of India vision of digital economy 2030 for digitisation of government processes and private transactions will require huge capacities expansion by all stakeholders going forward in data centres .including private and public sectors. Going forward India needs to invest substantially in building data centres both hybrid and distributed especially to achieve its vision of smart cities and digital India which will also aid India’s Make in India policy

Mr Anant Raghute, MD, Innowave IT Infrastructures Ltd.

India’s economic growth is pegged at 7.2% to 7.5% in 2019 and 2020.
As per the Interim budget announcement today, India is aiming to become a $10 Tn economy in the next 8 years & $5 Tn economies in the next 5 Years.

We welcome the decision to make 1 lakh villages digital in the next 5 years. This combined with Jan Dhan, Aadhaar mobile, and direct benefit transfer will be game changers for realizing the benefit of technology in delivering better governance. Potential rolling out of NTP 2018 will further enhance telecom operated citizen services.

Emerging technologies such as AI, the blockchain, GIS-enabled services, LIDAR will facilitate connectivity. While physical infrastructure is key, integration of technology for practical use can only be facilitated through central policy initiatives with parallel initiatives from state governments.

GIS-enabled citizen-centric services have already enabled better data management & access right from disaster management, Health, agriculture, water management, public transport, Bio tagging to rural & urban infrastructure.

Now that the momentum on e-governance is there and the citizens are experiencing the benefits out of it, believe the time is ripe for the next big wave of investments in e-governance across India. We at Innowave IT are more than happy to do our bit in making this happen and ensure delivery of the right and most effective solutions when and where needed.

Mr Girish Shivani, Executive Director and Fund Manager YourNest Venture Capital

In 2018, the start-up ecosystem witnessed a venture capital investment of more than $10.5 billion. To nurture the startups especially in deep-tech and artificial intelligence, the government’s announcement of a National Centre of Artificial Intelligence in the Union budget 2019 is a welcome move. This will further promote the use of technology, digitisation and will aid in job creation. As a VC, we were also hoping for some clarity on the Angel Tax issue that is currently plaguing the ecosystem.

Varun Rathi, COO and Co-Founder, Happay

This is certainly a budget with full of long term vision and the government is undoubtedly poised towards building India into a stronger economy which is modern and technology-driven. Digitization and automation has clearly become the new mantra of the government- the 10 dimensions for Vision 2030 reinforces the importance of technology in transforming India. Additionally, the step to create a portal on artificial intelligence will help the common man to understand the importance of AI. Data is the backbone of AI. Currently, there is a lack of structured data availability in India. Having said that, this doesn’t look infeasible at all and timing couldn’t be better than this to launch a nationwide AI center. UIDAI, NPCI and GST council has laid the foundation of the most important piece of the puzzle – getting the identity, demographic, financial and skills data recorded in a structured manner. An AI council can now start laying some ground rules and create a regulated and open platform for anyone to innovate and create value for India

Venkatraman Swaminathan, VP & Country GM, IT Division- India & SAARC, Schneider Electric

It’s heartening to see the Government’s continued push towards digitization, as is evident from the announcements made this morning.

The commitment towards setting up of 1 lakh digital villages in the next 5 years is sure to benefit the small & mid-size industries that form the backbone of the Indian ecosystem. This would result in the overall expansion of rural industrialisation by harnessing digital technologies.

We have been aligned to the Government’s aim towards strengthening the MSME ecosystem by developing products and services, keeping the Indian business environment in mind. We look forward to continuing this journey and work towards ensuring greater digital inclusion and improved access for the Indian business.