Just like every year, this time as well government crafting a Budget to full fill the demands of different sectors but with an eye to achieve 5 trillion dollar economy. Current Finance Minister of India Nirmala Sitharaman Union budget for the financial year 2020-21 will present in Parliament on February 1. And the exercise for the same has been begun by the government, however, we yet don’t know what exactly would be in the casket of the 2020 budget but the expectations have started coming from different technology industries’ CXOs and management level representatives. Here are some of them, let’s have look what they want and hoped to have this time.
Ms. Sudeshna Datta, Co-Founder & Executive Vice President, Absolutdata.
As part of the Union Budget2020, we expect the government to put forth focused initiatives that will help India strengthen the momentum of its digital growth and contribute to the global growth story. India is steadily paving its path towards becoming a knowledge economy. However, there is a need for a key focus on upskilling and reskilling amongst the existing workforce and the country’s youth. This will help to bridge the pressing skill-gap and enable them to effectively navigate through the dynamics brought about by new and emerging technologies.
As we continue to witness a rapid digital transformation across industries, we hope that the Indian government will extend further support towards developing technological innovations and give a boost to new-age businesses in the ecosystem. We look forward to seeing more investments in the Artificial Intelligence sector, in particular, as indicated in the interim budget so that the benefits of AI technology can truly reach the masses. The delivery of this should be given priority in the short, medium and long term as well, in order to transform the architecture of our society into one that is forward-thinking and future-ready.
Mr Vikram Kumar, CEO and Founder Letstrack
“The government must help the startups to grow through the implementation of tax benefit to angle investors for investing in the startups and to reduce the GST for the entrepreneurs who are new in the markets. We need more policies favouring local businesses. The government needs to focus on development for technologies like AI, Data Analytics, Machine Learning etc. Adoption of technology is a must across both private and public sector companies and especially in sectors like Transportation. The government needs to emphasize more on the personal security of the individuals and their data. More budget needs to be allocated to the companies or manufacturers providing security products. The government in Budget 2020 should focus more on Smart Cities and Digital India initiative in order to shape the IT infrastructure and increase the adoption of technology. Lastly, we expect the policies to be implemented for higher use of technology in order to make systems efficient and transparent.”
CP Gurnani, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Tech Mahindra
“Realizing the dream of India becoming a 5 Trillion Dollar economy by 2025 truly outlines the ‘art of possible’ and depends largely on the choices we make. Digital continues to be the cornerstone of India’s strategy, therefore, sharpening focus on enhancing skills in new age technologies like 5G, improving the quality of education, and nurturing the start-up ecosystem are some key measures that will accelerate India’s IT exports and will help sustain its global competitiveness. As part of the Union Budget 2020, we hope to see focused initiatives by the government that will help India fortify its digital growth momentum and contribute to the global growth story. With 1.3 billion consumers and a large talent base including over 400 million millennials, India can play a key role in scripting a unique success story amidst the global economic slowdown.”
Mr Avneet Singh Marwah, Director and CEO of Super Plastronics Pvt. Ltd, a Kodak brand Licensee
“The Indian Government’s vision is to become a 5 trillion-dollar economy by 2024-25 and 2020 is a very crucial year for the economy. The areas of improvement are taxation, infrastructure and promote companies which are making in India. The implementation of GST was indeed a historical decision for the growth of the economy but for a developing nation like us, we should be having 2-3 slabs under 18%. In order to revive the GDP, India needs to have a lot of infrastructure, but first we need to complete the projects which are already in the process. This will help manufacturers like us to invest and manufacture more and help ‘Make in India initiative’ to be a successful model for the economy. India is an import driven market and It’s time for us to focus on exports to contribute to the economy which will give a boost to our GDP.”
Vamsi Krishna, CEO & Co-founder, Vedantu- a LIVE Interactive online tutoring platform.
“Education has transformed in a big way over the past few years where students and educators are most conscious of adopting engaging learning tools vis-à-vis recorded content. Live online learning is playing a big role in this transformation and its effects are now being witnessed from the metro to smaller towns. This change is in sync with India’s digital transformation story and the government’s plan to rejuvenate the education sector with the revamped “National Education Policy” in the last budget. We look forward to more such initiatives and friendly measures for the live online learning ecosystem.”
Mr Beas Dev Ralhan, Co-Founder and CEO, Next Education India Pvt Ltd
“The Indian education system is evolving fast; in the past few years, we have witnessed numerous changes. From the introduction of new education policy to the reform of the NEET exam to laying emphasis on digitised classrooms, ICT-enabled learning and quality teacher training programmes – different steps are being taken towards the development of the K-12 sector. Furthermore, Interim Budget 2019 announced an increase of 10 per cent in the education budget, a total amount of Rs 93,847.64 crore, for nationwide academic development. This year, it is expected that more financial support will be promised for education. Vivid introduction of technology in the classroom environment and knitting artificial intelligence with mainstream education is the way forward. India needs to integrate itself with the global big bang of technology. Introducing robots in education to revolutionise STEM can play a significant role in transforming education. Putting emphasis on early childhood education and ensuring that no child is left behind are important factors too. The new education policy has prioritised extensive teacher training and streamlining this process in the coming years will be an important aspect of developing the academic culture of India.”
Mr Amol Arora, Vice Chairman &MD, Shemford Group of Futuristic School
“Today’s government has a responsibility of not only correcting the short term economic crisis but also needs to look at the country’s economy in the long run. And education, especially early education, is the most important investment a country can make. One of the major issues plaguing our education system today is schools not being aligned to the future job requirements. The current education system is designed for the industrial age and definitely not for the information age of today. The challenge right now is not just producing students who will get jobs but students who can thrive in the volatile environment of tomorrow. To help narrow down the education-employability gap and develop a world-class skilled workforce, we need to get the Ed-Tech companies to the forefront. It is high time the government gives due recognition and boost to this sector in the upcoming Union Budget. It is also expected that contemporary and emerging trends will be incorporated in the curriculum with NEP 2020. The Union budget of 2019 allocated ₹94,853.64 crore for the education sector, an increase of nearly ₹10,000 crore from the previous year. The school sector got ₹56, 536.63 crore and the rest ₹38,317.01 crore was allocated to the higher education. Despite this, the higher education has been very outdated. The vast resources of the government and execution capability of the private sector should be combined to achieve more public-private partnerships. In the last budget, the teacher training initiative by CBSE was allocated only ₹125 crore, as against ₹871 crore allocated before. This needs to change this time with more emphasis on equipping the educators. The upcoming budget should also take steps to ensure that no student should end educational pursuits owing to lack of funds. To make lifelong learning possible for students, the budget should look at subsidizing education loans and make education affordable for all. Government needs to take required steps to promote holistic education which ensures literacy, life skills and employability.”
Mr Akhand Pandit, CEO & Founder, Catalyst Group
“With heavy digital penetration, the government should emphasize on modern and interactive techniques and should focus on teacher/faculty training with an aim to develop and build capacity for addressing the current learning needs of students. The government should also focus on improving facilities in institutions through setting up smart classrooms, modern laboratories, research facilities, libraries, etc, along with introducing mandatory student counselling with trained counsellors. With the upcoming budget, I expect the government to reduce the taxes over online educational courses so that the ed-tech sector can boost up and can reach to the broader region. The budget should look at subsidizing education loans. Maximum unsecured loans by banks for studying abroad is Rs 7.5 Lakhs. This is too low considering the cost of education. Also, Online courses are not well recognised yet. With high unemployability, it is these online short term courses, which will fill in the skill gap. The government needs to boost them.”
Mr Rajiv Bhalla, Managing Director, Barco India
As the country gears up for the Union Budget on Feb 1, the Indian economy is dealing with several issues including a drop in GDP, liquidity crunch, rising inflation and low tax revenue. While the Centre took multiple measures to boost the slowing economy, some of which have borne fruit, we believe that more steps are needed, especially in promoting growth in rural consumption and labour-intensive segments. Barco remains positive on the India growth opportunity and we look forward to favourable measures from the Centre, predominantly in the technology-enabled sectors and the domains we cater to – medical imaging, smart cities, technological innovation in tourism, among others.
Mr Yash Rane, Founder, Chizel
With the Indian economy on slowdown, we need a policy with long term sustainable growth and not just for a few years. We are looking at 9% GDP growth and that is not easy. GST has hampered the cash flow of SMBs thereby affecting their buying power. Government should enable monthly filings and quarterly GST payments. Also, it is time to accept that manufacturing is and has always been the backbone of India. With China-US relationship getting better, India needs stronger partnerships to bolster exports.
Mr Dhananjay Sharma, Director & CEO, Log 9 Spill
Cleantech companies around the country seek special incentive programmes and larger tax benefits with an aggressive government push for innovative cleantech solutions. So that this sector becomes more desirable and stable resulting in more investments in this sector. A conducive environment should be provided to encourage the creation of new cleantech businesses by easing regulatory and compliance policies for such companies.
Siddharth Jain, Co-founder, Vaahika
Indian economy needs an urgent dose of consumption booster; thus it would be wonderful to have provisions in the budget which could assist in an instant rise in consumer expenditures. Relaxation on personal income tax rates could be one such move that can act as a booster shot. We expect the budget to bring in provisions for lesser and reduced compliance for smaller companies; which as of today have to follow almost similar compliance that of a larger corporation. We expect this budget to come up with revolutionary steps to overhaul the complete compliance and fillings guidelines for smaller companies and startups and do away with the current penal provisions. The current economic slowdown could be linked with the rapidly declining health of MSME in India; especially the ones in the manufacturing sector. Though the government has already reduced the applicable income tax for this segment; but it appears that it has not been helpful in bringing the required turnaround. More needs to be done to address the concerns of liquidity crunch, ever-increasing compliance and reducing competence for the overseas markets. It has a worse impact on the Logistics sector, especially on the small and medium-sized fleet owners. On one side it is the demand which is declining and on the other side increased operating expenditures have made it very difficult for them to even pay the EMI’s regularly thereby increasing defaults. It is very much expected that the coming budget would have provisions to support not only the survival; but the revival of the logistics sector.
Mr Sidhant Lamba, Founder, Fabrento, an online furniture rental startup
Income tax holiday for a start-up should apply for all start-up companies registered beginning April 2015. Under GST, the extra GST inputs should be credited back to the startups ( like for us, when we buy furniture, we have to pay GST in it, now when we rent, the GST in rent is adjusted against the already paid GST during purchase. But even then, the GST on purchase is much higher compared to what we adjust in rent, so we want that extra GST to be credited back to us.
Mr Akshay Singhal, Founder, Log 9 materials, working in Nanotechnology Domain
I think for startups there are already a lot of initiatives in action, improved mechanisms for the execution of those schemes is extremely important. However, I am more concerned about the economy as a whole. To boost economy my suggestion would be to increase spending under the Swachh Bharat Scheme may be via MNREGA to get Indian cities clean by employing the bottom of the pyramid.
Mr Rakesh Kharwal, Managing Director, India/South Asia & ASEAN, Cyberbit.
The Digital India initiative has done a remarkable job and as Digital India 2.0 gets contemplated, the focus of the government should be to build superior trust in technology. We hope that this Union Budget will focus more on cybersecurity measures to protect the integrity of critical infrastructure for financial systems, public health, science, safety institutions, defence, aerospace, and intelligence agencies. We are anticipating additional budgetary allocation for the national cybersecurity programmers and at least 10% of the technology budget for cybersecurity initiatives. The government must also add stimulus to the market segment and the economy at large. Perhaps, a good way of doing it can be to include simulation-based cybersecurity training solutions like Cyber Range in the Skill India campaign. It will help in addressing the gap of 1 million professionals in the Indian cybersecurity industry while also aptly positioning the segment for the ripe global market. Apart from that, we expect that the budget will lay down a few more reforms to boost the service provider ecosystem in India.
Suganthi Shivkumar, Managing Director for ASEAN, India, and Korea, Qlik
The current government’s focus on aspects such as digitisation and data handling is fantastic and the IT industry has great expectations from the Union Budget 2020-21. We hope that the upcoming budget has provisions that can strengthen progressive initiatives such as ‘Make in India’, ‘Digital India’, and the ‘Smart Cities Mission’. Given how data and analytics are enabling organisations to bolster productivity through smarter, more effective work, the government must also look to incentivise data analytics and AI projects as well as introduce technology-friendly policies and better tax structures for the industry. More importantly, it must look to increase the ease of starting up a company, as it will help in creating more job opportunities for the country’s youth. The IT sector will continue to drive success for businesses across industries with our innovations while also creating new high-value jobs with evolved skillsets, including data literacy. We are hopeful that the budget announcement will help companies in this sector recover from the recent slowdown and optimally realise its growth potential to drive a large-scale transformation within the economy.
Mr Arjun Bajaj – Director, Videotex International
“Television we’ve established isn’t a mere luxury anymore and therefore we’re hoping for 32” above sizes to come under the 18% GST slab in lieu of the current 28% as it is not a baleful product for having to bear the brunt of such heavy GST. On the manufacturing front, it’d be great if government takes additional steps in improving the infrastructure and reducing input cost on components coming from China which would aid Indian sellers in setting up bigger and advanced manufacturing units and would level the playfield to compete with the Chinese Giants, strengthening the make in India initiative in the process.
Also, India as of now doesn’t have any open cell manufacturing plant so the 0% cell duty which is only valid till September is arbitrary as it would only go up again so it’d make more sense if it remains zero until open cell manufacturing happens in India. Lastly, encouraging the Make in India, the government must bring preference with duties/schemes, etc, for those who are Manufacturing in India over the imported Brands”
Mr Trishneet Arora, Founder & CEO – TAC Security:
India’s rapid digitisation trajectory is expected to further accelerate with the upcoming 5G deployment. However, while the 5G rollout will no doubt improve network latency issues and facilitate high-speed interconnectivity, it will also give rise to many pressing cybersecurity challenges. As the number of connected devices increases exponentially, threat actors will have more potential entry points that they can use to exploit and compromise enterprise devices, networks, and data at scale. This will make real-time visibility into network cybersecurity health and vulnerability exposure a non-negotiable requirement for enterprises across the country.
With this in mind, I feel that the government should prioritise promoting indigenous cybersecurity players in the vulnerability management space in the upcoming budget. Doing so will ensure that Indian organisations across industries have access to cutting-edge cybersecurity products and services that can streamline and strengthen their security profiles to make them ready for the digital age. It will also incentivise Indian cybersecurity companies to develop globally-defensible IPs that can add more momentum to the worldwide war on cybercrime.
Mr Amitansu Sathpaty, Managing Director, Best Power Equipment
There are no incentives, benefits and support for the existing MSMEs in the manufacturing sector. From the budget, we expect that the Government should create a business-friendly environment by giving tax credits, free land, worker training, low-interest loans, infrastructure improvements and help fast-tracking licensing and permitting. The Government should also support in terms of sponsoring our sectors’ exposure to the International markets. The Government’s initiative to promote Make in India can only be possible when the government starts funding which will help us as a sector to represent Indian manufacturers”.
Mr Sanjay Goyal–Business Head TechGig & TimesJobs
Last year established the adoption of new-age technologies like AI, Cloud computing, Machine learning and more. The dearth of the skilled workforce was the key factor in the slow transition and acquisition of change. On job training and promotion of certain courses on educational level should be a key focus in 2020. Also, the government needs to level up more on the employability of the available workforce through investments in relevant skill/vocational training.
Ms Yogita Tulsiani, Co-founder, iXceed Solution
To endure our economic growth, we need investments that will help generate a skilled workforce. This makes the hope for higher investment in education and connected
initiatives like Skill India. For one, we need to prepare the next generation of youth on future-focused skills like evolving technologies to build stronger career paths. We also need to think of ways to re-skill our current workforce beyond legacy and technical competencies. The government has to create a budget that encourages ease of business, increases consumption and recovers investment. This can happen only if the household increases their spending, which can only occur if they have more money in their hands. So, as expecting tax-breaks for the middle class, especially for the salaried class.
Ms.Nidhi Yadav, Creative Head and Founder AKS Clothings
It’s time to unroll the government’s sponsored Fund of Funds (FoF) of Rs 10,000 crore to resolve the funding issues of the MSMEs in apparel, retail, and other sectors. Secondly, for better funding support from venture capitalists, private equity firms, policies need to be clarified on crowdfunding and other possible financial routes. On the other hand, to surge market demand, the finance minister should present a comprehensive yet clear e-commerce policy. Besides, for the young and aspiring women entrepreneurs of India, the finance minister must introduce some motivational schemes, so that their knowledge and skills may get utilised in the economic development of the country.
Mr Rajeev Sharma, Head – Corporate Services & Strategic Planning, Mitsubishi Electric India Private Limited.
The government need to work in the right direction towards improving the economic situation of the country and we expect that the budget will focus on ways to revive growth. We expect that this budget will simplify the tax norms, increase spending on social infrastructure and provide steps to boost domestic spending. We hope that budget will strengthen ‘ease of doing business’ and support incentives for ‘Make in India’ and other schemes announced by the government of India so that policy continuity remains which can be actioned by corporates for their mid-term and long-term planning.
Mr Puneet and Yatin Jain Directors ODHNI
Over 6 crores MSMEs are sharing around 29 per cent to India’s GDP and they expect the government will introduce favourable policies and allocate substantial funds for the growth of MSMEs. Presently, out of 32,385 applications filed by MSMEs, 2,031 applications have been disposed of by the government under the delayed payment monitoring system called MSME Samadhaan. Apart from the lack of access to capital, infrastructure, skilled labour and power supply issues are some of the problems that plague MSMEs in India. Therefore, Indian entrepreneur hopes that the Union Budget 2020 will provide some long-term benefits to the MSME sector with better access to credit and lenient taxation policies.
Dr Vivek G Mendonsa- Director-Sales, Lynx-Lawrence & Mayo.
With the growing need for infrastructure development, the industry demands an appreciable part of the 2020 budget to be watchful towards supplying advanced tech-based infra solutions. While the Government has spoken on certain concepts, like the Smart City projects, which were launched initially at 30 cities and scaled up to 100 Smart Cities. Digital India and housing for all, these still need to materialize. Hence, the necessity of the Government taking concrete measures in advanced engineering is a must need for developing the sector. We certainly hope that the Government looks at opening up the infrastructure sector. Steps, like incentivizing the SME sector and providing additional financial flexibility, would certainly play a crucial role in benefitting the sector.
Mr Arjun Bajaj, Founder of Shinco India.
We expect from this upcoming budget – 2020 that tv’s in 32 inches and above sizes are expected to come in the 18% GST slab instead of the current 28% as TV is not considered a sin product in the current GST slab. The government should take additional steps to improve the infrastructure of the nation to help the manufacturers and the sellers in faster deliveries as well as setting up bigger and advanced manufacturing units. Also from the aspect of Indian manufacturering brands, we hope for the government to take some measures to reduce the input cost on the imported components to compete with the raising upcoming opportunities for the technology giants in India. Due to no open cell manufacturing plant in India, the customs duty should be zero.