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Image: Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay
 
 
Muted reactions to a low key budget

 February 1 2022: Here are some reactions from corporate India to the annual budget presented earlier today:
Lalit Kumar, J Sagar Associates: One of priorities of the Budget set out at the outset of the FM’s speech was financing of investments. There are big announcements made in this regard. There will issue of sovereign Green Bonds for boosting green infrastructure in public sector projects. The International Financial Services Centres at GIFT city will be developed greatly to set up world class universities to impart courses including in finance, science and technology and biology, all these will be free from domestic regulations. An international arbitration centre for disputes resolution is also proposed to be set up in the GIFT city. It will facilitate disputing parties to settle their disputes in a foreign jurisdiction (ie., akin to a foreign award). Further, service of global capital in also proposed in GIFT city. This will greatly benefit and accelerate the business activities in the International Financial Services Centres.
Nitesh Jain(Founder & CEO,BeSingular: This is a forward looking budget which is both inclusive and progressive. Thrust on digitalization of education and focus on upgrading syllabus across colleges will equip upcoming human talent with the right tools. The use of high-technology such as Kisan drones as well as battery-swapping will turn out to e growth engines for both agri-based and service-based economies. The introduction of a regulated digital currency is forward-looking and is in the spirit of harnessing blockchain and other exponential technologies
Hardika Shah, Founder and CEO, Kinara Capital:  The Union Budget has presented a comprehensive package of policy announcements aimed at supporting the recovery of MSME. Aside from the critical announcements about the extension of the ECLGS scheme and the revamp of the CGTMSE program, along with the infusion of additional funds, the government’s focus on RAMP is also commendable, as it will define the path to sustainable and responsible development for the sector.
Sandeep Lodha co-founder of Netweb Technologies: Government’s announcement of 5G spectrum auction by 22- 23 was on the expected line. It is good to see the announcement of PLI scheme for design led manufacturing, this will help in getting ready with Make in India products and solutions. We welcome the government commitment to R&D and formalizing the same by allocating 5% of Universal service obligation to this but will need to see when this can be effective on ground. R & D has a cycle and sooner we get in we can start rolling the products when the actual implementation starts.
Drones
Mughilan Thiru Ramasamy, CEO & Co-founder Skylark Drones
:The union budget and the initiatives announced continue to provide impetus to the growth of the drone industry in India. The introduction of drone shakti is a welcome move and will ensure business momentum and drive faster adoption of UAVs in the country. It is encouraging to see the government promoting Digital India and digitisation of various sectors through the integration of UAVs through varied applications and drones as a service. The announcement to promote the use of ‘Kisan drones' in the agricultural sector as part of the Budget for 2022-23 will enable the drone industry to collaborate with our farmers to improve operational efficiency and maximize profitability. This is a welcoming move and will make India’s agricultural sector future ready.
Swapnik Jakkampudi, Co-Founder, Skye Air: The FM announced a very progressive budget keeping a horizon and outlook of 3-4 years. The budget has covered multiple avenues for drone industry to rise, the focus on promoting Agricultural Drones and NABARD fund to support startups will result in ensuring that the Drone Industry reach a new milestone. The development of 100 new cargo terminals in the next 3 years will also add to the growth of Drones enabled to use for cargo deliveries within the terminals and terminals to delivery locations. The budget has been a very guiding force towards our Hon’ble PM’s vision for “Making India a Global Drone Hub by 2030
Telecom/5G
Umakant Soni, CEO & Cofounder, ARTPARK (AI & Robotics Technology Park)
: 5G will finally become a reality for 1.3 bn citizens of India and will help us with "Connecting the Unconnected". To streamline and fasten the process, the government should also look at models of spectrum auction. In rural areas the government should create schemes for higher utilization of such spectrum rather than looking to maximize auction prices. Public 5G built and operated in a decentralized manner will also help us create more jobs in rural areas.
Dhiraj Relli, MD & CEO, HDFC Securities: The Budget is growth-inducing and does the heavy lifting by sharply increasing capital expenditure. The focus on boosting manufacturing as well as an underlined emphasis on areas such as startups, modern mobility and clean energy, shows the FM has prioritised long-term growth. Individual taxpayers may feel a bit disappointed with the lack of direct tax cuts but this Budget lays the ground for a multi-year growth boom. The FY23 fiscal deficit has come in higher than expectations. Let’s hope the interest rates and inflation do not remain high for long
TV
Avneet Singh Marwah, CEO at SPPL:
I would rate this budget on an average. As expected, the government hasn’t changed any duties on consumer electronics. This will help the industry to have stable growth, despite the overachieving GST collection from the past 4 months. Still, the tax on smart TVs above 81 cm remains at 28%, which is the highest among any developing economy. There was talk that television would be included in the PLA scheme, which was also missing. Overall, the government made few announcements concerning the electronics industry.
Srividya Kannan, Founder & Director, Avaali Solutions: We welcome the announcement of Data Exchange among all-mode operators to be brought on Unified Logistics Interface Platform. Digital solutions are the way forward in any kind of enterprise management. Furthermore, to make businesses more efficient & profitable, we require a workforce that is skilled in API. This will be one of the most sought after approach as we pivot ourselves to the needs of a post-pandemic workforce requirement. The finance minister’s digital push for skilling across the digital ecosystem is an impetus in the right direction.
Amit Shah, Founder & CEO at A3 Tech:The finance minister has announced spending of ₹200 billion for road and 400 new trains in addition to a slew of initiatives in infrastructure,  manufacturing and logistics. We know that capex in infrastructure is key govt policy in fueling economic growth. China has proved that in the past and US is in the process of approving big infrastructure spending. I believe infrastructure initiatives announced in the budget is going to be major reason that, we will not only emerge out of pandemic but grow GDP by 8% or more.
Healthcare
Tarun Gupta, Co-founder, LISSUN:As a result of the pandemic, a lot of entrepreneurs had stepped forward to address the challenge of rising mental health issues in India. The cases of depression and anxiety disorders witnessed an increase of about 25% globally, and by 35% in India alone. The National Mental Health Programme and Health and Wellness Centres alone could not have reached every individual in the crisis that they might face struggling in a moment. The easy access was the primary point of concern for everyone trying to help towards the issue. The government has recognised this, and addressed the same by launching Tele mental health service. The budget inculcating the fact that focussing mental and emotional wellness is the need of the hour, itself talks about how progressive we are becoming in our approach as a nation.
Senu Sam Co-founder and CEO of Mykare: This is a budget which helps the healthcare more accessible for the common man. The increased allocations for healthcare will boost the country's healthcare sector and help in the generation of more jobs and the availability of skilled professionals that would help in meeting the increasing demand for accessible and affordable healthcare. It's a clear boost for the digital health tech startup on the new announcements on “An open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem will be rolled out.” This will give a new era for digital health startups.
Digital currency
Piyush Gupta, CEO, Polytrade:The announcement to introduce Central bank digital currency (CBDC) by Nirmala Sitharaman, the hon'ble finance minister in Budget 2022 is an encouraging development. The remark is a testimony that the government is supportive of utilizing digital currency for larger masses. The adoption of CBDC will improve and make it easier for people to use Polytrade with the supporting infra provided by the govt. The development will make digital currencies more accessible to the people just as UPI made digital cash easier to use. We expect that in near future the government will continue to support and encourage digital currencies that will propel the GDP to $ 5 trillion.
Harish Prasad, Head of Banking, India, FIS: The formal announcement of the Honble. Finance Minister on launch of India’s CBDC, the Digital Rupee, during 2022-23 is a much awaited and positive move.This will trigger a wave of preparatory activity amongst retail payments providers and apps to offer payment mechanisms using the Digital Rupee, along the lines as been seen in China with major Digital payments players and apps offering Digital Yuan payments via their apps. There will likely be a similar model that will be seen in India to support adoption and use of the Digital Rupee, which is paramount for its success.Another effect of this in the slightly longer term could be that the dependence on UPI for small value payments could potentially reduce with the Digital Rupee gaining traction in time. Given the level of growth being seen on UPI and the associated stress on technology infrastructures of issuers and banks, this may be a good thing after all.
Startups
Vikrant  Khanna, Co-Founder-CEO) of Mogi IO:The budget sets the tone for taking India one step forward as the Startup Capital of the World. There is an overarching theme of boosting digitization & entrepreneurship via tax incentives for another year and by earmarked capital expenditure & promoting startups in sector such as defense, agriculture, drone, digital currency, data centers, animation etc.There is no doubt it will lead to an accelerated trend of global investments and growth for the Indian start ups.
Rajat Singhania, Founder of HyLyt by SocioRAC:  I welcome this budget, which is keeping up with the need of the times (Data centers now counted as infrastructure, Crypto holding accepted as legal, e passports, National Digital Health system) and leverages India's strength (Push to agro startups, using Drones to solve India specific problems). It is progressive (Job creation, Economic growth at more than 9%) and innovative (PM Gati shakti, EV battery swapping policy)
Ankit Maggu, Co-Founder, Geekster: The biggest challenge that our youth face is the lack of in-demand skills, the reason for this is that our higher education has not been able to adapt as per the changing Industry requirements. The new age entrepreneurs are trying to address this gap through different models making skill based education accessible to the masses but a lot more needs to be done. The launch of digital university is a great step, as it will increase the penetration of quality education even in the remotest areas at affordable price points.Additionally, Digital DESH e-portal will help further refine the skills of the youth making them more employable and will reduce the skill gap, benefiting both - jobseekers, and employers.
Chirag Taneja, Cofounder and CEO at GoKwik: We are stepping into the new India, the India of startups. We have grown to a community of over 61400 startups which have created more than 6 lacs jobs for our people. The government has recognised that India has achieved the product-market fit for startups. From being home to 733 startups 5 years back to having over 14000 startups in 2021 alone, we are growing massively and multiplying quickly. Make in India is thriving and our startup ecosystem is a prime example of that.
Another interesting highlight is that the investment in enhancing transport infrastructure will really help the e-commerce space as logistics continue to be one of the biggest spends for the industry and is comparatively much higher than other nations. Enhancing transportation infrastructure will optimize the shipping process and save cost burdens for the e-commerce industry.Apart from these, data centres have now been awarded the infrastructural status. This is a very progressive move as development and financing will become smoother.
CP Gurnani, MD & CEO, Tech Mahindra:The budget truly echoes India’s vision towards inclusive development and building a truly ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ by providing a blueprint for the economy over ‘Amrit Kal’ from India at 75 to India at 100. FM’s key announcements on blockchain and setting up e-passports with futuristic technologies are a step in the right direction to help India emerge as a global technology leader. The focus on innovation and R&D (Research and Development) with an emphasis on strengthening talent capacity through STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) universities and skilling courses in IIT’s will enable India to become a global hub for skilled talent. Overall, Budget 2022 promises to provide the much-needed impetus to sustain India’s economic and digital growth
Rajiv Bhalla, MD, Barco India: The emphasis on growth, digitization and being future ready outlines the government’s commitment to cohesive development and ‘Make in India’. Focus on Gati Shakti masterplan, youth, women, job creation, technology and infrastructure development among others will drive India’s Amrit Kal, journey from 75 to 100 years as a democracy. India has the potential to be a world-class infrastructure centre, and the Budget has provided enough impetus to propel the same. In addition, we expect the digital ecosystem for skilling will boost human capital and empower industries significantly.

 A Gururaj, MD, Optiemus Electronics Ltd:The industry has been completely galvanized under the pioneering initiative of PLI scheme, with FM today stating that it has potential to create 60 Lakh new jobs and additional production of 30 lakh crores. This is also a clarion call to the industry to work much harder in the years to come to make it a reality.  On a macro level, the scheme around design-led manufacturing as part of the PLI scheme would fasten the development of the ecosystem, and also changes in customs duty will drive greater domestic value addition in Electronics manufacturing in the country, which has grown rapidly in the last few years.
Agendra Kumar, Managing Director, Esri India: Union Budget 2022 has announced the PM Gati Shakti program as one of the priority areas of the government. Seven engines of the PM Gati Shakti initiative are roads, railways, airports, ports, mass transport, waterways and logistics infra. As the Indian economy moves towards strengthening these initiatives, geospatial technology will gain more prominence in the process. As shared by the Hon’ble Finance Minister, the Gati Shakti program would involve huge investments in construction of about 25,000 Kms of highways, multimodal transport, and modernization of land records. These are welcome steps, and GIS and other geospatial technologies will facilitate efficient implementation of these schemes. With the launch of Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban), the government is aiming at universal water supply in all 4,378 Urban Local Bodies with 2.86 crores household tap connections, as well as liquid waste management in 500 AMRUT cities. GIS based water distribution network planning, execution and operations will go a long way in bringing these plans to fruition more quickly and efficiently.
Vikram Kumar, Co-founder, MyTat ( skilling):Budget 2022 gave a major and much needed thrust to digital skilling with initiatives like Digital DESH. Emphasis on a digital ecosystem for skilling and livelihood points to the much-needed market oriented digital skills development
Rajeev Sharma, Chief Strategy Officer, Mitsubishi Electric India: This is a growth-oriented Budget, I am sure that stepping up the capital expenditure sharply by 35.4% will have an incremental effect on the overall growth of the economy. It is good that the policy makers understand that nearly half of our population is likely to be living in urban areas by 2047, when India is at 100. The announcement for urban capacity building like mass transit, planning help, etc. would act as a good principle for development of the country. The budget has demonstrated a good balance between today’s needs and the future’s demand.