February 2 2022: Here are some more industry reactions to the Indian budget
Shailendra Katyal, Managing Director, Lenovo PC and smart devices business Group (PCSD):A welcome budget with investment-led growth and push on capital expenditure to fuel economic revival, digitization and employment generation. Calibration of custom duty rates will help local manufacturing of electronic products including computers. With the increased focus on ‘Skilling and providing employment in India’ in this budget, we are confident that local manufacturing will be encouraged and will further bolster the Indian smartphone market, as well as IT services and IT infrastructure markets. We also believe the focus on 5G technology will help in higher peak data speeds, more reliability, increased network capacity and a more uniform user experience. As a global technology leader, we believe these initiatives by the government and the paradigm shift to hybrid models for learning and working will lead to an accelerated adoption of technology in both consumer and enterprise segment
2022":Abhishek Rungta, Founder and CEO, INT: The thrust provided to digital assets in form of giving green signal to crypto currency is a much-needed welcome step. With a flourishing fintech ecosystem, this openness to digital currency will help optimize and fasten the mass scale leverage of digital infrastructure. The B2B sector is expected to be among first movers to include digital currency-based transactions for businesses. From demand perspective, we believe that the country’s push towards digital-led framework for all key aspects, will result in increased opportunities for IT services from domestic market.
Akash Gupta, Co-founder & CEO, Zypp Electric: The formulation of battery swapping standards and interoperability is a much-needed step in the right direction. There's been a lot of confusion in the swapping companies, which has dampened EV adoption. Seamless and widespread charging infrastructure is the need of the hour to accelerate the EV revolution in the country. The focus and thought towards the EV sector by the honorable finance minister reflects the government's poise towards accelerating EV adoption. This will also help us achieve our vision of expanding our battery-swapping network across 100 cities in the next three years I would have loved if GST in battery and spare parts had also been reduced to 5% like it's there for E-vehicles purchases; this would also help the entire electric vehicle ecosystem.
Mayur Mishra, Director and CEO, Corrit Energy and Infra:The Union Budget has brought forward necessary incentives for the mobility and electric vehicle sector, which have been at the forefront of innovation. There is no doubt that these initiatives will accelerate employment in the industry. In addition, a pervasive and ubiquitous battery-swapping infrastructure will reduce range anxiety for the 3-wheelers and taxi segments, limiting home charging and encouraging electric vehicle adoption. Given that batteries account for 50% of an electric vehicle (EV) cost, standardizing battery swapping infrastructure will accelerate economies of scale and reduce hurdles regarding EV adoption amongst the masses.
Chocko Valliappa, Vice Chairman, Sona Group of Education Institutions, Salem: The FM's announcement on further strengthening the digital education initiatives of the Government is very welcome. Digital University will provide a new avenue for keeping abreast of technology. Opening up of defence research to private sector and academia to an extent of 25% will open new pathways for research.The students from the financially challenged families will not be able to benefit from the renewed thrust on digital education until they have access to smartphones and computer devices. The government needs to enhance/provide access to devices to students from BPL (below poverty line) families.These students need to be provided access to highspeed network through nationwide network of Common Service Centres. Perhaps the enhanced Anganwadis can become wi-fi hot spots.Not embedding skill education as a part of curriculum in line with the NEP is a miss in this budget.While fees charged by education institutions are subject to GST. No input credit is available to these institutions. We hope that anomaly will be remedied in the coming weeks. Announcement of a Digital health ecosystem is a big step forward as it will will enable digital registry of providers, unique health identity. The new mental initiative is timely as we are coming out of a pandemic.
Vikram Singh, CEO & Founder, TechEagle, a leading Drone delivery: We are happy to see, finally with Budget 2022, Govt. shows focus around Drones for masses in agriculture, healthcare and logistics applications with the announcement of following things in Budget 2022 by FM : Kisan Drones: It will promote use of Drones for crop assessment, digitization of land records, spraying of insecticides, and nutrients. Kisan Drones, in my opinion, should involve improving healthcare access in rural and remote India with the help of drone-based medical item delivery, as well as delivering agricultural products from farm to warehouse for better pricing and transportation. This will aid in the mainstream adoption of drone technology.Drone Shakti: Start-ups will be promoted to facilitate ‘Drone Shakti’ through varied applications like Healthcare Drone Delivery, Air Taxis, Drone based on-demand delivery of parcels, Agriculture, Survey, Mapping etc. Drone-as-a-Service (DAAS) is a business concept that is comparable to the commonly used term Software as a Service (SaaS) (Saas). Drone-as-a-service eliminates the need for government departments to purchase items and instead rents them out as a service, allowing them to become asset light and take advantage of the greatest available capability and technology on the market. As technology advances on a daily basis, government departments' assets are becoming increasingly cluttered with old technology. As a result, it's a win-win situation for both the government and drone start-ups. For instance, TechEagle is constructing a unique On-Demand Drone logistics Airline and selling it on a Drone-as-a-Service basis to Government organisations and business companies for altering healthcare and logistics to save and improve a billion lives.
Madhusudan Ekambaram, Co-Founder & CEO, KreditBee: Initiatives like Desh stack e-portal and interlinking of Udyam, e-shram, NCS and Aseem portals will surely contribute to the Digital Infrastructure and entrepreneurial push. Introduction of Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), leveraging blockchain technology will influence the digital transactions and hence its implementation process will be something to pay attention to. Government’s recognition of startups as the drivers of economic growth is heartening. Measures like setting up an expert committee to suggest measures to help attract investment and extension of tax incentives period for startups incorporation by 1 year, will certainly aid in creating a healthy startup ecosystem.
Pulkit Sharma, Co Founder and Ceo, Khabri: We highly support our government's decision of the Production Linked Incentive Scheme that will create 60 lakh new jobs in the next 5 years. The idea of Digital university will help India set a top-notch world-class education. We believe that knowledge and awareness will support India becoming Atmanirbhar and through the expansion of the One class, one TV channel' program of PM eVIDYA this cause will be highly achievable.
Chetan Kumar, Co-Founder, Ekank Technologies: Firstly, would like to appreciate our government extending the tax initiatives for startups up to March 2023. Through tax initiatives and new reforms in the direct tax, the startup ecosystem will enhance effectively within no time. The idea of launching a digital university will help understand people the culture of India through world-class education.The Introduction of Digital currency by the central bank will definitely lead away to cheaper currency management. The highlight of the budget for us is the expansion of the One class, one TV channel' program of PM eVIDYA which will help promote the regional languages in the country as through the program, all states will provide supplementary education in regional languages for classes 1 to 12.
Vikas Jain, Co Founder and Ceo, World of Play: We support the government's focus on technology, it will help many tech based companies like WORLD OF PLAY to come up with exciting product experience for the Indian consumers. We welcome the focus of government on the wearables and acoustic component ecosystem and domestic manufacturing and believe on a long term, this focus will make India as a formidable design and manufacturing powerhouse. Additionally the boost in ease of doing business and special impetus on creating 60 lakh new jobs will give a desired push to the goal of becoming Atma Nirbhar Bharat. As a brand, we promote and follow Make in India and we believe long-term policies like this will give us the desired support for the local design and also manufacturing in India
Vijay Kumar Mikkilineni, Head of Marketing, TCL India : We welcome the Finance Minister's increased focus on the consumer electronics industry and formation technology, which will definitely benefit all worldwide companies, including ours. The 2022 Union Budget allocated 1.97 lakh crore ($26 billion) for PLI projects, notably electronic components, which are among the 13 vital sectors that would undoubtedly help our economy expand.Furthermore, reduced customs taxes will encourage electronics manufacture, which will benefit the electronics industry.
Nitin Sharma, Partner at Antler India: This is a huge development. For the first time, a budget speech at the highest level has framed things in terms of “virtual digital assets” which can be regulated and taxed as a legitimate asset class in the future.The devil will be in the details but I see this as possibly a step 1 towards a regulatory framework which many of us have been advocating for since 2018 to ensure India plays a huge role in the development of Web3 - the new Internet.Until now, the debate was slightly misguided by assuming all digital assets were “private cryptocurrencies”, while most cryptos aren’t meant to be currencies. For me, it was still a positive surprise because the RBI continues to have serious opposition to non-sovereign digital assets, and only supports a government CBDC.At the same time, it was important to curtail rampant speculative retail activity and with the tax brackets and TDS, the government wants to disincentivise some of that.We have to wait for the crypto bill later this year to understand the details around whether the CBDC will mean any further constraints with respect to digital assets, but the overall intent seems positive and clear.
Nitin Bansal, MD, India & Head-Networks - Southeast Asia, Oceania, and India at Ericsson: We are pleased that the budget for 2022 seeks to leverage technology for enabling the next phase of sustainable socio-economic development of the nation with the use of drones for land surveys and crop assessments, the introduction of digital currency, infrastructure status to data centers, e-content delivery, and e-passports. Apart from this, the announcement of the DESL stack portal to upskill Indian youth as per industry needs will help to fill the talent and skill gap. From a telecom sector perspective, FM’s announcement around the 5G spectrum auction, 100 percent fiberisation with PPP model will provide the required impetus to build upon ubiquitous and reliable internet connectivity. Thereby, bridging the digital divide for a conducive and inclusive development of the nation in keeping with the ‘Digital India’ initiative. Further, design-led initiatives for 5G under the PLI scheme and 5% of USOF for R&D purposes will strengthen the ‘Make in India’ initiative, and contribute to making India a global manufacturing hub.
Venkatraman Narayanan, Managing Director & CFO, Happiest Minds Technologies: A capex heavy, investment push and demand generating budget. I expect the private sector to more than match the capital spend of the Government thus supporting GDP growth of 9% plus, leaving enough headroom for expenditure on farms, health, education and other social sectors. The theme of continued ease of doing business, consistency and stability in tax rates, rebates, push to further digitise the economy, issue of RBI backed digital currency, legitimising digital assets, etc. seem to aid and support the all and in specific the IT Industry which is expected by NASSCOM to grow to become $350 billion in size in 5 years.
Sandeep Lodha, Co-founder at Netweb Technologies: The government has announced a number of targeted spending initiatives that will boost the IT industry both directly and indirectly. Project Gati Shakti, on which the government is concentrating its efforts, will usher in a major shift in the country's supply chain management. For projects like these, the use of technology, as well as the expanded use of technology, will be critical. This will boost Cloud usage even more, with various AI use cases and benefits for technologies like blockchain. The government's commitment to education and Edutech will have a greater impact on education quality, resulting in more highly skilled individuals accessible in the country. Giving a licence to a renowned international university will strengthen this skill much more. The introduction of 100 television channels will benefit the media and broadcast industries, which will necessitate a large amount of IT-related equipment, as well as a large number of portals for learning management systems. The government's announcement of a 5G spectrum auction between 2022 and 2023 was on track.
Ranjan Kumar, Founder & CEO, Entropik Tech: It’s encouraging to witness that India is becoming a technology-led economy and the Union Budget 2022-23 proves this further. We are glad that the budget plans focused on the growth of the Indian start-ups ecosystem and adoption of technology is promoted across sectors. Focus on sunrise sectors and supportive policies for AI, Geospatial Systems and Drones, Genomics and Pharmaceuticals, etc. can assist sustainable development at a larger scale. Budget investments in R&D to further technological breakthroughs will definitely accelerate the digital economy. Furthermore, tax holiday for another year would definitely help upcoming startups and provide a much-needed boost.
Debashis Chatterjee, CEO and MD, Mindtree: While the move to grant infrastructure status to data centres will be a game-changer for India, initiatives such as Digital Rupee and e-passports based on futuristic technologies are positive for the tech industry.It is heartening to see the growing accent on digital tools and technologies in the area of education and learning outcomes, as evident in the initiatives around e-content creation and distribution. The setting up of virtual science, mathematics and simulated learning labs to foster critical thinking, and a digital university to raise the bar of quality and personalisation in learning will enhance India’s global competitiveness. One of the salient aspects of the budget is the continued emphasis on skilling and employability, which are critical to reinforcing India’s position as a global skills hub. The launch of a dedicated skilling e-portal and the realigning of skilling programmes, partnerships, and frameworks with rapidly evolving industry needs are timely steps in the right direction. Nurturing more structured development of tier 2 and 3 cities is a crucial move towards augmenting our ability to capitalise on our talent dividend, which continues to be one of the cornerstones of the global success of India’s IT services industry.
Himesh Joshi, Co-founder and CEO, Ayu Health Hospitals: For the startup sector, the move on the extension of tax redemption by another year is a welcome move by the government. A very thoughtful and timely move by the FM is to open a platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem and National Tele Mental Health Programme, to tackle the adversities of the pandemic. With the current pandemic wave in progress, continued support from the Government in terms of incentivisation for the sector, like Ayushman Bharath schemes will also help in ramping up infrastructure. Additionally, The governments’ continued will to further speed up pay-outs to private hospitals, could lead to more acceptance of the government-run schemes across the sector.
Saurabh Saxena, Intuit India Site Leader: Budget 2022 has shone a bright light on the importance of mental health. This is especially vital and positive for all of us as a community considering the increased conversations around mental health and across industries and communities. The fact that the government has created a platform to address mental health through the national tele mental health program is commendable and is one step further in making India an inclusive nation focused on well-being and positive living.
The pandemic has only accelerated the urgency of acquiring new skills and this dynamic encompasses more than remote working or the role of automation and AI. Budget 2022 highlights the government's push for a digital ecosystem for skilling and livelihood that is to be launched. We are thrilled to be a part of the government’s efforts towards skilling and in fact we have a number of skilling initiatives for our employees to be industry ready and up-to-date with their knowledge.
Abhinav Jain, CEO and Co-Founder, ALMOND Solutions: The Government has shown that they are going all-in on India’s start-up dreams, leveraging it as a big economic lever, with tax benefits. We are extremely happy and thankful that the the redemption of taxes for 3 consecutive years which were offered for three years will be extended by 1 more year. The economic survey has shown that in 2021 14,000+ new startups have been recognised in India, and the trend shows that it’s up 20 times in five years. This was a clear indication for the government that Indian start-up ecosystem needs the push to fly. Talking of flying, the Drone Shakti program signals government’s growing belief in the power of technology, and for a growing tech start-up like us, it also opens up a lot of opportunities. Our innovation teams will take this as a green signal to enter into the drone space and begin developing solutions.
Ajay Pareek, Chief Business Officer, Fullerton India: The FM has delivered a Union Budget today that was clearly focussed on economic recovery through increased capital expenditure for the country’s growth. The push towards self-reliance reveals the government’s steadfast intention to achieve the long-term goal of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’. The extension of the ECLGS scheme till March 2023, as well as the expansion of the guarantee cover by ₹50,000 crore to ₹5 lakh crore is a welcome sign for the NBFC sector and over 130 lakh MSMEs. The thrust to digitise India and the focus on the fintech segment will help enhance financial inclusion. The affordable housing segment also received a boost today, with the allocation of Rs 48,000 crore under the PMAY urban and rural schemes.
Mitesh Thakker, CEO & Founder, MissCallPay: This 2022 Budget is a real booster budget, As it is focused on vulnerable sections to increase adoption of technology and digital payments in Bharat. Firstly due to the announcement of 75 Digital Banking Units (DBUs) in 75 districts.. a unique initiative and digitization of 1.5 Lakh post offices to provide core banking to the nook and corner of Bharat. Secondly, there is mention of a focus to promote the use of payment platforms that are "economical and user friendly."
It seems government has heard my prayers to bring some reforms for feature phone and voice based payments as there are 97.3 Crore mobile subscribers who still not on UPI, while top UPI apps like GooglePay, PhonePe, PayTM, AmazonPay, Govt's own BHIM as well as app of other 55 Banks have only been able to enroll 20 Crore users on UPI and most of these users are from the Lower Middle-Income segment non-tech savvy, from villages and elderly who struggle to make cost-free zero MDR money transfers, while we zip through addictive UPI based apps.. that ease of UPI has led to big increase in UPI Payments, but UPI user-base has kind of hit the glass ceiling at 20 Crore.
Shachindra Nath, Executive Chairman and Managing Director, U GRO Capital: The Finance Minister today announced an encouraging set of measures, targeted towards rapid growth of MSME sector and the economy. The extension of ECLGS scheme by Rs. 50,000 upto March 2023, with a special focus on ailing hospitality sector is crucial to facilitate its faster recovery. The credit support has also been provided in the form of Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) revamp with credit of Rs 2 lakh crore for micro and small enterprises. These initiatives will help financial institutions to mitigate risk and stimulate credit outreach to MSMEs. The Government also announced inter-linking of Udyam, e-SHRAM, NCS & ASEEM portals and providing services such as credit facilitation and entrepreneurial opportunities. This will certainly aid in the MSME sector’s formalization and growth. The Government has time and again shown distinctive support to the country’s MSME sector and encouraged its contribution to the Atmanirbhar Bharat imperative.
Lokesh Harjani, Founder & CEO – OnSpot Solutions: ECLGS scheme is a welcomed initiative and will help the MSME segment with their cash flows and help fuel growth for companies across segments. The interlinkage of government portals will help credit facilitation and enhance entrepreneurial growth for tenders and new business opportunities in a single reformed structure. This level playing field should yield a chance to start-ups and young companies registered as MSME to offer their products and services. Further integration of government portals will help ease the financial burdens with cleaner payment lines making payments more on time than in the past. This itself, will once again, help very important cash flows and credit lines of MSME companies. The extension of the 15% tax scheme for start-ups for an additional year, is of course, welcome. Additionally, the government has allowed public sector undertakings / government companies to accept surety bonds thereby making it easier for smaller companies to provide performance guarantees which may help in the bidding stipulations for tenders. This step should make competition thrive across different sized companies listed under MSME, especially those in start-up mode. The digital Rupee initiative may open up opportunities for the IT sector in the future.
Bibin Babu, Co-founder, MetaSpace: It was certainly a growth budget, and the introduction of India's own digital currency ensures the cryptocurrency industry's future success. The tax provision of 30% was announced in the Union budget 2022 for digital assets. No expenditure deduction except the cost of acquisition. It's a win-win situation! Now, retail investors should no longer worry about whether they can invest in cryptos.
Mo Akram, Ideator, MetaSpace: Union Budget 2022 confirms more crypto adoption on the way as it presents fine-tuned clarity on the crypto landscape. There will be a sensational boom for cryptocurrency as more emerging investor classes begin to recognize the potential of it, leading to more blockchain innovations. Yet another step towards positive crypto regulations and taxation clarity. "
Abhay Aggarwal, Founder & CEO, Colexion: Cryptocurrency seems to have caught the government’s attention after FM recognised the currency as virtual digital assets. However, the biggest eye-catching part is the government’s decision on crypto taxation. It is noteworthy to consider this move as a progressive step towards monitoring, authenticating and regulating the crypto ecosystem in the country and bringing possible transformations.The highlight of the Budget for me is that India will be launching its own digital currency by next year. It’s a historic move as people are finally clear that digital currency is here to stay and can make a rational choice while investing in cryptocurrency. I hope this catches on and banks, too, start getting involved with the crypto industry as well.
Amit Singal, General Partner, Fluid Ventures: Startups have got a boost in this year’s Union Budget. Among the many incentives proposed in the Budget is the reduction of voluntary exit, where the government has allowed the closure of a private limited company in 6 months of non-functioning. This will not only help accelerate and provide relief to startups wanting to shut a business but encourage them to experiment. Earlier they had to run the company for 18 months, even after closure, to avail of the benefit of the Fast Exit facility.