‘Progressive, inclusive, focused on technology’ - a day after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented Budget 2018, we round up key reactions from founders, CEOs and top honchos across India.
The budget allocations are out and have been announced. This year’s budget, is primarily focused on agriculture and healthcare. However, the key focus has been on digitisation and Startup India. While little has been mentioned about the abolition of angel tax, tech startups still have something to look forward, thanks to the push towards technology.
We bring you the key reactions from startups to Budget 2018:
“The budget is progressive, balanced, and forward-looking with a well-defined focus on Digital India. Ola is already a partner to some of the Digital India initiatives. Allocation of Rs 3,073 crore towards Digital India is a significant leg-up. The thrust provided to tourism, with the commitment of creating iconic tourist spots, investment earmarked for transport infrastructure, progress made on Smart Cities and creation of more than 5 lakh Wi-Fi hotspots in India, is truly welcome. Overall, it is a balanced budget that will further strengthen India’s position as a leading world economy with good livability index and business environment.”
“We welcome the government’s move to provide healthcare cover to 10 crore families as part of the National Health Protection Scheme. This is a big step forward and will help millions of people afford healthcare for themselves and their loved ones. Implementation of the scheme would be central to its success. I believe successful implementation will depend on optimal use of private healthcare providers and technology to make it seamless, convenient and transparent for the consumers. This is a great opportunity for the government to push for Digital Healthcare in a Digital India.”
“This year’s Union Budget laid a strong focus on inclusive development and sustained economic growth. The measures introduced to bolster fields such as agriculture, infrastructure, MSMEs, youth and rural economy, are commendable. The growth focus around ease of living is laudable, and we are hopeful that this will anchor the future growth of the Indian economy and its citizens. The measures announced today to benefit the farmer community and boost the agriculture sector will be instrumental in maximising farmers’ incomes while reducing waste and inefficiencies that contribute to inflation. It is heartening to see the government’s continued focus on education and digital connectivity to aid India’s transformation to become a digitally empowered, knowledge economy.”
“The finance minister’s budget speech reflects the government’s intent to increase the credit access for the MSME sector and women entrepreneurs under MUDRA scheme. P2P lending is using technology and new-age data, and diligently working towards taking organised credit to the non and under-banked segments of the Indian economy. This is an opportunity for the government to directly invest or co-fund through registered P2P Lending Platforms and ensure credit access for MSMEs, New-To-Credit as well as female entrepreneurs. P2P lending is an asset class ensuring flow of investments from those with surplus to those in need. Hence it’s important that the lenders are supported through tax incentives. We look forward to working with the government towards the common goal of financial inclusion.”
"Small businesses, farmers and rural economy are at the core of this budget. Reduction in corporate income tax to 25 percent for all businesses with less than Rs 250 crore annual turnover will be a big boost for enterprises. Simplifying and increasing access to credit under MUDRA Yojana for small businesses is a welcome step. Increased allocation to Digital India initiative, infrastructure, optical fibre network in rural areas, and Wi-Fi spots will bring millions of new users to the digital economy and ecommerce. Paytm Mall has been working with shopkeepers to grow their business through its O2O commerce model and I look at this budget as an opportunity to increase the scale of our partnerships."
"With a deep focus on the social sector, this year’s budget has ensured that India will be clocking a healthy growth rate. We are happy that the finance minister has given a boost to infrastructure spends and to the MSME sector. The MSME sector is the backbone of our economy, and this boost by the government will ensure higher production and consumption. With a focus on technology, the finance minister has provided great support to the digital industry. The government's decision to create 500,000 Wi-Fi hotspots in rural India will enable broadband access to those with no or little access to the realm of the internet. This will help grow the digital commerce industry and encourage more people to adopt cashless economy.”
“A reformist budget for startups and digital India. The government’s impetus on digitising the rural hinterlands, focus on smart cities, and commitment to blockchain technology will encourage the promotion of digital payments across the country, thereby making India truly digital. Further, disallowing cash payments beyond Rs 10,000 by trusts and institutions will boost digital payments. I commend the government’s decision to reduce corporate tax to 25 percent and improve the ease of doing business by providing a unique ID for every company on lines of Aadhaar. These initiatives will benefit startups and MSMEs immensely and lay a strong foundation for a progressive India. However, the government should consider regulating cryptocurrencies than curbing their use entirely.”
“Since the announcement of the Make in India programme three years back, over 85 percent of smartphones sold in the country are now produced locally. So, this is an opportune time to introduce next set of regulations to attract investment in the manufacturing sector and establish India as a global hub for electronics. At OnePlus, we are fully committed to the Indian market and welcome the proposed regulations. Currently, all OnePlus smartphones are produced locally and we are already exploring ways to further increase the share of local manufacturing to ensure there is minimal cost impact of any new regulations to the end customer.”
“We commend the focus on growing the digital footprint, providing better physical infrastructure, and improving not just the ease of doing business but also ease of living in the country. The enhancement of digital infrastructure with more broadband access in rural parts, unique ID to companies, record allocation to building national highways and railways, and multifold increase in airports will go a long way in broad-basing growth in the economy. We also welcome the emphasis on upgrading teaching methods and training teachers, which will enable India to have better learning outcomes. These initiatives will make an impact when there is continued attention on the implementation of these policies.”
“We are delighted about the recognition from the government, MSMEs are indeed a major engine of growth and employment generation. This budget not only provides small and medium enterprises easier access to their working capital requirements, but also highlights the importance of the role of online fintech lending companies. In the last year, while GST has been hailed as a much-needed overhaul of the indirect tax system, many small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) across sectors - services and product alike - are still adapting to the new tax regime. Of the 51 million SMBs present in the Indian market, around 20 percent are somewhat digital-savvy. Since the government is highly supportive of making India digitally tax-compliant, this budget will help small business by making it easier for them to adopt financial technology solutions that would help them make their tax filings faster and much more convenient.”
Standard deduction has been reintroduced but at a cost; it takes away medical reimbursement and travel allowance. There were several demands to raise medical reimbursement from Rs 15,000 and bring it up according to current prices (the amount has been same since more than a decade). However, now the clamour for raising this limit will die down. With this, for a salaried person, the amount taxable under salary shall be reduced by Rs 5,800. Cess will go up by 1 percent. Senior citizens have much to rejoice and will face lower burden of taxes; this is especially crucial with falling interest rates from banks and on deposits.”