QuickTake: founders, entrepreneurs, and business leaders react to Budget 2019Sutrishna Ghosh
That the Interim Budget would be a populist one was expected, but Finance Minister Piyush Goyal topped expectations with positive surprises for farmers and the salaried middle class.
The Interim Budget of 2019 will be remembered as being a report-card of the government's achievements over the last five years: but then, that was largely expected in an election year. While Finance Minister Piyush Goyal made several announcements that were termed as populist, he unfortunately did not have much to say about startups, except praising the work they are doing in terms of creating jobs and innovation. The big hurrah, though, came from his announcement that individual taxpayers who have an annual income of up to Rs 5 lakh will get a full tax rebate.
Here’s how the startup community – founders, entrepreneurs, and business leaders – reacted to the Interim Budget 2019.
The decision to carry all tax verifications via an anonymous digital interface and processing all tax returns within 24 hours displays the Government’s strong intention to build a digital nation, whilst putting convenience in the hands of its citizens and ensuring complete transparency.
Finally, the increase in the standard deduction for salaried citizens is an encouraging move as more than 3 crore middle-class taxpayers will now get the tax benefit of almost Rs 4700 crore.
- Bhavin Turakhia, Co-founder and CEO, Zeta
We welcome the tax exemption for the middle class, which will materially increase their disposable income. This will in turn increase consumption, both through online and offline retail. The continued push towards creating digital and physical infrastructure will spur inclusive growth for the country.
- Kunal Bahl, CEO and Co-founder, Snapdeal
Taking into account the issues being faced by small enterprises and addressing will definitely have a positive impact on the startups, thereby leading to more jobs for youth. The restriction of GST at up to 5 percent for daily use items is a relief for consumers at large and shall help in increasing revenues and sales for retail businesses.
- Anant Goel, CEO and Co-founder, Milkbasket
With the announcement of National Artificial Intelligence portal, we expect India to be propelled on the path of leveraging advanced and disruptive technologies for economic prosperity and growth. We congratulate the government for this forward-looking budget.
- Aakrit Vaish, CEO and Co-founder, Haptik
The current budget is a step forward in the right direction when it comes to boosting the economy but it’s very predictable. Sops for middle class and farmers are done with the flavour of election, but are a welcome step towards driving consumption. The budget focuses a lot on the government’s achievements and leaves the implementation of promises to the next government. Not much for the insurance ecosystem. Overall it will bring cheer to a large portion of the nation.
- Premanshu Singh, CEO, Coverfox.com
The budget highlighted that mobile data consumption has increased 50 times in the last five years. This is a fantastic piece of news for fintech companies like ours, as we will be able to reach out to the masses, beyond urban India and make a huge impact on driving financial inclusion. We also applaud the government’s plan to create one lakh digital villages in the next five years. This step will go a long way in empowering the Digital India story.
- Bipin Preet Singh, Founder and CEO, MobiKwik
The housing industry has a lot to cheer. This year’s biggest takeaway has been the benefit under Sec 80(i)BA getting extended for one more year, for all housing projects approved till March 2020. Additionally, the benefit of rollover of capital tax gains has been proposed to increase from investment in one residential house to that in two residential houses, for a taxpayer having capital gains up to Rs 2 crore. Further, income tax relief on notional rent from unsold houses, which has now been extended to 2 years, along with an increase in TDS threshold on rental income raised from Rs 1.8 lakh to Rs 2.4 lakh, is a welcome step.
- Maneesh Upadhyaya, Chief Business Officer, 99acres.com
The budget has clearly recognised the importance of technology in the growth of the country by announcing the development of the National Artificial Intelligence Portal. Govt move to convert Indian Villages to Digital Villages in next five years with 1 lakh digital villages seems to be promising as this would help us educating more and more learners in Tier II and Tier III cities.
- Ishan Gupta, MD, Udacity India
The Interim Budget of 2019 is rightly focusing on the middle class, rural sector and on enhancing farmers' income. It is giving huge resources in the hands of people which will drive rural income and consumption. Growing consumption is critical to support and boost local manufacturing and job creation in the country. Overall, this Budget maintains focus on fiscal consolidation and is a win-win budget for all as it will help bridge the divide between India and Bharat.
- Krish Iyer President & CEO at Walmart India
The government has done a fantastic job of making the internet accessible to millions of Indians. Now it’s the job of internet companies to localise their products and content so that the increased access to data can be satiated and utilised with an equal amount of content and user-friendly experience.
- Gautam Raj Anand, Founder and CEO, Hubhopper
The budget, as expected, had a lot for the farmers, and the middle class. The direct transfer for farmers and the tax cut for the middle class will be a big boost to consumption in the country. For startups, this will result in more and more people buying smartphones, and getting connected to the internet. Further, this should increase the number of people transacting online. The continuous increase in taxpayer base is signalling that the economy is getting further formalised, which is extremely good for the country and the employees.
- Pawan Gupta, Co-Founder, Curofy
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 Internet. The announcements of digitising 1 lakh digital villages in the next five years will prove to be just that. Tax exemption 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 creation of jobs, especially for the youth.
- Mayank Bhangadia, CEO & Co-Founder, Roposo
We expect the pro-middle class initiatives to boost consumer confidence as their spending abilities will go up given the tax reforms introduced for individual taxpayers. Also, the move to make one lakh villages go digital in next five years will help in reducing the urban-rural divide and make rural India digitally empowered. Overall, this is a positive budget and will serve to consolidate and strengthen the country’s growth trajectory.
- Saurabh Kumar, Founder, Grofers
The Interim budget is in favour of two sections: the common man seeking access to quality and affordable healthcare; and the organisations providing this. Given the rising cost of healthcare, the reduction in prices of essential medicines, stents, and knee implants will come as a boon. The budget is also in favour of startups using technology to make breakthroughs and deliver healthcare innovatively. The National Centre for Artificial Intelligence will be an enabler in using technology to make diagnosis, treatment, and tertiary care more accessible and better. We would have been happy to see some policies in the area of home healthcare.
- Meena Ganesh, MD and CEO, Portea Medical
(This copy has been updated with additional voices.)