Budget 2019: Post-Budget reactions from India Inc, startup ecosystem
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday presented the 89th Union Budget in the Lok Sabha, emphasising the Indian government's vision to grow to a $5 trillion economy by 2025.
Here's a look at what Indian business leaders, entrepreneurs, and investors in the Indian startup ecosystem, and policymakers had to say about the 2019 Budget.
On measures to bolster the MSME and startup ecosystem:
Sampad Swain, CEO & Co-Founder, Instamojo
- "The introduction of the Rs 1 crore – 59 minute MSME loan brings great relief to small business owners, making easier accessibility and processing of loans through a single portal. This in turn will translate into the stability and growth of the sector, with the sustenance of existing business and birth of new ones. Also, the pension programme for 30 million retail traders is an encouraging move, keeping in mind that the Indian retail space is still majorly driven by small business owners and traders. This not only brings a long-term life plan for these traders, but also helps towards the gradual formalising of this majorly unorganised sector."
Rehan Yar Khan, Managing Partner, Orios Venture Partners
- "For Angel Tax, the FM addressed the issue saying that existing cases will be disposed off, that assessing officers will need their supervisor's ok before issuing demands and that valuation is outside the scope of Income Tax. If these are implemented in spirit, we may finally see the end of this unholy tax. Corporate tax reduction to 25 percent for up to Rs 400 crore turnover companies is welcome and a step in the right direction."
Dhruv Agarwala, Group CEO - Housing.com, PropTiger.com, Makaan.com and Fastfox.com
- “The standout announcement in Union Budget 2019, for the real estate sector, was the additional deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh for those seeking home loans for affordable housing projects, which will be allowed till March 31, 2020. The FM mentioned that this takes the deduction up to Rs 3.5 lakh cumulatively and translates into a gain of Rs 7 lakh, during a 15-year loan repayment tenure. This boost on the demand side was clearly needed considering that many home buyers have turned fence-sitters, awaiting such tax sops or correction in prices. On the supply side, over 81 lakh houses have been sanctioned, out of which construction has been completed for 26 lakh houses under the PMAY Urban scheme and this too, shall continue to boost the market for affordable homes."
Ms Meena Ganesh, MD & CEO, Portea Medical
- The new dedicated statup channel to be operated by the Doordarshan Group will encourage people in the remotest parts of the country to take the path the entrepreneurship and will help SME's strengthen their operations. The relaxation of conditions for carry-forwarding and setting off company losses will also boost the ecosystem.
Vishal Gondal, CEO and Founder, GOQii
- The Budget 2019 is paving way for a brighter future for India’s startup ecosystem with easing the angel tax, ensuring more entrepreneurs jump into the startup bandwagon. The idea to have a separate channel for startups under the aegis of Doordarshan will disseminate critical information in the industry on a real-time basis to budding entrepreneurs in the tier II and III markets particularly, enabling these entrepreneurs to help realise the Government of India’s vision of becoming a $3 trillion economy this year.
On measures to boost EV adoption:
Tarun Mehta, CEO and Co-founder, Ather Energy
- "The government has already moved GST Council to lower GST on EVs from 12 percent to 5 percent and the additional income tax reduction is a major boost for end consumers to purchase EVs. It addresses the concern of the upfront cost of purchasing electric vehicles. This is the best example of a consumer driven change and is also how Ather envisions the EV sector to achieve scale and growth. It now becomes imperative that OEMs chalk out plans that allows the industry to scale up and meet the demand for compelling products."
Anand Ayyadurai, CEO & Co-Founder, VOGO
- "The strong focus on EV in the Budget is great news for us. The Rs 10,000 crore budget for FAME II, the reduction in GST for EVs, and the focus on ensuring high-quality vehicles are welcome announcements for us and customers. This will speed up the push for clean mobility in India - helping us add significantly more electric vehicles to our fleet. With electric scooters available on rent, India's shift to e-mobility will be much faster and smoother, thereby, enabling us to kick-start a clean mobility revolution in India."
On measures to enhance new technologies adoption:
Kartik Walia, Head of Operations (India) at Amplify.ai
- "The government, while adding greater impetus on digital adoption and infrastructure enhancement, has a positive outlook towards promising technologies, including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data. It has recently announced the launch of National Artificial Intelligence Center and National AI Portal and now, in the Union Budget, has promised to build skill-sets in ultramodern technologies such as AI, Big Data, and Robotics. The government's technology-centric strategy is highly appreciable and we believe that favourable results will be visible in the near future."
Aakrit Vaish, Co-founder and CEO, Haptik
- "The demand for specialised skillsets in niche technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) has increased drastically. The government has recognised and addressed this schism by pledging to train 10 million youth in industry relevant skills like AI, IoT and Big Data. We, at Haptik are also constantly empowering the developers and enthusiastic engineers to build next-generation conversational AI on a daily basis. We are delighted to see that our government is also putting efforts to improve the skills of our youth in newer areas such as AI, Big Data, and Robotics."
Ishan Gupta, MD, Udacity India
- We are pleased to observe that the government has recognised India Inc. as a key job creator while showing a cognizance of the tech-led transformations occurring in the space. As such, the government’s focus on encouraging skill development and training in various tech-centric areas including Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Robotics, etc. is an extremely welcome step. The proposed measures will ensure the next generation of students is job-ready for the high-value jobs that are rapidly emerging both in India and abroad.
On agri sector reforms:
Kunal Prasad, COO & Co-Founder, CropIn
- The finance minister has taken a positive and cautious approach for the current financial year. The proposed steps to double the farmer's income is a herculean task. Given our experience, public and private partnerships have the complete potential to translate the herculean task to a vincible one that would assist the Central and the State governments.
On financial services sector reforms:
Harshil Mathur, CEO and Co-Founder, Razorpay
- “On the digital payments front, the government has demonstrated their interest in promoting digital payments in a great way - a) any business will be charged a TDS of 2% on cash withdrawal of above Rs 1 crore in a year, b) any business which has an annual turnover of Rs 50 crore and above must opt for certain modes of payments, with no charges or merchant discount rates. I believe this will discourage businesses from making cash transactions and encourage them to make payments through digital channels."
Saurav Goyal, CFO, Money View
- "Government's plan to allow FII and FPI investment in NBFC debt securities is a great move to ease liquidity condition in the financial sector. This will help mid-size NBFCs by providing another avenue to raise funds."
Abhishek Goenka, CEO & CFO at CoWrk
- This was a budget with many differences. On the positive side, there was more focus on strategic initiatives such as no charges on fund transfers, tax deduction on loans for EVs, interchangeability of Aadhaar and PAN, and the various measures on easier KYC. On the flip side, there hasn’t been adequate emphasis on fiscal discipline, and the approach of a sharp increase in tax rates for the rich as the only revenue enhancement measure is unimaginative to say the least. I am also disappointed that the corporate tax rate has not been reduced across the board.
On skilling and education sector reforms:
Amol Arora, MD - Shemrock & Shemford Group of Schools
- "This Budget is guided by the mission to strengthen the Education Sector especially the establishment of the ‘National Research Foundation’, which will definitely help in creating the right ecosystem for R&D in the country. And it was great to see the government finally taking notice of industry-relevant skills like AI, IoT, Big Data, and reforms in the higher education sector. A humble yet notable announcement was the ‘Study in India’ Programme, which holds the potential to put India on the world map. However, we still need a series of fundamental structural reforms - which I hope will be addressed in the near future."
On women's empowerment:
Harry Sehrawat, Founder, Sanfe
- "Union Budget presented by the first full-time female Finance Minister has implied the meaning of “Nari to Narayani” in its true sense with a huge focus on women empowerment. Being a women empowerment company, we welcome this great move of expansion of the interest subvention programme to all districts for boosting women self-help groups. Apart from economic and political empowerment, the time also demands the empowerment of women health, hygiene, and well-being."
Anita Tejwani, Founder & CEO, Wingstowills
- FM Sitharaman made some crucial announcements in Budget 2019, which will definitely give women leaders wings to fly and surely bring some more women leaders in near future. The expansion of the interest subvention programme to all districts for women self-help groups is a crucial movement, which will bring positivity and woman SHG members having a verified Jan Dhan account will get an overdraft facility of Rs 5,000 is also a step towards more transparency and empowerment. Now, women can get a loan of Rs 1,00,000 under the Mudra scheme. Relief on angel tax also helps women entrepreneurs.
(Edited by Megha Reddy, Tenzin Pema, and Dipti Nair)