Budget 2019: Reactions from Kalyan Krishnamurthy, Bhavish Aggarwal, Bhavin Turakhia, Deep Kalra, and more
The 89th Union Budget, which was presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday, elicited largely positive reactions from India’s top CEOs and unicorn founders, including Bhavish Aggarwal, Aditya Ghosh, Kalyan Krishnamurthy, Bhavin Turakhia, and Deep Kalra.
The Economic Survey has lined up an ambitious plan to turn the country into a $5 trillion economy by 2024-25. It has also projected that the GDP growth in FY20 will be seven percent, while the economy will have to record an eight percent growth every year to reach the trillion-dollar target.
According to some of India’s unicorn founders and CEOs, the move towards digital payments and an overall push towards India becoming a digital economy will get us there.
Here is what they had to say:
Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO, Flipkart Group -
“It is good to see the government renew its commitment to boost ‘Digital India’ in the Budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The government’s vision of bridging the rural-urban divide with internet penetration will be pivotal in transforming India into a $5 trillion economy.
“It is good to see the impetus given to startups, MSMEs and FPOs -- which form the backbone of our economy, and also to electric vehicles. Further, by setting up a National Research Foundation to address challenges faced by startups, and committing to transforming the education system, the Budget is set to boost innovation in the country. Innovation will form the bedrock of the digital economy in India.
“The proposal to invest Rs 100 lakh crore in infrastructure bodes well for job creation and boosting demand, manufacturing, and consumer income. As the Prime Minister Modi-led government continues to push for ease of doing business for MSMEs and industries, we at Flipkart Marketplace will be happy to continue connecting millions of MSME sellers, manufacturers, and artisans with consumers efficiently and in a cost-effective manner.”
Bhavish Aggarwal, Co-founder and CEO of Ola
“The government’s focus on electric mobility and EVs in Budget 2019 is inspiring. Lower GST rate, interest subvention for EV loans, and the commitment of Rs 10,000 crore towards FAME II are encouraging. This further reinforces Ola’s mission to build electric mobility for India and the world, and contribute toward making our nation the global hub for innovation in this space.
“The various startup-friendly initiatives announced as part of the Budget are important for this fast-growing ecosystem, and will encourage India’s youth to create value, wealth and livelihood opportunities for millions. The thrust on digital payments will further accelerate the nation towards a transparent and cashless economy.”
Aditya Ghosh, CEO, India South Asia, Oyo Hotels and Homes
“The Budget breaks away from tradition and nudges the public and policymakers to think outside the brown briefcase. It sets a vision for the next decade for India, with an intent to bridge the socio-economic and urban-rural divide. The boost to infrastructure, labour reforms, access to capital, and talent for startups and MSMEs alike will drive productivity and consumption, which is also good news for the hospitality, travel, and tourism industry.
The real test of this vision, however, will lie in its realisation, which is essential to deliver on the government’s mandate of providing ease of living and ease of doing business. This will be possible only through concerted efforts from all stakeholders.”
Deep Kalra, Founder, MakeMyTrip
“Given the agrarian crisis in the country, this Union Budget appears to have been more focussed on rural India and the poor. From the travel and tourism industry’s point of view, while we are pleased to hear of the focus on infrastructure-related spends, with the investment of Rs 100 lakh crore over the next five years, it is critical that we are able to build better connectivity for key tourist destinations, as that still remains a sore point for one of the fastest-growing service industries in India.
“There was no specific mention of fund allocation for UDAN, the regional connectivity scheme, which is disappointing given it needs special attention to boost domestic travel, which has seen some headwinds over the last few months. The government looking at public-private partnership route with a bigger role envisaged for the private sector in Railways is significant.
“While the long overdue, single quarterly GST for those with revenue less than Rs 5 crore is a welcome move, further simplification of GST, including centralised registrations under GST laws to bring compliance burden down especially for service and ecommerce sectors, remains critical.
“The initiative of e-invoicing through GSTN to curb tax evasion is a welcome move. However, keeping in with Ease of Doing Business initiative, the government should, in fact, look to completely do away with invoicing under GST. Input credit flow should be restricted to transactions reported on the GSTN portal only.
“Another area of GST rationalisation could be the rate of tax on premium hotels to promote inbound travel. This has an immense potential to generate employment in India.
“For the startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem in India, there wasn’t a lot of substantive announcements, barring the proposed easing of angel tax for startups, which has been detrimental to building a world-class startup ecosystem. The announcement around startups not to be challenged on valuation to determine angel tax is a welcome move, and should hopefully reduce litigation.”
Bhavin Turakhia, Co-founder and CEO, Zeta
“Budget 2019 has witnessed giant leaps towards building a cashless economy. One of the biggest steps is developing the country’s first payment system (One Nation One Card) for transport, which will be a holistic card for citizens for digital payments across travel, shopping, etc.
“The decision of not charging customers for digital payments and waiving off the merchant discount rate (MDR) charges is also a push in the right direction to encourage every citizen to carry out digital transactions and make India a cashless economy.
“Additionally, the Government of India has made a much-needed move for working professionals by bringing in ease and convenience by proposing to make PAN and Aadhaar interchangeable along with making them available with pre-filled tax returns, which aims to reduce the time taken to file a tax return as well as enable accurate reporting of income and taxes.
“The digital push also reflects in the tax filing process as with the launch of a scheme of faceless assessment in electronic mode involving no human interface. The government has introduced several measures that are in line with the ‘Digital India’ vision and we welcome the same.”
Vishal Gondal, CEO and Founder GOQii
“The Budget 2019 is paving way for a brighter future for India’s startup ecosystem by easing the Angel Tax and ensuring more entrepreneurs jump on to 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 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.
“Also, since inception, GOQii has supported the ‘Make in India’ movement, and has been persistent in making India a healthier nation through our evolving preventive healthcare offerings and initiatives. The Government of India’s commitment to expand Khelo India scheme for the development of sports and sportsperson is a welcome move; it will encourage more Indians to take up sports and be the torchbearers of health and fitness.
“The insurtech industry will benefit as now 100 percent FDI will be permitted for insurance intermediaries in India, which will help the insurance market grow. As per recent EY’s Global Insurance Trends Analysis 2018, $2.3 billion has been invested into insurtech startups, representing over 45 percent of insurance investments spanning 2012-17. Insurers are using technology that assesses health risks and for diagnostics. These technological developments, along with assistance from artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will make insurance and technology weave a better and more informed future for healthcare and smart preventive healthcare.”
(Edited by Evelyn Ratnakumar)