New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the first Union Budget of this decade, with the focus being on turning around the economic condition of the country.
This budget has made provision to push Digital India; the FM said in her speech, “Data is the new oil. We will soon roll out a policy to enable private sector to build data center parks throughout the country.”
The budget also talks about last mile connectivity by a 6000 Cr allocation to Bharat Net, gives a boost to women education and empowerment, entrepreneurs and by slashing personal taxes the budget has given more cash in the hands of the common man which will in turn enhance their buying powers
Budget 2020 addressed woes of Print Media by reducing the customs duty to 5%, the Finance Minister said, “In the previous budget, basic custom duty of 10% was imposed on the news print and lightweight coated paper. However, since then I have received several references that this levy has put additional burden on print media at a time when it is going through a difficult phase. I, therefore, propose to reduce basic customs duty on imports of news print and light-weight coated paper from 10% to 5%.”
Ashish Bhasin – CEO APAC and Chairman India, Dentsu Aegis Network, says a mixed budget but happy on the emphasis on digital India
“I think this is a good budget in some ways because it has attempted to put money in the hands of the middle class through rationalisation of tax rates as well as has concentrated on looking after the agricultural sector, including introduction of best practices like storage for producers and other measures.
However, I do feel that the expectations from the budget were much more and it does feel like a bit of a missed opportunity.
While it is good to see that the dividend distribution tax has been abolished, I expected more on the rationalisation of direct taxes, particularly the cess introduced over and above the tax rates.
It is good to see efforts being made to encourage new-age skill development as well as helping the start-ups and what’s particularly interesting is the proposal to set up data center farms all over the country. This will prepare India for the economy of tomorrow. It is also good to see attempts at simplification of taxation through digitisation but the proof of the pudding will lie in seeing its implementation on ground.
It would be fair to say that at best it is a mixed budget and while there are some encouraging decisions, enough does not seem to have been done for the situation the economy is in.”
Anand Bhadkamkar, CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network India,: The budget has provided relief to middle class with lower tax rates which is a welcome move, as it will provide more liquidity. On direct taxes, abolition of DDT and also introduction of tax dispute resolution scheme is a welcome step alongside tax reliefs for start ups.
The budget is focusing on ease and simplification of compliance, with changes in corporate laws as well as in GST and direct taxes. However, I was expecting further simplification re. cess and surcharges beyond tax rates across slabs etc.
The proposals regarding development of road infrastructure, setting up data centre parks and skill development initiatives are welcome steps in addition to allocations for social welfare schemes.
However, the expectations from the budget were high on the background of current economic slowdown, and as such seems to be short on matching those expectations, with no specific industry sector focused sops providing the stimulus. While the budget is focusing on long term growth and social development, overall in the current scenario looks like a mixed budget, falling a bit short of market expectations of more corrective measures.
Nachiket Pantvaidya, CEO, ALTBalaji and Group COO, Balaji Telefilms, says a boost to entrepreneurship and digital connectivity
“The overall budget has been exemplary with equal consideration given to entrepreneurship, job creation and youth of the nation. We appreciate the step to promote digital connectivity through its BharatNet programme and connecting 100,000-gram panchayats through optical fibre network. This is one more important step taken in the direction of achieving the vision of a digital India where rural India gets placed on the digital map.”
Chetan Asher, Co-founder & CEO, Tonic Worldwide, Budget 2020 is a boost to the growth of the Digital eco system
“This budget makes me optimistic about the growth of digital ecosystem. Firstly the Rs. 6000 crore allocation towards BharatNet will give last mile connectivity the impetus that it needs and pave way for digital transformation at all levels. Allowing private players to build data centers and encouraging production of mobile and network devices will all complement each other in growing the ecosystem.”
Ambika Sharma, Managing Director & Founder at Pulp Strategy, Budget 2020 gives a boost to women education which in turn will be empowering women and emphasizing on a women-centric society
“The latest budget announcement for the year 2020 -21 bears vast potential in shaping India’s road towards achieving its target of emerging as a 5 trillion dollar economy. With India currently posed as the fifth largest economy in the world, I am particularly enthralled by the government’s decision to optimize new-age disruptive technologies such as Machine Learning, robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) towards attaining a seamless and integrated service sector. Further advancing the digital revolution in the country is the government’s resolution of developing state-of-the-art data centers across the nation. Moreover, the FM’s proposal to allocate Rs 6000 crore for connecting 100,000 Gram Panchayats by FY21 will also prove instrumental in accelerating India’s journey towards becoming a tech –enabled nation.
Also admirable is the government’s successful implementation of the Beti Bachao and Beti Padhao scheme which was reflected by the high gross enrollment of girls in all levels of school education. With the budget modeled towards realizing a progressive and equal women-centric society, the Finance minister also highlighted the fact that presently more than 6 lakh Anganwadi workers are equipped to upload status of more than 10 crore households. The government’s decision to provide Rs 35,600 crore for nutrition related programs and Rs 28,600 crores for women – linked programmes will vastly help in furthering women empowerment and gender equality.”
Akshaara Lalwani, CEO and Founder, Communicate India, Budget 2020 stresses on Women education and empowerment: “The budget is rightly woven around Aspirational India, and following its implementation, it will result in a wave of entrepreneurship in our country which has been the core of innovation. This will provide a valuable impetus for economic growth through employment generation. With the government requesting the RBI to consider extending the window of debt structuring by one year to March 2021, it will go a long way in aiding MSMEs and is pivotal to help grow India to a 5 trillion economy, and as a nation, we can look forward to this impetus driving better GDP growth. Additionally, women are at the heart of change in a country be it social environment or economics. The Union Budget 2020 shows their much-needed commitment to the development of women and protection of their rights and helping them overcome hurdles they face.”
Rajesh Uttamchandani, Director, Syska: “We welcome the steps taken by the Government in the Union Budget towards boosting electronic manufacturing in the country. The electronic industry has huge potential both in terms of manufacturing in India and job creation and will provide a major impetus for growth. This will further enhance the exports of networked products. Another important step taken is the further push provided by the Government for its smart cities mission. It aims to create 100 cities with state-of-the-art infrastructure that includes intelligent lighting, Wi-Fi access points, leading to enhancement of the quality of life of every citizen while building efficient living spaces for future generations. As a company, Syska has been striving towards developing technology-driven, energy-efficient and affordable solutions that positively impact the lives of our customers. With India heading towards mass urbanization, we are aligned towards promoting sustainability, enhancing social development and creating new employment opportunities through rapid digital innovations.”
Shrenik Gandhi, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, White Rivers Media added, “There will be views that support right and views that support left, but I strongly believe, data and digital occupied the centre piece of the budget!
The fact that we moved beyond jargon war and marching towards embracing digital technology is a very strong positive move. New age technologies, keeping data and digital at the heart of it shall lead to big reforms. Focus on IoT, Data Parks, AI shall make India a strong contender amongst the top digital economies, globally. The ambitious fibre to home proposal shall get the next 100M in the Digital universe soon. All in all, it’s a very positive budget for digital by the government which has always vouched for the power of digital. The same coupled with reduced tax slabs and abolition of DDT shall lead to higher disposable income; thus enabling more consumption.”
Reacting on impact of FMCG Sector, Perfetti Van Melle’s MD – Rajesh Ramakrishnan said, “The income tax reduction could be seen as an indirect measure to increase the purchasing power of the lower and middle income groups. The trickle down flow of the same into the FMCG sector is something to be hoped for. The Union Budget however, leaves the entire sector wanting more in terms of revival of consumption.” – Rajesh Ramakrishnan, Managing Director, Perfetti Van Melle India
Welcoming the budget Pulkit Mathur’ CEO & Co-Founder Queppelin ” It was heartening to see FM Sitharaman recognise the importance of Deep Tech is driving the next wave of growth in India. From AI in Ayushman Bharat to Data Centre Parks to allocation of Quantum Tech….there was enough in that Budget for the Technology sector to be enthused about.”
Mihir Mehta, Senior Vice President, Ashika Capital: “The proactive approach of the Government in building an ecosystem for budding entrepreneurs is laudable. The provision of funding and setting up an organized platform for the same is a much needed move because financial capital often becomes an impediment for growth and sustainability. I feel we have just touched the tip of immense entrepreneurship potential in India and support from the Government in terms of financial capital will be a major boost”
Sahil Vaidya, Co- Founder & Director, The Minimalist: Following the announcement of the Union Budget 2020, one thing is certain, is that the Government is heavily focused on becoming an entrepreneurial superpower. By investing in the MSME sector, the Government’s support towards new companies will go a long way in producing high growth business. Furthermore, the tax waiver on ESOPs will enable more talent to place their bets on early stage disruptive start-ups, which have the potential to become the corporates of tomorrow. Among other sectors, the Budget 2020’s focus on start-ups and technology will be a boost to companies that are doing some cutting edge design thinking to enable the best of digital products for a booming digital economy.
Prashan Agarwal, CEO – Gaana said, “We appreciate the efforts of the government to boost the digital ecosystem in the country. The increased focus on improving connectivity under the Bharat Net scheme and the emphasis on Artificial Intelligence will allow OTT players to offer bespoke and personalized solutions to consumers. Additionally, the impetus to the smartphone manufacturing industry will make internet consumption accessible to a wider section of Indian society that will expand the scope of revenues for OTT players. The allocation of Rs 8,000Cr for setting up the National Mission on Quantum Computing and Technology will also boost the development of the industry by making resources cost-effective.”