Stage is set for the presentation of the Union Budget 2020. Expectations are high as the industry looks for measures to boost the economy as the country is going through testing times. There has been a slowdown in employment rates and in some key sectors.
The Finance Minister Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman, has a tough challenge in presenting this year’s budget.
Rahul Jain – Head – Edelweiss Personal Wealth Advisory
India is home to the world’s largest group of young, employable population, aspires to add over 100 million secondary educated people to its work force by 2030. As several young people join the workforce every year, there is an urgent need to create ample jobs for those skilled in labor.
Most of those entering the corporate world, would be millennials. Thus, emphasis must be given not only to suitable job creation, but also to the creation of financial opportunity. What this means is that millennials need to be empowered to meet their financial goals.
With startups and MSMEs contributing significantly to the job creation in the economy, the Budget must ensure that adequate measures are introduced not only to boost the growth of these enterprises, but also to ensure the financial stability of the next generation set to enter the workforce.
Simplification of tax compliance could translate into better cash flows for startups, ensuring sustainable growth both for them and their employees. We could also expect further changes to corporate tax and income tax slabs, which would be suitable for millennials who aspire to experience their life to the fullest, while still young.
Jasmeet Thind, Co-founder, Coutloot (Ecommerce & Startup)
The expectation from the budget is to help the economy recover in most sectors that have seen a smaller growth over the last few years. Apart from this, we hope India lowers its import tax on commodities so that end consumers can have access to aspirational products for cheap prices, while at the same time drive credit subsidies for small business owners and boost manufacturing, which eventually will strengthen the economy growth.
Manish Khera, Founder & CEO, HAPPY (Fintech & Startup)
Fund availability has to be made for a conducive and supportive financial environment. This is because the lending fintechs are largely the ones that cater to the masses or the people who are not served by the formal financial institutions. The access to liquidity has to be eased for such fintechs. Though there are many funds which are established for the fintechs, the flow of money for the same has its own unique challenges. There has to be rationalization of MAT tax rate along with the increase in the minimum threshold for tax exemption as many end up paying taxes despite being eligible for the tax holiday.
Ms. Ambika Sharma, Managing Director & Founder at Pulp Strategy
“The Union Budget 2020 has a critical role to play towards economic growth as it also deals with policies beyond merely financial budgets & impacts everyone. India is one of the fastest-growing and evolving digital markets in the world today and is rapidly moving towards digitization. I would like to see the government roll out measures that support and drive the growth of the SMBs in the service sector who are a vital link to the digital Indian economy.
The government’s move to reduce tax for Indian companies is good, and will see a boost for all sectors. I would like to see more initiatives towards the ease of doing business. The boost can be in the form of simplifying the taxation on fundraising, single-window taxation, quicker refunds etc. We also hope that the budget will delineate more specific plans for connecting the remote villages through high-speed optic fibre networks and building Wi-Fi spots for a digitally integrated country and connecting remote villages with the hinterland. Such a move will also impact the advertising industry positively in addition to the rest of the country.”
Agam Chaudhary, CMO, Digitalabs
It’s a near ritual for every industry to expect measures for monetary relief from the annual budget. However this year I’d want to make an exception and expect measures that revive the economy as a whole. Our revenues are tied with both demand and supply ends of consumption. If they have robust growth, so shall we.
Karan Gupta, CEO, Alchemy Group
With Modi government 2.0 we hope to see support for Digital 2.0, after a significant growth in digital penetration and digital literacy in the country, it’s now time for the government to focus more on Tier 2/3 and rural sectors. From more internet penetration to better IT Infra and connectivity empowering the new consumer with content and commerce across categories. Working towards a Digital India dream we hope to see some support for digital first businesses and other ones that are focused on making the life a consumer more convenient and fulfilled no matter where they are based.”
Dr Kalpana Apte, CAG-Pratigya Campaign for Gender Equality and Safe Abortion and Secretary General, FPA India
India’s public health spend is way lower than the average expenditure by countries clubbed as among the “in the world, namely South-East Asian countries such as Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand etc. Furthermore, many public health specialists have expressed disappointment over the Centre’s pledge to invest 2.5 per cent of its GDP into healthcare by 2025, when the global average will be about 6 per cent. For strengthening the infrastructure and manpower requirements of the health system, there is an immediate need to increase the allocation for health expenditure raised to at least 2.5%-3.5% of the GDP. Hence, it is important to establish quality health care services across the country, and increase investments in sexual and reproductive health, while also bringing about focus to contraceptive and safe abortion access in particular by expanding the provider base and prioritizing women’s health, which will have positive impact on the overall health of the country.
Rajeev Shah, Senior Partner of Mumbai-based chartered accountancy firm, Bihani & Shah
As the Finance Minister slashed the corporate tax rate a couple of months ago, the expectations from the common man is to relax the personal income tax slabs and provide relief. From Budget 2020 the aam aadmi is looking forward for changes which will increase his disposable income. The current deduction limit of Rs 1.5 lakh under section 80C was last enhanced in FY 2014-15 and hence its time that the FM enhances this deduction further.
Like the great philosopher Kautilya once said, “There should be leniency while deciding tax structure. The government should collect taxes like honeybee, so both can survive.” This is exactly the need of the hour to revive our economy and it will be interesting to see how the same is balanced with the economic slowdown.
To conclude in the words of Sri. Nani Palkhivala – “The tax laws, like all other laws, to be respected, must be made respectable. Revenues rise with tax cuts, when income tax is scaled up, income is scaled down. If there is widespread tax evasion, it may be more meaningful to search for the cause in the tax system than in the taxpayer”.
Amitt Sharma, Founder & CEO, VDO.AI
India has developed into the second-largest startup Centre in the world and thus the startup founders like have a huge hope from the upcoming Union Budget 2020. We expect the upcoming budget to be a favourable one for all of us. We expect the government to keep on supporting startups and new age economy businesses in the same way as before so that we flourish more aggressively and aid to the development of India.
Nirupama Subramanian – Facilitation, Consulting, Executive Coaching.
While the workforce participation of women has actually dropped to 23% in 2018, NCRB data shows that crimes against women are increasing. Budget 2019 was supposed to be a woman-friendly budget with an allocation of 4.91% towards projects and schemes for women. The Nirbhaya Fund and schemes like MUDRA, Ujjwala Yojana, Saubhagya and finance for Self Help Groups are steps in the right direction yet much more need to be done.
This budget needs to focus on both long term and short- term and direct and indirect measures to ensure safety, well-being, education and employment of women. I would like to see funding for gender sensitization programs in all schools and colleges, for the police and public service workers. Focusing on infrastructure like street lighting, adequate transport facilities and roads is critical for the mobility and employability of women.
Direct measures should include provisions to incentivize women to return to work after maternity-both for the returning mother and organizations. Increasing the tax breaks for women-owned and run businesses and incentives for companies that contract to women-owned businesses will support women entrepreneurs.
Nikhil Rungta – Country Manager, India, Verizon Media
I look forward to measures in this budget that can bring many more women into the workforce, making them powerful economic contributors. India currently lags with only 27% of women in the workforce. Bringing this number closer to the global average of 48 per cent in the next 10 years can reportedly add another USD 700 billion to GDP growth (according to Niti Aayog). However, this isn’t just an urgent economic priority. Joining the workforce is now an ‘aspiration’ for women in the country. A recent poll by MAKERS India, our media brand dedicated to accelerating the women’s movement, conducted found that education, job-readiness, safety and career development are top priorities for women Internet users in India. Supportive infrastructure, with provisions that deepen skilling, boost women’s employment opportunities and entrepreneurship potential will empower women as they prepare to take their place in the workforce.
Kamal Johari- Managing Director, Nobel Hygiene
I hope it is not a bureaucratic budget but a one from a visionary statesman. Enough options are available to the Govt and they should not hesitate in taking bold decisions which are necessary to spur the growth and make India a $ 5 trillion economy and a superpower.
In our category, imports from China are still continuing, which is not necessary considering that many of the local factories are closing down. We surely do not need import of adult diapers. Due to zero GST on sanitary napkins their import has also started, although many units are idle in India.