From incentives to subsidies and tax cuts and other benefits, the startup industry wants from the Modi government to announce measures that translates into profits in the coming years.

From incentives to subsidies and tax cuts and other benefits, the startup industry wants from the Modi government to announce measures in the Union Budget 2021-22 that translates into profits in the coming years. While startups are a key component to PM Narendra Modi’s dream of making India a self-reliant country, the sector faced the brunt of the pandemic. The sector wants government to prepare a plan with focus on ease of doing business. After Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that “100 years of India wouldn’t have seen a Budget being made post-pandemic like this”, expectations are at all-time and it would be interesting how the government strategies to keep the budding entrepreneurs happy. Here are some of the key expectations of startups from the Budget 2021.

Gaurav Gupta, Co-founder, Navia Life Care – a digital healthcare startup

The upcoming 2020-21 Union Budget has the potential of being a game-changer for the Indian Healthcare Sector. The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital solutions as a viable option to conventional care delivery systems. Be it efficient management of COVID-19 and vaccination or achieving the goal of Universal Health Coverage, Digital Health would be great enablers with the right policy push. The health sector is expecting more specific allotments in this year’s budget to mitigate Covid and the growth of the telemedicine sector. With the launch of NDHM earlier this year, we expect a surge in budget allocation this year, especially for setting up digital health infrastructure for India, a shared digital infrastructure leveraging both public and private enterprises is the need of the hour, and a policy push to it under the Mission is strongly recommended. Such an infrastructure would help us to provide innovative solutions. Digital Health in the country is mainly being driven by health-tech companies and startups. A right policy push would pave the way for a new and robust digital health ecosystem. The Budget 2020-21 needs to focus on the expansion of digital healthcare that has great potential to make healthcare more affordable and accessible by using technology to reach out the last mile.

Prasanna Manogaran, Founder of Aqgromalin – an agri-tech startup

With the government’s target year of doubling farm income approaching we believe there will be significant allocation in categories helping to increase farmers revenue streams, especially in farm diversification into the sectors of aquaculture and animal husbandry. A stimulus for the export of aquaculture products will help the entire ecosystem and will also ensure that we are able to effectively compete with China and other South East Asian countries in this sector. The government also need to empower the existing Krishi Vigyan Kendras to increase penetration to the rural hinterlands and help farmers utilise the technologies developed by premier national research institutions like ICAR. The number of startups has also dramatically increased in the Agri Tech space, a focused approach from the government to device policies to support them will go a long way.

Sonica Aron, Founder & Managing Partner, Marching Sheep – an HR Advisory startup

Further, GST rules need to be altered particularly for service firms like ours. Currently, GST needs to be paid within the month the invoice is raised, whereas client payments are often received 30-60 days later, leading to cash flow issues. It will be a great help for small firms if the government provides some relief in payment of GST to align it with payments by clients. As recovery seems a long term process due to the unprecedented damage caused by the pandemic, the government must focus on incentivizing organisations for building the right capabilities – reskilling, upskilling and promoting diversity. Additionally, favourable statutes and implications around the gig economy would be a win-win for organisations and the economy.

Shishir Dixit, director and founder, Centurion Defence Academy – a startup Indian defence forces aspirants and youth

The global pandemic has highlighted the need to upgrade technology in education to enable quality access that is affordable and equal for all. Government should work in tandem with ed-tech companies and firms to provide necessary technology updates that will enable improved online learning and provide impressive outcomes. Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, and cloud technology are expected to increase engagement and boost user experience in e-learning. Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities will be the sunrise destinations for Ed-Tech firms and substantially raise ed-tech demand. The government needs to collaborate with EdTech firms and earmark funds for the development of video assisted courses (offline learning), which can be provided to students at subsidized rates. These courses can be for short-term, with full-time access to help students including smaller villages, towns and cities. Also, the government should make a provision for preparing these courses in regional languages so that students hailing from different socio-economic backgrounds can benefit as well.

Lalit Arora, Co-founder of VingaJoy – a gadget accessory startup

The consumer tech industry expects that the budget will have provisions that can strengthen progressive initiatives such as Make in India, Digital India, and the Smart Cities Mission. We are hopeful that the government would continue the good work it began carrying out in its first term with regards to GST, Make in India, along with a host of initiatives it has undertaken in the consumer tech/FMCG sector. There has been an abolition of Chinese applications in India; this has led to considerable slowdown in import of Chinese products, so our industry is expecting improved funding and credit facility from the upcoming budget. Additionally, we are hopeful that the government will continue to promote manufacturing in India through its Make in India initiative as this will not only provide a boost to Indian companies but also aid in creating more employment opportunities.

Harshit Jain, founder of Doceree –  a startup in healthcare

The pandemic hit India’s healthcare severely and in spite of waiting until 2015 to reach the target of 2.5% of GDP to be spent on healthcare, the government should eye reaching it in the next two years so that healthcare infrastructure in the country could be improved. It is also high time that the spend is significantly increased, given the population of our country is so huge. Additionally, while universal health coverage is a welcome step and so is the idea of Health IDs, they must not remain on papers and get mired in red tape, facing delays.

In the upcoming budget, allocations and timelines should be announced so that they get implemented in an organized manner and we are closer to realizing the vision of making healthcare accessible and affordable. Besides, innovative healthcare startups that are working to promote accessibility and affordability should be encouraged by way tax benefits and tax holidays so that government and private partners can work together to make the condition of Indian healthcare better.

Shivani Gupta, founder of hellomyyoga – a startup that helps in finding best yoga teacher and yoga studios 

In this pandemic, Yoga Tourism is adversely affected, also the yoga tourism has been deviated to neighboring countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Nepal. With 2021 budget, we look forward to government of India supporting initiatives that are promoting yoga in India, worldwide with offline and online yoga events. We need a great amount of budget allocation to the events that help us to market brand – Yoga in India enthusiastically. A fair amount of budget should be allocated to the research institutes who are working on combination of yoga therapy with Ayurveda and Western medicines in healing diabetic, cardiovascular and other lifestyle disorders. It’s the researches that help us to come to the conclusion and execute right practice. Budget 2021 should support schemes that encourages local yoga teachers of Rishikesh, Goa, Kerela, Mysore to business register their yoga centres so that unorganized yoga in India takes a first step toward aligning itself with commercial world.

Raghav Kansal, Founder and CEO, ET Medialabs – a startup offering Digital Advertising, Analytics and Reporting Solutions

Startup faced striking challenges in the pandemic year. Being a digital marketing firm, 2020 was an interesting year for digital marketers as the nation-wide lockdown gave a push to mobile marketing, video content, voice search, and influencer marketing.  As a startup, our expectation from the Government is to lower the GST rates for service-based startups as 18% is very high, subsidize patent applications and legalize costs around that. Adding to this, the government should provide sufficient fund to startups that have successfully filed patent for their technology and now wishes to commercialize it. At last, we expect the government to lower income tax slabs for the startups. Let’s hope that budget 2021 will be beneficial for all the sectors.

Sangeet Kumar, CEO & Co- Founder, Addverb – a startup that automate intralogistics operations

From the Union Budget 2021, we expect that the government will ease the legal processes and regulations involved in setting up manufacturing facilities in India under its ‘Make In India’ initiative. We also hope for extension of PLI schemes for the Indian Industrial Robotics Manufacturers. The government should mandate the automation adoption for PSU enterprises to enhance their performance indices as this will encourage industry 4.0 adoption from all over India which will add to a growth factor in our robotics and AI industry. We are also expecting an improved Infrastructural  facilities as well as increase in the employment opportunities from this budget. Increasing minimum wages is the need of the hour as during the Covid pandemic most of the labour left for their hometowns and to bring them back while providing them with a meaningful life, their wages should rise.

Karmesh Gupta, CEO of WiJungle – Jaipur-based cybersecurity startup that offers unified network security gateway

Cyber Security being a crucial element of digital empowerment, attention on both industry and public is the need of the hour. Government should promote local players… it should offer subsidy benefits if a company procures an Indian Cyber Security Product. Further, we look forward to incentivization/aide for startups in standard testing certifications & also open basic public testing labs accessible to startups on the subscription model. This would help domestic companies to compete conclusively against foreign players. Also, government should lauch mass cyber education and awareness drive through web programmes, evolving existing offline IT certification programmes, introducing it as a subject in the school curriculum. etc. for two major purposes: i) develop workforce & reduce current shortage, and ii) substantially bring down cyber theft and losses.

Ayush Mishra, founder of Tattvan E Clinics – a startup offering telemedicine clinic services

The health sector is expecting more specific allotments in this year’s budget to mitigate Covid and growth of the telemedicine sector. The government should also support startups and private players in this segment to increase the current coverage of the locations including tier-2 and tier-3 cities to provide the advanced healthcare facilities in these areas.