An the second term of Prime Minister Modi, Indians has a lot of expectations from the union budget 2019. Finance minister, India’s first woman Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the budget in parliament. While its too soon to give any verdict on the Budget 2019, the early reactions from the industry leaders seem positive.

Here are some of the early reactions to the Budget 2019.

Rekha M. Menon, Chairman and Senior Managing Director, Accenture in India

“The emphasis on skilling is a welcome inclusion in the Union Budget. The post digital era presents a complex skilling challenge with a clear need to develop two kinds of skill sets on a broad scale – technology skills and human+ skills or skills such as complex reasoning that equip humans to work in collaboration with machines. Building these capabilities and addressing the skills deficit at a national scale, requires a robust skilling framework with digital technologies at its core.”

Deepak Maheshwari, Director of Government Affairs, India, ASEAN & China at Symantec

Within just four years since its launch, impact of the Prime Minister Modi’s visionary program Digital India is visible everywhere, from accelerated growth in digital payments to increasing simplification of tax returns. No wonder, it is one of the ten pillars for realizing his vision of India’s evolution and development over the next decade.

Accordingly, Union Budget 2019 highlights the crucial role of interoperable and digitally enabled platforms and grids from energy and taxation to highways. In addition, the focus on fostering and supporting technological innovation is loud and clear whether one looks at Artificial Intelligence and Robotics or 3D printing and Virtual Reality.

However, if not protected well against vulnerabilities and malicious actors, crippling of digital systems or data breaches can have far-reaching and devastating impact, especially in critical information infrastructure sectors. Hence, the government must set aside ten percent of technology budgets exclusively towards cyber security. In addition, cyber safety must become part and parcel of the Digital Literacy and Financial Inclusion initiatives.

Tapti Ghose, Partner, Deloitte India

“The global demographic trends clearly indicate that major economies will have a skilled labour shortage. India proposes to leverage on this by focussing on skilling India and reforming the education systems. This will also include skills sets required for working overseas such as language training in addition to increased focus on skillset needs abroad – including language training and new age technology skills such as IOT, Big Data, Robotics.

Focus on emerging new technologies in the form of artificial intelligence, data science, big data, internet of things, would revitalize technology companies. Connectivity, infrastructure, media, digital technology coupled with ease of living, ease of doing business and digital literacy is focus of the government

The replacement of multiple labour laws into four codes is expected to streamline the process of registration, standardize the filing of returns, provide uniformity in definitions across labour codes, significantly easing business. These codes are labour code on social security and welfare code on social security and welfare, Code on wages, Code on industrial relations and code on occupational safety, health and working conditions.”

Rajarshi Bhattacharyya, Country Manager, SUSE India

“We welcome the Government’s move in promoting Digital India, Startup India and other initiatives which are positive steps for the economy. It is evident that with focus being put on skilling the youth in technologies such as AI, Robotics & Big Data, the Government is reinforcing the importance of digital innovation. The upcoming generation will be a driving force of the economy, knowledge of deep technologies will help make them employable and bridge the gap between demand and supply of talent. Open source companies like SUSE can be benefited from this talent pool, and be encouraged to work and support the nation and enterprises towards becoming globally competitive.”

Maulik Doshi, Senior Executive Director – Transfer Pricing and Transaction Advisory Services SKP Business Consulting LLP

On Tax return filing requirement for other tax payers:

“Several other tax payers even if not earning taxable income may have to file tax returns now. Such instances are – Deposit of 1 Crore or more in a current account, spending of Rs. 2 Lakh on foreign travel and Spending of more than 1 Lakh in electricity bill. This would increase the tax payer base and would see more taxpayers getting into the compliance net.”

On Buy Back tax:

One of the big set-back of this budget could be buy-back tax on listed companies. There could be a huge tax leakage for companies as buy-back tax is applied on buy-back price less issue price, irrespective of the purchase price of the shareholders. This was the precise reason why this tax was not applicable to listed company. However, with this amendment, lot of companies would be discouraged to give back the accumulated profits to its shareholders. At the same time, there is proposed increase in public shareholding from 25% to 35% for Listed companies, the promoters who are not comfortable may look at delisting and may buy back shares from public and would be affected by this buy back tax and anomaly.

Saurabh Srivastava, Chairman & Co-Founder, Indian Angel Network

“The measures proposed by the Hon’ble finance minister in the Union Budget 2019 today, regarding the Indian start-up ecosystem are extremely encouraging. Regarding Angel tax, start-ups and investors who file requisite declarations will no longer be subjected to any kind of scrutiny with respect to the valuation of share premium. The introduction of the e-verification mechanism for the same is also a welcome step.
With this, FM Nirmala Sitharam has addressed the regulatory elements that currently harass both start-ups and angel investors. A robust implementation of the proposed measures should eliminate virtually all the issues plaguing the angel investment landscape. The alleviation of regulatory friction has opened the way for the smooth progress of the country’s start-up ecosystem This will allow us to not only meet but exceed the target of 50,000 stated by The President, create millions of jobs, contribute to economic growth and find innovative solutions to the country’s many challenges in affordable health care, education, agricultural productivity, clean energy, water and sanitation .”

Raman Roy, Founder, Quatrro & Co-Founder, Indian Angel Network

“The e-verification mechanism proposed by FM Nirmala Sitharaman is an enabling one for both start-ups and angel investors. This, coupled with the exclusion of start-ups and investors who file requisite declarations from tax scrutiny, is an uplifting step taken by the Government. The ‘requisite declaration’ clause, though, requires a closer inspection. In any case, the overall development looks extremely optimistic for the Indian start-up ecosystem.”

Ishan Gupta (MD Udacity India)

The Union Budget presented by the Hon’ble FM Nirmala Sitharaman today contained numerous proposals aimed at elevating the country’s educational and job landscape. We are pleased to observe that the government has recognized 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 field of AI and affiliated technologies is highly valued across the globe. The proposed measures will ensure that the next generation of students is job-ready for the high-value jobs that are rapidly emerging both in India and abroad.

Anil Nagar, Founder and CEO, Adda247

We welcome this year’s Union Budget, which, we believe, has struck all the right chords in every field that is crucial for our economy and the national market. The Government has a positive outlook towards the betterment of education system in India. Considering the National Education Policy which will focus on higher education is a brilliant step towards the betterment of the education sector. Also, the Government focusing on research and innovation will lead to progress in the country and rise to various start-ups. We are also very positive with regards to India’s startup growth where India has become the 2nd the largest hub for startups with our youth turning into job creators from seekers. Promoting the concept of ‘Make in India’ and encouraging the concept of startups and proposing a method to establish and create awareness within the nation will be a good starting point. Having the name of 3 institutions in the list of 200 world university ranking is an achievement in itself.

Saahil Goel, CEO & Cofounder, Shiprocket

This year’s Union Budget is higly appreciated since it has spearheaded targeted reforms for every sector which is critical to our country and the national market. For the MSME sector, the Government has proposed quick loans up to Rs. 1 crore. This will help with financial inclusion of Indian MSMEs and help grow the country’s overall GDP and boost employment. The government has, moreover, proposed a single-window platform, which will help Indian sellers to file their bills and make unified payments. Another key takeaway from the Union Budget is the launch of pension scheme for shopkeepers and traders having income less than Rs. 1.5 crore. This will provide them with financial security and drive superior empowerment of the entire MSME segment.

Avneet Singh Marwah, Director and CEO of Super Plastronics Pvt. Ltd, a Kodak brand Licensee

As expected, this was a historical budget by the government covering almost all sectors, from education, infrastructure to manufacturing. One of the highlights of this budget for the industry is – the corporate tax bracket, which is expanded to bring companies under its umbrella with a turnover of up to 400 crores. It will cover almost 98% of the companies in India. Ease of doing business and filing of tax returns will save a lot of time and costs for companies. Also, an e-assessment procedure which has been proposed will be a game changer for the tax assessment structure in India.

We were also expecting a reduction of custom duties on Open cells, as TV’s under FTA have generated revenue of more than 4500 crores, which in turn is impacting the growth of ‘Make in India’ initiative. Secondly, an expectant cut in the GST rate for televisions of 32 inches and above was not announced. The government has also mentioned strict policies and legal action are to be taken against unorganized trade in India, which is now 15% of the market share and a revenue loss of $1 billion. This is also going to help in boosting our industry immensely.

Krishna Kumar, CEO & Founder, Simplilearn

“The Union Budget 2019 is proposing courses for skilling and reskilling the youth of our nation in technologies like AI and Big Data. Simplilearn sees that this recommendation comes as a testament towards recognizing the increasing role of technologies, particularly AI and the benefits it brings to several sectors, aiding the growth of the Indian economy. This move will further help us strengthen our association with National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) helping the government in designing, creating and offering these courses for the Indian workforce. This will enable us to address the prevailing skills-gap in the industry, and boost enterprises to prepare their employees for the jobs of the future. Additionally, the government’s emphasis on improving the higher education system in India is encouraging and is coming at the right time when the whole nation is taking progressive strides.”

Sonit Jain – CEO – GajShield Infotech

“A growth oriented budget with a big push towards skilling India towards tomorrow, the next decade looks very bright for Indian technology companies and specially companies making products in India.

With the increase in efforts towards skilling youths in Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Robotics and also in the increase in funds to higher education will lead to innovation in technology and help to start many new startups in India and address the skill shortage in technology companies, specially in hitech areas.”

Chet Jainn, Founder and CEO, Crowdera

We are very glad to get such positive and appreciable support from this government for the Startup Ecosystem. In the Union Budget 2019, finance minister Nirmala Sitaraman announced that government will start an exclusive television program for start-ups and as a platform for promoting startups, discussing their growth as well as funding and tax planning. This the program will be run by startups themselves which will help the new and emerging entrepreneurs of tier 2 and tier 3 cities of our country that don’t have excess to events and the meet-ups, they will have lots of knowledge and information with the exclusive excess to the startup channels.

Startups are really naive when it comes to during the initial days of angel taxation which were really bothering them. I think this is a very good move, where they are really not subject to scrutiny for the angel tax. I think these tax keeps in check but brewing of the scrutiny is a really good move for startups and investors.

On the crowdfunding, India always needed platforms where the socially conscious organisations working for humanity and life on this planet which is very much required and the opening social stock exchange programme platforms would definitely help lots of social enterprises which are trying to do a lot of good things for this country.

Bhaskar Majumdar, Managing Partner, Unicorn India Ventures

This Budget has been a good budget for the startup community. FM announced doing away with Angel tax. This has been a long standing demand of the industry and we welcome this move. Apart from Angel tax, 2 other good areas to broad base and foster spirit of entrepreneurship in tier 2 and 3 cities by launching ASPIRE incubators in tier 2 and 3 cities. Overall push to the digital economy by removing charges on digital transactions and putting surcharge on companies withdrawing more than a crore every year will have a positive impact on accelerating digital economy and bring more transparency in transactional data. Bharat Net focus on tier 2 and 3 cities will also boost the digital economy. I think 2 aspects that may have gone unnoticed is the Social stock exchange through which social entrepreneurs will be able to raise money and global investors meet which the govt is planning will obviously boost early stage investment ecosystem here.

Anand Naik, Co-founder CEO, Sequretek

Really appreciate the continued attention given by this government to startups and SME sector. The startup initiatives outlined in this budget are very encouraging and will further foster the innovation environment in India. Ease in accounting for Angel tax, incubators and removal of charges for cashless transactions are all very positive steps to create more start ups and thereby creating jobs in this sector.

Sanjay Sharma- MD & CEO, Aye Finance

“There are alot of interesting areas that are in focus in the current budget. The primary focus of the budget has been on cranking up growth, job creation and improving the rural infrastructure. This is critical to the broader national growth, especially as the ongoing digitization is making India an ever-connected market. The Government has also pledged to create a payment platform for MSMEs for single-window filing of bills and payments. While making the process seamless for MSMEs and extending the purview of our formal economy, this will increase the digital footprint of MSMEs and thereby, ease MSME lending by creating superior visibility in the sector. We believe that India is making all the right moves in the right direction.”

Vivek Goyal is the Co-Founder of PlayShifu, an augmented reality technology startup

12:04 PM: To start a new TV channel for startups under the Doordarshan umbrella. Channel to be managed by startups themselves, the FM says.

A dedicated TV channel managed by startups themselves is a tremendous way of spreading awareness about the innovation startups bring to Indian, and even global, economy. While startups can garner visibility through this channel, people can stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the Indian startup circle.

It also proves that we are not just mimicking established ecosystems and the government is going out of their way to fuel the Indian startup circle.

11:59 AM: Government to focus on new-age skills including artificial intelligence, 3D printing, which also have a market outside India, to enable people to get jobs outside India.

I think it is a step towards a positive change that can change India’s international stance in terms of innovation. It’s time to change India’s face from a SaaS provider to a tech-savvy product creator! Technology like AI, AR, VR, 3D printing and more are already playing an instrumental role in connecting with the next generation by making products that they understand and were born and brought up with.

12:44 PM: Propose to ease angel tax norms. Funds raised by startups will not require any scrutiny by the income tax department, the FM says.

Angel is the most effective way of taking ideas from 0 to 1. As we have seen there is lot of growth capital available in India but innovative ideas from tier-II cities often don’t see the light of the day because of lack onf angels. Angel network needs to grow out of metros to tier-II cities to make India really a startup economy and such tax reforms will go a long way in doing that.

Ms. Sonica Aron, Founder & Managing Partner, Marching Sheep

Women self-help group interest subvention programme to be rolled out in all districts of India, the FM says. One woman in every SHG to be made eligible for a loan of Rs 1 lakh.

This is a very welcome move. Not only will this go pan India, it will also enable women to start their own initiatives. This will lead to independence and empowerment. Good thought, will need tight on ground execution.

To start a new TV channel for startups under the Doordarshan umbrella. Channel to be managed by startups themselves, the FM says.

This seems to be an Indian version of Shark Tank (USA) or Gragon’s Den (UK), and both these formats have been successful in setting up and promoting startups. This is indeed a good idea and we can learn much from existing formats and replicate for faster execution.

Government proposes to streamline multiple labour laws into a set of four labour codes.

This will indeed simplify things from the regulatory and compliance perspective. However, might prove to be challenging as our entire labour machinery will need to unlearn and relearn. Learning from the recent changes in company’s act and GST implementation, giving clarity of the change, how to execute, milestones and timelines would be critical so that industries find the change smooth.

Under the Swachh Bharat scheme, 9.6 crore toilets have been built since october 2014. Propose to expand scheme to undertake solid waste management in villages.

I think waste management is yet not fully implemented in cities and metros. Also, Public toilets need to be maintained. Waste Management awareness, drive, and implementation and compliance to the last household, driving recycling of waste at homes would greatly help.

Government to focus on new-age skills including artificial intelligence, 3D printing, which also have a market outside India, to enable people to get jobs outside India.

New skills, upskilling is always welcome. I would request the government to also provide for education and skilling for employment of marginalised people like transgenders, differently abled, children who do not have access to basic education.

Umesh Khatri(Cofounder, COO &CTO), Rgyan

In the budget presented by our finance minister, it is good to see that they are focusing on the innovative skills of artificial intelligence, 3D printing and others. This will really encourage in the growth of the startups in these sectors and people will get benefits of such technologies. Also giving a dedicated TV channel to the startups will help in creating more awareness among the mass regarding new innovations, upcoming future technologies, products and more.These factors will really help the startup sector to continue with the growth.

Tarun Bhalla, Founder & CEO, Avishkaar

“I’m delighted to hear the Government will be working towards improving our youth skill levels in AI, Big Data, IoT along with Robotics. These skills of the future will ensure that our youth are prepared and able to secure jobs both in the country and abroad. It’s a commendable step helping align education with industry requirements.”

Rishi Rai, CEO, Brainers Business School

“The 1st budget of Modi 2.0 Government presented by Finance Minister Sitharaman has brought plenty of perks to offer to education and skill development. Catering to the education sector, to make India a hub of higher education the government proposes ‘Study in India’ to bring in foreign students to pursue education here . From no single Indian institute in top 200 universities ranking until 5 years ago, India now has 3 institutions in the top 200 global institutions bracket. The government has also proposed allocation of Rs 400 crore for world-class higher education institutions in the country. To enhance the skills of the individual the government has also announced, 10 million youth to be trained under ‘Skill India Mission”

Sampad Swain, CEO & Co-Founder, Instamojo

“With India set to become a $3 trillion economy this year, the first union budget by the Modi 2.0 government has introduced several benefits for the MSME sector. Over the years, MSMEs have been battling to get loans, given their inability to produce relevant assets as evidence. In fact, the current gap between the demand and credit supply within the Indian MSME sector is about $230 billion. The introduction of the 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 my small business owners and traders. This not only brings a long-term life plan for these traders, but also helps towards the gradual formalizing of this majorly unorganized sector.”

Ankur Dhawan, COO, Buddy4Studdy

“Budget does not have many new items for the education sector and we will have to wait for implementation of the New Education Policy to see major changes in the sector. Though the focus on “Study in India” is good, it does not solve the urgent problems of lower enrollment in higher education as well as poor learning outcomes. The budget could have emphasized on leveraging more of CSR funds in education to cover insufficient budgetary allocations”

Sanjit Chatterjee CEO of REVE Antivirus

“The proposal of extending the exemptions of investment in start up’s, from capital gains in house property is a very good proposal; India needs to create a funding opportunity for IT & general entrepreneurs and this will surely give impetus to the same – and generate employment and spur innovations. Also the corporate tax reduction for companies below Rs. 400 Crs, to 25 % is a welcome move.”

Pranav Roach, President, Hughes Network Systems

“It is encouraging to see Budget 2019 taking cognizance of the growing opportunities in the space domain and also talking about increasing India’s global footprint in this sector. This is important because the Indian satellite communications sector is perhaps the only industry still stuck in the 2G era and suffers chronic capacity shortage resulting in users continuing to pay much higher than global rates. There is a surge of investment and innovation in the space sector globally driven by private sector but in India the private sector is locked out and a huge investment and employment opportunity is being lost.”

Somesh Misra, VP Operations, Deskera

“With India having more than 50 million SMEs, the 2019 budget seems incredibly promising for further augmenting their growth and development. Also, with the Government announcing the establishment of an online portal to enable filling of bills for MSMEs, this has the potential to materially impact the SME landscape in India. Additionally, by offering credit of up to Rs. 1 crore within an hour for SMEs, will enable businesses to increase investment in R&D, upskilling and bringing in technological innovations to work. Government’s efforts to improve the skills of our youth in newer areas such as Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Robotics will definitely help the Indian IT services sector to ride on the digital transformation wave. Lastly, the announcement of easing angel tax on start-ups has also given relief to the startup community. All of these initiatives will truly be a game changer for the Indian economy and ensure the country achieves its target of becoming a $5 trillion economy by 2025.”

Kishan Jain, Director, Goldmedal Electricals

“As the Indian economy is poised to become a 5 trillion dollar within the next few years, there is an enormous opportunity for Indian companies to grow and flourish. Government’s impetus on provision of electricity connection to every rural Indian family was a much needed reform. Also, as energy efficient products & solutions are seeing increased adoption, we are pleased with the government’s UJALA scheme of distributing approximately 35 crore LED bulbs and promoting the use of LED bulbs across the country. This will provide a tremendous boost to companies such as Goldmedal that have been at the forefront of introducing energy-efficient solutions such as LED lighting. Additionally, the Government’s proposal to provide INR 100 lakh crore investment in infrastructure over the next 5 years along with an increased focus on Make in India, will provide a further fillip to companies looking to set up manufacturing facilities in the country.”

Bhavin Turakhia, co-founder & CEO, Zeta

‘’The 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 MDR charges is also a push in the right direction to encourage every citizen to carry out digital transactions and make India a less cash 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 measure 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 with easing the angel tax, ensuring more entrepreneurs jump in 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 the tier II and III markets particularly, enabling these entrepreneurs to help realise the Government of India’s vision of becoming a USD $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.

Also, the insur-tech industry will benefit as now 100% 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. This technological developments along with assistance from AI and ML will make insurance and technology weave a better and more informed future for healthcare and smart preventive healthcare.

Anand Kalvey, Chief Growth Officer, EBTL

Promoting investment into mega manufacturing in the IoT arena is great news for Smart Automation sector. Skilling and training of Indian youth for the global job market in technologies such as AI and Big Data is a laudable step towards narrowing the supply and demand gap.

FMs proposal to setup a Startup Channel, under DD umbrella, is very welcome and honestly has been long overdue. I particularly like the idea that the channel will be run by the startups and for the startups! EBTL is more than happy to participate and facilitate.

Automated and faceless scrutiny in taxation matters of startups will help avoid delays and enhance ease of doing business.

Javed Tapia, MD, Clover Infotech

“Initiatives such as Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan and Bharat Net will enable to democratize opportunities for young India. By leveraging these initiatives, India will be able to train its youth in new-age technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Data Analytics and cloud. This will boost employability across Indian IT sector and further augment India’s outsourcing industry.”

Sanjay Bahl, MD & CEO, Centum Learning

It has been Centum’s endeavor to support government in skilling, and we are in support of the New National Education Policy, which will help in transforming the education system in our country.

The initiative to expand Women SHG Interest Subvention Programme in all the districts of India, could prove to be a great support in developing the entrepreneurial ecosystem at grass root level. As a leading skills training provider we foresee a trickledown effect in Skill India Mission. Additionally, the government’s vision to train 10 million youth with future ready skills in areas of Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Robotics, etc. is a very forthcoming approach that we are in full support of. We believe that our Technology enabled Blended Learning (TeBL®) methodology will not only supplement this, but also enable various stakeholders involved in reversing the skill shortage in technology and IT domain.

Jaydev V. Sanghavi, Executive Director, Aarvi Encon Limited

“During the union budget announcement, the government mentioned its plan to spend 100 lakh cr on infrastructure and development over the next 5 years. This vision brings out an opportunity to open enormous roadmaps for our country, hoping to generate employability, especially engineers pertaining to the Civil sector in order for project executions and constructions, proving to be positive in our line of business activity. Taking India forward through technology in both urban and rural areas, the government also spoke about Big Data and AI which will improve the aspects of decision making, speed and accuracy resulting in the ability to benchmark and track the progress of developmental projects. Thus, recognizing to be very promising for years to come.

Overall, this is a positive move by the government as it also acknowledges to look at the labour rules and ease them with times to come.”

Abhishek Chakraborty, Executive Director, DTDC Express Ltd

“The logistics sectors plays a very crucial role in propelling India to become a trillion dollar economy. With some key measures like Ease of Doing Business, simplification of e-way bills, UDAN, Bharatmala, Jal Marg Vikas etc., it will only improve the overall logistics sector and also reduce the cost of transportation. The budget also specifically mentioned on the Government’s vision to focus on rivers for cargo transportation which help in increasing the freight movement whilst making it cost effective. The proposals made in the budget look very conducive to improve the sector’s competencies. The budget announcement has made special emphasis on the ‘Ease of Living’ thus making it very citizen friendly. The only thing now is execution which remains key and be watched for.”

Abhishek Gandhi, Co-Founder & CFO, RupeeCircle

“The budget is on expected lines with a focus on reviving the economy. Efforts have been made to encourage NRIs to invest in India with steps taken to merge NRI portfolio route with FPI route and easing KYC norms for NRIs. Also, the budget is favorable for start-ups with exemptions on Angel tax and no scrutiny of funds from income tax department. Another positive is promotion of digital economy and making digital transactions free for customers. That is the right step in boosting the digital economy. We also welcome the idea of the social stock exchange however, a bit disappointed that something with the impact potential of P2P was missed in the budget. Steps taken to promote P2P in any way would help the sector which has been driving financial inclusion and creating an alternate investment asset class.”

Bhavin Patel, Co-Founder & CEO, LenDenClub

“I along with many startups had urged FM to simplify the angel tax issue. And here comes the move which we all would like. Provision of e-verification of such investment and declaration from startup/angel is good enough to stay away from angel tax scrutiny.”

Dewang Neralla, CEO, Atom Technologies

“The budget is set the strong tone for incentivising digital paynents. Inplementarion of low cost payment modes for business more than 50 cr turnover will definitely drive QR and low cost options across organized retail and larger enterprises. However announcement of no MDR for customers and merchants would require clarity with respect to which instrument as well as mode.”

Abhishek Ray, Head – Legal and Compliance, ePayLater

“We are glad to note that at the very outset there were specific references to boosting Digital India and Startups in the 10 point vision of Hon’ble Finance Minister. The multiple initiatives announced for improving transport, in terms of road corridor, port connectivity and UDAN scheme will boost domestic trade.

The MSME centric steps are also very encouraging in terms of allocation of more resources for loans and the creation of a platform for filings bills. All this will go a long way in helping small businesses.The increase of the turnover limit for the lesser corporate tax bracket is a measure which will massively benefit the industry. In terms of startups, the angel tax related steps and clarifications are welcome, along with the steps to reduce tax scrutiny.

We are very enthused to note that the Hon’ble Minister emphasised on the need for a cash free economy. Initial steps have been initiated for encouraging digital payments. However, the thresholds mentioned are quite high. This is a good start and we are certain to expect more incentives later on. Innovation is the backbone of the startup sector and for boosting industry in general. We are also very glad to note the boost being given to centers of higher learning to encourage research. Overall we think this was a well balanced budget which has balanced the aspirations of both urban and rural India.”

Anand Kumar Bajaj, Founder & CEO, PayNearby

“The Union Budget today has enabled our economy to make the transition towards a New India with a Nation First approach. The mobility powered payments with NCMC and policies to boost further acceptance of digital payments along with Startup facilitation focused measures will help the nation take strong steps towards efficient and inclusive growth. Introducing pension for retailers helps to bring in much needed sustainability in the retail ecosystem. Bridging the banks to become interoperable at any counter for the customer truly symbolizes that FinTech is here to be a mainstay of future India.

Simultaneously, the government has also enhanced its control on unappreciated credits in the Bank account as a stroke of RegTech. By allowing PAN and Aadhaar to be used interchangeably, interoperability has been enhanced which will not only provide flexibility for the customer but also bring many individuals under the formal domain.”

Piyush Khaitan, Founder & MD, NeoGrowth

“The Union Budget announcement on scaling up the Indian economy from USD 2.7 trillion to USD 3 trillion in FY20 and further targeting USD 5 trillion by 2024-25 is a strong roadmap for economic growth which will boost business activities in country. Our customers i.e MSMEs are facing a consumption economy.

With the encouraging measures for boosting GDP driven by consumptions and investments, it ushers in positivity for our line of business. Overall Govt. measures announced for road, port connectivity, foreign flows into debt instruments, construction of 9.5 Crore houses in next 3 years and other tax measures will boost the Indian economy. Moreover, the Govt. has acknowledged NBFCs as a major contributor to GDP growth with adequate measures for supporting their liquidity requirements, lowered tax rates and Guarantee facilities for raising competitive funds.”

Vishal Kumar, Group CFO, A&A Business Consulting

“Finance Minister’s Union Budget proposals are highly growth-oriented. FM kept a reasonable balance of inclusiveness and laying the path for a USD 5 trillion economy by focusing on infrastructure spending, providing growth capital for PSU banks, beckoning support for NBFCs, making India an electric car hub, a large investment in quality higher education, incentives for start-ups, etc.

Proposal to provide Rs. 70,000 cr. for PSU bank recapitalization and disinvestment target raise to Rs. 105,000 cr. to boost credit is a welcome move. The budget proposal to bring 25% tax for companies having annual turnover of up to Rs. 400 cr is in line with a phased corporate taxes reduction plan. No change in personal taxation is certainly a dampener for the middle class taxpayer and a steep increase in Cess for Super rich is a big blow.

Not much is proposed to stimulate the growth and provide much needed financial support to MSME sector. On the other hand, a resolution to the long pending Angel tax and relaxation of tax scrutiny are a few welcome moves and will boost the morale of Startups in the country. Further, promotion of digital economy and incentivizing digital transactions are the right steps in boosting digital economy.”