By Sabyasachi Mitter
The Modi 2.0 Government has set forth an ambitious target to make India a $5 trillion economy in the next 5 years. To achieve this we need to spur consumption I a big way while increasing investments in infrastructure. This will call for a fine balance between tax collections and incentives. From my perspective, the focus on start-ups ad MSMEs should be a focus for generating employment as well as driving GDP growth.
The start-up policy could expand to include all start-ups in any employment generating sector with funding from any source, including bootstrapped and not need specified investors to qualify as a Start-up. Expansion in Mudra loan disbursals would go a long way in generating a new breed of self-employed who will add to the economy while generating jobs. Skill India should get greater allocations and be taken to mission mode.
Start-ups investing in education and skill development of all kinds should be given incentives and tax breaks. While we cannot expect major changes in GST or income tax, some relief in Standard Deduction or tax slabs for the salaried middle class could spur consumption. Doing away with LTCG could further drive the sentiment in the stock market leading to greater value being unlocked. Digitisation and digital India needs greater push and incentivisation.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented her maiden Budget today. With expectations riding high from the Modi government, here’s a list of representatives spanning from across industries weighing in on their thoughts from the 89th Budget.
CEO and co-founder, Razorpay
“This budget brought in some good news for Startups and FinTech. It solved one of the industry’s major concerns that going forward, the startups do not have the trouble of angel taxes. Next, the announcement about launching an e-verification portal for investors will help startups worry less about the verification of their investors. On the digital payments front, the government has demonstrated their interest in promoting digital payments in a great way – a) any business will be charged a TDS of 2% on cash withdrawal of above 1 crore in a year, b) any business which has an annual turnover of Rs 50 crore and above must opt for certain modes of payments, with no charges or merchant discount rates. I believe this will discourage businesses from making cash transactions and encourage them to make payments through digital channels.”
Partner, Deloitte India
“While It would depend on the exact details of the relaxation of sourcing norms the announcement is clearly laying out the carpet once again for the global single brand retail companies in India . Many of these companies were sitting on the border in a dilemma to invest or not in the Indian market on account of difficulty in meeting these sourcing conditions . These companies will certainly have to relook at their strategy to tap the large Indian consumption potential. It would now be a race for all these retail companies to evaluate the conditions and take a quick decision to invest into India.”
CEO, Times Internet
“The government’s progressive steps in opening up FDI further in the media, tax benefits for corporate taxpayers and annual meet to get Industrialists, corporate leaders and venture funds on the same table would offer significant impetus to the private sector. We are hopeful these measures along with efforts to improve the skills of our youth in newer areas such as Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Robotics, etc will trigger a virtuous cycle of investment & consumption that will catapult us towards becoming a $5 trillion economy.”
CEO Greater South, and chairman and CEO India, Dentsu Aegis Network
“The Budget is certainly more inclusive and is focused towards providing a better lifestyle to the common man. From providing better access to toilets, better connectivity by roads and digitally, to promoting the ease of living, this year the budget actually showcases a lot of good stuff. The government’s decision to examine the opening up of foreign direct investment (FDI) in media, is beneficial for the sector. However, some of the actions of the government do seem contradictory and a letdown. The expectations from a government coming with such a majority was that they would undertake substantial reforms, stimulate growth and cut tax rates. However, they have missed the opportunity to do so and have acted in contradiction by implementing surcharge on HNI individuals. Despite everything I expect the next 10 years to be very bright for India.”
Co-founder and CEO, WittyFeed
“We are welcoming the new initiative wherein the startups and investors filing returns will not be subject to the scrutiny for angel tax. The Angel Tax has emerged as one of the key issues faced by the Indian startup ecosystem. But, a lot more regarding the same needs to be addressed by the government to boost angel investments in the country. The Minister also stated that special administrative arrangements will be made by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) for pending assessments of startups and redressal of their grievances. This vital step will help startups ecosystems of the nation. Furthermore, finance minister Nirmala Sitaraman announced that govt 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 program will be run by startups themselves which will help the new and emerging entrepreneurs of tire 2 and tier 3 cities of our country.
Through this budget, the government has more focused on ‘The Bharat’ to build 80 livelihood incubators, 20 tech incubators to help create 75,000 skilled entrepreneurs in agriculture and rural industry. Hence, this government has taken a few good steps for the growth of startups but more needs to be done to take this ecosystem for the next level.”
Managing Director, PayPal India
“The budget provides a blueprint for the Prime Minister’s vision of a USD 5 trillion economy, with a focus on ease of doing business for MSME’s and ease of living for citizens. The Budget emphasizes on enabling growth for traditional industries and artisan while offering them business and technology incubation facilities, which is commendable.”
Co-founder and MD, ShakeDeal
“The Union Budget has ticked some of the right boxes for creating a supportive ecosystem for start-ups and entrepreneurs. The creation of payment platform for MSMEs for filing of bills and payments is a step in the right direction. The credit boost to MSMEs through 350 crore interest subvention and 2 % interest subvention for GST-registered MSME on the fresh or incremental loan will help businesses and spur the waning economy.
Also, start-up channel on Doordarshan will help budding entrepreneurs to shape their ideas and guide them about complex issues of compliance and taxation. The proposal to discourage business payments in cash and levy 2% TDS on cash withdrawal exceeding Rs 1 crore in a year from a bank account will bring in tax compliance and also increase revenues for the government. Filing of single monthly GST return will provide a big relief for MSMEs on the compliance front. Start-ups and investors who file declarations will not be subjected to scrutiny in valuation – this is a positive development that will encourage angel and private equity investments.”
Read Also: Government to examine opening up of FDI in media, aviation and animation
Co-founder and director, Driefcase Health-Tech Private Limited
“Start-ups are a significant source of employment generation in India – something that deserves recognition by the government. Efforts by the government to ease fund-raising for this sector and remove the uncertainty of tax scrutiny following such fund-raising is a much-needed respite. While the fine print is yet to be examined, the intent of parliament itself will go a long way to preventing unwarranted actions by IT officials.”
Founder, Log 9 materials
“Income tax deduction on loans for EV purchase is an extremely welcome move by the new Finance Ministry. EVs are pricier than usual vehicles as initial cost, hence this will boost adoption. Relief from angel tax is also a big thumbs up and relief for startups. However, better structuring is required for deployment of Fund of Funds to ensure benefit to high technology intensive startups which fall in the category of high risk, high reward. This is important for development indigenous core technologies like battery manufacturing, fuel cell manufacturing, etc.”
“With startups being a major focus in Budget 2019, the government has proved its seriousness towards the growth of startups in India. The Global Investors Meet will lead to investors now looking at India as an open market, directly leading to advancements in every sector in India. With the focus on resolving angel tax issue and not subjecting startups to any scrutiny in terms of valuation of share premium, the youth of India have seen a massive encouragement to become entrepreneurs of their own startups. We are definitely on the path to becoming a startup superpower really soon.”
Founder and managing director of Fulcro
“In my opinion this budget is focused on all round growth of the economy, rapid growth in infrastructure and generating employment by encouraging entrepreneurship. I particularly welcome the focus on startups especially addressing the waxing issue of angel tax as well as further incentives for women entrepreneurs. The increase of turnover of companies who can avail of 25% tax slab to Rs 400 crores would lead to further capital in the hands of businesses to invest in growth.
The focus on electric mobility for both manufactures as well as consumers as well as incentives for components that are critical for electrification of commuting, is especially heartening. Reducing our oil import bill through such measures would have a compounding effect on the economy.
The allocation of hundred lakh crores for infrastructure is most welcome and long overdue if we have to have a realistic chance of being a $5 trillion economy.
Overall there is something for everyone to look forward to. Modi 2.0 is off to a roaring start.”
Founder and CEO, Treize Communications
“The proposing of setting up a high-level committee – Women Self Help Group (SHG) Interest Subvention Programme for women empowerment is a welcome step by the government. With only 25% of India’s labor force being female, we come under the world’s lowest GDP contributors at just 18%. It is nice to see the Modi Government 2.0 taking steps to encourage and facilitate the role of women and put forth a committee for gender analysis.”
Founder and CEO, Monk Media Network
“The advent of the mobile phone has ensured that more and more people are accessing content both entertainment and informational. The need of the hour is to ensure the content supply matches the consumption demand. FDI limit increase will allow companies to robustly invest in content creation which will take us towards a content rich economy”
Co-founder and CEO, Safeducate
“We have a strong government at the center which has the ability to drive positive reforms on the ground with considerable ease, something which it has also ably done in the past. The Government’s vision of Digital India and Startup India is incomplete without entrepreneurs who have both visions as well as skills to execute that vision. Finance Minister’s move to have 75,000 skilled entrepreneurs in India paves the way for this and will promote the development of cutting-edge and indigenous technological solutions, create high-tech jobs in India, upskill Indian professionals, and enable us to tap the ripening global market.”
CEO, FIA Technology Services Private Ltd
“Creation of social stock exchange is a welcome move for impact enterprises like FIA Global. The Business Correspondent (BC) industry is not regulated. Being able to be able to register on the stock exchange will lend corporate BCs the much needed legitimacy and visibility. The exchange can in turn act as a connector, linking social impact companies with impact funds and potential customers. Simplified guidelines for accreditation / registering in the social stock exchange will be required to ensure early success of the exchange.”
Co-founder, CFO and head (revenue and growth), Open
“The overall intent of the government to provide impetus to startups in the budget is heartening. Finally, a strong message on the scrutiny on Angel Tax is a welcome move which will open up capital source for early-stage ventures. However, the implementation part including the details of the verification mechanism will be the key to its effectiveness.”
CEO, BARC India
“Today’s budget directionally augurs well for boosting long-term economic growth by focus shown on infrastructure improvements, strengthening benefits to MSME sector and investments on improved skill sets of human recourses. Steps taken to attract investments by relaxing FDI, FPI and NRI norms, coupled with boosting public sector banks and NBFC, will trigger the much-desired credit boost.
Coming to the media and entertainment industry, one will have to carefully look at the impact of allowing FDI in the media sector. We are happy as BARC India, for the impetus given to start-ups which will further propel efforts of the overall industry on innovation and digitisation.”
Group CEO, Housing.com, PropTiger.com, Makaan.com and Fastfox.com
“The standout announcement in Union Budget 2019, for the real estate sector, was the additional deduction of Rs 1.5 lakhs for those seeking home loans for affordable housing projects, which will be allowed till March 31, 2020. The FM mentioned that this takes the deduction up to Rs 3.5 lakhs cumulatively and translates into a gain of Rs 7 lakhs, during a 15-year loan repayment tenure. This boost on the demand side was clearly needed considering that many home buyers have turned fence-sitters, awaiting such tax sops or correction in prices. On the supply side, over 81 lakh houses have been sanctioned, out of which construction has been completed for 26 lakh houses under the PMAY Urban scheme and this too, shall continue to boost the market for affordable homes.
While it may seem like that there haven’t been any direct announcements to benefit the sector, the real story lies in the fine print. All the initiatives spoken of, to improve road, suburban railways and Metro connectivity; create a robust water management system; work on the Ease of Living; invest Rs 100 lakh crores in infrastructure over the next 5 years, will create more liveable cities and encourage people to invest in projects, even in peripheral areas and not overcrowd the CBDs and SBDs. On the regulatory side, we see the move to hand over regulation of housing finance companies to RBI, as a positive one. Reduction in NPAs of commercial banks by over Rs 1 lakh crores over the last year, is an encouraging sign for the sector that has been hit hard by the funding crisis. Another major area that has been addressed is Rental Housing – we look forward to the Model Tenancy Law that has been promised, to do away with the current archaic laws. The government’s clear focus on continuing to attract global investors into various sectors bodes well for the economy at large.”
MD, Greendot Health Foods Pvt Ltd (Cornitos)
“With government’s initiative, farm output has increased which leads to promotion of Agri processing industry. We have planned to invest in developing value added healthy agro based products. Another big policy put forth by the finance minister on ‘One nation One grid’ for easy power availability at one price across states is also very stimulating for the industry.”
ineet J Mehra
Managing director, DOT
“Reduction in GST on EVs as well as tax rebate on interest for purchasing EVs should give the requisite demand push to the Electric Vehicle sector, however specific financial option for purchase of EVs by aggregators and E-logistics players still not addressed in the budget.”
Managing director, Alankit Limited
The Finance Minister in the Union Budget has struck the right chord with companies operating in India by proposing an increase in the annual turnover limit from Rs 250 crore to Rs 400 crore for availing a lower corporate tax rate of 25%. Furthermore, a promising move that will streamline business operations is the push towards encouraging digital payments for customers of those business establishments having an annual turnover of over Rs 50 crore and with no charges on MDR on business and customers. The new proposals for simplification of the GST system to a single monthly return and scheme to resolve pending litigations are great relief for the business community.
“The mention of start-ups in the full budget in such a clear manner is certainly a boost for the whole ecosystem. It is encouraging to see an optimistic approach on promoting start-ups by solving their issues, getting in touch with the start-ups and investors directly. Sitharaman’s focus on boosting FDI in media, and single brand will arrest the decline of FDI trend and directly push growth of media and private label markets in Indian start-up economy. The relaxation in Angel Tax, filing returns and tax compliance is a relief and will boost the confidence of doing businesses in India. Proposal of starting a television programme, within the Doordarshan bouquet of channels, exclusively for and by start-ups will foster entrepreneurship and in turn create job opportunities. Modi 2.0 commitment to building women-led policies to further women entrepreneurship is encouraging.”
Gautam C Kaushik
MD and CEO, PAYBACK India
“Prima facie the budget takes into cognizance the structural challenges that need to be addressed and has taken steps somewhere initial and in some areas quite bold that are in sync with the needs of a changing economy aspiring to grow to $5 trillion. Several stimuli covering Banking Recapitalisation and NBFC sector, Farming income and incentives to women SHGs to scale up as well as the liberalising Corporate taxation regime, supporting start-up fund raising, would give impetus to growth at a structural level. Government has continued with its focus on improving ease of doing business, promoting cashless & digital economy, Make-in-India, next-gen environment friendly mobility et al, which will not only strengthen consumer sentiment but will also improve the employment scenario and the quality of livelihood in the long run.”
CEO, Usha International
“We welcome the union budget which will boost the country’s development in the coming years, particularly in rural markets. With the economy growing and a rise in disposable income, this news ahead of the festive season will certainly bring cheer to all stakeholders in the consumer durable sector – companies, partners, and customers – and we are optimistic that this will lead to a spur in the growth in the consumer durables category. We also welcome and are hopeful that the announcement of pension benefits to 3 crore shop owners under the new Pradhan Mantri Karamyogi Mandhan Scheme will bring some relief to the small retailers.”
MD and CEO, METRO Cash and Carry India
“The proposal to streamline multiple labour laws in four labour codes is an important step towards the much awaited labour reforms. MSMEs and start-ups have a big role in creating mass employment generation and value creation as India sets course to be a US$ 5 trillion economy. Pension benefit cover of Rs 3000 per month will allow small kirana store owners and traders to reinvest money they were setting aside for their future security into growing their business. Further, loans of upto Rs 1 lakh for MSMEs and Rs 350 crore outlay under the interest subvention schemes will ease the much needed credit flow to the sector.
Measures like setting up new livelihood and technology business incubators to develop 75,000 skilled entrepreneurs in agro-rural industries; and 10,000 new farmer producer organisations and the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) scheme for fisherman will improve rural livelihood.”
President, Film Exporters Association and CEO, Ultra Media and Entertainment Group
FM’s plans to increase the FDI in the media, animation & visual effects sectors will definitely Increase liquidity in these sectors which will help in enhancing and improving the existing infrastructure & skilled manpower which is just so essential, especially keeping in mind the nature of these sectors With the increase in FDI , the investing companies also will bring new advanced technologies in this industries. Though Indian animation and visual effects are well known worldwide, this move will increase its stature and grow it exponentially. It also will create ample employment opportunities for skilled and semi skilled manpower
In terms of the media sector, International media companies & foreign funds will look at the sector with a long term investment horizon. It will also help in scaling up the quality and quantity of the content created in India.
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