2018 Budget Expectations from Industry Leaders

by January 29, 2018 0 comments

Everyone is waiting anxiously for the government to present the budget. we all have some expectations, including reducing the rate of interest for loans and many others. Our industry leaders have some expectations from the government as well, we have curated budget 2018 expectations from the industry leaders, have a look…

Swetang Vin, Corporate Vice President and Regional CFO, AMD

“Supply of goods and services to units registered under STPI should be GST exempted. Entities registered as STPI units have fueled the economy for almost a decade by bringing in convertible foreign exchange into India and have proved themselves as partners the nation building.  Though there are schemes supporting the STPI units, claiming GST/Service tax refunds for the unutilized credit is not an easy task.
Amendments in the Law exempting levy of GST on services rendered to STPI would enable  release of unwarranted pressure created on the working capital.”

 

Priya Mahajan, Head of ASPAC Public Policy & Regulatory Counsel, Verizon Enterprise Solutions

The Government of India has made great strides to foster the growth and development of the Indian IT and telecommunication sector, strengthening the economic and digital transformation in the country. As the industry grapples with competition caused by digital disruption, we hope that the Union Budget 2018-19 will take into consideration key issues such as reforms in the Telecoms regulatory framework via industry consultation as part of new National Telecom Policy -2018 deliberations to promote Legal certainty, predictability and global consistency which will further foster Innovation & Investments in the IT and Telecom Sector.

The key to success of the Digital India initiative also lies in making the necessary reforms to the tax structures including GST that have played an integral role in developing the country’s economic prowess.

Robust Data Privacy & Security Framework

We have witnessed the continuous rise of digital payments, further strengthening the digital economy. With the government’s push to increase the number of digital transactions, comes the inevitable increased threat of cyber-attacks. As Government of India has initiated steps to strengthen its Data privacy framework, we urge the Government of India to consider Global standards in this regard. The policy framework needs to be future proof and dynamic so that we can remain nimble and responsive to a constantly changing privacy landscape.

Ease of doing business

‘Ease of doing business’ remains a key consideration for companies wanting to invest. For the competitive telecom market, in particular, separate jurisdiction in commission rates were created for ICT companies to meet the regulations set by the Government. This will severely compromise the ease of doing business for telecom companies. Centralised assessment of telecom operators will significantly reduce issues in audits resulting in greater ease of doing business.

Reconsidering License Fee

Telecom services are an essential part of the Digital India initiative yet the sector is one of the highest taxed of the Indian Economy. With a cumulative astounding tax incidence of ~ 33% of revenues, India tops

 

Sahil Chopra, CEO, and Founder, iCubesWire

“The announcement of Union budget is just around the corner with discussions & debates being conducted around it. There is hush-hush regarding the assumptions when everyone is expecting a positive release. As far as digital is concerned, besides the allocation of budgets on Digital Infra Development, there is a need to initiate a few reforms. Digital is the fastest growing sector of India & should be highly benefitted from the Union Budget.

As per my understanding, budgets should be allocated to PSUs for investing in digital marketing. This will lead to a win-win situation as for the organization the digital mediums will help gain recognition & support. While the digital agencies will spread awareness & educate the audience about the benefits of the organization. Even the digital organizations paying taxes dutifully should be recognized well & given the right opportunities to flourish.

Even on a personal level, the entrepreneurs who are platinum taxpayers should be given certain advantages as a reward for their contribution towards the nation. Any individual paying heavy taxes on time should be entitled to such benefits which could be in the form of a card similar to the other identity cards we have. This will not only be a welcomed move, but it will also ignite the zeal among the others to be a part of that category thereby benefitting the country.
However, what the budget is going to be will be interesting to witness & I hope for some reforms that help the digital sector in various ways.”

 

Suman Reddy, MD, Pegasystems India

Sharing his views, Mr. Suman Reddy, MD, Pegasystems India said, “The industry is still reeling under the APA (Adv Pricing Agreement) leading to confusion around the double taxation component of transfer pricing. We are looking for further clarity on this. Further, the development centres are looking for a more favourable deduction of Section 35 (2AB) to further India’s image as and R&D capital. On the startup fronts, local governments have set the precedent for bolstering innovation and entrepreneurship, and conditions like angel tax for domestic investors being higher than foreign investors must be relooked at. The government can also heed to IT association’s requests to set up a more central initiative around new tech reskilling, as there are initiatives being undertaken by organizations who find it feasible.”

 

Nikhil Rungta, MD, Intuit India

“In the upcoming budget, we expect increased incentives and budgetary allocation to encourage the flow of credit to SMEs. We are also hoping to have a business environment with minimum regulation and policies helping SMEs expand, grow, and go digital. For start-ups, we want the budget to foster an ecosystem to help them access capital easily and make investments in the segment lucrative. In the last year, while GST has been hailed as a much-needed overhaul of the indirect tax system, many small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) across sectors – services and product alike – are still adapting to the new tax regime . Of the 51 million SMBs present in the Indian market, around 20 per cent are somewhat digital-savvy. Since the government is highly supportive of making India digitally tax-compliant, in the upcoming budget, we would like the Government to help small business by making it easier for them to adopt financial technology solutions that would help them make their tax filings faster and much more convenient.”

 

Satya Prabhakar, Founder and CEO, Sulekha

India has 10 to 15 million service MSME’s who run a wide variety of businesses. Across coaching & training services (school tuitions, computer training, job training, entrance exam coaching…) or home/business services (catering, pest control, security guards, interior decoration, architect…), our lives are impacted by tens of such small businesses who help consumers in most of the metro cities.

Most of these MSME’s have 1 to 5 employees and face 3 key challenges in growing their businesses – financial (funding, credit…), customer acquisition (acquiring new customers, retaining existing ones…) and regulatory compliance (forms, taxes…).

While large organizations can rely on multiple experts to solve all three aspects, MSME’s need a lot more support from the Government to help them scale-up. Budget 2018 can help MSME’s in these two aspects:

1) Help provide uncollateralized credit:

While lot of fintech organizations promise small-ticket personal loans, the ability to provide loans in the region of Rs. 2 to 10 lakhs using little collateral is beyond the ability of startups. The Govt. can aid in scaling up business loans for service MSME’s.

2) Reducing or removing GST on promotional spends:

Most MSME’s may come under the GST composition scheme that has business turnover limit of Rs. 1.5 crores currently. Budget 2018 can look to see if marketing and promotional spends done by such entities are fully exempt from GST. This will help them to further invest and grow their business.
Once MSME’s cross this limit, they can easily start paying the additional 18% tax and grow their business further.

 

Avinash Tiwari, Co-founder and Director, pCloudy

“At this stage when the startup ecosystem has matured enough, more impetus should be given on increasing the tax incentives and faster procedure clearances. We are also expecting few tax holidays periods to increase from 3 to 7 years. Considering the slump in valuations in subsequent rounds of funding by the start-ups, we look forward to the government providing necessary clarity for invoking anti-abuse provisions on taxation of issue of shares at higher than FMV.”

“We at pCloudy feel that the cash flows are an important building block of startups. If the TDS rate deductions by the customers of startups can be reduced to 1-2% in initial 3-5 years of the business cycle of startups, this will give a big boost to startup ecosystem.”

 

Rajiv Bhalla, Managing Director at Barco Electronic Systems

“With the Smart Cities Mission being a priority for the government, we can expect increased capital allocation towards projects in this direction in the budget announcement with a vision to develop the essential smart infrastructure. As India makes its way towards becoming a digital-first economy, we can also look forward to a sustained push aimed at enabling more businesses to make a seamless digital transition.

It would also be interesting to see what financial, infrastructural, and regulatory provisions are made for the ‘Make in India’ initiative. For India to become a global manufacturing hub, the government will have to ramp up its efforts to provide essential support for the ‘In Country, For Country’ companies. Creating an environment where businesses can thrive will encourage more players – both indigenous and international – to explore the possibility of manufacturing within India. The increased economic activity that this facilitates will, in turn, give both the GDP and employment generation a massive boost.”

 

Aniketh Jain, CEO & Co-Founder of Solutions Infini Pvt. Ltd.

“This year budgets are going to be significantly crucial as they happen post the year of notable reforms like Demonetization, GST implementation and insolvency & bankruptcy policy. This year budget also marks significant impact on the way our ecosystem functions. Bringing in policies that fosters growth in employment, direct tax reforms, creating more clarity on the way bitcoin operates and its significance on Indian economy can be familiarized for smoother functions. The last year’s budget has taken various initiatives to improve the ease of doing business, controlling inflation, digitizing the financial and individual records. Increase in FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) is a pragmatic initiative that has opened up investments from various sectors. Government should capitalize on the growth trajectory of the past year to strengthen the existing framework of the policies and to create sustainable solutions that foster employment opportunities, transparent financial policies to make India USD 6 Trillion economy in a decade of time.”

 

Gaurav Hinduja, Cofounder of Capital Float

“For the Budget 2018-19, we hope that the government will continue to push digitization of financial services and encourage consumers to use digital platforms for transactions. Initiatives such Aadhaar and UPI provide a good opportunity for banks, insurers, and fintech players to expand India’s efforts towards financial inclusion. Another area of focus should be reducing the cost of capital for the MSMEs by improving lenders access to low cost funding sources such as MUDRA & SIDBI and relaxing securitization norms” said Gaurav Hinduja, Cofounder of Capital Float.

 

Suneet Singh Tuli, CEO & President- DataWind

“We expect that FY19 would be the year when the government realizes the intended benefits of GST and demonetization implementation. In the upcoming budget, we are hoping for some relief in terms of GST from the government. To grow as a nation, we need to educate the people of the land; with this motto, DataWind had entered the telecom market with the cheapest educational tablets. As we have always stated, DataWind aims to fill the gap between conventional and smart education by providing affordable devices and internet connectivity. Tablet PCs carried a 5% sales tax before the implementation of GST.  Due to tax rebates in certain Indian states, as part of make-in-India, the 5% was waived. In the last financial year, we have seen a steep rise due to GST from 0% to 18%. The GST rate for 7” tablets is also at disparity with 6” smartphones, which have a 12%, while both sets of products carry the same functionality.  This made educational tablets costlier and unaffordable among low-income groups. We look forward to reduction in GST on low-cost educational tablets from 18 percent to 5 percent and if possible remove it completely. We are hopeful that the process of GST refunds gets expedited thus helping to run the business with ease.”

“India as a country imports a large number of electronic goods from neighboring countries. There should be a focus to substitute imports with domestic manufacturing. This can again be achieved with attractive tax slabs. We have some success in that field but the value addition is still low.There is a need to provide an edge to domestic manufacturing. Similarly, there are a lot of low-end items being imported, and if produced locally they present a good opportunity to indigenous companies by providing local employment.”

“We hope this budget would be sympathetic towards the sector so as to resurrect the affected businesses again. Overall, we are hopeful for the new budget to create a conducive environment for new job creation, exports and future economic growth of the country.”

 

Sajiv Nath, MD, Yokogawa India

“Will the Budget cut down duties? This is likely the most-made inquiry in the weeks prior to the Finance Bill is tabled in Parliament. This year, the desires of a tax-payer-friendly spending plan are considerably higher, given that five states have elections in 2018 and another three in 2019. Numerous financial specialists expect that the administration will reveal a populist Budget. In a move that will profit bigger organisations, the legislature may cut corporate expense in the forthcoming Union Budget. For broadening the tax reduction, the legislature could consider organisations with a yearly turnover of Rs 1500 crore and above. A cut in corporate duty will likewise rely upon income standpoint for GST in the following financial.  I hope that Budget 2018 may propose a withdrawal of DDT and come back to the great arrangement of profit tax assessment, that is, profit pay to be saddled on account of the beneficiary investors. The instance of the evacuation of DDT is the need to influence successful corporate assessment to rate in India contrast positively and contending economies. I think It additionally empowers remote speculators to get a credit of assessment in their nations, in this manner enhancing the return of venture and simplicity of working together in India.”

 

Ganesh Somwanshi, Entrepreneur

“Among the host of forecasts made for the 2017 union spending plan, one normal perspective over all enterprises is by all accounts the execution of the reexamined Goods and Services Tax (GST), which can help in making a uniform tax assessment framework that advantages little organizations over the long haul. Despite the fact that the new 2017 is relied upon to be more comprehensive regarding helping new businesses and SMEs additionally develop their business, I wish to see that solid advances are being taken to guarantee the same, particularly for entertainment & internet business based organizations. With dispatch of salary revelation plan and demonetization, charge accumulations have gone up. The truth will surface eventually if these moves have prompted more extensive consistence, assuming genuine, this would prompt a consistent increment in income for the administration. The legislature can utilize this to pass on higher tax cuts to the regular man. The legislature could likewise wipe up abundance supports in financial balances by raising expense reasoning’s accessible under 80C for PPF. This would help the common man.”

 

Ebrahim Mookhtiar, Director, SKILLDOM

“Last year’s union budget introduced some historic taxation reforms namely; GST, union budget FY 2018-19 will be the last budget before the general elections and we are hopeful that GST application to mutual funds is abolished. We also expect that the budget resolves to do away with dividend distribution tax for businesses having a turnover of 50 Cr or less. Speaking from the skill development perspective we hope that the budget caters to offer tax relief to corporates spending money on employee training.  Also, Corporates engaging in skill development as a part of their CSR program (Corporate Social Responsibility) should be incentivized for additional spending on CSR by giving them a tax relief for that amount or more.  At the same time, we also wish fund allocation for research and development on how government departments can benefit from moving to artificial intelligence and blockchain based platforms”.

 

Aloke Ghosh, CFO, Infogain

“2018 will be a year of growth and buoyancy for the Indian economy. Last year’s budget did not see much in terms of provisions for the ITeS sector and the demands of the sector, especially wrt software products and services, were left out. This year disruptive technologies and digital services like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Robotics Process Automation will drive growth creating a huge demand for skill development. We are expecting sanctions that will aid to further R&D in India and the streamlining of taxes post the GST implementation to facilitate ease of doing business.”

 

Avneet Singh Marwah, Director and CEO of Super Plastronics Pvt Ltd, Kodak HD LED TV India

“Last year the consumer electronics industry saw a decline by 10-15% due to 2 major reforms (GST & Demonetization). However, despite the initial decline, we welcome the reforms introduced by the government. But televisions have been put under 28% GST, therefore we saw a larger decline in sales in Q3. As a result, offline trade has taken the maximum hit and we expect GST on television should come down to 18%. If the government does not consider a reduction, we may see jobs cut down by 35%.”

“Many companies have already started laying off their workforce. If India wishes to maintain its ‘fastest growing economy’ tag, then we must increase consumerism, which can’t be achieved by placing a 28%  tax bracket on a consumer electronics like smart televisions. In contrast, some of the biggest markets in the world have a tax structure below 12% on television and their market size is growing substantially. In India, the average screen size which was predicted to be at 38” in the year 2017-18, still remains at 33”, in comparison. The expectations from this budget for the consumer electronics industry is high and we hope that the Government is able to balance the reformed taxes with the income-expenditure of the layman.”

 

Vivek Agarwal, Co-founder, M-tech Informatics Ltd

“The upcoming Union Budget 2018 will be a significant one as it will be the first budget after a bold economic measure like GST has been implemented.  We are likely to witness a whole lot of business and economy friendly measures being announced. Thanks to the government’s Make in India initiative which encouraged local manufacturing and augmented production, India has emerged as the second largest mobile phone market in 2018. As the country eyes the top position, the mobile phone industry expects the government to maintain and introduce more favorable policies for domestic manufacturers.  First, in order to prevent dumping of phones in the Indian market, the government should increase the duty on CBU’s to 20 % (recently govt. has increased duty on CBU’s from 10 % to 15%). This will provide domestic manufacturers a level playing field vis a vis importers and encourage them to expand capacity. Second, we expect the government to lower bank loan interest rate by 2%- 3 %. Mobile phone manufacturing is a capital-intensive industry, with long credit cycles. Also, with the introduction of GST, a lot of working capital is tied up, making it tough for manufacturers. Furnishing a bank guarantee rather than blocking working capital would be a big relief. Therefore, to ease the pressure and make manufacturers more competitive, a lower interest rate coupled with bank guarantee would be crucial. Last but not the least; we hope the government extends the IGST benefits to manufacturers.”

 

Dr. Narendra Shyamsukha, Founder Chairman, ICA Edu Skills

“Organisations like ICA Edu Skills which are partnering with various state and Central government in offering skill-building programmes to the country’s potential workforce in diverse sectors are looking forward to Budget 2018 with a lot of hope. We expect the Union Finance Minister to take measures which will facilitate giving market-relevant training to crores of youth in the country. One of the first things the government needs to do in this regard is capped the GST rate for all type of skill training irrespective of whether they government funded/CSR funded/ Self or Employer funded at 5 per cent. Alternatively, it should provide for a refund mechanism for GST.

Second, the National Skill Development Corporation’s interest rate charged from skill partners should be reduced from the present six per cent to two per cent. The government needs to make adequate budgetary allocation so that in every taluka at least 10, 000 people can be given some sort of skill training.

The number of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras and budgetary support for them should also be increased. Finally, we are also looking forward to some income tax concessions to companies providing skill-development services.There should be 150% weightage for depreciation or expenditure on skilling.”

Dr. SD Gupta, Chairman, IIHMR University, Jaipur

“Time is ripe for India to set up world-class universities and institute. The country already has some very famous colleges and universities in science, technology and management disciplines. But the government should come out with a policy to have many more. The scope of Higher education Funding Agency (HEFA) should be expanded to provide long-term loans for private players to set up new universities. Institutes and colleges having research capabilities should also be given adequate tax breaks and help in conduct research.” said Dr. SD Gupta

 

Pradipto Chakrabarty, Regional Director, CompTIA India

1. PROBLEM: One of the key problems that the IT industry is facing is the reduced rate of outsourcing that has been the sustenance of IT industry in India due to increasing automation. We cannot depend on the manpower driven industry for long. We need to immediately develop skills of manpower on cutting-edge technology

EXPECTATIONS: Government should create the fund and set up Center of excellence on emerging technologies such as IOT, Robotics, and Artificial Intelligence within government and private institutions of higher education.

2. PROBLEM: India lacks software product development capabilities which have a more sustainable revenue earning potential.

EXPECTATION: Funding to institutions of higher education for Research and development aimed towards IT Product development.

3. PROBLEM: Growing skill gap between what industry wants and what a fresh graduate acquired on completion of the academic degree.

EXPECTATION: Government should set aside budget allocations for international globally accepted certification and training programs which are standard Inez’s skill development tools for creating a baseline skill benchmark. Examples of such alliances and funding are commonplace in many developed as well as developing economies. Also, Government should spruce up a non- existent Apprenticeship program that helps industry and academic institutions get on the same page on the skill required from fresh graduates.

4. PROBLEM: Huge vulnerability across segments to cyber threats, especially Defence, intelligence and Police forces.

EXPECTATION: Cyber defense, incident response and creating a breach repository should be a clear budgetary priority. All institutions should have the mandatory curriculum on cybersecurity so that we have adequate cyber defenders and penetration testers. Government-funded awareness programs should be mandatory for IT users across India.

Rajeev Bhardwaj, VP, HR, Sun Life Financial Asia Service Centre

India is at an inflection point and gearing up to unlock the potential for growth across all sectors. We expect budget 2018 to stimulate the domestic economy by creating opportunities for job growth and new incentives for doing business. IT and ITES sectors, once the mainstay of the services economy, could be at the focus of this year’s budget.

The government should take a view of measures that will help to spur demand for services generated from this sector by giving adequate tax breaks and making these services more competitive globally. The government should also take a view on promoting skilling and reskilling initiatives and setting up institutions to cater to the demand from the IT and ITES sector in the light of the great digital wave that swept across the country promoted by Digital India initiatives.

 

Dr. Sanjiv Kumar, Director, International Institute of Health Management Research, Delhi

“The BJP had given high priority to health in its election manifesto, but the Modi government’s budgetary allocation for health in the last three years has not reflected its commitment to improving the healthcare of its citizens. Here are some of the areas that need special attention in Budget 2018: The central allocation for health must be doubled to fund healthcare for all citizens starting with the poor, the marginalized, the elderly, and expanded in a phased manner to cover all citizens.In last year’s Budget, the government committed to establishing 150,000 health and wellness centers. It needs to deliver on this commitment, and scale it up with adequate budgetary allocation.The government must also fund the creation of a cadre of hospital managers as is being successfully done in private sectors to prevent recurrence of Gorakhpur like tragedies.Keeping in mind the growing burden of non-communicable diseases which account for two-thirds of deaths annually, the fund allocation for it must be increased substantially from the present 3% of the central health budget. The government must also provide funds to set up a mechanism to oversee that health is included in all policies to address social determinants. Finally, the government must invest in developing and scaling up technological innovations to improve access to quality healthcare.”

 

Vinay Pradhan, Country Manager, Skillsoft India

“This union budget will be the first, post-implementation of the GST regime and expectations are running high. We are expecting some growth driven policies which would act as a catalyst for the Skill India program and a sustained push towards a digital-first economy. With constant technological innovation; it is a challenge to keep up with the needs of an agile, digitally literate workforce. In order to ensure that the people are prepared to take on this digital revolution, it is imperative to empower people with the right set of skills which will require the creation of technological infrastructure and budgetary support. With this budget, the Government should encourage increased participation by the private sector in this skill development initiative and provide the tax exemption for investments made in the Learning and Development sector. To persuade working professionals to undertake self-education programs to upgrade their skill set, the Government should consider making some provision of tax benefits on expenses incurred by them on self-education and also in the procurement of simulators, multimedia, and e-learning for training providers.”

 

Keith Martin, Head, Asia Pacific, Corporate Business, F-Secure

“Union Budget 2018 has to take many positive steps towards aiding India’s smooth transition into a digital economy. With the constant sophistication of the cybercrime owing to the massive digital advancement and the government stressing towards digital payments, we could expect an overall digitization budget following the significantly intensifying number of cases of cybercrimes and data breaches. We can certainly expect cybersecurity to be a key agenda for the government this year.”

 

Vinu, Cheriyan, CFO & Director Operations at Sennheiser Electronics India Pvt Ltd.

The budget 2018-2019 is likely to get some relief for everyone as it is the last full-fledged budget of the BJP-led government ahead of the general elections in 2019 and the government is expected to follow a please-all strategy. The government is diligently working on various permutations and combinations to arrive at the right mix which ensures that the tax burden is not unreasonable and at the same time enough resources are mobilized for infrastructure development. We expect that the finance ministry is working on a proposal to increase the tax exemption limit from INR 2.5 lakh per annum to INR 3 lakh or more and introduce some changes in the tax slabs to lighten the taxpayers’ burden. Corporate India also has great expectations from the upcoming Union Budget as this would be the first post-GST budget and the last before the general elections of 2019. We expect a series of populist policies in this year’s budget including the reduction in corporate tax to attract investments and deduction in the GST slabs as well.

We are keen to know about the resources that the government will allocate towards the audio industry. We also appreciate the recent move by Indian Government to allow 100% FDI in Single Brand Retail Trading as this will increase foreign capital in the country and in turn create new avenues to generate more employment opportunities. There is also a need for the government to simplify the GST invoices being issued to the consumers by eliminating the mention of HSN codes on them, removing the need for manual signature and multiple copies. The government should also take necessary steps to ensure a simplified e-way bill system to avoid the additional burden on the industry. We hope that the budget gives a lot more in the hands of individual consumers for them to be able to go out there and buy. If consumption in India increases, it re-emphasizes the democratic dividend that India has and this will further support the Make in India movement in the country. This would stimulate consumption and boost retail markets.

With the change in lifestyle and preferences, more people are opening up to the idea of music in India and along with government’s support, we will be able to promote this even further. We believe that government will take into account, the growth of audio industry in India and slash the GST rates on audio equipment. We are positive that the Union Budget 2018-19 will bring back a lot of glory while keeping in mind the aspirations of budding musicians in the country. I wish our Finance Minister a great luck for the budget 2018-2019 and would like to thank him for diligence to kick-start the next growth revolution in our country.

 

KK Mookhey, Founder & CEO, Network Intelligence – Global Cyber Security firm

In last years budget, the Finance Minister announced the setup of CERTFIN. While the initiative was much needed, we hope to see much more specific action points in the 2018 budget that will align with the digital transformation journey that the country is undergoing.

The 2018 budget must support the development of the cybersecurity infrastructure by focusing on people, process & technology. The expectations are for benefits to local organizations for a much-needed push to increase qualified cybersecurity professionals, set up local compliance across all sectors for Data Security & to waive off taxation for homegrown cybersecurity technologies.

 

S. Sundararajan- Executive Director at i-exceed

“Ours is a country that has realized the significance of digitization and acted on it. The demonetization act set the wheels rolling in a big way for Digital India and the growth of digital payments has accelerated since then. However, there is still a large section of population, especially from rural areas, who are unable to get the best out of these digital initiatives. Fintech players are coming up with interest innovations to support regional languages, voice based transactions and AI powered natural language processing to facilitate financial inclusion. With the 2018 fiscal budget, we expect the government to take more active steps in encouraging such innovations.”

 

Shrenik Bhayani, General Manager, Kaspersky Lab (South Asia)

“Looking at the current situation and the government initiatives like digitization in India, it is expected that the budget which is soon to be announced will focus a lot more on creating funds to battle the growing concern of cybersecurity in India. Cybersecurity according to me deserves to be in the top 5 list of concerns in India.”

 

Rakesh Dugar, CMD- Mitashi Edutainment

“Post GST, the budget has lost a lot of its importance as a large part of the expectations from the budget were related to Indirect taxes, we think that the government will go for a modest / populist budget to ensure a balanced / positive sentiment before the elections. The budget needs to make it easier for companies to shift their manufacturing into india, right now we see a lot of companies scrambling to shift their base without the infrastructure in place or 100% clarity in the rules. We will need long term clarity in the taxes which can promote trust and allow people to invest into manufacturing, we believe India has the capability to become a major export hub for consumer durables but needs good and stable policies to ensure that we can explore this potential.”

Anil Valluri, President, NetApp India & SAARC

In the past few years, The Indian Government has initiated a series of initiatives, directed at driving overall change for the positive in the Economy, and results are sure to follow suit. One positive impact for example is the fact that The World Bank now ranks India as one of the top 100 nations in terms of business friendliness, a significant jump of 30 points from the preceding year. I believe more success and impact is yet to come. The upcoming budget will be an important one, as it will be expected to provide the ‘booster’ to this forward direction. This government has demonstrated that it values technology led governance for transparency & efficiency. I believe that investments in a stronger technology backbone is the need of the hour, in order to help bring the Govts vision to a sustainable fruition.

A stronger thrust on research and development that enables more indigenous innovation and increased investments in future technologies will be welcome. I do believe that we will see more of citizen focused & friendly decisions, and initiatives to bolster investment into India.

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