Post Budget Reactions from Industry Experts

Union Budget announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is getting overall mixed raections from various industries. Here take look what industry leaders are thinking about. Here are some of the post budget Reactions–

Anil Valluri, President, NetApp India & SAARC

India’s Budget FY18: A Continued thrust on transformation

The last few years have seen large initiatives designed to bring about substantive change. The FY18 budget marks time, with its particular focus on agriculture, healthcare and infrastructure and the continued thrust on the MSME segment. The focus on wide scale broadband access, on Machine learning, AI and robotics, on R&D as well as skilling, and on Smart Cities will keep pushing India’s Digital agenda, well supported by the additional fund allocation. It is a quietly progressive budget, and timed well to focus on readying all cross sections of Indian society to reap the benefits of the future.”

Gaurav Agarwal, Managing Director, India & SAARC, Symantec

“The Government of India has made great strides towards digital enablement over the last few years. This year’s Union Budget further validates their strong focus on leveraging the best of technology to enhance socio-economic equity, capital and capacity within the country. Setting up of half a million Wi-Fi hotspots,  and push for digital payments are definitely positive signs.

However, in the accelerated hyper connectedness which also includes critical infrastructure sectors like banking, energy and telecom coupled with government’s keen interest to explore technologies such as AI and blockchain, it is essential to ensure adequate investments are made towards cyber security and data protection. Recent large-scale, sophisticated attacks have underscored the importance of cyber security tremendously, and therefore government departments and agencies should consider allocating  at least 8% of their respective technology budgets for  strengthening their cyber defense.”

Mahesh Lingareddy, Founder & Chairman of Smartron

“Union Budget 2018 has given clear indications of a continued focus on the growth of new businesses in India. The announcement of increase in basic customs duty on mobile phones to 20% is a concrete step towards fostering local manufacturing in India which would further fuel indigenous innovation. This will allow us to build an innovation engine pipeline of several global brands in the country. As India’s first global OEM and IOT brand with a vision of putting India on the global innovation map, the Union Budget would prove to be the necessary catalyst for our continued growth towards becoming a multi-billion dollar company globally.

India needs an investment (VC) ecosystem that can pump in US$15-US$20 billion every year to support and sustain a 5000+ startup ecosystem. Union Budget 2018 has taken the needs of the ecosystem into consideration by taking policy decisions to build a robust alternative investment regime in the country along-with a taxation model designed for the special nature of VC funds and angel investors. These policies and new taxation model would definitely help the start-ups to ensure survival and profitability over the years. As India’s first global OEM and IoT brand, Smartron believes in collective innovation and this year’s Union Budget would help us in our long term vision of bringing in the start-ups together on a single platform to innovate at the global level.”

Rajesh Rege, Managing Director, Red Hat, India and SAARC

“It was a well-rounded budget. Emphasis on education, entrepreneurship & healthcare was much needed & is welcome. FM’s comments on AI & Blockchain are a step in the right direction & we look to an early implementation of these initiatives.”

GB Kumar, Vice President – India and APAC at Prysm Inc

“The one key takeaway from Union Budget 2018 is clearly the envisioned rise of India as a connected and technology-driven nation. There is a clear focus on creating a digital economy through sizeable strategic investments in developing the requisite infrastructure. With the government’s enhanced commit to the Digital India scheme – an allocation of INR 3,073 crore, and the successful selection of 99 cities (out of 100)  for the Smart Cities initiative – we believe we will see expedited implementation of Connected Cities. Another commendable announcement was the allocation of INR 10,000 crore to the Bharatnet project and establishment of 5 lakh Wifi hotspots in rural geographies. The government’s announcements that promote digitization through greater connectivity, will fuel uptake for collaboration and remote working solutions resulting in a more productive and connected India.

We hope Government will actively encourage emerging technologies such as block chain. This is important for Indian tech industries and start up ecosystems to flourish. Overall, it is a progressive budget, something that puts the onus on the Indian Information Technology industry and also benefit from.”

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

“We welcome the focus of the Union Budget on disruptive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT) and Robotics. With the renewed focus on Digital India, we hope that the Government of India also consider additional reforms to the telecom sector. Reforms that will create a predictable, flexible, lightly regulated and reliant on technology policy framework that incentivizes the businesses to invest, reinvest and to compete in India’s telecom market on a level playing field basis. Reforms that will also provide consumers with greater choices to modernize and simplify regulations for all stakeholders. We are also encouraged that the government is considering series of initiatives to empower the Indian citizens with broadband access thereby bridging the digital divide. Broadband access will spur demand for digital services and usher in a new era of digital revolution, establishing India as one of the most robust ecosystems for investment and innovation in the world.”

Kishalay Ray, President- Consumer Electronics, Sharp Business

On announcement of special scheme to tackle Delhi air pollution

Air pollution is not just the problem of India but the problem of pure world. It is a commendable step to incorporate the major problem of the Indian government’s air pollution into the common budget.
According to this scheme, the government will help the State Government in setting up an in-situ machinery to dispose of crop residues in a manner which does not have any effect on the environment”.

“Overall the entire Budget was wonderfully balanced. However, Air pollution has caught the eye of the Budget for the FY 18-19, as it was a major reason for concern in the year gone by. This has definitely proved how much attention and support is required on this issue. Air contamination became a major concern of the nation due to the rapidly rising health and respiratory problems it caused. Balancing Populism with Progress, our Financial Minister also touched upon some areas like Rural with ultra-modern smart cities, Ecology, and environment with Industry & Commerce”.

Nikhil Rungta, MD, Intuit India

“We are delighted about the recognition from the government, MSME’s are indeed a major engine of growth and employment generation. This budget not only provides small and medium enterprises easier access to their working capital requirements but also highlights  the importance of the role of online fintech lending companies. 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, this budget will 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. “

Rahul Garg, CEO & Founder, Moglix
 
“The Union Budget 2018 is a very inclusive and progressive budget for all of us. It is indeed heartening to see that major emphasis has been laid on improvising social security, healthcare and education for everyone down the pyramid.  We welcome the focus on strengthening the MSME sector in the form of capital support and interest subsidy. Investment in infrastructure would help strengthen the overall geographies of India and make it true to ease of living and doing business in the country.”
Deepak Mittal, CEO, TO THE NEW

“The Union Budget 2018 provides a great push towards technology adoption with an increase in investments towards research in new areas such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and robotics. It is good to see the focus increasing on leveraging best-in-class technologies such as Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence to strengthen the country’s cybersecurity and use digital technologies to improve the overall quality of education in India”

Limesh Parekh , CEO, Enjay IT Solutions

“Apart from other regular things, there are few steps which actually show the intent and vision of the government. Few Examples:

1. Progress towards Universal Health System nationwide
2. MSME reforms and PM Mudra Yojana Wil enhance effectiveness of small enterprises.
3.  Strengthening of railways and powerful agricultural policies will enhance and   strengthen agricultural backbone of Indian economy.
4. Programs for preventing brain drain and BEd programs for technical teachers is a   good step.
I think above steps proves that current government is concerned about building great Nation. “
Ankit Agarwal, MD at Alankit
“ Union budget 2018-19 has been positive and common man centric. Various government schemes in the past year have delivered on the Government’s promise of ‘Less Government and More Governance’ and the budget announcements have not been any different. The Economic Survey 2017-18 highlighted that out of a total outstanding credit of Rs 26,041 billion as in November 2017, 82.6% of the amount was lent to large enterprises and MSMEs got only 17.4 % of total credit and this situation needs attention. Terming MSMEs as the major engine of growth for the Indian economy, the finance minister allocated a sum of Rs. 3794 crore for credit support, capital & interest subsidy on innovation which would improve credit flow in this segment and solidify its position within the economy. Policies like demonetisation and GST have already initiated the process of formalisation of the MSMe sector, which helps in collection of financial information database thereby improving financing for the sector. Reduction of paper work, smoother loan sanctioning cycle and prompt decision making by banks would encourage more and more businesses to walk the straight path of transparency and governance . Additionally, rewarding good behaviour has been a consistent strategy of the current Government and unfailingly they set examples of the same. Reduction of the corporate tax rate for companies with an annual turnover of up to Rs 250 crore to 25% is a move which positively impacts the small, medium and micro enterprise segment. ”
Sirish Kumar, Founder and CEO – Telr
 “Budget has shown an increase in tax collections to government exchequer since demonetisation drive almost a year back . Government of India continues to  embrace new initiatives and technologies to reduce the costs of doing cashless transaction and reducing the parallel black economy. Blockchain will disrupt the present practices related to money transfer , contracts and property records , amongst other things . Blockchain should be explored to tackle bad loans by real time information exchange between banks. I believe blockchain will be pivotal on executing the smart cities  initiatives , particularly the small towns in India . This will include disrupting models of transportation like Uber , Ola etc. The reduction in intermediaries will also make governments and bank efficient by replacing loads of paperwork”.
Dhruv Verma, CEO and Founder, GolfLan Group
“We welcome  Government’s decision to further enhanced the budget to Rs 3073 Cr under Digital India Scheme. The announcement will help give a push to the Indian Golf Sector where the use of digital technology is still minimal.
 
We strongly believe that digital technology will make inroads that will change the way we see the game of Golf in India. We have already seen digital technology supported golfing is a growing trend all over the world.  
 
Golf is better known for tradition than cutting-edge technology, but new apps and mobile-device systems will encourage bringing the sport to a younger generation of players. With digital push, even the Golf course operators of India will be able to better manage and track their golf car fleet, manage pace-of-play issues and increase food, beverage and merchandise revenues. This will also help them to distinguish themselves from their competitors and build brand and customer loyalty.”

Rakesh Khanna, CEO Orient Electric

“This was a balanced budget with focus on rural development, housing, health and infrastructure in line with the Government’s long-term economic vision. While the budget gave relief to MSMEs with turnover up to INR 250 crore, it failed to address the Corporate tax rate issue for larger corporates. The budget reiterated the focus on rural development which we believe will provide an opportunity for the electrical industry to work with the government. Also, the government’s proposed plan to create a dedicated affordable housing fund in line with its plan of providing housing for all by 2022 is good news for the allied segments. Another welcome move is the announcement of identification of 372-point plan on ease of doing business which will attract investments and improve the overall business climate.”

Chander Agarwal, Managing Director, TCIEXPRESS

“As rightly mentioned by the Hon’ble Finance Minister in his budget speech today, Infrastructure is the key growth driver of the economy and the government has made its intent clear to develop infrastructure in India by introducing several important measures.  Logistics getting an infrastructure status last year, such focus to develop infrastructure in itself is a huge boost to the logistics sector. We welcome government’s decision to allocate of Rs. 5.35 Lakh crore to develop 35,000 km under phase 1 as part of Bharatmala project. We also welcome other important initiatives like the decision to boost the MSME sector by allocating Rs 3,794 crore in the form of capital support; initiative to set-up National Logistics Portal as a single online window to link all stakeholders and decision to allocate Rs 2.4 lakh towards smart cities development will push the need for express companies like TCIEXPRESS. All these along with other important measures like introduction of digital payment models like pay-as-you-use system for toll payments will enable a cashless economy and will promote ethical and transparent business. Overall this is a very good budget and these initiatives will bolster the need for express companies like TCIEXPRESS and help us operate efficiently. Ultimately, it will help in contributing more towards the GDP.”

Sajith Kumar – VP – Digital Business Service and Benjamin Sanjay, Director – Digital Business Services

Cryptocurrencies does not have any physical value however blockchain as a technology has multiple technological advantage and usage. Present day payment system needs two aspects to look upon – a) data security and b) data privacy. Data security – is needed to secure the citizen centric data and payment transaction that gets initiated. The citizen centric data like AADHAAR, Bank Account or any other Govt provided data needs to be secured and encrypted. Blockchain technology enables for uniquely encrypting the data and transaction, with all stakeholder participating.  Data Privacy – Private data of citizen (Account Information/ personal data) leakage has been one of the main concern. Specially for avoiding fake transaction– it will be in best interest of payment bank to implement blockchain technology consensus based smart contracts. Unless citizen authorizes the transaction the transaction will not get initiated.

 

Arsalaan Kashif, Associate Director, Marketing – Happiest Minds Technologies

“This is definitely a welcome move by the government as the ecosystem that supports cryptocurrencies is unregulated and highly speculative. A lot of people view blockchain and cryptocurrencies as two parts of the same coin which couldn’t be further from the truth. Blockchain is simply the underlying ideology which can be readily applied in various scenarios including payments to ensure greater transparency and decentralized control. Just like the internet in the 90s, the idea of blockchain is primed to be a game-changer and one can only hope that it’s used to create positive disruptions in the market place.”

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