Pre-Budget 2021 Expectations from Various Industry Veterans


The year 2020 was one of the dormant years of our lives, but full of chaos. Lots of people around the world and even in India have lost their livelihood. Shutting down of Industries, the exodus of laborers and other factors have put our economic system in a wheelchair that can be seen from the current GDP of India, however, at one side where GDP is struggling to acquire the pace, the Stock market is rallying up, bulls unprecedentedly taking over it.

One of the reasons is the Coup d’etat in the USA, yes of course in a democratic way which has increased the flow of foreign investment in the stock market. However, this is not going to revive the economy completely, thus lots of expectations of the industries, IT, agriculture, government, PSU, and other sectors including a common man’s are eying on the Budget of 2021 which will be presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1, 2021. However, before that let’s see what different industry veterans think and hoping from Budget 2021.

 

Mr. Sheshgiri Kamath, Co-founder & CEO Kapture CRM

Sheshgiri Kamath (2)

Mr. Sheshgiri Kamath, Co-founder & CEO Kapture CRM

Startups have long been wishing for the relaxation of the FEMA laws. The ease of inbound/outbound financial transactions internationally has been a much-debated subject due to the number of startups that are raising capital from foreign funds. Currently, there are talks around simplifying the compliance procedure with reduced paperwork – especially the ones about filings. Startups will definitely benefit immensely if filings, returns, and submissions are made online.

The technology sector has faced tailwinds in recent times, especially during the pandemic. Making the process of raising capital a little easier by simplifying foreign outward and inward transactions will go a long way. Additionally, making changes to capital gains tax and the tax structure on ESOPs is going to help the sector tremendously as well

‘Make in India’ is another initiative where technology companies have been leading from the front, especially considering the size of the Indian software exports. And as reportedly, the government is planning to make this the best budget in the past century, I believe that the tech space is eagerly awaiting big changes.

 

Mr. Gaurav Shinh, Founder & CEO DAAS Labs.

Mr. Gaurav Shinh, Founder & CEO DAAS Labs.

Mr. Gaurav Shinh, Founder & CEO DAAS Labs.

The government has started realizing the importance of new technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and has even called Data the new oil in the previous Budget 2020. According to a recent NASSCOM report, Deep-tech and new start-up hubs will continue to grow at 40-45% CAGR. It also stated that investments are expected to return to 2019 levels, after seeing a dip in 2020 (if not exceed in 2021).

The pandemic has been a huge boost to Edtech, AgriTech, FinTech, HRtech, and HealthTech startups. So, we expect to see decisions to fuel the growth of cloud data storage, big data, and AI technologies in several domains. The work from home trend due to the pandemic has seen a lot of investment being made in Tier II and Tier III cities and the trend is supposed to continue. Reforms are expected to support and enable these start-ups as they can have a huge long-term impact.

 

Ms. Roopa Kudva, Managing Director at Omidyar Network India

Ms. Roopa Kudva Managing Director at Omidyar Network India

Ms. Roopa Kudva Managing Director at Omidyar Network India

We hope to see the upcoming budget prioritize building robust and responsible digital infrastructure, especially in sectors like health and education, where physical systems have been under a lot of pressure during the pandemic. We have seen commendable efforts to create Open Digital Ecosystems (ODEs) in these sectors, through the National Digital Health Mission, and the DIKSHA platform. ODEs can improve service delivery by enabling transparency, interoperability, and spurring innovation. Similar to how UPI brought about a paradigm shift in the way financial services are delivered and facilitated financial inclusion, digital ecosystems for health and education can ensure that every Indian has access to affordable and quality healthcare and education opportunities.

Using the ODE approach, the government can further strengthen digital benefit transfer mechanisms, as many more households are relying on these social safety nets in the wake of the economic shock caused by the pandemic. In particular, the budget should ensure that funding is allocated not only for building the technology infrastructure, but also the critical non-tech layers of these Open Digital Ecosystems, such as putting in place accountable institutions with the right capacity, governance frameworks to safeguard citizens’ rights, and community engagement.

 

Mr. Chet Jainn, Founder & CEO, Crowdera

Chet Jainn

Mr. Chet Jainn, Founder & CEO, Crowdera

Start-ups are considered as a backbone in the development of the Indian economy. The government should need to priorities sustaining the growth that leads to an increase in profitability for the sector. As we enter the new year 2021, more focus should be emphasized on the Make in India incentive and big credibility should also be given to locals to vocal to strengthen the economy.

We are also expecting the growth in CSR sector as India Inc definitely needs to support the charity sector of India to amplify the impact work Indian NGOs already showed during the pandemic. Measures to keep fraudulent organizations in check is a must and should be made more clear. However, it is very important to incentivize the existing 3.2M Indian charities to work alongside the government to achieve the charitable and philanthropic goals.

 

Mr. Arjun Bajaaj – Director Videotex International

While we eagerly await the upcoming Budget, we are hopeful that the Budget brings a check on the constant surge in the import prices of the raw materials for TVs as well as other categories. Today, although TV is no longer a luxury, yet due to the high raw material costs coupled with the applicable GST of 28%, both the consumer and the industry

Mr Arjun Bajaj – CEO and Founder of Daiwa

Mr. Arjun Bajaj – CEO and Founder of Daiwa

has had to take a huge hit. Further, the pressing need of the hour is an improvisation of the Country’s transport infrastructure, which currently in my opinion is the weakest link in the Indian supply chain.

Last but not the least, the Government must consider introducing PLI schemes for the Television manufacturers, to enhance local manufacturing which is certainly to have a very positive impact on the operations and growth of the Indian manufacturing industry.

 

 

Dr. Gaurav Hirey, Founder & CEO, GoEvals – an HR Tech start-up

Dr Gaurav Hirey GoEvals

Dr. Gaurav Hirey, Founder & CEO, GoEvals

Start-ups will play a key role in the Indian economy, but the COVID-19 crisis has been a hard time and is literally challenging their survival, and surely has limited the growth. It is becoming clear that if the powers don’t support start-ups at this critical stage then many of them will flee to other shores in search of what they need to survive and grow. No matter what we hear, the fact is that start-ups are facing an enormous challenge in terms of financial stability & growth. The broad classification that the government has taken on start-ups may have held true before the pandemic but now it really does not meet the needs of the micro or small enterprises many of whom have either shut shop or have precious little time left.

As we approach the Union Budget we hope that this is recognized and special initiatives are kicked off to ensure the survival of the micro and small enterprises, many of whom are bootstrapping and will need more time to raise funds to support themselves. The government must provide on-ground support in terms of extending short-term liquidity and availability of funding. This needs to be more action-oriented than what it has been so far! They must focus on removing barriers & providing incentives to start-ups who have the potential to grow.

A Start-Up takes anywhere from a year to 3 years to transition out from a seed-stage to a growing company. The number of compliances needed is often unreal and totally unnecessary. For Example, A seed Startup that is yet not generating revenue is still expected to follow compliances that a medium or large company is expected to do. This is totally unreal and puts an unnecessary burden on possibly the founder of the core team to manage the compliances or adds cost if outsourced. This needs to be made simple as it diverts energy from the core focus to non-value adding activities.

To date, there is an over communication of government programs, but details are always not clear and if a start-up needs help or assistance there is a process of – discovery, then understanding, and then maybe implementation. Instead of this lengthy process, it would really help if there is a proactive attempt to help start-ups and small businesses by educating them more intensely and supporting them on the ground in real terms by putting manpower on the front to do this. It would help more start-ups to survive and grow. Today real on-ground assistance and support are absent!

Basically, the government needs to realize the difference between a start-up, a small business, and a large company, not enough has been done on this front to enable start-ups to flourish. Instead, at the moment, it feels as if they are punished when they register & comply through fines, and processes are such that divert their focus from their core to administrative and compliance tasks!

The Budget needs to address these points and while they may not be significant compared to other challenges the government is facing, but they surely are critical to ensure that more people are encouraged to launch companies and provide employment instead of being burdened by taxation & compliances that take away valuable time and resources!

 

Balkrishna Hari Singh, Founder & CEO, Frenzi – OTT content viewing and recommendation app

This has been an unprecedented year for businesses and for all of us. The government has a great challenge at hand to help the businesses cope with the after-effects of the pandemic, scale-up employment, and improve the macroeconomic growth factors to put back the economy on the growth path of the 5 Trillion targets.

The start-up ecosystem is going to be the biggest contributor and greatest enabler to tackle unemployment and economic growth.

Balakrishna Hari Singh Frenzi

Balkrishna Hari Singh, Founder & CEO, Frenzi

Pandemic has considerably helped the digital adoption across lengths and breaths of the country. We have a much more digital-ready consumer ecosystem than before. Adoption of digital payment solutions, media consumption, communication, eCommerce, telemedicine, education, and just about every business. Indian consumers are now digital-ready and growing. Businesses have to cope with the sudden change in the business environment and reach out to digital consumers. To make the government Mission of “Atmanirbhar Bharat” a reality it’s important we have our own homegrown solutions and entrepreneurs catering to this market demand.

A lot of innovative business solutions, partnerships, and collaborations are emerging. Young entrepreneurs aligning themselves to the business need and coming up with practical business solutions. However, to make it a sustainable effort it’s important that these innovations are rightly capitalized. “Atmanirbhar Bharat” would not be possible without a timely infusion of seed funds to these emerging business solutions. The budget should specifically cater to catapult the start-up ecosystem at the center stage of the Atma Nirbhar economic growth.

A few expectations from the government in this year’s budget would be:

  1. The government should set up an Innovation fund for each sector.
  2. Create PPP institutions to upskill the small and micro business owners to be able to take their businesses from offline to online mode.
  3. Open up the capital market to the Startup and SME sector.
  4. GST waiver or reduced tariff for early-stage start up on set up costs.

 

Mr Kartik Sharma, Co-Founder, DcodeAI

The world is experiencing unprecedented times and the global GDP and employment rate is at an all-time low. India is also at the cusp of systemic transformation in the economy. Newer trends and emerging technologies such as AI, ML, the Internet of Things (IoT), data science, and analytics are creating undercurrents of the new paradigm. Constant cost pressures, productivity enhancement opportunities, and the quest for advancement have led to companies adopting AI at scale. Even governments are leveraging AI for e-governance and creating better transparency. Even when employability is at all timely low, there are immense job opportunities in emerging technologies. Globally, around 40% of jobs in AI are lying vacant due to the non-availability of skilled manpower. There is a need to use low code/no-code tools and usage of AI to make learning easy, intuitive, and personalized. The introduction of such technologies to create a world-class education ecosystem in the country will definitely improve the quality of talent that joins the workforce.

Education and skill development will lead us out of the current pandemic. There are numerous disruptions that the education system of the country had to face in 2020, and it has affected the overall learning and development process of the students. The government should make stronger efforts to incorporate AI, ML, and Data Science training sessions at the grassroots level and build capacities and acumen for new-age tech domains in educational institutions. Doing so will empower the masses with the required knowledge, innovation, and competencies to navigate the AI-driven world of tomorrow.

 

Mr. Vinay Jain, Founder & CEO, Grafdoer

Mr. Vinay Jain Founder CEO Grafdoer min

Mr. Vinay Jain Founder CEO Grafdoer

The Ministry of Finance will be presenting the budget on 1st February for the assessment year 2021-2022, and everyone including corporates, individuals, taxpayers, and professionals has different expectations from the upcoming budget.

Considering the slowdown in the economy and growth, MSMEs which form part of the backbone of the Indian value chain are expecting a big relief and reforms in the upcoming budget. We expect that the upcoming budget will take stringent actions to empower the MSME sector to revive the economy from the current slowdown. Apart from GST rationalization, we expect an extension of credit facilities from the upcoming budget, since the Government should focus on infusing liquidity into the markets and promoting ‘Make in India’.”

 

Mr. Kapil Bhatia, CEO, UniMask (Mask manufacturer)

Quote by Mr. Kapil Bhatia CEO UniMask min

Mr. Kapil Bhatia CEO UniMas

MSME has always been the backbone of the Indian Economy with around a 29 percent share of India’s GDP. We expect the government to re-establish favorable policies and allocate substantial funds for the growth of MSMEs. 2020 was a blessing in disguise for the MSME industry where the initial most of 2020 was quite brutal but the later half came to the rescue especially with the #boycottchinesegoods campaign and push towards Make-In-India.

The MSME sector is hoping to get rid of challenges like lack of access to capital, infrastructure, skilled labor, and power supply issues that plague MSMEs in India. Therefore, Indian entrepreneurs hope that the Union Budget 2021 will provide some long-term benefits to the sector with better access to credit and lenient taxation policies.”

 

Mr. Mandeep Arora, Managing Director, UBON

Mr. Mandeep Arora Managing Director UBON

Mr. Mandeep Arora Managing Director UBON

The year 2020 was a year of challenges for nearly every sector, so, we are eagerly waiting for Budget 2021. Every sector is expecting the government to focus on overall economic growth and taking measures to continue positioning India as the business epicenter of the world. We expect new policies promoting R&D innovations by pushing relevant initiatives, making innovative and bold policy interventions to propel the process of Make-in-India across sectors.

There’s no denying that Digital Innovation is an important building block for India’s future growth. Thus, nurturing new-age tech, improving the quality of talent, and enabling MSME must be on the agenda for the Government.”

 

Mr. Lalit Arora, Co-founder and CEO, VingaJoy

Mr. Lalit Arora Co founder and CEO VingaJoy min

Mr. Lalit Arora Co founder and CEO VingaJoy

The consumer tech industry has great expectations from the Union Budget 2021-22. We hope that the upcoming budget has provisions that can strengthen progressive initiatives such as ‘Make in India’, ‘Digital India’, and the ‘Smart Cities Mission’. In the upcoming budget, we are hopeful that the government would continue the good work it began carrying out in its first term with regards to GST, Make in India, along with a host of initiatives it has undertaken in the consumer tech / FMCG sector.

There has been an abolition of Chinese applications in India; this has led to a considerable slowdown in the import of Chinese products, so our industry is expecting improved funding and credit facility from the upcoming budget. Additionally, we are hopeful that the Government will continue to promote manufacturing in India through its ‘Make in India’ initiative as this would not only provide a boost to Indian companies but also aid in creating more employment opportunities.

 

Mr. Ashwani Rawat & Mr. Amarsh Chaturvedi, Co-Founder & Director, Transerve

Innovation is an important driver in India’s business and economic growth and this was proven true during the pandemic crisis. India as a nation has great potential in the R&D space, especially owing to the large talent pool we

Mr. Ashwani Rawat Mr. Amarsh Chaturvedi Co Founder Director Transerve

Mr. Ashwani Rawat & Mr. Amarsh Chaturvedi

have. Being a part of NASSCOM’s Deep-Tech Club we saw a 10% rises in tech startups in 2020 alone with the addition of over 12 new unicorns.

According to NASSCOM, the Indian deep tech industry led by AI is capable of adding USD 957 billion to the country’s GDP by 2035. We expect the Union Budget to increase its expenditure in the R&D sector, especially in the Location Intelligence industry to bore the benefits that the technology offers. We expect to liberalize the policies and framework to support the startup ecosystem.

 

 

Mr. Sangeet Kumar, CEO & Co-Founder, Addverb

From the Union Budget 2021, we expect that the Government will ease the legal processes and regulations involved in setting up manufacturing facilities in India under its ‘Make in India’ initiative. As the future of manufacturing is driven by robotics and other automation technologies, I feel necessary steps need to be taken to encourage ingenious technology production as well as consumption in India. Measures such as the extension of PLI schemes for the Indian Industrial Robotics

Sangeet Kumar CEO Co Founder Addverb min

Sangeet Kumar CEO Co Founder Addverb

Manufacturers from suppliers’ front, and from buyers’ front, mandating automation adoption for PSU enterprises to enhance their performance indices. Overall incentivizing the adoption of industry 4.0 technologies adoption from across the sectors will enhance the manufacturing quantity as well as quality.

Increasing minimum wages is the need of the hour as during the Covid pandemic most of the labor left for their hometowns and to bring them back while providing them with a meaningful life, their wages should rise.

According to a recent study, the total number of jobs related to developing and deploying new technologies, i.e. Automation, AI, and robotics-related applications, may grow to 20 to 50 million globally by 2030 and more than 375 million workers globally will have to master fresh skills as their current jobs evolve alongside the rise of automation, robotics, AI, and the capable machines thereby enabled.

Thus, the Government should come up with more upskilling programs to make the workforce ready to work with robots & other automation through industry partnerships.

 

Prof (Dr.) Sanjiv Marwah, Director, JK Business School

We anticipate that Union Budget 2021 will bring revolutionary changes to the education sector. The New Education Policy (NEP-2020) brought aggressive changes in the Higher Education System of our country – provided flexibility in the learning curve, emphasized conceptual understanding, and blended learning.

of Dr. Sanjiv Marwah Director JK Business School

Prof (Dr.) Sanjiv Marwah

Similarly, the upcoming FY budget must promote the perfect amalgamation of digital and traditional education and strive to encourage the adoption of emerging technologies such as Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Internet of Things as well as promoting Research & Development.

Along with it, another key aspect that we are looking forward to in the Union Budget 2021 is financial support that can be provided to private sector institutions, including low-cost and zero-cost loans, which is done in many countries.

We request the Govt. to consider the ‘National Education Bank’ as a concept, just like the ‘National Housing Bank,’ such that education loans too can be provided at the lowest possible interest rate.

 

Mr. Lokendra Ranawat, Co-Founder & CEO at WoodenStreet

In the budget 2021, the major focus will be on providing relief to the stress caused by the COVID-19 & on encouraging the growth of domestic organizations (to give further support to the Make in India initiative). Sectors such as automobile, IT, finance, & aviation will be the major focus.

Mr. Lokendra Ranawat Co Founder CEO WoodenStreet

Mr. Lokendra Ranawat Co-Founder CEO WoodenStreet

2020 was the year of start-ups, which even during such times showed exemplary growth while bringing in investments of more than $11 Billion. So, in budget 2021, some more steps can be expected to further push the growth in the coming years. In addition to this, new corporate tax reforms can also be expected to provide further relief to the Covid hit sectors.”

Undoubtedly, the real estate sector plays a pivotal role in the growth of the Indian economy. In fact, the realty domain is more or less an engine to the entire economic machinery, and many allied sectors and industries like cement, steel, building/construction material, paint, consumer durables which directly or indirectly witness an impact due to developments in the realty sector.

Hence, with a boost, the real estate sector is sure to have a positive impact on the associated sectors and industries as well. Moreover, if given the right push, the employment generation will also see a substantial rise.

 

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