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Startups industry responses to union Budget 2021

Startups industry responses to union Budget 2021 1

At the highest level, FM has announced a major central health scheme, income tax rebates and said the government is focused on farmer welfare.

There are a couple of things that have gone right with the budget but the biggest positive is that there are no big negatives. There is no additional tax burden which a lot of people were afraid of before the budget. We got spared of taxes on the ultra-rich, Covid cess (which almost felt like a certainty before budget) or any tinkering with long term capital gains tax.

There has been the announcement of several measures to simplify business challenges, including changes to the administration of direct taxes while increasing compliance.

Affordable Housing Projects have gotten the tax rebates extended for a year to Mar 2022 which might take us one step closer to not only PM’s dream of ‘Housing for All’ but also Zolo’s mission for “Beautiful living for All”.

Dr. Nikhil Sikri, CEO & Co-Founder, Zolostays

“The focus of India’s 2021 Union budget is clearly on economic development, infrastructure & health and wellness. The biggest need is to push consumer spending and I think this budget should achieve a good level of success if it is implemented in its true spirit. Initiatives like increasing the amount of spending in health & wellbeing which was long overdue will definitely help. As will building of road infrastructure, boosting the textile industry & creating more ports among others. Given the extreme circumstances faced due to the pandemic the budget comes across as balanced and practical.

However, from a start-up ecosystem perspective I am not sure what this budget is really offering to start-ups. Extension on the tax holiday by a year & reducing margin requirements are not significant and start-ups are not getting the importance that they surely deserve. There is no concrete proposal on easing the process for doing business nor on ground real support in terms of finance & education of start-ups which continues to be a major issue. End of day how this budget will translate into real help for struggling start-ups given what they have faced in the past year is a big question and I believe this is a lost opportunity in this area.”

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

It is encouraging to see the government’s support for the start-up sector in this Budget. By extending the Tax holiday for start ups for one year; government has given the much needed breather to the existing startup ecosystem which got choked during the covid time.

The continued extension of the Stand-Up India programs by the government until will ensure that start-ups all across the country will receive funds to accomplish their goals and dreams. Focus on digitization is clear, which is good for the industry. Overall, it feels great to see that the government is making more room to nourish startups in India.

Anish Mulani, Director; India CEO – Wave

The theme of the budget this time can be summarized in three words: infrastructure, disinvestment and capitalization. These are exactly the areas the government should be focused on so it will, as always, come down to execution. It is important to watch how the government executes its DFIs, PLI scheme expansion, asset reconstruction company, PSU recapitalization. Similarly, it is heartening to hear of the government’s intention to “minimum government, maximum governance”. The overhaul of redundant customs duty structure, GST simplification, higher FDI in insurance, stronger NCLT, single Securities Markets Code and making tax assessments easier are all encouraging signs.

Further, it has committed a larger outlay (albeit still only 2.5% of GDP terms) on infrastructure spending across rail and rural. We hope this will get employment back up as the country looks to fill the hole in the economy left behind by COVID.
Disinvesting/ privatizing PSUs and insurance companies is the correct move. While the intention to privatize and disinvest has been there nearly every budget, given the difficulty the government has had with this target in the past, we remain cautious on how the centre will balance its books and manage the committed deficit.

One area we wish the speech had paid more attention to is the government’s AI/ ML strategy. Given the strategic significance of cutting-edge technology on our place in the world in the coming decade, it would have been good to encourage innovation via a scheme, sandboxes, etc in the budget speech. The devil remains in the details, but we are happy with the direction in which the government intends to move with this budget.

Kanika Agarrwal, Chief Investment Officer, Upside AI

This budget has embarked a new India for the startups, SME, healthcare, and insurance sector.

1.       The announced PM Atmanirbhar Swastha Bharat Scheme is a landmark as it is truly Atmanirbhar where the government focus is to create more healthcare infrastructure rather than financial protection. The increase in healthcare spending would mean that the infrastructure would be available for affordable healthcare on which Startups can create micro risk products for the SME and MSME. It would also mean better healthcare for Bharat and make it more ready and healthy!

2.       Had seen for the first time on the consideration of the nutrition. This means that Bharat will start having more awareness on the healthy lifestyle.

3.       The increase in FDI in the insurance sector from 49% to 74% is an announcement which the insurance sector was waiting for the last 2 years. This will now bring more investment and infrastructure in the insurance space and will help insurance companies to increase the insurance penetration. It will make it easier for more professionals to insurance manufacturing business.

4.       The disinvestment in 1 of the general insurance company which will bring more expertise in the Public Sector Companies and would enable them to focus on creating more innovative and risk products.

5.       The increase in the revision of the Paid Up capital for Small Companies is again a welcome move for MSME and SME which would lead to the further formalization of the sector. 

Yogesh Agarwal, Founder, Onsurity 

This is clearly the most forward-thinking budget in recent times. The fact that Healthcare plans were taken up first by the FM shows the importance the government is giving to the health of our citizens. Far-reaching recommendations will transform public health. The increase in allocation to 2.37 Lac Crore was long overdue and we welcome this. 
PM-JAY has been a resounding success in bringing awareness and health coverage to large masses. The new PM-ASBY with a special focus on building Primary, Secondary and Tertiary care capabilities in rural India will bring attention to much-neglected sector. Rs. 64,000 Cr allocation over 6 years is a great beginning and will transform rural India.

There is a need to build technology platforms to bring in large masses under the health care delivery platform. FDI limit in insurance which has increased to 74% is also a positive move. This allocation will allow for more investment in this space.

Special focus in Nutrition deficient districts is another excellent initiative. Also the Rs 35,000 Cr allocation for Covid Vaccination is ensuring equitable distribution of vaccination to all segments of our population.

Mr Girish Rao – Chairman & Managing Director, Vidal Health  

Healthcare and nutrition get attention in this budget which is good especially post COVID. Wellness & Health have to be the overall priority. The increased capital through DFI ( Development Financial Institutions) will hopefully help develop economic corridors that will benefit all sectors. Though I expected incentives for modernization of agriculture sector and also setting up special economic corridors with incentives in the rural sector for overall development which was missing. The reduction of margin money requirement from 25% to 15% for startups could prove beneficial.

Mahesh Basavanna, Founder & Director, KIRU by OrgTree:

The Budget 2021-22 has left the data science community quite excited for what is to come. For me it was really interesting when the Government announced that it will launch multiple data analytics, AI, ML driven models for e-security, e-education, e- consultation, and compliance management. Also, the prospect of using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in GST Fraud Tracking is quite motivating and intriguing.

The Government’s continued support for the startup is quite uplifting as the Government is setting aside Rs 15,700 crore in FY22 and has reduced margin money requirement from 25% to 15% for startups. The proposal of extending the tax holiday for start-ups by one more year will also give more confidence to the entrepreneurs.

Mr. Gaurav Shinh, Founder & CEO , DAAS Labs

The reduction in tax burden for super senior citizens is a welcome step though it would have been more helpful if it was extended to persons with disabilities so that they have more income at their disposal as cost of living due to caretakers, assistive devices and healthcare are high. The disability pension has not been increased from the present limit of Rs. 300 pm which is  disappointing. No policy or mention was made for persons with disabilities in the present budget and long pending demand of removing GST from assistive devices is not addressed.

It is not clear whether the allocation of funds for MSME sector would include any support for startups working on Assistive technology. The current Covid-9 pandemic and previous lockdown has further multiplied the different challenges faced by different disabilities be it people on wheelchair, blind, low vision, deaf, hard of hearing, locomotor disabilities and other special needs such as autistic, learning disability to name a few. This has resulted in isolation, helplessness, dependence and loss of control among the disabled community have increased
People with disabilities and special needs require need based solutions to carry themselves.

Mr. Sameer Garg, Founder & CEO , BillionAbles-

“The Union Budget is certainly looking at fast tracking the economy to an Atmanirbhar Bharat and a position of global leadership even as the infection rates in the country show a clear decline over the past several weeks. There are several opportunities for banks to play a major role in supporting this economic resurgence given that the increased expenditure packages for various sectors provided for by the Government will have to be distributed through the banks. The boost to digital payments will certainly help banks become more customer centric.

Further, banks have the opportunity of capitalizing the journey of start-ups. Banks who have been facing heightened competition, must look at newer ways of engaging with all customer segments leveraging digital technology to further enhance relationships and business.”

– Nanda Kumar, founder and CEO of SunTec

“The push for digital payments and the announcement of a fintech hub shows the government’s seriousness for digitalisation of banking. We do hope Indian banks will pick on the sentiment and embrace thorough digitalisation of their processes in collaboration with the flourishing fintech ecosystem,

Steps like the compliance and tax reliefs given to startups, setting up of a fintech hub at GIFT city augur well for ‘Digital India’ and ‘Make in India’ initiatives.

FM’s proposal to use data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning for the Ministry of Corporate Affairs is an encouraging move for the tech ecosystem. The suggestion to introduce AI-based features in MCA 21 3.0 to address compliance needs of startups are thoughtful steps in creating a conducive business environment for entrepreneurs.”

Ankit Ratan, co-founder Signzy

“It is heartening to see some of the budget announcements like Fintech-hub at GIFT city and 1500Cr push for digital payments that show the Government’s acknowledgement of fintech being the flagship of the startup ecosystem in India. Fintech is and will be one of the fastest growing sector in India at almost 23% CAGR over next 5 years and will be a major driver of growth as well to generate the 90 Million jobs required in India over the next 5-10 years (as per a recent McKinsey Survey).

With the revival in consumer sentiment, spending and investments, we see an uptick in hiring ourselves and faster roll-out of our innovative products. We clearly expected more push towards adoption of technology in banking and more allocation towards innovations in fintech. Easing of regulatory clearances for cross-border inflows and outflows of funds and rationalization of FEMA will help accelerate further growth.”

Anil Kumar N.S., Co-Founder and MD of Aeldra Financial.

“It is a big leap ahead with the FM going digital (paperless this year). The proposal to use data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning to make regulatory filings more frictionless for businesses and startups is a step up as MCA-21 shares crucial information to various stakeholders such as the regulators, investors and companies. All filings under the company’s law are submitted to the ministry through this portal.

This is very much in sync with the voice of Finin as India’s first neobank that employs AI and ML for various financial recommendations. The earmarking of Rs 1,500 crore for promoting a digital mode of payments is also a positive move and step ahead for the Fintech industry. It is also fascinating to see the facilitation of a Fintech hub at GIFT city, opening up more avenues for Fintech hubs to go PAN India from an administrative standpoint.

It is also interesting to note the efforts taken towards doubling the allocations with the Government setting aside Rs 15,700 crore in FY22 and the revision of definition under Companies Act, 2013 for small companies by increasing their threshold for capitalization. The Budget also proposed to reduce the margin money requirement from 25% to 15% for startups and an extension of the tax holiday for startups by a year which comes as a relief.”

Suman Gandham who is the Founder of Finin

“The announcement by the Honorable Finance Minister regarding the startups was much required at the moment and will help the fledgling startups with meager resources to continue with their business operations without worrying about the compliance with complex taxes. The announcement comes soon after Prime Minister announced setting up of Rs 10,000 crore fund for seed funding of startups.

These moves by the government make the intent of government clear that it wants to promote entrepreneurship and help the enthusiastic young entrepreneurs in the country. The setting up of separate administration structure to promote ease of doing business is a laudable move by the FM. Also, as predicted startups were given importance under this budget, and the industry is poised to be greatly benefited with the Tax holiday extended by another year till 31 March 2022.”

Dr. Ajay Data, Founder & CEO, VideoMeet

“Amid a sharp improvement in consumer sentiment with regard to property purchases post the start of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, the government’s move in the Budget to extend the benefit of additional Rs 1.5 lakh tax deduction on home loan interest, until March 31, 2022, will act as a further impetus to the residential property sector. This move will augur well, especially for the affordable housing segment, which will also benefit from the decision to offer a tax holiday for affordable housing projects for one more year, to boost supply.

The support announced today by the Honourable Finance Minister for rental housing too will go a long way in boosting the real estate market and will ease a lot of pressure points in the rental home market. This will also help migrant workers to a great extent and will support them in remaining in metros and other big cities during times of financial hardships such as the one presented by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the long-standing demand of the real estate industry to expand the definition of affordable housing so as to include homes priced more than Rs 45 lakhs in big metro cities, has sadly not been addressed.

The infusion of lakhs of crores into India’s infrastructure segment, with a focus on improving connectivity, will be particularly beneficial for India’s housing sector. The proposed debt financing for REITs and InvITs, and the setting up of the Development Financial Institution for augmenting funds for infra and the real estate sector is expected to provide a major fillip to the sector, and will attract more investments in the sector.

The proposed extension of the tax holiday for start-ups by one more year, a tax exemption for relocating funds to IFSC, and a tax holiday for the aircraft leasing business in GIFT city, are some of the other measures that would also help India’s real estate sector as a whole.”

Dhruv Agarwala, Group CEO, Housing.com, Makaan.com and Proptiger.com

“The measures announced by the government demonstrate its bullishness towards the startup ecosystem. The extension of long-term capital gains by another year will offer tailwinds to early stage funding. Extension of tax holiday by one year is also an encouraging offering, however, most of the new age startups don’t start booking profits in the early years.

The Budget’s focus on economic development, infrastructure and health will definitely put India back on the growth trajectory after an unprecedented past financial year.”

Paavan Nanda, Co-Founder, WinZO Games 

“The Indian startup ecosystem is budding and the 2021-22 budget certainly affirms the same. The capital gains tax exemption being extended for another year will boost the morale of startups, helping create more jobs and ushering in the much-needed innovation out of India.

Further, the Startup India Seed Fund Scheme is definitely an encouragement to the entire community of innovators and entrepreneurs, and there couldn’t be a better time to start making in India.

It is positive to see that the proposed strengthening of the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ with six pillars including proposed strengthening of ‘Sankalp of Health & Well-being, Inclusive Development, Human Capital, Innovation and R&D offer a fresh approach to the outlook of the country as a whole. There is no dearth of talent in the country and by incentivizing innovation, research and development; we hope to see a positive change in the overall startup ecosystem in the coming years.”

Some other areas that the government should have focused include:

– Paving the way for a product startups forum as a representative body to enable discussions with the government on issues and ideas.- Creating micro-sized product export zones and encourage startups to build products for the world with easier rules and lesser paper work on forex.

Active University-Industry collaboration and most certainly ease-out M&A related paperwork and company closure.

–       Harishanker Kannan, Co-founder & CEO, ProMobi Technologies Pvt. Ltd

“One of the significant moves was increasing the FDI limit on the insurance sector to 74% from the existing ceiling of 49%. This move may result in rising competition in the sector but it will support the insurance industry growth and help in improving the insurance penetration in the country.  Currently, the insurance penetration in India is only 3.76% as compared to the global average of ~7%.

The proposal to enhance the threshold limit for classification of small companies will surely benefit many corporates by giving them the advantage of operating with lower compliance costs. Further, the plan to integrate various securities laws into a single umbrella law would further give a boost to ease of doing business and reduce legal costs.”

Pranjal Kamra, CEO – Finology

“The Union Budget 2021-22 surprised all market participants as there was significant boost provided to Government spending despite the shortfall in tax collections. Overall Government spending for FY2021 has been revised to 34.5 lakh cr. as against Budget estimates of Rs. 30.4 lakh Cr. despite a significant shortfall in tax collections for the year. revenue receipts for the year have been revised to Rs. 15.5 lakh Cr against budget estimates of Rs. 20.2 Lakh cr. Disinvestment proceeds too have been revised sharply down to Rs. 32000 crore from Rs. 2.1 Lakh cr.

As a result, the fiscal deficit has been pegged at 9.5% for FY21. The fiscal deficit for FY21 is well above consensus estimates of ~7% as the Government is actually looking to spend more than budgeted despite a shortfall in tax collections. Personal and corporate tax rates have largely been left untouched and the Agriculture cess too has been implemented in a very non disruptive way. Gross borrowing figure at 12.7 Lakh cr is also not significantly higher than revised figure of Rs. 12 lakh cr which will ensure that G Sec yield does not move significantly higher. Overall the Budget is slightly negative for the bond market though it is positive for equities.”

Jyoti Roy, DVP – Equity Strategist, Angel Broking Ltd.

The Budget 2021 has really pushed for a stronger and improved Aatmanirbhar Bharat. The government’s focus on increasing the purchasing power of the farmers will encourage more farmers to adopt organic farming. As Organic farming products generate more outflow as compared to traditional farming methods. We at Planet Organic believe that Organic farming is the future of agriculture.

The government’s proposal for allocation of funds for MSME sectors, reduction of marginal money requirement and extension of tax holiday for start-ups is a great initiative and will be helpful for all start-ups.

Mr. Praveen Kumar Gupta, Co-founder, Planet Organic-

The FM presented a digital Budget, a yet another first of India. It is a small step but goes to show the intent of this govt to move to digital transformation in every way possible. Indian Courts have been under tremendous pressure with limited availability of judges. Longer litigation results in higher costs, procedural hassles that consumers and companies suffer. The proposed MCA21 Version 3.0 will roll out e-scrutiny and other compliance management initiatives thereby bringing down the legal costs for companies and individuals. Use of deep tech, will over time impact the judgement delivery thereby making it faster and for some standard cases, there is a possibility to introduce an element of automation in documentation and other legal processes. We believe the govt has taken a lead in addressing the problems that currently ails the judiciary system in our country. Over time, India may see fast closer of matters and justice served to the people who have been waiting a long time.

Hitesh Jirawla, Founder CEO, Cubictree, ( Mumbai-based India’s largest legal tech startup) 

The much-awaited Budget 2021 has provided a significant push for healthcare, agriculture and rural economy, but unfortunately nothing concrete for startups and the surrounding ecosystem. For the majority of startups, demand remains the same, nothing changes, its business as usual. Forming a one-person company doesn’t help startups whatsoever unless they want startups to form a single person company.

There is some push for fintech and startups from this sector will stand to benefit, however, the budget did not share anything substantial in terms of ease of doing business, compliance or GST taxation that would make life any different for a cybersecurity company like ours. I am hoping that the stimulus and other investments that allow the economy to do well, indirectly will support us as we finally serve that economy in some shape and form through our customers.

Pankit Desai, Co-founder CEO, Sequretek, (a cyber security startup based in Mumbai)

The Budget this year was riding high on expectations from taxpayers and businesses. The FM has tried her best to deliver on a majority of parameters. It is heartening that the much talked about COVID cess wasn’t introduced, neither any dramatic increase in taxation for the businesses.

For a digital-first company like ours, the proposal of Rs 1500 crore to incentivize digital payments will accelerate the financial technologies sector growth. In investment instruments like Chit Funds, Mutual Funds, online payments, more companies are expected to move to 100% digital payments mode which will ensure further transparency and confidence on individuals and it will address the problem of any scams running that take advantage of innocent individuals. However, the devil would be in the details. We look forward to the details of this proposed scheme as it will tell us how the incentives will work for the companies and individuals.

Pavan Adipuram, Co-founder CEO, ChitMonks

This is one of the most business-friendly Union Budget we have seen in a while, and this is rightly so given the urgent need for a strong economic recovery. The initiatives to ease the setting up of new companies bode well for the technology sector. This will promote an even greater entrepreneurial culture and put India squarely on the global map of technology innovation. Given India’s young, dynamic and tech-savvy workforce, we should expect more companies choosing India as a base to leverage on our vast talent.

India’s fast growing middle-class population should also be a magnet for businesses seeking to tap on the underserved market here. Further, the Finance Minister’s announcement that companies will receive RS1500 crore to encourage their adoption of digital payments will go a long way to promote Fintech innovation, and more importantly, give millions of unbanked Indians the opportunity to participate in the financial system.

With digital payments becoming mainstream, the government should also start looking at uplifting cybersecurity awareness and education among businesses as well as consumers. This way, the twin engines of growth – innovation and digitalization – can be sustainable in the long run.

Kumar Ritesh, Founder CEO, CYFIRMA, (a Cyber intelligence and threat discovery startup.)

Bad bank set up is a real bad idea. The FM in consultation with other regulatory body didn’t address the source of the problem which loans turning into NPAs. Even if banks transfer NPAs to the Bad Bank but they will continue lending. There is no end-to-end governance model in place to prevent such incidents. We feel the idea is right now half baked and the framework is incomplete. Picking up a problem area without reaching the source won’t be beneficial for the banks in the long run.

Anukumar Ramesh, Co-founder CEO, LegallyOne

The Union Budget 2021 delivered on many parameters like healthcare, infrastructure, education, banking reforms but the distant cousin — startups — were more or less left out of the key announcements. The tax holiday and LTCG exemption are definitive positive initiatives but their impact remains limited to DPIIT recognized startups (tax break exemption).

The funding in the startup sectors currently comes from foreign funds, so while LTCG will give boost to domestic money finding its way into the sector, the numbers still won’t match up to the scale where impact can be made. However, we can’t ignore the fact that the govt has rolled out many positive initiatives outside the Budget like Rs 1,000 crore seed fund announced recently and even setting up OPC will give a boost to new startups getting launched. It will also give them credibility in raising seed or angel money.

The simplification of zero return GST and filled tax returns is overall good for the small entrepreneur. The digitisation of the Census is in the right direction of overall digitising all government processes as this would enable census within months and not years as it takes now. Overall, a good budget but not much for the startup community.

Bhaskar Majumdar, Managing Partner, Unicorn India Ventures

The allocation to the clean energy sector is a big support to the solar energy sector, which shows that the government clearly intends to promote the clean energy sector. The rural development infra fund where the allocation is up by 34% supports the biofuel industry which typically originates from agriculture waste and also provides good incentives to the cotton farmers.

There is also an ease of doing business where tax audit has been raised to Rs 10 crores which will definitely support the small entrepreneurs where the compliance will be much lower. Lastly, the Agri infra development sales, which is levied on petroleum, diesel and coal making them more expensive than biofuels thus making it beneficial for the sector. I think overall it’s a good budget and we look forward to its implementation.

Ashvin Patil, Director and Founder, Biofuels Junction Pvt Ltd

If I could define this fiscal budget in one word it would be ‘Recovery’. The impact of the economic challenged caused by COVID 19 could only be overturned through significant announcements towards social growth, particularly sectors such as education, livelihoods and healthcare.

  1. In perhaps the most relevant announcement given the COVID 19 context, is the support to the unorganised labour force through the proposed portal enabling them with available health, housing, skill, insurance credit and food schemes. Extending these social security and minimum wages to all categories of workers, is a welcome move. Additionally, the announcement and acknowledgment of Women being allowed to work in all categories of labour and also in night shifts with adequate protection, is positive, but will entail a fair evaluation of their safety in these situations.
  2. Further in the agricultural sector, the increase in the allocation under the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund and the Micro-Irrigation corpus is welcomed. However support to Rural enterprises could also have been extended as these enterprises are leading the way to provide opportunities for those in the most marginalised locations.
  3. In regard to Education, the strengthening of over 15,000 schools under NEP as exemplar schools across India, will be useful in understanding the implementation of NEP for other schools to emulate. In terms of higher education, the Higher Education Commission legislation being announced this year will provide more clarity on the sector.
  4. The extensive allocations under healthcare provisions, including vaccination for Covid-19 has been encouraging

However, we would have liked to see more focus on women in this budget. Women enterprises and women farmers need focused attention and support from the government through the different schemes available. Additionally impetus on women’s health, both mental and physical, need much more attention than they are currently getting.

Overall, the budget this year is of increased significance as we continue to aim to rebuild our economy, but its victory will lie in the impact it has on social rebuilding of our nation.

 Vidya Shah, Chairperson & CEO, EdelGive Foundation.

“The announcement made by honourable finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman is welcoming. One more year to grab tax holidays by incorporating startups in FY 2021-22 is relieving. Additionally, extending the due date for investing capital gains in startups would indeed motivate a larger number of startups to come into play and generate more opportunities”

Shivjeet Ghatge, CEO & Co Founder, StepSetGo

“OkCredit welcomes the budget proposals of 2021-22 which rightly focuses on small and medium businesses (SMBs), health, agriculture, and infrastructure sector to achieve inclusive growth and boost economic activity impacted by Covid-19. The continued focus on enhancing the ease of doing business for MSMEs with several measures such as extension in tax holiday and exemption on capital gains for startups by a year, separate NCLT framework for faster resolution of bad debts of MSMSe, increase in the maximum threshold of paid-up capital and maximum turnover of small companies, custom duty rate change for creating a level playing field for MSMEs and domestic manufacturers augur well for the economy. 

The decision to allocate Rs 1,500 crore for promoting a digital mode of payment and enhancement of tax audit limit for those companies having less than 5% cash transactions to promote digital economy are very logical and will boost the formal economy. The decision to enable non-resident individuals with the entrepreneurial potential to set up One Person Companies (OPC) with no paid-up capital and turnover restrictions are the other salient features of the budget and will help in the creation of startups.”

Mr. Harsh Pokharna, Co-Founder & CEO, OkCredit

Vikas Garg, Chief Financial Officer at Paytm said, “The Finance Minister has presented a balanced budget that is aimed at maximum growth of all sectors in the coming year. The Rs.1500 crore proposed scheme to incentivize digital payments is a welcome move that will accelerate the growth of cashless transactions in our country. During the pandemic, digital payments emerged as one of the key enablers of empowerment at the grassroots and brought millions of people under the fold of the formal economy. Government’s continued emphasis on increasing investment in Infrastructure, Insurance and digital payments will ensure financial inclusion of the masses.”

Vikas Garg, Chief Financial Officer at Paytm

“The Budget 2021 is special since it focuses on creating avenues for both Make in India and Innovate in India initiatives. The Finance Minister’s announcements and proposals are well in line with the Government’s vision to make India the leading startup destination globally. 

The Government’s decision to invest heavily in futuristic technologies such as AI/Robotics and Automation in various sectors right, from healthcare, infrastructure, finance, and manufacturing, would undoubtedly boost the existing startups and lead to innovative startups entering the ecosystem.

The decision to use new-age technologies such as data analytics and machine learning in the roll-out of the new MCA website and announcement to allow the formation of a one-man-company suggests that the Government is on the right step to make India a truly digital economy. These initiatives’ could create a huge impact and bring more opportunities for startups to step up and resolve gaps in the ecosystem. “

Abhijeet Pai, Partner at 9Unicorns,

“This is a great budget with a lot of growth boosting measures. In the backdrop of the pandemic and resultant fiscal situation, the government has done a great balancing act.

There are a number of steps announced to boost capex and infra; and manufacturing which will create huge trickle down benefits for the economy at large. To achieve this within tight fiscal deficit targets and without impacting the tax rates will be a herculean achievement. The key positives for businesses include –

1. Creation of a huge DFI to fund India’s infra ambitions over the next 3-5 years

2. Vehicle scrapping policy will give a boost to the Auto sector in coming years

3. Launch of multiple infra and capex projects will give boost to manufacturing, steel and cement sectors

4. Further allocations for PLI in manufacturing is a great step to place India firmly in the global Supply Chain ecosystem in core sectors like Electronics

5. Smaller businesses will see more ease of doing businesses due to relaxation of audit & GST norms

6. Divestments of some PSUs and higher FDI limits in insurance will lead to entry of global players with deeper commitment to India and also boost innovation. “

Mr. Ram Iyer, Founder and CEO, Vayana Network.

Fiscal Deficit, Disinvestment, Expenditure & Administrative Reforms were the theme of the budget commentary earlier today, as announced by the Honourable Finance Minister, Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman.  The last year has been one of the toughest years, especially after the global health crisis which has slowed down and crippled many economies, therefore a growth budget was crucial to build a post pandemic reformed India.

An enhanced allocation to Healthcare expenditure was the need of the hour and a 34% increase in capital expenditure with a sharp focus on rail and road, which will increase the industrial output bringing in the much-needed revival.

Proposed relief for NRI’s 

2021 budget announced earlier today has been one of the most a very promising and long-awaited step announced for the NRI taxpayer. Many times, a mismatch in taxation periods creates innumerable hassles and inconvenience for NRIs towards claiming the credit in foreign jurisdiction for tax paid in India. Additionally, even NRIs who have come back to India for good, confront inconvenience with respect to the accrued foreign income earned specially on the corpus created in their Retirement account.

The Finance Minister has proposed that the rules will be notified to address issues related to taxation of income in foreign retirement benefit account. Her statement also highlighted the issue related to tax credit due to mismatch in taxation periods, which will shortly provide major relief to NRI taxpayers.

Nishant Kohli, Founder, Director and Business Head-Wealth, Mudra Portfolio Managers.

After the country going in lockdown for nearly a year, the budget as a whole is balanced in every sector for boosting India’s aspiration. Few initiatives like allocation of budget to spread digital payment awareness, tax exemption on revenue and investments are some of the welcome steps for the startups but still the startups of India expected a few more reforms on tax front and compliance for the ease of doing business which fell short of expectations in this Budget

Mitesh Gangar, Co-founder & Director of PlayerzPot Media Pvt Ltd.

“My expectation from the Union Budget was a significant drive towards making the economy, including start-ups, more nature-positive and improving ease of business. Easing of the definition of a small company from the point of view of corporate law compliance and allowing to claim tax holidays for an additional year are a few welcome steps. This has opened a pool of opportunities for Indian start-ups like ours to innovate and contribute to the Indian Economy.

Coming to the environment, it’s a mixed bag. Capital infusion of ₹ 1,000 crores in Solar Energy Corporation of India and ₹ 1,500 crores to the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency are constructive steps for the betterment of the environment. But there are massive budget cuts in multiple other aspects. In addition to a reduction in the overall allocation to the Ministry of Environment, the allocation to Climate Change Action, which is our most pertinent threat today, reduced from ₹ 40 crores to ₹ 30 crores this year.

Allocation for Clean Air reduced from ₹ 4,400 crores last year to ₹ 2,217 crores. This is a little disheartening. Although we have made bold changes with the Deep Ocean mission with an allocation of ₹ 4,000 crores towards research and conservation of deep-sea biodiversity, it is subject to execution and accountability over the years.Investing in nature has untapped potential for India and with a third of our GDP depending on nature, we cannot overlook its importance.”

Mr Amit Banka, founder, Wenaturalists

“While the vehicle scrappage policy seems voluntary at this stage, I think this may be the first of many bold steps the government is likely to take to aggressively curb use of polluting vehicles and usher an era of electric vehicles in line with global trends. This measure portends well for the auto sector in the medium term as it is likely that a large number of older commercial and private vehicles will be replaced by newer fuel efficient vehicles, thus requiring large additional investments by auto and auto parts manufacturers. 

Further, with the FM’s budget proposing to make large outlays for capital investments in infrastructure and on improving public transport, the auto sector is likely to see a surge in investments and employment opportunities in the near to mid-term’.

Parthasarathi Patnaik – Chief Risk Officer, Vayana Network

MSMEs generally depend upon big businesses in the supply chain and the overall buoyancy in the economy for those that deal with retail. The budget is definitely a Big Bang with far more focus on enhancing macro spending across healthcare, infrastructure and large scale manufacturing. The resultant virtuous cycle will provide a significant tailwind to MSMEs too. There are many specific measures on changes in duties, easier compliances etc that would provide support to MSMEs that are ravaged by Coronavirus crisis. There is also a strong underlying theme of digitisation and improving access to capital for those that are compliant and digital which will help MSMEs contribute in a big way towards the target of 5 Trillion Dollars economy.

Sanjay Phadke EVP – Head Alliances & New Initiatives

Substantial increase in health budget will ensure that India successfully beats Covid-19 and no more lockdowns which in itself is a big boost for business. The Government has also stressed upon the digital connectivity to promote digital mode of payment which is certainly a huge step for the internet companies. We at NETGEAR feel that each and every individual and organization must be equipped with tools and solutions with better internet connectivity as most of the industries would be more dependent digitally in near future”

Mr. Marthesh Nagendra, Country Manager – India & SAARC, NETGEAR

Union Budget 2021 has highlighted the government’s focus in kickstarting the economy through boosting the infrastructure which in turn will create more jobs. Further, with a heavy budget of 5.4 lakh Cr, we can see the government recentering their attention towards building a stronger infrastructure via highways, railways, ports and energy, considering the high allocation towards MORTH. A robust tech integration would be needed in order to avert health hazards and keep a check on OSH. 

Additionally, promoting Atmanirbharta through extensive plans for the future of the retail and manufacturing sector which strengthens the fact that boosting the industrial sector was a key driving agenda of this budget. Out of the six pillars for the vision of Atma Nirbhar Bharat, Innovation and R&D stands to be pivotal for the enterprise tech sector. Through the 30-lakh-crore plan set up by the Finance ministry, improved credit access for enterprises is likely to bring about relief in the sector and also encourage the new entrants. 

Kunal Kislay, Co Founder and CEO Integration Wizards Solutions

The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked unprecedented havoc on the startup sector in the Indian ecosystem. There was much needed support required by the cash-strapped industry from the Union Budget to take them out of the conundrum. We therefore welcome the FM’s decision to extend the tax holiday and capital gains exemption incentives by one more year. Also the initiative to include 1 lakh digital villagers in the next 5 years is a great news for businesses with penetration in tier 3 and tier 4 regions. Icing on the cake are the GST provisions provided for SMEs earning less than 5 cr – to file GST only once in the quarter of a year. The budget will not also provide much needed time for start-ups to get back up on their feet but also boost the overall performance of the SME sector.

Vaibhav Lall, Founder, Khojdeal

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