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A positive Interim Union Budget 2024, say stakeholders

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2024, on February 1, an interim budget, just ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. The full-fledged budget will be presented by the new government that comes to power after the elections.

Post Budget Reactions

“This budget underscores a vision for India as a developed nation, putting infrastructure, sustainability, and youth empowerment at the forefront. The government’s focus on the country’s exponential growth is evident from the initiatives specifically announced for infrastructure development and scaling up research & innovation.

At NEC, we applaud the strong focus on infrastructure and green growth, aligning with our vision for a connected India. Initiatives in green projects, EV manufacturing, and tourism development signal positive steps towards a sustainable and inclusive future. The focus on youth empowerment, exemplified by the 50-year loan scheme, resonates with our commitment to future generations.

Looking ahead, we anticipate that the July 2024 full budget will address concerns about inclusivity and execution. NEC remains a committed partner in India’s growth, offering technological expertise in digital infrastructure, submarine connectivity, smart cities, and rural development. We stand ready to collaborate and contribute to building a more inclusive and prosperous India by 2047.

At NEC, we are confident that India will achieve its goal of ‘Viksit Bharat’ ahead of its time, and we are excited to be part of this journey to a Prosperous Bharat in harmony with nature, modern infrastructure, and opportunities for all.” Aalok Kumar, Corporate Officer & Senior VP – Head of Global Smart City Business, NEC Corporation & President & CEO, NEC Corporation India.

“The Interim Budget presented by the Finance Minister today reemphasized the government’s economic policies and the commitment to sustained growth, improving productivity and creating opportunities with a focus on skilling and reskilling.

In a significant gain for the telecom sector just before the interim budget, the current customs duty exemption granted to vessels engaged in laying submarine cables in India – which lapses on 31st March 2024 – was extended up to 30th September 2024. Telecom companies depend heavily on submarine cables for the high-speed transfer of data around the globe and this step will help in following the compliances.

The announcement of a corpus of ₹1 lakh crore for the technology sector is a positive measure as access to capital is a critical factor to support innovation and growth. The long-term, interest-free or low interest rate loans and focus on deep tech will further encourage the private sector to scale up research and innovation.

We are hopeful that in the post-election full budget, the industry’s suggestions to reduce regulatory levies like License Fee, deferring USOF contribution till the existing funds are exhausted, exemption of Basic Customs Duty (BCD) on Telecom equipment, waiving of GST on regulatory payments and refund of ITC, among others, will be considered and addressed by the Government during the course of the year.” Lt. Gen. Dr. S.P. Kochhar, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI)

“The Interim Budget 2024 epitomizes the government’s unwavering commitment to forging a path of progress, combining the need of modern infrastructure with a green revolution. Today’s budget stands as a beacon, illuminating the path to a sustainable future, where rooftop solarisation for 1 crore households and the wind power surge offshore, guided by Viability Gap funding for 1 GW capacity, propel us towards a stronger, greener India. This financial commitment not only builds robust foundations but fulfills the promise of Net Zero by 2070, showcasing the government’s steadfast dedication to a holistic GDP: Governance, Development, and Performance, scripting a narrative of sustainable growth and prosperity for generations to come.” TR Dua, Director-General, Digital Infrastructure Providers Association (DIPA)

“We commend the government’s allocation of the Rs 1 lakh crore corpus in the interim budget 2024 for long-term financing of technological research. This move will be beneficial for startups in the rapidly expanding space sector, providing them with support to innovate and conduct further research across various domains of space technology.

Additionally, the new scheme being launched for boosting deep-tech for the defense sector will be transformative. This initiative holds significant promise for DefSpace startups, which can play a substantial role in enhancing the ecosystem due to the integral relationship between space and defense industries.

However, we are sanguine that the post-election full budget will include support for a liberal FDI policy for space, inclusion of space grade components in PLI, reduction of GST for satellites, launch vehicles and ground equipment manufacturing and provide tax holidays and lower import duty for space sector firms.” Lt. Gen. AK Bhatt, Director General, Indian Space Association

“Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s sixth consecutive budget presentation sets a decisive course for India’s future, rooted in the vision of ‘Viksit Bharat’ by 2047. The government’s emphasis on GDP – Governance, Development, and Performance, lays a sturdy framework for sustainable growth. With a focus on empowering youth and fostering innovation, the budget outlines a roadmap for unprecedented development over the next five years.

In addition, initiatives like the Skill India Mission, training, upskilling and reskilling 1.4 crore youth and establishing new educational institutions, reflect a commitment to human capital development and digital empowerment.

At Fulcrum Digital, we stand ready to leverage deep technology and the power of our youth to continue to create opportunities for India at a global level. As a global enterprise AI organization, we are committed to contributing to India’s growth story, and fostering innovation for heightened development.” Sachin Panicker, Chief AI Officer, Fulcrum Digital

“The Interim Union Budget 2024 focuses on data-driven innovation, and this gives us much to look forward to. The Honourable Finance Minister has acknowledged the potential of deep technologies like AI in transforming varied industry sectors. In addition, the GoI’s focus on training, upskilling, and reskilling the youth of the nation through the Skill India mission is likely to place India well on the global map of tech-savvy nations. With India’s tech prowess growing, we expect the need for unified storage and intelligent data infrastructures to grow as well. Harnessing the power of data will be a key growth driver and differentiator for businesses across sectors. At NetApp, we are aligned with the government’s focus, with innovation in data management being at the heart of everything we do. Combined with the capabilities of our tech talent, particularly the youth, we are well poised to contributing towards building a ‘Viksit Bharat’ by 2047.” Puneet Gupta, Vice President & Managing Director, NetApp India/SAARC

“We welcome the interim budget’s focus on skilling, deeptech, R&D, innovation, and digital infrastructure, all of which are critical drivers for the IT industry’s growth. The Skill India Mission has helped in building a highly skilled workforce, and the Rs. 1 lakh crore corpus with interest-free loans for tech-savvy youth will be a true game-changer. This will fuel innovation and entrepreneurship, fostering the next generation of tech leaders. As we strive towards achieving the goal of “Viksit Bharat” by 2047, LTIMindtree stands committed to partnering with the government in its digital transformation journey. We believe this interim budget has laid a strong foundation for continued growth, with technology playing a pivotal role in shaping India’s future.” Debashis Chatterjee, MD & CEO, LTIMindtree

“The budgetary focus on the three identified economic railway corridor programs through PM Gati Shakti is a significant stride toward enhancing multi-modal connectivity, laying a strong foundation for positioning India as a global electronics manufacturing hub. The allocation of a one lakh crore corpus, combined with the reduction in corporate tax rates from 30 percent to 22 percent for existing domestic companies, underscores a forward-looking approach. These initiatives are poised to unlock immense potential, propelling India’s technology and electronic manufacturing landscape to new heights. The budget reflects a commitment to fostering innovation, competitiveness, and a brighter future for our nation in the realm of technology.” Sanjeev Chhabra, Managing Director & CEO, Beetel Teletech Ltd.

“We at Sophos are in complete alignment with the vision presented by the Honorable Finance Minister in the Interim Union Budget 2024, towards creating a prosperous and inclusive India. The highlighted emphasis on skill development, technology-driven innovation, and sustainable infrastructure resonates with our organizational mission, focused on empowering Indian businesses through state-of-the-art cybersecurity solutions. The government’s steadfast commitment to increasing the cybersecurity budget from INR 400 crores to INR 750 crores within a year is a noteworthy development within the industry, and promises to address cybersecurity threats that may endanger the rapidly digitizing nation.

The intersection of democracy, demography, and diversity, encapsulated by the ideology of “Sabka Prayas,” emerges as the key force that will unlock India’s true potential in the technology sector. Other significant initiatives such as the allocation of a substantial amount of Rs 1 lakh crore for tech startups and the strategic emphasis on deep-tech for defense, underscore the government’s dedication towards realizing its Atmanirbhar Bharat vision.

Within this transformative landscape, Sophos remains unwavering in its commitment to playing a constructive role in realizing the vision of a cyber-secure India. Our dedication extends to equipping businesses with resilient cybersecurity solutions and nurturing a culture of cyber awareness, thereby contributing to the empowerment of citizens and the assurance of our digital future.” Sunil Sharma, Vice President- Sales, Sophos India & SAARC

“We celebrate a significant milestone in the rationalisation of tariffs on components/inputs of mobile phones vide Custom Notification 9/2024 notified on January 30, 2023. The amendment is an important policy change towards export-led growth, ensuring policy consistency, and addressing competitiveness in manufacturing, which is a crucial victory for the mobile phone manufacturing industry in India. This was amongst the key asks that have been made by ICEA for the interim budget 2024-25.

The Basic Customs Duty (BCD) has been rationalised on inputs of mobile phone Mechanics and die cut parts to 10%, inputs of mechanics and die cut parts have been reduced to 0%, and all other inputs of mobile phones classified as ‘Others’ under HSN code 85177990 has been rationalised to 10%. The high tariffs on inputs increase the cost of domestically manufactured finished goods making them uncompetitive in the international market. The adjustment of BCD to 10% on parts of mobile phones and mechanics and die-cut parts and 0% on inputs of mechanics represents a shift in the approach of policy formulation towards export-led growth and competitiveness.

Electronics has improved from the 9 th position a few years ago to India’s 5 th largest export in 2024. Mobiles constitute over 52% of electronics exports thanks to the PLI Scheme. This is the first industry to leapfrog out of import substitution to export-led growth within the last 8 years.

The government has been an excellent and willing partner in this transformation. ICEA acknowledges the significant efforts and commitment of the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Finance (MoF), and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).” Pankaj Mahindroo, Chairman, India Cellular & Ekectronics Association

Also read, Interim Union Budget 2024 presented

CT Bureau

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