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Pre-Budget Expectations

Sumeet Walia, Executive Vice President & Head – Sales, India & APAC at Tata Communications
“Increasingly, a priority for every business today is digitization; the Government of India too has been cognisant in allocating budgets to make the Digital India mission a reality. With increasing digital penetration, security has become a growing concern as well and hence needs to be addressed in the upcoming budget. To that end, a robust cybersecurity policy framework will greatly support businesses to move in the right direction.  Another subject that needs to be addressed, is the lack of appropriate skills to match the rapidly evolving pace of digital innovation. There is a pressing need to increase awareness and access to training to bridge the professional skills gap. The government needs to make significant investments in this direction.”

CP Gurnani, MD & CEO, Tech Mahindra
“We need to sustain our global competitiveness and ensure continued support to the start-up ecosystem. We need to further improve the ease and cost of doing business in the country by enabling a feasible policy and tax framework. In Budget 2019, we hope to see more initiatives towards the training and skill development of our youth, thus, addressing the employability issues in crucial next-generation technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, 5G, Machine Learning, and Cybersecurity. Additionally, continued thrust to the Digital India program is essential”.

Shivam Sinha, Founder and CEO, Indiassetz
“We are hoping that this interim budget will bring some relief to both the developers as well as buyers. Rationalization of the taxes on real estate and streamlining of taxation norms will make it more attractive and incentivized for people to invest in this sector. We expect the budget to focus on facilitating smart city growth and infrastructure. Real estate holds immense potential and investment opportunities as it addresses the future challenges of the society and also goes a long way in boosting the socio-economic confidence and willingness to invest in the minds of the people. We look forward to structural incentives, funding announcements in the upcoming budget and a convincing game plan to ensure that the allocated funds are utilized as specified, within a specified deadline. We expect the government to provide interest rate subvention for first home buyers and generate separate income tax exemption limit for EMIs on the housing to make housing affordable for the middle class. We also expect the government to  increase the home loan caps eligible for a subsidy and abolish angel tax for Government recognized start-ups.”

Prashant Gupta, Executive Director, Sharda University
“While the upcoming Budget is crucial for all sectors, it is pivotal for the education sector. We expect to witness a higher allocation towards the education sector and provide useful and elementary education for all in the following budget. The Government must emphasize education at all levels and rationalize taxes, including e-learning education programs and make them affordable for the masses. More government schemes for the education sector are expected to be introduced in order to provide the benefits to the faculty as well as the masses of the country. Rapid advancement in technology and business models are creating demand for reskilling of the workforce the Government should address this issue in the forthcoming budget. The Government should also reconsider GST rates on higher education and make education loan cheaper and the term period bigger, also partially exempt GST on outsourced services in higher education from 18 percent to 5 percent, to create low-cost educational institutions that offer services at all levels — primary, secondary and higher education.”

Siddharth Jain, Co-Founder, Vaahika
“The seamless highway is the need of the hour, to make logistics more efficient and profitable. It is understood that the government has been looking for solutions to reduce traffic snarls on highways; which has now become a major hassle for transporters. It is very much expected that the government should share a detailed outline or implementation vision on ‘Toll-plaza free” seamless highways in this budget. It is also expected that the government will address the need of one nation – one permit in this budget; which has been suggested by the Logistics committee as well.”

Siddharth Angrish, Founder,
“The Modi government has shown good interest in an upcoming startup with initiatives like Start-Up India & Digital India. Startup India has been quite a success.  As an entrepreneur, I am expecting more and easy funding opportunities for startup growth in India from the 2019 budget. Also, we hope that start up’s are given more relaxation in GST and decreased regulatory interferences while applying for various tenders.”

Akshay Singhal, Founder, Log 9 Materials
“Electric mobility is extremely important for India however the adoption has been rather slow due to the high cost of vehicles and challenges with daily use. This high cost is primarily driven by imports of technology and components for these vehicles. India needs to develop its own indigenous technologies which are better suited for the Indian ecosystem. Current Li-Ion technology for electric vehicles is a big strategic disadvantage for India as it does not have any reserves of Lithium or cobalt. Hence, today instead of being dependent on imports for petroleum, India is headed towards dependence on other nations for Lithium and cobalt in the future. It is commendable that significant steps have been taken towards indigenous manufacturing of li-ion batteries in India, but it is vital from a strategic standpoint to stress and allocate funds for indigenous development of energy technologies better suited for the Indian climate and ecosystem. One such technology is Aluminium-air batteries which not only gives you long driving range without the need for huge charging infrastructure but is also powered by Aluminium. India is the third largest producer of Aluminium in the world. Further, it is our expectation that nanotechnology is given a boost by setting up grant schemes for start-ups which are coming up with innovative technologies for future readiness.”

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Vice-Chancellor, World University of Design
“Given the current economic situation globally, it is time for the Asian economies particularly India and China to become front-runners in progress. In order for us to keep maintain this growth momentum, continued impetus and allocations need to be given to the education sector. In order to improve the quality of education and keep up with the current technology trends, the government focus on encouraging existing & future faculty to take up research & doctoral studies is welcome. We expect to witness the introduction of a government scheme in the higher education sector to provide benefit to the faculty opting for re-skilling, up-skilling, e-education and doctoral studies.  The Government must also increase allocation towards the education sector and strengthen teacher training programs across the country to improve the overall quality and capacity of the education ecosystem. The Government should reconsider GST rates on higher education and make education loans cheaper and the term period bigger, also partially exempt GST on outsourced services in higher education from 18 percent to 5 percent, to help lower costs of educational institutions. ” —CT Bureau

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