image-Industry-leaders-on-Union-Budget-2021-mediabrief.jpg

Industry leaders from across media, marketing, advertising, like K Madhavan, President – Indian Broadcasting Foundation, Ashish Bhasin, CEO-APAC and Chairman-India, Dentsu, and other eminent leaders from other sectors like Dr. Pawan Goenka, Managing Director and CEO, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. along with several others, have welcomed Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Budget 2021.

Here’s what they have had to say:

K Madhavan, President of the Indian Broadcasting Foundation

This is a growth-oriented budget that will provide a strong and much-needed impetus to the economic growth engines in the wake of the pandemic. The focus on privatisation and providing support for startups and innovation is likely to benefit the overall corporate sector and in-turn help the media and entertainment industry, as it will lead to strong advertising growth.

“I believe this budget can pave the way for the resurgence of economic growth in a significant and impactful manner.

Ashish Bhasin, CEO-APAC and Chairman-India, Dentsu

Ashish-Bhasin-2-scaled.jpgAccording to me, this is a great Budget for the economy as well as for the advertising industry. It is clearly a growth-oriented budget and I am particularly enthused about the investments in Infrastructure and Health. What is also good is that the taxes have not been raised and the process of taxation has been attempted to be simplified. Disinvestments and Borrowings have been proposed as the preferred funding route, rather than increased taxation, which is helpful.

Whenever the economy does well, the advertising industry benefits. Hence, I feel this economic growth that the budget fuels will result in good growth for the advertising industry this year and we should be positive and bullish, both about India’s economic future as well as for the advertising industry.

I also like the thrust towards increased usage of digital, including in governance, starting from the symbolic usage of an India made Tablet to read the budget from, by the Finance Minister.

However, one has to still see the fine print because the important thing is that the ideas presented must result in smooth on-ground implementation, where our track record has not been that great in the past.

Overall I find this a good, growth-oriented budget, with some benefits for almost every section of the economy and hopefully this should bring our GDP growth into double digits making India the world’s fastest-growing economy this year. (You might also like this)

Dr. Pawan Goenka, Managing Director and CEO, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.

image-Dr.-Pawan-Goenka-Managing-Director-CEO-Mahindra-Mahindra-Ltd-2-mediabrief.jpgThis is a Budget with the head and the heart at the right place. As the industry was looking forward to, this is a growth-oriented Budget, with significant focus on healthcare and infrastructure, two areas where everybody wanted to see a lot of focus.

I am glad that the scrappage policy has been acknowledged in the Budget and expecting the policy to be announced very soon. Though details are not yet out, when the policy comes out, it should have full incentive for scrapping and not just disincentivize for not scrapping.  If I look at the tractor industry there is a lot of incentive on the agri economy and other agri businesses.

Everyone is relieved that there is no Covid cess that has come in or any extra taxation, which is a good thing. We have also seen some bold moves in terms of Bad bank or ARC which were hoping. There is nothing much specific in terms of sectorial intervention, but that is fine since the Budget is focusing on overall growth and increasing denominator which should otherwise help all the sectors. Overall the Finance Minister has delivered a promised Budget that will go a long way and not just for 1 year.

Anand Bhadkamkar, CEO India, dentsu

image-Anand-Bhadkamkar-CEO-dentsu India-MediaBriefIt is definitely a growth-oriented budget. The Finance Minister has done an excellent job and has made sure that there is no increase in taxes. The disinvestment of PSU banks, LIC, consolidation of SEBI Act, etc. are the right steps ahead and we need to see how she will deliver on that aspect.

What really impressed me about this budget are the six Pillars – one of which is minimum government and maximum governance, which is also very important in the corporate world. The budget intends to bring liquidity into the economy, focus on Infrastructure and offer tax holiday for startups, giving the MSME a higher outlay.

Another beneficial move is the tax relief offered to senior citizens, which is excellent administratively. Insurance and Healthcare have been given a huge boost. Similarly, easing of business rules for NRIs is a step in the right direction. Instead of taxing the taxpayer, the Finance Minister has ensured that the revenue comes from smarter allocation of available resources and better tax management. As a salaried person, I would have liked more benefits. However, aforementioned, we expected positive consumer sentiment to be created by the budget and I am optimistic that this budget is going to do so. The budget aims to bring down the fiscal deficit; and largely sectors like Infrastructure, Healthcare, Education, Automobiles, etc. are seeing positive momentum.

We expect the spending to accelerate, witness positive growth in terms of spends coming in, and consumer sentiments returning. If you see the social sector from an economic growth perspective, which needs to be pushed from the grassroots level, this budget is providing the same with infrastructure development. This can lead to a domino effect for development. Likewise, from the advertising sector perspective, the feeling is similar. Though there are multiple factors involved. If you go category-wise such as FMCG, Consumer Durables and Auto, there is positivity and we expect spends from them.

Mobiles are likely to get costlier. But the government has given more relief to domestic industries to support Atma Nirbhar Bharat. For the Media & Advertising industry,  it is a growth-oriented budget that is likely to support growth in advertising and marketing spends as well.


Also read: Uday Shankar, President – FICCI, says outstanding Budget 2021-22 will propel growth, employment


Ambika Sharma, Founder & MD, Pulp Strategy

Image-Ambika-Sharma-Founder-MD-Pulp-Strategy-mediabrief.jpgDoubling of MSME allocation, setting aside Rs 15,700 crore for medium and small enterprises in FY22, comes as a welcome move.

Increased inclusion of women in the workforce is a good move, and will have a long term positive impact on household income. The services sector has negligible focus in the budget. (You might also like this)

Praveen Nijhara, CEO, Hansa Research

image-Praveen-Nijhara-CEO-Hansa-Research-mediabrief.jpgThe budget gave a strong feeling that the government is very keen on making sure that the rural-urban divide is bridged, and quickly. Rural economy has reported heartening numbers and one believes that India’s post-COVID recovery will be triggered from the villages and towns. The budget does well to make sure that the government spends towards making society more equitable. One would have hoped for some relief to income taxpayers keeping in mind the tough year gone by, but I suppose the FM won’t hesitate in revisiting that part of the budget if need be.

As a research & insights firm, we are very happy with the Rs.3,768 cr allocation made for the census. The fact that this will be India’s first digital census is only the icing on the cake and we very much look forward to seeing it happen.

Sai Srinivas, Co-founder and CEO, Mobile Premier League(MPL)

Government’s budget announcement has been extremely encouraging for the start-up ecosystem in India. The extended exemption on capital gains for investments will definitely make more funds available for budding entrepreneurs and growing organizations alike.

Digital payments infrastructure has played a very important role in the growth of the mobile gaming industry. It is very encouraging to see the government’s efforts to strengthen digital payments through incentivization.  The Rs 1,500 crore boost will further support migration of more people towards digital payments and will have a positive impact on the mobile skill gaming industry.

The incentivizing of one person companies is especially heartening as it promotes the development of more game creators that will help in strengthening the gaming industry in India. The move has also allowed conversion of one-person companies to any other kind, reducing residency limit from 182 days to 120 days.

India is at the cusp of creating a wave of mobile gaming unicorns, these measures only support that momentum. With these announcements acting as winds in our sails the Indian Gaming Industry can aspire to be the Global Hub of game development.

Abheek Barua, Chief Economist, HDFC Bank Ltd

A bold budget in many senses. The central intent has been to use expansionary fiscal policy to support growth sidestepping concerns over debt sustainability and sovereign rating. The fiscal deficit is pegged at 6.8% of GDP in FY22 compared to a revised estimate of 9.5% for FY21. The focus has been on increasing capital expenditure both by the centre (+35% y-o-y) as well as states.

Moreover, the budget introduced new institutional structures (like the Development Finance Institution, asset reconstruction company) and provided greater detail on asset monetisation to finance infrastructure needs in the economy. In light of the COVID-19 health crisis, the budget’s focus on health and sanitisation with increased allocations and introduction of a new health scheme are also welcome steps.

That said, the budget does not adequately address concerns over inequitable growth which has been a worry across the globe due to the pandemic. There has been no specific support for sectors stressed due to the pandemic like the hospitality sector. While the government did not increase any direct taxes, as some sections of the market feared, there has also not been any cushion provided for households – especially in the informal sector that has been hit the most by the pandemic. Therefore, while the budget focusses towards pushing the long term growth potential it does little to prevent a K-shaped growth recovery.

For the bond market, a higher than expected market borrowing estimate (INR 12 trn) in FY22 and additional borrowings of INR 80,000 crores in FY21 are likely to add pressure on borrowing costs. The 10-year yield is up by 16bps since the budget announcement crossing 6%. Over the coming year, higher market borrowings, concerns over inflation and a move towards normalising liquidity conditions by the RBI could maintain pressure on yields. We see the 10 year between 5.95-6.10% by the end of H1 FY22.

Nitin Chavan, CEO, Aquapay Payment Technologies Pvt Ltd

image-Nitin-Chavan-CEO Aquapay-Technologies - MediaBriefWe welcome the budget presented by the Finance Minister as we believe it offers much for the FinTech space. The proposal to set up Global FinTech Hubs at GIFT and the allocation of Rs. 1,500 crore for promoting digital modes of payment are both measures that will give the sector a boost.

Moreover, the incorporation of one-person companies to incentivise innovation in start-ups and the focus on R&D in AI and ML should make for an even more vibrant and thriving start-up environment than we already have today.

Lastly, the setting up of a separate Asset Reconstruction syndicate for dealing with NPAs is a much-needed measure. Together with recapitalisation of PSBs, it should set the stage for a much-needed clean up of bank balance sheets.

Aneel Gambhir, CFO – Blue Dart

Image - Aneel Gambhir - CFO - Blue Dart - MediaBrief We are pleased to know that the Budget is in line with our expectations. The industry is eagerly waiting to see the results of these measures in our field of work. The proposed solutions include a succinct focus on improving road and railway infrastructure; investments in National highway corridors and economic corridors will aid in the speedy movement of goods and improve turnaround time which, in the long run, will bring down logistics costs significantly.

The National Highway work planned in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal, Assam will further assist in the final goal of last-mile delivery and we are eager to see its results on our business. In the long term, all the expenditures could be assisted with the proposed introduction of the DFI which will speed up the infrastructure development in India.

Apart from this, the focus on the manufacturing sector in the budget would also help the logistics sector grow further.

While the budget carries good news for the logistics sector, we are also happy to see the Government’s efforts in propelling areas such as healthcare, infrastructure, and employment, all of which require a special focus going into 2021.

With COVID-19 continuing to be a significant threat to the world, India is providing the vaccine against COVID-19 to over 100 countries across the world which is a commendable effort. With the Government also providing 35,000 crores towards the Covid-19 vaccine in 2021-22, we are sure to bid adieu to the virus sooner rather than later.

Banwari Lal Sharma, CEO of CarWale & BikeWale

image-banwari-Lal-Sharma-CEO-of-CarWale-and-BikeWale-mediabrief.jpgFirstly, we would like to applaud the Government for rolling out a budget that is progressive, remedy-inclined and development focused.  The much-anticipated scrappage policy will give a boost to the automotive sector by generating demand for newer vehicles. This will curb environmental stress caused due to pollution in the long run and will also catapult the adoption of e-vehicles in the next 5 years.

Increased focus on road infrastructure, research and development, and PLI among others will open floodgates for innovation leading to the increased capacity of both passenger and commercial vehicles. Also, the vision of ‘Atma Nirbhar’ Bharat coupled with increased impetus on FDI will boost domestic manufacturing of automotive components in India.

Allocation of funds on building rural and agricultural infrastructure will also trigger demand for automobiles in smaller and lesser connected markets. Furthermore, simplification of GST and the incentivization of digital payments will ignite the sector through means of customer confidence, convenience, and fair practices. Directionally, it’s a great budget as it has set the perspective for the coming years.

Kunal Lakhara, VP of Finance and Operations, Pocket Aces

Kunal LakharaThe Union Budget 2021-2022’s revised fiscal deficit estimate for FY21 which is pegged at 9.5% of GDP seems promising, and has taken on a realistic approach that is focused on spends which are much needed to revive the economy. The tax holiday given to startups for an additional one year brings relief to enabling the sector to sustain and grow, as we recover from the pandemic. Furthermore, the move to encourage one-person companies without any restrictions is a step in the right direction. This will go a long way in encouraging more people to come forward to set up innovative businesses that solve the challenge of the day, and grow the high-potential startup ecosystem within the country.

Hari Om Rai, CMD, Lava International Limited

Hari Om RaiIt is a historic budget making a mark of the beginning of a new India.

Government has given a clarion call to the industry with the announcement of creating global champions from India and  backing this strategy with new, “development finance institution”.

Now the responsibility shifts to the industry to not only dream but dream big and stand together with the government to make the country progress from poverty to wealth over the next three decades.

Dr. Keshab Panda, CEO & MD, L&T Technology Services

Keshab PandaThe move to provide greater impetus to India’s manufacturing sector with outlay of almost Rs 2 trillion over the next five years is indeed a welcome move. We are hopeful, this will pave the way for enhanced adoption of digital engineering capabilities by domestic players, especially in the Industry 4.0 segment, to give them a global edge. With patents and innovations being at the core of our proposition as a pure-play engineering services provider, it was encouraging to know that Innovation and R&D was classified under the six pillars of focus for this year’s union budget. Unlike last year where explicit mention to initiatives such as National Mission on Quantum Computing and Technology were announced, one would have hoped that this year’s budget would have made provision for further focus.

Dr. Chenraj  Roychand – Chairman, Jain Group

image-Dr.-Chenraj-Roychand-Chairman-Jain-Group-mediabrief.jpgThe budget 2021 brings with it good tidings for the education sector. The highlight being the announcement of establishing 100 new Sainik schools in partnership with NGOs and other private academies and setting up of Central University at Ladakh. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has also asserted that more than 15,000 schools will be quantitatively strengthened, which gives great impetus to the education sector. The announcement of the legislation for an umbrella body of higher education is just what is required in the post COVID era to boost our education system.

Education is what drives the economy and the country, and I am convinced that the Budget 2021 will go a long way in guaranteeing that our country keeps education at the pinnacle of its priorities.

Rajan Navani, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, JetSynthesys

image-Rajan-Navani-Vice-Chairman-Managing-Director-JetSynthesys-mediabrief.jpgI’m happy to see the Union Budget 2021 is a forward-looking one, with massive spend commitment by the government across many sectors combined with large divestment and monetisation, along with the privatisation of two public banks and one insurance company. This is a great trajectory for banking in India.

Also, the increase in FDI in insurance to 74% with management control will help in attracting FDI from the world, further boosting the economy. I’m particularly excited about the government’s commitment to set aside an outlay of INR 50000 Cr for the National Research Foundation, the setting up of a new Fintech hub, and an allocation to incentivise digital payments. Also, as we complete 75 years of independence, the move to exempt senior citizens over 75 years from filing tax returns if they are only on pension is a great tribute to their contribution to India.

The budget also had a number of bold initiatives to simplify tax processes for businesses and honest tax-payers. The extension of the tax holiday and exemption of capital gains will also enable businesses and startups to focus on growing their business. Most importantly, the proposed use of data analytics, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, optimising the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and tax portals, is indicative of the New India of 2022. I hope this forward-looking budget will help revive India’s economy, propelling it further towards a digitally empowered tomorrow.

Dr. Kshitiz Murdia, Cofounder and CEO, Indira IVF

image-Dr.-Kshitiz-Murdia-Cofounder-and-CEO-Indira-IVF-mediabrief.jpg

The COVID-19 pandemic drew significant attention to healthcare infrastructure in India. The initiatives for the healthcare sector taken by the Finance Minister in the Union Budget 2021-22 are laudable. Support to healthcare delivery and infrastructure is a long-term investment. A 137% increase in the budget allocated for health through preventive, curative, and wellbeing measures is crucial to ensure that India and the Indian population is back on its two feet, especially on the COVID-19 vaccine front.

In addition to COVID-19, another pandemic that has riddled the country is oversight on a number of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Establishing new institutions and strengthening the ones that already exist through the PM Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana in addition to the existing National Health Mission is, therefore, an astute call. Foresight and R&D are extremely important in healthcare, and availability of accessible, quality healthcare even more so.

Setting up of healthcare centres in both rural and urban centres and integrated public health labs will establish a network of healthcare service providers improving accessibility and reach for people in remote locations. This scheme takes us a step toward preparedness for new and emerging diseases as well as finding their cure by bolstering research and health infrastructure.

Working on concerns such air pollution through the urban Swachh Bharat Mission 2.0 not only takes us a step toward addressing climate change, but also helps tackle many other health conditions that can arise out of it, such as respiratory diseases and even fertility.

According to the UN report “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World”, India had 189.2 million undernourished people between 2017 and 2019 and another report highlights that the country observed the second-highest number of pneumonia-related deaths in children under five. Mission Poshan 2.0 outlined in the Union Budget as well as the support received by the first Made in India pneumococcal vaccine should help us effectively bring down the number of people who are malnourished and also save lives of thousands of children who die of pneumococcal infections every year.

The healthcare setup globally is supported by the professionals who work tirelessly to save lives. Two Bills mentioned in by the Indian Finance Minister in her speech, viz., the National Healthcare Allied Professionals Bill and the National Nursing and Midwifery Commission Bill should help provide transparency and efficiency to these professionals. We eagerly look forward to how the community can be uplifted and supported by the government.

The manner in which the government addresses the finer details and demarcates the spending in different disease areas and sub-health sectors remain to be seen. However, the measures outlined in the Union Budget 2021-22 are much required in the current scenario

Sripad Nandiraj, Founder Hocomoco

Image-Sripad-Nandiraj-Founder-Hocomoco-MediaBrief.jpgThe government’s intent of pushing Housing for All and affordable housing in Budget 2021, is going to be a welcome move after the slump in the construction industry due to the pandemic. The proposition of extending exemption available for the purchase of affordable housing and tax holiday for affordable housing projects for more than one year till March 2022 will give a fillip to the buyers. We also hope that the measures of tax incentives around affordable housing will help in the formidable growth of the housing market.

The measures taken by the government for startups in the Budget are very encouraging, as the emerging startups will continue their operation without worrying about the compliance of taxes. Extension of tax holiday and formation of separate administrative structure for promoting and monitoring the startups are laudable moves by the Finance Minister. The Government’s support to the startup ecosystem in India continues this year and the industry is poised to be back on the growth trajectory after an unprecedented last financial year.

Himanshu Arya, Founder, and CEO, Grapes Digital

image-Himanshu-Arya-Founder-CEO-Grapes-Digital-mediabrief.jpgAs an overall package, the budget opens opportunities for the startup industry to sustain the business and add value to India’s economy. This also paves the way for green shoots of recovery; focusing on pushing the long-term growth potential that will see an increase in the GDP after a downtrodden experience thanks to the pandemic.  The biggest relief is, the government has not tinkered with tax slabs such as Covid cess, wealth tax or any other tax expected by the market. 2021 is the budget year. The budget states that the government is keen on the digital revolution. The new schemes announced under PLI schemes will help the business, especially the manufacturing industry. This will strengthen the road map for the success of AatmaNirbhar Bharat.

The economy is reeling under the aftereffects of the lockdown. After an estimated 7.7 percent contraction in 2020-21, the recent budget will provide the much-needed push to economic recovery.

There is a cycle of a chain in the economy. We are quite optimistic that the year will see a significant jump in consumer spending, which will increase the cash flow in the market. If the economy will be on the brighter side, it will lead brands to increase their ad spends and will help our business to heads up towards double digital growth for 2021-22.

Aman Swetta, Managing Director at id8 media solutions

Aman SwettaThe third budget by our Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman shows a lot of promise and we preempt effective solutions to overcome the crisis that we all are just coming through.  Strengthening the cause of Digital India,  the latest addition of incentivizing and promoting digital transactions warrants an exponential growth of the Digital Marketing industry.  The new reform will also prompt brands and companies confined to the traditional routes to adapt the digital mode of communication.

Hitesh Jirawla, Founder CEO, Cubictree

image-Hitesh-Jirawla-Founder-CEO-Cubictree-mediabrief.pngThe 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.

Rishabh Goel, CEO, and Co-founder, Credgenics

RishabhGoel_Co-Founder_HighRes.jpeg The details of the bad bank and stressed assets cannot be revealed immediately during the budget, it will certainly ease the bad loan burden by taking over those assets and attempting recoveries. We see that the total stress in the banking system would be in excess of Rs 15 lakhs with limited capital and difficult to manage the NPA’s. For the bad banks, the Asset Restructuring and Management Company has been announced to be set up to resolve the mounting bad debt. Further for the resolution of bad debts, the NCLT framework has been proposed for further strengthening. Banks have been granted a little flexibility in setting delinquency measures from the lending perspective, though this is not as much restructuring as we would have expected to see. With more and digitalization in the focus, the litigation be it for longstanding tax disputes or delinquency will continue ‘faceless’ and be done through e-courts and Appellate.

Anand Agrawal, CTO, and Co-founder, Credgenics

Anand-Agrawal_Co-Founder-of-Credgenics.jpgBeing a fintech and with the rising issue of unemployment, a boost to innovation and entrepreneurship was expected by us. Pertaining to our expectation, a promising feature is the focus on bringing up more startups and innovators by incentivizing One-person Companies, setting up a fintech hub, along with a tax holiday being announced for the startups for this fiscal year.  Over 27 Lakh Crores of package has been announced with a vision for Aatmanirbhar Bharat. Though much was awaited, and hopes are still up with the negotiations over the proposed plans coming up, the Budget announced by the Finance Minister shows the resilience of an economy where the government is still increasing the capital expenditure, whereas the reverse is usually expected during crucial times.

Pankit Desai, Co-founder CEO, Sequretek

image-Pankit-Desai-Co-founder-CEO-Sequretek-mediabrief.jpgThe 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.

Pavan Adipuram, Co-founder CEO, ChitMonks

image-Pavan-Adipuram-Co-founder-CEO-ChitMonks-mediabrief.jpgThe 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 incentivise 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.

Kumar Ritesh, Founder CEO, CYFIRMA

image-Kumar-Ritesh-Founder-and-CEO-of-CYFIRMA-mediabrief.jpgThis 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.

Joji George, Co-Founder, Gonuts

The Budget 2021 announced by Hon’ble Finance Minister today though positive left us wanting some more from a start-up and MSMEs perspective. That said, the budget did reflect the Indian Government’s commitment to boost the Indian start-up ecosystem.

A boost from the budget for startups is important as it carves the next phase for the start-up ecosystem post the pandemic. The government’s decision to bring in institutional investors to invest in startups is a positive move and will help encourage more investment into the start-up community.  Of course, the start-up community need to see and understand the fine print.

FM has announced, registration of one-person firms with no limit to paid up capital will boost the start-up ecosystem. That helps small entrepreneurs to take the leap. Government has doubled its expenditure allocation towards micro small and medium enterprises to Rs 15,700 crore in FY22. This is an excellent move for companies like us that work with large number of MSMEs.

Another boost offered by the government is extension of tax holiday for start-ups by one more year. This will help get startups on their feet as they grapple with cash flow and investment.

In the near future, we would want the FM to give a concrete plan on ESOP taxation and hope that the initial deliberation of a 5 year term to pay tax on ESOP is implemented and there is a rationalization.

We welcome this budget and appreciate the Government’s steps to fuel the growth of start-ups in India. (You might also like this)

Pankaj Arora, MD and CEO, Raheja QBE General Insurance

image-Pankaj-Arora-MD-and-CEO-Raheja-QBE-General-Insurance-mediabrief.jpgIncreasing the FDI limit from 49% to 74% is a positive move for the insurance industry. The suggestions from various stakeholders to further open up FDI in the insurance sector has been considered. The insurance sector invariably needs a huge amount of capital investment which can be done effectively through increase in FDI and it will also enhance the overall performance of insurance sector. Additionally, by announcing Rs 64,180 crore spending plan for healthcare over the next six years will provide a much-needed boost for penetration of health insurance and allow beneficiaries to access quality medical treatment. I firmly believe that this Union Budget indeed as assured by the Finance Minister will lead to aspirational India and economic development of our country.

Zahara Kanchwalla, Co-founder & COO, Rite Knowledge Labs 

Zahara-Kanchwalla-1-scaled.jpgThe focus of this year’s Budget in building digital infrastructure, be it India’s first digital census to micro agri-funds and plug & play textile parks, will benefit the communication and digital industry significantly. The focus on transparent and citizen-friendly initiatives such as one nation, one ration card and faceless resolution will ensure that technology and content are available to more people, giving a fillip to apps, websites, educational content and online platforms.The move to incentivize digital payments will ensure that the acceleration towards speedy, secure and convenient payments spurred by COVID-19 becomes permanent, and helps in enabling a cashless economy. For startups, the tax holiday extension by one year is a big boost to help new businesses accelerate recovery and rebound.

The increased MSME outlay of about $2 billion (INT 15,700 crore) for small and medium enterprises will help digital and content agencies ramp up through investments in people, software and products. I’m glad that the budget has laid the foundation for a modern, digitally safe yet future-ready eco-system. It will help India become globally competitive with a focus on harnessing its intellectual wealth, scaling knowledge-driven industries and building product-centric solutions while elevating small and medium businesses.

Rohitashwa Prasad, Partner, J Sagar Associates

Rohitashwa PrasadFor FY 21, the GoI had set a very high disinvestment target of Rs. 2.1 lakh crore, which, in the backdrop of the disruptions caused by the Covid pandemic proved too ambitious to realise. The target of Rs. 1.75 lakh Crore for FY 22 may, given the expected realisation amount from companies whose disinvestment process has already commenced and given the sectors and targets identified in the budget for disinvestment, not prove to be unrealistic. If the public markets continue to be as buoyant as seen recently, and if global liquidity conditions are favourable, the target could very well be achieved.

Rupinder Malik, Partner, J Sagar Associates

On corporate governance front, we were expecting the decriminalization under the LLP Act, 2008 and this is a good move to ease the doing of business in India. To relax the compliance burden, the definition of Small Companies is expanded by increasing the thresholds for paid-up capital from ‘not exceeding INR 50 Lakh’ to ‘not exceeding INR 2 Crore’ and turnover from ‘not exceeding INR 2 Crore’ to ‘not exceeding INR 20 Crore’. Further, the Government seems to incentivize the start-ups by allowing One Person Companies (OPCs) to grow without any restrictions on paid-up capital and turnover; the residency limit to set up an OPC is reduced from 182 days to 120 days and Non Resident Indians are permitted to incorporate OPCs.

Apoorv Jain, CEO and CO-Founder at Express Stores

Apoorv JainThe budget gave major emphasis to healthcare and infra sectors. Besides, a host of substantial announcements were made on the divestment front, including the coming IPO of Life Insurance Corporation. Incentivization to one person company by removing capital limits, free conversions and overhauling residency limits definitely will boost the startup ecosystem in India. We welcome the move to help India’s startups beat pandemic blues, the tax holiday extended by one more year to March 2022 during Budget presentations today. The capital gains exemption given to startups was also extended by a year more.

KE Ranganathan, Managing Director, Roca Bathroom Products Pvt Ltd.

Ranganathan KeOur Hon’ble FM has given the near-perfect ‘Vaccine’ to the Economy for faster recovery. The ‘jab’ will be very effective as seen from the huge jump of +35% in Capex spending and the fiscal deficit widening from 6.8% to 9.5. Indeed a bold step to pull the demand side up through these higher allocations for spending.

The ‘Jab’ will spread to all parts of the Economy body: agriculture getting a big target of 17 lakh Cr funding, urban infrastructure, railways and roadways a major chunk of over 3 lakh Cr allocation, affordable housing with tax breaks, Swacch Bharat with 1.15 lakh allocation, textile getting a big boost etc. On the people side good to see GIG / Platform workers getting protected with better social security benefits. Relief for senior taxpayers from filing returns is in the right direction.

Overall the health of the Indian economy will re-bound faster with this well thought out vaccine

Dr Ambrish Kumar, Founder of Zipaworld and Group CEO – AAA 2 Innovate Pvt Ltd

image - Dr Ambarish Kumar - MediaBrief The stakeholders and players of the logistics sector would resonate with the fact that Budget 2021 has not completely met the expectations of the sector.

It can be said that some of the initiatives like  the  public-private partnership projects of ports, monetization of Dedicated Freight Corridor assets by railways, National Monetization Pipeline for financing infrastructure construction, rationalising and reducing customs duty on certain imports scrap and products and increasing for exports of agricultural products are in lines with encouraging manufacturing, distribution or Make in India initiative.

However, some expectations like an investment in technology, speeding up of National Logistics Policy measures, promoting Start-ups and MSMEs, working capital influx for the logistics sector, etc that form the major concern of the logistics sector are not focussed upon.

Also, how fast the implementation of all the aspects on the ground level is something to be looked forward to.

Mohit Dubey, Co-Founder and CEO, Chalo.com

Mohit DubeyThe latest budget has clearly laid a strong focus on public transportation. It was heartening to see the INR 18,000 crore commitment by the government towards Bus services. While buses are already the largest form of organized commute in India – we still have less than 3 buses per 10,000 people. We need to grow this to at least 10 over the next few years and this is a great start.

Equally important is the announcement to add 20,000 city buses through the PPP model. India had thousands of operators with decades of experience in running buses. And now, we also have promising start-ups who have built technology for making the bus experience reliable and safe through live tracking and digital ticketing. Overall, this is a fantastic start – with this we have taken a crucial step towards easing congestion, reducing pollution and making our cities more liveable.

Rupa Barua, Managing Partner & Director, The Brand Quest

image - Rupa Barua - the Brand Quest - MediaBrief The focus of the Union Budget 2021-22 was prepared under the circumstances never seen before. The Budget 2021, it’s a mixed bag for us. While the budget vision takes a lead on self-reliance and features every section of society. The extension of tax holidays for start-ups and capital gains will also spark greater capital activity in the investment landscape and serve as an enabler of robust early-stage venture funding for start-ups. In a big boost for startups and incentivize incorporation of one-person companies, such companies will be allowed to grow without any restriction on paid-up capital or turnover and to convert into any other type of company at any time. Apart from this, the government has given a huge aid to home buyers. Presumably, the real estate sector will accelerate. Overall, this is an ambitious, growth-oriented budget and the government has tried to ensure that the economy receives the impetus it needs to go back to a respectable GDP growth level.

Sanjeev K Kumar – Founder and CEO, Kuberan’s House

Mr-Sanjeev-CEO-and-CO-Founder-Kuberans-House-scaled.jpgIndia’s 74th budget aims to lay down the vision for an Atmanirbhar Bharat. Pertaining to start-ups, it was announced that start-ups and investors who file requisite declarations will not be subjected to any scrutiny on valuation and that Start-ups get another year of the tax holiday.

While 2020 was tenuous for start-ups leading them to dry up in terms of resources, supply chain, and services this year’s budget seems to be promising. Having gone through a huge shift in the customer mind-set, many companies could focus on post-pandemic recovery with the help of the Budget. But the effect seems to be varied amongst different start-ups.

The government could have introduced tax incentives to encourage individuals and corporates to invest in start-ups or VC funds, having private capital would increase the amount of money available for corporates to invest in start-ups that benefit their core businesses. I believe that this budget will aim at providing easier exits and wealth creation possibilities for investors, and create smooth mergers and acquisitions.

Vinaya Varma, MD and CEO, mjunction service

Vinaya Varma Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Union Budget 2021 speech has put a lot of focus on monetisation of stressed and idle assets creating opportunities for electronic platforms for transparent price discovery processes. Stressed asset resolution by setting up an asset reconstruction company and asset management company, creation of a Special Purpose Vehicle to carry out monetisation of non-core assets including surplus land would contribute to the idea of AtmaNirbhar Bharat and help shore up essential revenues for economic revival. For the steel sector, voluntary vehicle scrapping policy to phase out old and unfit vehicles would increase availability of scraps.

Nikhil Das, Founder, Agdhi

Nikhil DasThe budget presented by Nirmala Sitharaman Ji today acknowledged the importance of agriculture in India’s economy as one of the central pillars employing 15% of the population. The central budget has shown confidence in the Minimum Support Price (MSP) regime and has upheld it for the farmer. The budget has promised 1.5 times MSP against the cost of production across all commodities. This is likely to bring in more innovation and adoption of technology in farming. Besides this, the budget has proposed an increase in agriculture credit.

The budget has realized the importance of start-ups in job creation and has extended the tax holiday for startups till March 2022. Already withering under the impact of the pandemic, the announcement has come as a big relief for startups that have become a critical employment generator with 4,70,000 jobs. Such measures are likely to boost sentiments across the board among potential entrepreneurs who are keen on entering the market with their business ideas.

These announcements in the budget were preceded by some welcome news for startups that included the broadening of the definition of startups and approval of the “Startup India Seed Fund Scheme” which comes with a corpus of Rs 945 crore. Overall, the budget has decided on supporting sectors that generate employment and seeks to revive an economy  that has been severely hit by a global pandemic.

Dipali Goenka, Jt.MD & CEO, Welspun India

Dipali GoenkaThe 2021 budget is encouraging and growth oriented. It supports the achievement of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat vision, and fuels post pandemic recovery. We foresee revival of consumer confidence with the budget impetus on inclusive human capital development, infrastructure development and universal healthcare.

Announcement for setting up of 7 textile parks in next 3 years, in addition to the recent PLI scheme for technical textiles and manmade fibers, promises to strengthen the global leadership of Indian Textiles. The budget proves to be a Strong Enabler of Women Empowerment in the country, with the measures announced by Finance Minister that promotes women working in night shifts across all sectors, with adequate safety.

Saurabh Kochhar, Founder and CEO, Meddo

Saurabh-Kochhar-Meddo.jpgHealth sector has received due importance and we are happy that we are in a progressive and promising space. COVID 19 challenged the health sector across the globe but it’s time for us to see the silver lining. The fact that health is regarded as the foremost pillar of the Union Budget 2021 speaks volumes about the Government’s focus on the sector. 137% increase in healthcare expenditure is the need of the hour.

In a year where overall GDP is contracting, this should take Healthcare spend to over 3% of GDP, up from 1.3%. What is now imperative is deploying allocated funds effectively to further primary health and digitisation. Budget allocation towards vaccines is noteworthy and a step in the right direction. With increased capital infusion / liquidity, it would be prudent to incentivise private players who can become the backbone of healthcare delivery system in the nation and partner the vision of the policy makers and support implementation effectively.

Last but not the least, increased FDI in Insurance can be utilised by the health sector to increase penetration and offer the much needed security and cover for the masses. All in all, budget 2021 is inclusive and promising for the healthcare sector.

Dinesh Chauhan, CEO, CORE Diagnostics

Dinesh ChauhanWe hail the Government’s continued commitment towards healthcare & well-being with the new Atma Nirbhar Swasthya Yojana, as an addition to the National Health Mission, with outlay of Rs 64,180 cr. This will provide the necessary impetus to the development of primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare and further support the nation to come out of the distress caused by COVID-19. 

Since it will also be used towards creating modern institutions & labs to cater for detection and cure of new and emerging diseases – the diagnostics industry will have a major role to play and work towards making healthcare more accessible and sustainable. This is a great move towards making healthcare services more democratised and we are committed towards bringing a significant change in the diagnostics space with early diagnosis and outcome-based line of treatment for patients.

Dinesh Aggarwal, Joint Managing Director, Panasonic Life Solutions India Pvt.Ltd.

Dinesh AggarwalAs was expected, the Union Budget 2021 has focused on our nation’s growth and brings a very positive sentiment to facilitate the economic reset. While on one hand there is a generous allocation towards the continued fight against COVID and the vaccination drive; on the other side, there is a clear objective of reviving India’s GDP growth across all sectors, i.e. agriculture, manufacturing, and services. This was seen in the major fiscal support announced for Farm produce, the PLI scheme of 1.95 Lac crores over 5 years, for boosting manufacturing and the opening of FDI in the Insurance industry up to 74%.

Reflecting on the continued focus on ‘AtmaNirbhar Bharat’, the Finance Minister has announced extended support for the manufacturing of electronic components & sub-assemblies, including mobile phones. The public infrastructure has got a strong boost with specific allocation for NHAI for continued vigour on highway construction and improvement of the roads; with specific budget allocation for some of the states, including Assam. REIT will be vastly encouraged due to the abolition of dividend distribution tax and, this will accelerate the real estate growth, especially since debt financing by FII has been allowed now. This long-awaited concession will steamroll global funding into India’s real estate sector leading to a large boom in Housing and Commercial infrastructure.

Specifically for the Electrical Construction Materials industry, reduction of import duties on steel flats & copper scrap, long-awaited revision in the labor laws (including women being allowed to work in night shifts) are some of the significant steps that will create a strong export-led economy in the Manufacturing sector.

With special sops in renewable energy, specifically for Solar; the government aims to encourage domestic production by ensuring a uniform policy across the states. Thus, energy generation & domestic Solar module capacity will essentially remain a key area of focus. One expected similar encouragement for EV adoption in India, but perhaps it was not overtly mentioned in the FM’s budget speech.

Focusing on rebuilding India, this is a very positive budget for the industry as the PLI scheme will accelerate growth and encourage global manufacturing companies to create large-scale employment in production and allied areas like product development and design, considering the talent pool which exists across India.

Subodh Bajpai, Business Funding Specialist

Image-Subodh-Bajpai-Business-Funding-SpecialistMediaBrief.jpgWe appreciate the measures announced by the finance minister in this budget to improve employment and entrepreneurship.  A growth oriented budget it will have a positive effect on the entire economy, which will boost the overall industry and demand for loans will also increase.

Satish Kannan, Co-Founder & CEO, MediBuddy

Image-Satish-Kannan-Co-founder-CEO-MediBuddy-DocsApp-MediaBrief.jpgThe Union Budget 2021 will indeed be transformational for the healthcare sector in India. We were initially eyeing a marginal increase in the budget allocations and were rewarded with a record increase of 137% and Rs 2,23,846 crore has been allotted for the healthcare sector, exceeding our expectations. The new PM Aatmanirbhar Swasthya Bharat Yojna scheme seems propitious focusing on preventive, curative and health wellness. The government keeping an enduring outlay in mind has focused on gradually increasing and strengthening the operations of healthcare units across the country, in both rural and urban areas. The focal point seems to be making healthcare accessible for all. The budget also mentioned provisions for reducing air pollution, water pollution and improving nutrition, which are also necessary as they are often the underlying causes of many diseases. The government’s step to allocate 35,000 crores for the Covid-19 vaccine rollout is also truly welcome.

We are also happy that the government has laid down measures and provisions for expanding the telemedicine and health tech sector, considering the pivotal role it has played in providing primary care amid the pandemic. The plan to retain the tax benefits for startups for one more year is also a welcome measure.

Krishan Agarwal, Finance Controller, 75F APAC

Krishan AgarwalThe heightened expectations from the Budget 2021 has been met with a matching delivery by the honorable FM. This is a Liberal and growth oriented budget, with no adverse tax rollouts. The budget has been well received by the Market participants as is also being demonstrated with the immediate positive response from the stock markets.

However, There is a need for both short-term and long-term enablers for growth for businesses, as well as for the economy as a whole. India is a growing economy and our per capita energy consumption is expected to continue to rise at a rapid rate. Our 2020 oil import bill alone was about $ 100 billion, which is more than 4% of the annual GDP or seemingly almost equal to the annual fiscal deficit! While the Government continues to focus on promoting renewable sources of energy on the supply side, we still have a tremendous untapped opportunity for wide scale adoption of technology driven energy efficiency interventions, which can play an important role in managing the demand side.

Reduction of energy consumption can directly contribute to the fiscal deficit targets in a meaningful way, while at the same time contributing to the long term social and environmental goals. We would like to see some more announcements in the future like incentives, promotions and awareness programs for the Corporate sector promoting direct adoption of energy efficiency investments, which may help unlock the Nations energy efficiency potential.

Rajat Singhania, Founder of HyLyt by SocioRAC

image-Rajat-Singhania-Founder-of-SocioRac-HyLyt-mediabrief.jpgThe budget is growth-oriented. Govt expenditure on infrastructure is high which will boost the economy. There are no major changes in direct/ indirect taxes. For startups, the tax extension, increase in paid-up capital, registration of one-person firms, NRI permission to incorporate OPCs in India is a good boost to Startups. Overall a positive budget to spur growth, stock markets have responded very positively and we can expect to overcome some of the losses of the year gone by.

Nikhil Rungta, Country Manager, India, Verizon Media

Image-Nikhil-Rungta-India-Country-Manager-Verizon-Media-MediaBrief.jpgThis is a ‘get well’ budget with an expansionary outlook and focused on growth. Given the times it might not be a radical budget, but it is practical and thoughtful, which will propel consumption and growth of business. This budget has also rightly signalled the need for greater inclusion in India’s workforce. Women being allowed to work in all sectors and in night-shifts with adequate protection, and social security benefits extended to gig workers will provide an impetus for women to step up their contribution towards Aatmanirbhar Bharat.

Prem Kumar, CEO & Founder, SnapBizz

Image-Prem-Kumar-CEO-Founder-SnapBizz-mediabrief.jpgThe Budget for 2021 has seen some noteworthy decisions made by the government to provide financial support and incentivise digitized monetary solutions for many segments. The financial incentives to promote digital payments and Increase in Tax Audit limits for those transacting 95% digitally, will boost digitalization and will encourage retailers to adopt technology. This will lead to greater financial inclusion and much better integrated ecosystems.

The Capital expenditure and Recapitalisation of PSBs will also drive semi urban and rural consumption as most of the capital expenditure will be on infrastructure and banks are already working towards supporting small enterprises in all forms including digitisation. Due to the rapid growth in terms of digitization of MSMEs that has been witnessed in the consumer retail segment in 2020, the budget allocation for the MSME sector is twice the amount of the last budget.

Though this is a big step for their growth, the impact is yet to be understood for the large number of small retailers who are the distribution infrastructure of the country and a major source of employment.

In everyone’s interest, what policymakers, media and manufacturing firms should focus on is to explore how the robust ecosystem of distribution possessed by the kirana store infrastructure can be leveraged toco-exist with e-commerce.This is essential to ensure inclusive revival and not creation of a deeper divide over the next year for retailers and consumers alike.

Your thoughts, please