Now that poring over the topline budget announcements and the indepth scrutiny across sectors is probably over, it’s time to take a look at what leaders across Media, Marketing, Advertising, Technology and beyond have to say about the announcements.
Views of a cross section of leaders follow:
Ashish Bhasin, CEO Greater South, Dentsu Aegis Network and Chairman & CEO India:
“The Budget is certainly more inclusive and is focused towards providing a better lifestyle to the common man. From providing better access to toilets, better connectivity by roads and digitally, to promoting the ease of living, this year the budget actually showcases a lot of good stuff. The government’s decision to examine the opening up of foreign direct investment (FDI) in media, is beneficial for the sector.
“However, some of the actions of the government do seem contradictory and a letdown. The expectations from a government coming with such a majority was that they would undertake substantial reforms, stimulate growth and cut tax rates. However, they have missed the opportunity to do so and have acted contradictorily by implementing surcharge on HNI individuals. Despite everything I expect the next 10 years to be very bright for India,” Bhasin said.
Partho Dasgupta, CEO, BARC India
“Today’s budget directionally augurs well for boosting long-term economic growth by focus shown on infrastructure improvements, strengthening benefits to MSME sector and investments on improved skill sets of human recourses. Steps taken to attract investments by relaxing FDI, FPI and NRI norms, coupled with boosting public sector banks and NBFC, will trigger the much-desired credit boost.
“Coming to the M&E industry, one will have to carefully look at the impact of allowing FDI in the media sector. We are happy as BARC India, for the impetus given to start-ups which will further propel efforts of the overall industry on innovation and digitization,” Dasgupta said.
Dr. Keshab Panda – CEO & MD – L&T Technology Services
“The government’s focus on positioning India as the top destination for research and innovation augurs well with the interests of the ER&D industry. Moreover, the announcement on providing support to the skill development initiatives related to AI, IoT, 3D printing, VR, Robotics has the potential to establish India as a global talent hub for digital technologies. Lastly, earmarking Rs.10,000 crore over a three year period towards building a wider ecosystem of electric vehicles is a welcome move.
“It is now for the value chain players to come together and replicate the success achieved by Indian ER&D players for global auto majors on the EV front,” Dr Panda said.
Nisha Narayanan, COO and Director, RED FM and Magic FM
“Indian economy is all set to become a $3 trillion economy and the first Budget by the Modi government has introduced several benefits. It proposes more foreign investment in Media; currently the FDI stands at 49% for the private FM radio industry, which we now hope will be opened up to 100% like DTH and Entertainment. Liberalization of the same will also majorly help private FM stations to reach the current media-dark cities in India and adapt (the) new-era digital technologies and best practices being followed globally.
“The budget facilitates the transformation of the Indian economy into a digital economy with special focus on cashless transactions.
“We hope that in the long run, we will be able to derive the benefits of the special initiatives and incentives announced by the Financial Minister for tax rebate on e-vehicles, push for affordable housing, increase in the turnover limit of Rs 400 crore for companies to fall in the tax bracket of 25%. Additional deduction benefit on home loans, focus on empowering women and announcing infrastructure push for railways, highways and education will also be beneficial for the radio sector,” Narayanan said.
Karan Bedi, CEO – MX Player
“MX Player’s growth strategy is based on creating premium original content for the larger Indian audience, and the expansion of Bharat Net would offer a great opportunity to OTT platforms like ours to reach a vibrant & diverse audience beyond the metros & tier I cities,” Bedi said.
Apurva Purohit, President, Jagran Prakashan
“I welcome the budget presented by the finance minister. It is clear the government wants to reverse weakening growth and investment, and regain the tag of being the fastest growing economy in the world. To make India a $5 trillion economy by 2025, this budget has focused on investment-driven growth, with an added emphasis on infrastructure and digital economy.
“I strongly think that the decision of opening the gates for FDI in the media industry will usher a positive change in our sector. Additionally, by way of proposed changes, the government seeks to enhance women’s participation in scripting India’s growth story, which is crucial for any developing nation. However, much more needs to be done to fuel immediate consumption and improve sentiment,” Purohit said.
Deepak Lamba, CEO, Worldwide Media Ltd
“This is a big step for content creators like us, for it now opens up a host of different avenues for the digital world. It’s a budget that the Digital Entertainment Industry will certainly benefit from this.
“The growth of India’s FDI inflows for 2018-19 was a resounding 6 percent increase compared to last year will have a positive impact for all players across sectors in the long run,” Lamba said.
Gautam Sinha, CEO – Times Internet said
“The government’s progressive steps in opening up FDI further in the media, tax benefits for corporate taxpayers and annual meet to get Industrialists, corporate leaders and venture funds on the same table would offer significant impetus to the private sector.
“We are hopeful these measures along with efforts to improve the skills of our youth in newer areas such as Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Robotics, etc will trigger a virtuous cycle of investment and consumption that will catapult us towards becoming a $5 trillion economy,” Sinha said.
Sameer Makani, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Makani Creatives
“The policy changes and developments announced in the Union Budget will definitely bolster innovation and growth. The advertising and digital industry needs an additional skilled workforce. The proposal to train 10 million personnel in industry relevant skills like AI, IoT and Big Data is a welcome move. This investment will result in creating jobs and also boost long-term growth for the digital industry.
“Also, the overall economic development and ease of business proposed will encourage Indian and international companies to invest more in allied functions like advertising and promotions. This will have a positive impact on our sector and is likely to generate more growth and business,” Makani said.
Bindu Balakrishnan, Country Head, DCMN India
“The government took some concrete steps to ease the challenges that start-ups are facing. The biggest step was taken in resolving the angel tax issue by withdrawing the scrutiny of start-ups in terms of valuation of share premium. Setting up of an e-verification for source of funds of investors would ease the processes on the investor side as well. These steps along with the broadening of the age cap for companies to qualify as start -ups from 7 to 10 years would also give a breather to many young companies, including digital first brands. With these new regulations in place, we can hope to witness an even bigger surge in the number of new start-ups.
“The government has ambitious plans to set up 500 new incubators and 100 innovation zones across India by 2024. The other welcome development has been the focus on enhancing FDI in certain industries, especially media. We will have to wait and see how this would play out in the coming months and the impact it would have on various media across TV, Radio, Print, Digital etc.”
Bhairav Dalal, Partner & Leader – Real Estate Tax, PwC India
“Overall, a forward-looking Budget for the real estate sector. Laying down a roadmap for Rental Housing is a step in right direction to align with global trends of co-living spaces, given the changing demographics in the country.
“The increased thrust on education is likely to boost the Student Housing asset class. Aligning the affordable housing definition with GST and may lead to certain ‘under planning’ project developers to go back to the drawing board,” Dalal said.
Manas Fuloria, CEO, Nagarro IT Consulting & services.
“On the positive side, we are happy with the proposals on seamless transport (that is, a single card that can be used in different types of travel) and for electric vehicles. We are also happy at higher disinvestment targets, since the government should get out of non-critical sectors that the private sector can run more efficiently.
“On the other hand, we are a little sorry that the corporate tax revision of limit is minor. Also the personal tax for the highest earners (not applicable to me me!) has been raised over the psychological barrier of 40 percent. On top of that, we have not seen any improvement in the aggressive approach of tax authorities even towards honest well-meaning business people. A moderate, rational and assesse-friendly tax system will help attract, create and grow business.
“There are many measures in the Budget which, although in the right direction, are only complicating the tax rules. For example, there is a special tax deduction on loans taken for EVs. We have been talking for years of simplifying tax, so it’s better to keep this simplification as an overarching guideline, even at the loss of some targeting or efficiency. Right now, the tax law is so complicated that a simple person has to work very hard and be very lucky to be in full compliance,” Fuloria said.
Young women entrepreneurs
Shreya Sabharwal, Founder – Square Fork Digital
“It is a matter of great pride for all the women of India, as India’s woman Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman presented the budget today which outranged a positive sign for all the women. With a statement like, women went from ‘naari to narayani’ is an assurance of giving birth to more women leaders in every business.
“I believe with an introduction and implementation of some policies such as women self-help groups, expansion of the interest subvention programme to all districts. Every woman SHG member having a verified Jan Dhan account getting an overdraft facility of Rs 5,000 sounds great. There was also an announcement on a Rs 1,00,000 loan for women under the Mudra scheme.
Also, a great move BJP, in their poll manifesto, promised to provide collateral-free credit of up to Rs 50 lakh for entrepreneurs, out of which 50% of the loan amount will be guaranteed towards female entrepreneurs,” Sabharwal said.
Anita Tejwani, Founder & CEO, Wingstowills
“The expansion of the interest subvention programme to all districts for women self-help groups is a crucial movement which will bring positivity and woman SHG member having a verified Jan Dhan account will get an overdraft facility of Rs 5,000 is also a step towards more transparency and empowerment.
“Now, women can get a loan of Rs 1,00,000 under the Mudra scheme. Relief on angel tax also helps women entrepreneurs. In addition, the increase in deduction that can be claimed for interest paid on housing loans by Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 3.5 lakh is a remarkable move for women looking at properties up to Rs 45 lakh,” Tejwani said.