Here’s how the Indian tech industry reacted to Union Budget 2017

The FM’s new budget receives mixed reactions (mostly positive) from the big wigs of the Indian tech industry.

    Arun Jaitley, the Indian Finance Minister had unveiled the new norms for Union Budget for 2017 yesterday. And ever since, he has been applauded by the Indian tech industry for the changes that were brought into existence. 

    So, without any delay let’s get to know who said what.

    Here’s how the Indian tech industry reacted to Union Budget 2017

    MS Vinita Bimbhet , President , FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO) said, “FICCI Ladies Organisation applauds the e government for bringing forward an inclusive budget. Concerted efforts have been made to keep the budget proposals in line with developmental priorities of the nation and will yield dividends for India.”

    “We are hopeful that Allocation of  Rs. 1,84,632  crores  for women and Kids, will help achieve the goal of poverty alleviation and providing adequate healthcare.  We can also see that skilling youth and women have been taken as a priority area, which is truly essential for achieving the goals of sustainable development of the nation in totality. The allocation for women skill development has been hiked to to Rs 1.84 lakh crore and the proposal of setting up of 100 India-international skill centre will enhance skill development and create employability avenues for women.  Another commendable initiative is the allocation of Rs 500 crore for setting up Mahila Shakti Kendra at village level, which will aim at empowering women,” she added.

    Mr. Rajiv Srivastava, MD, HP India, commented “The Union Budget 2017-18 is extremely positive for the common man, farmers, small and medium businesses and would drive significant growth in Indian economy. Government’s commitment to make taxation rate reasonable, tax administration fair and expand the tax base is the step taken in the right direction. The tax relief given by the Government for the middle class tax payers will definitely boost the purchasing power, thereby aiding the overall growth of the economy. The major tax relief given to the MSMEs and SMEs with an annual turnover of Rs. 50 crores, would enable them to invest in job creation, increase capital expenditure  and explore their digital journey.  

    The strong emphasis laid on technology in almost all the development areas in the budget reaffirms that technology has been at the forefront of India’s recent economic growth and digital transformation. It has been recognized as an important enabler across initiatives ranging from agriculture to skill development to manufacturing and infrastructural development. The Government’s focus on making India a digital payment economy will definitely help companies like HP to contribute in technology adoption in rural and semi-urban areas, thereby bringing the Digital India’ vision closer to reality. We also welcome the Finance Minister’s commitment to introduce and implement Goods and Services Tax (GST) as per schedule and start GST awareness programme from April 1, 2017 for all stakeholders.”  

    Sameer Grover, Founder and CEO Crownit said “Overall the budget is pro-entrepreneurs which will help create jobs in India, hire skilled talent at low cost and also improve industry output.

    Two specific highlights of the budget which particularly enthuse me are :

    • Firstly the easing of tax for India based funds and FDI/FIPB changes- this will give a big boost to early stage startups.

    • Secondly, the tax exemption for startups, now that's a big support to the Indian startups.“

    Anurag Avula, CEO and Founder, Shopmatic said, "It’s agreeable to see positive reforms being proposed in favour of digital pay systems for the common man, more specifically in rural and semi-urban areas. The move for forming reduction on tax for small and medium enterprises’ is a boost to “The Make in India initiative”, that will encourage the nation to keep in lines with motivational 2017-2018 budget theme of Transform, energize and clean India.  

    Ajith Mohan Karimpana, CEO and Founder, Furlenco said, “This budget is a continuation on the path towards improving tax administration & compliance and increased emphasis on digital transactions; Similarly the attempt to clean up political funding is also commendable.

    However, given the strong emotions that the Demonetization exercise evoked from the country at large and impending implementation of GST, the government refrained from bringing in any pathbreaking changes on direct  taxes. Most of the proposals of personal and corporate tax have marginal impact for the tax payers.  

    Specifically coming to the extension of tax break for startups to 7 years, this change was definitely required as there are very few startups that actually generate profits in first 5 years of their existence; reduction in corporate tax rate for entities with turnover less than Rs.50 Cr may not be of much use for new age startups that take 5-7 years and much larger turnover base to turn profitable.

    Overall on a scale of 10 we would rate the budget 6.5.”

    Aneesh Reddy, CEO and Co-founder, Capillary Technologies said, “As a retail and technology centric startup, we were hopeful around 3-4 high impact areas revolving around digitization measures, GST, corporate and individual taxation laws and differential duties on certain products.

    It was heartening to hear about the Digital theme focused measures revolving around digital payments through BHIM app and Aadhar based payment initiatives. The referral bonus and the cashback schemes would further encourage cashless transactions by consumers and adaptability by merchants.

    Although the Finance Minister, had suggested that GST bill will spur economic growth, we were hoping for an announcement on the implementation of  GST bill starting this financial year.  Overall, this budget has created the most positive impact as far as digitization measures are concerned. The digital transformation initiatives coupled with a spike in the digital transactions would encourage more startups like ours to play a vital role in innovating and significantly contributing to boost the digital economy in the country.”

    Archit Gupta, CEO and Founder, ClearTax commented, “The govt has proposed to abolish FIPB. This is a significant move for startups eco-system. The govt has proposed automatic FDI approval route. This is also a move towards ease of business - as obtaining FIPB approvals involved time and effort. This is an excellent move for removal of lengthy and time consuming approval processes. We are awaiting further details on this.”

    Mr. Himanshu Bindal, CEO & Founder, One Internet said, “The 2017/18 budget seeks to pursue prudent fiscal management to preserve financial stability. It will help start-ups as it proposes to cut income tax rate in 2017/18 for small companies, extends relaxation on withholding tax on foreign investor's interest income from debt until June 30, 2020 and proposes change in capital gains tax in real estate, land.”  

    Mr. Rajiv Mehrotra, Chairman and Founder of VNL & Shyam Telecom said, “We welcome the budget with its thrust on maintaining the GDP growth momentum and  curtailing current account deficit. The overall approach has been to spend more in rural areas and that will help the farm sector.  Emphasis has been given to areas like infrastructure development, skill development, encouraging manufacturing and on Digital India. All this echoes our own focus. The DigiGaon initiative announced to provide tele-medicine, education and skills through digital technology in rural India is exactly what we’ve been propagating through our Digital Villages solution, so we heartily support that. We also welcome the Finance Minister’s additional budgetary support to the BharatNet initiative to bring broadband access to more Gram Panchayats this fiscal. However, we would have liked to see some initiatives for the promotion of the indigenous telecom equipment manufacturing industry, and a boost to the Design in India and Make in India programmes.”

    Mr Brij Nagpal, Executive Director, Finance, Luminous Technologies commented, “It appears to be a very balanced budget with great focus on job creation, demand generation, spending on infrastructure all across in rural sector, urban sector and a big way in housing. More emphasis is given on tax compliance and rationalisation of various govt. subsidies & claims, digitisation and digital transactions which is a big thing. Its focused on the long term economic correction in the country. 

    It’s a must for the govt. to expand the tax base and increase the resources to be able to provide more benefits and incentives to the industrial sector. Since this budget is focused on overall development, its immediate impact on manufacturing sector is expected to be good as well. With tax reforms or GST implementation round the corner and commitment to stick to 25% corporate tax in the long run, we are moving in the right direction.”

    Mr. Manish Sharma, President & CEO, Panasonic India & South Asia, and Executive Officer, Panasonic Corporation said, “The Union Budget 2017 will have a long term impact, it needs to be analyzed further when it comes to the appliances and consumer electronics industry. This budget, a lot of impetus has gone to rural economy and allocation on infrastructure by the honorable finance minister. From a consumer electronic company point of view we were expecting direction on the upliftment in supply chain and logistics in India. The budget allocated towards MSIPs and EPF looks progressive and will surely reduce dependency on imports in the industry. 

    We look forward to the next draft of GST to come forward, however the government’s move on imposing a 2% special additional duty on populated printed circuit boards (PCB) used for mobile phones imported into the country, will provide adequate protection to the domestic industry and give the necessary impetus to Make-in-India under the GST regime.”

    "Make in India" is a great opportunity given India has attracted huge investments in local manufacturing lately not only benefitting the economic growth but also creating increased employment. The investment of Rs. 10,000 crore towards that aim will definitely be beneficial to further grow local manufacturing. At Micromax we are committed to support the Make in India initiative and invest accordingly. 

    With focus on growth, it is a progressive budget and is a stepping stone to India’s growth story. The delivery however will be contingent on effective implementation of these policies.”

    Arvind R Vohra, Country CEO & MD, Gionee India said, “We are positive, that the Government’s increased allocation and incentives in schemes like M-SIPS and EDF will provide the necessary push to the mobile and internet manufacturing economy . Also the allocation of INR 10,000 crore in BharatNet provides the much needed boost for the penetration of Digital India into the rural segment, and for strengthening the consumptions of smartphones.”

    Mr. Ashok Kumar Gupta, Chairman, Optiemus Infracom commented, “We welcome the Government for presenting a progressive budget. Government’s agenda for 2017-18 is “Transform, Energise and Clean India”, with impetus on digital Economy, access to public services, and financial inclusion.  Smartphones play a key role in realizing digital India agenda catalyzing the mobile economy. The government had introduced a slew of measures to drive digital transactions for speed, accountability and transparency.

    Manufacturing continues to be one of the top focuses area for the government and accordingly the union budget 2017 bodes well for the industry. The government has exponentially increased the allocation and incentives of schemes like M-SIPS and EDF to Rs745 crore in 2017-18, which is an all-time high. This reflects government’s focus on making India a global hub for electronic manufacturing. We expect this to increase economy activities, drive innovations and create more jobs.”

    Kunal Bahl, Co-Founder &CEO Snapdeal said, “We commend the focus on growing the digital footprint in the country  -  enhancing digital infrastructure, capping cash transactions, reducing cash donations, using Adhaar Pay to enable more digital payments are significant measures. Initiatives make an impact when there is continued attention and the announcement of today builds on the demonetization efforts of last few weeks. 

    We also welcome the emphasis on skill development and technical education - this will enable India to successfully harness the demographic dividend. The attention to affordable housing, greater employment in rural areas are the right interventions to build a more equitable society.”

    Mr. Pankaj Anand, CEO, Jivi Mobiles said, “We were hoping to get some relaxation in taxes for low end smart phones in lieu of promoting smart devises to the masses which would have enabled them for digital banking and also some packages to support mobile manufacturing in India, on the contrary increase in duty on PCB will certainly increase the prices of mobile phones.”

    Mr. Jay Chen, CEO, Huawei India commented, “We at Huawei Telecommunications India are pleased to note that the current budget strongly supports the progressive vision of a Digital India set by Hon’ble Government. The allocation of Rs 10,000 crore towards BharatNet will give an overall boost to broadband connectivity in the country. The success of the BHIM app and announcements related to its promotion, Aadhar based swipe machines, and tax exemption to those who use Aadhar based POS machines, will all help accelerate acceptance of digital payments. Furthermore, initiatives like 'Digital Village’ and 'Digi-Gaun’ will significantly extend the benefits of digitization to rural India and contribute to a Better Connected India.”

    Kuldeep Malik, Country Head - Corporate Sales International, MediaTek India said, “We were expecting Financial Budget 2017 to offer incentives to start inflow towards design led manufacturing in place of assembly led manufacturing ecosystem, but it seems government not yet convinced towards adopting multiple layered incentives for localization while increasing the duties on CBU (Completely built Units), overall based on the information available from the budget the impact of the policies seems to be neutral for mobile/tablet industry, at best. 

    There has been a 2% increase in duties levied on import of PCBA in India, which still will reflect only on one part of the manufacturing cycle with focus on assembly of mobile handsets. On the other hand, providing attractive incentives for localization of design and R&D capabilities would have bolstered the 'Make in India' initiative, and driven more handset makers to introduce design led manufacturing in India. 

    Post demonetization government seems to be totally convinced towards digital payment adoption, and there is one key development towards 'Digital India' program, where Government has decided to waive all duties (SAD/CVD, BCD) levied on mPOS systems, which in turn means that the POS devices will become cheaper and hence we can expect the adoption of such devices, even in grass root level, to grow exponentially in the coming year, helping drive forward the mobile payments ecosystem.” Considering the adoption of Aadhar based payment government has also waived of duties from components such as IRIS scanner, fingerprint readers.”

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