Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his speech said, “Indian economy has performed very well since our Government took over in May, 2014. Indian economy is now 2.5 trillion dollar economy which is 7th largest in the world and India is expected to become the 5th largest economy very soon. On Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) basis, we are already the third largest economy.”
In this year’s budget, technology is given a lot of importance in terms of education but not much importance is given to start-ups. While the allocation to digital India has increased, there could have been a more focused outreach to encourage the country’s entrepreneurs.
Let’s take a look what the startup community thinks about this year’s budget:
Mayank Bhangadia, Co-founder, and CEO, Roposo,”While Budget 2018 is majorly focused on the agriculture and education industry, there are a few points which may act as the foundation of future growth of startups in India. The reduction of corporate tax is clearly one of them and would surely help to some extent. The proposed plan to set up 5 lakh Wifi Hotspots is also quite a progressive decision, given that it is implemented properly and as soon as possible.
The budget would have been a lot better if it focused more on start-ups which comprise the bottom of the industry pyramid. I believe incorporating that into the plan would have helped in the progression of the industry as a whole. Apart from that, I am quite glad that the government has placed growth as its main agenda for the budget rather than the 2019 elections.”
“The Union Budget 2018 has taken a step towards making health care more accessible with it’s flagship National Health Protection Scheme initiative which provides upto INR 5 lakh per family per year, for hospitalization. However, the devil is in the detail as the million dollar question that prevails is – will these benefits be cascaded to the common man? On the business front, unfortunately, there has been no special mention of health-tech startups in general. Private healthcare sector should have been provided subsidy and exemption from GST to facilitate the greater spread of business and enable government’s push to make healthcare accessible to all. Furthermore, on one hand, the government is talking about going digital, however, it has not supplemented the act by connecting it the digital drive with certain sectors such as healthcare and education which serve to be the backbone for the upliftment of well being of the society as a whole.”- Ravi Virmani, CEO & Founder, Credihealth.
According to Ambika Sharma- Founder & MD, Instappy,”the latest budget announcement holds great promise. I am particularly enthused by doubling the allocation to Digital India to INR 3073 cr for the 2018-19 fiscal end. This move will empower the society in areas like broadband and mobile connectivity and government services on demand and will help the country’s vision to be a digital-first economy.
Furthermore, the allocation of INR 10,000 crore for the 5 lakh WiFi HotSpots to provide Broadband access to 5 crore rural citizens is also promising. With nearly 70% of the country’s population living in rural and semi-urban geographies, the move will give the vision of a ‘Digital India’ a big boost and provide businesses an opportunity to upscale.”
“The Finance ministry has demonstrated incredible foresight. We appreciate that the Finance Ministry acknowledged the importance of digital lenders like Capital Float in aiding the growth of the MSME sector. As founding members of The Digital Lenders Association of India (DLAI), we met with the Finance Ministry, along with other leading Fintech lenders, last year and presented a whitepaper with recommendations to foster Fintech lending. We are delighted to see those suggestions being incorporated in spirit and in the letter. These include increased capital injection into the MUDRA Yojna up to INR 3 lakh crores & doubling the allocation to the Digital India initiative. In addition, our request to access funds from MUDRA is also being considered by the Ministry, as they are reviewing the refinancing policy and eligibility criteria for NBFCs. We also welcome Jaitley’s forward-looking approach towards adopting blockchain, which will play a crucial role in shaping digital payments in the country” said Sashank Rishyasringa, Co-founder of Capital Float.
“I had imagined more emphasis on technology adoption and support for startups in areas such as AI and IoT in this year’s budget. While the allocation to digital India has increased, there could have been a more focused outreach to encourage the country’s entrepreneurs. India needs more of ‘Make in India’ and I believe that can only come from our entrepreneurs building companies from India and catering to the world. Technologies like AI and IoT are bound to revolutionize the way we operate and India should become an early adopter to stay ahead of the technology race. Furthermore, the startup sector could have also benefited from the dissolution of the angel tax introduced by the government previously and further extending the tax holiday period companies achieve a certain scale,” said Gaurav Burman – VP & Country President, India, 75F.