As the industry waits for the upcoming Union Budget 2016-17, there are varied expectations from the government to undertake further steps that will propel the economic growth and enhance the socio-economic environment of the country. Here we have given a quick rundown on the expectations of the industry stalwarts from the imminent budget in form of quotes below:
Shrikant Shitole, Managing Director, India, Symantec: “From being a vertical niche, IT has become a horizontal technology, being used in a wide range of sectors—including but not limited to policy priorities like education, healthcare, infrastructure development, and financial inclusion. As the country is advancing towards becoming a knowledge economy under the Digital India initiative with technology as the pivot, the upcoming budget is a perfect opportunity to reinstate the blue-print for sustained growth and we hope to see an increase in the annual budget for IT projects.
Moreover, from a technology adoption point of view, while mobility and cloud adoption are on the rise, India continues to ranks high both as source and destination of cyber attacks. These risks can impede the potential benefits of ‘Digital India’ programme. Hence, it is imperative to allocate 10% of the IT budgets exclusively for cyber and information security to ensure that the citizens are truly empowered to use the IT infrastructure and e-governance services.”
Manjunatha KG, Chairman & CEO, Kenscio Digital: "Circumnavigating the government initiatives of 'Make in India' and "Startup India", this budget has to be in sync with these ambitious movements by providing appropriate fiscal incentives to business and enterprises. To realize the "Digital India" aspiration, the government needs to empower both the industries that are into creation and adoption of cutting edge digital technologies for competitive advantage. For this, the budget has to ensure smoothing of taxation barriers for new product/technology development and provide enough incentives to inspire innovation in the field of Digital technology."
Sanjai Gangadharan, Regional Director-Saarc, A10 Networks: “In 2015, the industry welcomed the reduction in tax rate on royalty and fees for technical services from 25% to 10% facilitating technology adoption at low costs. This year we expect the government to touch up on critical issues like cloud protection laws and cyber security. India is one of the leading source as well as the destination for cyber-attacks and hence it’s imperative that the government sets aside budgets to drive synergies between the academia and industry to collectively fight security issues. The explosion of mobile devices and apps, plus the move to SDN, NFV, and cloud is driving the need for a new breed of converged network security capabilities that provides high level of visibility and control, without compromising on performance and scalability.”
Koichiro Koide, MD, NEC India: Leveraging on the power of ICT and with good governance, I believe that India will be able to achieve its goal of achieving its smart cities mission in the long term. We appreciate that the Indian government has taken significant steps in the last one year to promote smart cities and the country’s 100 smart cities mission which would be an encouraging boost to companies. The union budget 2016 must focus and encourage investment in the IT sector to make the government’s plan of building smart and cities safer.”
Rahul Patwardhan, CEO, NIIT Ltd: “Online education is a fast growing global growth arena, both in formal education and vocational training. We hope that the government will introduce measures to ensure a level playing field for the highly regulated Indian online education and training companies against the much larger funded global players who are entering the Indian market aggressively, in an unregulated manner as far as Indian taxation regime is concerned.
Further, we hope that the Finance Minister will announce specific measures in the Union Budget to help make education and skilling more affordable to the masses. Skill India and Digital India are two key and highly ambitious initiatives of Government of India, and in the forthcoming budget we expect specific indirect tax rebates for the companies and its partners who are working towards making these initiatives a success.”
Pramod Saxena, Chairman & MD, Oxigen Services: “With the upcoming budget announcement for the year, we feel that the FM should consider incentives for digital payments like direct subsidy credits similar to carbon credits since 95% of payments in the country are still in cash. The FM should also focus more on according “infrastructure status” to digital payments network in rural areas for financial inclusion and payments. We expect that FM should also consider allocation of budget for promotion of financial literacy in rural areas. PPI’s should be allowed to offer cash out services to expand the reach of financial inclusion”.
Manish Sharma- Managing Director Panasonic India & South Asia, President CEAMA, Panasonic: “The government has to relook at Foreign Trade Agreements (FTAs) and explore ways for re-negotiating product specific rules and regulations that mandate manufacture of critical components. This will enable cost parity for Indian manufacturers against imported consumer durables, and will promote domestic manufacturing. An incentive scheme should be introduced to encourage manufacturers to produce high Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) products. This could involve providing benefits either on input/procurement side, or levying concessional rate of duty on manufactured products based on their EER. Also, the much anticipated GST to be rolled out this time should have rates that are reasonable and in line with rates prevalent in other Asian countries (varying from 6% in Malaysia to 17% in China).”
Rajesh Janey, President- India and SAARC, EMC: “The new government has brought with it a renewed focus on utilizing technology for better governance, better citizen services and smarter cities through initiatives like Digital India & Smart Cities. PM’s JAM (Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhar, Mobile numbers) vision coupled with new payment banks will drive a different level of financial inclusion in the country. For this to succeed, it is important that the government procurement policy motivates and encourages Indian IT service providers to participate and play a role in government’s Digital India initiative. Under Make in India initiative, it is important that budget stimulates a build-up of design ecosystem on the technology side. It should help support technology products which are 'designed in India for India' and are thus a feeder to make in India.”
P. Venkatesh, Director – Product Division, Maveric Systems: "There is a need to establish a task force comprising of representatives, both from the revenue department as well as the industry segment which includes Manufacturing, Services, Infrastructure and Government to evolve long term policies applicable to them. In addition, there is a need to introduce clarification for Place of Effective Management (POEM) that was introduced in the 2015 Budget. The clarifications should cover: Alignment to international and bilateral treaties by ceding the prevalence of provisions in those if found favorable to the tax payer- this would cover availability of tax credit, exemptions for certain incomes from tax, applicability of lower rate of tax and carry forward and set off losses of the previous years."
Vinay Sinha, Head of Sales – India, Director - Commercial Business, AMD Asia Pacific-Japan (APJ) Mega Region: "Last year’s budget was rational and realistic for IT companies, and we hope that this year’s budget will continue in the same vein. In fact, programs such as Digital India, Start-Up India, Stand-Up India, Smart Cities and Skill India, etc. require the creation of technological infrastructure that will need budgetary support. We therefore expect the focus of this year’s budget to be on digital literacy, improved connectivity and access to technology supported by radical government process re-engineering, which will not only empower citizens but also enable start-ups and large organisations to experience digital transformation. If schemes launched last year like the IT based student financial aid scheme for animation and gaming along with the Innovation Promotion Platform to foster a culture of innovation, research and development are implemented this year, they will positively impact the Indian IT ecosystem."
Vishal Agrawal, Managing Director, Avaya India and Saarc: “With technology being the pivot for the country’s transformation, the upcoming budget brings upon a great array of opportunities to redefine the consumption and reinstate its pertinence by the means of increased IT budgets. To achieve the proposed hyper-connectivity as stated by Government of India’s ambitious projects such as Digital India and Smart Cities, we would anticipate an increase in public-private partnerships. Additionally, businesses in India are increasingly adopting modern technologies and we want a budget which eases the transaction processes for software-vendors like us and facilitates in boosting the adoption of technology. We see a lot of potential to grow our business in India and are looking forward to collaborating with the Government to digitally transform the nation.”