Union Budget 2018 – What’s in it for the Indian enterprise

In what turned out to be a predominantly aam aadmi-oriented budget, though not entirely unexpected, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s Union Budget focussed on driving growth and curbing the fiscal deficit. Now here’s a look at the industry leaders’ take on the Union Budget 2018.

The FM highlighted that India is currently a USD 2.5 trillion economy, well on its way to become the fifth largest economy very soon. He said that the indirect tax system has been made simpler with GST implementation, and the country can hope to grow anywhere between 7.2 to 7.5 percent this year.

Although the fiscal deficit stood at a disappointing 3.5 percent, Jaitley set a more realistic target of 3.3 percent for 2018-19. To fuel the growth of smaller enterprises, he announced Rs 3,794 crore in the form of capital support and interest subsidy for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

“The efforts towards strengthening India’s position as a digital economy through investments around new age technologies like AI and Fintech is a timely and welcome move”

 Shyamal Mukherjee

Shyamal Mukherjee, Chairman, PwC India

The biggest thrust for MSMEs came in the form of Jaitley’s announcement of applying a corporate tax of 25 percent for companies with a turnover of up to Rs 250 crore.

Shyamal Mukherjee, Chairman of PwC India says that this year’s budget clearly illustrates the government’s intent to look at development holistically, and the incentives planned for MSMEs, will help create additional jobs. “The efforts towards strengthening India’s position as a digital economy through investments around new age technologies like AI and Fintech is a timely and welcome move,” he adds.

Hits and misses: India Inc’s point of view

There’s no denying that the government is gunning for increased digitization and bolstering the enterprise to achieve equitable growth. However, certain sectors weren’t a happy lot. 

 

“This year’s union budget further validates their strong focus on leveraging the best of technology to enhance socio-economic equity, capital and capacity within the country. Setting up of half a million Wi-Fi hotspots, and push for digital payments are definitely positive signs.”

 Gaurav Agarwal

Gaurav Agarwal, Managing Director, India & SAARC, Symantec

Among the numerous benefits the budget is set to usher in, Gaurav Agarwal, Managing Director, India & SAARC, Symantec opines: “This year’s union budget further validates their strong focus on leveraging the best of technology to enhance socio-economic equity, capital and capacity within the country. Setting up of half a million Wi-Fi hotspots, and push for digital payments are definitely positive signs.”

“The enhancement of digital infrastructure with more broadband access in rural parts, unique ID to companies, record allocation to building national highways and railways, and multi-fold increase in airports will go a long way in broad-basing growth in the economy.”

KunalBahlSnapdeal

Kunal Bahl, co-founder & CEO, Snapdeal

Representing the e-commerce space, Kunal Bahl, co-founder & CEO of Snapdeal says that the focus on growing the digital footprint, providing better physical infrastructure, and improving not just the ease of doing business, but also ease of living in the country. “The enhancement of digital infrastructure with more broadband access in rural parts, unique ID to companies, record allocation to building national highways and railways, and multi-fold increase in airports will go a long way in broad-basing growth in the economy,” he adds.

The Head of Finance at BookMyShow, Mitesh Shah emphasizes that over the course of the next few months, the government should initiate all necessary constitutional amendments to ensure that there are no other state or local body taxes, as they defeat the very purpose of bringing uniformity in tax structure, while ensuring proper input credit for taxes. 

For the accelerated growth of the start-up sector and economy at large, it’s important that the push for digitization should continue with more vigour. Initiatives by the Government including waving MDR on debit cards on transactions up to Rs 2,000 really go a long way in attaining this objective.

Among the industry verticals, telecom stood out as one sector that was left wanting. 
Rajan S Mathews, Director General at Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) reiterates that the telecom industry is “deeply disappointed” as none of their needs were met in the budget.

“While, the FM has emphasized the importance of moving to a digital economy, the actual digital highway, which is telecom has found no mention in terms of substantive support. We are saddened to see that telecom which is the bedrock for moving the digital economy forward, continues to remain an orphan.”

Rajan Matthews, COAI

Rajan S Mathews, Director General, COAI

The operators’ association had sought a reduction in levies and taxes, and that an urgent intervention is critical for resuscitating the sector, which is currently experiencing its worst financial health and hyper competition.  
“While, the FM has emphasized the importance of moving to a digital economy, the actual digital highway, which is telecom has found no mention in terms of substantive support. We are saddened to see that telecom which is the bedrock for moving the digital economy forward, continues to remain an orphan,” explains Mathews.

Jaitley ropes in AI, blockchain, quantum computing and big data

Rakesh Kaul, Partner, Government and Public Sector at PwC India says that dealing with challenges of urbanisation continues through Smart City and Amrut. “At the same time, it further strengthens the opportunity for India to gain from digital economy through initiatives around artificial intelligence, cyberspace, Fintech, etc.,” Kaul adds.

Mahesh Nayak, Chief Operating Officer at SAP Labs India shares that this budget is propelling India towards becoming a digital economy with a clear focus on education and infrastructure development. It is great to see the government’s continued efforts towards digital India by increasing investment for digital initiatives and enabling the NITI Aayog to direct efforts towards artificial intelligence.

Reiterating this point, Arvind Chandrasekhar, Government Affairs Lead at AMD says: “We welcome the announcement for NITI Aayog to initiate a national programme on artificial intelligence. 

“Blockchain is another significant area highlighted in the budget and the government is keen on using these technologies to propel a transparent and corrupt free economy.”

Vishal Agrawal

Vishal Agrawal, Managing Director, India & SAARC, Avaya

Vishal Agrawal, Managing Director, India & SAARC at Avaya points out that blockchain is another significant area highlighted in the budget and the government is keen on using these technologies to propel a transparent and corrupt free economy. “The government’s focus on further building Digital India by allocating Rs 3,073 crore showcases the emphasis on building a global digital economy,” he adds.

Representing IT giant, Intel, Prakash Mallya, Managing Director, Sales & Marketing Group, opines that if synergized with the work being done by the academia and industry, we can expect fast emerging use cases that can democratize AI in India. 

“The Department of Telecom’s establishment of an indigenous 5G centre is an encouraging sign of the government’s view of collaboration with the broader technology ecosystem as the best strategy to accelerate the rollout of 5G infrastructure in India.”

Prakash Mallya Intel

Prakash Mallya, Managing Director, Sales & Marketing Group, Intel

“Exploring the application of blockchain in governance is a strong indicator of the government's intent to improve citizen services without compromising on security, especially as Aadhaar gets linked to citizen accounts,” explains Mallya. 
Additionally, he points out that the Department of Telecom’s establishment of an indigenous 5G centre is an encouraging sign of the government’s view of collaboration with the broader technology ecosystem as the best strategy to accelerate the rollout of 5G infrastructure in India.

Union Budget 2018 – What’s in it for the Indian enterprise

In what turned out to be a predominantly aam aadmi-oriented budget, though not entirely unexpected, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s Union Budget focussed on driving growth and curbing the fiscal deficit. Now here’s a look at the industry leaders’ take on the Union Budget 2018.

The FM highlighted that India is currently a USD 2.5 trillion economy, well on its way to become the fifth largest economy very soon. He said that the indirect tax system has been made simpler with GST implementation, and the country can hope to grow anywhere between 7.2 to 7.5 percent this year.

Although the fiscal deficit stood at a disappointing 3.5 percent, Jaitley set a more realistic target of 3.3 percent for 2018-19. To fuel the growth of smaller enterprises, he announced Rs 3,794 crore in the form of capital support and interest subsidy for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

“The efforts towards strengthening India’s position as a digital economy through investments around new age technologies like AI and Fintech is a timely and welcome move”

 Shyamal Mukherjee

Shyamal Mukherjee, Chairman, PwC India

The biggest thrust for MSMEs came in the form of Jaitley’s announcement of applying a corporate tax of 25 percent for companies with a turnover of up to Rs 250 crore.

Shyamal Mukherjee, Chairman of PwC India says that this year’s budget clearly illustrates the government’s intent to look at development holistically, and the incentives planned for MSMEs, will help create additional jobs. “The efforts towards strengthening India’s position as a digital economy through investments around new age technologies like AI and Fintech is a timely and welcome move,” he adds.

Hits and misses: India Inc’s point of view

There’s no denying that the government is gunning for increased digitization and bolstering the enterprise to achieve equitable growth. However, certain sectors weren’t a happy lot. 

 

“This year’s union budget further validates their strong focus on leveraging the best of technology to enhance socio-economic equity, capital and capacity within the country. Setting up of half a million Wi-Fi hotspots, and push for digital payments are definitely positive signs.”

 Gaurav Agarwal

Gaurav Agarwal, Managing Director, India & SAARC, Symantec

Among the numerous benefits the budget is set to usher in, Gaurav Agarwal, Managing Director, India & SAARC, Symantec opines: “This year’s union budget further validates their strong focus on leveraging the best of technology to enhance socio-economic equity, capital and capacity within the country. Setting up of half a million Wi-Fi hotspots, and push for digital payments are definitely positive signs.”

“The enhancement of digital infrastructure with more broadband access in rural parts, unique ID to companies, record allocation to building national highways and railways, and multi-fold increase in airports will go a long way in broad-basing growth in the economy.”

KunalBahlSnapdeal

Kunal Bahl, co-founder & CEO, Snapdeal

Representing the e-commerce space, Kunal Bahl, co-founder & CEO of Snapdeal says that the focus on growing the digital footprint, providing better physical infrastructure, and improving not just the ease of doing business, but also ease of living in the country. “The enhancement of digital infrastructure with more broadband access in rural parts, unique ID to companies, record allocation to building national highways and railways, and multi-fold increase in airports will go a long way in broad-basing growth in the economy,” he adds.

The Head of Finance at BookMyShow, Mitesh Shah emphasizes that over the course of the next few months, the government should initiate all necessary constitutional amendments to ensure that there are no other state or local body taxes, as they defeat the very purpose of bringing uniformity in tax structure, while ensuring proper input credit for taxes. 

For the accelerated growth of the start-up sector and economy at large, it’s important that the push for digitization should continue with more vigour. Initiatives by the Government including waving MDR on debit cards on transactions up to Rs 2,000 really go a long way in attaining this objective.

Among the industry verticals, telecom stood out as one sector that was left wanting. 
Rajan S Mathews, Director General at Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) reiterates that the telecom industry is “deeply disappointed” as none of their needs were met in the budget.

“While, the FM has emphasized the importance of moving to a digital economy, the actual digital highway, which is telecom has found no mention in terms of substantive support. We are saddened to see that telecom which is the bedrock for moving the digital economy forward, continues to remain an orphan.”

Rajan Matthews, COAI

Rajan S Mathews, Director General, COAI

The operators’ association had sought a reduction in levies and taxes, and that an urgent intervention is critical for resuscitating the sector, which is currently experiencing its worst financial health and hyper competition.  
“While, the FM has emphasized the importance of moving to a digital economy, the actual digital highway, which is telecom has found no mention in terms of substantive support. We are saddened to see that telecom which is the bedrock for moving the digital economy forward, continues to remain an orphan,” explains Mathews.

Jaitley ropes in AI, blockchain, quantum computing and big data

Rakesh Kaul, Partner, Government and Public Sector at PwC India says that dealing with challenges of urbanisation continues through Smart City and Amrut. “At the same time, it further strengthens the opportunity for India to gain from digital economy through initiatives around artificial intelligence, cyberspace, Fintech, etc.,” Kaul adds.

Mahesh Nayak, Chief Operating Officer at SAP Labs India shares that this budget is propelling India towards becoming a digital economy with a clear focus on education and infrastructure development. It is great to see the government’s continued efforts towards digital India by increasing investment for digital initiatives and enabling the NITI Aayog to direct efforts towards artificial intelligence.

Reiterating this point, Arvind Chandrasekhar, Government Affairs Lead at AMD says: “We welcome the announcement for NITI Aayog to initiate a national programme on artificial intelligence. 

“Blockchain is another significant area highlighted in the budget and the government is keen on using these technologies to propel a transparent and corrupt free economy.”

Vishal Agrawal

Vishal Agrawal, Managing Director, India & SAARC, Avaya

Vishal Agrawal, Managing Director, India & SAARC at Avaya points out that blockchain is another significant area highlighted in the budget and the government is keen on using these technologies to propel a transparent and corrupt free economy. “The government’s focus on further building Digital India by allocating Rs 3,073 crore showcases the emphasis on building a global digital economy,” he adds.

Representing IT giant, Intel, Prakash Mallya, Managing Director, Sales & Marketing Group, opines that if synergized with the work being done by the academia and industry, we can expect fast emerging use cases that can democratize AI in India. 

“The Department of Telecom’s establishment of an indigenous 5G centre is an encouraging sign of the government’s view of collaboration with the broader technology ecosystem as the best strategy to accelerate the rollout of 5G infrastructure in India.”

Prakash Mallya Intel

Prakash Mallya, Managing Director, Sales & Marketing Group, Intel

“Exploring the application of blockchain in governance is a strong indicator of the government's intent to improve citizen services without compromising on security, especially as Aadhaar gets linked to citizen accounts,” explains Mallya. 
Additionally, he points out that the Department of Telecom’s establishment of an indigenous 5G centre is an encouraging sign of the government’s view of collaboration with the broader technology ecosystem as the best strategy to accelerate the rollout of 5G infrastructure in India.