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Jan 14, 2017, 10.33 AM | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Budget 2017: A wishlist from India’s startup entrepreneurs

A year after launch of PM Modi’s ‘Startup India Campaign’ curiosity has been built around what the budget 2017 will offer even as digital India has become a buzzword for the current government.

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Budget 2017: A wishlist from India’s startup entrepreneurs

A year after launch of PM Modi’s ‘Startup India Campaign’ curiosity has been built around what the budget 2017 will offer even as digital India has become a buzzword for the current government.

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Moneycontrol Bureau

This year’s Budget to be announced next month is expected to be a big one for startups which are reeling under the impact of demonetisation. The government may announce a string of initiatives to support them, including widening of the tax-free regime to five years from three years and faster procedural clearances. Online payments through netbanking, UPI, credit and debit cards are also likely to get some tax exemption.

A year after launch of PM Modi’s ‘Startup India Campaign’ curiosity has been built around what the budget 2017 will offer even as digital India has become a buzzword for the current government.

Here are some of budget expectations from India’s startup CEOs:

1) Swati Bhargava, Co-founder, CashKaro.com

My Budget Ask: Increased planned expenditure for better infrastructure which can enable more women to join and remain in the workforce.

“I personally expect the upcoming Union Budget to be very positive and favourable towards the poor, middle class and business community, particularly because these segments were most inconvenienced by Demonetization. We can expect incentives on direct tax. This could mean lower personal income tax rates and lower corporate tax rates too. We could see FM announcing a list of measures as incentives for digital payments which will benefit the e-commerce industry as a whole.

“The ‘Start-Up India’ initiative might get a push. We could see a new set of tax concessions on employee stock options, unlisted securities and convertible instruments. Lastly, as a woman and an entrepreneur, I would be most excited to see increased allocation towards building infrastructure in India and increased planned public expenditure. This would go a long way in creating a safer & more conducive environment for women and furthermore in creating world class companies.”

2) Bipin Preet Singh, Co-Founder & CEO, MobiKwik

My Budget Ask: The upcoming budget must reduce corporate tax rate from 35 to 25 percent for startups and companies promoting digital payments ecosystem.

"The Budget for 2017-18 must announce measures to upgrade digital infrastructure across the country. Steps should be taken to promote digital literacy and connect cities, towns and villages with high-speed internet networks.”

“The upcoming Budget must reduce corporate tax rate from 35 to 25 percent for startups and companies promoting digital payments ecosystem. Transactions worth one trillion dollars are done in the country annually. Of these, barely 10 percent are on digital platforms. The government must take more concrete steps to make digital payments ubiquitous.”

3) Sanjay Sethi, CEO & Co-founder, ShopClues

My Budget Ask: We expect to see rollout of direct tax reforms to provide stronger disincentives for black economy, land registration reforms, greater push towards digitisations.

“This Union Budget will be a very crucial for the country. The government has the twin agenda of meeting the GDP growth expectations as well as to demonstrate beyond doubt that the demonetisation was just one of several steps being taken to fight corruption and was not a cheap election stunt.”

“In this budget, building on the anti-corruption theme, we expect to see rollout of direct tax reforms to provide stronger disincentives for black economy, land registration reforms, greater push towards digitisations, new programs for economic inclusion & Make in India."

4) Harshvardhan Lunia, Co-Founder & CEO, Lendingkart Group

My Budget Ask: The government could possibly provide an institutional framework akin to bank in a box systems. SME loans, individual and pooled, could be recognized as a separate asset class and listed accordingly.

"I believe most of the SMEs in India are still facing funding shortage at their 'required time' and thus, are not able to scale up to their true potential. I am looking forward to get this sector supported by an efficient policy framework. I expect the budget to incentivise lenders to create fast, easy and reasonable loan options for SMEs across the country."

"Recently, the government has announced extension of credit guarantee limits of SME loans to INR 2 crores and extending the same to loans disbursed by NBFCs. It is a great step considering lot of new-age alternate SME lenders will also get covered under this scheme and increase penetration into this segment. To attract larger institutional players and create liquidity for SME loans, the government could possibly provide an institutional framework akin to bank in a box systems. SME loans, individual and pooled, could be recognised as a separate asset class and listed accordingly."

5) Ankur Bhatia, Executive Director, Bird Group

My Budget Ask: I believe that the implementation of GST should be a prime focus. This will rationalise multiple tax structure and provide relief to the industry.

“Tourism industry reinforces the hospitality sector and driving direct and indirect employment. While the government’s initiatives to strengthen domestic connectivity as well as international accessibility have borne positive results, there is still a huge gap in terms of travel facilities, infrastructure, recreational outlets, high taxes as well as safety.”

“For the upcoming Union budget, I believe that the implementation of Goods and Service Tax (GST) should be a prime focus. This will rationalize multiple tax structure and provide relief to the industry. We are also hopeful that the government will lay more emphasis on the tourism sector and provides effective solutions to promote domestic tourism. Introduction of tourism-focused states, large scale state events and shopping festivals could be some of these measures.”

6) Jaideep Gandhi, Co-founder of mymatchbox

My Budget Ask: This year should result in regaining lost ground and I do believe that a lot of the initiatives such as ‘Start-up India’ will yield much more visible results including more access to funding, mentoring and even scaling up.

"The Government has already set in motion growth-driven initiatives for Start-ups. Just when start-up engines were gathering steam, a slew of unexpected and disruptive changes, both nationally and globally, reduced the momentum. This year should result in regaining lost ground and I do believe that a lot of the initiatives such as Start-up India will yield much more visible results including more access to funding, mentoring and even scaling up. As a result, Temporary Workspaces such as Co-working Spaces, Incubators and Business Centers will play an important role in helping startups manage their space needs much more efficiently and diligently." 


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