Even as the government failed to address the issues of angel tax and crowdfunding of startups in Budget 2018, India’s young ventures have welcomed the move to encourage financial-tech sector and healthcare.
The move to boost WiFi hotspots in the country’s small towns has also been welcomed. However, the restaurant startups remain disappointed as their demands for a single window clearance has not been met.
Here is what India’s digital entrepreneurs have to say on Budget 2018:
Amit Jain, President, Uber India & South Asia:
"The emphasis laid by the Finance Minister on continued investment in telecom infrastructure and broadband access is very good. That will be instrumental for continued improvements in education, health and financial inclusion. The continued budgetary support for the Smart Cities programme and additional investment in infrastructure is another step in the right direction. We remain confident that the government will enable a policy environment that will further enhance mobility for all Indians.”
Rahul Singh, Founder & CEO, The Beer Cafe, President NRAI:
"The Restaurant Industry was eagerly looking at an announcement on re-introduction of the input tax credit for restaurants from the Finance Minister. Ours is the only industry which does not receive this benefit. We have also been requesting for the introduction of a uniform policy that includes Single Window Clearance and Reduction in no. of Licenses required for operating a restaurant for a very long time. We are an industry worth Rs 3,52,000 crore which is expected to grow to Rs 5,52,000 crore by 2022. For an industry of this size generating over 8 million jobs, it is disappointing to see that no specific announcement was made.”
Anupam Mittal, Founder & CEO, People Group:
"As expected, this was an election budget. Focused on infrastructure, agriculture, and social security, the Finance Minister has delivered a populist budget. Healthcare for all is a bold step and is a bonanza for insurance companies. A lot more needs to be done given the terrible state of education and employability in India.All the buzzwords like AI, the blockchain, crypto and so on were used but the speech was thin on substance in these areas. However, it was encouraging to hear that the government was looking at easing early stage investing and the highly regressive ‘angel tax’ but again, no details were provided, so it could end up being a damp squib.”
Sanjay Sethi, Co-Founder & CEO, ShopClues:
"The government's decision to create 500,000 Wifi hotspots in rural India will enable broadband access to those with no or little access to the realm of the internet. This will help grow the digital commerce industry and encourage more people to adopt cashless economy."
Kunal Bahl, Co-founder & CEO, Snapdeal:
"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 multifold increase in airports will go a long way in broad-basing growth in the economy. We welcome the emphasis on upgrading teaching methods and training teachers which will enable India to have better learning outcomes.”
Rajesh Uttamchandani, Director, SYSKA Group:
“The recent move to increase import duty on LEDs would support energy conservation under ‘Make-in-India’. In addition increase in government spending on providing electrical connection to 4 crore poor households and bringing affordable housing to rural India is a positive step towards building a progressive India that will see development and growth.”
Ameen Khwaja, CEO & Founder, LatestOne.com:
“It is not-so-positive to increase customs duty on mobile phone accessories to 15 percent. Unless we have domestic capabilities to manufacture such products that can be called world-class, we will have to continue to rely on imports. We as a startup cannot afford to absorb this and may have to pass on the tax burden to consumers directly. This will, in the short-run at least, negatively impact business.”
Kiran Deshpande, Co-founder & President - Mojo Networks:
“Providing WiFi in trains, increasing broadband access through WiFi hotspots to 5 crore rural citizens and connecting 1.5 lakh more villages under BharatNet initiative is a step forward towards digitizing India. Reduction in corporate tax to 25 percent is a huge boost and will benefit the entire micro and small and medium enterprises which amount to 99 percent of the companies filing their tax returns.”
Bhavin Patel, Founder & CEO, LenDenClub:
“The government’s step of introducing LTCG tax of 10 percent on capital gains over Rs. 1 lakh could push investors to go to other fixed income avenues like P2P Lending. The policy will encourage investors to consider P2P lending as an alternate platform to invest and earn profitable returns. The reduction in the Corporate tax to 25 percent also appears as some relief to MSMEs like us.
The efforts towards creating the right environment for Fintech companies to grow in India will bring in promising growth prospects for P2P lending platforms.”
Rohit Lohia- CO-Founder and COO, CoinTribe Technologies Pvt. Ltd:
"Allocation of 373 cr in digital India initiative is a welcome step in the direction of reducing the cost of operations for all businesses systemically while greatly aiding the ecosystem of FinTech enterprises. Further, MSME corporate tax for 2018-19 has been cut to 25 percent up to revenue of Rs 250 cr. This is likely to encourage larger tax compliance from MSME sector.”
Satyam Kumar- CEO and CO-Founder, Loantap:
"We are happy that Finance Minister has acknowledged voice from Fintech Industry seeking soft touch approach to regulation and making a strong case for Fintech participation in supporting SME/ MSME growth. Fintech as a segment has been signalled out in this budget with a very clear objective of credit push to the last mile. We see it as strong government backing for the way fintech industry is shaping in India."
Hari Menon, Co-Founder and CEO, BigBasket:
"This year’s union budget seems promising for the welfare of farmers, a segment that BigBasket is closely associated with. The announcement of Operation Green to boost produce will be a major enabler for players like BigBasket as we focus on organic produce in a major way.
Developing and upgrading rural haats into gramin agriculture markets is another positive step. The increase in the Minimum Support Price of all crops to at least 1.5 times that of the production cost is in conjunction with these efforts."
Meena Ganesh, MD & CEO, Portea Medical:
"The budget this year has been broad-based and provides benefits to a number of stakeholders. The proposed creation of the World largest healthcare funded programme wherein Health Protection Insurance cover of INR 5 lakh per annum per household, a benefit that would extend to about 50 crore people, is a major move and paves the way for universal health coverage. The budget has placed a lot of emphasis on healthcare in general and that of senior citizens, which is very exciting for a company like Portea that focuses on providing ongoing care to this segment.Another major push is that of providing access to free drugs and diagnostic services through the 1.5 lakh health and wellness centres."
Archit Gupta, Founder & CEO ClearTax:
"Standard deduction has been reintroduced but at a cost, it takes away medical reimbursement and travel allowance. There were several demands to raise medical reimbursement from 15,000 and bring it up according to current prices (the amount has been same for more than a decade). However, now the clamour for raising this limit will die down. With this, for a salaried, the amount taxable under salary shall be reduced by Rs 5,800. While the cess will go up by 1%. Senior citizens have much to rejoice and will face a much lower burden of taxes, this is especially crucial in the falling interest rates from banks and deposits."
Albinder Dhindsa, Co-Founder and CEO, Grofers’:
“The measures announced today to benefit the farmer community and boost the agriculture sector will be instrumental in maximizing farmers’ incomes while reducing waste and inefficiencies that contribute to inflation. The initiatives to bolster the growth and success of MSMEs and the proposed cut of the corporate income tax rate to 25 percent for organizations with a turnover of up to Rs 250 crore are laudable.”
Dinesh Agarwal, Founder and CEO, IndiaMART:
“The reduction of corporate tax by 25% for companies with a turnover of 250 crore is a positive step. Moreover, the interest shown by the Government to promote online lending is also encouraging for Fintech. Although the Finance Minister touched upon the Angel Tax but it is yet to be seen that what is there to boost the business eco-system. The move to assign uniques IDs for Companies is also a welcome step. ”