Budget 2019: Mr Finance Minister, please…
As Finance Minister Piyush Goyal delivers his Budget 2019 speech in Parliament today, various sectors of the industry are keenly watching the announcements being made. Will their expectations be met?
Rohan Mehta, CEO, Social Kinnect:
- In recent years, India has witnessed the slow but steady digitisation of the ‘last mile’ or ‘Bharat’. However, the government’s efforts in making India more digital are still at a very nascent stage, and I’m hoping that the 2019 Budget can go some way toward improving this and increasing the adoption of digital platforms across Tier 2 and 3 cities.
- It would be great if the Government made provisions to encourage and upgrade digital infrastructure and digital literacy to ensure rural India becomes the connected mass. Digital education from a young age - increasing budgets for educational institutions to incorporate digital and computer-based learning in their curriculum - would also help with this cause.
- The government’s commitment towards research, training and skilling in robotics, artificial intelligence, digital manufacturing, big data analysis, quantum communication and IoT (internet of things) will definitely be a fantastic push for the digital infrastructure of the country.
- With India inching towards cashless transactions and digitalisation of transactions, India is soon to become a digital-first economy. Which also means there will be transparency in financial exchanges and tax collection.
- The smartphone penetration in the country has increased, and hence it would be nice to see the government plan and budget for the provision of Wi-Fi spots and seamless network in order to connect remote areas and villages.
- As digital marketers, we should keep a look out for taxes that could be levied on social media transactions, especially those that could potentially affect media budgets for our clients. If these taxes are levied, media plans should factor these and be adapted accordingly.
- As marketers in general, we should also be up-to-date on potential taxes levied on the consumption of print media. As the lines between traditional and digital media continue to blur in 2019, this is something to keep an eye on.
Raman Mittal, VP - Marketing, TO THE NEW:
The Interim Budget 2019 holds great significance being the last Budget of the BJP led NDA Government. With the announcement of previous Union Budget, we witnessed some major policy and structural reforms with the launch of Digital India programme, focus on improving internet connectivity even in rural areas, and establishing centers of excellence for research & training on robotics, AI, big data analysis, and IoT.
As the government recognises the importance of the IT sector, there are high expectations from this budget to see reforms enabling the ease of doing business and promoting the growth of this sector. However, few issues that the budget must address is equalisation of 6 per cent levy on overseas online advertising business as this has a direct hit on companies like us providing digital advertising services. Further, this year the industry also expects the government to soften the GST rates from 18 per cent and bring in more clarity on its implementation.
We also look forward to forfeiting Tax Collected at Source (TCS) under the GST completely given its uncertainty and clarity. Further, any budgetary aids to promote the telecom infrastructure and BFSI sector would be an indirect added advantage to the IT services sectors having a strong foothold in these industries.
Ranjeet Kumar, CEO, Team Pumpkin:
We expect the Government to continue their focus on Digital India, which makes citizen services accessible and create more jobs in digital industries. We also expect that the SMB sector should be given more focus to create opportunities in the economy as well as drive consumption of Digital services from marketing solutions providers like us.
Ankur Dhawan, Chief Investment Officer, PropTiger.com:
Though typically governments do not change tax structure in an Interim Budget, but this time due to improvement in direct tax collection government can provide some relaxation to middle class. The real estate industry will be expecting increase in tax benefits on home loan interest from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 3 lakh as well as modification in tax slabs to incentivise home buying.
Sampad Swain, Co-Founder & CEO, Instamojo:
Over the years, MSMEs have been battling to get loans, given their inability to produce relevant assets as evidence. The current gap between the demand and credit supply within the Indian MSME sector is about $230 billion, says a study by World Bank. The much-awaited Interim Budget 2019 will determine the extent to which the Government will help this sector expand. The past four years have witnessed the implementation of several measures to uplift the MSME sector, especially given the rise in previous year’s budget to Rs 6,552.61 crore and other measures such as debt restructuring and the 59-minute loan portal.
With digitisation disrupting the Indian ecosystem in multiple dimensions, one can expect a hike in the rate of digital adoption by MSMEs, when given the right amount of funds and focus to secure their transactions and businesses online. This involves an increase in investment in the digital lending sector, to help lending platforms fuel the growth of digital SMEs and MSMEs. At Instamojo, we support MSMEs that want to go digital and enable safe and secure payments for all their transactions.
MSMEs continue to remain hopeful of a reduction in the GST rates and the benefit of tax holidays. This initiative can largely be beneficial to MSMEs, who are bound by the limited access to funds for business operations.
Nakkyun Chong, CEO & Founder, Avenue11 (an O2O grocery platform):
As far as expectations go, we welcome simplification of the regulations around accepting foreign direct investments. Opening up this channel would allow us to focus more on our overall customer experience. Additionally, we believe that moving forward, a concrete vision and stance policy-wise will help us not only comply with legislation, but also focus on our next steps without worrying about sudden policy shifts.
Neel Juriasingani, Co-Founder & CEO, DataCulture:
2019 promises to be an action-packed year for India and after the entire manoeuvre in the start-up ecosystem in the past few years, the expectations have gone much higher. One of the key challenges for technology start-ups in India is that of raising funds, especially in the pre-series A round. We expect that with Budget 2019, the government will introduce easy early stage funding and grants for tech start-ups in order to propel the next level of growth of this thriving sector.
The government should make sure that start-ups have a level playing field with other companies, more particularly listed companies where they can participate and win tenders for central and state government projects.
Besides, the government needs to soften GST rates for startups which will help create a more welcoming ecosystem for the industry players. Policy regulations like these will allow entrepreneurs to devote their time, energy and resources to gain success and build upon more innovative ideas.
TS Kalyanaraman, Chairman & Managing Director, Kalyan Jewellers:
We are expecting an uptick in discretionary consumable spends due to the expected move of increasing the tax exemption slab to Rs 5 lakh. This will augment disposable income and contribute to enhanced spending in items like gold and jewellery and other consumable sectors. If implemented, it will infuse much cheer for all consumer facing businesses.