This is going to be an interesting budget. While previous year’s budget offered a lot to the startup ecosystem within the country, this year’s budget is largely expected to center around post demonetisation measures and getting our rather fragile economy, back to its feet.

Still, the way PM Modi has relentlessly pursued and pressed with his startup centric policies, and the way all of us have been a little disappointed at how 2016 turned out for the ecosystem, the new-age India Inc has its own set of expectations from this year’s budget.

We received an immense number of quotes from startup founders, CEOs, MDs from diversified backgrounds in the tech domain, on their expectations from the budget. SO without further ado, here’s what they feel the budget should bring (and No, there’s no “Protect us from foreign competition” stuff here) :

Debjani Ghosh, MD South Asia, Intel Corporation

There is a gap between the initiatives and the actual intended outcome. For instance, in the area of skill building, which is a significant focus area of the PM, access to mobile phones, largely a consumption device, has been made easier, whereas the same incentives have not been extended to the other screen devices that actually enable skill building.

As recommended by MAIT, the extension of concessional Excise and Customs Duty benefits should be extended to all ITA goods, including locally manufactured devices such as laptops and PCs will not only trigger innovations in design and manufacturing to address local needs, but also enable citizens to create productive content. Similarly, while there has been significant focus on ease of starting of a new venture and related support, the areas where significant hurdles still remain for startups and established companies are the regulations around latest technologies such as 5G, autonomous driving and drone deployment.  

Today, it takes a little less than one year for large companies to source an experimental license from DoT to work on new emerging communication technologies, so imagine the plight of startups. The hard truth is that we are running out of time, and the government has to look at implementing policies that are not just great ideas but also have great impact.

Shailaz Nag, COO, PayU India

The demonetization drive needs to be followed by strong, systematic and organized steps by the government, and we need to rope in users from tier 2, 3 and 4 cities and towns. My only expectation from the Union Budget 2017 is the availability of enough funds dedicated to imparting and increasing knowledge and creating awareness amongst Indian users, both merchants and consumers, on how to pay and accept payments digitally.

Rajiv Raj, CreditVidya

Millions of underbanked and underserved will get access to credit if e-KYC through OTP is allowed for larger amounts. This, along with e-sign and e-NACH will make loan processing seamless.

The Government can support the growth and sustenance of start-ups in India, by increasing the tax exemption period for startups from the current 3 years, to 5 years or more. Corporate tax slabs should be reduced from 30% to 25% to make the initial journey of start-ups easier.

Rakesh Deshmukh, CEO IndusOS

We expect focus on these (Digital India, Make In India, Startup India) programs to be maintained in this Union Budget as well for positive investor sentiments and overall long term growth. Additionally, India’s cashless dream is expected to come alive basis policy changes to enable infrastructure for 4G smartphone growth, formalization of UPI digital payment mode for its widespread application and additional Govt. initiatives focused on regional smartphone users.

Rahul Garg, CEO Moglix (backed by Ratan Tata)

There is a need to make government procurement more startup-friendly and digital-savvy. Today it is impossible for startups to engage with government due to norms such as 3 years existence, turnover limitations combined with a complex procurement process. The government needs to move towards 100% digital procurement process where startups can compete effectively and efficiently.

Overall, the initiatives indicate that any future moves by the government, including the budget, shall be in view of creating a nurturing environment for the startups in India to flourish.

More views coming up in this story, Stay Tuned.

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