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What the Indian tech and startup community feels about Budget 2019

Accel India, cash, startups, fund of funds

Budget 2019 is here. And while many have dubbed it a ‘magicle’,’miracoulous’ and what not budget, Interim FM Piyush Goyal hasn’t really doled out much for India’s tech or startup community. Yes, there was a brief mention about startups, where he mentioned India becoming world’s second largest startup hub in terms of number of registered startups, that figure does not show the actual state of India’s startup ecosystem.

Nevertheless, there were a few definite benefits for the broader tech and startup ecosystem (like 100K digital villages and India’s $1.2 Bn manned space mission). And the community is upbeat about those. Here are a few reactions from people we were able to talk to:

Mr. Ramaswamy Venkatachalam, Managing Director – India at FIS

The government’s proposal to connect 1 lakh villages with digital services in the next five years will definitely drive financial inclusion in the country and boost digital banking in the economy. The JAM (short for Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile) trinity is already making good progress, and with this move we are at the cusp of a digital revolution that will create opportunities for Fintech companies. We are already witnessing a surge in digital payments in urban areas, the trend is likely to expand in remote parts of the country through easy availability of data services.

Dr. Rishi Bhatnagar, President-Aeris Communications & Chairman IET IoT Panel India

Interim FM in this Interim Budget has announced the decision of making the National centre for Artificial Intelligence and building Centre of Excellence. The Government of India has opened the path for the youth in India to leverage the new state-of-the-art developments and upskill themselves to widen the jobs pool for themselves. We appreciate the GOI’s perspective of making India digitally enhanced and look forward to add value by providing the Indian talent with opportunities to grow in the IT industry.

Anil Joshi, Managing Partner – Unicorn India Ventures

The Budget 2019 made some bold announcements which are targeted towards making India a global power by 2030. Ambitious announcements like sending an Indian to space by 2022 or reiterating commitment to electric vehicles showed that technology will continue to remain an important governance pillar for this Government. For startups, one of key announcements were setting up of one lakh digital villages. This initiative when rolled out will have multiplier effect on startups in segments like ed tech, content based companies, media tech and of course fin tech and e-commerce.

Ragini Bajaj Chaudhary, India CEO, Gray Matters Capital

The setting up of 1 lakh digital villages, while being a great news for companies in the IoT and e-commerce space, should also be seen as an opportunity for edtech and skilltech enterprises to penetrate into India’s hinterlands leveraging digital proliferation. As gender lens investors, we see this as a means for bridging gender gaps at the rural grass root level. The 3% sourcing criterion for government projects from only-women run enterprises bodes well for women entrepreneurship in India.

Dr. Apoorv Ranjan Sharma, Co-Founder & President, Venture Catalysts

The interim budget 2019 brings some significant forward-looking announcements, especially the government’s plan of setting up a National Artificial Intelligence portal. The same is going to also boost investments in the AI start-ups, contributing towards India’s emergence as one of the global hubs for AI research and development. Ventures in the field of agriculture, digitalisation, etc. will also find handsome prospects due to these announcements.


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