Budget 2018: Govt. is focusing on Agriculture, Rural infrastructure development, and Digital India
01st, February 2018 - News
Govt India today announced its most waited fifth and last budget for their tenure which was aiming at economic growth, rural development and agricultural development. Digital India being at the prime role in the today’s budget govt is planning to introduce Digitalisation of education through various schemes. To pave the way for advancement in digital technologies the government has doubled its allocation to the ‘Digital India’ programme to $480 Mn (INR 3,073 Cr) in 2018-19.
During the budget session, Finance Minister Mr Arun Jaitley said, Govt is planning to invest more in skill development, knowledge development to increase the focus on AI, Robotics development and advanced technology development.
Some of the industry experts shared their views on today’s budget with us.
Mukesh Agarwal - Founder & CEO, RevX "In this budget, I think the impetus on rural infrastructure, focus on digital India and increase in funds allocated for education and healthcare among others are stepping in the right direction. It is no secret that India is a supply constraint market, and can't achieve its growth targets unless structural improvement is made to increase the supply of goods and services. The lack of proper infrastructure is the main impediment to bringing efficiency and scale in the supply of goods and services. And I believe the budget has addressed most of these concerns keeping long-term goals in mind.
From this budget, it is also evident that GST has made the life easier for companies, particularly e-Commerce companies with a significant cross-border activity. The added taxpayers from the GST Implementation are another indication of its success that was announced in this budget. Many companies are beginning to streamline and simplify backend logistic infrastructure which brings efficiency in the supply of goods and services. While there had been many early problems its implementation, Government has taken what software companies call "agile approach". They launched the programs proactively and are continuing to refine it based on the market feedback. The budget is a forward-looking one, keeping growth in mind"
There was no specific scheme to support Startup India schemes but we assume Govt has some plans to support more start-ups through this year’s Budget.
Gaurav Burman - VP & Country President, India, 75F "I had imagined more emphasis on technology adoption and support for startups in areas such as AI and IOT in this year's budget. While the allocation to digital India has increased, there could have been a more focused outreach to encourage the country's entrepreneurs. India needs more of 'Make in India' and I believe that can only come from our entrepreneur's building companies from India and catering to the world. Technologies like AI and IOT are bound to revolutionise the way we operate and India should become an early adopter to stay ahead of the technology race. Furthermore, the startup sector could have also benefited from the dissolution of the angel tax introduced by the government previously and further extending the tax holiday period for companies to help them achieve a certain scale. "
Sudeep Anandapuram - Co-Founder & CEO, Zippserv "I envisaged more sops for the real estate sector which was hit hard by demonetization and some policy reforms like the implementation of RERA and GST. However, it has been balanced with the emphasis on Agriculture, Education, Infrastructure and healthcare which will help boost growth. Companies will have to keep faith in the fact that there is a stable government in the Centre and that the markets are performing well. Increasing wifi and broadband access in rural markets are also a step in the right direction to infuse growth in these regions".
Govt has reduced the corporate tax to 25% compared to previous year. This is a relief for Corporate which has a turnover less than Rs 250 Crore.
Kunal Kislay - CEO & Co-Founder, Integration Wizards "The Lowering of corporate tax directly increases the available capital with startups that can be used for funding R&D to compete with the best in the world.
In this budget, the government has taken a positive step in announcing the NITI Aayog initiative, a national programme to conduct research and development in areas like machine learning, artificial intelligence and other futuristic technologies. With this Artificial Intelligence is aptly poised to help healthcare sector reach out to the masses in rural areas. As a result, even the medical history can be linked to Aadhar, which will further enable hospitals to retrieve data about a single patient in a faster and more efficient manner. This will greatly help during times of road accidents and natural disasters. I think the steps taken by the Indian government by increasing allocation to digital India in this current budget will also empower startups further.
With this initiative, the government can also look at steps to boost manufacturing. In India, manufacturing is still running on age-old methods, with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning one can create more efficient models that boost productivity, save time and also reduce risk to people by reducing the damage caused by machine malfunction. Furthermore, Indian start-ups can lend a hand to NITI Aayog, since they have a distinctive idea about how a country like India works - in terms of demographics, social fabric and also government processes can devise a better strategy for implementation of AI and Machine learning."
Fintech sector was in the radar of Budget 2018 and expecting positive measurement to improve the sector’s growth.
Mr. Rajesh Gupta, Founder, Cash Suvidha "Certainly this budget will reassure and bring back the lost confidence amongst NBFCs. We appreciate the government's move for reducing the tax burden on MSMEs. The measures for addressing the Non Performing Assets will ignite a ray of hope across the industry"
"We are glad about the government's decision to double the Allocation to Digital India scheme to Rs 3073 cr which will accelerate the transformation of India into a digital economy and will help our Fintech platform by extending our services to SMEs & MSMEs in the nooks and corners of the country"
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