Budget 2023 How businesses react to Modi Govt growth vision amid global challenges Nirmala Sitharaman budget

Image Source : INDIA TV Union Budget 2023

Budget 2023: The Modi government on Wednesday presented its last full budget in its present term as Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman gave her fifth budget speech in the Parliament. According to various analysts, the budget 2023 is a vision for the country amid global economic challenges with emphasis on the digital economy, infrastructure development, empowering the MSMEs, small-scale industries, and push to domestic tourism among others. One of the major highlights of the first budget of ‘Amrit Kaal’ as termed by the finance minister was significant announcements made in the personal income tax space including increasing the rebate limit to 7 lakh per annum. Here’s what different business sectors have to say about Union Budget 2023. BUDGET 2023: FULL COVERAGE

Rahul Attuluri, CEO and Co-founder at NxtWave 

We wholeheartedly welcome the government’s initiatives announced in the Budget 2023-24. The re-envisioning of Teachers Training through integrated curriculum transaction, continuous professional development, dipstick service, ICT implementation and the development of the district Institute of Education and Training as institutes of excellence are a great move towards augmenting the existing education ecosystem in the country.

Also, the setting up of the National Digital Library for children and adolescents where quality books across geographies, languages, and levels and device-agnostic accessibility will be made available is a great initiative to make up for lost learning time students faced during the pandemic. The youth are the future of the country. Therefore, to empower youth and to help the ‘Amrit Peedhi’ realize their dreams, the government’s National Education Policy will especially focus on skilling youths by adopting economic policies that facilitate job creation.

The Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana 4.0 will be launched to skill lakhs of youth in the next three years. Moreover, to skill the youth for international employment opportunities, over 30 Skill India International Centres will be set up across different States. NxtWave is always ready to take forward the vision of the Government and empower Indian youth with the required skills and become job-ready.

We are happy that the government is establishing a strong AI ecosystem in India to train skilled AI professionals. This will help us to develop practical AI applications in regional and sustainable cities.

Deepak Aggarwal, Co-Founder, Moneyboxx

We welcome the decision of increasing the Agriculture Credit Target to Rs 20 lakh crore while focusing on animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries. Moreover, a new sub-scheme of the PM Matsya Sampada Yojana will be launched with a targeted investment of Rs 6,000 crore. Establishing an Agriculture Accelerator Fund to encourage agri start-ups by young entrepreneurs in rural regions is also laudable. The Fund aims at providing innovative, affordable solutions for challenges faced by farmers. It will also help introduce modern technologies to transform agricultural practices while increasing productivity and profitability.

Another good measure to extend the Credit Guarantee Scheme for MSMEs along with an infusion of Rs 9,000 crore with effect from April 1 is a most welcome move as it will facilitate additional collateral-free guaranteed credit of Rs 2 lakh crore for MSMEs. In fact, last year itself we had suggested revamping the credit guarantee scheme for MSMEs. Significantly, the scheme will nudge banks to lend to MSMEs, which they were earlier reluctant to do because of the absence of adequate collateral. This will lower the cost of credit by around 1% and benefit the fund-starved segment.

Satyen Sharma, Head, Finance & Accounts, Bits Pilani

New programs for the training of teachers in the country for the education sector in Budget 2023, the opening of the National Digital Library up to Panchayat and ward level, and the announcement of 157 new nursing colleges will prove to be a positive initiative for the coming years. Three institutes for artificial intelligence and skill to 47 lakh youth will provide new impetus to the skill education sector.

Rakesh Kaul, Executive Director and CEO, Clix Capital

It is a balanced budget and growth-oriented. Given that NBFCs have been playing a pivotal role in providing easy access to credit for MSMEs, we expected to see some incentives being announced for the growth of NBFCs. It is good to see that the Government has rationalized taxation in the MSME sector and other initiatives that will play a decisive role in easing their burden. We believe the following measures announced will catalyze the MSME ecosystem tremendously.

For instance, micro-enterprises with a turnover of up to 2 crore and certain professionals with a turnover of up to 50 lakhs will get the benefit of presumptive taxation. The limits have been increased to 3 crores and 75 lakhs respectively to taxpayers whose cash receipts are not more than 5 percent. Further, to ensure that MSMEs receive payments on time, the Government has proposed to allow a deduction for expenditure incurred on payments made to them only once the payments are actually made.

In addition, taking into account that MSMEs have faced many challenges during the pandemic, the refund of 95 percent to MSMEs is a welcome move. The DigiLocker app that had been created will now be made available to MSMEs, large businesses, and charitable trusts, where they will be able to store and share documents online in a secure manner with various authorities, regulators, banks, and other business entities. The Government has infused 9,000 crores in the corpus for this, enabling additional collateral-free guaranteed credit of 2 lakh crore.

The Digilocker services will be a boost to fintech startups as well, as up till now, DPI only allows individuals to store and share their certificates, such as academic records, driving licenses, and PAN cards.

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Nirmit Parikh, Founder and CEO, apna

The central government’s push to skilling in the country for lakhs of youth in the Budget 2023-24 is a welcome move, considering the youth are the pillars of our economy. This initiative will open avenues and create millions of job opportunities in emerging technologies for over 100 million youth in the country – a huge motivation for students and graduates to thrive and succeed in their home country. Furthermore, I also commend the Government’s announcement around the launch of a unified Skill India Digital platform for enabling demand-based formal skilling, linking with employers including MSMEs, and facilitating access to entrepreneurship schemes. The vision of empowering youth and MSMEs is a strong blueprint for India@100 which is being built on inclusive India.

Gautam Chopra, Co-Founder, and CEO, BeatO

Even though the Budget this year focuses on strengthening the healthcare infrastructure, it is prudent to point out that the growing demands on our healthcare system cannot be met only by increasing the physical infrastructure. The setting up of 157 new nursing colleges is a huge step towards meeting the ever-growing demand for providing care through paramedical staff. However, for care to reach those who really need it, it is imperative that they can leverage simple and affordable digital technology, which will help them reach the masses and serve them more efficiently. 

Integrating this initiative with the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission will be key to delivering services to the last mile. Indian pharmaceuticals are known across the world for giving us cost-effective drugs, but we still lack innovation in new drugs, molecules, and therapies. Opening up of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) laboratories for research by public and private medical college faculty members and private sector research and development teams to encourage collaborative work will produce great results in providing a sustainable ecosystem for research and development.

The dedicated multidisciplinary courses for medical devices, fueled by skilled and technically equipped manpower, will make India the hub for creating new-age affordable medical devices like wearables and drive the trust in digital health. More support and allocation of resources for health-tech start-ups to become effective would have been appreciated, as well as integration of digital solutions by such startups within the public health system would help them take their products and services further and reduce the burden on the system.

In last year’s Budget, the government proposed providing up to Rs 2,000 crore as venture capital to create an ecosystem for health-tech start-ups to help them access capital and develop innovative products and services but we haven’t seen concrete steps followed in the deployment. 

Ankur Nijhawan, CEO, AXA France Vie India Reinsurance

This budget has touched upon various facets of major importance to our economy including focus on last mile, green growth, infrastructure and development, youth power and inclusive development. Focus on agriculture sector with enhancing storage capacities and establishing an accelerator fund for startups serves as a watershed to increase earnings and innovation in this segment. Budget allocation towards research in pharma and health is a step in the right direction which would further make India Aatmanirbhar. Budget has also very aptly recognised the importance of AI by allocation of funds towards setting up of specialised AI centres in educational institutes which would enable finding solutions in agri, health and sustainable cities. Reduction in duties on goods for manufacturing lithium-ion batteries would be a major step to reduce cost of EVs and promote green growth.

Further, change in the income tax slabs is a major development towards making India a more consumer-driven economy.  It would leave more money in the hands of individuals giving them the liberty and power to decide where to spend. The new tax regime does not allow exemptions on savings like the earlier one. This change poses a major need for sectors like insurance to create a product which is consumer-focused. The consumer has so far been buying it to avail tax incentives however, this new change demands that the sector revamp its offering to meet consumer expectations and servicing requirements to create demand by offering customised, user-friendly offerings and improving the customer experience.

Gaurav Jalan, Founder & CEO, mPokket

While we expected to see more announcements around the fintech sector, some of the welcome moves are the expansion of Digilocker services that will allow fintechs to store and share documents online in a secure manner with various authorities, regulators, banks, and other entities. The fintech sector has benefited much from prior Government initiatives, such as PM Jan Dhan Yojana, Indian Stack, and UPI.

We would also like to highlight certain measures announced in the Economic Survey 2023, such as the simplification of employee stock option (ESOP) taxes, capital gains tax regimes like those existing in Singapore, UAE, and the Netherlands, and capital flow procedures akin to the US and Singapore to accelerate reverse-flipping of startups back to India. This plays a major role in strengthening the domestic economy. Startups have always been one of our key engines for economic growth and it’s great to see that the number of recognized startups in the country has increased from 452 in 2016 to 84,012 in 2022. About 48 percent of our startups are from tier 2 & 3 cities and our country today is the third largest ecosystem for start-ups globally and ranks second in innovation quality among middle-income countries.

Entrepreneurship is truly vital for a country’s economic growth and towards this, the Government has extended the date of incorporation for income tax benefits to start-ups from 31.03.23 to 31.3.24. It has further proposed to provide the benefit of carrying forward of losses on change of shareholding of start-ups from seven years of incorporation to ten years. This is truly a welcome move. 

SK Chaudhary, Founder Director, Safex Chemicals India Ltd

The 2023-24 Union Budget has many positive features for agriculture and agri industries. The decision to build digital public infrastructure for agriculture as an open standard, open source and inter-operable public good is commendable since itwill help the industry, pan-India. This would facilitate multiple inclusive, farmer-centric solutions with relevant information services spanning crop planning, farm inputs, insurance, credit and market intelligence as well as support for the growth of the agri-tech segment and start-ups.

Additionally, establishing an Agriculture Accelerator Fund would encourage young entrepreneurs to set up agri start-ups in rural regions. While overcoming problems faced by farmers, the Fund will help by introducing modern technology, transforming agri practices and enhancing productivity as well as profitability. Horticulture will also gain via an allocation of Rs2,200 crore under the Atmanirbhar Clean Plant Programme to increase the availability of disease-free, high-value horticultural crops.

Finally, increasing the agriculture credit target to Rs20 lakh crore keeping the focus on dairy, animal husbandry and fisheries will benefit all three verticals.

Sumit Sabharwal, CEO of TeamLease HRtech

For Students

The budget’s focus on AI clearly shows that the government wants to develop our human capital in terms of expertise in technology. Our students will benefit from it in the long run to gain new skills that are more relevant in the current digital and technology space.

For Employees

Tax rebates will boost consumption from the salaried professional. It’ll ultimately push the demand in the market. A higher disposable income will ensure that the Indian salaried class can keep improving their living standard. It’ll be overall beneficial for the employee without putting any extra burden on the employers.

Tax Reforms

Tax reform makes complete sense considering the inflation. It’ll increase the disposable income in the hands of the Indian workforce; and push the demand in the market. It’ll make India stronger to have accelerated growth.

For AI focus

The focus on AI is a step in the right direction. It’ll accelerate the digitalization of the Indian economy. Indian companies in sectors like health tech, HR tech, fintech, etc will compete globally if our human capital is skilled in AI.

Nitya Sharma, CEO & Co-founder, Simpl

We welcome the budget for providing much-needed impetus to the country’s startup ecosystem. Announcements such as the extension of the date of incorporation for income tax benefits to start-ups from 31st March 2023 to 31st March 2024 and the provision of providing the benefit of carry forward of losses on change of shareholding of start-ups from seven years of incorporation to ten years, are truly great moves.

Moreover, the government has also deducted a whopping 39,000 compliances that MSMEs needed to abide by and decriminalised over 3,400 legal provisions. Such steps will play an instrumental role in ensuring the ease of doing business in the country. Entrepreneurship is the very backbone of India’s economic development.

Therefore, the measures suggested in the recently unveiled economic survey, such as capital gains tax regimes like those of Singapore and the UAE and capital flow procedures similar to those in countries like the US and Singapore, to accelerate the reverse-flipping of startups back to Indian shores, are vital moves.

Akash Dahiya, Co-founder, SanKash

The Union Budget 2023-24 has some positive takeaways for tourism, given the decision to promote the industry on mission mode via the participation of states, the convergence of government schemes, and public-private partnerships. The country offers immense attractions for both domestic and foreign tourists. A proactive approach will help in tapping India’s tremendous tourism potential.

Through an integrated approach, a minimum of 50 destinations are to be selected via the challenge mode. Under the ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ initiative, every destination will then be developed as a complete package for tourists. Besides, through the Vibrant Villages Programme, infrastructure and amenities for tourists would be facilitated in border villages. 

Mahesh Babu, Chief Executive Officer, Switch Mobility Ltd

The government’s focus on infrastructure with enhanced capex of Rs 2.7 lakh crore for roads and highways and the budgetary allocation for vehicle scrappage, will certainly accelerate the growth of the CV market in India. Meanwhile, in the EV sector, the government’s move to provide customs duty exemption for the import of specified capital goods and machinery required for the manufacture of lithium-ion cells for batteries is a welcome move, that will play a vital role in making local cell manufacturing cost competitive in the long run.

Additionally, green growth being one of the top 7 priorities, with an allocation of Rs 35,000 crore, is a step in the right direction. This will not just aid economic growth but will also accelerate the growth of the auto industry, especially EVs, as the country transitions toward net zero by 2070.

Vikram Thaploo, CEO, Apollo Telehealth

The government in its last Union budget had placed a lot of significance to health and well-being and that focus has been reflected in this year’s Union Budget as well. The establishment of 100 new labs for developing apps using 5G services to realise new range of opportunities in healthcare is a much-needed move by the government. Also, the setting up of 3 centres of excellence for artificial intelligence to enable ‘Make AI for India’ and ‘Make AI work for India’ will certainly boost India’s digital prowess.

Another much-anticipated move by the government is the plan to establish one hundred and fifty-seven new nursing colleges in co-location with the existing 157 medical colleges established since 2014. This will certainly help the healthcare industry to bridge the gap in care due to the shortage of medical personnel.

Also, the finance minister announced that dedicated multidisciplinary courses for medical devices will be supported in existing institutions to ensure the availability of skilled manpower for futuristic medical technologies, high-end manufacturing, and research. All these essential moves by the government towards health infrastructure and focus on a holistic approach to health are seen as a testimony of India’s commitment to building stronger health systems in the country.

Siddharth Sharma, VP Business Strategy, Head Digital Works

The inclusion of a specific provision for online gaming under Sec 194B of the Income Tax Act is not only progressive but also a win-win scenario for both the government and the industry. Deducting TDS on net winnings at the end of a financial year will catalyse the growth of this sunrise sector even further and this goes to show that this government has applied itself to solve for the needs of both the gamers and the industry. This is exactly the kind of outlook that India needs from the government in today’s digital economy.

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