Union Budget 2023 Responses: What experts have to say
The union budget of India is always an eagerly awaited affair every year on the first day of February. It is the detailed account of what the government’s expenditures are for the upcoming fiscal year. This year the budget announcements has presented by the honorable finance minister Smt. Nirmala Sitaraman. Until 2021 the budget had been presented in a paper format, but due to the pandemic and to show the symbolic gesture of “Digital India” it had been presented in Tablet. It commenced at 11:00 AM. The budget, like mentioned before, briefs the union’s expenses for the fiscal year. These ranges from social programs to a salaried individual’s tax restructure. Today if we talk about former history, budget proposition always received well for its tax slabs and reforms.
We saw the union allocated various budgets for railways, social programs, education, youth skilling, tech development, climate change reforms and agricultural welfare. The infrastructural development got a huge boost by an allocation of 90, 000 crore from government and private investments, which will be used for 50 regional airports, heliports and other critical infrastructures. With the rising adoption of digital payments, the union has planned to ease the process for fintech companies by making the PAN as a central factor, easing KYC and improving the DigiLocker facility. The EV Production has benefitted from ease of import duties on all necessary raw materials so its adoption can be streamlined.
Overall, this budget 2023 was very futuristic and tax reductive, and it was well received by the masses. Hence, here are some of the Industry experts' view on Budget 2023.
Amit Saluja, Centre Head of NASSCOM CoE, Gandhinagar, said, "India has taken rapid strides towards digitalization in recent times and the budget has sought to add pace to the trend. The skill development scheme to cover new-age courses such as coding, AI, robotics, IoT, 3D printing, etc. for Industry 4.0 has been expanded. Setting up 5G labs and three Centre of Excellence for AI, will give a boost to research and innovation in realizing the vision of Make AI in India and Make AI work for India. Public Digital Infrastructure will take open innovation to next level and accelerate tech adoption. All these initiatives will help in making Indian enterprises, especially MSMEs, more competitive. Startups and entrepreneurship are other areas that have received increased attention from the FM. On the whole, it is a very forward-looking budget that will promote the inclusive growth of industries."
Varun Babbar Managing Director - India & SAARC ,Qlik, said, "The FY24 Union Budget is a progressive take on technology and skill development in the country. The proposed Centres of Excellence for AI to further "Make AI in India" and "Make AI work for India" could significantly boost STEM students and tech organisations and set India on the journey to becoming a hub for AI talent. It can provide the next generation of engineers an opportunity to develop their specialisation in AI. A robust AI ecosystem can help India generate multi-disciplinarian specialists like Data Analysts and Scientists, which aligns with the industry's current requirements. The collaboration between the top education institutions and industry players will help convert these plans into reality very soon. It is time for the technological revolution to activate private and public collaborative efforts. This will reinforce data-rich sectors to make impactful decisions in near real-time with intelligent analytics while delivering essential citizen services."
Sreedhar, MD & CEO, Royal Sundaram General Insurance Co. Ltd, said, “The government announced various investment-based programs across crucial infrastructure sectors, including urban development, logistics, technology ecosystem and green projects. At the same time, focusing on reaching the last mile, empowering fintechs, and tax incentives strengthen its inclusion agenda. A host of initiatives around data and information repositories (National Financial Information Registry, Common Business Identifier, KYC Simplification, Central Data Processing Centre, etc.) will lead to an efficient, secured and integrated data access ecosystem. The Insurance sector will gain from the increased economic activities and greater ease of doing business. At the same time, announcements such as vehicle replacement policy, Digital Public Infrastructure for Agriculture, a higher rebate on personal income tax and a more significant focus on public health will also substantially impact the non-life insurance sector. Being now the most populous country in the world, India has built a robust foundation comprising of demographic dividend, economic stability, tamed inflation, improved incomes, phygital distribution network and above all, better awareness towards insurance. The success of health insurance in the past decade – backed by strong government resolve to offer low-cost access has set the right context for the sector. We believe the industry has just scratched the surface and will ride on a high degree of customisation and product innovation in the coming years”.
Anup Rau, MD & CEO, Future Generali India Insurance, said, “Union Budget remains in line with the Government’s growth objectives. The focus is on strengthening the foundation regarding inclusive development, reaching the last mile and financial empowerment. Some key areas insurance companies will be closely looking at going forward are the proposed investments by the Government in technology and AI, data governance policy, simplified KYC process, common business identifier and MSME sector-related initiatives. In addition, various announcements related to infrastructure investment, including sustainable cities and green energy, will also open new avenues for the sector to mitigate and insure against potential risks. The additional income in the hands of the taxpayer owing to the expansion of the personal income tax ceiling too is likely to boost consumption. Overall, a very balanced budget”.
Dr Yajulu Medury, Vice Chancellor, Mahindra University, said,''The budget provides a much-needed impetus towards empowering the education sector and youth towards helping them realize their true potential. The setting up of 100 5G enabled labs to develop apps in engineering institutions and 3 centers of excellence in Artificial Intelligence is a major step towards 'Make AI in India and Make AI Work for India' and helps in shaping the new engineer of today. The 30-skill India international centres across states will further promote interdisciplinary research for developing cutting-edge applications to transform critical sectors and provide solutions for sustainable cities. In order to bridge the skill gap in India, the budget is in line with Mahindra University's focus on integrating critical thinking and problem-solving through a dynamic and diverse curriculum.''
Jagdish Mitra, Chief Strategy Officer & Head of Growth, Tech Mahindra, said, “It is a very positive budget from a technology sector perspective, as it sets the right message about 5G labs, setting up AI centre of excellence and the focus around skilling, which is absolutely the key need for the country as we live through the Prime Minister’s vision on TechAde and technology being the core enabler. From a business perspective, steps around ease of doing business have been taken and I think that's commendable. I would like to congratulate the Finance Minister and the government for taking these steps”.
Vineet Agarwal, MD at Transport Corporation of India Ltd, said, "This “Saptarishi” guiding-priorities based Union budget is holistic, optimistic and it beautifully fleshes out the ambitious schemes announced by the government to boost all critical segments. For the Logistics Sector, a committed focus on all tenets under NLP, will definitely lead the country from recovery to resurgence.
The increased Capital Outlay for critical Infra projects under the "Inclusive Development" priority will further boost sectoral development. The steep investment increment in digitization and automation to develop smart warehousing, and an announcement of 100 critical transport infra projects for steel, ports, rail and road will strengthen the much-needed multimodal connectivity. Provisions like coastal shipping with Viability Gap Funding (VGF) for people & freight movement will further facilitate seamless cargo movement while reducing logistics costs.
The Government's Green Growth Priority outlines a relentless sustainability vision. ‘National Green Hydrogen Mission’ targets the transition from fuels to green energy. This movement will enable a smooth shift toward the Net Zero Carbon Emission goal. Moreover, the PM Gati Shakti Vishwavidhyalaya facilitates the “Youth Power Priority”, emphasizing on upskilling and creating opportunities for industry partnership.
Overall, the 2023 budget outlines a very futuristic glide-path for improving the supply chain ecosystem in India. It will further enhance the export of networked products, thereby indicating a world-class infrastructure and synergy across the logistics value chain.”
V G Anil, Head of Operations, ARENQ, said, “We welcome the government’s decision to allocate Rs 35,000 Cr for energy transition, & viability gap funding for battery storage. The steps will enable growth in renewable energy capacity additions & grid stability. Viability gap funding for a battery storage capacity of 4000 MWh can bring about a capex of around Rs 15,000 Cr leading to lower tariffs for storage-linked project bids. We also look forward to FM’s announcement for formulating a detailed framework for pumped storage projects which will prove a catalyst to the whole process."
Sakshi Vij, Founder and CEO of Myles Cars, said, "The Budget presented is positive and growth focussed. The focus on Green Energy adoption through the Green Credit programme will be a welcome move. If this program is able to assist EV financing, we see this as being a significant boost to accessibility in Electric vehicles for a variety of mobility solutions. The increase in Capex budgets by 33% along with 35000 crore proposal for Energy transition are both welcome steps for the mobility space enabling greater scope for innovation and growth."
Zaiba Sarang, Co-founder, iThink Logistics, said, "Adopting green and sustainable practices is the way toward future, which has been acknowledged by the government quite profusely in today’s budget. The Union Budget 2023 places a strong emphasis on environmental responsibility. The ‘Panchamrit’ initiative is aimed specifically at achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2070, thus contributing to the green growth of the nation. Continuing to provide impetus for EV adoption in India, the government has taken robust steps through exemptions on customs duty levied upon the machinery imported for the manufacture of lithium-ion cells for EV batteries. The budget has also adequately covered infrastructure development by allocating INR 75,000 crore, including private investment, towards improving first- and last-mile delivery. As a part of the logistics sector, we are extremely elated at the announcement of these provisions, since they will help solve the current connectivity issues facing the industry, while building a more sustainable future for logistics, where efficiency and environmental responsibility come together to form a sustainable ecosystem."
Shantanu Rooj, CEO & Founder at TeamLease Edtech, said, "The Indian education system has always complained of non-availability of quality teachers. The current impetus on recruiting a large number of teachers and creating a sustainable teachers training program equipping them with multilateral skills will go along way in improving the quality of education in Indian schools. The government must also create a performance management system where there is a hope of rising and a fear of falling for all teachers. This initiative, along with the PLI scheme, will help strengthen the Make in India initiative by creating a ready pool of trained resources. Recruiting teachers and providing them with relevant skills such that they can impart the right knowledge and skills will help in building employable youth in India."
Sameer Aggarwal, CEO & Founder, Revfin, said, "The government's dedication to ‘green growth’ approach promoting environmental sustainability, as emphasized by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the recent Union Budget 2023, is a commendable development. The emphasis on reducing carbon footprint and generating employment through green growth initiatives displays a deep comprehension of the interdependence of the environment and the economy. The 7 main priorities, referred to as "Saptrishi," will drive sustainable and environmentally friendly economic development and this, truly is in the direction of India seeking a leadership role in mitigating the global climate crisis. Budget is very positive for the rural economy as it's talking about investemnets and credit schemes in agriculture, fishery, cattle etc and this would higher income for rural folks and now they may have higher capacity to have L5 ( e rickshaw for comercial purposes) and better capacity to repay EMIs. Customs duty exemption is being extended to imports of capital goods and machinery required for the manufacture of lithium-ion cells for batteries used in electric vehicles to further boost green mobility."
Sandeep Agrawal Director & Co-founder Teamlease Regtech, said, "Union Budget 2023-24 has reduced the tax liabilities for middle class individuals with revisions to the number of tax slabs (reduced from 6 slabs to 5 slabs) & increase in the limits within each slab in the new tax regime. Now, an individual with an annual income up to 3 Lakh will not have to pay any tax (as against an earlier limit of 2.5 Lakhs). Further, it proposes a 5% tax for Income between 03 – 06 Lakhs, 10% for income between 06 – 09 Lakhs, 15% for income between 09 – 12 Lakhs, 20% for income between 12 – 15 Lakhs and 30% above 15 Lakhs. This will result in around 25% reduction in tax liability for individuals with income up to 9 Lakhs and around 20% reduction in tax liability for individuals with income up to 15 Lakhs."
Rishi Agrawal CEO & Co-founder Teamlease Regtech, said, "From an ease of doing business perspective, this looks like a dream budget clearly acknowledging that ease of compliance is a key economic lever. It signals a technology-led transition towards paperless compliance. I am particularly excited about numerous references to ease of compliance via rationalization and digitisation in the budget speech. While I eagerly await the fine print, continued focus on decriminalization of employer compliance via the Jan Vishwas bill is expected to mitigate deeply ingrained colonial hostility against India’s entrepreneurs. There is a clear push towards building a trust based governance model. Extending the scope of digilocker to include business entities is a welcome step towards digitizing compliance. The proposal to use PAN as a common identifier is another great step towards creating a unique enterprise identity. This will eliminate the need to have over 20 different enterprise identities in the current environment. A system of unified filing process is proposed to be set up obviating the need for separate submission of same information to different agencies, reducing inefficiency and duplication of effort"
Sunil Kharbanda, Co-Founder & COO, Trezix, said, "The spirit of resilience has been proven by the 6.3 crore micro, small, and medium firms, which account for 30% of GDP and employ approximately 11 crore people. With sales in numerous industries throughout the MSME sector surpassing 90% of pre-pandemic levels, India's small firms are rewriting history with enhanced import-export trade and driving business globally. The budget shows positivity and has reduced import duties on raw materials to support Make in India and MSMEs, enhancing competitiveness in global markets and leading to a rise in exports."
Rohit Garg, CEO and Co-Founder, SmartCoin, said, "Continued boost in digitisation and stronger digital public infrastructure as underlined by the new Union Budget will fillip economic growth, with positive implications for digital lending and expected growth in share for the fintech sector as a whole. The focus outlined on financial inclusion, financial literacy and reaching the last mile will greatly benefit the players operating under this agenda. It will also herald greater investor confidence in the industry. The new tax regime will ensure more cash in hand for the citizens."
Sayeed Anjum, Co-founder & CTO, greytHR, said, "The government has taken an excellent initiative by establishing three centers of excellence in top educational institutions to nurture quality human resources in AI. A national education policy will undoubtedly facilitate job creation at large scale, and the Skill India Digital platform will allow HR service providers and employers to offer desirable jobs to skilled candidates. Also, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana 4.0 scheme is an exceptional project to expand skill training in areas like coding, AI, robotics, mechatronics, IOT, 3D printing, drones, and soft skills. While 30 new skill India International centres will not only help professionals from varied sectors but also MSMEs and start-ups who look for relevant candidates to do the work. The credit guarantee scheme will work as a cushion for growing companies to stay sustainable in difficult times. All in all, the entire economy will benefit on a large scale giving numerous scaling opportunities on various levels”.
Deepak Visweswaraiah, Vice President, platform engineering, and site Managing Director, Pegasystems, India, said, "The Union Budget for 2023 sets the stage for a growth-friendly strategy with a vision of a technology-driven and knowledge-based economy in the post-pandemic world. As the budget focuses on seven pillars of growth with a three-pronged approach to facilitating ample opportunity for citizens, especially the youth, providing a strong impetus to the development and job creation, and stabilizing the macroeconomic environment, we are well-positioned to tackle difficulties and prosper in the new normal.
This year's budget provides us with a forward-looking blueprint for India’s resilience, competence, and innovation. The Centre emphasizes on ensuring the community's overall progress through technology and digitalization. By offering new-age courses in 3D Printing, drones, coding, Robotics, AI, etc, through Kaushal Vikas Yojana or developing 30 Skill India International centers, India could further strengthen its position as the ultimate destination of top talent. I am pleased with the Centre's measures for Make AI for India and Make AI Work for India, intended to encourage innovation in AI. The establishment of three Centres of Excellence for Artificial Intelligence at prestigious educational institutions coupled with leading industry players partnering to conduct research and develop cutting-edge applications would unleash the potential of the Indian economy. As a result, India will be able to create an effective AI ecosystem as well as nurture skilled AI professionals. This is also a significant step in promoting financial inclusion in India, allowing industries across sectors to become more accessible to a broader segment of the population.
Innovation is at the core of this year's budget as the government takes its digital India initiative to the next level with the deployment of 5G services and a new program to promote R&D in pharma. In addition, the Data Governance Policy will be launched this year to enhance startup and academic research and innovation. Thus, we are indeed on a highway to building an open, digital, and inclusive India in the coming years.”
Dr. Manjunath H., Founder Belenus Champion hospital, said, "The Union Budget of 2023-24 by FM Sitaraman was very constructive, progressive and development-oriented. Private investments being encouraged in the health sector will enable more players into the medical field which will in turn boost the medical infrastructure of the country. The idea of bringing 157 new Nursing Colleges in core locations in collaboration with already existing 157 Medical Colleges in the country will definitely encourage educated youth to take up careers in the medical field and will also boost Nursing care.
One of the demands of the pharmaceutical industry was promoting R&D including both development of new drugs/treatments and research on diseases. The FM mentioned new programmes for research in pharmaceuticals will be formulated and the industry will be encouraged to invest in research which is very encouraging."
Balaji Rao, Area Vice President, India & SAARC, Commvault, said, "The budget 2023 has been laid down with a future-ready outlook and highly compliments nation’s objective of innovative, technology-driven and knowledge-based economy. The increased impetus on data generation and management while ensuring privacy, security, and trust is a powerful move. The India Datasets program and the proposed National Data Governance Policy will empower academia, researchers, and start-ups with access to a large repository of India-specific dataset and is an indispensable move by the government to further propel the Digital India vision.
Furthermore, the government is pushing the agenda of upskilling to prepare for a resilient future. The framework outlined to upskill the youth with 30 Skill India International centres, will bridge the persisting digital gap and unlock a massive pipeline of jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities. The initiatives for telecom services and modernization of agri sector through Digital Public Infrastructure will be critical in modernizing and broadening the scope of data generation, management, and protection.
The cumulative effect of all the initiatives will eventually generate enormous amounts of data that will intensify the need for reliable, unified data management and protection solutions. The budget 2023 is a foundation for India@100 and will strengthen our digital ecosystem, drive transformation, and fortify India as a leading digitalized nation.”
Nitin Varma, Managing Director, India & SAARC, CrowdStrike, said, “The 2023 Union Budget holds immense promise for technology development and skilling. Today, developing new skills is essential for various industries with new and emerging technologies. In particular, cybersecurity is a field that is constantly evolving and requires regular upskilling through advanced training programs. In the recent years, we have seen a significant rise in cyberattacks, however, many organizations are struggling with skill gap and resource crunch. It is encouraging to see that infrastructure and investment as well as youth power are main priorities as these are closely aligned with dynamic industry needs. Investments in infrastructure will have a large multiplier impact on growth and employment, leading to ramping up the virtuous cycle of investment and job creation.
The government’s decision to formulate the National Education Policy, focused on skilling will facilitate job creation at scale. The digital ecosystem for skilling will be further expanded with the launch of a unified Skill India Digital platform for enabling demand-based formal skilling. The proposed Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana 4.0 meant for skilling youth shall entail new age courses for Industry 4.0 like coding, AI, robotics, soft skills etc. It is a great incentive keeping in mind the importance of skilling, upskilling and reskilling in the present scenario. Another emerging technology today is Artificial Intelligence.
The three proposed centres of excellence for Artificial Intelligence too is a good opportunity for industry players to partner in interdisciplinary research, develop cutting-edge applications and scalable problem solutions. These initiatives will pave the way for building a workforce that will be skilled and ahead of the curve in their respective industry.”
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