We have received several pre-budget quotes from the Indian startups:

Mr. Kartik Agarwal, CEO, Staunch: “In last 5 years government has launched more than 150 schemes and policies for the startup community interest. Further pushing the Indian youth to look at start-ups as a viable career option, we hope that resources, funds and capitals provided by the government will be easy to access. We have a huge expectations ranging from Clarity on angel tax to tax exemptions on ESOPS, easing active compliance norms and state level funding & infrastructure support.”

Mr. Yogesh Bhatia, CEO, PreLoved Device: India has provided a nurturing ground to numerous startups in the past few years. The country has produced a great number of startups that are leading at a global stage. Having just started up, we urge the government for an easy regulatory system, policies, and norms for the startups so that we can run our business without any administrative obstacles”.

Kushal Nahata, CEO & Co-founder of logistics-tech startup FarEye: “The Budget 2019 should include regulations that will drive organizations to digitalize key logistics and supply chain processes. For instance, by mandating digitalization of certain key accounting, billing, and logistics processes the government can ensure greater levels of compliance (especially with regards to environmental sustainability) and tackle corruption better. Also, this year’s budget should highlight the current state of eWay bill adoption.

The pace of development of some crucial infrastructure remains slow. There is a need to speed up the development process of projects like the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC). We are also expecting announcements with regards to building integrated transportation hubs or Multi-Modal Logistics Parks.

The government can plan to introduce special windows to help logistics startups compete with large technology providers when it comes to winning government tenders. Also, there is an urgent need to simplify GST, especially with regards to the logistics industry. Once multiple types of businesses are brought under an organized trade structure, supply chain organizations will be able to deliver better value propositions to customers and hence boost revenue collections for the government. Deploying a uniform GST rate across the country is another initiative that the government needs to talk about in this year’s budget.”

Mr Saurabh Srivastava (Chairman & Co-founder of Indian Angel Network): “We are deeply appreciative of the hard work done by DPIIT/CBDT and bringing out the Angel tax notification in February, which has alleviated start ups’ problems to a large extent. Our expectation from the forthcoming Union Budget is further alleviation of regulatory friction impeding the growth of start-ups and angel investors. We hope that the Finance Ministry will take steps to align errant AOs who are still not falling in line with the spirit of the notification and harassing start ups. We also hope that the Government addresses the issue of tax authorities misusing laws such as Section 133(6) of the Income Tax Act to harass investors in start ups, raising the issue of valuation all over again. This brings to nought the sanctity of all the hard work done by DIPP and CBDT in the past months to exempt genuine start ups from Angel tax.

Moreover, Section 56 should be eliminated completely to encourage Angel investment in MSMEs. While DPIIT has uplifted start-ups in its February notification, MSMEs in general( which do not meet the DPIIT definintion), have been left out. Further, we seek clear messaging and simplification of executive processes from the Government regarding other taxes in which start-ups are usually caught up.

We welcome the President’s ambition regarding of 50,000 start ups by 2024 and hope we will cross it even earlier.”

Mr. Kamal Dutta, MD India for Skillsoft: We’re now witnessing the fourth industrial revolution and with it the evolution of new age digital technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Cloud Computing. Shortage of these new age skillsets can be met by the govt. developing guidelines for various industries in order to create mandatory learning for employees especially in the IT, BFSI sectors. The government should provide some support in the form of incentivizing companies investing in the reskilling, upskilling of their workforce for the digital age. With the shortage of skilled workforce in the deep tech sector, reskilling of employees in AI, ML, IoT will help grow India’s IT sector and sharpen its competitive edge amidst the changing business landscape. There should also be some tax benefit for individuals investing in their own training and development. Introduction of more industry specific and customized skill development programs like the ‘Skill India’ can help organizations acquire, retain and grow their talent base which will ultimately help these grow their capabilities and reshape India’s skilling and reskilling landscape. The ultimate benefit will be to the young and growing Indian population to secure good jobs, strengthen their career path and continuously keep learning to stay updated and ahead of the curve.

Mr Ishan Gupta (MD Udacity India): The current government’s Digital India initiative has played a pivotal role in empowering the country with digital assets. In the last few years, we have witnessed an exponential growth in the adoption of digital platforms for education, healthcare, banking and more. In the upcoming budget, I expect the Finance Minister to focus on providing equal opportunities to the readily available 500 million internet users while further expanding this base and the gamut of digital services to create a thriving knowledge economy. The Government should also focus on challenges like data security to ensure a sustainable digital transformation.

Mr. Sandeep Aggarwal, Founder & CEO, Droom.in: Our expectations from the Union Budget 2019-20 are pretty straightforward. With e-commerce being one of the most dynamic sectors in India at present, it has become imperative for the government to make the environment as conducive as possible for domestic players to survive and thrive in. The government should also make GST on e-commerce inapplicable for five years, along with facilitating R&D to drive innovations.

Further, there should be a single-window approval for the incorporation and establishment of a company. The capital gain taxes need to be done away with. Lastly, an internet company based out of India should be able to list itself to any stock exchange, and not just the Indian one. By undertaking such initiatives, the government can ensure that the environment becomes highly favorable both for established as well as emerging players in the e-commerce industry across the country.

Mr. Saahil Goel, CEO & Co-founder, Shiprocket: The government has done a lot to boost the startup ecosystem. In the upcoming full budget, we are expecting some key initiatives to be announced.

Though govt. gave a breather from Angel tax to DPIIT registered start-ups with share capital, including premium, of up to Rs.25 crores, we expect an increase in the exemption limit to up to Rs.50 crores. Moreover, Sec.68 of the Income Tax Act needs to be relaxed so that the start-ups no longer have to prove the source of investments made by their investor, failing which the department can tax the share premium received. Sec. 80IAC Income Tax, mandating govt. certification also needs to be amended to give effect to the angel taxation exemption intended by the govt.

Further, the budget is expected to encourage private investments by giving sops and simultaneously stepping up public investments across key areas such as logistics and infrastructure. Liquidity crisis needs to be addressed on a war footing by relaxing the norms around NBFCs and their funding.”

Mr. Anil Nagar, Founder and CEO, Adda247: The Union Budget for 2019-20 has touched the right notes for increasing the demand and growth in the economy. It will help in stabilising the incomes of the lower and middle class sections of the society including the farmers and workers of the unorganized sector by reducing the risks. It will automatically increase the purchasing power of the lower and middle class families. It indeed is a game changer for the country.

Ms. Saania Singh, Co – Founder, Zero Gravity Aesthetics: Though there is always a demand for immediate finance within the business ecosystem, a lot of banks are ill-equipped in terms of supply. In the upcoming budget, we expect the government to make working capital available at a lower rate of interest, especially for start-ups.

To level the start-up ecosystem, the government needs to widen its attention beyond the IT industry start-ups and take a more holistic approach. It should also work on start-up funding policies for women entrepreneurs and ensure efficient implementation of these policies.

Mr. Gaurav Jalan, Founder & CEO, mPokket : “Our expectations from the Union Budget of 2019-2020 are fairly forthright, in terms of ease and unification of compliances for Fintech companies. Fintech has the potential to play a significant role in shaping the future of the country’s economy, and a fairly consistent and conducive environment will enable startups to follow a proper procedure that facilitates proactive compliance along with helping avoid unnecessary costs. We believe that creating such a favorable environment will allow Fintech to survive and thrive in the ecosystem. Moreover, we hope that Fintech companies are allowed to participate in the recent initiative by SIDBI to provide loans under an hour, as well as in the various measures being taken under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojna.

Low levels of financial inclusion remain a critical factor affecting the development of the Indian economy, and Fintech has the potential to address this challenge. So we expect a better infrastructure that promotes and facilitates the digitalization of transactions in the remote areas of the country. This will enable Fintech companies to serve the underserved segments of the population, thereby driving true financial inclusion in India”.

Mr. Navneet Singh, VP Asia Pacific, PureCircle: “With New Government’s vision of Ayushman Bharat and doubling farmer’s income, we expect Union Budget 2019 to introduce supportive reforms and policies to promote the promising health, wellness and F&B space in the country.

We seek more support from the government to give a fair chance to healthy innovations taking place in the Food and Beverage space that can disrupt farmer’s income, consumer health, and environment at large. More agriculture reforms and positive farming steps will further increase the supply and the quality of the raw materials and ingredients, impacting the F&B industry and the growing consumer sentiments for healthy F&B products.

Stevia as a zero calorie natural sweetener has a huge potential to create healthier low/no calorie Indian Food and Beverage products. It can also become a big relief and income multiplier to the sugar cane farmers who are struggling for alternate income sources. Stevia is taxed at 0% in Canada, USA, and Indonesia but in India, it is being taxed 18% under the category of glycosides while sugar is under 5% GST. National Medicinal Plant Board (NMPB) is aggressively working to promote cultivation of medicinal plants under National AYUSH Mission (NAM). Stevia is a priority plant for cultivation listed by NMPB. We have high hopes from the Government, as exempting Stevia from GST will not only open a plethora of healthy F&B product launches in India but will also support sugarcane and other farmers to quadruple their income with Stevia.

We look forward to seeing more GST redemption for Stevia natural sweeteners, R&D infrastructure for Stevia, favorable policies and budget allotment for Stevia cultivation, to promote and support F&B industry in disrupting healthy food and beverage products for consumers.”

Mr. Harish Konakanchi, President and Executive Director of SAVIC Technologies:
Indian Union Budget 2019 impact on IT Services Industry: IT services industry in SME & MSME sector is characterized by highly skilled man power, highest investment on human resources, expenditure on travel & stay and low investments on fixed assets like machinery etc. Hence the investment & loan requirements of this industry especially which are start ups are different. For example, easy digital credit facility on month on month operations, interest rates based on pay & use model etc. are some of the industry needs.If that kind of credit facility mechanism is developed through banking & insurance sectors, India can create a large & efficient eco-system of MSME & SME in services sector, which will positively impact: employment generation, spread of job opportunities in every nook and corner of the country. It will also help in arresting large scale migration of rural populace to cities, thus balancing of natural resources consumption.

Reach out to the last Indian citizen: Another important impact of budget 2019 will be government initiatives to invest in infrastructure (Covering roads, water ways & supplies, power transmission), real-estate, clean energy generation & agriculture will positively influence more employment generation uniformly across the nation. As long as government invests in constructive employment generation, rather than offering freebies like unemployment benefits, which will degenerate the nation into complacent citizens.

Marriage of Technology & Social Challenges: IT sector integration with Agriculture & infra industry will bring the fruits of technology to the last citizen in the social hierarchy and reduce the economical, social & lifestyle differences among classes. There are ample examples of what technology can do: in railways or road transportation booking systems, various online money transaction systems, education systems etc. which have dramatically influenced our lifestyles and individuals ability to reach out to modern day benefits.

Mr. Yatish Mehrotra, CEO, Knowlarity Communications Pvt. Ltd.: On the behalf of whole industry, we expect this budget to enable women, especially in the middle or lower income slabs with higher tax exemption rates. Also, we would expect the refund process to be easier, lower taxes and easily accessible loans.

Ms. Samira Gupta, Chief Image Consultant & Executive Coach, Founder AIMC: India is gearing up for the Union Budget – to be announced on 5th July 2019. In my view, working Women in urban India expect preferential rebates and incentives from this budget. Encouraging interest rates for loans as well as on savings will significantly influence their decision to be entrepreneurs. Cheering and empowering women in the rural areas of India is equally important. A designated budget / Value for their skill development, vocational training can help in arousing their interest in working. This would prove to be a blessing in restoring and promoting Indian Art and Craft too. Preferential rebates and easy loans can encourage them to set up a small scale business and a truly empowered status. Hoping for sustainable growth of the Indian economy through these steps.

Ms. Sonica Aron, Founder & Managing Partner, Marching Sheep: Funding schemes for women entrepreneurs. Despite the existing programs (There are 9 programs that every one talks about, yet women entrepreneurs are far less in numbers than males), the number of women entrepreneurs continue to struggle with funding and infrastructure. For example, most of the schemes support rural or small scale industry.

Resources and infrastructure for Transgenders – Education, employment and facilities (as simple as washrooms). Some institutes are taking the initiatives, but a mandatory push through a policy or fund allocation would help.

As of now, creches are provided in manufacturing setups only. The private day care catering to corporate world are exorbitant and nearly prohibitive. Subsidised day care facilities as a policy to be provided to all parents/ or a tax exemption would help. This will help households with working couples immensely.

Education- affordability and access to students, and training of teachers on newer methodology, upgrading curriculum, bringing in newer concepts into education.
Focus on safety- budget/ spend on CCTV cameras, police force that make, lighting and other infra that can help reduce crime against women.

Dr. Himanshu Joshi, Associate Professor, FORE School of Management: As stated by Prof Himanshu Joshi, FORE School of Management “Skill development needs to be at the top priority of the budget, short term training needs to be started from schools itself so that student will be able to find out his/her interest to pursue further, after school, it will help to create employment on a large scale.

Another the focus required for employment generation at the rural/ semi-urban level itself, like 25% of the procurement of large industries or online platforms from the rural area itself. This will reduce the movement to metros, it will help to create a balance in the ecosystem as well.

Internet penetration in rural/ semi-urban areas needs to be improved, it will help to get the best trainers/ faculties on board across the world through virtual mediums.

The budget needs to be assigned for the education of stakeholders at all levels like conservation of water, girl education, need for skill development, etc. For the same repository can be created in the working domain of the best innovative and workable practices in all parts of India and abroad.

The budget needs to be assigned for happiness programs in schools, due to globalization, stress level increased among employees as well as students of higher education, this program will definitely help to improve the work-life balance.”

Mr. Navneet Singh, Founder and CEO Avsar HR Services: “We saw a total of USD 4.2 billion capital infused in 2018 but there was huge decline in funding for companies at seed stage. Hence, we expect reforms in exemption of Angel Tax and MAT which are probably the biggest impediments for start-up eco system. Moreover, we suggest GST be paid at the time of payment and not invoice generation so as to sort cash flow issues generated because of delay in payment. With Indian HR bubble thriving 180+ different companies of various stages, an increased focus on infrastructure that power individuals digitally, would be appreciable.”

Mr. Prithvi Singh – Founder and CTO Gameskraft: As an online gaming startup, we expect quite a few things from the Union Budget 2019. Given the fact that startups play a pivotal role in the growth of India’s economy, we are hoping for some much-needed relief from GST and TDS filings. We also hope the extension of the SEZ program or the launch of something similar that will solve the financial woes of early-stage startups. Many start-ups don’t offer basic employee benefits like health insurance, and this should be addressed immediately. Apart from that, the government should consider allocating more funds towards the development of office spaces for up-and-coming companies. When it comes to the online gaming sector, I believe the government should bring in some clarity around TDS deductions for real money games.

Furthermore, we are expecting some new initiatives aimed at promoting the usage of digital wallets in India. Another demand from the government is to make long-term investments into mobile data infrastructure so more users from tier II and tier III cities come onboard.

Ankur Choudhary, Co-Founder and CIO, Goalwise: “The Modi government’s first budget was a major hit among the salaried class, and rightly so. It had increased the investment limit under Section 80C. Since it has been 5 years since then, we expect the government to revise the Section 80C upwards from 1.5 lakhs to at least 2 lakhs given the inflation. While the corporate tax rate was lowered for MSMEs last year, we are now expecting the same for businesses of all sizes. On the personal finance front, the government should consider widening of tax slabs as per CII recommendations, i.e. no tax up to 5 lakhs (not just a rebate but a revision of tax slabs), 10% between 5 to 10 lakhs, 20% for 10-20 lakhs and 30% beyond 20 lakhs.

Moreover, LTCG is currently applicable on Equity MFs, but ULIPs continue to be tax-free. We want parity between ULIPs and Mutual Funds in terms of taxation. Additionally, removal of SST (Securities Transaction Tax) and simplification of GST slabs should be the top priorities of the Modi government 2.0.”

Mr. Mohit Poddar, CEO and Founder, Shoes on Loose: “Tourism plays a vital role in the growth of the economy of our nation contributing to a large proportion of GDP, leading to job creation. So, I believe that the government will definitely focus on this sector in Union Budget of 2019. The government should announce policies that would give a boost to the travel start-up community. Although last year’s Union Budget was a setback to India’s tourism industry, this year we are expecting more attention on this sector, favorable policies, fund allotments for start-ups and better tax reforms. Along with the tax reforms, we also expect a clarity on taxation system for the smooth functioning of the businesses.”

Ms. Sonica Aron, Founder & Managing Partner, Marching Sheep: Funding schemes for women entrepreneurs. Despite the existing programs (There are 9 programs that every one talks about, yet women entrepreneurs are far less in numbers than males), the number of women entrepreneurs continue to struggle with funding and infrastructure. For example, most of the schemes support rural or small scale industry.

Resources and infrastructure for Transgenders – Education, employment and facilities (as simple as washrooms). Some institutes are taking the initiatives, but a mandatory push through a policy or fund allocation would help.

As of now, creches are provided in manufacturing setups only. The private day care catering to corporate world are exorbitant and nearly prohibitive. Subsidised day care facilities as a policy to be provided to all parents/ or a tax exemption would help. This will help households with working couples immensely.

Education- affordability and access to students, and training of teachers on newer methodology, upgrading curriculum, bringing in newer concepts into education.

Focus on safety- budget/ spend on CCTV cameras, police force that make, lighting and other infra that can help reduce crime against women.

Mr Umesh Khatri (Cofounder, COO & CTO) Rgyan – A Socio Spiritual Tech Startup: “Being the first budget of the Modi Government 2.0 and also being the first budget of our new Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, expectations is very high. Being the 2nd largest startup hub of the world, we hope that the budget is made keeping all the factors in mind to help startups continue with this growth.

Although startup industry has seen a tremendous growth, but due to the taxation policies, even now investors seem to be afraid of investing in the startups.

Government should come up with such policies which should promote investment in the startups, so that an entrepreneur can focus more on research and innovation.

This is the time of new innovative technologies like Machine Learning, AI and Cloud Computing, and if the budget is made startup friendly then more and more startups will grow in this sector which will ultimately help in the growth of the country.”

Mr. Sumit Kumar, Director, Headsup Corporation: While working in the Human Resource’s industry. The biggest challenge which is coming is in the terms of Training and Development , Skill Gap and a big disconnect in terms of Campus and Corporate Gap. The existing students must be aligned to the growing need of the organisations which will make them more employable.

Government must allocate funds and resources to institutions so that they can invest in capacity building , setting up ideation labs and hire the necessary resources which can help in the execution of such efforts.

Further, while evaluating existing talent in the market , we have observed that there is a huge difference in the way graduates are rated in terms salary and pay.

Government should set up a budget and committee which can help in finding the gaps areas and also bench marking the best practices which the “Dream“ colleges are able to facilitate. This will help in increasing the average value of a graduate and also giving a chance to be at par with IITs and IIMs.

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