Dukaan App- Vaibhav Tolia, COO, Dukaan App: 2020 has been a tough year for everyone but the worst affected segment has been SMBs across the country. They were forced into lockdowns multiple times and while their businesses were primarily offline.
Our expectations from 2021 budget is to empower these businesses with financial support as well as weather-proof them from black swan events.
Digital first SMBs can weather such events and thrive in the consumer economy which is quickly moving online. Regulatory framework & compliances needs to be thought from a SMB perspective, making it easier for them to do their business digitally and not be dependent on large e-commerce providers.

Government should also focus on incentivising businesses that are willing to transition to the digital era. India has millions of entrepreneurs fueling one of the fastest growing GDP globally, digital first should become the precursor to Digital India.

Branch Personal Finance App- Matthew Flannery, CEO and Co-founder, Branch Personal Finance App: 2020 was a tough year for borrowers and lenders. Lenders saw a sharp increase in demand and subsequent delinquency rates. This in turn had tightened lending rules for most part of the year. With early signs of economic recovery, we are hoping the Government stimulates spending and increases liquidity in the market. It would be an excellent move from the government if there are economic stimulus packages that can aid both individuals and industries.

Groversons Group Pvt. Ltd- Siddharth Grover, Director, Groversons Group Pvt. Ltd: The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically ruined economies across the globe. Indian retail industry got affected the most by this pandemic. Although the industry witnessed some recovery during the festive season by shifting to e-commerce channels, sustenance of this demand remains critical for the overall revenue prospects of the industry. Being an old and trusted brand in the Indian Innerwear industry we expect the government to allocate good amount of funds in the retail segment as most of the retailers are currently crippled with short availability of finances. Adding to this the government should also focus on reducing the corporate tax rate, which is currently 30%, this will result in improving the financial health of retailers. At last, we also expect the FM to throw some light on the service tax which has always been a major concern for retail marketers. We all suffered huge losses due to the pandemic, let’s hope this budget 2021 will bring some positive news for all the sectors.

TaxMantra Global- Alok Patnia, Managing Partner,TaxMantra Global: All inflows and outflows of funds into and outside India must go through stringent RBIScrutiny, reporting, and limits. They become a blocker for foreign investments into India as investors worry about the extant compliance not only during inflows but also when the funds are to be repatriated back, either the original investment amount, interest, or dividend. The institutional investors and investees still have the resources at their disposal to carry out the compliances, however, many times it becomes a deal ‘breaker’ for smaller investors impacting the smaller MSMEs / startups seeking such funds.

Bhartiyam International School- Mr. Bharat Goyal, Founder & Director, BHARTIYAM INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL: In our country, the core services provided by schools, colleges and universities remain outside the umbrella of GST. Having said this, there are out-of-school education like hobby classes, sports training that are taxed 18 per cent and when they are passed on to the parents, they feel the pinch. One expects reconsideration of GST slab on supplementary education in the upcoming budget.

There needs to be an increase in facilities that aim to build capacity of the teachers, and the support extended to the anganwadi workers should be bolstered. The expense for the same is huge which is why budgetary allocation for the education sector has to be stepped up from the existing levels. It needs to be mentioned here that as things stand right now, the current level of around is only around three percent of GDP.

Hemant Dua, Co-Founder, Do Your Thng: “What a mixed bag year 2020 has been for the startups! Whilst many startups and small businesses struggled and folded courtesy the pandemic and lockdown, many reinvented and flourished in the same environment.

The WFH phenomenon and digital revolution ensured, startups focused on logistics, EdTech, M&E benefitted, while those in Fintech, travel and others struggled. I would urge the Government to create an environment for fresh flow of funds from VC’s by tweaking few existing policies on investments and exits.

I understand there is little cash and government is trying its best to manage fiscal deficit, but by relaxing a few policies such as lower tax rates for companies below Rs10 crore turnover, will help startups sustain thru this difficult period and get back on their legs. It will also encourage innovation by players in the country, create jobs and achieve Atmanirbhar Bharat”.

Lalit Mehta, co-founder and CEO, Decimal Technologies: “The lockdown brought with it an economic downturn for enterprises of all sizes, which urged the government to offer Loan Moratorium to borrowers amidst liquidity crunch. While this helped kick-start the economy, the government must introduce a long-term stimulus in its upcoming budget to ensure cash-flow for the BFSI industry. In the post-COVID19 economy, credit is going to be the enabler of businesses, we expect the government to introduce credit schemes that will provide a fillip to the sector. Schemes that would ensure continuous availability of credit as and when needed will provide a great boost, especially to the lending industry. During the lockdown, borrowing, for both commercial and personal purposes, increased, facilitated by FinTech players. We expect the government to announce necessary regulatory changes that would create an easy line of access for FinTech players to secure credit from conservative banks and further disburse loans to borrowers.

Covid-19 catapulted India into a digital economy and the FinTech start-up ecosystem witnessed some high-value investments in 2020. While the PM has already announced a Rs 1,000 cr Startup India seed fund, the FinTech start-ups can further benefit from the launch of a fund focused on equity capital requirements of start-ups in the lending space. This will help give steam to India’s $ 5-trillion GDP target by 2024 and fill the $380-billion MSME credit gap.”

Ashraf Rizvi, founder & CEO of Digital Swiss Gold and Gilded: “India’s working-age population (15-59 years old) is a cohort estimated to comprise roughly two-thirds of India’s total population, which the United Nations estimates at 1.38 billion in 2020. As the economy opens up, we expect the government to roll out more initiatives and investment that create jobs which will will to more spending and consumption, and also more saving and investing as personal finances improve, Digital Gold being one such safe, flexible and scalable investment option suited to all investors.

We, at Digital Swiss Gold, are among the many excitedly anticipating Indian Finance Minister Sitharaman’s Union Budget 2021-22. Gold continues to be one of the biggest imports in India and is an easy source of increased revenues for the government. We will be eager to see if the gold business draws additional import duties as has been the case in prior budgets over the past decade. We are confident that this budget will spur growth across industries while keeping the needs of Indians at its core. With our cutting-edge financial technology and unparalleled service, Digital Swiss Gold hopes to play a role in helping Indians realize their financial hopes and dreams in 2021 and beyond.”

Alok Bansal -Managing Director and Country Head, India at Visionet Systems: “With technological disruption gradually becoming a catalyst for the rise of MSMEs and startups today, it is expected that the government will make the necessary investments in technology hubs, which in turn will help in strengthening emerging technologies like AI, machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT). As the country is amidst a boom in digital technology adoption, this year’s Union Budget needs to make way for relevant measures to ensure that the right amount of thrust is given to tech build-up, favorable tax policies, and other opportunities will spell progress for the MSMEs.

The government also needs to make substantial efforts to set up a robust digital ecosystem for encouraging budding entrepreneurs and introduce measures that make it even easier to conduct business in India. This will be highly beneficial for startups and SMEs. It will further attract more companies and organizations to set up their offices or invest in India.

The government should pay attention to employing technologies that can be used to upskill or reskill the workforce employed by India’s MSME sector. Specialized tech centers can be set up and operated by the government and industry groups to equip the workforce with the required skills and perform AI-empowered hybrid jobs. Such interventions by the government have numerous upsides to them, starting with increased earning potential that will pave the way towards the strong economic growth of the MSME sector.”

Sandeep Aggarwal, Founder & CEO, Droom: The aftermath of the COVID- 19 has not only accelerated the need of owning a vehicle but inclined towards online buying for an automobile to avoid physical contact. No country has ever created economic growth unless it has given transportation freedom to its people. With that, we hope the Indian budget 2021 continue to invest heavily in road infrastructure and don’t criticize automobile for pollution because great road infrastructure will result in no pollution and no congestion on roads.

In India, only 5% of Indian households have a car, and 25% of Indian households have 2-wheeler vs 60% of households with cars in developed economies.

The auto industry expects relief from the Union Budget 2021-22 in the following multiple areas also –

· Demonetization, GST, and confusion around EV and BSVI have really tempered automobile demand last several years. The government should aim to announce things in this budget that can simplify the automobile industry including direct and indirect taxation, whether making it more complex.
· I really hope that government makes enough rules so that inter-state transfer of vehicles has a very low entry barrier and digitization of extremely important industry for the economy.

All-in-all, time is now ripe for the government to take initiatives to digitize the highly important industry which is Automobile.

Akanksha Sharma, Head CSR and Sustainability, STL: “As we all are going through unprecedented circumstances, we need a unique and inclusive budget to heal the wounds of rampant unemployment, major economic shock affecting almost everyone but leaving the low and middle income communities in a much more difficult situation. The country needs a budget that has a place for everyone, especially the most vulnerable communities. The budget needs to be more inclusive encompassing the private sector and its community contributions to supplement the public policy gaps. It’s really important the budget focuses on bridging the innumerable realities brought to light due to the pandemic by incentivising technology led and digital interventions. This would further promote an agile system and enhance equitable access of opportunities to the masses. Additionally, it needs to prioritize evidence-based and impact driven funding towards socio-economic empowerment of communities and also help create shared value by formalizing alternative avenues for fundraising in the ecosystem that will provide an adequate safety net for start-ups and non-profits that have been adversely affected by the pandemic.

I hope such tech-driven and innovative structures will catalyse immense opportunities for India’s disadvantaged sections. But, support through policies and from the government are pivotal here to enable this entire ecosystem and help it succeed.

Also, the budget should focus on industry action to reduce climate change. It should look to incentivise or subsidize aspects related to renewable energy and climate change mitigation measures by those in the industry pioneering such initiatives over and above the stated regulations which will help inspire others to follow suit.”

Nikhil Das, Founder, Agdhi: We have yet again reached that time of the year when the industry awaits the annual budget with heightened anticipation and expectations. For me personally, a conducive budget is likely to considerably improve the business prospects. And thereby, we expect Prime Minister Modi and Nirmala Sitharaman Ji to deliver on the hopes and aspirations of the agritech sector.

Although fairly nascent in India, the sector has the potential to improve productivity by manifold, if provided with the right kind of incentives and opportunities. At a time, when the farmers are not entirely convinced about the new farm laws, it is the perfect opportunity to provide them with avenues that would improve productivity significantly.

For this, the Modi government can either announce subsidy or cutback on taxes to farmers who opt for agritech products. Thereby encouraging farmers to adopt agritech in a big way than in the past when there wasn’t enough awareness of technological interventions in agriculture.

Besides this, agriculture was the only sector that has shown resilience during the COVID crisis to grow by 3.4% in the current fiscal year. This remarkable achievement amidst overwhelming odds shows the unmatched potential of the agricultural sector. This growth trajectory could be acknowledged by the government through agricultural-centric policies that provide the necessary boost to the overall economy. Such policies would also help associated sectors like agritech that are closely aligned to agriculture.

In the current scenario, when the world is taking note of India’s efforts in combating the COVID pandemic, the government must present a budget that paves the way for economic revival. On behalf of the industry, I would like to request the government to put policies in place that allows farmers to be better aware of technology-centric approaches in farming. This can be done as an offshoot of the much-publicized “Digital India” where there was added impetus on the adoption of digital technology.

We envision a future where technology has a significant role in providing the average farmer with the best productivity from their limited means. Hope the government gives agritech the necessary opportunities & incentives to grow as a robust sector within the Indian economy.

Amit Gupta, Yulu, CEO and Co-founder: “The need of the hour is to promote and make EV’s as the preferred mode of public utility vehicle and hence it is important to create a framework for making affordable debt capital available to EV startups. Electric mobility can go a long way in reducing air and noise pollution in urban areas. The government and especially nationalized banks can collectively work together to support startups and companies in the segment. Hence Government’s consideration of loan guarantee schemes to encourage banks to lend to EV manufacturers and operators, with parity on lending terms would go a long way. The need of the hour is to promote mobility as a service using EVs. Infrastructure for ease of use of EV like charging kiosks and Non-Motorized Transport (NMT) Lanes within 5 Km of all current/future metro stations are key factors to boost the demand of EV usage. We also recommend that incentives must be given for purchasing ‘low speed’ EVs as this will enable the sustained provision of affordable and environment-friendly transportation options for the masses.

Overall, we recommend a national policy on parking infrastructure for shared mobility and a mechanism to unblock input credits which will lower the cost of operations. We also urge standardizing lithium-ion batteries to promote swapping infrastructure. Further, we suggest rationalizing GST rate on critical components of an EV like the battery or propose schemes to boost local production of batteries.” Amit Gupta, CEO and Co-founder Yulu.

Ankit Sharma, Director, Airific Systems Pvt. Ltd.: “This year, the Budget will probably be the most important one in decades. After the pandemic, the world has changed and from our perspective, the pandemic has put all focus on the importance of consumer technology. The consumer technology sector is expecting some measures from the Budget, given that it has a key role to play in the government. To increase the penetration of consumer technology in the country, I urge GOI to introduce an entry-level GST Slab for consumer technology i.e. 5%-10% and I believe this move will certainly leave an impact on the sales in India with the affordability aspect.”

Gaurav Aggarwal, Founder & CEO, Savaari Car Rentals:

  1. Revive domestic tourism: “Due to the pent-up travel desire and a steep decline in COVID cases, people are now inclined towards leisure travel. The current travel pattern is determined by the distance of the destination from home as well as the various safety offerings during commute and stay. Which is why nearby, offbeat destinations that are accessible by short roadtrips are taking a precedence over popular tourist destinations. The advantages of these destinations are twofold – a boost to the local economy and reduced risk of infection as these destinations are lesser known and hence, less crowded. The Tourism Ministry’s budgets have previously been slashed over the last few budgets to a meager 1500 crore. In order to spur domestic tourism and make India a world-class tourist destination, we expect that the budgetary allocation is at least increased by 50% in the upcoming budget.”
  2. Allocation of funds for road infrastructure: “Road connectivity plays a pivotal role here. Investments in the road infrastructure, especially for the remote towns and villages would be a prudent choice to promote local tourism while simultaneously ensuring risk-free travel. This would align well with the government’s vision to build Atmanirbhar Bharat creating jobs in smaller towns thereby supporting the local travel and hospitality sector. The total expenditure on the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways for 2019-20 was around Rs 90,000 crore, growing at a healthy trend over the last 5 years. We would anticipate this to continue and hope that the allocation hit the Rs. 100,000 crore mark in the upcoming budget.”
  3. Focus on religious tourism: “In India, pilgrimages and holy sites rank significantly high among the preferred tourist destinations of people, including the lower classes. Religious tourism was severely hit as the prominent religious attractions such as Vaishno Devi, Golden Temple, Tirupati, Shirdi and Siddhivinayak temples remained largely shut during most of the previous year. Spirituality and faith being ingrained into the very core of the Indian society, now more than ever, people will seek refuge in god. As religious travel is expected to soar in 2021, the government should allocate a large pool of funds for the upgradation of on-premise infrastructure (like ticket collection centres, ATMs and toilets) in these establishments of worship.”

Mr. Shikhil Sharma, CEO and founder, Astra Security, on the expectations from budget in terms of startup and cyber security: “The upcoming budget will be the biggest testimony for India’s posture in this new post COVID19 world. A sharp focus on employment & entrepreneurship lead growth is anticipated. Over the last decade, Indian IT startups have preferred to have their headquarters in the US or Singapore to have a friendly tax & compliance setup. If this budget is able to address this by offering more relaxed & flexible compliance to these startups, it’ll not only attract more investments but keep made in India startups, in India. New policies should facilitate the smooth landing of offline businesses in a digital world by relaxing compliance requirements which in turn will enable payment gateways to offer these businesses a smoother transition. This will empower more Indian SMEs to take their products and services across the globe. As India prepares to become more digitally savvy in 2021, we need to shore up our defenses against cyber-attacks by enhancing data protection and have a much-strengthened policy in place for all sectors which is enriched via consultations from startups and companies working in this space, public consultations and aligned with best global practices.”

Wat-a-Burger Quote: “Due to coronavirus outbreak, food and beverage industry has suffered a major blow. Also, understanding the fact that this particular sector employs a huge number of semi-skilled and under-skilled manpower, it becomes imperative to enable a fast recovery system. For a food service provider, it takes multiple licenses to be able to establish a business. And it has been this way for over years. This procedure needs to be simplified to make it more productive for an F&B business. Secondly, the sector requires reintroduction of the inputs tax credit. Hence, the budget is expected to provide the sector with smooth compliance and regulatory procedures and credit flow streams to accelerate the recovery,” said Farman Beig- founder and CEO of Wat-a-Burger a dynamic burger joint.

Fixcraft Quote: “Overall automobile industry has been suffering for quite long. Due to COVID 19, the situation has become even more challenging. The upcoming budget is expected to address this long-standing situation. Also, for the startup community, it is imperative to maintain strong capital support. Investors have become very cautious about investing in the sector, hence a major fund allocation is required to keep the wheel rotating. There is also a need to ensure the ease of business procedures at all levels.” said Mr. Vivek Sharma- Founder and CEO, Fixcraft

We Founder Circle Quote: “The previous budget did not completely address the expectations and requirements of the startup ecosystem. There were some misses including – working capital crunch, tax parity on capital gains etc. This time the expectations are more due to pandemic and this makes it a big opportunity too if addressed right. After the COVID- 19 outbreak, startups are leading the technology adaptation across the sectors. This has further built an interest among corporate to invest in startups and technology-oriented projects. Therefore, this is the right time for the government to incentivize the startup funding and work towards relaxing the policies to encourage angel investors to invest more. Also, the government needs to push major fund allocation and also lower the GST which currently has narrowed the scope of maneuvering for startups,” said Mr. Neeraj Tyagi- Founder and CEO, We Founder Circle- startup investment platform

Cashaa Quote: “I am sure the government will give adequate finance for micro-business who are destroyed in Covid 19. Co-operative societies and NBFC who financed most of the microloans should get a compensation package or liquidity for faster recovery of the economy.

As the Supreme court has already removed the ban, the crypto industry will need some time to foster innovation in crypto in India. At this stage, the only good thing which can be done to overcome the damage done is to not over-regulate it,” said Mr. Kumar Gaurav- Founder and CEO, Cashaa

SupplyNote Quote: “The startup ecosystem needs funds and capital now more than ever. The government needs to facilitate the capital inflow from all possible channels. The budget should remove the corporate dividend distribution tax or levy DDT at low rate to encourage foreign investors. Secondly, startups should be able to get easy loans at low interest rates. At this point, it’s all about taking immediate steps for faster recovery.” Said Kushang, CEO and Co-Founder, SupplyNote, a supply chain automation startup.

Playtoome Quote: “Due to the pandemic, the funding has dried up in the startup sector. This has already resulted in aspiring entrepreneurs deferring their businesses and launches. The situation is making it challenging for early-stage startups too which have just sprouted and need a constant working capital resource. Also, there has been a reduction in foreign investments. It is very important for the budget to take under consideration the difficult times that the new startups are going through and announce steps that would encourage the inflow of financial support to put the wheel in motion again,” said Mr. Keerthivasan Subramanian- Founder & CEO, Playtoome.

Vishal Bhatia, CFO, True Balance: “The pandemic upturned our lives in the year 2020. However, 2021 will be a year of recovery and growth. We the digital lenders’ community on the whole will specifically benefit as the demand for credit will witness a surge. Having said this, we are expecting the government to execute policies towards this direction to promote collaboration between the banks and NBFCs, thereby required to ensure liquidity availability. We did experience an extreme liquidity crisis due to the pandemic situation and hence are now looking forward to receiving credit support from the government so that we can lend to unserved people at affordable rates.

While almost every industry suffered a setback and is looking for a ray of hope for recovery in Budget 2021, digital leaders specifically require incentives and credit so that we can reach out and extend a helping hand to deserving businesses and consumers. There should also be a provision for PSU banks to collaborate with digital lenders so as to extend the requisite support to MSEs. If we are empowered, we can eventually uplift the micro and small businesses. We desire to reach as many individuals and firms as possible and we would be able to support them only when we will receive the required financial aid at concessional rate from the government. This year there will be an increased demand for digital transformations and ergonomic technological solutions and we require financial aid from the government for the same.

Considering the present scenario, the government should shift their focus towards the sectors which require immediate upliftment. Industries like the ed-tech, healthcare, telemedicine, travel, and aviation industry, at the moment, require a lot of support to ensure their sustained growth and recovery. We anticipate the budget will be beneficial for the banking sector as well. There are bright chances for government’s efforts towards consolidation, privatization and re-capitalization of PSU banks. Other key expectations are reduced stakes in PSBs, and increased focus on the efficiency and management of financial frauds by setting up dedicated setup/body for the same.

It is also our expectation that the digital lending entities to have incentives, and are free to raise funds from foreign entities without being linking to the SBI prime rate and withholding of any tax for the next 2 years.

While Financial Inclusion is the vision of the Government, it should focus towards the increased requirement of development of FinTech and digital lending platforms which will help in the growth and ease of working for small businesses, thereby will help in achieving Government’s Financial Inclusion Vision. We also feel this would be the right time for the government to absorb the MSMEs into the large organizations to ensure the creation of jobs and revenue generation.

All we wish and expect that the Budget 2021 will be in favor of FinTech and Digital Lenders so that they can revive their stance in the financial market.”

Prof. Sanjay Gupta, PhD (Vice Chancellor, World University of Design): “Union Budget 2021-22 is the most anticipated event that every sector has their eyes on. While the pandemic staggered the economic growth of the country in the year 2020, it taught lessons in its own unique way – the biggest take home being the need to be self-reliant. To achieve self-reliance the upcoming budget needs to invest more in make-in-India as also Design-in-India besides ensuring that both gets supported by a renewed emphasis on education, vocational training and infrastructures of universities.

The past one year has highlighted the value of digitization and remote work environment. Schools and colleges have been no exception. It thus makes it evident that there will be high expectations from the government to provide a strengthened internet groundwork and an even tougher data protection as more and more educational institutes will look at the medium to reach out to students, to teach and to help students get past their curriculum; thereby requiring students’ information to be critically guarded.

At the same time, as a Design oriented institution, World University of Design hopes to see improved grants from the government in the field of education especially design education. Design assists innovation – the most powerful engine of economic growth, the future of a new-age India. The notion of “Atmanirbharta” or self-reliance would totally lie on the shoulders of the youth who would need to be equipped with not just better educational 4.0 but also with design thinking to enable innovation across diversified sectors & products. Design is an important as well as much sought out aspect in the current scenario owing to the shifting consumer trends from mere functionality to aesthetics and user-friendliness of products. It is natural at the moment to expect more measures to be taken in the upcoming fiscal in the domains of innovation, research and technology – all of them benefitting the basic infrastructure of an autonomous nation not depending upon imports from vigorously growing manufacturing giants like China and smaller ones like Vietnam, Myanmar etc.

At WUD we also believe that whilst causing a major alteration in way of life in 2020 the pandemic brought the focus squarely on digitization in a game changing way. Businesses transformed, moved to e-platforms and in so doing changed consumer behavior altogether. In the post pandemic era, many businesses are expected to thrive on virtual platforms making returns on investment much larger, customers will continue receiving merchandise on their doorstep making their lives convenient while buying the best in quality and variety from a centralized global market. This said, the situation would need a dramatically good number of creative thinkers working on online apps compatible with various OS and robust customer service and logistics systems to provide top class services – leading to a flux in the need of D-School graduates. The era, if well tapped could be seen as an opportunity to take India a notch above other developing nations, by making use of fresh innovative minds to invent something revolutionary; next by generating employment for the executing team members, marketing team ending into a longer and comprehensive chain supplying to the end consumer.

As a University that is home to over 700 students and 40 resident faculty members, World University of Design seeks information in the union budget announcement about a safe, well networked and efficient vaccination programme for students. It is a necessity to provide Covid19 vaccine to pupils across the country so that physical classes could be restored. While distant learning has been a great way of teaching all along the past one year and as an institute, WUD never ceased its proceedings in teaching its students, it is mandatory for students of a Design Institute to practically be present, learn while doing, from each other, and be exposed to new ideas and techniques.

We are certain that the Narendra Modi government will do justice to its own motto and strengthen the connection between its ideals and the strengthening of the nation via its students.”

“India’s public healthcare spending today remains below the government’s own target of the 2.5% of GDP. The pandemic further exposed the gaps in our healthcare infrastructure. My hope is that the upcoming budget will accelerate the move towards the target and increase the allocation to healthcare expenditure to strengthen the public health infrastructure and improve the accessibility and affordability of healthcare for the masses”Sanjay Joshi, Regional Managing Principal and Head – Asia, ZS Associates.

Rajat Jadhav, Co-founder, Bold Care: “First and foremost, we laud the government’s recent move towards allocating 1000 crores for seed funding start-ups in India. And yes, while it will boost the start-up ecosystem, 2020 has been a rather stifling year and we are hopeful that Union Budget 2021 will succor the sector.

There is an increased need for simplification of GST structure and easing of taxes to help start-ups and MSMEs crusade through shortcomings caused due to liquidity gaps. Also, start-ups must be exempted from compliances pertaining to taxes, filings and the corresponding paperwork atleast for the first 20 months so that they can pivot their energies towards business and operations. Focus on ease of doing businesses will attract foreign and domestic investors and will create a well-cushioned environment for start-ups expediting their scope of growth, ensuring long – term survival and strengthening their footing in the market.

Additionally, with the pandemic heralding a new wave of digital transformation, emphasis on incentivization and fortification of digital infrastructure will go a long way in ushering innovation and accelerating growth.”

Nilesh Shah, Chairman and MD, Atlas Integrated Finance Ltd: “With the disastrous effects that Covid19 had on everyone`s lives, businesses and the Indian economy, the expectations from the upcoming Union Budget 2021 is sky high. The unemployment rate though has come down from 23.52% in April 2020 to 9.06% in Dec 2020, is still on the higher side.”

As per the latest report by McKinsey by 2030, India needs to generate 90 million non-farming jobs over the next decade (this is not accounting for 55 million women who might join the workforce,) which is possible is the GDP growth remains consistently above 8%. This year GDP growth has been just 4%.

“At Atlas Integrated Finance Ltd, we have identified some sectors which can help India solve its falling GDP and unemployment problem, if those sectors get the necessary support from the government in this Budget. We think the necessary exemptions in the below sectors will pave the path for a resounding growth of the economy”

The Housing Sector
Housing is a sector that helps in creation of both direct jobs (construction workers, carpenters, plumbers, engineers etc.) and indirect jobs (in cement, steel, paint, power and many of the ancillary industries associated with housing.) in India. There is a large level of unsold inventory in cities like Mumbai, Delhi NCR region, Bangalore, Pune, Chennai etc.

As per section 24 of the Income tax Act 1961 an assesse is eligible for interest deduction of only Rs.2 lacs on the interest paid on housing loans. An increase in this ceiling limit should incentivise home buyers. This coupled with the reduction of stamp duty charges below 5% can give a boost to the housing demand and lead to record high registrations as seen in Maharashtra as on Dec 2020.

The Automobile Industry
The automobile sector has witnessed seen a lot of problems due to reduction in demand, cost increase due to regulatory changes due to emission and safety norms ,insurance, premium for five years and road tax registration increase have led to almost 30 to 40% price increase in the various automotive segments. Some of the steps like reduction of the GST tax rates to 18%, introduction of the incentive based vehicle scrappage policy to scrap over 15-year-old commercial vehicles, local sourcing of automobile parts and EV incentives for electric vehicle buyers are some of the triggers for boost in the demand in this sectors.

The Travel and Tourism Industry
There have hardly been any positive announcements or stimulus announced by the government to support the travel and tourism space that was beaten down due to the pandemic outbreak. The sector needs a revival plan starting with a reduction in GST to 5%, infrastructural developments, creation of tourism sites into world class tourist destinations, along with easing the visa approval process.

Harshit Jain, Founder and CEO, Doceree: The government’s priority in the budget this time around would be to boost the economy which got severely hit due to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Start-ups are an important component of the economy and would play a crucial role in driving it forward. As we are present in two markets – the US and India – I think the US government is more supportive to start-ups in terms of financing and I would seek the same kind of support in India with respect to access to capital and access to cheaper credit. The cost to capital in India is apparently highest compared to other markets and a lot of paperwork and approvals are required that make the entire process very cumbersome. The government should make the process of raising funds and related procedures easier and less laborious so that start-ups, especially early age start-ups, could be at ease and feel supported.

Mrityunjay Shahi, Founder & CEO, SalaryDost: “The year 2020 was unexceptional for every sector. Though the Fintech sector seemed to be profitable, it faced a lot of challenges in the Financial year. We are expecting a few key steps that should be taken by the Ministry of Finance in this financial year. First of all, there must be a regulatory authority assigned by RBI & Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MEITY) to keep an eye on the fresh industry players. There should be a pre-defined set of rules & regulations for the startups to manage their businesses ethically; respecting the customer’s entity. Also, talking from the customer’s POV the Government should set up subsidiary bodies dealing with the Fintech startups concerning underprivileged customers who are failing to repay their dues. Last year the Finance ministry took some of the beneficiary decisions including tax relief on ESOPs and the reduction on corporate tax to 22% which is the lowest in the world. We are seeking simplified GST rules to smoothen the process for both the customers’ and company’s end”.

Rohit Manglik, CEO, EduGorilla: “Education provides the foundation for the economic development of the nation and the empowerment of its citizens. The year 2020 witnessed the formulation of the landmark National Education Policy 2020 that proposes futuristic measures to revamp the Indian educational system. The increased allocation for education in the upcoming Union Budget will be a great beginning to realize its benefits. Emphasis should also be on teacher training, skill development and improving learning outcomes to cater to the dynamic industry. The COVID-19 pandemic has also underscored the significance of e-learning in widening the accessibility to education. Rationalizing GST in e-learning will make it more affordable for consumers and fuel the democratization of the segment.”

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