Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a number of new measures for the tech industry. The measures include assisting digital payments in the country, setting up 100 labs for developing 5G applications, and using the PAN as a common identifier for all digital systems of specific government agencies.
How tech industry experts and startups responded to the FM’s speech today
V. Srinivasan, Chairman, eMudhra
“The emphasis on digitizing India in the Union Budget is commendable. The vision for Amrit Kaal includes a technology-driven and knowledge-based India. The proposed National Data Governance Policy will help in boosting data led development and encourage technological growth. The push to create Centers of Excellence for AI will help create a digital ‘Aatmanirbhar’ India and promote AI based solutions across sectors. The introduction of Entity Digi Locker for business enterprises will facilitate online storing of documents which will accelerate the digital transformation of the country.”
Rahul Garg, Founder & CEO, Moglix & Credlix
“It’s encouraging to see that despite the global recessionary waves, India’s economy is growing. The Union budget 2023–24 builds upon the foundation established by the previous budget, with a vision of a prosperous, inclusive India where the fruits of growth reach all sections. Overall, this budget continued focusing on promoting exports, boosting domestic manufacturing, enhancing domestic value addition, encouraging green energy and mobility, streamlining the supply chain, and providing economic support to MSMEs across the country. Lowered tax rate of 15% for new companies starting manufacturing activities by March 31, 2024, will act as a catalyst, driving the public-private partnership investment in infrastructure, including railways and roads. The thrust on manufacturing & infrastructure will enable the country to achieve the target of achieving a manufacturing potential to export goods worth $1 trillion by 2030. National Green Hydrogen Mission will facilitate the transition of the economy to low carbon intensity and reduce reliance on fossil fuel imports, thus contributing to green growth. According to our commitments at COP26 and COP27 on climate action, the Union Budget signaled the beginning of the decarbonization of India’s inbound supply chain. The National Data Governance Policy will unleash innovation and research by start-ups and academia, enabling access to anonymous data. The Unified Skill India Digital Platform would facilitate demand-based formal skilling, employer linkage (including MSMEs). Revamped credit guarantee scheme for MSMEs to infuse Rs. 9000 crore into the corpus. The budget has brought about entrepreneur-friendly measures on the policy and legal fronts to drive operational excellence across sectors. Access to entrepreneurial initiatives to further bolster the economic and human resource foundation of the country will drive start-up ecosystem in the country.”
Suvankar Sen, MD & CEO, Senco Gold & Diamonds
“The impact of budget 2023 will have negligible impact those who are making gold jewellery in India itself. As custom duties on bars of gold and platinum were increased earlier this fiscal. So there will be no new impact of budget on price of gold bars. Import of dore are a smaller percentage of total gold imports so only dore duty got increased by 2.5% , that may impact on business of local refineries. Tax on jewellery import has been increased which will again have no impact on our business as Senco Gold & Diamonds and most of the jewelery industry members doesn’t import gold jewellery. We buy gold bars from banks and all our jewellery are made in India. Import duty on silver bars, dore has been increased by 2.5 % which may have some negligible impact on silver utensils and jewellery industry.”
Yatin Gupte, Chairman & Managing Director, Wardwizard Innovations & Mobility Ltd
“We welcome the forward-looking budget presented by our Hon’ble Finance Minister. The budget has rightly been referred to as the vision of Amrit Kaal. This year’s budget brings a big boost to the India’s economy by covering all the verticals for the holistic development of the nation. The sanctioning of Rs. 35,000 crores for energy transition is a significant step toward India’s net zero goals and will undoubtedly provide a much-needed push to a sustainable tomorrow. Tax exemptions on capital goods, lithium-ion batteries, and further reduction of customs duty will accelerate green mobility and rapid transition towards electric vehicles, making the sector stronger than before. We are eagerly looking forward to the government’s ambitious vision for upgrading the EV infrastructure ecosystem. Further relaxation on personal taxes and push for the job creation will bring sustainability in the market and increase purchasing power. Domestic consumption is a prime driving force for the economy. With the infrastructure boost and effective capital expenditure, the industry is optimistic that this budget will definitely augur well for the economic recovery and overall growth of the country.”
Aman Puri, Founder, Steadfast Nutrition, premium sports nutrition brand
“India, known as the world’s pharmacy, is known for its affordable generic drugs. However, research and development have always needed attention- the government has announced measures to promote research and innovation in pharmaceuticals in the 2023 budget. It will also encourage the industry to invest in research and development in specific priority areas. The boost to research and innovation in the pharmaceutical industry is commendable and will further strengthen India’s position as one of the world’s leading drug suppliers. However, the relaxation in importing Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) should have been allowed since the imports of these raw materials for medicines, also known as bulk drugs, are necessitated to control raw material costs due to the caps on drug prices.
The government has not paid attention to the nutraceutical industry despite the sector playing an increasing role in healthcare. The sector would have welcomed a relaxation in imports of nutraceutical raw materials and ingredients because quality remains a challenge. There is no reduction in tax on supplements to make them more affordable and accessible to everyone- currently, they are subject to 18% GST, which is the second-highest tax rate.
The allocation to healthcare is still low at 2.1% of the GDP despite recommendations by National Health Policy 2017, the Economic Survey 2021, and experts to increase it to 2.5-3%. The world average is 6%.”
Mugdha Pradhan, CEO and Founder, iThrive
“Popularising millets is just going to make an already protein deprived nation even more malnourished. Maybe next time they can shift the focus to eggs, meat and ghee as these are nutritious foods that really bring health into human beings. That apart, we are expecting the Government to consider lowering taxes applied on the wellness industry to align with their new Agenda of Healthy India.”
Shabnum Khan, Founder, 750AD Healthcare Pvt. Ltd
“An increase in budget allocation for health infrastructure and digital transformation will enable a futuristic development of the country’s health bodies. Additionally, special focus on green energy and sustainability are key takeaways that will help in fostering sustainable products in the country. Also the budget declared that new programs for pharmaceuticals will be formulated and investment in research would be encouraged. With such a step it will boost not just the infrastructure but also the backbone of the healthcare sector with advanced research in medical sciences.”
Samrath Kochar, Founder & CEO of Trontek
“The budget is pragmatic and has taken the right steps towards advancing green mobility adoption in the country. Extension of customs duty exemption on Li-ion cells and removal of customs duty on imported machinery used for manufacturing Li-ion cells will bring down the cost of EV batteries thereby promoting EV adoption. Going forward, we are certain that the Government will also look at bringing a PLI scheme for battery pack manufacturers and also reduce GST on batteries to benefit the many MSMEs operating in the EV sector.”