Interim Budget 2019: What We Want For IT ?

By: DT News Network
January, 31, 2019

The Government of India is all set to bring the interim budget 2019. This budget will help in the decision making and finalizing the work agenda till the commencement of general elections of India. This budget will be very crucial in order to decide the country’s economic growth. People have a lot of expectations related to their concerned field of work. The finance minister will tomorrow release the Interim Union Budget which is expected to be the big tactical move to push India’s GDP which has not been at the right track since big moves like Demonetization and GST. The Indian ICT industry has a major role in the Indian GDP so the big faces of this industry are very concerned and are keen to express their expectations. DT has compiled the expectations of big tech leaders here:

“Budget Will Focus More on Digital India Initiative”

 Alok Dubey, CFO, Acer India

For the year 2019, we are optimistic that this year, the union budget will focus more on Digital India initiative in order to shape the IT infrastructure and increase adoption of technology to encourage digitization. Last year, the budget did not really see any major inclusions for the IT sector. We also, feel that slashing of corporate taxes will help the larger companies and help Indian entities to compete globally and attract more investment to the country. In addition to this, it would be great to see the budget focusing on lowering the personal income tax slabs, and tax saving schemes which would lead to higher disposable income and directly benefit the normal taxpayer.”


“We Hope To See More Initiatives Towards The Training And Skill Development”

CP Gurnani, MD & CEO, Tech Mahindra

“We need to sustain our global competitiveness and ensure continued support to the start-up ecosystem. We need to further improve the ease and cost of doing business in the country by enabling a feasible policy and tax framework. In Budget 2019, we hope to see more initiatives towards the training and skill development of our youth, thus, addressing the employability issues in crucial next generation technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, 5G, Machine Learning, and Cyber security. Additionally, continued thrust to the Digital India program is essential”.



“We Are Expecting FM To Reduce Customs Duty On ‘Open Cell’ Used In The Manufacturing Of LCD And LED Television Panels”

Avneet Singh Marwah, Director and CEO, Super Plastronics Pvt. Ltd, a Kodak brand Licensee 

“The Indian government has been very supportive to the TV manufacturing industry and the recent reduction in GST has proven to be a great example. In a move to promote domestic manufacturing, we are expecting FM to reduce customs duty on ‘open cell’ used in the manufacturing of LCD and LED television panels to 0 per cent from the current 5 per cent. As a lot of brands have started importing TVs from ASEAN countries under FTA; major brands have stopped manufacturing televisions in India. This has impacted the Make in India initiative to a larger extent, close to which 1 million TV units have already been imported this year under FTA.”


“Government Should Support A Manufacturing Focused Start-Up Ecosystem”

Lux Rao, Chairman, Manufacturing WG, IET IoT Panel 

  • Revamping the India IoT policy with adequate industry representation / inputs . This can be modeled on the lines of the relatively successful Smart cities approach
  • Create a Govt / Industry combined task force to accelerate adoption under the aegis of the industry secretary / IoT Congress
  • Subsidize MSMEs for IoT adoption as a step towards Industry 4.0 – work on a prescriptive technology pack that would help adoption without much of pushback
  • Manufacturing is the backbone of a country’s economy and Government should support a Manufacturing focused start-up ecosystem with the public sector enterprises mandated to be alpha adopters.
  • Tax breaks for manufacturers of sensors and MFG focused ISVs


“We Expect Government To Give More Focus On Driving Domestic Innovation”


Dr. Rishi Bhatnagar, Chairman of IET IoT Panel & President, Aeris Communications

“The 2018 budget witnessed increased impetus from the government on promoting new technologies like AI, ML and IoT. As far as IoT ecosystem is concerned, we expect government to give more focus on driving domestic innovation coupled with fiscal incentive schemes and liberalisation norms.”



“I Would Expect The Government To Continue Its Focus On Mobility”

Shekhar Sanyal, Country Head & Director, The IET India

  • The world is rapidly changing and the future of how we work and produce results will change dramatically in the next decade. It is important that the government puts aside significant resources to research, understand and implement the necessary steps to create the work employer and skills ecosystem that will allow India and its workforce to continue to be globally competitive and valuable. The traditional universities will spend more time in reskilling existing work forces and need to be rebooted to make it happen. The government regulatory framework around skilling and future of skilling and work require continuous research and input which the budget should allow for.
  • Another critical aspect to be focused is the partnerships with foreign universities that will encourage research and development, promote cross-country educational outreach and in turn offer exposure to students to explore their intellectual quotient in challenges of the future.
  • Budget should also have provisions for academia to spend on new technologies and expand their facilities to help students with exposure to real-time application of new-age technologies.
  • Finally I would expect the government to continue its focus on mobility but not just on Urban Mobility. It should allocate budgets for Rural mobility as well as freight and logistics as a focus area.


“The Government Should Have Special Attention On Small Scale Manufacturing Industry”

Vipul Singh, CEO and Co-founder, Aarav Unmanned Systems

“The government should have special attention on small scale manufacturing industry including startups which are making unique hardware products in India. Ministry of Civil Aviation has done a fantastic job by bring a very pragmatic drone regulation and has gone further to even put down a 10 year roadmap for the Industry. Since the drone Industry in India is very small and mostly run by very small startups, govt. should announce Special Drone VC fund, R&D grants, tax exemptions, export benefits and infrastructure development grants for startups and SMEs to help the domestic industry grow faster than the global counterparts and serve not only the domestic market but the global market”


“The Government Needs To Soften GST Rates For Startups”

Neel Juriasingani, Co-Founder & CEO, DataCultr
"2019 promises to be an action-packed year for India and after the entire manoeuvre in the startup ecosystem in the past few years, the expectations have gone much higher. One of the key challenges for technology startups in India is that of raising funds, especially in the pre-series A round. We expect that with budget 2019, the government will introduce easy early stage funding and grants for tech start-ups in order to propel the next level of growth of this thriving sector. The government should make sure that startups have a level playing field with other companies, more particularly listed companies where they can participate and win tenders for central and state government projects. Besides, the government needs to soften GST rates for startups which will help create a more welcoming ecosystem for the industry players. Policy regulations like these will allow entrepreneurs to devote their time, energy and resources to gain success and build upon more innovative ideas."


“Budget Must Address Is Equalization Of 6% Levy On Overseas Online Advertising Business”
Raman Mittal, VP-Marketing, TO THE NEW
"The union budget 2019 holds great significance being the last Budget of the BJP led NDA government. With the announcement of last union budget we witnessed some major policy and structural reforms with the launch of Digital India programme, focus on improving internet connectivity even in rural areas, and establishing centers of excellence for research & training on robotics, AI, big data analysis, and IoT. As the government recognizes the importance of the IT sector, there are high expectations from this budget to see reforms enabling the ease of doing business and promoting the growth of this sector. However, few issues that the budget must address is equalization of 6% levy on overseas online advertising business as this has a direct hit on companies like us providing digital advertising services. Further, this year the industry also expects the government to soften the GST rates from 18% and bring in more clarity on its implementation. We also look forward to forfeiting Tax Collected at Source (TCS) under the GST completely given its uncertainty and clarity."


“There Is An Urgent Need To Simplify GST”
Kushal Nahata, Co-Founder & CEO, FarEye

“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.”


“Hoping To See Reservation of Budgets To Provide Strategically Located Infrastructure Support To Small Component Manufacturers”

Ashwin Bhandari, CEO, iVOOMi

"We are looking forward to provisions by the GoI in the budget which will be in the interest of making Indian manufacturing facilities at par with global giants, which will tremendously benefit exports and increase exports from India manifold. Increase in exports will lead to India becoming a manufacturing hub of the world. Also hoping to see reservation of budgets to provide strategically located infrastructure support to small component manufacturers. This will further support the Make in India initiative, taking manufacturing units to the next level in terms of capabilities and growth. Releasing special funds for this will help Indian factories/manufacturing plants become the global manufacturers and India could be the manufacturing hub of the world in the next 3 years."


“There Is A Growing Need Of Focus On Enabling Secured Digital Transactions”

Vijender Yadav, CEO, Accops Systems Pvt Ltd

“The current government has a very strong push for Make in India and digitally enabled government services. The trend seems to continue in the right direction with the availability of faster and affordable connectivity across urban and rural India. Along with pushing the digital India initiative, there is a growing need of focus on enabling secured digital transactions right from the beginning. We saw Aadhaar continuously questioned for the security of the biometric data. There are multiple incidences where the government's investment was put at huge risks because of negligence on cybersecurity. It is time that the government starts keeping a specific budget and focus on cybersecurity as well. The Make in India and Startup India programs have pursued to bring the Indian IT and cybersecurity companies to forte. The IT budget is an opportunity for the government to push the agenda further by enabling government organizations to adopt made in India cybersecurity products by proving specific budgets. Cyber threats are the new weapons exploited by state-sponsored entities. In line with the defence budgets, the government must start allocating specific budgets for cyber-defence as well.”


“We Are Expecting Reduced Duties On IT Networking Products”



Shibu Paul, Regional Sales Director-APAC, Array Networks 

"From this year's budget we are expecting reduced duties on IT networking products. There should be a strong domestic manufacturing policy favoring global companies to invest more in India. The budget should reassess the preferential market access policy and ensure that honest tax paying citizens are given privilege and preference."



“The Current 18% GST Bracket Can Be Brought Down To 4-8%”

M A Mannan, Country Manager – SAARC, Corsair 

"With the implementation of the GST, the industry has flourished a lot; there has been a complete full stop for grey channel market or grey imports. The government is committed to the growth of manufacturing sector and the strides made by 'Digital India', 'Make in India' initiatives. This evolving aspect of the IT industry brings in immense business opportunities, but requires a special attention for its optimal utilization. So, to further encourage the electronics manufacturers and take these initiatives to next level government should roll out new schemes and incentives.  Also, with the fast paced developments in the IT industry, changing consumer buying patterns, variable GST rates for the various sub-parts in consumer goods, the industry is going through a demand-supply-cost gap. Hence, to address these challenges, the current 18% GST bracket can be brought down to 4-8%, which will help the IT industry as well as the consumers."


“The Government Can Look At Tax Slabs For Corporate”

Krishna Raj Sharma, Director & CEO, iValue InfoSolutions 

“The Government can look at tax slabs for corporate like in the case of individuals so that large entities pay more and SMBs pay less tax to ensure that they support them in creating new jobs. Recent 10% reservation for economically weaker section cites 8 lakh as the threshold earning for this new policy. Taking cue from this, income tax slabs need to get revised from the current 2.5 lakh slab to 6 lakh+ slab if not 8 lakh+ slab for individuals. Larger wish of individual and business is for continuance of reforms by any government coming to power so that India continues its journey of realizing its potential in its economic growth journey focusing on inclusive growth of all."


“The Government Would Use The Budget As A Financial Tool To Boost The Digital India”

Prashanth G J, CEO, TechnoBind 

"I have many expectations from this budget and at the top of it is the Easy Availability of credit, especially to the MSMEs. The last 18 months have been tough with the banks tightening their lines and now in the last 6 months the NBFC scene has compounded the issue. MSMEs want easy availability of credit to sustain and grow their operations.  The other expectation would be that the government would use the budget as a financial tool to boost the Digital India efforts and drive the adoption of Digitization right up to the SME. This will have a huge effect on the economy by not only increasing productivity but giving businesses a step forward to competing in today's modern business environment."


“We Would Require Government To Create Policy Frameworks That Incentivize Investments From Big Players”


Rajarshi Bhattacharyya, Country Manager, SUSE

“The Government's vision of Digital India has come alive and is slowly bridging the digital divide. With initiates like 'Digital India', 'Make in India' and 'Skill India', the government has certainly put India on a Digital Innovation fast track. By 2019 Budget, we would require government to create policy frameworks that incentivize investments from big players in manufacturing locally in India. Creating transparency in Governance and reducing regulatory compliances should be taken into the consideration.”


“Government Should Create Policy Frameworks That Incentivize Big Businesses To Invest In Manufacturing Locally”

Rajendra Chitale, CFO, Crayon Software Experts India Pvt Ltd

"With Budget 2019, we require government to create policy frameworks that incentivize big businesses to invest in manufacturing locally in India. Further, we would also expect the Government to remove the day-today hurdles and obstacles faced in implementation of these initiatives. Government had provided for non-deduction of withholding tax on reselling of software licenses - primarily considering the very low margins in this trade and the fact that resellers are not making any changes to the licenses purchased from the OEMs. With the changes in technology - pure play software licenses are being replaced by a bundled package - Azure, Amazon web services, etc. (Together referred to as "Cloud Services"). Another area on implementation is to remove the bureaucracy and speed up the process of refunds - on Income tax as well VAT/ Service tax refunds."


“This Year's Budget Should Promote Companies Manufacturing IT Products Locally”

Sonit Jain, CEO, GajShield Infotech 

"We would like the budget this year to give a strong push to Make In India which may include larger tax exemption limit for employees working in companies which are manufacturing products locally in India. A strong push towards rural e-infrastructure with added emphasis on security compliance and data protection would be beneficial. Implementing zero GST set-off for companies using SaaS application hosted outside India will enforce companies to setup data centers in India thus boosting jobs as well as infrastructure. Incentives should be given for making digital payments for the additional transparency they provide. This year's budget should promote companies manufacturing IT products locally by giving them added advantage like tax exemption or incentive on IT exports."


“We Would Like This Budget To Provide Directions To Key Decisions Expected To Take Place In IT And Manufacturing Sectors”

Rajaram Vidyavar, Director, Commercial Netrack Enclosures Pvt Ltd 

"Budget 2018 elevated country as a hub for ease of doing business. Also, the recent announcement of new SOPS for MSME sector that involves less and easy steps to access credit will surely boost the Indian MSME sector. The government is all set for Union Budget 2019 and there are lots of expectations from this session. We would like this budget to provide directions to key decisions expected to take place in IT and Manufacturing sectors. The industry is also anticipating revised schemes which will boost the 'Make in India' and 'Digital India' initiatives. Tax deductions on locally manufactured products and special packages for Indian manufacturing hubs will surely achieve zero imports by 2020, hence boosting Indian economy."


"The Budget Should Mandate Setting Aside 10% of The Respective Technology Budgets for Every Government Project"

Deepak Maheshwari, Director - Government Affairs, India, Symantec

“India is seeing rapid adoption of technology within the government, businesses and amongst its people - most visible in government services, education, healthcare,  financial services,entertainment and information via mobile devices, extending beyond interpersonal communication. With the ubiquitous hyper connectivity and horizontal integration of technology across all walks of life, it is not surprising that cyber security threats featured amongst the top four risks by the World Economic Forum in its recent report. India is not immune or an outlier to this trend. Hence, it would be best to design, develop and deploy an integrated cyber security and response strategy at every level and especially so, in the critical infrastructures including banking, energy, telecom and smart cities. The budget should mandate setting aside 10% of the respective technology budgets for every government project to be invested in cyber security, as per the recommendations of the NASSCOM Task Force set up in response to the Prime Minister’s behest. In addition, the data protection law should be expedited, albeit via further consultations and aligning the same with the global best practices.

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