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Budget 2021: Reactions from the Technology & Cybersecurity Industry

In a bid to boost the pandemic hit economy, through the multiple investment announcement in the sectors like Health, Infrastructure, Education, Startups, Automobile among others. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday tabled the first paperless Union Budget for 2021-22 in the parliament.

Here are some reactions of experts from the technology, and cybersecurity industry:

Mr. Niraj Hutheesing, Founder and Managing Director, Cygnet Infotech:

“We welcome the measures announced by the government of India in the Union Budget 2021. Significant capital expenditure in infrastructure and health care sectors will be a big asset for India. Promotion of digitization at large, and digital transactions particularly, is another positive aspect of the budget. There has been the political will to take a big deficit for the next year. Simplifying the tax regime is another important aspect of this Budget. To ease compliance, the Finance Minister has increased the tax audit limit from ₹5 crore to ₹10 crores for the companies that conduct most of their business through digital modes. 

Additionally, the government is also planning to take steps to reduce inverted duty structures in GST and has proposed to review over 400 old exemptions in indirect taxes and will begin extensive consultation from October 2021. The budget also provided impetus on one of the most hard-pressing issues, namely tax evasion cases. The use of digital technologies such as automation solutions and data analytics tools can help in removing anomalies in the GST tax infrastructure and make it transparent to a great extent. All the measures announced today will further enable companies such as Cygnet Infotech to develop technology solutions for businesses to help them adhere to the taxation norms.”

Mr. Ramesh Mamgain, Country Manager, India and SAARC, Commvault:

“The Union Budget 2021 is sui generis considering that it is India’s first-ever ‘Digital Budget’. The gesture of doing away with the paper versions of the Budget underlines the government’s commitment towards PM’s ‘Digital India’ vision. A renewed focus on infrastructure would mean accelerated technology adoption, which cannot be accomplished without data privacy measures, propelled by data protection. This approach would help in strengthening India’s data protection framework to protect individual information, with investments in key technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to secure cloud-based infrastructures. 

While the capital expenditure on the physical connectivity – road, railway, and port – has been highlighted throughout, I am sure that digital connectivity will ultimately become a cornerstone of everything we do in the current times. Overall, it is an inclusive and pro-growth budget, presenting a balanced stance on the pathway to recovery.”

Pankit Desai, Co-founder CEO, Sequretek:

“The much-awaited Budget 2021 has provided a significant push for healthcare, agriculture, and rural economy, but unfortunately nothing concrete for startups and the surrounding ecosystem. For the majority of startups, demand remains the same, nothing changes, its business as usual. Forming a one-person company doesn’t help startups whatsoever unless they want startups to form a single person company. There is some push for fintech and startups from this sector will stand to benefit, however, the budget did not share anything substantial in terms of ease of doing business, compliance, or GST taxation that would make life any different for a cybersecurity company like ours. I am hoping that the stimulus and other investments that allow the economy to do well, indirectly will support us as we finally serve that economy in some shape and form through our customers.”

Kumar Ritesh, Founder CEO, CYFIRMA:

“This is one of the most business-friendly Union Budget we have seen in a while, and this is rightly so given the urgent need for a strong economic recovery. The initiatives to ease the setting up of new companies bode well for the technology sector. This will promote an even greater entrepreneurial culture and put India squarely on the global map of technology innovation. Given India’s young, dynamic and tech-savvy workforce, we should expect more companies to choose India as a base to leverage on our vast talent. India’s fast-growing middle-class population should also be a magnet for businesses seeking to tap on the underserved market here. 

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Further, the Finance Minister’s announcement that companies will receive RS1500 crore to encourage their adoption of digital payments will go a long way to promote Fintech innovation, and more importantly, allow millions of unbanked Indians to participate in the financial system. With digital payments becoming mainstream, the government should also start looking at uplifting cybersecurity awareness and education among businesses as well as consumers. This way, the twin engines of growth – innovation, and digitalization – can be sustainable in the long run.”

Ashwani Rawat & Amarsh Chaturvedi, Co-Founder & Director, Transerve:

“The Union Budget 2021 can be rightly considered as path-breaking as it was the ground-level of the country and not just sector-specific. The budget laid much-needed importance to the country’s healthcare system considering the recent and ongoing Covid pandemic by allocating Rs 64,180 crore for Atmanirbhar Swasthya Yojana, thus strengthening healthcare in India. We also appreciate an outlay of Rs 1.41 lakh for Urban Swachh Bharat 2.0 Mission, Rs 2.87 lakh crore for Jal Jeevan Mission Urban, Rs 1.41 lakh crore for Urban Clean India Mission, and the announcement of 5 new Smart Cities under PPP mode in collaboration with states, to reinforce Urban India. Technology being the core suite to build on a successful business ecosystem, we welcome the allocation of Rs 8,000 crore for National Mission on Quantum Computing & technology and building data center parks. The honorable Finance Minister has left no stones unturned to give a boost to new age technology like AI, ML, and Data Analytics across sectors with the launch of MCA Version 3.0 which shall target simplification of E-Scrutiny, E-Adjudication, and Compliance management.”

Mr. M. Natarajan, SVP- Head of Finance & Accounts, JK Technosoft:

“The Union Budget 2021-22 is applaudable at various levels. While as expected by many there were no exemptions in the tax slab, but providing exemption to the elderly for filing the return is a great activity to reduce the compliance burden for the senior citizens. We also appreciate the Finance Minister’s decision to constitute a Dispute Resolution Committee to ensure efficiency, transparency, and accountability under which anyone with a taxable income up to `50 lakh and disputed income up to `10 lakh shall be eligible to approach the committee for resolving disputes. 

We commend the Government’s decision to smoothen the GST structure to remove anomalies such as the inverted duty structure. Further, the digitization of GST by deploying deep analytics and Artificial Intelligence to identify tax evaders and fake billers and launch special drives against them is a praiseworthy action. We also appreciate the Government’s focus on new-age technology like Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning under which it will launch MCA21 Version 3.0 involving additional modules for e-Scrutiny, e-Adjudication, e-Consultation, and Compliance Management.”

Mr. Sangeet Kumar, CEO & Co-Founder, Addverb Technologies:

“Budget 2021 focuses on enhancing productivity by incentivizing the use of technology to make India ‘Atmanirbhar’ and future-ready. As the future of manufacturing is driven by robotics and other automation technologies, we appreciate the announcement of PLI schemes to create manufacturing global champions under AtmaNirbhar Bharat for 13 sectors related to electronic manufacturing. The Government also announced to extensive use of data analytics, artificial intelligence & machine learning for the roll-out of MCA21 portal version 3.0. This version 3.0 will have additional modules for e-scrutiny, e-Adjudication, e-Consultation, and compliance Management. 

Also, as upskilling programs are required to make the workforce ready to work with robots and other automation, the budget played a lot of attention to machine learning-driven programs and setting up of data center parks to promote R&D. We highly appreciate the proposal of extending the tax holiday for start-ups for one more year and Tax relief for startup employees on deferment of tax payment on ESOPs by 5 years.”

Gaurav Shah, CEO & Founder, DAAS Labs:

“The Budget 2021-22 has left the data science community quite excited for what is to come. For me, it was really interesting when the Government announced that it will launch multiple data analytics, AI, ML-driven models for e-security, e-education, e- consultation, and compliance management. Also, the prospect of using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in GST Fraud Tracking is quite motivating and intriguing.

The Government’s continued support for the startup is quite uplifting as the Government is setting aside Rs 15,700 crore in FY22 and has reduced margin money requirement from 25% to 15% for startups. The proposal of extending the tax holiday for start-ups by one more year will also give more confidence to the entrepreneurs.”

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