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Budget 2021: Expectations of Technology sector

Before the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presents the Union Budget in the Parliament on February 1, 2021.

Here’s what the technology sector expects from Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman:

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

“Innovation is an important driver in India’s business and economic growth and this was proven true during the pandemic crisis. India as a nation has a great potential in the R&D space, especially owing to the large talent pool we have. Being a part of NASSCOM’s Deep-Tech Club we saw 10% rises in tech startups in 2020 alone with the addition of over 12 new unicorns.

According to NASSCOM, Indian deep tech industry led by AI is capable of adding USD 957 billion to the country’s GDP by 2035. We expect the Union Budget to increase its expenditure in the R&D sector especially in the Location Intelligence industry to bore the benefits that the technology offers. We expect liberalizing the policies and framework to support the startup ecosystem.”


Saurabh Singh, Director of Appinventiv:

“While eagerly waiting on the insights of this year’s budget, We hope that the finance minister and the government of India takes steps to position India as the IT epicentre of the world by creating advanced policies in favour of the Technology Industry. At the same time, the government must also create favourable tax policies for 100% owned & incorporated companies in India, which are playing a major role in giving employment and bringing foreign funds, and helping the economy.

With that in mind, we urge that the government considers providing incentive in income tax for the companies which have been generating good employment with consistency. Being one of the leading digital transformation companies, we believe that our compliance system should be favourable enough to encourage the organizations to keep their Head Offices in India instead of abroad.

Even during the testing times, India’s IT Industry and the startup ecosystem have shown utmost resilience; adapting to the new normal deftly. The industry has been playing a significant role in transforming India’s image in providing world-class technology and business services. So, the expectations from this year’s budget are somewhat high”.

Deepak Mittal, CEO & Co-founder, TO THE NEW:

“The Indian IT and IT-enabled Services (IT & ITeS) sector has witnessed a complete turnaround and an unprecedented boost in the wake of COVID-19. Furthermore, the year 2021 promises to be a huge year for the sector fuelled by the growing need and adoption of digital technologies across the board.

The sector has not only generated immense job opportunities but has also positioned India as one of the most preferred investment destinations globally. Given, the current business scenario, we expect a strong push towards policies promoting IT innovation by pushing business-critical and bold policy interventions to propel digital adoption across multiple industries.

‘Digital-first’ and ‘Data-centric’, should be the key focus areas for the Indian government in our view as we push for Digital innovation as an important building block for India’s future growth. We are more than excited about the opportunities that this year has to offer and eagerly look forward to this year’s Budget.”

Shiv Malik, Head of Growth, Streamr:

As industries across the globe revive from the aftermath of the economic slump due to the COVID-19 pandemic, India is at the cusp of fuelling a resurgence through Artificial Intelligence, decentralization, and a consent-based data economy.

A data-based economic world order benefits the users and the corporate symbiotically and depends heavily on the quality of human resources and digital infrastructure. India has the right mix of ingredients — the largest number of mobile phone users, highest internet data consumption, and technical know-how. But its public policy challenges are unique.

While the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, requiring sharing of non-proprietary data with other Indian entities is a step forward, there is a need to incentivize consent with decentralized data economies, especially for the consumer – from whom the data is harvested. Incentivizing emerging technologies like blockchain and other decentralized technologies will be imperative to augment the growth of this economy and inch closer to our $5 trillion economy vision.

Mr Rajeev Karwal, Founder & Chairman, Milagrow Humantech:

“I would like to see the following in the upcoming budget or in the approach of the Govt. If we want to be a superpower in the hardware manufacturing of new emerging technologies, we must attract global manufacturers of key components. 

We must stop incentivising or subsidizing finished goods assembly of any electronic, telecom, robotics, or IT product. It is like putting good money after bad. You will never be competitive unless the components which constitute 25-30% of the bill of material and where the real technology lies, are made in India. 

I suggest giving a ten-year tax holiday to companies which invest in setting up Semiconductor fabs. They have an investment starting around $8 billion. 

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The technology needs to be upgraded typically every 3-4 years and have huge operating costs. If we have next gen fabs in India, we shall also control technology and be intrinsically competitive. If no private player comes, the Government of India must invest in these kinds of ventures.

We do not even make glass panels, compressors, inverter motors, magnetron etc. We require manufacturing of key components in India which constitute 25-30% of bill of material of finished appliances or electronic/it products. 

According to me the PLI scheme will not result in great success in raising our competitiveness globally or helping consumers.”

Amit Gupta CEO & Co-founder at Rapyder Cloud Solutions: 

“The unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic has; without doubt; adversely impacted the world economy at large. Almost every industry has borne the brunt and MSMEs are severely affected with many closing down, probably permanently. 

However, the IT & ITeS sector has seen a spike in growth across some industry verticals in the wake of the pandemic. Sectors such as EdTech, FinTech, HealthTech, HRTech, amongst others, have seen significant boosts. This will continue to fuel the growth of Cloud-Tech, AI-based, and other new-age technologies across business domains.

Knowing well that MSMEs are the biggest growth drivers to the economy and the second-largest sector after agriculture, Government should extend credit facilities for them and provide means for new-age technology adoption. 

Rigid regulatory compliance and tax burdens should be revised, which can provide the impetus for growth and expansion. This will increase hiring and businesses can largely contribute to the GDP. 

Revised tax policies, a less complex GST structure, and relevant policies that provide thrust for digital innovation can incentivize home-grown start-ups and brands. Such a solution can help MSMEs to operate in a more level-playing field that has MNCs and other established players.

Gaurav Shinh, Founder and CEO at DAAS Labs: 

The government has started realizing the importance of new technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and has even called Data the new oil in the previous Budget 2020. 

According to a recent NASSCOM report, Deep-tech and new start-up hubs will continue to grow at 40-45% CAGR.  It also stated that investments are expected to return to 2019 levels, after seeing a dip in 2020 (if not exceed in 2021). 

The pandemic has been a huge boost to Edtech, AgriTech, FinTech, HRtech, and HealthTech startups. So, we expect to see decisions to fuel the growth of cloud data storage, big data, and AI technologies in several domains. 

The work from home trend due to the pandemic has seen a lot of investment being made in Tier II and Tier III cities and the trend is supposed to continue. Reforms are expected to support and enable these start-ups as they can have a huge long-term impact.

Ajay Kaushik Founder & CEO Panacea Infosec:

“After Digital India Initiative Digital Innovations are on a fast track, and Data became a new fuel for the digital economy. Government has to ensure that data is not an asset of an organization but it is a responsibility and eventually liability. We need a robust cybersecurity policy. 

The Government should accelerate the enactment of the Data Protection Act and set up a strong and effective Data Protection Authority. Few key areas where we are expecting reform are ensuring predictability, consistency, and rationalization of levies and taxes to promote innovation and investments in the sector to achieve the Indian Government’s Digital India vision.

Post pandemic circumstances empowering start-ups can help to overcome some economic headwinds and create a culture of entrepreneurship to facilitate sustainable economic growth and generating large-scale employment opportunities. 

As the digitalization of the economy is taking place, the focus of policymakers should be on building superior trust in technology.  Allocation of 10% to 20% of the technology budget for cybersecurity initiatives should be a priority of the GOI. 

In this budget, the government must add simulation-based cybersecurity training solutions in the Skill India campaign.

We are expecting govt to create a strong compliance culture for Payment Data security as well as PII security. Although we have practices such as PCI DSS, ISO 27K, and few others prescribed by CERT-In and NCIIPC in India. we have to analyze these practices from the point of view of their practical implementation and orientation along with their interoperability with the international frameworks.

The government should give policy support for cybersecurity services with the proactive application of policy mandates. All guidelines for data protection and Risk assessments should be enforced very strictly just like the government enforces income tax and GST filings. It will make the nation safer from a cybersecurity perspective.”

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