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Business leaders react to Union Budget 2019

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The CSR Journal spoke to leaders from the corporate sector as Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the maiden budget 2019 of the second Narendra Modi government in the Lok Sabha on July 5, 2019.

Budget 2019 is good for start-ups

Said Avnish Sabharwal, Managing Director – Accenture Ventures & Open Innovation, India & Middle-East, “The Union Budget 2019 has promised a major boost to the start-up ecosystem in India. The proposed angel taxation simplification is an encouraging move for the Indian start-ups. We believe Indian start-ups will be able to raise higher amount of risk capital from investors and e-verification will lead to higher number of angel investors funding in Indian start-ups. We will also see higher number of start-ups operating in India registering themselves in the country instead of abroad. These steps will surely enhance India’s ranking on the Ease of Doing Business Index and the Global Innovation Index.”
Said Anupam Jalote, CEO, iCreate (International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Technology), “Dikhta hai to bikta hai is the oldest saying in marketing. By declaring a TV show for startups, startups will suddenly gain more visibility as well as acceptability, especially in tier 2 and 3 towns of the country. At iCreate, we have a very good experience with startups promoted by innovators from smaller, non-metro cities.”
Proposals to establish more incubators/TBI’s and further regulatory streamlining will also spur innovations. The budget support will strengthen India’s place in the globe in innovations in EVs, Fintech, AI, IoT and other deep tech fields. “We are happy that the momentum of the past few years is being carried forward strongly in this budget,” he added.

A transformative budget

Jayakumar Krishnaswamy, CEO, Nuvoco Vistas Corp Ltd. said, “The Union Budget 2019 is a transformative budget with revolutionary steps to boost sustainable infrastructure development. The budgetary allocation of 100 lakh crores for infrastructure development over the next five years clearly reiterates the government’s vision towards nation building. We expect to see a significant increase in cement consumption on account of schemes like the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojaya Phase III, which envisions the construction of 1,25,000 kms of roads.”
He went on to add, “On the tax front, we welcome the government’s decision to fully automate the GST refund module. Multiple tax ledgers for a taxpayer shall be replaced by one. The decision to move to an electronic invoice system wherein invoice details will be captured in a central system at the time of issuance, will significantly lower the red tape and bureaucratic hurdles involved in the process of fillings and simplify the process tremendously. On the whole, we believe the government has attempted to balance the burden of fiscal prudence with sustainable development.” 

Skilling in focus

Said Rekha M. Menon, Chairman and Senior Managing Director, Accenture in India, “The emphasis on skilling is a welcome inclusion in the Union Budget. The post digital era presents a complex skilling challenge with a clear need to develop two kinds of skill sets on a broad scale – technology skills and human+ skills or skills such as complex reasoning that equip humans to work in collaboration with machines. Building these capabilities and addressing the skills deficit at a national scale, requires a robust skilling framework with digital technologies at its core.”

SDGs in Budget 2019

As for the social sector, Chanchalapathi Dasa, Vice-Chairman, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, “The Union Budget 2019 comes with a strong assurance to boost education, agriculture and other social sectors and will serve to be an efficient medium of country’s development journey. The comprehensive 10-dimensional Vision for the Decade, in particular, is commendable and we are certain that it will play a crucial role in the nation’s pursuit of Sustainable Developmental Goals.”
He also welcomed the move to converge the Jal Jeevan Mission with other Central and State Government Schemes to provide access to safe drinking water to all. This move will serve to boost various Government initiatives aimed at nutrition welfare and make a strong case for the convergence of welfare schemes to maximize their impact.
Said Ashok Varma from PwC India, “The announcement to set up a National Research Foundation to look at national priorities and converging the funds allocated to all ministries is a welcome step in making India fit for future. This would help in making the research more practical and relevant to solve important problems locally than do more academic research.”