Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s budget has invited varied comments from different stakeholders, though most of them are appreciative of the proposals announced. Let us take a look at what some diverse industry leaders and experts have to say with regard to Budget 2017:
Kunal Bahl, Co-Founder & CEO, Snapdeal
“We commend the focus on growing the digital footprint in the country - enhancing digital infrastructure, capping cash transactions, reducing cash donations, using Adhaar Pay to enable more digital payments are significant measures. Initiatives make an impact when there is continued attention and the announcement of today builds on the demonetization efforts of last few weeks. We also welcome the emphasis on skill development and technical education - this will enable India to successfully harness the demographic dividend. The attention to affordable housing, greater employment in rural areas is the right intervention to build a more equitable society”.
Rajesh Gopinath, CFO & VP, TCS
“The Union Budget 2017-18 focuses on Inclusion, Transparency, Fiscal Responsibility and gives a big push to the Digital economy. It encourages a shift to digital platforms with incentives to payers as well as merchants driving convenience, efficiency and transparency. An increased allocation to BharatNet will bring high speed broadband connectivity to more than 1,50,000 gram panchayats, with Wi-Fi hot spots and access to digital services at low tariffs. The proposed DigiGaon initiative to provide telemedicine, education and skills through digital technology will increase empowerment."
Pankaj Bansal, Co-Founder & CEO, PeopleStrong
“The fourth union budget for the year 2017-2018 can be called visionary and the one which will usher a new era of balanced development. We appreciate the move towards energising youth through education, skills and jobs which will undoubtedly bring out the true potential of the youth. Moreover, a special focus on implementation of skill strengthening with a budget of Rs 2200 cr and setting up of 100 India International skill centres across the country for the youth to seek jobs outside India is a good step towards making Indian workforce a skilled workforce. We look forward to make meaningful and impactful change happen through such a great initiative taken by our government.”
Ramki Gaddipati, CTO & Co-Founder, Zeta
“It is encouraging to see that government is moving forward on payment system regulation. We hope the setting up of a separate payment regulatory board will help in improving interoperability and innovation. The Finance Minister also announced digital infra related measures and we hope all these steps will help more and more people joining the digital ecosystem. As expected Finance Minister made a formal announcement on the launch of AadhaarPay in today’s budget and I am confident that this will push digital payments to grassroots levels of the country.”
Neha Bagaria, Co-Founder & CEO, JobsForHer
"I’m happy to see the Government address the issue of training and skilling women with the introduction of Mahila Shakti Kendras aimed at empowering women. Encouraging more women to join the workforce is critical to India’s ability to benefit from the demographic dividend. We will hopefully see an increase in female participation in the workforce, with the Government increasing allocation for women’s skill development to Rs 1.84 lakh cr for FY’18. We are moving in the right direction with these Government led schemes aimed at increasing the Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) for women. This is vital to achieving high growth of employment and overall economic growth"
Ajay Chhangani, CEO & Co-Founder, RISE INDIA
“The finance minister has taken numerous great moves in Union Budget’17 like implication 25% tax on companies having less than 50 crore turnover. Also, the setup of 100 international skill development centres and 350 online courses with top faculty would help in energize the youth and accelerate the employment growth of the country. Allocation of 1.84 lacs crores for skill development for women is the biggest ever initiative on women empowerment taken by Government of India. This budget has many provisions to boost the SME and educations sector and it will create more job opportunities for the youth.’
Prof. Atmanad, spokesperson, MDI Gurgaon
"The budget overall looks well balanced with focus on areas like Agriculture, Infrastructure, Youth employment and education that need urgent attention. The focus on Education, Skill Development and Job creation for the youth in India was much needed as large percentage of youth population enter the work force without the requisite skills. After the announcement of Skill India Mission, the focus has been on vocational training. It’s encouraging to see the government’s announcement to set up 100 India international skill centers and a budget of Rs. 2,200 cr set aside for investment in vocational training. It will push the skill India drive in India and help in creating more employment for the skilled youth."
Tilak Raj Seth, Head Mobility, Siemens Limited and CII Chairman, Rail Transportation & Equipment Division
“The industry was keen to see the representation the rail sector would get in this combined Budget, the first in independent India. The Finance Minister did a good job focusing on key and strategic measures for the railway sector. The increased Budget allocations to railways, focus on safety through the ‘Rail Sanraksha Kosh’, an enhancement of throughput are very welcome measures. Additional resources will come to the transport sector basis the announced measures of modifying the metro policy, PPP operation of tier two cities and through the ‘Multi Model Transport Approach’.”
Dr. Saundarya Rajesh, Founder – President, AVTAR Group
“This has been a confident and assertive budget. Also inclusive, with attention given to various diversity cohorts such as Women, Senior Citizens, Youth, Rural Sector. In fact, a heartening inclusion is for the PWD, when it was announced that the Railways will be made disabled- friendly. The allocation for Women’s Welfare too has increased significantly... which will enable more job creation... The reduction of Corporate tax for companies with a turnover of less than Rs. 50 Crores from 30% to 25%, will help Entrepreneurs and Start-ups. This means that they can expand and grow which in turn means more job creation. With the MSME sector being the majority employer of women, this would automatically mean more jobs for women... I would like to assess this budget, not on the basis of the announced policies, but on how well it was implemented, how well audited and monitored and how many millions it impacted. We have an opportunity to lead the world not just in GDP but also in Inclusion and I would love to see that this budget lays the foundation for that growth”
Amaresh Ojha, Founder & CEO, Gympik
'Budget 2017 has been positive for the startup sector, the increase in window will give more time to start-ups to reach a stage when they start earning profits before they exercise their option for income tax exemption. This will be good news for the companies which are in hyper growth mode. This tax reduction was much needed for smaller companies. A lot of attention has been put in the healthcare and wellness domain. Expecting the government to implement all the plans and policies effectively in the coming financial year.
Shekar Sanyal, Director and Country Head, Institution of Engineering and Technology
“The Union budget 2017-18 with its very specific focus on Higher Education is a welcome relief to this sector. The enhanced focus on skill development, with over 100 India International Skills Centres established across the nation and the INR 2,200 Crore allocated for vocational training will help bridge the skill gap among the youth. The Finance Minister has rightly shifted his focus on the youth as we stand as the nation with the largest youth population in the world with 356 million youth... We are happy to hear that the Government resonates our focus on STEM education... The grant of an autonomous status to colleges and institutions based on accreditation is a master stroke by the FM to ensure that we, today, do not compete internally for quality standards but have a more universal approach... Overall, the Union budget 2017-18 is very promising with a strong grasp on the nation’s growth for tomorrow with its streamlined focus on the youth and is in line with the Government’s vision at making India an education hub.”
Dinesh Goel, Co-Founder & CEO, Hunarr
"Budget 2017 seems to be positive for skill development in the country. Setting up of 100 India-International skill centers for advanced training will certainly help more Indians compete in the international market. Programs like Swayam will make it easier to ensure quality education, from the best faculties in the country, reaches a wider audience. Allocation of Rs.1.84 lakh crore in women skill development is also an extremely welcome move. A central national testing agency to conduct all higher education exams will free up a lot of resources for boards like CBSE to put more focus on the curriculum and preparing students for college and ultimately their professional life"
Aditya Narayan Mishra, CEO – CIEL HR Services
“The Union Budget 2017-18 shows continuity of the principles of fiscal prudence rather than any big bang reform. It attempts to push up investments in infrastructure such as rural housing and rural infrastructure - roads, drinking water etc, additional railway lines and so on. Further, it focuses on skill development to set up new centres in new areas. There are several other areas which have received attention such as personal income tax, tax for medium sized companies up to Rs. 50 crores turnover, funding of political parties, cash transactions and so on. One of the concerns in the recent past has been job creation and new investments from private sector companies and the health of our banking sector. The budget doesn't seem to have anything significant which addresses these aspects...”
What are your thoughts on the different Budget-related announcements? Let us know!