Budget 2023 Expectations From Startups, Entrepreneurs, Policy Makers & Citizens

Mohul Ghosh

Mohul Ghosh

Jan 27, 2023

Entire India is waiting with bated breath for the Budget 2023. Amidst global recession, layoffs and uncertain growth projections, Budget 2023 can have large scale implications, for all the sectors.

Budget 2023 Expectations From Startups, Entrepreneurs, Policy Makers & Citizens

We discussed Budget 2023 expectations with startups, entrepreneurs, CEOs, policymakers and citizens in general, and found some interesting thoughts and wishes.

Here are the highlights:

Venkatraman Venkateswaran, Group President & CFO, Federal Bank

“In my view, the priority would be to ensure stability & growth in the system. Till recent past we had seen investment from government in capex as the major driver, but now private capex seems picking up but there is still a lot of potential. We need to spur investment of both govt & private sector to keep the economy on growth trajectory for a sustained period. Directionally, government can extend PLI scheme to more sectors. I also expect/hope to see an alignment on capital gains tax rates to ensure investments are chosen based on the merits of investment rather than tax advantages of asset classes. And introduction of new incentives to encourage domestic production targeting MSMEs would help us move towards becoming Atmanirbhar. This would promote domestic economy, employment and help us avoid importing of low value-add products. “

Nalin Negi, CEO (Interim) & CFO, BharatPe

“Fintech has witnessed fast track growth and expansion, driven by new-age technology over the last few years. By 2030, it is anticipated that the Indian fintech industry will generate $200 billion in revenue and $1 trillion in AUM, as per an industry report. Today, UPI has emerged as a de facto payment medium for millions and digital lending is also gaining acceptance across the established as well as emerging cities. I believe that the fintech industry should be given additional benefits of tax deductions which are available for SMEs, so as to aid growth. Tax benefits and incentives will encourage fintech startups to focus on innovation, and invest in research and development to build new disruptive products. Additionally, favourable initiatives and supportive measures around the facilitation of stronger partnerships between banks, NBFCs and fintechs, would act as a force multiplier in expanding the reach of financial services across every corner of the country, while maintaining the right balance between innovation and regulation. Budgetary allocations to boost the digital payments ecosystem and further bolster our world-leading digital infrastructure would strengthen the fintech industry in line with the government’s Digital India vision.”

“Additionally, the government should roll out measures to boost the liquidity flow to fintechs and smaller NBFCs. This will, in turn, ease credit access to the underserved, thus furthering financial inclusion in the country. I also believe that in order to nurture the blooming startup ecosystem, the Government should further broaden the eligibility criteria so as to provide significant tax reliefs to employees in start-ups with regard to the burden around Employee Stock Ownership (ESOPs) on employees.” 

Mr. Nitya Sharma, CEO & Founder, Simpl:

The Indian start-up ecosystem has exponentially grown and is now one of the strongest hubs for startups worldwide. This demonstrates the robust entrepreneurial spirit of the country working toward building the $5 trillion economy with ambitions to raise the country’s GDP by 4% to 5% by 2025. Interestingly, apart from metro cities, tier II and III cities are also witnessing a spurt in demands for jobs by various startups, despite the winter funding. With the introduction of many cutting-edge technologies, the need for manpower with the right acumen to meet business needs has also increased across the country. With numerous ground-breaking initiatives to advance India’s digital transformation, this union budget is expected to be a  historic ‘digital budget.’ 

Every pertinent registration, such as the creation of a company, the opening of a shop, the registration for the goods and services tax (GST), and the issuance of an MSME (micro, small, and medium enterprises) certificate, etc. should be handled through a single window. That will enable startups to cut costs, time, and effort significantly.

In India, the retail and e-commerce segment has gained renewed prominence post-pandemic and has witnessed an accelerated pace of sales and profits in the last year, may it be online businesses or offline stores. The Indian retail market is expected to surge to USD 1.4 trillion by 2030. This would account for a whopping 57% increase as compared to the USD 0.80 trillion in 2020. Much of this expansion can be attributed to government initiatives focused on technology and digitisation, new payment models, and improvements to local logistics infrastructure. 

With the upcoming budget, there are certain expectations in terms of changes in policies as well. The retail sector expects the government to implement the National Retail policy, which focuses on ensuring easy and quick access to affordable credit. It would also facilitate modernization and digitization of retail trade by promoting modern technology and superior infrastructural support. Additionally, the retail space would benefit greatly from the implementation of the National e-commerce policy that aims to foster inclusive growth in the digital space and in the e-commerce sector, along with Make in India and Digital India programs.

As the retail market is still in the process of coping with the setback caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it expects the government to restructure the GST policy so as to incorporate certain relaxations for the retail and e-commerce sector. 

Adetee Agarwaal, Founder and Chairman, PinkAprons – Order Ghar Ka Ghana

We hope and expect that Govt brings in more clarity regarding GST for online food orders, and introduce special provisions for home made chefs, who are struggling to meet their ends. PinkAprons is a massive platform for home chefs where we empower them, specially women, to become food entrepreneur by selling their home made food to a large audience. With so much complexities related to taxation, there is ambiguity, and confusion, and home chefs are being discouraged from transforming into entrepreneurs. Besides, we need Govt support to streamline last-mile delivery of food items, by developing an ONDC-type platform, which can benefit all the entities involved in the home cooked food industry.

Ankur Nijhawan, CEO, AXA France Vie—India Reinsurance Branch

“We anticipate the upcoming Budget will focus on policies to promote economic growth and pandemic resilience. Given the recent increases in health insurance premiums and the need to provide basic financial protection against natural catastrophes such as Joshimath, the insurance industry is expecting a combined tax relief of up to Rs1 lakh for health and household insurance.”

“The industry also hopes the Finance Minister will bring these basic protection plans under the zero GST mark or tax it in the 5% bracket at the most. While widening the financial protection net, such a move would also increase insurance penetration in India. Easing norms and providing help in the form of tax benefits could go a long way in opening up the segment to the currently underserved and unserved sections of the population.”

Mr. Rahul Talele, Group CEO – Kolte-Patil Developers Limited

“The demand for real estate is being driven by end users and to sustain this demand it is imperative that affordability levels remain high. So far, rising incomes have supported the absorption of interest rate hikes, keeping the demand buoyant. Further hikes will have an inimical effect on this momentum. Tax incentives / tax relaxations on home loan interests and raising the limit cid:[email protected] deduction under section 80C for principal repayment of housing loans, will reduce the financial burden and encourage home buyers especially first time buyers. Also, we hope that Budget 2023 focuses on reduction of GST on construction materials to balance the rising input cost, benefits of which could be given to the home buyers. Sustained focus on infrastructure development has accelerated residential real estate growth beyond the boundaries of Tier-I cities, to Tier-II and Tier-III cities, creating high potential micro markets in the process. It is important that this thrust on infrastructure development continues. Given that the real estate sector has a spill over effect on the growth of the ancillary industries and also on job creation, we are confident that the government will provide necessary impetus to the sector.”

Mr. Daniele Russolillo, COO & Deputy CEO, Planet Smart City

“The Budget 2023 is expected to act as a catalyst in Real Estate sector’s growth. The sector is currently reeling through consistent rate hikes; however, the demand for residential solutions remains robust across cities with historic sales M-o-M. With the change in market dynamics, it is important to understand that affordable housing/budget friendly residential solutions are a key to India’s housing problem. A vigorous push is required from the government in the affordable housing to reshape the sector dynamics. Similarly, the government also needs to double sustainability initiatives such as Atal Jal Yojna incentivizing housing societies to relook at water conservation and energy security to secure the green future”

Mr. Roland Landers, CEO, All India Gaming Federation

AIGF is determined to implement the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision for the online gaming sector through the continued expansion and transformation of this industry in India. We have seen a lot of progressive regulatory moves recently in the context of online gaming which has all been very welcome. With the AVGC Task Force’s recommendations for a Game Development Fund and the Annual Gaming Expo, the recognition of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports as the nodal ministry for eSports, and the draft IT Rules for gaming intermediaries, the gaming industry is well positioned to be a torch bearer for Brand India. Since the future of this industry is extremely positive, there is truly a lot for the gaming industry to look forward to. A well-clarified and progressive taxation regime would provide an immense boost to this sunrise sector. Such a move will make gaming a cornerstone of Digital India and be the catalyst for India to achieve its goal of a trillion-dollar digital economy.”

Ms. Minal Anand, Founder & Ceo GuruQ (Edtech Company)

Previous year, many Ed-Tech businesses shut down or downsized, which resulted in numerous job losses. The government should create regulations that make it simpler for new businesses to operate. High taxes and unaffordable company expenditures are to blame for the demise of numerous edtech businesses. This merits consideration.

A few major expectations exist for India’s Budget 2023. The government’s increased funding and support for internet ventures is one thing that is anticipated. Some nations will promote innovation and expansion in this industry through government assistance for subsidized rates and incentives for Ed-Tech businesses.

Additionally, we anticipate that the budget will accelerate the New Education Policy frameworks. Utilizing the allocated cash is important, and the Ed-Tech industry is more than prepared to work with the government to expedite the expansion of education in India. The government should give serious thought to reducing the tax on ed-tech goods and services.

The return to hybrid learning is another significant change we may expect this year. People are no longer interested in online education, as has previously been observed. Many tech companies will experience a fall, as you will observe.

Additionally, the new education policy that many schools are currently adopting will be implemented across the board in the education sector. Instead of just allocating money every year to the education sector, as is the case currently, we would like to see it used for actual purposes. The same thing keeps happening: they promise to implement this for skill development programmes and that they will implement this for teacher training programmes, but nothing of the sort actually happens, and real funding is not allocated to these areas and segments.

We therefore prefer to see genuine implementation of the policies and use of the funds, not merely the allocation of funds.

The government can then implement these policies with the help of ed tech companies. It is purely theoretical at this time. Actually, nothing much is occurring. So, sure, we would like to see the government collaborating closely with Edtech firms to make this vision a reality.

Ms. Amandeep Kaur, founder and CEO, Phoenix TalentX Branding

Given the pivotal position India has acquired as the talent nation of the world, and the Indian government’s acute focus on digitizing the planet, it is highly necessary that the government spends on employer branding . 

The government will need to hire maximum technologists from india and the globe to achieve its vision of  digitizing the planet. Because most of their talent will be high-tech engineers and less administrative staff they have no choice but to spend on employer branding to build their attractiveness as an employer.  Engineers specializing  in the coding of blockchain, robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, cyber security and internet of things don’t come easy. This pool is scarce and many firms globally are trailing after such talent.

The govt will compete with high tech top companies like google, meta, amazon, Microsoft etc. to hire such talent so they have no choice but to work on crafting their employer value proposition. 

Other key factors that will lead up to the government spending more on employer branding are: 

1. The government will never be able to match the salaries of the private sector so how do they build attractiveness for a talent pool that is highly paid? 

2. As wars become more Digital, cyber security will become more critical. Likewise in the future economic power will rest with the country that is more digitally transformed and digitally savvy. So the government will have to build specialized IT or cyber cells in each ministry which means the requirement for such talent will only increase in the coming years. 

3. India is the poster child of digitization as the maximum technology pool is available in India. Our country needs to be seen globally as the most advanced in digital tech for it to bring investments into India. Be it the manufacturing sector or supply chain or  insurance – all sectors get a huge boost if technology is used effectively to produce quality products and services at a faster rate. We have a reputation to live up to and it is incumbent on the government to support this momentum that the country has gained post corona. Hiring technologists, building tech Hubs or museums showcasing futuristic work and prototypes sponsored by the government will be key in making India a superpower. 

4. India needs to strengthen its defense sector and weaponry to ensure safety of the country as it rises to its maximum power. We need to be digitally protected at all times. To build such super expensive weapons, machinery we again need specialized talent.

It is therefore a high expectation that the government will reserve some budget towards employer branding to build and showcase themselves as an Employer of Choice. It is not a choice anymore, it is a necessity.

Ms. Piyalee Chatterjee Ghosh, Founder and Director, Myfledge Institute of Aviation and Hospitality

We trust that the government will continue to pay special attention to vocational skills and training and help elevate the workforce for skill-first sectors like aviation and hospitality. India needs to gain a competitive edge over other global talents, which will only be possible through impactful education initiatives. Students from every corner of India should be empowered through special skill development programs targeted at vocational sectors, equipping them to become contributing members to the country’s overall GDP. Special attention on allocating a budget for technological advancement in education will also be well appreciated. The Govt of India can look at relevant education and training partnerships across industries and sectors to take skill development and employment assistance a step ahead. We highly appreciate the centers of excellence set up by the government and applaud it as a positive step in the direction of skill-based training. Increased allocation of funds and the number of centers will also work to the benefit of increasing the volume of talent ready to take up technical jobs in the country. 

Amar Sarin, MD and CEO, TARC Ltd

The real estate sector has witnessed a considerable upswing in 2022. Post the recovery from mayhem of Covid 19 pandemic, the industry has experienced a comprehensive recovery, despite the rise in construction costs and the record hike in the repo rate. The growing rate of interest and the rise in cost of raw materials have been impeding the growth momentum. Reducing the GST rate on raw materials will help in reducing the price of property and help catering to the demand of the market. Increasing the limit of deduction against home loan interest and reduction in capital gains tax will help fuel the growth momentum in the Housing sector.

Mahek Mody, Co-founder of Up believes,

“The emergence of startup culture in our country has been instrumental in driving global competitiveness across various industries and sectors. The government’s Make in India initiative has been a key contributor to GDP growth and employment, and we anticipate continued support for domestic startups. We hope to see PILs being introduced to previously overlooked segments like consumer appliances and smart home technology. With the decreasing costs of chip prices, Indian companies have the potential to offer consumers innovative and cost-effective products and any additional support from the Government would only accelerate the digital transformation”.

Krishna Raghavan, Founder at Unlistedkart

Fintech is now mainstream. The industry has now become one of the fastest growing segments of technology and has changed the way financial services are encouraged. According to the Industry research, during the projected period of 2022–2027, the fintech market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 24.96% and reach Rs 9.2 billion. The sector is growing quickly because to changing trends and technology, and the market is seeing a rise in digital payments.

Ease in Financial Burden: To further reduce the financial burden on fintech start-ups is one of the most important requests businesses have of the government for the upcoming Budget. The sector expects tax savings by depreciating the fixed assets utilised by fintech companies. Consequently, substantial tax relief must be provided to start-up employees in order to alleviate the dual taxation issue and lessen the financial burden that Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) place on employees. They are also making comments about the comfort they derive from the tax’s potential to promote financial inclusion and open up a lot of job opportunities.

Improve Financial Inclusion with Digitalisation: The fintech sector predicts further government support for improved bank partnerships that will support the existing paradigm. The experts in the field emphasised the need for fair playing conditions for both online and offline lenders. Additionally, putting in place adequate rules to manage the fintech sector will provide businesses in the sector transparency and surely aid them in managing their money. If India completely embraces digital technology, fintech will advance more. As a result, the government ought to provide suitable co-lending ceilings and rates to smaller NBFCs and fintech firms operating in Tier-2, Tier-3, and Tier-4 locations.

Regulations for Loan Disbursal: The fintech industry wants the government to establish laws that would encourage cooperation between lenders and banks, making it easier for consumers to obtain loans for either personal or business purposes. The fintech industry wants to raise the 80C exemption on personal and student loans so that borrowers of loans for higher education can enjoy tax benefits and make full use of the Rs 1,50,000 deduction permitted by Section 80C. The Budget may also include policies to ensure the organised gold loan market has enough liquidity to continue meeting consumer credit requests and business owners’ need for working capital with relation to gold loans.

Mr. Kishan Tiwari, Co-Founder and CEO, TSAW Drones

As a drone technology and drone development company a more inclusive environment needs to be created for prototyping, testing and making the product market ready. Since drones share similarities with the aerospace domain, testbeds are expensive and limited, and prototyping is costly and limited, and prototyping is costly affair. Government support in this field would give a great boost to the industry. As a drone logistics provider service, linked incentives will be a boost. And more clarity on beyond visual line of sight operation would promote investment in the industry.
As a drone manufacturer, I believe PLI schemes should have a plan to indigenous technology. The incentives post a particular tenure should be given only if the manufacturer has indigenized the production to a particular level.

Manish Khanna, Co-Founder, of Unlisted Assets.

The fintech industry is one of the fastest-growing segments within technology space. The industry is growing rapidly due to changing trends in technology, and the market is seeing growth in digital payments. The sector expects more assistance from the government for better partnerships within the financial ecosystem with all financial institution including Banks to strengthen the current model. RBI can put in place appropriate regulations to control the Fintech Sector. This will increase transparency for businesses in the fintech sector and undoubtedly help regulate it.

Additionally, in order to give exit to stakeholders of Pre IPO and start-up companies, a boost should be given by the government to such fintech platforms which assist in providing a liquidity ecosystem to early-stage investors.

Piyush Goel, CEO and Co-founder at BeyondKey

India’s IT sector has proved how businesses across sectors experienced massive global outreach and growth with software solutions being at their back end. The pandemic-induced paradigm shift of many D2C and B2B players taking their businesses online has also caused an uptick in IT & software solutions in India. The Union Budget is most likely to have a key focus on India’s IT infrastructure with schemes pertaining to IT skill development programs and software-based startup incubators that will consequently facilitate sectoral upliftment. The introduction of digital rupees will further aid IT export from India to Global companies.

The union budget provides a vital means of creating an impetus for investments to be channelized into newer areas of growth. Stakeholders across the sector are hopeful that the coming budget speech does the same for new-age technologies like 5G and AI. It will enable IT companies to leverage the growing demand for these techs abroad and build on the digital growth that our nation is experiencing.

Hari Kishan Movva, Senior Vice President, SILA

“The real estate sector has grown significantly over the past year with residential real estate, across most markets, continuing to build on its momentum from 2021. Commercial real estate had a mixed year in 2022 with flexible office providers performing well. The 2023 budget the industry hopes will offer some positives to help strengthen the real estate market. From an industry perspective, it would be helpful for all stakeholders if the Finance Ministry implements an increase in the tax deduction limit for home loans from 2 lakhs to 5 lakhs per year under section 24(b). Given that the inflationary environment is the key risk for real estate, we are also expecting a leeway in terms of reduction in GST rates for key raw materials and re-introduction of input tax credit which would help developers tide over inflationary pressures. This will also help maintain affordability and boost residential sector growth. For projects that are stuck, the ideal way out will be to increase allocation to SWAMIH Fund and introduce relaxation on project eligibility criteria. To increase the overall industry volume and capital availability, it is imperative to  allow LLPs to raise capital through issue of debentures. And lastly, a reduction in long-term capital gains to 10% and reducing the holding period to 12 months from the existing 24-36 months, would also be helpful for the industry.  We are positive that through industry status, tax breaks, policy rationalization and incentivisation policies in the upcoming budget, the sector will boom further.”

Nawaz Shaikh, Wellness Expert & Founder, FITX Transformation

The budget season is rapidly approaching, and industries across the platform are eagerly awaiting the fiscal year’s forecast. Over 69% of people in India adopted fitness routines and improved their diets, compared to around 50% of the global population for the same metric. This year, as the country prepares for the rise of the Omicron variant and Work From Home (WFH) becomes the new normal, the country’s attitude toward personal health will only grow stronger. The fitness industry expects that the government will recognise the losses incurred by the fitness industry as a result of the ongoing crisis in the upcoming budget 2023. These institutes have been spearheading professional fitness experiences across various age groups and geographies without additional benefits, whether it is maintaining high-tech equipment or providing employment to thousands of trained staff. To supplement their efforts in the long run to ensure better and more effective fitness services, the government can start by implementing policy measures such as interest-free loans and tax breaks on fitness infrastructure and equipment in the coming year.

Incentivizing technological innovations will help emerging fitness startups grow in the post-pandemic landscape. From yoga, Zumba, HIIT workouts, and meditation to customized wellness-centric products, these new-age platforms are meeting the market’s growing demand for personalized and digitally-led services. Taking this into account, the government must provide dedicated funds to young companies in order to assist them in normalizing and representing holistic living on both the domestic and international levels.

After navigating an unprecedented crisis for three years, India has entered a new era of working, learning, and living. As the country works to create a robust hybrid landscape, the role of fitness studios and apps will need to be better recognised and encouraged this year. Having said that, the upcoming budget will be critical in laying the groundwork for the growth, reach, and wide-scale adoption of these fitness services, as well as making them more accessible, affordable, and inclusive in 2023 and beyond.

Mr. Kapil Bhatia, CEO & Founder of UNIREC

The fashion industry plays a significant role in the global economy, but it is also a major contributor to pollution. To address this, Mr. Bhatia suggests encouraging the industry to transition to sustainable practices through regulations and support systems for domestic capital participation, as well as creating a welcoming environment for investment and offering tax exemptions for foreign direct investments.

In addition, Mr. Bhatia stresses the importance of investing in startup infrastructure to foster growth and innovation. By providing support for startups, the government can create a thriving environment for new businesses to emerge and contribute to the economy.

Mr. Lokendra Tomar, Diet Educator & Founder of Diabexy said that the global market for low-sugar food products is expanding rapidly, owing to increased health awareness, diabetes, and obesity rates. Low-sugar foods are in high demand in every country wherever they are facing obesity issues. Low-sugar food products can be used as a replacement for normal food products. Low-sugar foods are consumed in small amounts due to their concentrated protein and fiber characteristics.  There is a higher expectation from the government in the 2023 budget Because it is critical for our nation to fight diabetes, diabetic food products should be made under GST EXEMPTION.

Low glycemic load and low sugar food products are mainly in the category of nuts and seeds, which are more expensive than grains hence giving a tax exemption will be helpful for people. With low cost and low sugar, this is a great combination for general people to use. They will be extremely beneficial for all children and adults with diabetes or insulin resistance. They are also beneficial to those suffering from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and obesity.

People all over the world are increasingly adopting low-sugar food products, particularly, in response to the rising demand for diabetic food. Diabetes has become more prevalent in some major economies in recent years.

Mrinaal Mittal, Director, Blackteak Realty

“Real Estate Industry is very sanguine about the 2023 budget and hopes to continue the strong momentum of the previous year. The primary emphasis and ask is higher tax exemption on home loans to generate a healthy demand. As for the LTCG, the tax rate should be decreased with relaxation on the time limit on construction of the new property. The extended timelines for buildings that are under construction to balance capital gain would be a very welcome step for boosting this industry. Such endeavors will not only encourage more consumers to buy homes but also create higher accessibility.” 

He also touches upon the affordable housing segment and states,” This faction of our industry needs a boost from the government with incentives that solicit interest of developers. It is now the right time to bring this buyer class out of their hiatus, escalating the supply and launching corroborating schemes for the same.” 

“Post pandemic times demand a different treatment and innovative thought process. The new budget can bring about many desired and vital changes to the real estate industry, benefiting consumers and developers alike so that they can keep contributing to India’s growth story.”

Mr. Preekshit Gupta, Vice President – APAC & MEA, Bureau

“The Indian identity verification and fraud prevention industry is on the cusp of exponential growth, and we hope that the upcoming budget will be a catalyst for this growth. Regulatory and policy reforms such as the enactment of the Data Protection Bill and setting up a solid and effective data protection authority will ensure a conducive environment for the sector to thrive. We also expect the budget to provide financial incentives to boost innovation and encourage entrepreneurs to adopt risk orchestration solutions to tackle problems such as fraud prevention, data security, KYC compliance, and identity theft.

In the last few years, an increase in mobile internet penetration and innovation in the payments landscape has accelerated our pace toward a digital economy. However, these digital advancements have also generated unprecedented opportunities for criminals to perpetrate fraud. India is expected to have 900 million internet users by 2025, and there is a pressing need to secure our online presence, especially from fraudsters. We are therefore hopeful that the government will provide additional funding, incentives, and tax exemptions to incentivise companies to build a robust data security infrastructure that will fuel the government’s ‘digital India’ vision.

Furthermore, there is a need to focus on initiatives that will help build recognition of the need for robust identity verification systems & also drive consumer awareness to educate the society at large. This will go a long way in ensuring everyone has access to secure digital identities, thus enabling a secure digital economy. This is also in line with the government’s vision of making India a $5T economy in the coming years. All of these measures will not only help the industry but will also benefit the Indian economy as a whole. With Budget 2023, the cyber security industry may finally get the boost it needs to keep up with the ever-evolving digital landscape”.

Mr. Madhusudan Ekambaram, Co-Founder & CEO, KreditBee

Union Budget 2023-24 is a crucial one, in supporting India’s sustainable growth. It is essential that the budget heeds to the progress of the startup ecosystem. Policy measures towards developing startup-clusters, which promote easy access to capital, incubator programs, federally funded R&D activities, among others will surely assist startups. The growth of the startup sector also depends upon clearer regulations and streamlining the process of obtaining licenses. There are certain benefits which are extended to the Inter-Ministerial Board (IMB) certified startups and not the DPIIT-recognised start-ups. The IMB certifications are difficult to get as 99% of Indian start-ups are not recognised by IMB.

Also, we hope that the government broadens the criteria for tax relief to startup employees to reduce the burden on taxation of ESOP sales. Measures towards incentivising ESOPs with simpler and appropriate tax structures would help provide startups with significant wealth creation opportunities while also helping them attract and retain talent. Also, providing the requisite parity for capital gains tax treatment between unlisted and listed shares as investors in unlisted companies bear higher risk, will remove the complications with respect to classes of assets, tax rates and period of holding and indexation benefits. It will render the investments attractive for investors.

Further, we have witnessed certain bills related to IT and data protection being considered towards rendering the digital ecosystem reliable and safe. Union Budget 2023 can lay down a good foundation towards providing a clearer path to bring in policy level changes with respect to these bills. It will greatly contribute in enabling a sustainable and accelerated growth of the digital ecosystem.

The Indian financial inclusion efforts have skyrocketed, recently. The Union Budget can provide crucial support in continuing this momentum with measures like reducing or eliminating the loss of input credit, providing liquidity support, access to cheaper credit and encouraging co-lending. Further, expanding the scope of priority sector lending, extending to the new to credit customers in addition to the MFI and education domains will assist the financial inclusion imperative. Also, schemes towards improving credit access with cheaper rates, will aid in this regard. These measures will certainly help NBFCs and financial institutions to extend effective credit to the underserved and unserved sections in Tier 2/ 3/ 4 regions.

Mr. Arvind TCA, Co-Founder of Artfine

Credit Insurance for MSMEs

To protect MSMEs, the government should impose a priority sector obligation on insurance providers. Only one transaction under the IRDA has occurred, according to data, in the past year, underscoring the lack of intention. Credit insurance has made it possible for vendors, SMEs, and MSMEs to cover risks and take expansion plans into consideration. In addition to managing non-payment risks that have an impact on the trade finance portfolios of SMEs and MSMEs, it gives banks, suppliers, and NBFCs access to new markets.

Making OCEN accessible to SMEs

The government introduced the Open Credit Enablement Network (OCEN) two years ago. A retail credit programme that uses online marketplaces to connect borrowers and lenders and expand access to microcredit for the hitherto underserved MSME sector. However, the government overlooked a crucial aspect of the OCEN process that prevents 60 million SMEs from using this programme for loan purposes. While account details are available to individuals, they are not available for small and medium companies. The government should therefore encourage the flow of information if it wants to have an impact. Some signature developments in the budget announcement are needed to expedite the process and enable retail banking for SME companies.

Enabling TReDS access to larger MSMEs

To reach more MSMEs and buyers, a larger group of people must be given access to TReDS participation. This policy suggestion has been on hold for a while. Alternatively, participation on TReDs should not be restricted to companies with up to 250 crores in annual revenue; rather, a broad approach should be taken and companies with up to 2000 crores in annual revenue should be allowed on TReDS.

Mr. Arun Poojari is the CEO and Co-Founder of Cashinvoice

Utilizing/ Encouraging MSMEs for import substitution as part of the Make in India programme

The government is focusing on import substitution and encouraging Make in India projects as there is a significant potential for increased import substitutions; hence MSMEs should be assisted in improving their cost competitiveness which can be done by creating a framework for SEZs centered on import substitution that can be replicated across the country and providing special incentives to MSMEs for establishing units in such SEZs.

MSME Facilitation Councils must include Medium Enterprises

Alternatively, Medium Businesses must be included in MSME Facilitation Councils, which currently only serve Micro and Small Enterprises according to the MSME Development Act 2006. There are 39,467 medium enterprises registered under the Udyam Registration portal as of November 25, 2022. It is, therefore, necessary to include the Medium Industry in the Micro and Small Enterprises Facilitation Councils for the settlement of delayed payments from buyers.

Mr. Girish R. Tanti, Vice Chairman, Suzlon Group

We congratulate the GoI for crafting a legendary energy transition roadmap for India. The Government’s current push towards Renewable Energy is commendable and needs to be supplemented with incentives for project execution, site development, and domestic manufacturing. The government has backed it’s green energy agenda with a slew of policy initiatives recently amongst which the most significant one is the withdrawal of e-reverse bidding for wind projects and the roadmap of 8 GW of bids every year till 2030 for wind energy projects. 

In line with the recent policy announcement by the government we need to further formulate all central and state policies with a 2030 timeframe toward meeting the targets of 500GW. This will create a transparent and predictable policy environment to facilitate mid to longer term planning and therefore facilitate timely achievement of national targets. All key renewable energy policies need to be looked at holistically to cover entire value chain from R&D, manufacturing, grid infrastructure, project approvals, CTU/STU regulations, project construction to lifetime service as well as financing and taxes/ GST. This will allow for leapfrog actual contribution of green power to our national energy generation.

We look forward to a budget that further accelerates India’s journey to 500 GW Renewable Energy by 2030 and powers our Energy Transition roadmap in line with the GoI’s vision for our country. Suzlon is committed to powering a greener India and world.

Prof (Dr) Sanjiv Marwah, Director Maharaja Agrasen Business School, Delhi

“Suggest that this year’s budget is expected to focus on Inflation challenges.

He expects the new education policy to kick off in India in the coming year and therefore the Govt is expected to make this budget education outcome-oriented.

He expects the government to provide ‘Internship payments’ to be offset against CSR funds or towards research expenses to provide impetus to industry-academia collaboration.”

Mr. Punit Sindhwani, CEO, Paxcom

“With increase in penetration of internet and smartphone usage in both urban as well as in rural India, the e-commerce space is mushrooming day-by-day in India. A 2022 RAI report predicts that online shopping in India will increase from its present 7% share of the retail market to over 19% by 2030.

eCommerce has revolutionized the way business is done in India. It has fueled consumption in recent years by providing easy access to end-users and has created numerous new job opportunities. What truly pushed this eCommerce sector to the next level in India in the past few years was the government’s intervention and initiatives taken on the technology and digitization fronts. These have given a boost to technological innovations, new modes of digital payments, and the development of local logistics support.

Though the eCommerce sector has blossomed from infancy to maturity, it is still grappling with pre-dated laws that are not apt for its nuanced and evolving requirements. The government is already taking steps to build an updated regulatory structure for eCommerce, and we expect the budget to further build on the same. The upcoming budget is expected to provide financial and regulatory support to the digitization of Small and Medium businesses, as well as Tier 2+ cities, as a major chunk of new eCommerce growth is expected from there. The government should also strongly focus on building the right support infrastructure for these segments for the eCommerce sector to truly accelerate and help realize the vision of digital India. The ONDC initiative is a step in this direction and we expect the budget

We also expect that the government will provide clarity on the tax obligations of e-commerce companies, sellers, and brands, as it will help them further streamline their operations and contribute to industrialization 5.0.”

Nandini Mansinghka, CEO of Mumbai Angels

With the collective vision of hitting the $5 trillion mark as an economy, India’s startup ecosystem has grown to be a serious contender on the international stage, and the union government has been committed towards the growth of this space. There is palpable anticipation around the upcoming Budget 2023, which must focus on harnessing the employment opportunities created by the growth of the startup ecosystem. Apart from the existing measures to provide support, the government might look at revision and rationalisation of taxes, such as in the case of employee ESOPs. Helping startups meet their daily capital needs is another crucial area that can do with government intervention. Overall, the upcoming budget should continue to increase the momentum for the growth of the startup ecosystem, which going to be a crucial cog in our journey towards becoming a $5 trillion economy.

Sagar Agarvwal – Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Beams Fintech

In the upcoming Budget 2023, we hope to see the government of India implement policy decisions that are motivated towards incentivising funding and employment. This could include deferment of time of payment of tax on stock options for employees (ESOPs) of more startups. Currently, this deferment facility is only available for startups that hold an Inter-Ministerial Board Certificate. We urge the government to extend this service to the employees of startups registered with the DPIIT. This could help the numerous Fintech companies hire and retain talent. The government could further improve the current investment landscape by allowing insurance companies, EPFOs, and others to invest in alternate investment funds. Additionally, there is an urgent requirement for reform in the minimum alternative tax (MAT), which should be reduced from 15% to 9%, as it would help smaller businesses meet their daily working capital requirements. These reforms could go a long way in boosting India’s startup economy. On the business side, we would like to see some changes in agri-space, giving select agri-focused NBFCs access to low cost capital, in a structure similar to NABARD, could help ease the borrowing cost for farmers and accelerate their financial inclusion. Export/Import tax benefits to MSMEs in certain sectors like steel, pharma, chemicals etc. could help in expansion of SME production in the country. From a PE/VC fund perspective, we would also like to see some parity between capital gains taxes between unlisted and listed entities. We would also like to see norms encouraging the flow domestic institutional capital from pension funds etc. towards startups.

Apoorva Ranjan Sharma, Cofounder and Managing Director of Venture Catalysts ++

The anticipation around the approaching Budget 2023 has been palpable. The union government will need to address various demands that will aid the growth of the world’s third largest startup ecosystem. To begin with, there is a crucial need for a simple and separate tax framework for Private Equity and Venture Capital investors, along with startups. There should be parity for capital gains tax between listed and unlisted securities. The atmosphere for a successful startup ecosystem generating employment must include an easier, single point taxation policy for ESOPs. Further, if Indian startups are allowed to list in overseas markets, it could help improve their valuations drastically. It would also be highly beneficial if a relatively simpler regulatory framework is implemented, enabling PEs and VCs more flexibility in terms of investments. So, if the Budget 2023 is able to introduce and implement these changes, we are certain that India’s vibrant startup culture can grow to become the biggest in the coming years.

Jitendra Chouksey, Co-founder & CEO of Fittr

The previous year presented numerous opportunities for entrepreneurs, which catapulted India further to become one of the largest and most successful hubs for entrepreneurship and new-age startups. For the fitness and nutrition sector, we have witnessed technological advancement with new-age tech like AI and ML ruling over the sector to make it more sustainable and customer-reliable. PM Modi’s support towards the Fit India Movement has been huge, and in 2023 we can expect to see Indians continue to become better versions of themselves with fitness as a priority. We believe that this year’s budget will further bolster startups through new policies and norms that will lend support to entrepreneurs.

Satyajit Mittal, Co-Founder, Aretto

“The Union Budget 2023-24 is expected to focus on supporting the thriving startup ecosystem in India by providing a separate taxation system for startups and helping Indian startups to get listed on international bourses. Additionally, the expectation is that the focus this financial year will be on funding startups with high growth potential through government programs, providing a much-needed boost for the startup industry and driving overall economic growth.” Satyajit Mittal, Co-Founder, Aretto

Gaurav Arora, Co-Founder, Social Panga

“Global markets like Europe have already started showing signs of a recession. The IMF forecasts global growth to slow from 3.2% in 2022 to 2.7% in 2023. This comes after a 6.0% forecast in 2021, making this a cause of concern. However, despite global markets facing substantial challenges, South Asian and Indian markets, in particular, look like they will continue to boom. India overtook the UK to become the fifth-largest economy in the world in 2022 and shows favourable conditions as it strengthens its focus on hyper-local businesses, e-commerce and technology, to lead the way into 2023.

I believe that the government’s financial investment in Indian businesses will extend into 2023 with the Union Budget 2023. This will allow growth to happen locally and expand globally. Regulations in the startup ecosystem will also help this steadily developing sector take a step in the right direction. 2022 was a good year for startups, with companies like XpressBees, LivSpace, Tata 1mg and Darwinbox achieving unicorn status. To take our startups to the next level, a sustainable growth model from the government will be required well into this financial year too.

In my opinion, the fiscal policies this year must also focus on India’s booming growth in the digital infrastructure space. The biggest example of our digital adoption can be found in the form of UPI even in the smallest kirana stores. More financial backing can be expected in the e-commerce and D2C markets in India to ensure its expansion into the rural economy. This, I believe, will be led by the government-driven Open Network for Digital Commerce. Regulations in the way businesses are run, as well as an increase in capital infrastructure in the digital ecosystem, should be a big topic of discussion in the Union Budget 2023.”

Mr. Anuj Kumbhat, Founder & CEO, WRMS

“Agriculture is the second largest contributor to India’s economy and is always the key spotlight in the Union Budget. 2022 was a good year for the agritech sector with strong investments and greater adoption of technologies. But, the agriculture sector in India is yet to accommodate technology to its full potential. To support this growth momentum, the government needs to enable more technological advancement in the sector with an acute focus on the development of a complete agritech ecosystem. We hope that in the upcoming budget, the government allocates funds, especially for the improvement of agriculture infrastructure which has a much larger multiplier effect on the economy in the long run.
Government should devise more schemes to ensure greater application of technology to increase agricultural yield, efficient utilization of resources, reduction in input cost, growth in agricultural wages, remunerative and stable prices, and also give proper forward and backward linkages to the farmers. Not only this, the government should also subsidize crop insurance further and provide the farmers with additional subsidies to buy drones and other accessories.
There is no doubt that the government is playing a crucial role in the development of the agriculture sector. The Agritech sector can be a game changer for the economy with the government’s impetus push in terms of R&D, tax benefits, automation, mechanization of farms, and supportive inputs for start-ups to make agriculture a robust, tech-led sector.”

Amit Relan, Co-Producer, Woot Factor Brand Architects

With respect to the 2023 Union Budget, Amit Relan, co-producer at Woot Factor Brand Architects says, “The events industry has experienced a quick recovery post the pandemic, driven by increased demand for live events and shows, as well as increased corporate interest in hosting physical events. As event architects, we specialize in a variety of program types, but MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) has seen particularly strong post-pandemic growth. GST relaxation, particularly in the travel segment, will provide additional support for this growth and help the industry fully recover.

To continue growing this sector, it is important to allocate funds for the development of strong MICE infrastructure in locations beyond Goa, Rajasthan, and Kerala. Both of these budget considerations will have a direct impact on the events industry in the coming year.”

Ms. Pallavi Singh Marwah, VP, and Co-founder at SPPL (Super Plastronic Pvt. Ltd.)

In continuation from the theme of Union Budget 2023, wherein there were above 40 schemes benefiting only women and 350 plus schemes which were pro-women were introduced, the women population of India would like to see extra incentives when it comes to tax, interest subsidy on loans primarily for business purposes and support in terms grants for entrepreneurial projects. The budget should also encourage the employment of women in various sectors and provide avenues to women for skill development, especially those living in rural areas.

With India in its developing stage, it is also prudent that the budget is allocated to educational sectors for upscaling of the youth. To support the same, the government should also provide a mechanism to lower the cost of high-standard education for the general public. GST rates on the same are at 18%, which should ideally be written off or reduced to a large extent. To promote girl child education, the government should also take into consideration the actual adoption of enrolment in schools in urban and rural sectors and work on increasing the same. Government schools have, although increased their resources in the past years, should also be looked at from the perspective of providing quality education to the youth of the country and should be adequately developed.

Further, from a women’s health perspective and the growing population of India, it is pertinent that there be appropriate budget planning for reproductive health and family planning. Wider public health initiatives and increasing awareness of the importance of the same will help in curbing this incline in population growth.

Mr. Neeraj Tyagi, Co-Founder, We Founder Circle

“As a startup builder, we would expect some bold initiatives by the government to encourage more participation of small check investors as angel investors in the ecosystem. This could be in the form of tax exemptions on returns from investments, as already the investment is risky in this asset class, so an incentive in the form of tax rewards would work as a catalyst.

Also, for startups, a tax exemption slab increase in GST would be a big step. Moreover, more active participation of government supported Incubations and seed funding would bring a lot of pace in the Tier 2/3/4 cities startup innovation.”

Sanjay Viswanathan, Chairman AdiGroup and Ed4All

“Budget 2023-24 takes on significant, even outsized importance. It must address twin subjects of Education and Skills that are presently under-invested and underwhelming. India needs to keep aside at least 4% of its Budget for this, and for the next 25 years.

Two logical sources of financing must be tapped. First is external financing through Institutional Investors – SWF and PF – to invest through long-term, low-cost capital. Position Education similar to Infrastructure and incentivise investors through a framework of structures (SPV) with sovereign guarantees. India can secure circa $500bn of infrastructure-orientated capital over 25 years with this.

Second, internal financing. Establish 10yr Education and Skills Tax (EST) aimed at every firm in India, public and private, that generate revenues of Rs 10 crore and above to pay 1% of revenue for education and skilling in cash or actual contribution to exchequer, or in kind through provision of internships and apprenticeships for application of student’s theoretical knowledge, or a hybrid version of first two. This will contribute at least $20bn per year. Those firms that make larger than Rs 100 crore in contribution towards EST through can get special incentives from lower cost of borrowing to preferential allocation of land, power, water, et al.

Combined, we will have secured $1.0 trillion or Rs 80 lakh crore to ensure Education and Skilling is well funded, structured, and resourced. And a bold and imaginative Budget and Policy with job creation at its heart and prosperity of Nation the soul.”

Gaurav Rathore, Co-founder – EVeez

“With Fame II subsidy drawing to a close, a key expectation from Budget 2023-24 is a newer and broader FAME III to be introduced which has at least five times the targets of FAME II. In addition, it must also include electric vehicles (EVs) which are currently sold without a battery and which rely on battery swapping networks so that EV adoption (especially by commercial fleet operators and logistics companies) through newer operating models like electric mobility as a service (eMaaS) can be accelerated.”

“Secondly, it is imperative that financing of EVs be brought under the ambit of Priority Sector Lending (PSL); primarily as upcoming EV businesses encompass two sectors under PSL i.e. renewable energy and MSMEs. Public and private sector banks have generally been slow to financing EVs for business and commercial use; and bringing this under PSL will accelerate EV adoption to a critical mass of the population.” adds Gaurav.

Arjun N, Founder & CEO – SolutionBuggy

“Budget 2023 will arrive at an uncertain time of geo-political conflict, high inflation and fear of global recession. Expectation from the budget is to do a balancing act between global volatility (survival) and focus on growth. MSMEs are the backbone of the Indian economy. The existing production-linked incentive (PLI) schemes are limited to corporates and big players concentrated in specific sectors. Extending the scheme to manufacturing MSMEs can provide a boost to Atmanirbhar Bharat (especially focus on Import substitution) and create jobs. Revamping of the Credit Guarantee Scheme for MSMEs can provide an easier line of credit which is one of their essential requirements to maintain liquidity for the sector. Lowering compliance costs (regulations/ licences/ compliances) especially for Micro enterprises can also be a small but positive step towards supporting MSMEs”

Urvisha Panchani, Director – Fabcurate

“If the government relaxes tax laws and opens up more opportunities for foreign investment, the budget for 2023–24 might boost the textile industry. By 2025–2026, the Indian textile and apparel market is projected to increase at a 10% CAGR, totaling US$184.44 billion. Around 4.5 crore people work in India’s textile industry, and the government should take into account the enormous number of people involved in the industry and offer new programs with lower tax burdens. Rules governing the export and return of goods should be made simpler to enable SMEs to export their goods smoothly. Additionally, the documentation process needs to be made more compatible. The upcoming year is very crucial for the retail industry and there are many criteria that are going to decide the future of the business.”

Harsh S Kedia, Co-founder – Auburn Digital Solutions

“The benefits of SEIS export incentives to advertising/tech companies based in India are multifold. While the proposed incentives will push the country’s service-based exports to global clients, these will also help in intensifying digital penetration among the masses in the country. These benefits will boost India’s digital economy and lead to the creation of a Digital Advertising Ecosystem with all-encompassing benefits for all participating stakeholders. Experts also hope that the creation of the Digital Advertising Ecosystem will prove instrumental in the development of better policies for e-commerce, fintech, agri-tech, and other such tech-based industries. This, in turn, will push the envelope on Digital Adoption and support for digital advertising companies across the spectrum. Further, the segment of the creator economy will receive its share of benefits.”

Mayank Verma, Co-Founder – Leadup Universe, an Executive Education Acceleration Firm

“Imperative for the Union budget 2023 to look at investment in the learning tech infrastructure ensuring multimodal learning to boost quality education and training. The use of digital technology in the learning process will make quality resources accessible to students till the last mile, irrespective of their demographic and geographic locations. The reduction of GST on learning tech solutions can help make it affordable across the country, further boosting smart classroom deployment & usage. In sum, the budget allocation should look at subsidising the use of tools and technologies to help digital penetration for advanced learning solutions in 2023.”

Mr. Mukesh Taneja – Co founder & CEO, GT Force

” While multiple regulations for the auto industry are anticipated in the upcoming Budget, the central emphasis should however remain on the evolving electric vehicle space, given its potential to decarbonize India’s transportation industry. As the EV sector may witness yet another volatile supply chain disruption if the key markets experience a downturn, so we highly await calculated EV-friendly policies in Budget 2023 that can aid in maintaining theindustry’s ongoing solid growth momentum”,  

Mr. Rajesh Saitya – Co founder & COO, GT Force.

“A crucial necessity for EV penetration is to facilitate a vast system of charging points; thus, there is also a massive need to mandate the installation of EV charging points in all existing and upcoming housing estates and commercial properties. Moreover, we are optimistic that the FAME II subsidy will be extended well beyond 2024 in order to maintain consumer demand and accelerate EV implementation beyond metro cities.”

Mukul Kanchan, VP and Head of Finance , Plum

“I believe this is a golden decade for the Insurtechs. The way Fintechs have transformed the digital payment and availability of credit to the masses, similarly Insurtechs are set to democratize access to insurance. Technology driven insurance intermediaries will make insurance products more accessible to the customers. It will also make business with low-income customers more profitable for insurance companies by reducing the cost-to-sell and cost-to-serve of policies. Therefore, Insurtechs are a crucial leg in driving penetration and adoption of insurance in India. One of the faster ways to achieve this – particularly life and health – is to encourage MSMEs and corporates to buy such benefits for their employees and bring them under the insurance net.

We expect the government to make bold moves by introducing certain incentives. One of the long-standing demands of the insurance industry is the reduction of the 18% GST rate from health and life insurance products to make them more affordable. Additionally, increasing the limit to claim tax deductions under section 80C and 80D would further increase the adoption of life and health insurance products.

Also, rising cost of medical and hospitalization expenses has made health insurance products costlier, therefore incentives for the healthcare sector from the government will go a long way.

Alongside, special support/ incentives/ deductions can be introduced for MSMEs that provide health insurance to employees and their families. This will aid in providing the cover to the missing middle.
We expect the upcoming Union Budget to bring encouraging policy initiatives to incentivize Insurtech and accelerate its growth.”

Mr. Aashay Mishra, Co-founder & COO of PrepInsta

Budget 2023 is expected to deliver much assistance to EdTech companies in the form of ease of doing business and faster document approval, as well as incentive policies to support innovation and job creation. A strong educational network, we believe, is critical for stimulating the economy and fostering new ideas, technologies, and next-generation businesses. Currently, taxation in India is very high in comparison to other nations, giving investors room for a second thoughts before investing. Therefore, for Ed-tech firms to lure foreign or domestic funding and accelerate business momentum, the government must lower taxes such as dividend tax and capital gains tax to gain investors’ faith to invest in India

Mr. Atulya Kaushik, Co-founder & CEO of PrepInsta

India has the highest proportion of generation Z and millennials interested in digital learning to improve their skills and prepare for the technical jobs. Despite Ed-tech’s success post COVID-19 pandemic, India still falls short of technological resources to provide eLearning to aspirants. Over the years we have come to realise how students suffer because of inadequate internet speed and absence of smartphones, particularly in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Therefore, from the budget 2023, we anticipate government to ramp up connectivity and offer schemes that bridge the accessibility gap for smart devices. Doing so can enhance the skills of aspiring students as education can be managed and customized as per their preferences

Mr. Manish Agarwal, Co-founder & CMO of PrepInsta

Since the COVID-19 pandemic’s outbreak, EdTech services have massively lowered the country’s skill gaps by linking the country‘s agrarian populace with digital learning. Without a doubt, the government has confined funding to develop high-quality educational infrastructure in outlying areas, but with the adoption of smart tools and hybrid learning models, we can conquer the large percentage of areas where modern education is still missing. Therefore, loan and finance practises must be simplified for Ed- tech startups, which also serve as a driving force in the Indian economy by retaining India’s brilliant minds

Mr. Avneet Singh Marwah, CEO of SPPL (Super Plastronic Pvt. Ltd.)

The general expectation that the industry has from the budget is how we can overall grow consumerism in India, in the past govt has taken some steps but I feel a lot has to be done. Seeing the global scenario of slow down it will be really important to budget how it’s not hit on the common man’s pocket., it will be great to see if there is some relief in the income tax slab structure.

In terms of manufacturing, we need to have some fundamental policies regarding the trade deficit which is increasing rapidly. Until and unless we will not have core raw material manufacturing it seems difficult, of course, exports need to increase in various sectors.

Dependency on oil imports should reduce, govt should have more lucrative incentives for using green energy.

The government started with the PLI scheme for various electronic categories, it has started well. I humbly request govt that TV and washing machine should be added to the PLA scheme.

It’s really important to have timelines on the big announcements regarding semiconductors and open cell plant in India, if these projects go as per plan this will be a game changer for the electronic manufacturing sector as it will be the biggest investment ever.

Mr. Dilip Modi, Founder, Spice Money

Tax norms and GST

We hope for a tax reduction in the upcoming budget that could help small merchants to provide financial services to rural citizens. As this will help in minimizing the cost of providing financial services and foster deeper financial inclusion in the hinterlands of the country. 

Leverage Aadhaar Stack to drive financial inclusion in rural

We have witnessed significant growth in transactions in Bank accounts in rural areas enabled by Business Correspondents leveraging the Aadhaar stack. The budget should provide economic benefits in the forms of tax exemptions and subsidies to improve the economic viability of BCs with the aim of enabling all 6 lakh villages with neighbourhood banking services, thereby building a strong foundation for financial inclusion.

DBU units

The government’s focus on setting up 75 Digital Banking units in 75 districts should be continued this year as well. The involvement of existing fintech players and especially Corporate banking correspondents which are bank agnostic in driving digital banking units will help in further expanding necessary universal banking services to the last mile over restricting to one bank brand services and enable us to take a step further towards our goal of financial inclusion through rural empowerment.

Rishabh Khanna, Founder, and CEO of Suraasa

“As we stand in 2023 and students are back in the classrooms, we can see the impact that the sudden shift to online learning has had on our education system. While it’s been necessary to keep our students and communities safe, it’s also highlighted the need to invest in bridging the skill gaps that have developed due to a lack of in-person learning. Teachers need to be prepared as well. This means investing in professional development and training opportunities that will help us effectively implement blended learning methods in the classroom and utilise the technology-enabled infrastructure. I am advocating for a budget dedicated towards programmes and resources that will help our students & teachers receive extra support and opportunities to succeed”

Ritika Amit Kumar, co-founder, and CEO, of STEM Metaverse

“The government has taken some extensive initiative in skill development and has catered to STEM education macros. However, I would recommend focusing on micro factors as well, like reducing excise duty on lab equipment used in education, and also focusing on reducing GST on kits that are made in India. Additionally, a reduction of GST on STEM courses, content, VR, and AR equipment will ensure that experiential STEM education can be made available to all.”

Swapnil Jambhale, Co-founder, SafexPay

“There have been significant developments pertaining to digital payments in the last one year. Most of these initiatives were announced in the last year’s budget, including the introduction of Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) and promotion of Unified Payments Interface (UPI). While the much-needed impetus to financial innovations is in process, it is crucial to strengthen the penetration of digital payments infrastructure, especially in the semi-urban and rural parts of the country. Therefore, we would expect the Government to allot funds in the Union Budget 2023-24 towards setting up of digital infrastructures focused on building citizen centric facilities and address various issues pertaining to digital payments. These could include MDR compensations for large ticket transactions, digitisation of Central and State related citizens’ services such as 7/12 extract, birth certificate, property/water tax and others.
We would recommend tax incentives that would effectively pass on to the end consumer to encourage them to contribute towards automation and digitisation. In the current GST framework, fintech companies usually suffer a loss of input credit. With the Government ensuring that the input credit is fully provided for, revenue leakages can be avoided and eventually the benefits can be passed on to the end (retail) consumer.
In December 2021, the Union Cabinet had cleared INR 1,300-cr incentive scheme to promote digital payments digital transactions using UPI and RuPay debit cards. A similar incentive scheme may be extended to RuPay credit cards in the upcoming Budget. This will encourage greater adoption of RuPay credit cards in the country. Awareness campaigns by the Government and the industry are the key pillars for encouraging digital payment initiatives in the country. While the Government has been consistently allocating funds for promotion of cashless payments in the last 2-3 years, it can be expected that a marginal share of 5–10% of the Government’s expenditure on promotional measures may be allocated for awareness campaigns.”

Mr. Mandar Agashe, Founder MD & VC of Sarvatra Technologies

“There have been several incentive schemes announced by the Government in the last few Budgets which has helped promote digital payments, especially the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) based payments. This in line with the Government’s ‘Digital India’ initiative aimed at financial inclusion. We are expecting the momentum to continue in the upcoming Budget. Serving the unserved and underserved is the mission that should continue with UPI 2.0’s recent products, such as UPI 123 and UPI Lite, the two most crucial products that will help penetrate the semi-urban and rural regions of India because of easy accessibility it offers to those who can’t afford smartphones but are using feature phones and want to transact digitally. At gram panchayat level or at the village level, Self-Help Groups (SHGs) can also promote the usage of offline payments through UPI. This will help the UPI to grow really fast. When SHGs start using the offline mode of payment through UPI, the confidence of the general public will start building up. If such SHGs are provided with incentives for doing digital payments, that will be a huge game changer for the last-mile village.

The Government may consider enhancing the payments acceptance infrastructure in the underserved regions of the country. This can be done by providing an impetus to Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AePS) terminals, which will take payments to pockets where customers may not have a smart phone and debit cards as yet.

The upcoming Budget should also focus on expanding digital payments footprint across the world. We laud the recent initiative of NPCI to extend UPI payment facility to NRIs using their international mobile numbers. Currently, NRIs residing in 10 countries, including Singapore, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, will be able to avail this facility. We are hopeful that by the end of this year, almost all countries with good NRI populations will join UPI. The Union Budget 2023-24 can accelerate the pace of UPI going global as well as making it interoperable with global payment networks. Initiatives to take BBPS platform to other nations may also be considered.”

Mr. Ankur Singh, CEO and Founder, Witzeal Technologies

“The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) recently published a draft of rules pertaining to online gaming for public consultation. It is encouraging to have the government supporting India’s burgeoning and promising online gaming industry flourish. We believe that government backing would provide the entire ecosystem with the much-needed boost it needs because the industry is creating opportunities for the start-up space, luring FDI, and boosting the national economy. The sector growth will be further boosted by strengthening the AVGC task force set up, which was established in the previous year’s budget. We also expect the government to take into account the taxation aspect in the upcoming union budget, which would provide Indian businesses with a competitive edge and encourage them to meet international standards.

A profusion of job prospects can then be further tapped by rewarding innovation when a government body or an SRO is in charge of overseeing the entire industry. In addition, we think that a robust digital infrastructure would facilitate the sector growth and adapt to new technologies, creating opportunities for gaming studios in India. This will also support the government’s “Make in India” and “Digital India” initiatives. The government’s goal of creating a $5 trillion US economy is something that the online gaming industry wants to suppor

Jaya Vaidhyanathan, CEO, BCT Digital

The upcoming budget presents a unique opportunity for India to leapfrog in the global economy. Despite the grim economic outlook caused by the ongoing global slowdown and early signs of a resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the budget can be used to push India to pole position among other global giants, provided it can project a healthy domestic picture.

On the Financial Services side, well-capitalized public sector banks with solid balance sheets will be crucial. The budget should also focus on credit growth for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) – the fastest-growing segment in the country – through measures like the expansion of the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS). Formally streamlining the co-lending system will ensure that tech-savvy players and banks come together to fuel economic growth. It will also aid the formulation of a standardized architecture on borrower data which financial institutions can use conscientiously for mutual benefit. A time-bound action plan for debt resolution via NARCL will help banks manage their stressed assets well, facilitating better business and credit growth.

Expanding on the successful Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme to more sectors, transforming India into a manufacturing hub and providing employment opportunities that can make use of the country’s demographic dividend will also be key.

India’s commitment of Net Zero by 2070 needs ambitious investments in the renewable, EV and green hydrogen space. These investments require bank funding. Given the painful experience in the past leading to the 2008 GFC with infra projects, confidence needs to be built through tech enabled monitoring of outlays and detailed project tracking measures.

Additionally, reductions in income tax can also be considered taking into account healthy Goods and Services Tax (GST) collections and the fact that inflation has made age-old tax slabs and exemptions outdated.

Ankur Maheshwari, Chief Financial Officer, Freo

“The upcoming budget for the 2023 fiscal year is projected to remain consistent with the policies of the 2022 budget. India has grown from strength to strength, especially in the middle of the global economic downturn. We are hopeful that this budget will help the country move the needle and pave the way for India to become a global example, especially for the fintech and startup industries.

We hope the budget will focus on the startup community, which has proven itself to be a major growth driver for the country in recent years. Additionally, when formulating the budget, consideration should be given to promoting initiatives such as co-lending to expand financial inclusion and extend reach to underserved customer segments.
We expect the budget to continue providing economic stability and a growth environment for core sectors. In this Digital era, where India holds the presidency of G20 in 2023, more focus and support is expected on digital-led innovation. Despite contradictory predictions from strategists, we are hopeful that India will grow stronger in 2023.”

Pratik Gauri, Co-founder & CEO, 5ire

“Of course, the decline of trading volumes by as much as 85-90% is concerning, and the fear of not attracting investments in the Web3 innovative startups will impact the overall picture. But, as I have said earlier, the taxation of income and assets is entirely the purview of the government, and they have the exclusive right to impose and collect such dues.

What I feel is of utmost importance here is to remember that any monumental shift caused by Web3 will be the world shifting from a “value capture” economy to a “value creation” economy. This will require a new set of rules, which democratizes access to resources for creators and makes value creation as rewarding as capturing value. This means a direct relationship between the human capital and the consumers of its creation.

It is vital to ensure that any taxation regime does not hamper the development of India’s talent in Web3 and the supercharged innovative environment India has been experiencing recently.

The efforts to introduce the new CBDC show that the RBI and taxation regime is committed to innovation. We look forward to working with them to produce dApp, DeFi, and ReFi solutions that help.”

Mr. Avinash Shekhar, Founder and CEO of TaxNodes

“We anticipate that the budget for 2023 will pave the way for more crypto-friendly tax regulations, such as reduction of TDS u/s 194S to 0.01%, allowing set off and carry forward of losses and aligning tax rates to bring in line with other sectors. We expect the government to reconsider the current putative tax structure and bring it at par with other normal business activities.

This will bring more transparency by enabling Indian crypto traders to trade on Indian exchanges rather than going to Peer to Peer and foreign exchanges. This will also encourage innovators and entrepreneurs to build this most innovative technology of our times, from India rather than from outside India.”

Harshil Salot, Co-Founder of The Sleep Company

“As a ‘Made in India’ brand, we believe that incentives that promote local manufacturing and exports would greatly benefit the industry as a whole. Given the increasing awareness on the importance of sleep we feel that mattresses should be considered an essential commodity resulting in a reduced GST Slab from 18% to 12%
From an employment and HR perspective, in light of the looming recession, government subsidies would provide a much-needed boost to job creation in our sector. Additionally, an expansion of the scope of ESOP taxations on startups, where companies are taxed on the final sale of shares, would be beneficial for young brands working to strengthen the Indian economy. These measures could potentially be the deciding factor for the growth and success of numerous Indian startups.”

Amit Relan, co-producer at Woot Factor Brand Architects

“The events industry has experienced a quick recovery post the pandemic, driven by increased demand for live events and shows, as well as increased corporate interest in hosting physical events. As event architects, we specialize in a variety of program types, but MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) has seen particularly strong post-pandemic growth. GST relaxation, particularly in the travel segment, will provide additional support for this growth and help the industry fully recover.
To continue growing this sector, it is important to allocate funds for the development of strong MICE infrastructure in locations beyond Goa, Rajasthan, and Kerala. Both of these budget considerations will have a direct impact on the events industry in the coming year.”

Shailendra Singh Rao, MD and Founder of Creduce:

“The Budget needs to address the lack of clarity on the Carbon market for sustainable practices in India across multiple sectors. The broad expectation is to provide stimulus to renewable energy efforts as well as light the way forward for the entry of medium and smaller players to contribute to our climate change efforts. Its high time the budget incentivizes the low carbon path as well as contribution to the carbon-free workplaces.
This budget would further need to define a better roadmap to include the larger chunk of farmers in the gamut by educating and enabling them to contribute towards climate change with their agricultural practices. Not only will that bring a large chunk into the climate change role but also offer additional sources of revenue for them. Clearing a policy and setting up a Carbon Exchange too should be seen as a priority during the Budget.”

S Anand, the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of PaySprint

India boasts a staggering 87% adoption rate of fintech, significantly greater than the global average of 64%. Consequently, the Indian Fintech industry is set on a steep growth trajectory, expected to reach Rs 9.2 billion at a CAGR of 24.96% between 2022 and 2027. Supported by the robust startup ecosystem, the Fintech industry is shaping up to be a solid contributor to the nation’s GDP.
Additionally, the Fintech sector is frontlining the cause of Financial Inclusion in India & the sector expects initiatives that will strengthen the relationship between Fintechs & Banks. This will most certainly encourage continued innovation & help extend the reach of financial services to the unbanked population.

More expected measures that will boost the Fintech landscape are discussed below :

Tax relief for growing Fintech startups:
Fintech startups are hopeful for GST exemptions until a certain level of revenue is achieved. Liberalisation of the tax structure along with depreciation on the fixed assets used by Fintechs, can go a long way in promoting advancement. Announcement of tax benefits for research & development activities would bolster the ideation & execution of differentiating financial products & services for the masses.

Continued push for Digital Payments:

The recent Budgets introduced several incentive schemes to promote digital payments & we expect the momentum to continue in this year’s Budget. The UPI has augmented India’s payments & collections infrastructure and has penetrated the unserved & underserved population in semi-urban & rural regions. New guidelines regarding the UPI transaction cost will be a major development, providing a much-needed impetus to the sector’s expansion.

Tax relief for Fintech startup employees:
A strict qualification criteria accompanied the tax benefits introduced in the previous Budget. It aimed to resolve the dual taxation issue but most startups could not reap the benefits. ESOP holders in Fintech Startups can really gain from tax being levied on the sale of shares rather than on the exercise of ESOP.

Revised regulations for Fintech players & startups:
Conscious revision of the regulations will help establish an enabling environment for Fintechs to function & evolve. We expect to see regulations regarding the digital currencies & how they will take shape in the workings of the industry.

Data security:
Digitalisation has also given rise to various security threats such as data breaches, data loss, account hacking among others. Enhancement of data security measures is imperative & we expect the upcoming Budget to facilitate the same.”

Greg Moran, CEO and CoFounder at Zoomcar

“The automobile sector has been through numerous ups and downs in recent years. In this year’s Union Budget, the government must renew its focus on enhancing infrastructure to make the production and usage of EVs and EV-related features, like charging stations, easier. The best alternative and most plausible solution for those seeking eco-friendly and sustainable commute options, apart from EVs, would be to rent cars. The government must encourage people to make sustainable choices when it comes to commuting. Renting an EV would be ideal for a majority of the population that wishes to own a car without the commitment and additional costs. We are hoping for the car rental sector to grow further and this progress is significantly reliant on the budget”

Umesh Singh, Director, Tara Candles

As the nation gears up for the much-anticipated Union Budget 2023, taxpayers and businesses alike are looking forward to see what the latest budget will hold. With the government’s focus on boosting the economy and putting more money into the hands of the people, the gift tax provisions are expected to be an important topic of discussion.

Gift taxes were first introduced in India in 1958 and were in effect for several decades before being abolished in 1998. However, they made a comeback in 2004 in a revised form, and since then, gifts worth more than INR 50,000 are considered taxable income for the recipient.

With the union budget 2023 just around the corner, taxpayers are hoping for a favorable outcome in terms of Gift tax exemptions.

In the last years introduced section 194 R needs to be amended for the survival of the gifting industry, as it has impacted the loss of business to almost 60% of the gifting community.

As a provider of gifts and presents, Tara Candles could greatly benefit from a more favorable gift tax environment. With the budget expected to be tabled soon, businesses like Tara Candles will be closely monitoring the gift tax provisions in the Union Budget 2023 to see how they could potentially impact their bottom line.

In conclusion, the Union Budget 2023 is set to be an exciting and important event for taxpayers and businesses alike, with the gift tax provisions expected to play a crucial role in shaping the future of the country’s economy. Stay tuned for more updates on the latest budget expectations and how they could potentially impact you and your business

On behalf of Vijay Malhotra, Co-Founder & Chief Sales Officer

The exponential growth of the fintech space in India’s vibrant startup ecosystem comes with a need for revisions, which will be expected from the upcoming Budget 2023. The Indian services industry has emerged as a significant contributor to the nation’s GDP, and it is imperative that the government should introduce tax parities amongst different sectors. Introducing a corporate tax bracket of approximately 15% could aid the service industry grow and perform beyond expectations. Investments under Section 80C, with the current limit of Rs. 1,50,000 needs revision. This could allow taxpayers improve upon their savings, while affecting a significant increase in purchasing power. Further, ESOP holders in Indian startups could gain from tax being levied on the sale of shares rather than on the exercise of ESOP, which is not the liquidity event for employees of unlisted companies. Thus, if these expectations are addressed and adequately tackled through implementation, it could help the country’s economy grow further.

Mr Ashwin Chawwla, Founder & Managing Director, Escrowpay

Increase in the GST exemption limit for escrow services: The current GST charged @ 18% for escrow services is very high and needs to be removed completely to provide financial relief to small and medium businesses.
Introduction of tax incentives for businesses relying on escrow services: The government should consider introducing tax incentives for businesses that rely on escrow services. This will encourage more businesses to use escrow services and ensure their transactions are secure.
Banks and Fintechs alliance: The time taken for escrow services is currently 8-10 weeks by a bank. Fintechs like escrow pay, open digital escrows nearly instantaneously. The government should look into ways to reduce the time taken for escrow services and make them faster and more efficient.

Dhruv Sawhney, COO & Business Head, nurture.farm:

More than 50% of the population in India depends on agriculture for their livelihoods. Agriculture is also the 3rd most significant contributor to our GDP and will always attract attention in the union budget.

However, unlike previous years, we are moving into 2023-24 with a cautious & uncertain outlook owing to challenges like a looming recession, the Russia-Ukraine war, threats of climate change, falling export numbers, global inflation in crude, edible oil, and wheat prices. A separate budget allocation to improve crop production efficiency and enhancement of the supply chain can improve benefits to the farmers.

Policies to support Technology Adoption & Digitisation of Agriculture at Scale
Technology interventions, mechanisation, GIS, IoT, AI/ML, Big Data, Blockchain, Drones etc., can act as critical drivers to propel growth, farm efficiency, and improve production efficiency at scale. The government can expand the existing measures like Digital Agriculture Mission (2021-2025) to include these technological interventions that help deliver market & mandi prices, supply chain visibility, food security etc.

Furthermore, the government should support the creation of an open ag ecosystem that acts as a public data library wherein all parties can share & access information & insights around soil wellness, pests & diseases etc to help fasttrack the change. The government can look to promote & open opportunities for PPP (Public Private Partnerships) to improve accessibility and truly bring in digitisation at grassroots level.

Benefits, Incentives & Investments to solve Climate Change
A clear definition of the climate change sector needs to be drafted. Incentives and tax benefits for domestic companies that focus on solving climate change can be offered. Creating a well-regulated voluntary carbon markets framework with policies and incentives that help India meet its Net Zero goals. Policies that encourage farmers to implement sustainable & precision farming practices can be drafted and implemented. Financial benefits & subsidies for the farmers set aside by the government can be routed via agritech companies & organisations promoting sustainability cultivation practices at a grassroot level to propel a shift towards climate smart farming practices at scale.

Solving market linkage challenges
The key objective of introducing the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce Act 2020 was to facilitate agricultural produce trade outside APMCs. However, measures are yet to be taken to allow trade based on the PAN card outside APMCs. Furthermore, despite the government allocating funds to improve the infrastructure at APMCs for installing testing & drying machines, the availability of these machines could be much higher.

Similarly, increasing the number of APMCs, introducing digital platforms to help farmers sell produce at a fair price, delivering market price information, and regularly offering advisory, financial assistance, and best practices. Setting up marketplaces focused on FPOs can also help drive demand and improve farmers’ price realisations.

Ms Divya Jain, Co-founder, Seekho

Ed-tech has seen course correction over this past year but has emerged stronger. Especially in higher education and employability, it is the only solution and way forward. We look forward to a lower tax slab for education services to students in particular. Push to implement nep which will allow the youth to learning digitally, work and still earn their degrees

Vijay Malhotra, Co-Founder & Chief Sales Officer at SahiBandhu

The exponential growth of the fintech space in India’s vibrant startup ecosystem comes with a need for revisions, which will be expected from the upcoming Budget 2023. The Indian services industry has emerged as a significant contributor to the nation’s GDP, and it is imperative that the government should introduce tax parities amongst different sectors. Introducing a corporate tax bracket of approximately 15% could aid the service industry grow and perform beyond expectations. Investments under Section 80C, with the current limit of Rs. 1,50,000 needs revision. This could allow taxpayers improve upon their savings, while affecting a significant increase in purchasing power. Further, ESOP holders in Indian startups could gain from tax being levied on the sale of shares rather than on the exercise of ESOP, which is not the liquidity event for employees of unlisted companies. Thus, if these expectations are addressed and adequately tackled through implementation, it could help the country’s economy grow further.

Mr. Gaurav Jalan, Founder & CEO, mPokket

“The constant innovative reforms and technological advancements have provided an impetus to the growth of the FinTech industry in India. With the annual budget just around the corner, it is expected that the government will prioritize the needs of the FinTech players and implement policies to add to their growth trajectory.
It can be expected that the government will bring in reforms to strengthen the partnerships between FinTech institutions and banks. We are expecting that the Finance Minister will take into account the financial burden on start-ups and suggest policies to ease it. In the last budget, she gave major tax reliefs to start-ups and employees, in order to boost their development and to resolve the dual taxation issue and the tax burden that employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) have on employees. However, the qualification criteria were too stringent, and as a result, very few start-ups could gain benefits from them. So, we can expect that the government will look into this and provide tax relief to budding FinTech start-ups and their employees.
India’s journey to financial inclusion is being paved by exceptional financial solutions provided by FinTech companies. The work that we are doing to make financial services accessible to all is a major positive outcome of digitization. FinTech will continue to grow at a faster rate and penetrate deeper into the country only if rural areas have a strong digitization network. This sector expects more assistance from the government to develop strong partnerships with banks and financial institutions in order to foster better financial inclusion, both offline and online.
The upcoming budget should also consider and offer tax benefits on the total expenditure incurred by FinTech startups, maybe in the form of a small GST subsidy. “Since personal loans now make up the bulk of the loan market, efforts to offer some form of tax refund for people who take out personal loans and education loans, similar to what those who take out house loans receive, would also be appreciated by people who take out such loans.”

Mr. Sean Yalamanchi, President, Infovision

“As an IT Company, we have our own unique set of issues and expectations from the budget.

  • MAT to have two slabs – similar to corporate tax –  to help incentivize smaller IT companies – this will help in better-working capital management.
  • For smaller IT companies – Government to provide an incentive  – a tax holiday for 5 years – to set up offshore development centers in Tier 2 and Tier 3 locations – to improve employment opportunities
  • Safe harbor margin notified for companies – This is to be enhanced – from the current limit of Rs.200 crore (company turnover) to Rs.500 crore– The limit has not been revisited for more than a decade. This will help reduce compliance requirements for smaller companies.

Government should actively consider the cost of compliance, litigation, and the refund process to improve the ease of doing business

  • Vendor credit – Government to take steps to enable a mechanism to track vendor compliance on the GST front rather than putting the onus on the service receiver. The cost of compliance is putting a burden on the service receiver.
  • Time Limit – With provisions such as Sec 16 (4) of the GST Act wherein there is a time limit for a business taxpayer to avail GST credit, but the time limit to open and re-open assessment under GST Act still remains open-ended.
  • Tribunal – Government should prioritize setting up the tribunal for the GST cases to address the grievances or litigation to make compliance easier specially for the SMEs.   
  • Streamline the faceless assessment process so that the companies are not burdened with additional litigation and/or getting the refund faster”

Sunil Sharma, managing director – sales, Sophos India and SAARC

“Cyberattacks are increasing in terms of scale and complexity, making it one of the biggest threats enterprises face today. Amidst this, there is an urgent need to build a talent pool that is equipped to handle new-age sophisticated attacks. It would be welcome if the Union Budget places a focus on bridging the cybersecurity skills gap and increasing awareness around the same. We are hopeful that the government will take cognizance of this, and increase spending on skilling and training initiatives. In the long run, this will help create employment opportunities, as well as build defenses against threat attackers.”

Prakash Balasubramanian, Executive Vice President and Global Head, Engineering Practices and Delivery, Ascendion

“Talent has always spearheaded digital innovation, which is the key to unlocking great value in any industry. India needs to emerge as an engineering hub where the world’s best software products get built. It is crucial that the government’s emphasis on digital skill development and alignment with the IT and tech sectors should be emphasized in this year’s budget as well. Essential funds need to be allocated to talent development and digital skilling, including schools and universities.

To promote digital innovation, a significant amount of focus needs to be given to supporting infrastructure and internet penetration in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, enabling India to be the digital hub of technology.”

Puneet Gupta, vice president & managing director, NetApp India/SAARC

The technology sector in India has been growing rapidly over the last few years, driven by a number of factors such as increasing digital adoption, the growth of e-commerce, launch of 5G services and the rising demand for cloud services. Ahead of Union Budget 2023, here’s what the technology sector expects:

“Despite recent global headwinds, we have seen consistent growth in the technology sector. With the rapid technology adoption across sectors, we are well poised to becoming a USD 5 trillion economy soon. With cloud and data technologies becoming the de-facto standard for businesses to operate, Gartner estimates that public cloud spending in India will grow 27% YoY in 2023. Amidst this, there is a need for the government to focus on incentivising the use of cloud services and deep tech like AI, blockchain etc., across industries.
In 2023 and beyond, upskilling of talent in an environment driven by technology will be mission critical. The government has made great strides towards this, through the Skill India program. In this year’s Union Budget, it would be good to see more investments and programs in upskilling, as this is an important factor towards achieving the collective Digital India dream of our nation.”

Dr. Preet Pal Thakur Co-founder of GlamyoHealth

At Glamyo health, we would expect the honorable finance minister to rationalise tax compliance, especially the aspect of tax withholdings. Furthermore, to encourage Indian start ups getting domestic capital, tax rates for resident investors should be harmonized at par with the Foreign investors. We also expect the government to increase the healthcare outlay to INR 1 Lakh crore

Mr.Archit Garg, Co-founder of Glamyo Health

There has been a global rise in the healthcare industry and India is a key player at the forefront. We expect that there will be measures taken to encourage the start ups for the overall growth of the Indian economy. One of the ways is to Incentivise domestic capital to fund Indian startups in their growth phase. We expect harmonising the tax rate for resident investors on unlisted shares in registered startups”

Kunal Nagarkatti, Chief Executive Officer, Clover Infotech

With the rise of new-age technologies such as artificial intelligence and the proliferation of internet access all across India, it is an opportune time for India to invest in new-age digital technology. The best companies are leveraging technology to scale and grow. The budget must focus on investing in Tech R&D, product innovation, and technology solutions and services and ensuring 5G services all over the country. The budget must consider investments in state-of-the-art incubation centers which can digitally transform ideas from all over India into sustainable businesses of today and giant corporations of tomorrow. A simultaneous investment in skilling human capital to use these technologies is paramount. The budget must include measures that can help better industry-academia connect to make ‘India’ a hotbed of technology innovation and digital transformation services for the world.

S. Mukundhan, Group CFO, Fulcrum Digital

“At a recent event organized by FICCI, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari stated that India is the world’s fastest-growing major economy and is set to achieve its $5 trillion GDP goal by 2024–25. The IT sector will play a pivotal role in helping the country achieve this objective; given the rapid digital and emerging technology adoption we are seeing across sectors. Special Economic Zones (SEZs) have played an important part in the country’s rapid economic development over the last two decades. However, there are some changes to SEZ rules that could be looked at to ensure technology businesses can reap these benefits – including smoother processes for the movement of goods between two SEZ units, scrapping of old computers and laptops after paying the residual duties in the open market, and simplifying the permissions process to facilitate remote working. From a CSR standpoint, it would be welcome if the government relaxed the mandatory spend on CSR activities for companies with 5 crore net profit by increasing the threshold to companies with 50 crore net profit. Additionally, while calculating net profits, the remuneration paid to professional employees should not be added back. This would ease some of the burden on MSMEs. In terms of the personal income tax threshold, it would be beneficial for businesses if the ministry revised the existing limits. In order to do away with the numerous tax exemptions, an alternate method of income tax computation without exemptions could be looked at, but with lower rates and higher basic exemption limits.”

Mr. Sanjay Sharma, MD and CEO, Aye Finance

“The year ahead could well be the point of inflexion for India. As the world veers precariously on the border of a depression and China’s global growth engine takes a breather, Indian growth rate seems relatively less affected. This can indeed give us the momentum to pull ahead in the world stakes. The budget should hence focus on supporting growth and stability, instead of conservative incrementalism.

As we pull ahead and reach for the 10 trillion dollar GDP, there is no time to loose in addressing the social inequalities. Support for the 70 mn micro scale enterprises is the need of the hour and this budget could make a start on the following ideas:

1.       Lending to micro enterprises by NBFCs and Banks should be encouraged. Just as Bank’s have to meet a specific priority lending quota for agri, there should now be a specified quota for micro enterprises in the priority lending.

2.       Allocation for initiatives that help improve the quality of the produce of micro enterprises. Here Govt should allow subsidies for private sector programs that can deliver technology and product improvement by such micro enterprises at scale.

3.       Health and critical illness covers at affordable premiums for micro enterprise owners and their family- so that their businesses may be protected from these adverse events

4.       Continued Credit Guarantee suport through CGTMSE and simplification of the legal recovery requirements for very small loans below Rs 2 lacs.

These bold steps will enable improvement in flow of funds to the financially excluded micro scale enterprises. This segment provides 95 percent of non-farm employment and we can no longer turns out heads away from their needs

I believe that the Budget 2023 will bring in a period of progress and prosperity for all sectors – NBFCs and beyond – and catalyse policies and regulations that support holistic growth of the economy”

Mr. AshwinChawwla, Founder & Managing Director, Escrowpay

Increase in the GST exemption limit for escrow services: The current GST charged @ 18% for escrow services is very high and needs to be removed completely to provide financial relief to small and medium businesses.

Introduction of tax incentives for businesses relying on escrow services: The government should consider introducing tax incentives for businesses that rely on escrow services. This will encourage more businesses to use escrow services and ensure their transactions are secure

Banks and Fintechs alliance: The time taken for escrow services is currently 8-10 weeks by a bank. Fintechs like escrow pay, open digital escrows nearly instantaneously. The government should look into ways to reduce the time taken for escrow services and make them faster and more efficient.

Kumar Binit, CEO and Co-founder at FinMapp

The past few years have witnessed unforeseen disruptions in global economies owing to the Covid-19 Pandemic and geopolitical disturbances caused by factors such as the Russia-Ukraine and the US-North Korea diplomatic tensions—and India is far from immune to these instabilities. The unprecedented rise in inflation and the onset of a global recession are wreaking havoc upon the common man, limiting his purchasing power. The Budget 2023 has the potential to empower FinTechs, which are relied upon by a majority of the population. Our expectations are focused on the government changing the tax slabs, interest rates, and capital gain taxes to benefit the end consumer. Additionally, we expect policies to facilitate ease of doing business with regard to various compliances and regulatory approvals. Last but not least, we must focus on the data privacy and security bill that should be passed and implemented to protect the people of the nation.

Vijay Malhotra, Co-Founder & Chief Sales Officer at SahiBandhu

The exponential growth of the fintech space in India’s vibrant startup ecosystem comes with a need for revisions, which will be expected from the upcoming Budget2023. The Indian services industry has emerged as a significant contributor to the nation’s GDP, and it is imperative that the government should introduce tax parities amongst different sectors. Introducing a corporate tax bracket of approximately 15% could aid the service industry grow and perform beyond expectations. Investments under Section 80C, with the current limit of Rs. 1,50,000 needs revision. This could allow taxpayers to improve upon their savings, while affecting a significant increase in purchasing power. Further, ESOP holders in Indian startups could gain from tax being levied on the sale of shares rather than on the exercise of ESOP, which is not the liquidity event for employees of unlisted companies. Thus, if these expectations are addressed and adequately tackled through implementation, it could help the country’s economy grow further.

VirendraYaduvanshi, Co-Founder & CTO at SahiBandhu

The development of new-age businesses and India’s fast-evolving startup ecosystem are left in great anticipation for the new Budget 2023. Most urgently, we expect the Indian government to introduce tax incentives for the use of new-age technology applications like IoT, AI, ML and others to help accelerate the wave of digitalization prevalent across industries. While we expect direct tax benefits to borrowers of personal loans, indirect tax benefits could be levied for the fintech sector in the form of more ease in doing business. This could help fintech companies transfer these benefits to the end users.

Siddharth Dani, Chief Financial Officer, Easebuzz 

As the nation gets ready for the Union Budget 2023-24, the industry is eager to see the policies that the government is about to unveil. Currently, debit cards attract standardized rates for online transactions whereas credit cards rates are at the discretion of the service provider. Standardization for all cards will shift industry focus from purely price-based arbitration to value added services thereby benefiting the merchants and businesses. Similarly, standardization of withholding tax rates with respect to various services offered by all service providers would reduce ambiguity and working capital burden. As part of honorable Prime Minister’s vision to promote digital payments in India, GST Subsidy for Payment Aggregator for services provided in rural or semi rural areas will bring about further digital payment penetration and adoption in India. In addition, there are also hopes of introducing more incentives for promotion of digital payments for unorganized segments like micro enterprises, street vendors etc, and also introduce sector-specific schemes.

Attributed to Suresh Rajagopalan, CEO, Wibmo – A PayU Company

“In the last few years, we have seen a significant increase in the adoption of digital payments. We expect further digital infrastructure push from the government to make India a cash-free economy. The budget should provide incentives for MSMEs for the adoption of digital payments in tier 3 towns and beyond.  The government should give further push for the adoption of prepaid instruments for reaching out to the financially underserved and the underbanked. We also expect the government to actively promote Digital banks and build a digital banking regime, helping fintech players offer their tech platforms to build optimal credit products and offer best-in-class customer experience. With the rise in digital payments, payment fraud has also expanded at a rapid pace. The budget should include regulations that would curb the menace of digital frauds, including mandatory adoption of Fraud Management solutions. Furthermore, banks should be incentivized to share anonymized fraud markings data that would help develop robust, cross-banking data models to prevent payment fraud. These initiatives would further drive digital adoption and truly deliver the benefits of a digital economy.”

Mr. Rajagopal Menon, Vice President, WazirX

In the upcoming session of the Union Budget, we expect the following developments in the Crypto ecosystem

1. Classification of Virtual Digital Asset (VDA) as a regulated asset class

VDAs should be classified as a suitable asset class, similar to securities, and the tax slabs and set-off benefits that apply to securities as an asset class should also apply to Crypto assets.

Securities are classified as an asset class based on the risks associated with them, with products ranging from low-risk government bonds to high-risk derivatives. As a result, VDAs should be appropriately classified and regulated so that investors can understand the associated risks and invest accordingly.

2. 1% TDS on Sale transaction

This tax must be abolished or repealed urgently because it causes investors to lose capital with each trade and discourages prospective investors from participating in this market. The buyer deducts this amount from the amount owed to the seller. This essentially means that every trade would cost investors 1% of their capital. While any TDS amount in excess of taxes due would eventually be refunded, it has had a crushing effect on day traders and short-term investors’ capital. It would imply that, from a broader macroeconomic standpoint, the amount of capital invested in Crypto assets would constantly decrease with each trade, reducing the category’s overall profits. This would only serve to discourage investors from taking part in Indian exchanges that are TDS compliant in favour of foreign exchanges that do not deduct TDS.

3. No Set-off or carry forward of losses in VDAs

As stated in point 1, there is an urgent need to classify VDA as a regulated asset class, similar to securities, and to bring taxation on parity with equity shares/derivatives by allowing set off/carry forward of losses.

The 30% threshold was set in response to comparisons of digital assets to extremely speculative avenues such as gambling, betting, and so on. VDAs are more akin to securities trading, requiring clear ownership and title of the assets as well as sufficient liquidity in the system to transact. The current tax slabs will only discourage and deter traders with a risk appetite from dealing in VDAs.

Mr. Amanjot Malhotra, Country Head of Bitay, India

Capital Gains Tax

Budget FY23 proposed that gains arising out of virtual digital assets or crypto assets be taxed at a flat rate of 30 percent. In addition, a 1 percent tax deducted at source (TDS) was introduced on every transfer of such assets.

Volumes of the VDA exchanges in India have suffered significantly after the introduction of TDS at 1 percent, but Indians’ interest has remained largely unchanged.

Indian exchange volumes have fallen by nearly 90% while Indian users’ adoption of foreign exchanges has seen a massive rise. The high rate of TDS, which was introduced to track the movement of crypto assets, has only pushed transactions offshore.

Not only have Indian consumers been left to trade on foreign exchanges, but their VDA activity is also not being tracked as well. I appreciate and support the objective of tracking VDA transactions, but this objective can be equally achieved with a lower rate of TDS at 0.01%

Suitable amendments of the policies will not only uplift the sentiment of the industry including the users, exchanges, and web3 projects while meeting the required regulatory requirements but are likely to see long-term benefits that propel India’s digital economy narrative.

The offset of losses in VDA

A key benefit of investing in traditional assets such as stocks, gold, and bonds is the ability to set off losses in one asset against gains in another and to carry forward unadjusted losses to future years for adjustment. However, losses from crypto transactions can’t be adjusted against gains, and neither can they be carried forward.

Taxing crypto gains and not allowing losses to be carried forward or set off is just economically unviable and after a few calculations, the user is able to understand that even in the case of overall profits they will be at loss.

Given the market losses that most VDAs have suffered in recent times, this is a key shortcoming. Crypto investors should be allowed to offset and carry forward losses to provide a level playing field to these assets.

Crypto bill

While the government introduced crypto taxation in the last budget, it did not address the legality of such assets, a long-standing demand of the sector.

While attempts have been made in the past to introduce a bill to regulate crypto assets, the roadmap for such legislation is still not clear. Reports suggest the government is in the deliberation stage on a crypto bill.

Although the taxation part of the VDS has been addressed, Web3, crypto assets, NFTs (non-fungible tokens), and the metaverse require a more detailed set of guidelines for other regulatory matters

Further, the government should frame strong regulations for the sector in light of the FTX crisis, especially for heavily centralized bodies dealing with crypto.

FTX, the world’s third-largest crypto exchange, was forced to seek a bailout in November amid an unprecedented liquidity crisis following allegations of financial misappropriation.

Gaps in crypto laws

After the imposition of capital gains tax and TDS on crypto transactions, crypto trading volumes in the country declined. Experts said many investors are trying to bypass the tax regime by trading in grey markets, which is not great for consumer protection.

High taxes and unfavorable regulation structures can lead to offshore regulatory risks and capital outflow from the county.

Consideration of cryptos as a virtual digital asset, but an imposition of a tax which is one of the highest amongst all asset classes is not fair to the overall industry.

Crypto tax provisions introduced in the last budget were similar to the tax treatment of winnings from speculative activities like betting etc. Also, the current definition of virtual digital assets is very wide and has to be segregated and separate rules have to define each category of Virtual Digital Assets.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes has already issued clarification on the scope of virtual digital assets, excluding gift cards, air miles, reward points, etc. Given the dynamic and ever-evolving nature of blockchain technology, the government may in future provide more clarity on the intended scope of virtual digital assets

The introduction of the crypto tax was a positive step that showcased India’s willingness to adopt a progressive approach. Still, now it is time for the government to treat the crypto sector at par with other assets and update the current set of regulations keeping the importance of the industry in mind.

Quote from Mr. Ramkumar Subramaniam, CEO and Co-Founder, Guardianlink 

The budget 2023 has set a lot of expectations spread across a lot of industries, verticals, and domains. We, as NFT technology enables, look forward to the aspects of the budget that will cover virtual digital assets. We were elated that virtual digital assets were brought into the tax spectrum during the previous budget. It did help in strengthening the faith of the erstwhile investors and it also brought in a new wave of investors into this space.

In this budget, we would deem it awesome if there could be a clear definition of what all would constitute virtual digital assets. Since the adoption is growing and the regulation has opened up tremendous growth possibilities, it would definitely be useful to define exhaustively what would constitute virtual digital assets.

In the same way, it would also be a welcome move if different classes of digital assets are put into different tax brackets. Some virtual assets are extremely volatile, and they might steadily increase… or even decrease in their value. Some of them, however, might only see a gradual increase in their value, and it might not be appealing for investors to put both of them into the same tax bracket.

It cannot be denied that virtual digital assets contribute to the Indian economy and have a small yet positive impact on the GDP per capita. While it would be a really appealing move to revisit the taxation rate, making them congruent with some VDA-friendly countries, the fact that they are regulated still puts India far ahead of a lot of economies.

We expect this budget, overall, to be more inclusive and to be poised towards making virtual digital assets more accessible to common people, especially in India.

Quote on behalf of Mr. Pramod Kathuria, Founder & CEO, Easiloan

The wave of digitisation and the demand for new-age technologies in India has taken us a step closer to realising Industry 4.0, and there are several expectations that the Budget 2023 brings with it. In preparation for the next financial year, fintech businesses expect tax incentives for depreciation on fixed assets utilised so far, and also expect the union government to provide tax relief for employees of startups who suffer from the financial burdens placed upon them from ESOPs. There is also a crucial need for suitable co-lending ceilings and rates, which will need to be implemented through the right legislation to aid collaboration between smaller NBFCs, fintechs and banking institutions. Further, there has been a 2% increase in interest rates on mortgages, and the real estate sector anticipates an increase of Rs. 1.5 lakh for interest refunds. But, in order to achieve affordability and housing sales, this figure needs to reach Rs. 5 lakh for the deduction limit of home loan under section 24 of the income tax.

Input from Mr. Abhay Aggarwal, CEO and Founder, Colexion

In an effort to keep the economy on an upward trajectory, the government is likely to concentrate on a number of different issues while handling the Union Budget for the fiscal year 2023–2024. Total economic growth and development are one of these key paths. The forthcoming budget for FY 2023–2024 is likely to have two significant provisions, according to our finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

The first is the tax credit for capital or operating expenses for growth, capacity utilization, and use of new-age technology applications like the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), etc.

Second, ASSOCHAM (Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India) recently advocated a reduction in interest for late GST payments from the current rate of 18% to the proposed 12%.

Here are a few pre-budget projections for the fiscal year 2023–2024.

The Salaried Class

The income tax system ought to undergo certain revisions as part of the budget. Since FY 2017–18, the tax rates have not been subject to review. Despite the introduction of a new tax system, the majority of taxpayers have not adopted it since it is less viable than the previous system. Therefore, the highest tax rate of 30% needs to be cut to 25% and the threshold for the highest tax rate needs to be raised from Rs. 10 lacs to Rs. 20 lacs in order to improve purchasing power and provide some tax relief.

The Indian Corporates

Currently, there are varying tax rates for various industries. The corporate sector anticipates that uniformity in tax rates should be implemented for India to stand as a center for both the manufacturing and services industries. India will have one of the most globally competitive company tax rates if the 15% corporation tax rate is implemented. In addition to boosting the manufacturing and industrial sectors, this will open the door for the services sector to expand and outperform itself.

The Crypto NFT Market

The Indian government introduced a formal tax system for digital assets as the first step toward legalizing cryptocurrency. Institutional investors now have the much-needed clarity and guidance to consider digital assets as an alternative asset class, thanks to the established tax structure. There are currently 15 million cryptocurrency users in India. Additionally, it is the birthplace of 11% of the world’s Web3.0 talent, with nearly 75,000 blockchain specialists working for the 450+ Web3.0 and blockchain firms based in India.

These numbers alone demonstrate India’s developing web3 ecosystem. The future web3 and blockchain economies will be built by the Indian IT ecosystem, which is also in a prime position to play a key role in realizing the government of India’s vision and purpose of “Make in India” for the rest of the world.

The average age of cryptocurrency investors is under 30. We think the government should rationalize the 30% tax as this is the age when a person begins their journey toward financial planning and stability to promote a vibrant IT and web3 ecosystem that will fuel innovation and progress in the nation. Additionally, it becomes imperative to store digital assets in a secure and compliant manner when institutional investors are involved. For India to gain the trust of institutional and retail stakeholders, professional digital wallet infrastructure businesses that are regulated, compliant, and licensed are required.

In light of this, we anticipate that the 2019 union budget would establish a legal framework for digital wallet companies as well as a single window clearance to register and conduct business in India under the vigilance of pertinent regulatory bodies.

Mr. Bhaskar Chatterjee from Ezetap 

The budget could consider making devices such as the PoS (Point of Sale) terminals the most viable acquiring infrastructure for banks and fintech companies by offering incentives such as a GST subsidy on PoS devices.

Rollback of the 0% MDR on UPI &RupayDC  is another measure which the government could consider. In addition, rolling back the 0% MDR will incentivise the banks to improve the current infrastructure around UPI – leading to better success rates.

Ashish Rai, Vice Chairman and President, Aurionpro Solutions

“India has been leading the world in building its own technology industry as well as talent base. We are relentlessly marching towards being the de facto top choice for setting up scale technology and capability centres. I believe the Indian tech industry today stands on the cusp of the next leg of explosive growth and transformation from being a global IT service and outsourcing leader to becoming an IP-led software products and platforms powerhouse. In this year’s Union Budget, it would be a welcome step if the Hon’ble Finance Minister announces initiatives and incentives that will give an impetus to make-in-India software products and platforms, thus creating the next generation of global leaders. The game-changing success and global renown of the Indian stack and platforms such as Aadhaar and UPI should give us a lot of confidence in India’s ability to lead the world in creating IP-led, global-scale platforms. This will significantly enhance our economic growth and global influence.

From the standpoint of specific technology areas to focus on, if I had to pick one area where it is absolutely imperative for India to focus efforts, it has to be Artificial Intelligence (AI), where the difference between the AI-haves and have-nots will likely be stark. Considering India’s long-term progress and security, it is imperative that Indian industry and government institutions focus intensely on taking a leadership position in the building and deploying AI on a global scale. A well-thought-out initiative that provides an enabling policy framework, as well as industry incentives in this area, would be very welcome.”

Anubhav Jain, Co-founder and CEO, Rupifi

” In the current macroeconomic situation, a lot of fintech startups expect the government to alleviate concerns with regards to cash flow. The sector expects tax savings by depreciating the fixed assets utilised by fintech companies. Consequently, substantial tax relief if provided to start-up employees can alleviate the dual taxation issue and lessen the financial burden that Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) place on employees. The fintech sector predicts further support for improved bank partnerships that will support the existing paradigm. The experts in the field emphasized the need for fair playing conditions for both online and offline lenders. With this, the fintech industry implores the government to address the dire need for access to capital for start-ups and small businesses, including streamlining the process of obtaining loans and financing as well as providing avenues for funding through venture capital and other sources. Additionally, implementing adequate rules to manage the fintech sector will provide businesses in the sector with transparency and surely aid them in managing their finances. As a fintech company operating in the BNPL space, we hope for more clarity on the FLDG stance. If India completely embraces digital technology, fintech will advance more. The government therefore could offer smaller NBFCs and fintech companies operating in Tier-2, Tier-3, and Tier-4 locations suitable co-lending ceilings and rates. ”

Mr. Vidyarthi Baddireddy, CEO and Co-founder at PickMyWork

“Despite pandemic-induced inflation, the nation witnessed flourishing entrepreneurial ventures as a consequence of early-stage acceleration and venture capital, as well as a push from the gig economic model to initiate and prepare businesses for the future of work. Given the prospects that the Indian startup ecosystem holds for global investors, this year’s Budget will be worth watching out for. While this is a promising indicator, the urgent priority of the hour is to devise a policy that further encourages a sturdy startup ecosystem through easier loan disbursements, e-approvals, and more government-led incentives in India’s tier-I and tier-II cities. Although the Fund of Funds for Startups (FFS) has played an integral role in mobilizing domestic capital in the Indian startup ecosystem, government interference should occur directly in this respect to ramp up the startup perks being offered, particularly for early-stage startups. Moreover, the government should also recognize relieving angel tax constraints in Budget 2023, as startups are frequently in the early stages of their growth and may not generate the same level of income or revenues as established businesses. Taxing the funds startups secure from investors may demotivate them from advancing creative solutions and developing new technologies.”

Mr. Mayank Arya, Co-founder at Yes Madam

While the Union Budget 2023 is aiming to drive nationwide comprehensive holistic growth, it should also recognize the critical need for tax structures that make it easier and more advantageous for startup entrepreneurs – especially those who are bootstrapped – to raise capital. Furthermore, it should applaud reforms that promote the expansion of women-led or pro-women empowerment enterprises. Given the high GST in the salon and wellness industries, customers are often motivated to pay cash instead of using credit cards or other forms of payment processing; thus, there needs to be a proper tech solution created in order to circumvent this issue. To encourage a thriving tech driven salon industry similar in stature as Zomato – and stimulate online transaction usage – we believe that GST should be decreased from 18% down for salons and related wellness establishments.

Ms. Sujata Pawar, Co-Founder & CEO at Avni- A Feminine Hygiene and Menstrual Healthcare Startup

“While the Union Budget 2023 will primarily focus on promoting comprehensive holistic growth across the nation, but it would be great if women’s health and wellness, particularly menstrual hygiene, are kept on high priority. For India to spring up from its menstrual waste problem, we eagerly await policies from the government that fosters the marketing and sale of organic biodegradable menstrual products. This small step has the potential to reduce the tons of commercial plastic sanitary napkins that end up creating mountains of landfills. Although the emphasis should be ‘Make in India’, lowering import taxes on raw materials could assist address the initial bottlenecks and motivate more female-led businesses to start contributing towards a greener India.

In terms of financing, the seed fund scheme is a great initiative, however, it needs to be more transparent and structured so that startups can easily navigate it. A central database of all possible schemes through which startups can access funding must be established. It will also be beneficial to have a counsellor or guide accompany the startup to the appropriate incubator. Moreover, a single-window policy for all registrations such as incorporation, Pan, GST, MSME certificate, and so on will help save time, effort, and money.”

Dr. Ganesh Nikam, Managing Director and CEO of Biojobz

“Since it is a budget wish list, I would like to limit my wishes to two very important demands on taxation. One, considering the holding period, ESOPs should be considered long-term capital gains (LTCG) for tax purposes and should only be taxed at the time of sale rather than at the time of exercise. Two, to incentivize and increase retail investments into early-stage startups, a) Tax credit upto to Rs 5 Lakhs from personal taxable income for any investment loss in recognized startups b) Deferring of capital gains in case it is reinvested again in startups or any SEBI recognized funds.”

Pradeep Misra, CMD-REPL

In the Union Budget 2023, the infrastructure sector expects the spending on infrastructure development to go up to 10% of GDP. Increased spending will help in building assets for the future, generate employment, and circulate capital in the economy. Governments spending especially in sectors like PMAY need more aggression, which will benefit the lowest strata of society. Even after the available budget due to red tapism disbursal of the fund need special focus. The sector also expects the government to ease the norms for raising funds and ensure that loan repayment terms have easier norms.

Rohit Gajbhiye, CEO and Founder, Financepeer

High GST on raw materials has been the Achilles heel of the sector for a very long time. In this budget, the government should consider the rationalization of GST for the infrastructure sector. All items required for infrastructure building should be charged at 12% only. Traditionally, the government has been the primary source of funds for infrastructure projects. It is high time to change it. Introducing norms to attract private capital in the infrastructure sector would be a welcome step.

The fintech financing options assist students in achieving their educational goals by increasing affordability with the new-age inventive approach. As a result, education is increasingly becoming more participatory nationwide. We hope the government acknowledges this and aids fintech companies in financing the aspirations of millions of students. The educational loan threshold for studies overseas should be increased from the present INR 25 lakh to 50 lakhs and for studies in India, it should be increased from the present INR 15 lakh to INR 25 lakh.

If educational institutions meet the requirements of the MSMED Act 2006, we suggest that loans given to educational institutions be eligible to be classified as priority sector advances under micro, small, and medium (services) enterprises. India ranks significantly low among other countries in terms of scientists/researchers per million population. While enrollment in public higher education institutions increased, the budget allocation has remained static. The government needs to allocate more resources in terms of percentage of GDP towards R&D, with at least 3% of GDP. The budget may also consider mandating industry R&D funding to academic institutions so that there is more collaboration between industry and academia and the unutilized potential of academia too is employed for mass benefit.

Mr. Manish Gupta, Co-Founder, and CEO, of Rezo.ai

The story of India’s emergence as one of the most preferred destinations for start-ups is no less than a fairytale. Start-ups are not only contributing fairly to the national GDP but also employing thousands. The union budget 2023 can help start-ups realize their full potential and push them on the path of exponential growth. The start-up sector expects the budget to ease the norms for starting a business and lessen the compliance burden. Budget 2023 should introduce a single window clearance mechanism for licensing and registration for start-ups. Pushing the GST exemption slot from the current INR 40 lakh to INR 10 crores could act as a booster shot for the start-up sector. A skilled workforce is a prerequisite for an economy aspiring to be a world leader. The budget 2023 should announce sops and incentives for organizations investing in skill development. Tax reform on ESOPs is another area where the government can provide relief to start-ups. It will help start-ups attract and retain the right talent from the market. Most of the most important impact of the start-ups has been serving the underserved. Services like healthcare, hygiene, education, and finance have reached millions of people only due to the efforts of start-ups. In the budget 2023, the government must incentivize the start-ups serving the underserved. This will help them continue with the missions of social entrepreneurship.

Mr. Ravi Saxena, Managing Director of Wonderchef

An earnest prayer would be that the Union Budget proactively supports the unorganized sector through deeper penetration of the skill India program and incentives to unorganized entities, which make up a major part of the value chain of the retail sector. The government also needs to ensure that both digital and physical infrastructure in Tier-2 & tier-3 cities is enhanced similarly so that both conventional and e-commerce businesses find a stronger foundation. India’s consumption story is playing out better than the rest of the world. The retail sector needs a boost to give wings to this story. Increased social infrastructure and overall income growth generation need to be given the top priority. The retail industry is also eagerly looking forward to the fast-tracked actualization of the National Retail Trade Policy.

Mr. Krishna Veer Singh Co-Founder and CEO, Lissun

Post-Covid, there is a clear focus on investing in the healthcare infrastructure of India. To achieve scale, it is clear that the digital part of healthcare needs direction and a boost. We hope the government allocates more funds to health tech, enabling a large population to be covered with minimal cost.

Especially on mental health, we are seeing mental health issues rising year over year. But last year, we saw a significant and welcome push by the government with the launch of a national tele-mental health program to provide 24×7 free counselling and care to people. On the insurance side, we also had a significant push to cover mental health diseases by IRDA. However, insurers in India seldom offer policies that cover non-hospitalization treatments or OPD reimbursements. It means that unless mentally ailing patients get hospitalized, they won’t be eligible for coverage. Insurance covers, thus, naturally exclude therapy and psychiatric counselling coverages. IRDA should push for OPD reimbursements for psychology therapy and counselling.

Mr. Gaurav VK Singhvi, Co-Founder, We Founder Circle

“In the upcoming Union Budget 2023, I expect to see a reduction in Capital Gain Tax for unlisted investments to help encourage angel investors and VCs to hold on to their investments for longer, providing more stability for the startup ecosystem.

I also hope the government takes the correct measures to promote entrepreneurship and startup growth and support innovation and technology development. Additionally, I hope to see efforts to improve the ease of doing business in India, such as simplifying regulations and providing access to funding for small businesses. Overall, I believe that a budget that prioritizes these areas would benefit the Indian economy and society.”

Rakesh Kaul, Executive Director & CEO – Clix Capital

“In India, NBFCs have played an instrumental role in making credit available to small businesses, so as to help them to grow and scale. Considering that MSMEs contribute to one-third of the country’s GDP, account for 48% of exports and create 111 million jobs, it is imperative that the Government protect their interests. This is absolutely indispensable if India aims to become a $5 trillion economy by 2025.

Furthermore, as NBFCs have been playing a critical role in providing MSMEs with easy access to credit, in the upcoming budget, the industry expects the Government to implement budgetary relaxations to support the growth of NBFCs. This will let them participate in co-lending programs and enable them to push adequate funds in priority sectors.

The Government should also create a liquidity support system for NBFCs and broaden the guarantee scheme under CGTMSE, which in turn, will go a long way in ensuring a transparent and seamless flow of credit to MSMEs. Access to formal credit is one of the biggest challenges that MSMEs in the country is facing. Only 16% of MSMEs get access to loans from banks, while the rest has to rely on informal sources. MSMEs currently need around ₹25.8 lakh crore formal credit.

In this year’s budget, the Government should also look at simplifying the taxation regime as that would broaden the tax base bringing more funds into the national exchequer. NBFCs are demanding that they should be taxed in a manner that is at par with that of banks, since this is impacting their efficiency to reach out and serve the last mile customers and MSMEs, that are spread across the length and breadth of the country.

To empower NBFCs and such new new-age entities, the Government should look at introducing reliefs such as – no TDS on interest income, allowance/deduction on the provision made for NPAs, and centralized and uniform GST registration. Such holistic measures will help NBFCs proliferate deeper into our country making their innovative products and services available to vast cohorts of unserved and underserved sections of the population, including micro and small business owners.”

Jyoti Prakash Gadia- Managing Director at Resurgent India- A SEBI registered category 1 merchant bank-

Changes and Expectations for Banking Industry from the government

Banking Industry is at present on the threshold of more opportunities for playing a significant role towards the revival and sustainable development of the Economy. The Government can provide the required enabling environment for a robust Banking sector.

Generally, the Government needs to take care of the capitalisation aspects of the Public sector Banks in case of need. However, the Public sector banks have performed well on the profitability front as well as in the recovery of NPAs in the recent past. These banks are adequately capitalised at present in terms of CRAR requirements under the Basel norms and therefore may not require any immediate capital induction.
Regulations on NPA norms are primarily the domain of the Reserve Bank of India. The RBI is taking steps to strengthen the banking sector through suitable regulations relating to Risk Management, Basel Norms and provisioning. However, the Government can also play an important role in the recovery of Bad Loans through suitable changes in the Insolvency and Bankruptcy code. The issues relating to delays in the resolution process and the very high amount of haircuts need to be addressed. This will entail modified processes and provisions to reduce litigation and delaying factors. The prepacked resolution process scheme also requires greater clarity and positive action for providing requisite comfort to the lenders in the absence of a regular full-fledged bidding process.

Climate change and sustainable finance is one area where the Government can pitch in by introducing suitable policies and incentives. The banks will be required to gear up for financing renewable energy, green hydrogen and other newly emerging sectors/projects. For these sectors, concessional customs duty and widened PLI schemes will be required to give a boost to investments and bank funding.

In Funding infrastructure projects, banks are playing a significant role. To make sizeable funding in future the Government can bring a detailed dedicated Law relating to the intricacies of Infrastructure financing. This will include a thorough review of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) structure of infrastructure creation with more robust and equitable distribution or Risks among the various stakeholders. The special institution created for Infrastructure Financing _NABFID needs to take up the funding activity in a comprehensive manner at the earliest.
The setting up of a separate institution to facilitate a ‘credit enhancement scheme ‘ should be considered, which in turn will boost the bond market

COVID Pandemic resulted in an adverse impact on the capacity utilisation and cash flows of the MSME sector. The instalments under the restructuring process taken up to handle the COVID-related stress are now going to become due. Some sops may be required for the MSME in exceptional circumstances. In the long run, the DICGC scheme should be revamped to provide better support to MSMEs. The receivables funding for MSME can be made more effective by building in simpler and more flexible funding mechanisms.
The one-district product kind of scheme can be considered at the national level by integrating the same to MSME funding in a seamless manner through end to funding right from procurement of raw material to production and realisation of dues by MSME.

Mr. Sarvagya Mishra, Co-founder & Director of SuperBot (PinnacleWorks)

The completion of the proposed privatisation of IDBI needs to be expedited to generate and supplement resources for development.

Over years, the popularity of Artificial Intelligence (Al) has skyrocketed across industry sectors as a result of the greater push toward automation. While previous budgets acknowledged the relevance of AI technology in modernising India, we now expect prospects and large government initiatives from budget 2023 which can position India as one of the world’s favoured Al leaders. Since we have an AI-powered voice-based product, we are also anticipating announcements and measures to improve digital infrastructure such as high-speed internet and data centres. Moreover, as the founder of the startup, I eagerly look forward to funding and investment opportunities such as venture capital and angel funding to accelerate our business momentum.

Mr. Ankit Ruia, Director & CTO of SuperBot (PinnacleWorks)

In the aftermath of COVID-19, almost every second business migrated online after recognizing the significance of automation. Given the centre’s objective for a digitally robust Bharat, Al technology is one of the major sectors that anticipates the Budget 2023 to unveil AI-friendly policies that can revolutionize India’s tech ecosystem. We are hopeful that easier loan disbursements, electronic authorizations, and incentive programs for startups to use digital finance can advance the growth rate of Indian startups. With AI- technology playing a critical function in shaping the nation’s economy, the Union Budget should also include tax relaxation to spur innovation as well as minimize regulatory burdens to aid in the ease of doing business.

Mr. Kushang, Co-founder & CEO of SupplyNote

As a technology start-up in the food and beverage industry, SupplyNote is keenly aware of the challenges facing the sector. From high taxes to complex liquor regulations and difficulties in obtaining permits and licenses, the industry is in dire need of a more streamlined and business-friendly environment. We hope that the Budget 2023 will address these issues by simplifying the tax bracket and easing regulations around liquor, permits and licenses. Additionally, as the food and beverage industry is one of the largest job creators in the country, we look forward to the government creating a positive environment for the sector, including relaxation on taxes for start-ups and the positive induction of private companies in the government ecosystem. We also hope to see the impactful implementation of ONDC, as it will help to digitize and optimize the backend operations of food businesses and increase profitability.

Mr. Harshit Mittal, Co-founder & CTO of SupplyNote

In the eye of rising costs and reduced margins, we need a budget that supports interest-free loans, allows greater subsidies and reduces tax structure. Another, is the non availability of input tax credit (ITC) that impacts the P&Ls adversely.
We hope the union budget 2023-24 will address these issues to accelerate the growth of the F&B sector

Mr. Kumar Gaurav, Founder & CEO of Cashaa

The Budget for 2023 is scheduled to be discussed on 1st Feb 2023, after imposing a 30% fixed tax rate on all income generated through crypto trading in Budget 2022. After having launched the e-rupee, we are expecting that the government would bring in more regulations for cryptocurrencies. Estimations point out that crypto ownership in India is almost double compared to the rest of the world. These being said, the government will more likely introduce a regressive tax for cryptocurrencies.

Mr. Mridu Mahendra Das, Co-founder & CEO of Automovill

“Impending recession and negative sentiments in the market has been a great concern for growth stage startups. Demands for higher margin and lean structure from stakeholders and investment ecosystem making startup journey tough for any charismatic results. This could be the time where Govt. could do best for boosting Startups, MSME sectors and entrepreneurs vying for growth post pandemic. We strongly support GST regime, however at the same time MSMEs/Startups also need flexibility of in filings. Working in B2B environments and long-standing contracts makes regulatory filings difficult, which needs more freedom in terms of time and options.
Coming to the Automotive and specially aftersales segment, the entire sector is reeling under tremendous pressure against the availability of spares and low spending of consumers. For better customer satisfaction, we need support for facilitating the availability of imported spares, relaxation on rules by insurance companies and curbs on vehicular lifetime management. Reducing the GST norms for billing on labour specially in After sales ecosystem is always a demand. Labour rates should be at 5% GST like the service charges in some other industries (i.e. hotels). Most of the auto workers lies in the bottom of the pyramid, reducing GST on labour to 5% will boost the income and livelihood opportunities as well as can create more entrepreneurs in the segment.”

Mr Muzammil Riyaz, Founder, EVeium Smart Mobility

“The Indian government has launched policies and measures to incentivise the EV industry, but the same can only be leveraged when a parallel charging infrastructure is developed. While we are encouraging people to opt for EVs through subsidies and incentivization, in the end, only a hassle-free experience can sustain the trust of the consumers. We expect the government to accelerate the same by allocating budgets to ramp up EV architecture that is competent, connected, and sustainable. Moreover, there is an immediate requirement to spread awareness about the auto scrappage policy in order to spur the phasing out of end-of-life vehicles, which can assist steer EV purchases even further.”

Mr. Mukesh Taneja, Co founder & CEO, GT Force

” While multiple regulations for the auto industry are anticipated in the upcoming Budget, the central emphasis should however remain on the evolving electric vehicle space, given its potential to decarbonize India’s transportation industry. As the EV sector may witness yet another volatile supply chain disruption if the key markets experience a downturn, so we highly await calculated EV-friendly policies in Budget 2023 that can aid in maintaining the industry’s ongoing solid growth momentum”

Mr. Rajesh Saitya, Co founder & COO, GT Force

“A crucial necessity for EV penetration is to facilitate a vast system of charging points; thus, there is also a massive need to mandate the installation of EV charging points in all existing and upcoming housing estates and commercial properties. Moreover, we are optimistic that the FAME II subsidy will be extended well beyond 2024 in order to maintain consumer demand and accelerate EV implementation beyond metro cities.”

Mr. Anmol Bohre, Co-founder & Managing Director of Enigma

The proliferation of electric vehicles exemplifies their growing popularity, as indicated by previous sales figures and the visibility of the number of EV vehicles on the roads. What’s more encouraging is that electric two-wheelers are paving the way for the greater adoption of electric vehicles in India. Despite being a large market, the government must prioritise research over sales if India is to become a world leader in this technology. Incentives should be allocated for collaborations with universities to advance the R&D of EV technology.
Recent controversies involving the alleged misappropriation of funds under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles (FAME) subsidy program, highlight the need for careful consideration of the long-term consequences of such incentives. Therefore it would be beneficial to allocate the FAME subsidies directly to customers’ accounts. As the growth of the EV industry depends on charging infrastructure, designated funds for the development of charging stations along major roads, both national and state is required. In this regard financial provisions to establish solar-powered charging stations in collaboration with the government to achieve zero-emission capabilities for electric vehicles is highly desirable.

Richa Telang- CEO and Founder of TrueBlue Advisory

“It’s essential to understand why layoffs happen. Corporations or various start-ups hired a lot of talent without an employment strategy. Random hiring leads to spontaneous firing because the employment strategy was not in tandem with the business plan and profit calculation. Thus, in a coming couple of years, hiring will get very targeted, where companies will hire multi-taskers with more than one skill set. Such talent will also be mobilized internally by upskilling to fill vacancies in specific wings to promote them. In short, targeted hiring and internal mobility of employees will govern the job market for at least the next two years. By 2025, AI will be operational in various sectors on a larger scale. With digital transformation leading every organisation’s key charter, talent who can command AI will be essential from 2023.

As for tax redemption, salaried people have higher expectations from the upcoming budget, and tax relief is a major concern. Personal income tax in India began at 5% and gradually increased to 42.74%, including surcharges and cesses. Personal income tax rates in India are much higher than in other countries, such as Hong Kong (15%), Sri Lanka (18%), and Singapore (22%).

And in the post-pandemic era, people have either lost their jobs, have undergone salary cuts, or are battling inflation and EMIs. Such talent will expect a raise in the tax redemption by the government in the upcoming budget. It will be a morale booster for them to perform better under less financial burden.”

Parimal Heda, Chief Investment Officer, Digit Insurance.

“In line with IRDAI’s mission to achieve insurance for all by 2047, significant reforms must be taken to improve India’s health and motor insurance penetration. To bridge the huge protection gap in India, I expect the government to announce measures to not only incentivise first-time buyers but also to push people to have adequate coverage. The government could look at offering exemptions on Motor Own Damage (OD) and third-party insurance premium under the current Section 80C framework to encourage people to buy or renew their vehicle’s OD insurance. As OD insurance will also cover the vehicle’s damage, it will offer better coverage and the tax saving will help reduce the overall cost of buying the vehicle.  

Union Budget 2023 could also look to provide positive changes to first-time policyholders, such as a separate tax exemption limit for term insurance and separate tax deduction benefits under section 80CCD, similar to NPS, for premiums paid toward pension or annuity plans launched by life insurance companies.”

“Apart from the various incentives to policyholders that the budget can provide, the government should also look to reduce the overall cost of buying Insurance to make Insurance more affordable. For this, the government could rationalise the GST on Insurance policies from the current 18% to 5%. This will go a long way in increasing insurance penetration across the nation and thus reducing the existing huge protection gap. Further, the increase in medical insurance coverage will reduce the burden on the government finances relating to the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY).  

Mr. Mandeep Arora, MD & Co-founder, UBON

While observing the rapid growth of electronic manufacturing in the country, Mr. Mandeep Arora, MD
& Co-founder, UBON said, Last year, there was an increase in electronics prices, especially smartphones,
owing to the chip shortage and other COVID-19-induced factors. With duty concessions and domestic
manufacturing boost, the prices of electronics slowly decreased and eventually helped boost the
demand. This year, the government is expected to make significant progress toward making India a
center for producing and exporting electrical devices. Incentify the export of consumer electronics
products and a low GST percentage will motivate many Indian consumer electronics manufacturers.

MSMEs play a significant role in the Indian economy – whether it is employment generation or revenue
contribution. MSMEs or SMBs requires financial support for setting up and upgradation of the industrial
areas. Developing or allocating new industrial zones and improving old infrastructure will motivate
MSMEs or SMBs to give a greater output. This will create more employment opportunities and empower
our nation with a more skilled workforce.
The Indian manufacturing industry has emerged as a significant contributor to the nation’s GDP, and it
is imperative that the government should introduce tax parities amongst different sectors. Introducing a
corporate tax bracket of approximately 15% could aid the service industry to grow and perform beyond
expectations. Investments under Section 80C, with the current limit of Rs. 1,50,000 needs revision. This
could allow taxpayers to improve upon their savings while affecting a significant increase in purchasing
power. Further, ESOP holders in Indian startups could gain from the tax being levied on the sale of
shares rather than on the exercise of ESOP, which is not the liquidity event for employees of unlisted
companies. Thus, if these expectations are addressed and adequately tackled through implementation,
it could help the country’s economy grow further.

Nikhil Goyal, CEO & Founder, Beyond Imagination Technologies

“Blockchain technology can have a profound impact on several sectors as it has the potential to create cutting-edge solutions and serve as the foundation of India’s digital economy. It can play a vital role in India’s growth story by solving real-world problems. So, we hope that our country will see more adoption of blockchain technology in times to come and bring real impact, improve efficiency and make India a productive nation. Thus, we hope that the upcoming budget will provide an impetus to technological advancements, which can unlock significant opportunities for growth and economic development, and an opportunity for India to become the tech hub of the world.

In the budget 2023-24, we hope the government to provide a fair share towards technological advancement, focus on incentivizing or promoting tech to make India the talent hub of web3 for the world, a push to R&D to develop “Make in India” blockchain products for the world and position India as the epicenter of the tech developments.”

By Mr. Arjun Naik, Founder & CEO, ScanDron

Drones bring increased Safety, Economy, Efficiency and Accuracy across a myriad of Industrial Verticals including Energy and Construction and Infrastructure. Drones are ideal tools for tracking and monitoring construction and infrastructure projects as they enable for quick accurate measurements at heights and inaccessible locations and also cover large areas in a relatively shorter time. The government has taken cognizance of this and has taken significant regulatory strides towards liberalizing and normalizing the use of drones for industrial and commercial applications. As the fledgling Make In India Drone Industry takes flight, challenges remain in terms of import of critical components, finance and Insurance.

In the upcoming budget the industry needs support in terms of access to finance, insurance and a regularized import policy for critical components such as Batteries, Engines, Flight Control Electronics, Motors and Engines, which are still not available under Make in India. Standardised import policy for drone components will allow for faster technological adoption and Indianization of Drone components. Better and easier access to capital finance markets, liberalized investment policies and access to insurance will allow the Make In India drone industry to take major leaps towards maturing and becoming a sustainable mainstream industry.

By Mr. Avinash G Singh, Senior Vice President, Aranca, Investment research

One of the biggest events in focus in India at the start of any year is the presentation of the Union Budget by the Finance Minister on February 1. This year, it also marks the pre-election year budget given that India’s general elections are slated for 2024. Usually, pre-election year budgets tend to be populist with schemes and policies targeted at the general public at large. However, we do not expect such an approach this time around. We believe the government will present a growth-focused spending plan, maintaining the impetus on investments in infrastructure development. We, therefore, see the road, railway, and urban infrastructure sectors to see meaningful allocation as the significant beneficiaries of the budget. In addition, we expect healthcare, education, and rural housing to be the other major sectors likely to benefit from increased allocation of funds. India has recently made aggressive plans to achieve a sizable contribution from renewable power sources such as solar and wind. We believe the budget will have a special mention of India’s long-term roadmap toward achieving its targeted renewables capacity in addition to potential tax benefits awarded to the industry. Finally, we also expect the union budget to focus on the government’s investments in the use of technology in the form of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and internet of things (IoT).

Dr. Shreeram Iyer, Chairman and Group Chief Executive Officer, Prisma Ai

As we are headed into a more digitalized age, the use of technology, particularly artificial intelligence, has increased several times over the past few years and will continue to receive
more emphasis. The government has allowed the usage of face recognition in financial transactions and airports, as an additional layer of security. Due to the potential it possesses to
bring major changes to standard of living, Prisma AI anticipates that the finance minister will allocate a greater overall budget towards AI and Technology for future ready solutions, which can include face-recognition based entry and ticket systems, ANPR plus GPS based tolls or turnstile activation, body posture estimation systems that can help in providing assistance to those in need or for general body-related analysis, automated highway management and much more. Additionally, it can be expected that AI-powered medical technologies and devices will be funded which can help in curing ailments as well as various known conditions much faster. Prisma AI is innovating and developing its own share of advanced technologies and focusing on providing its globally acclaimed Visual AI Products and Solutions for the benefit of the Indian consumers.

Pooja Singh Rathore, Co-founder, Gigzeu

Budget should focus on reviving the growth of private consumption (Low per capita consumption) & increasing the capital expenditure in the country. Indian growth has been primarily fueled by a middle class led consumption especially in urban markets. However, most of our population falls in the lower income category. This is the right time that we focus on providing the money and job opportunities to people at lower strata. Cutting direct taxes & indirect taxes which impact middle & lower income group people will increase consumption level. Capital expenditure increase will create more employment and decrease the inefficiency in the system. Special package should be designed for financial/formal employment inclusion of domestic gig workers/work industry as this sector employs large populations which are informal in nature and key for increasing private consumption.

Mr. Vikram Ahuja – Managing Director, ANSR and Co-founder & CEO, Talent500

“India is home to over 1500 Global Capability Centers (GCCs), earning itself the title of the “GCC capital of the world.” One of the key reasons why MNCs set up their GCCs in India is the robust start-up ecosystem the country offers. As innovation has emerged as the primary focus area in GCC strategy, start-up collaboration gives GCCs access to newer technologies that can help further the innovation agenda of the enterprise. With GCC revenue expected to scale up to $60-$85 billion by 2026, it is important for the government to take prudent steps to help start-ups, thus creating a more fertile soil for GCCs.

In the present Budget, it is imperative that the government holistically assess the needs of the start-up community and prioritize the development of an ecosystem that fosters growth for the community. As the funding winter for the start-ups is said to continue for another 12 to 18 months, we need a more favorable capital gain tax system that encourages easy access to capital. The government should also consider tax exemptions in FDI and maintain a sharp focus on start-up infrastructure development.”

Mr. Amit Tyagi, CEO, Payworld

“India is targeting to become a $5 Trillion economy by 2025. This will be propelled by the growth of SMEs & MSMEs. And this growth will come on the back of the increasing digitization of our economy and expanding the reach of financial services to the masses. We will have to work on bridging the financial divide between India and Bharat. While we have invested in large digital infrastructure projects like UPI, Aadhaar (which enables running AePS among others), RuPay network, etc. It is time to work on expanding last-mile connectivity. This can be achieved by providing incentives for the acceptance of infrastructure in SURU (Semi-Urban and Rural) areas. Incentives can also be provided through relief on GST & TDS for this segment. While banks play a critical role in providing financial services, they are limited in their reach owing to the inherent cost structures amid other concerns. Bharat-focused fintech players like Payworld provide doorstep banking while providing employment opportunities thereby aiding the Digital India mission. Expanding inclusion initiatives to fintechs like Payworld will help deliver the impact of these initiatives to intended beneficiaries faster and more conveniently. While the cashless economy is flourishing in Urban areas, we need to ensure that the gains are equally seen in Rural and Semi Urban areas as well)”

As the honorable Prime Minister declared from the ramparts of the Red Fort – our Amrit Kaal has begun and we have to work relentlessly until we achieve our mission of Viksit Bharat. For this, we need the double engine of digitization and empowerment of MSMEs to chug along.

Mr. Arjun Gulati, Co-Founder Easydesq

The demand for co-working office spaces has seen tremendous growth, especially in the year 2022, and the post-lockdown scenario is bringing in a wave of new opportunities for co-working players.
Medium-to-long-term fundamentals remain sound as companies seek out alternative options to reduce costs and capital expenditure. As organisations are already back in the office, redesigning and restructuring existing office spaces is posing yet another challenge. This is where co-working spaces come into the picture. These shared spaces can respond to design changes required post-Covid quicker and more efficiently than traditional office spaces. However, to drive the growth of this segment, as a PropTech founder I have certain expectations from the upcoming union budget that are mentioned below:

Recognition of the co-working segment under a special scheme: The modern workplace itself has transformed over the years and the concept of co-working is one such example. I feel that government should recognize the industry under special programs like REITs and provide some tax benefits to promote the growth of this sector. The second important thing is the TDS rate that is applicable to the co-working sector. Presently, the TDS rate for the co-working segment is 10% because we provide renting of both movables and immovables. As the shared space industry grows, a lower TDS rate will give this sector a major boost helping companies to provide real estate solutions to clients at economical rates, which will further help in a better flow of working capital. Another important aspect that should be given importance is the financial support to the start-ups as it will help more and more people to pursue their entrepreneurial journey. It will also give a boost to the co-working business as several entrepreneurs who opt for these shared spaces are early and mid- start-ups. I also feel the government should reduce the present rate of registration and stamp duty to register documents. This will give a fillip to both start-ups as well as co-working spaces.
There is also a need for a reduction in the GST rate for start-ups, as it will make a significant impact on their finances. Currently, co-working spaces charge a GST of 18% to all clients, which is huge for new business owners. Finally, I think, institutional capital is crucial to co-working spaces that are dependent on funds for multiple factors. The government should allow banks to provide loans to co-working firms against the cash flow of co-working players along with providing investment benefits to investors of these co-working spaces.

Mr. Gaurav Goel, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Toprankers

“The edtech segment foresees the upcoming Union Budget 2023 as remote and hybrid learning emerges in the Indian education landscape. The industry also oversees significant announcements from this budget to drive investment in this space along with favourable regulatory measures to build a conducive environment for digital learning.”

“Toprankers believes that the government should envisage such a framework that promotes the collaboration of startups with government agencies to build capacity, share knowledge and ensure the nation’s holistic development.”

Mr. Vipul Verma, Executive Vice President, Wadhwani Advantage at Wadhwani Foundation,

“With multiple government schemes assisting in the growth of MSME ecosystem, there is an increasing demand for various financial and non-financial services that will help MSMEs in their growth journey. Incentivizing these service providers and improving reach to the MSME segment will significantly increase the supply. This will help MSMEs build systems, talent, capacity, infrastructure, access to capital and other ingredients to meet the growth demand.”

Mr. Samir Sathe, Executive Vice President, Wadhwani Advantage at Wadhwani Foundation

“MSMEs need significantly progressive policies to spur new product investments, startup and MSME partnerships, cluster and district competitiveness related schemes and finally incentives to create and ride the E-Commerce wave.”

Mr. Sarvesh Shrivastava, MD and Co-founder, Eupheus Learning

“The National Education Policy 2020 aims to bring a digital transformation in imparting Pre-Kindergarten to 12 education which is laudable and much needed. However, while textbooks are tax-free the same policy is not applicable to digital initiatives by the schools and is taxed at 18%. The new budget should correct this anomaly to give a fillip in accomplishing the vision of NEP-2020”

Mr. Sangeet Kumar, Co-founder & CEO, Addverb Technologies

‘New India will not remain a mere consumer of technology but will play an active role in the development and implementation of that technology,’ said PM Modi. Unprecedented growth has been witnessed across industries, especially in terms of emerging technologies like AI, ML, IoT, robotics and most importantly 5G. According to a recent report by Gartner, the Indian information Technology Industry is expected to grow at rate of 2.6% in 2023.

In order to stay competitive in the global market, the government is anticipated to expand investments in digital and automation technologies. Additionally, a decrease in income taxes will help the nation keep its top personnel. To provide more advanced and innovative solutions for bringing in sustainable business models, startup and technology investments would be prioritised.’

Gautam Kumar, COO & Co-founder, FarEye

“With the National Logistics Policy and the ULIP platform announced in 2022, a clear path to transformation and growth in the logistics industry has been paved by the government.

In the 2023 Budget, the logistics industry expects the government to take measures to expedite the integration and development of ULIP which will unify digital logistics systems and enhance efficiency, transparency, and collaboration between various industry stakeholders. The government must look at incentivising logistics players that want to adopt artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, automation, and big data.

We expect the government to give infrastructure projects like cold storage, logistics parks, and Dedicated Freight Corridors an adequate financial push toward faster completion. DFCs in particular will boost the speed of freight movement in the country and bring down logistics costs.

ONDC is also an important step towards the democratisation of e-commerce in the country. To achieve a level playing field for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and small traders, the integration of logistics players into ONDC will be critical for deliveries ordered through the network. The goverment does have big plans of achieving gross merchandise value (GMV) of $48 Bn in the next two years with ONDC. However, for this to happen, the government must look to onboard more logistics service providers, buyers, and sellers in the network and ensure that more cities across the country are brought into the fold.”

Mathew Joseph, COO & Co-founder, FreshToHome

“India is the third-largest fish producing country in the world with a production of 9.6 million MT. The fisheries and seafood industry accounts for 7.96% of the total fish production across the globe. More than 20 million fishermen and fish farmers are primarily dependent on this sector for a source of livelihood. However, lack of basic infrastructure and sustained efforts to revive the sector has hindered its growth, and exports have been the worst hit. Some of the key challenges faced by the industry are:

Lack of fund allocation for the development of the sector
Lack of robust infrastructure solutions for efficient use of resources
Inadequate efforts to revive aquaculture
Lack of modern amenities in wet markets
Lack of access to modern equipment and tools to fish farmers


  1. Promote aquaculture
    The budget should make allocations to promote aquaculture. Today, aquaculture in India is being practiced in traditional methods, and hence, there is limited production of produce like Shrimp and Baasa, although there is huge demand for these varieties of fish in the global markets. India exports about Rs 45,000 crore worth fish and fish products annually and about 60% of this revenue comes from shrimp alone. However, about 90% of the shrimp production in India takes place in just 2 states – Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. Despite availability of land and resources, we are unable to increase shrimp production in other states. There must be budget allocations to set up modern aquaculture practices across the country.
  2. Budget allocation to build modern infrastructure solutions in wet markets
    The budget should make allocations to build cold chain facilities in wet markets to reduce wastage. Setting up of chillers, freezers, and facilities to store fish in organic methods in wet markets will reduce the burden on the fishermen community. This will directly yield larger profits to the fishermen. This is an urgent need of the community and is fundamental to the growth of the industry.
  3. Efforts towards waste reduction
    Of the total production of fish in India, only about 70% of the yield is consumed and the rest is considered as wastage. Due to lack of infrastructure and last mile connectivity concerns, about 30% of the yield is wasted even before it reaches the customer. We must build robust infrastructure facilities to ensure the waste reduction percentage is reduced.
  4. Allocate natural resources for fish farming
    Many countries have reserved rivers, lakes, seas and all natural resources for aquaculture. Such areas are restricted from tourism and are exclusively dedicated to practicing aquaculture. Adopting such practices here in India will give a big leap to the aquaculture practice in India. Fishermen must be given licenses to practice marine aquaculture in natural resources like seas. With the use of technology, these practices will be beneficial for fish exports.
  5. Thrust upon exports of pan-ready fish and fish products
    Countries like China make use of Tilapia fish parts like skin, head, and eyes that are often considered waste in India due to lack of factories that can convert these wastes into products. Although states like Maharashtra and Gujarat are using these parts and exporting, the quantity is minimal. Fund allocation is necessary to build factories that will further generate revenue from these products.
  6. Orientation programs and training workshops to increase awareness in fish farmers to compete in global markets
    The fishermen community in India is mostly dependent on traditional methods to practice farming. Through workshops on right practices, making efficient use of available resources and training programmes, the government can uplift the community.”

Shauraya Bhutani, Co-Founder of Capital Connect Advisors and Founder and Partner at Breathe Capital

“In the upcoming budget, Private equity and venture capital firms are looking for an equalization of long-term capital gains (LTCG) tax for unlisted shares and public stock investments. The industry’s request to the government is to bring parity between the two asset classes, which will result in an increase in the private market investments, assisting startups, particularly during the current funding winter. At the moment, the LTCG tax on unlisted stock held for more than 2 years (24 months) is double that of listed equity shares owned for a year. The LTCG tax on public stock investments is 10 percent, while the tax on private stock investments is 20 percent. This will bring about a much-needed change in the industry and will boost private market investments in the country.”

Mr.Rajat Goel, Co-founder and CEO

“Therefore, to commit to a greater push to make eye care services an essential component of universal health coverage and tackle the skyrocketing impact of vision loss on sustainable development, the union Budget 2023 must come up with new mechanisms and initiatives for large-scale eye screening and testing. Following the Covid-19 pandemic, India is confronted with a mountain of backlog due to a steep decline in the number of eye surgery, particularly in rural areas. So we also anticipate initiatives and government support to assist eye-care chains in clearing the backlog. Moreover, lowering GST and other import taxes should be prioritised in order to make health insurance and eye-care equipment more affordable

Dr. Ajay Sharma Chief Medical Director of EyeQ

“People in India are becoming increasingly aware of the enormity of vision loss. This is primarily due to the major initiatives launched by eye-care hospitals to examine and resolve discrepancies. As the growing population ages in India, the burden of eyesight disorders will only shoot up. Many of the most prevalent causes of blindness or moderate-to-severe loss of vision, including cataracts, under-corrected refractive error, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy, are preventable if frameworks for early detection and intervention are freely accessible. Worse, the burden of eye diseases and visual impairments is not uniformly distributed: it is often far higher in remote regions, among low-income people, women, senior citizens, individuals with disabilities, minorities, and indigenous populations.

Dr.Preet Pal Thakur, Co-founder of Glamyo Health

“At Glamyo health, we would expect the honorable finance minister to rationalise tax compliance, especially the aspect of tax withholdings. Furthermore, to encourage Indian start ups getting domestic capital, tax rates for resident investors should be harmonized at par with the Foreign investors. We also expect the government to increase the healthcare outlay to INR 1 Lakh crores.”,

Mr.Archit Garg, Co-founder of Glamyo Health

“There has been a global rise in the healthcare industry and India is a key player at the forefront. We expect that there will be measures taken to encourage the start ups for the overall growth of the Indian economy. One of the ways is to Incentivise domestic capital to fund Indian startups in their growth phase. We expect harmonising the tax rate for resident investors on unlisted shares in registered startups”,

Mr Ashwani Rawat, Co Founder & Director, Transerve Technologies

Geospatial technologies are revolutionizing the way governments and private organizations plan and implement policies and programs. The recent announcement of new Geospatial Data guidelines by the government marks a major shift in policy and underscores the importance of creating fresh data sets to fully utilize these guidelines. Through public-private partnerships and private sector involvement, we can see the implementation of various government programs and projects.

The upcoming budget should allocate funds for a period of five years for national mapping organizations like the Survey of India and Geological Survey of India to update existing data sets and create new data sets. Additionally, the industry is calling for increased funding for the use of geospatial technologies in programs such as Gati Shakti, Har Ghar Jal Jal Shakti, MoRTH, and MoHUA. With the aid of geospatial data and technologies, we can achieve more efficient execution of these programs and achieve greater impact.

Sanjay Lodha , Co-Founder at Netweb Technologies


Electronics Import is second to Oil and Gas as far as the top two Import heads India tackles. Consumption of electronics is increasing and growing at a nearly exponential rate. We anticipate that the Budget for 2023 will need to further expedite the Government’s efforts to solve this issue, which it had attempted to do in a previous budget.
In order to prevent unfair trading practices in the Indian market, we would also anticipate that there should be a fair market for domestic tech companies when it comes to government tenders. The Indian government’s Atma Nirbhar project and local consumption in India could both benefit from this.

Importantly, the government should invest extensively in R&D to develop India as a technology hub or fund tech firms to assist the industry as a whole.
From the perspective of customs, it is anticipated that charges for imported tech components like chips would be rationalized and exemption notices will be cleaned up similarly to last year.


Although the government has some forward-looking policy framework for Private 5G, we will need to keep this Policy framework as simple and well-defined as possible to allow the industry to adopt 5G much more quickly. The government is actively striving to provide water and power to every home, therefore it’s time to deploy 5G and Fiber over air to connect even the most remote villages, and eventually every home, with a dependable and high-quality broadband.


To ensure that ongoing activity can be maintained, the government has already committed a sizable sum to PLI and distributed it over a few years. But one method to speed up the segment may be to continually evaluate and reward the performer.


Cyber security is a complex subject that requires multiple layers of discussion. In my opinion, the fundamentals include networking switches, which are an integral aspect of any network. A Make in India product in this market will benefit and protect us from the perspective of cyber security. It is believed that it is one crucial area on which they should concentrate in order to avoid losing sight of it in favor of other cyber security concerns.

E – Tax breaks and subsidies in the budget 2023 accelerating the establishment of Datacenters Hub in India

The growth statistics are unparalleled, and India in particular is emerging as one of the major sources of world data. From here, everything will develop; perhaps this is simply the start of something new. India must consider localizing such data, hence the expansion of data centres is essential.
India must meet international standards in order to become a hub for data centres. Data centres require greater support and assistance in obtaining dependable, affordable power and connectivity that complies with international standards.

Kumar Shekhar, Deputy Country Manager, Tide India

Today, the Indian fintech market is predicted to reach $200 billion by 2030, outpacing the rest of the world in adopting fintech. Marking the immense growth potential of the industry that is unlocking the doors for financial inclusion across India; the government has also shifted its focus towards the game-changing industry-Fintech. The RBI interventions made in the Indian fintech ecosystem to maintain a necessary balance between innovation and security have helped India emerge as one of the most favourable markets for several fintech organisations.
On the same lines, we expect the honourable finance minister to unravel the budget 2023 with business-friendly tax policies encouraging smaller fintech businesses/startups by providing exemptions in GST till a certain limit on revenue. This will eventually reduce the burden of tax, and challenges that the startups face at the nascent stage. Also, to holistically boost the development and growth of the fintech and financial industry in the country, we look forward to the central authority’s support in bringing amendments that create a push for fintech incubation centres across the country while creating effective, robust technological infrastructure striving to contribute towards nation building.
India is working rigorously to increase financial inclusion and digitise its population quickly across the country, including tier 2, 3, and 4 cities. The current fintech ecosystem is committed to the same, and primarily they are leveraging UPI to facilitate this. We look forward to the government’s clear guidance on how the cost which the current financial services industry is bearing on account of UPI services can be compensated. To further strengthen the fintech ecosystem in India, new guidelines compensating the UPI transactional cost for the fintech industry will be a significant development providing impetus to the entire industry’s growth. Though there has been a considerable adoption of UPI, it still has a long way to go for universal adoption, and the structure revision should be decided keeping that in mind.

Gurjodhpal Singh, CEO, Tide India

“The MSME sector has potentially turned out to be a key catalyst for the Indian economy in recent years, considering India is home to over 63 million MSMEs contributing close to 30% of the country’s GDP. Reiterating such a significant figure, it has become imperative for the government and the Fintech syndicates to work in alignment with each other and make the sector more stronger, resilient, and developed in terms of mutual growth and profitability. To achieve the vision of making India a USD 5 trillion economy while creating a new self-reliant nation, the government should introduce a much-needed policy framework mandating large corporates to include the MSME segment in their business models in some or the other way. This can be done by procuring a certain percentage of the priority sector’s business or aiding them with the current technological innovations and marketing tactics to bolster their business growth. Furthermore, the slowdown we saw in the economy last year has caused significant pain to MSMEs due to high-interest rates in the lending landscape inhibiting their operational capabilities. Therefore, soft loans at minimal interest rates or any reduction in the SME lending rates will provide impetus to the sector’s steadfast growth. On the other hand, the rising interest rate would pose a risk to the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) portfolio of lenders.
Lastly, while keeping in mind that the whole world is undergoing massive digital transformation, India’s significant chunk of the MSME population that resides in tier 2, 3, and 4 cities lacks digital awareness and inclusion to a great extent. The government must introduce certain initiatives with a focus to train and coach the sector on the technological advancement and marketing front to spur digitisation across the country.”

Arun Kumar Gupta, CFO, Newgen Software Technologies Ltd.

Investments and initiatives toward digital transformation have significantly accelerated in the post-pandemic world. With the Union Budget 2022-23, the government should bring policies and reforms to support enterprises in their digital journeys and facilitate their growth.

Initiatives like long-term work-from-home policies, simplification of the GST regime, and streamlining labour laws can facilitate a less-ambiguous and conducive business environment. Also, there is an urgent need to simplify the foreign withholding tax structure to ensure that full set-off is available to IT companies operating in multiple countries.

Special Economic Zones (SEZ) play an instrumental role in driving the Indian IT sector’s growth. Improvements in SEZ-related policies and their extension will help strengthen the sector further.

The IT sector is indisputably an integral part of India’s growth story. However, the government should stay mindful of the recent disruptions in the sector caused by the pandemic and ongoing global business uncertainty. The upcoming Union Budget is expected to bring conducive policy initiatives to incentivize the IT sector and accelerate its growth.

Dr. Sanjay Goel, Director, Institute of Engineering and Technology, JK Lakshmipat University,Jaipur

“In the 1960s, the famous Kothari commission recommended raising the education expenditure to 6% of the GDP. Over the decades, India’s education expenditure has remained far lower than that. Even currently, it is nearly just half of it. Implementation of NEP-2020 will remain at superficial levels without a significant increase in the education budget. The ambitious goal to not only expand education but also to improve learning outcomes, requires much better infrastructure, faculty-student ratio, faculty training, and learning resources. To be really effective, policy initiatives like ABC, NSQF, and NHEQF, research, and innovations in education also need to be expanded through financial support in public as well as private institutes.
This budget should make a provision to give free internet access to students and teachers and freely give internet access devices to students of poor families. All education institutes, including private institutes, should be given free or highly subsidized high-speed internet connections. Universities should be asked to scale up their efforts to contribute online content repositories in the public domain. It should be made compulsory for all Institutes of Eminence and NAAC A++ graded HEIs, as well as NIRF top 50 universities to create a minimum of 50 online courses each within two years. The complete study materials of these courses including the video recordings should be made freely accessible to the public at large. Companies should be encouraged to use a good amount of their CSR and other funds to adopt schools and colleges with poor infrastructure and also set up a large number of scholarships for needy students.”

Deepak Kothari, Co-founder of ftcash

  1. Liberalisation and Enhancement of Credit Lines from Banks- Currently fintechs collaborate with banks on a one to one basis. The provision of a government scheme which provides a sovereign guarantee by the government of such credit lines will help channelise and enhance access to funds for fintechs and also allow targeting of certain sectors/segments/regions in a cost efficient manner.
  2. Rationalisation of GST Input Credit Framework in Colending Arrangements- Fintechs today collaborate with other financial services players and invariably in such arrangements there’s a potential loss of Input Credit in the current GST framework. Ensuring that the input credit is fully provided for will go a long way in ensuring that revenue leakages are avoided and benefits can be consequently passed on to the end consumer
  3. Enhancement of Legal Framework for Wilful Defaulters- The legal resolution for defaulters today is mired in a lengthy process which is inefficient and clogging the legal system. A seamless, efficient and transparent process which provides for a time bound resolution of cases where EMIs go into default will ensure that the financial services industry is strengthened. For example today if businesses don’t pay GST, there’s a freeze which happens on the accounts, a similar framework for Sec 138 cheque bounce cases will ensure that wilful default is minimised.

Rahul Pagidipati, CEO, ZebPay

“2022 has been a crucial year for the Web3 and crypto industry. Despite being a relatively new and untested market, the crypto industry has witnessed rapid growth in India with an increasing number of people showcasing interest to invest in the asset class. According to a report released by FICCI and EY in 2022, Web 3.0 and blockchain can add a staggering $1.1 trillion to India’s GDP by 2032.

In FY22, the government announced a 30% plus surcharge and cess as well as 1% TDS deduction on the transfer of Virtual Digital Assets. While it is great to see the government take a step towards regulating VDAs, in the upcoming budget 2023, we urge the government to create a progressive regulatory framework and offer clarity on taxation by reducing TDS and Capital Gains Taxes and levelling them with other asset classes such as stocks and bonds. This will address the ongoing concerns and uncertainty about the industry by creating transparency and help industry players to protect users from any kind of black swan events like the FTX collapse. Clear governance and regulatory framework will enable more people to invest in VDAs and attain financial freedom. It will also encourage innovation to transform existing businesses through blockchain technology as well as build newer solutions for the industry to thrive further”.

Ankit Wadhwa, Co-founder & CEO, Rario

“While 2022 has been a transformative year for the digital collectibles industry, with the increasing popularity of digital trading cards and virtual digital assets with proof of ownership using blockchain technology, the industry size rose to approximately 426 billion USD in 2022 worldwide. We also believe that blockchain technology will help India to rise considerably in rank amongst the nations to be the undisputed world leader in this space. We hope that the G20 presidency is also used to push innovation in blockchain technology with India at the forefront.

We welcomed the carve-outs made by the Ministry of Finance in June 2022 in the definition of virtual digital assets (VDAs) that was introduced in the last budget in February 2022, excluding (a) tokens whose transfer results in the transfer of ownership of the underlying tangible asset; (b) gift cards or vouchers; (c) mileage points, reward points or loyalty card, being a record given without direct monetary; and (d) subscription to websites or platforms or application. We sincerely also hope for a further revision in the definition of VDAs in the upcoming Finance Bill separating crypto-based tokens from non-crypto based tokens and separate tax regimes for each. Our digital player cards are on a custom-made Rario blockchain, where we have no reliance on cryptocurrency whatsoever and they can be purchased only through fiat currency.”

Mr. Mahesh Shukla, CEO & Founder, PayMe

The lending or financing industry has witnessed a significant revamp in recent years, with the financial technology or fin-tech players and the non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) having taken an exponential rise in lending or disbursing loans over conventional banks. In lieu of the transitions, the financial players are holding a host of expectations from the Finance Minister during the Union Budget 2023. The foremost expectation of the fin-tech players is the liberalization of the tax regime, i.e., reduction in startup taxes across the board with No GST until INR 10 crore turnover annually; which will significantly help Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) build a stronger economy and aid more jobs. We also expect enhanced support from the government for better partnerships with banks to strengthen the existing model of financing. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) can revamp the regulations further to govern the fin-tech sector, which can bring in more transparency and will boost up the digitalization of the lending processes across the country, including in the rural areas.

Mr S Durgaprasad, Co-Founder, Director and Group CEO, Bahwan CyberTek Group

“India in 2023 brings back memories of India in the 1990s. In the past, liberalization increased opportunities for job and wealth creation. Today, there is palpable optimism among investors and entrepreneurs. India’s digital edge, coupled with our knowledge capital, is powering a shift capable of positioning the country as a powerhouse of globalization.

We have quickly and effectively dealt with exogenous threats, welcomed change, and embraced technology. Not just at the legislative or executive levels but all the way down to the local level with least literacy, as seen by the extensive use of digital payments and digital. Technology will continue to drive investments and speed up economic progress despite the impending concerns of inflation, geopolitics, and supply chain problems. Here are some of my expectations from the budget:

Incentivize the pivot from services to products:
Today, India is uniquely positioned with the right mix of talent, infrastructure, and the most powerful enabler – confidence, to become a global technology hub. Last year, Indian IT crossed $200bn in total revenue and 5mn in workforce, and the IT industry accounted for 7.4% of India’s GDP in FY22.

Indian enterprises have excelled at providing managed services, consulting, and outsourcing services and are now looking at building global products with local talent and ecosystems. We are at a crucial point where the emergence of AI, ML, and IoT is in tandem with the growing technology talent pool, driving innovation and entrepreneurship. This intent to build must be encouraged with policies that incentivize R&D. The government must emphasize improving the overall share of gross expenditure on R&D (GERD) as a percentage of GDP, which is currently at about 0.7% to about 1.3 – 1.5%

Catalyze collaboration for upskilling:
Post-pandemic digital enterprises demand niche practical skills and experience that academia is simply not equipped to provide. The government should strengthen the link between academia and the industry, and initiate collaborations to address this knowledge gap with enterprise-specific curriculum.

Programs like FutureSkills PRIME and Responsible AI for Youth conceptualized by the Ministry of Electronics & IT, GoI are a welcome move. But to keep up with the pace of rapid technological advancements, and the growing relevance of AI in everyday applications, the government must prioritize funding for upskilling. Together, with a strong network of multiple stakeholders we will be able to analyze the evolving job landscape and forecast skills demand.

Relax Special Economic Zone (SEZ) rules:
SEZs have played a crucial role in India’s tech growth story. These growth engines accelerate economic growth, promote exports, encourage investments, and most importantly, create jobs. According to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, SEZ exports increased to INR7595.24 billion in 2020-21. Further, investment in SEZs increased from INR40.355 billion in 2005-06 to INR6174.99 billion by 2020-21.

To increase global competitive advantage, our SEZs which enhance ease of doing business and have proven to do so should be complemented with policies that attract investment. GoI must look at policies that regulate WFH rules, increase incentives for enterprises in SEZs, and procedural relaxations to improve operational and exit issues.”

Mr. Ketan Gaikwad, MD and CEO of Receivable Exchange of India

The government should encourage CPSEs, state PSUs and corporations to participate on TReDS.

In 2017, the government mandated that all CPSEs register on the TReDS because late payments by public and private organizations result in a lack of working capital for MSMEs in their regular business operations. Despite the government’s mandate, there is very little participation on the TReDS platform by CPSEs and PSUs. PSUs should begin transacting on the TReDS platform in order to clear their payments to MSMEs on time, which will help TReDS realize its full potential. At 12.47 percent, the share of CPSEs in total transactions on RXIL is pitifully low.

Suggestive measures to address the issue of Delayed payments to MSMEs.

According to the GAME report, 5.9% of the gross value added in the Indian economy is locked up in delayed payments from buyers to MSME suppliers. Delayed payments from buyers to suppliers is a major contributor to the low resilience of MSMEs in India. Delayed payments occur when buyers delay payables to their Micro & Small Enterprise (MSE) suppliers by 45 days which leads to a working capital crunch.

Reasons for delayed payments
India’s Goods and Services Tax (GST) and non-performing (NPA classification) regime fail to account for delayed payments, further impacting MSMEs
Delay in payments by Government Organizations/Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) to MSMEs.
One of the fundamental causes is the power of asymmetry between small suppliers and large buyers.

Build a public conversation on delayed payments.

Leverage platforms such as ‘Mann Ki Baat’ to discuss Delayed Payments which have proven to drive large scale behavioral change campaigns so that we may begin the process of breaking through the normalization of delayed payments.
Add delayed payments as an indicator within the EoDB 2.0 framework under development by the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade.
Mandate that all Miniratnas, Maharatnas, and Navratnas transact on TReDS.

Mohul Ghosh
Mohul Ghosh
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