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Tech Industry Gives A Thumbs Up To Union Budget 2019


The tech industry has welcomed the government’s decision to renew focus on making India a $5 trillion economy by 2025 through investments in infrastructure, digital economy and job creation. Calling it a ‘holistic budget’ tech industry leaders have given a thumbs-up to the maiden budget presented by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on July 5 with utmost zeal and confidence.

CP Gurnani, MD & CEO, Tech Mahindra

“We completely hail the government’s vision of a New India that will thrive on the confluence of new age digital technologies, quality education and apt skilling. We look forward to partnering with the industry and academia to nurture the start-up ecosystem, and to fuel a culture of research and innovation that will help travel the road to India becoming a five trillion dollar economy.”

Jatin Dalal, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Wipro Limited  

“It is encouraging that the fiscal deficit target has been revised downwards from 3.4% to 3.3%. Strengthening PSU banks’ capital and improving RBI’s oversight on the financial sector will likely improve the flow of credit in the economy. A series of measures to enhance capital flows and employment generation are also great steps. Better growth with macro-economic stability will be the ideal outcome.”

Rekha M. Menon, Chairman and Senior Managing Director, Accenture in India 

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

Rajiv Bhalla, Managing Director, Barco India

“We are pleased with the government’s thrust on improving infrastructure and technology as catalysts for the economy going ahead. For India to be on the path to being the 3rd largest economy by 2030 , the budget’s rightfully emphasizes  that robust improvements are required in social infrastructure and education. The plan to set up 20 technology incubators to push rural development opens the stage for new initiatives that will enable India to become a $5 trillion economy in the years ahead.”

Rajarshi Bhattacharyya, Country Manager, SUSE India

“We welcome the Government’s move in promoting Digital India, Startup India and other initiatives which are positive steps for the economy. It is evident that with focus being put on skilling the youth in technologies such as AI, Robotics & Big Data, the Government is reinforcing the importance of digital innovation. The upcoming generation will be a driving force of the economy, knowledge of deep technologies will help make them employable and bridge the gap between demand and supply of talent. Open source companies like SUSE can be benefited from this talent pool, and be encouraged to work and support the nation and enterprises towards becoming globally competitive.”

Srinivas Palakodeti, Global CFO, HGS 

‘’We welcome this year’s budget as it aims to drive India Inc.’s much awaited technology push and strengthen the country’s skills in some of the most globally sought after technologies like AI, Big Data and automation. As the demand for such disruptive technologies grows, this is definitely a positive sign for India’s IT-BPM industry that thrives on fostering a culture of technology-led innovation across business verticals. With our country’s diverse and growing talent pool, initiatives like the National Education Policy and launching a startup-focused TV channel will also create a new league of forerunners in India.”

 Pankaj Muthe, Program Manager, Academic Program, APAC, Qlik

‘’ The focus on the amplification of skills in new-age tech domains such as AI, IoT, Big Data, and Robotics will also help to address the severe skills shortage that businesses across India are facing at present, apart from opening newer avenues of career growth for Indian professionals. The government should also make stronger efforts to incorporate data literacy training at the grassroots level and incentivise organisations to launch data literacy training initiatives for their employees. Doing so will equip current and future Indian professionals with the required knowledge and competencies to navigate the data-driven world of tomorrow.” 

Varoon Rajani, Co-founder and CEO at Blazeclan Technology 

“We commend the decision of the use of e-payments for business establishments with turnover of 50 crore to promote the less cash economy. This decision will further push the agenda of Digital India and aid financial institutions to move to the cloud for better agility, flexibility and speed.”

Dr. Keshab Panda, CEO-MD, L&T Technology Services

“The government’s focus on positioning India as the top destination for research and innovation augurs well with the interests of the ER&D industry. Moreover, the announcement on providing support to the skill development initiatives related to AI, IoT, 3D printing, VR, Robotics has the potential to establish India as a global talent hub for digital technologies. Lastly, earmarking Rs.10,000 crore over a three year period towards building a wider ecosystem of electric vehicles is a  welcome move. It is now for the value chain players to come together and replicate the success achieved by Indian ER&D players for global auto majors on the EV front.”

Supria Dhanda, Vice President and Country Manager, Western Digital India 

“We welcome this year’s budget as it aims to drive positive changes that focus on research, skilling and emerging technologies. We are happy to see the Government’s efforts to improve the skills of India’s youth in emerging technologies like AI and Big Data. Our country has a diverse talent pool and initiatives like having 75,000 entrepreneurs for skill development and transforming the National Education Policy for higher education will create a new league of upcoming professionals. Research being an important aspect for technology companies today, it is great that the National Research Foundation is looking at funding and promoting research. We look forward to partnering with the public and private sector to create a technology driven ecosystem and fostering a culture of innovation”

Sriram S, Co-Founder, iValue InfoSolutions Pvt Ltd

“India joining the big league with $3Trillion economy during the year is heart-warming. With the potential for the next couple of decades in front of us, it is going to be exciting times for all based out of and focused on Bharat. Good to see focus and thrust on basic needs like water, electricity, clean cooking medium in rural areas. 25% corporate tax for business up to INR 400 Cr is a great relief to all growing entities providing employment.  INR 70,000 Cr capital infusion into government owned banks this year to boost credit along with boosting capex on Digital initiatives Pension benefits to INR 3 Cr retail traders and shopkeepers whose annual turnover is upto Rs. 1.5 Cr is a good move.”

Debajit Roy, Country Director, QAD India

“The government’s move to lower the GST  on Electric Vehicles has opened new avenues for the industry. Reducing the GST on EVs from 12 per cent to 5 per cent can be seen as a big step in favor of sales of EV cars in India. The deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh on the loan interest to purchase an electric vehicle in India will not just  benefit  the industry  but also for consumers who are looking to switch to electric vehicles. There is pool of the companies emerging in this space to evolve the entire ecosystem and the opportunities created by government will enable these companies to penetrate fast. Moreover with the liquidity gap being addressed in this budget, the industry will even move forward towards  economy’s growth.”

Sashi Kumar, Managing Director, Indeed India

“The focus on new-age skilling and the job market throws light on potential job creation in several key sectors of the economy such as infrastructure, real estate, MSMEs and aviation. The formalization of the MSME sector, proposed by the government, coupled with the increased investment will see the emergence of more white and blue collar jobs. As the government stresses on laying focus on new-age digital skills, it will be beneficial for MSMEs to build a strong digital presence and build their employer brand online in order to reach the new age job seeker. In all, if the learning deficit is addressed through the proposed National educational policy; the youth are made more employable by addressing talent requirements and new-age skilling, and entrepreneurship is adequately fuelled with the support of the implementation of the new Budgets’ proposals, job creation across sectors would witness a positive boost.”

Krishanu Banerjee, Consultant, Public Sector Practice, Frost & Sullivan

“The Government’s agenda for this year’s budget was to put India back in the growth trajectory. The citizens of India voted for a strong and stable government for the second term with the belief that the weakening growth and investment will gradually reverse, thus stabilizing the economy. The planned structural reforms announced today in the form of investment in infrastructure and digital economy, along with the measures to boost the entrepreneurial culture in the country, is a strong testament that the present Government is focused on turning around the economy. Asia’s third-largest economy is anticipated to be bullish in the next 5 years and may reach closer to the target of becoming the $5 trillion economy by 2024 or 2025.”

Dr. Rishi Bhatnagar, President, Aeris Communications & Chairman IET IoT Panel India 

“The union budget 2019 supports India in its technological revolution where artificial intelligence along with IoT and big data are going to play a major role. The FM proposed to establish a National Research Foundation (NRF) which we believe will help the Indian workforce to skill/upskill and meet the industry demands in the technology space. Trained workforce on AI, IoT, Big Data, which are valued highly both within and outside the country; helping in creating more jobs and bridging the 15 million unemployment gap. The GOI needed focused efforts on building state-of-the-art facilities and bring reforms in the education ecosystem. The new budget initiatives positively addresses the skill gap problem.”

 Siddharth Viswanath, Partner and Leader, Cybersecurity, PwC India

“It is good to see the finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman promote Digital India in her maiden Budget speech. The focus on BharatNet program which aims to connect every village block via high-speed broadband and on creating a pool of skilled professionals in areas such as AI, robotics, VR, 3D, etc, is commendable. For India to be truly digital and fit for future economy, we also need to nurture and build cyber skills and technologies.”

Debasish Mukherjee – Country Director – India & SAARC, SonicWall

“The Union Budget provides a great boost to the MSMEs which is a growing sector. The key focus on digitization and rural inclusion indicate the dependence on technology for fuelling the growth of Indian economy. To this end, it is imminent that a strong policy framework that regulates cybersecurity be implemented for protecting enterprises from cyber threats and attacks.  It is increasingly important now that at a time when MSMEs are under the radar to be completely digitalized and Government focusing on Digital India, it is apparent that more needs to be done for enforcing cybersecurity measures.”

Snehashish Bhattacharjee, Global CEO, Denave 

“The budget, overall, is positive and covers the entire gamut of economic pillars in one go – farmers, youth, start-ups, women, middle-class segment, health society, green energy etc. Extending the 25% corporate tax applicability to INR 400 Cr turnover companies (pretty much 99.3% of the organizations in the country) is in line with the commitment of this government to reduce corporate tax across segments. The FM, acknowledging the angel tax issue will give a boost to the start-up ecosystem, which will set our course towards nurturing the camaraderie of technology and innovation. It shall also prove to play a pivotal role in boosting and increasing employment opportunities.”

Satya Kalyan Yerramsetti, Founder & CEO of Telebu

“The Union Budget has made adequate allocations for the telecom sector whose revenues have been tumbling since quite a while now. The Government has set up a committee to rationalize tax structure, review USOF, and the spectrum usage charges, which will make the business environment more conducive within the sector. These measures will work in the favour of unified communications providers like us. It has also taken targeted steps towards rural infrastructure expansion and introduced PPP model for BharatNet to eliminate the prevailing rural digital divide.”

Jaya Vaidyanathan, President, Bahwan CyberTek

“Overall it is a positive budget both from growth and regulatory points of view. I am glad that our Finance Minister started with “India Inc. understands Make in India”. As a Fintech company that is made in India, we strongly welcome that sentiment, and we are hopeful that there will be more SOPs for FinTech’s in India. This combined with the Regulatory sandbox that came up recently will bring a lot of innovation into the FinTech industry in India.”

Aakrit Vaish, Co-founder and CEO, Haptik

The demand for specialized skillsets in niche technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning has increased drastically. The government has recognized and addressed this schism by pledging to train 10 million youth in industry relevant skills like AI, IoT and Big Data. We, at Haptik are also constantly empowering the developers and enthusiastic engineers to build next-generation conversational AI on a daily basis. We are delighted to see that our government is also putting efforts to improve the skills of our youth in newer areas such as Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Robotics.

Shailendra Naidu, CEO, Obopay

“Encouraging the use of digital payment instruments such as BHIM, UPI and Aadhaar Pay will go a long way towards a cashless economy and financial inclusion. Given the fact that the government has provided RBI with more power, we foresee NBFCs witnessing significant growth in coming years. Enhancing the turnover limit of companies from Rs 250 crore to Rs 400 crore in paying the corporate tax of 25% will surely boost the overall sentiment of the Fintech community. Further, giving provisions of one-time six month partial credit guarantee to buy pooled assets of sound NBFCs is a landmark decision.”

Rakesh Soni – CEO and Co-Founder, LoginRadius India

“With schemes like BharatNet Project highlighted in today’s Budget with more focus on better connectivity in rural India, we are expecting an increased growth in Indian customer identities in the coming years. Skilled professionals are required to manage and secure this data, and the government’s decision to train youth in technologies is an excellent step! We are also expecting more focus and investment on data security.

Anjali Amar, Country Manager at Verizon Enterprise Solutions

“We welcome the Union Budget’s focus on closing the technology skills gap in the face of disruptive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, and Robotics. The economic and societal benefits that these technologies are poised to deliver means that it is imperative to reskill India’s IT workforce. This will ensure that tomorrow’s IT executives will be armed with the necessary knowledge to future-proof India’s digital future.  We are also pleased to note the Government’s initiatives in promoting digital payments. As India strives towards a digital and cashless economy, the Government should also continue to strengthen its cyber-security framework. A robust data protection system which is technology-neutral and based on international norms with principles of transparency, accountability will be the catalyst to fuel investment and innovation in new services.”

Sudeshna Datta, Co-founder & EVP, Absolutdata  

“We are happy with the government’s vision for a technology-driven economy that prioritizes emerging technologies as the prerequisite for future growth. From promoting digital payments to training millions of youngsters in emerging technologies such as AI, Data Analytics and Machine Learning, and soft skill such as foreign language training, the initiatives are focused on empowering the future workforce with a ‘global-first’ perspective. This will significantly strengthen India Inc.’s capabilities for the future.”

Vineet Chaturvedi, Co-Founder, Edureka

“This union budget has given due importance to skilling and education which is a welcome move in today’s skill-driven industry. The expansion of Skill India to include AI, IoT and other futuristic technologies. This hits the nail on the head and the establishment of National Research Foundation is a major boost towards building India’s technical competence. Additional allocation of budget to Bharatnet will also have a deep impact on skilling rural India as it has the potential to open up online learning to students and professionals from remote villages.”

Sanjay Gupta (India Head), VP and India country manager.  

“We welcome the government’s move to lower the GST rate from 12% to 5% for purchase of Electric Vehicles and the vision to make India as the global manufacturing hub. The push for FAME II by providing the right incentives can encourage a faster conversion rate. Semi-conductors and host of other components will be vital in developing the EV Ecosystem in the country. The government’s focus on incentivizing research by forming a National Research Foundation and encouraging foreign engineers and researchers to come and collaborate is a landmark announcement for India’s electronic industry.”

Vamsi Krishna, CEO & Co-Founder, Vedantu

“A National Education Policy to bring India’s higher education system on par with global standards will be a big leap towards bolstering the e-learning market. The government’s plan to re-energize the education sector is a positive step to boost the morale of young learners. Besides, emerging technologies such as AI & ML will help in spreading education through EdTech platform across the country. Further, the proposition to launch ‘Study in India’ that will position India as a prime destination for higher education amongst students aboard. It will open doors and present opportunities for educators and e-learning sector as a whole.”

(Photo courtesy: ANI)

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Sohini Bagchi
Sohini Bagchi is Editor at CXOToday, a published author and a storyteller. She can be reached at sohini.bagchi@trivone.com