Prashanth GJ, CEO, TechnoBind Solutions
The Union Finance Minister Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman tabled the Union Budget 2023-24. She began by stating that the government sees the next 25 years as ‘Amrit Kaal’ marking the centenary of India’s independence. This is the first budget of this period and the government aims to achieve a technology-driven and knowledge-driven economy. The budget certainly reflected the FM’s statement and the plans being laid out to achieve this milestone. The budget has focused on youth, their skill enhancement and job creation, and the strengthening of the macroeconomy.
Technology will be a driving force in achieving these goals. 5G has been the center of focus with enterprises diving to benefit the most by using it as an instrument for development. The government’s focus on setting up 100 5G labs in engineering colleges to develop 5G-based applications will further enhance the efforts being made by the private sector. The initiative of having an open-source standard for the agriculture sector will help technology firms and startups in helping the farmers, which is still one of the largest sectors in India. The focus given to youth through various announcements shows the government’s focus on the future of the country. Apart from the 5G labs set up in the colleges, the government’s recognition towards new-age skills will help SMEs with a competent workforce. The access to courses on coding, mechatronics, IoT, robotics, drones and 3D printing will help the youth enter the workforce. Make AI in India and Make AI Work for India – this slogan boosts the tech vertical’s efforts in including artificial intelligence in every aspect of our life as it betters the living and boosts development in every vertical. The government announcing the setting up of 3 Centres of Excellence for artificial intelligence has strengthened the efforts. Experts from the industry will be helping in the research and development of AI-based applications to help the agriculture, healthcare and sustainability sectors. These announcements in the budget will definitely have a positive outcome and help India’s tech vertical to achieve bigger milestones in the coming years.
Mathangi Sri Ramachandran, Chief Data Officer, Yubi
“The Union Budget 2023, presented earlier today by the Honourable Finance Minister has been a growth oriented and inclusive one, addressing multiple touchpoints. The emphasis on fostering a robust digital infrastructure, one of the cornerstones of this budget is a move in the right direction, with positive implications for a myriad of industries.
At Yubi, we have been actively partnering with academic institutions, particularly with respect to AI and governance. In light of this, we believe that the plans to set up Centres of Excellence for Artificial Intelligence to realise the vision of “Make AI in India and Make AI work for India” is a welcome intervention, and we look forward to enabling and participating in this milieu. Furthermore, simplifying the KYC process and making it risk-focussed as opposed to a ‘one-size fits all’ approach demonstrates a simple sophistication. This will certainly accelerate the efficiency in the credit application process, and will be pivotal in increasing financial inclusion in the country. Moreover, it will also enhance the overall customer experience through automated verification using computer vision”.
Nitin Varma, Managing Director, India & SAARC, CrowdStrike
“The 2023 Union Budget holds immense promise for technology development and skilling. Today, developing new skills is essential for various industries with new and emerging technologies. In particular, cybersecurity is a field that is constantly evolving and requires regular upskilling through advanced training programs. In the recent years, we have seen a significant rise in cyberattacks, however, many organizations are struggling with skill gap and resource crunch. It is encouraging to see that infrastructure and investment as well as youth power are main priorities as these are closely aligned with dynamic industry needs. Investments in infrastructure will have a large multiplier impact on growth and employment, leading to ramping up the virtuous cycle of investment and job creation.
The government’s decision to formulate the National Education Policy, focused on skilling will facilitate job creation at scale. The digital ecosystem for skilling will be further expanded with the launch of a unified Skill India Digital platform for enabling demand-based formal skilling. The proposed Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana 4.0 meant for skilling youth shall entail new age courses for Industry 4.0 like coding, AI, robotics, soft skills etc. It is a great incentive keeping in mind the importance of skilling, upskilling and reskilling in the present scenario. Another emerging technology today is Artificial Intelligence.
The three proposed centres of excellence for Artificial Intelligence too is a good opportunity for industry players to partner in interdisciplinary research, develop cutting-edge applications and scalable problem solutions. These initiatives will pave the way for building a workforce that will be skilled and ahead of the curve in their respective industry.”
Alok Dubey, Chief Financial Officer, Acer India
“The Union Budget unveiled today echoes the government’s objective of “Digital Development” for the country. It places a high value on technology and innovation as a whole. Realizing the vision of “Make AI in India and Make AI Work for India” is projected to strengthen the country’s standing in the technology industry globally and generate numerous possibilities for the youth. The mention of lowering the minimum TDS threshold and clarifying taxability linked to online gaming is an encouraging step towards gaming industry in India, and it is expected to open up more prospects in the following year. This year’s budget also has prioritised sustainability; this is a step toward a green future that allows businesses and SMEs to enter the market with green products and services; this is a commendable and promising move. Overall, the Union Budget 2023 is promising and represents a significant step toward digital transformation and a holistic sustainable growth.”
Puneet Gupta, vice president & managing director, NetApp India/SAARC
“The announcements made by the Hon’ble Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman have given us a lot to be excited about. The mission of Amrit Kaal has put us in a strong position to truly call this a digital budget, given its large focus on technology and digital. From the government’s announcement of setting up of 100 5G labs and the development of 3 Centers of Excellence for AI, all of these will go a long way in unleashing the digital potential of the country. In a world that is driven by data and AI, we see numerous and infinite opportunities ahead of us. It will be a privilege for us at NetApp to play our role in building a truly digital nation which is the future of tomorrow.”
Anand Jain, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer, CleverTap
“In the backdrop of the global macro-economic environment, this year’s budget was critical to ensure the Indian economy is well insulated from any global downturns. While the overall theme of the budget was focused on technological innovation and sustainability across sectors, it was imperative to extend continued support to small businesses and the youth, which form the backbone of the country. With India being the third largest ecosystem for start-ups, it was reassuring to see that this year’s budget was focused on growth, with tax benefits being provided to start-ups and the government introducing a Skill India Digital Platform to facilitate entrepreneurship schemes. To be able to carry forward losses and change shareholding of start-ups from 7 years of incorporation to 10 years, helps instil some confidence in entrepreneurs to be able to take necessary risks to build and grow their companies. The National Data Governance Policy offers some solace to both users and businesses to enable access to anonymized data which will open up more avenues for innovation. These benefits will help provide the much-needed boost to the start-up sector and the economy as a whole to tackle the headwinds posed by the slowdown in the global economy and sustain its growth.”
Manish Mimani, Founder & CEO, Protectt.ai
“It is encouraging to see the government focus on building a digitally-driven nation in the Union Budget. By expanding innovative services in the fintech space, along with announcing the vision of Make AI in India and Make AI Work for India, we have a lot to look forward. Though not explicitly highlighted in the Budget, we can also expect to see the cybersecurity landscape evolve and benefit from increased use of AI in operations, products, and services. In addition, the government’s relief measures for startups in areas of tax benefits and setting off losses comes as a welcome move, and will go a long way in encouraging the Indian startup ecosystem to continue to innovate.”
Deepak Visweswaraiah, vice president, platform engineering, and site managing director, Pegasystems, India
“The Union Budget for 2023 sets the stage for a growth-friendly strategy with a vision of a technology-driven and knowledge-based economy in the post-pandemic world. As the budget focuses on seven pillars of growth with a three-pronged approach to facilitating ample opportunity for citizens, especially the youth, providing a strong impetus to the development and job creation, and stabilizing the macroeconomic environment, we are well-positioned to tackle difficulties and prosper in the new normal.
This year’s budget provides us with a forward-looking blueprint for India’s resilience, competence, and innovation. The Centre emphasizes on ensuring the community’s overall progress through technology and digitalization. By offering new-age courses in 3D Printing, drones, coding, Robotics, AI, etc, through Kaushal Vikas Yojana or developing 30 Skill India International centers, India could further strengthen its position as the ultimate destination of top talent. I am pleased with the Centre’s measures for Make AI for India and Make AI Work for India, intended to encourage innovation in AI. The establishment of three Centres of Excellence for Artificial Intelligence at prestigious educational institutions coupled with leading industry players partnering to conduct research and develop cutting-edge applications would unleash the potential of the Indian economy. As a result, India will be able to create an effective AI ecosystem as well as nurture skilled AI professionals. This is also a significant step in promoting financial inclusion in India, allowing industries across sectors to become more accessible to a broader segment of the population.
Innovation is at the core of this year’s budget as the government takes its digital India initiative to the next level with the deployment of 5G services and a new program to promote R&D in pharma. In addition, the Data Governance Policy will be launched this year to enhance startup and academic research and innovation. Thus, we are indeed on a highway to building an open, digital, and inclusive India in the coming years.”
Balaji Rao, Area Vice President, India & SAARC, Commvault
“The budget 2023 has been laid down with a future-ready outlook and highly compliments nation’s objective of innovative, technology-driven and knowledge-based economy. The increased impetus on data generation and management while ensuring privacy, security, and trust is a powerful move. The India Datasets program and the proposed National Data Governance Policy will empower academia, researchers, and start-ups with access to a large repository of India-specific dataset and is an indispensable move by the government to further propel the Digital India vision.
Furthermore, the government is pushing the agenda of upskilling to prepare for a resilient future. The framework outlined to upskill the youth with 30 Skill India International centres, will bridge the persisting digital gap and unlock a massive pipeline of jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities. The initiatives for telecom services and modernization of agri sector through Digital Public Infrastructure will be critical in modernizing and broadening the scope of data generation, management, and protection.
The cumulative effect of all the initiatives will eventually generate enormous amounts of data that will intensify the need for reliable, unified data management and protection solutions. The budget 2023 is a foundation for India@100 and will strengthen our digital ecosystem, drive transformation, and fortify India as a leading digitalized nation.”
Raghunath Subramanian, Founder and Global CEO, actyv.ai – an Enterprise SaaS platform with BNPL for B2B embedded.
“ The Union Budget 2023, released today by the Indian Government, exudes optimism about the short-term as well as long-term prospects of the Indian economy. Under the larger umbrella of Atmanirbhar Bharat, the government has focused on making Indian companies more competitive in the global market, attracting investments from outside India, promoting startups and an ecosystem driven by innovation. India is poised to shine!
MSMEs, one of the largest sectors in India and an integral part of the country’s growth journey is on a swift recovery path post the pandemic and easy access to working capital would be critical for smooth recovery. Under the larger umbrella of Atmanirbhar Bharat, the Indian government’s move to set up a separate entity of DigiLocker MSME will have a significant impact on the sector. As a platform with embedded offerings that drives business growth for enterprises and their partners, we see this as a step in the right direction.
In the banking sector, the budget brings a welcome change by simplifying the KYC process by adopting a ‘risk-based’ instead of ‘one size fits all’ approach. The financial sector regulators will also be encouraged to have a KYC system fully amenable to meet the needs of digital India!
Government removes tax exemption in traditional insurance policies with premium over Rs 5 lacs. The proposal intends to limit income tax exemption from proceeds of insurance policies with very high value. This will increase the focus on term plans and pure risk covers which is good.”
Arun Balasubramanian, Vice President & Managing Director, India & South Asia, UiPath
“We are glad that in this year’s budget, a greater focus has been given to Digital India where technology is an enabler for the economic and overall development of the nation. For India to adopt and implement emerging technologies, a robust skilled workforce is needed. And the provision of the Skill India Digital Platform is the right step in making a highly skilled workforce. It will unify and enable demand-based formal skilling, which has been much needed to bridge the gap between academia and industry. With the Skill India Digital Platform and the proposed National Digital Library, we are confident that young Indians will have the resources to upskill in areas like AI, automation, and robotics, which will in turn make Digital India a reality. With the launch of The National Data Governance Policy, Indian users and companies can now access anonymized data, which will provide greater opportunities for innovation. These are exciting times for a tech-enabled India, and soon the country will become a talent powerhouse for the world.”
Raj Koneru, CEO of Kore.ai
“The AI-focused announcements in the 2023 budget are very welcoming and encouraging. A move towards creating Centres of Excellence for Artificial Intelligence to unleash the potential of our economy and realize the vision of “Make AI in India and Make AI Work for India” is very exciting. As we had hoped for a collaboration with industries like banking, health, agriculture, and government to use AI-enabled solutions is an encouraging move indeed. While we are very delighted to see the keen focus on AI technology innovation, adoption, and growth in India by the government in this budget, it would have been encouraging to see some incentives and tax relaxations for AI-focused startups,”
Alok Kothari, Country Manager for India, Netskope.
“The government’s digitization initiatives are now globally recognized, and the themes and priorities of this Budget bode well for digitization of service and infrastructure delivery. We have heard today about a prioritisation of AI development, the anonymising of citizen data, and further acceleration of already launched schemes under DIP and JAM. However, we must not take our eyes off the need for cybersecurity infrastructure; in the management and security of citizen data, and in our efforts to maintain strong defences against the malicious intentions of cyber attackers. With the world’s geopolitics remaining unstable, and acknowledging our own national security challenges, we welcome the allocation of additional funding to MeitY for cyber security projects and the emergency response team (CERT-In). Digitizing without due attention to security could pose serious challenges to the Indian nation’s plans.”
Manikanth Challa, CEO & Founder, Workruit
“Budget 2023 aims to fulfill youth aspirations, job creation, and macroeconomic stability. From an economic standpoint, this budget is focused on job creation and youth upliftment. What is also motivating is the announcement of the National Digital Library and three AI centres of excellence to enable ‘Make AI for India’ and ‘Make AI work for India,’ which will encourage youth from diverse backgrounds to learn comprehensively. The government’s increased emphasis on developing e-content in all Indian languages and launching a “digital university” will benefit the country’s literacy rate”, said Mr Manikanth Challa, CEO & Founder, Workruit.
Anil Valluri, MD & Regional VP – India & SAARC, Palo Alto Networks
It is heartening to see the continued focus of the government on technology and its efforts toward realizing its vision for a truly digital India.
Digital Public Infrastructure for the country’s agricultural, fintech, manufacturing, and healthcare industries, including their Information Technology (IT) & Operational Technology (OT) capabilities, will help usher in a new age for the sectors. This will be characterized by cutting-edge solutions that will deliver advanced farmer-centric solutions, exhaustive market intelligence, evolved Agri-firms & start-ups, and more. The provision of 5G labs across India’s top engineering institutions will help power new applications, innovations, and opportunities that will further boost the development of the high-speed network service in India. Enterprise and academia collaboration to “Make AI in India and Make AI work for India” will be instrumental in bringing the technology and its innumerable applications into the mainstream and fostering an unprecedented AI ecosystem that will benefit both organizations and individuals. This ecosystem will flourish thanks to the newly announced youth-focused skilling initiatives for AI, Industry 4.0., coding, robotics, and more.
Competent cybersecurity will be crucial to the success of these initiatives, considering our digitally transformed populace. With ransomware attacks seeing alarming highs and national critical infrastructures becoming regular targets, any further transformations may render us more vulnerable to attack. A strong focus on data governance – reflected in the Union budget’s plans to set up a National Data Governance Policy – and cybersecurity skilling, combined with a cybersecurity-first approach powered by AI & ML for devices, networks, and applications will be essential for digital India to become a reality.
Adit Jain, Co-founder and CEO of Leena AI on the announcements related to AI in India.
“The Finance Minister’s announcement of three Centres of Excellence for AI in top educational institutes for ‘Make AI in India’ is a welcome move. It highlights the importance of AI in industries and businesses across India, especially in a post-Covid era, where AI provided new capabilities to mitigate uncertainty by leveraging data. Today, many enterprises are using AI to enable employees to work quickly and efficiently, while improving their overall productivity. As an enterprise virtual assistant, we also use AI to empower such enterprises to transform and improve employee experience.
As the Finance Minister rightly said, this move will galvanize an effective AI ecosystem and nurture quality human resources in the field. We appreciate the renewed focus on technology and AI which will improve workforce productivity and aim to build a digital-ready workforce, fundamental to achieving the GoI’s ‘Digital India’ vision.”
Naren Vijay, EVP-Growth, Lumenore.
“The government has continued focusing on Digital India and building robust digital infrastructure in the country. The announcement to set up three Centres of Excellence for artificial intelligence to enable ‘Make AI for India’ and ‘Make AI work for India’ will strengthen the adoption of AI across the various sectors like education and healthcare among others. The introduction of the National Data Governance Policy to enable access to anonymized data will improve the data management framework. The government has recognized the importance of artificial intelligence & data and how it can be used by businesses and government to bring change,”
Varun Babbar Managing Director – India & SAARC ,Qlik
The FY24 Union Budget is a progressive take on technology and skill development in the country. The proposed Centres of Excellence for AI to further “Make AI in India” and “Make AI work for India” could significantly boost STEM students and tech organisations and set India on the journey to becoming a hub for AI talent. It can provide the next generation of engineers an opportunity to develop their specialisation in AI. A robust AI ecosystem can help India generate multi-disciplinarian specialists like Data Analysts and Scientists, which aligns with the industry’s current requirements. The collaboration between the top education institutions and industry players will help convert these plans into reality very soon. It is time for the technological revolution to activate private and public collaborative efforts. This will reinforce data-rich sectors to make impactful decisions in near real-time with intelligent analytics while delivering essential citizen services.
Vijendra Katiyar, Country Manager, India & SAARC, Trend Micro
“The latest Union Budget for FY 2023-24, presented by Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman places a strong emphasis on talent development, digital skills training, and upskilling. This is in response to India’s current situation where only 48.7% of the country’s youth are considered employable and many companies report a skill gap. The budget includes the launch of PMKVY 4.0, which is aimed at training a large number of youth in emerging technologies such as AI, robotics, mechatronics, and IOT. This investment in technology and skill development is expected to bridge the talent gap, create job opportunities, and empower the current workforce to remain competitive, positioning India as an important digital talent hub for the world.
The adoption of AI, ML and cloud computing is rapidly increasing across various sectors, which necessitates the adoption of cybersecurity not only after, but during the build process as well. The strengthening of skilling infrastructure announced in the budget is a timely response to this development. The Data Governance policy, which will enable access to anonymized data, is also a crucial initiative that provides hope in the face of the growing threat of cyber-attacks.”
Khadim Batti, CEO and Co-founder, Whatfix.
“This year’s budget builds upon the 2022 Union budget agenda of startup growth initiatives such as extension in claiming tax benefits and skilling. With India leapfrogging the global Startup Ecosystem, the government has been taking favorable steps to fuel this growth which is reflected in the 2023 budget as well.
The National Data Governance Policy, aimed at enabling anonymized data access by start-ups and academia, will help realize a holistic security solution towards data protection, be it on-premise, in the cloud, or hybrid environments – a must for every sector. An extension of the date of incorporation by one year for income tax benefits to start-ups from 31st March 2023 to 31st March 2024 will be appreciated by all entrepreneurs again this year, especially in today’s macroeconomics. This move will help start-ups claim tax benefits for three consecutive years within the first ten years of incorporation. They now also have the benefit of carrying forward their losses on change of shareholding from seven years of incorporation to ten years – a great addition to this year’s budget.
The IT industry contributed 7.4% of India’s GDP in FY22, and has been facing skills shortage and a limited workforce in recent times, which has been highlighted through multiple surveys. Today’s development ensures that the government’s focus is on enabling the youth by upskilling them on new-age technologies and digital skills such as AI, Robotics, etc. Leading industry players will partner in conducting interdisciplinary research, developing cutting-edge applications, and scalable problem solutions in agriculture, health, and sustainable cities. It will help provide a platform for budding entrepreneurs and enthusiasts to test their theories and solutions and apply them in the current scenario. I feel these steps would propel the nation towards a digital transformation path, further strengthening India’s position in the technology industry.”
Vijendra Katiyar, Country Manager, India and SAARC, Trend Micro:
The latest Union Budget for FY 2023-24, presented by Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman places a strong emphasis on talent development, digital skills training, and upskilling. This is in response to India’s current situation where only 48.7% of the country’s youth are considered employable and many companies report a skill gap. The budget includes the launch of PMKVY 4.0, which is aimed at training a large number of youth in emerging technologies such as AI, robotics, mechatronics, and IOT. This investment in technology and skill development is expected to bridge the talent gap, create job opportunities, and empower the current workforce to remain competitive, positioning India as an important digital talent hub for the world.
The adoption of AI, ML and cloud computing is rapidly increasing across various sectors, which necessitates the adoption of cybersecurity not only after, but during the build process as well. The strengthening of skilling infrastructure announced in the budget is a timely response to this development. The Data Governance policy, which will enable access to anonymized data, is also a crucial initiative that provides hope in the face of the growing threat of cyber-attacks.
Ram Iyer, Founder and CEO, Vayana Network.
Consistency is the key theme of Union Budget 2023
“The union budget of 2023 has been exceptionally consistent over the years in focus areas across Infrastructure, Agriculture, MSMEs and ease of doing business.
The capital expenditure has been increased by 33% to a historic high of INR10 lakh crores, showing government’s commitment to creating jobs and stimulating expenditure resulting in a multiplier effect pegging GDP growth at 7%.
Investments in development of public digital infrastructure for agriculture, facilitating data embassies in GIFT City, expanding the use of Digi Locker and setting up National Financial Information repository signal towards the continued focus on digitisation and broadening its access to the public.
Revamped Credit Guarantee Scheme for MSMEs is a significant move to support MSMEs’ who have been battered by Covid related disruptions, the infusion of Rs 9000 crore into the corpus would undoubtedly benefit small business owners.
Concrete actionables towards ease of doing business in the form of PAN being a single identifier, reducing compliances and decriminalizing provisions are legislative steps ensuring ease of doing business.
Overall, it is a promising budget that continues to build on the groundwork laid during the previous budgets.”