Union Budget 2023-24: Wishlist across the sectors
Nirmala Sitharaman, the finance minister, will present the Union Budget for 2023–24 in the Lok Sabha on February 1 where a variety of expectations from various industries are expected to be addressed. While attempting to strengthen the financial system, this budget is expected to place a significant emphasis on long-term growth. This budget’s priorities will likely be infrastructure development, empowerment, digitalization, and incentivizing new-age production through PLI programmes. Other areas of focus include energy, healthcare and pharma, specialty chemicals, technology, and manufacturing. What are the pre-budget predictions for the different sectors? Experts discuss what they hope to see in the Union Budget 2023–24 and what they hope it will accomplish.
Mr. Manoj Shastrula, CEO & Founder; SOCLY.io; a cybersecurity compliance automation company
“With the Data Protection Bill in the picture and the Data Security Council of India trying to establish itself as a premier institution, the budget is expected to provide good allocation to develop and implement cybersecurity and data privacy frameworks. India, the most populated country, if achieves its goals of data privacy, can be a massive example for other so-called developed countries.”
Mr. Akash Hegde, Co-Founder, ShakeDeal; a digital-first supply chain and B2B commerce platform
With MSMEs contributing 30% to India’s GDP, they are a key factor of the economy. The budget is near and we expect the government to address the domestic and international challenges that MSMEs, being a crucial part of the supply chain, have been facing. Challenges related to finance, labor, skills, technology and managerial-related challenges need to be addressed. We expect the government to spend on sustainable employment at all levels. Furthermore, due to the strenuous process of getting financial support from banks and alternate finance, we anticipate the growth of supply chain financing. This will certainly aid MSMEs in being stable and independent, fueling their growth.
Post the sectoral growth we witnessed after COVID, we anticipate 8% growth in GDP.
Mr. Sumit Sabharwal, Chief Executive Officer, TeamLease HRtech;
The Union Budget 2023 should focus on ensuring that the momentum in our economy either remains the same or increases for continuous growth. Any kind of deceleration can be dangerous for the vulnerable sectors, and the damage can cause a ripple effect in other sectors as well, especially with the present global outlook. The union budget can take measures to encourage investment in startups and small businesses so that job creation is accelerated. An emphasis should be placed on digitalization as well to improve productivity and employee efficiency in private as well as public sectors. Taxation on sectors like HR Tech and IT can also be relooked to support hyper-growth. It should enable companies to be more competitive in the global markets and open new export frontiers of growth.
Dr. Chenraj Roychand, Chancellor JAIN (Deemed-to-be University)
In a developing nation like India, providing students with a road to financial success will depend on our capacity to establish deeper links between the educational system and economic opportunity. As the global higher education market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14.49% during the period 2023-2027 where India occupies a significant position in the global higher education industry, I firmly believe that the government will consider easing the financial and regulatory problems resulting from the international expansion of Higher Education Institutes. Furthermore, accelerating national education policy frameworks may be taken into consideration in this year’s budget. If used effectively, extra funding could accelerate India’s educational expansion.
Ms. Neeti Sharma, Co-founder and President, TeamLease Edtech
The end of 2022 witnessed a funding winter for Edtech companies and the year at large witnessed a shift back toward a phygital and in many cases getting back to the classroom has been mandatory. The next financial year has many uncertainties as of now and this is likely to impact the Education, Skilling and the EdTech sector.
With this in mind, I would request the Finance minister to incentivise taxation and subsidized rates are an expectation from the union budget in order to sustain the growth that the Edtech sector has shown over the past three years. With the industry expected to reach over 10 billion by 2025, the 2023 union budget should be a crucial driving force.
The need for increased technology adoption in the sector will also drive these incentives as more organizations in the sector strive to provide Education to students from Tier 3 and 4 cities. The government has already recognized the need to improve digital literacy through tech adoption across the country and we expect that this trend will continue in the 2023-24 budget as well.
Providing subsidies to students who wish to make investments in either procuring devices for educational purposes such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets are also an expectation from the 2023-24 budget. This will enable many learners to upskill and get access to high quality education and a lower cost.
Building a strong digital education ecosystem that enables learning and a robust way to accelerate the New Education Policy 2020 implementation is the need of the hour and the EdTech industry can be a great enabler for this policy. I would expect the budget to also provide investment incentives for technology research and innovation that enables higher learning efficacy and completion rates for students.
Shyatto Raha, Founder and CEO of MyHealthcare
“India’s healthcare system was put to test both during and post the pandemic. Health institutions took a major financial hit and this catalysed the need for adoption of technology across the sector to manage their patients. The recent announcement of financial incentives (Digital Health Incentive Scheme) by the Government of India, will help in strengthening the digital health infrastructure through ABDM (Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission) and provide a much needed focus on healthcare digitisation & digitalisation in India. The Ayushman Bharat insurance programme has also helped Indians get access to quality healthcare and pushed private healthcare providers to deliver care to a wider population. The recently applied GST for in-patient billing in hospitals has added to their already pressured operating margins. We would request the government to consider providing tax rebates, subsidies or any form of incentive schemes that would ease the financial burden for health facilities who are looking towards digital transformation for better healthcare delivery. Furthermore, to fuel start-ups who are supporting the digitalisation of healthcare, we seek the government’s support in removal or reduction of GST applicability, making our services more effective for healthcare providers. This will help boost the adoption and accessibility of digital healthcare and accelerate India’s digital health agenda including data interoperability, personalised healthcare and improve the quality of healthcare delivery in India.”
Prateek Bhargava, Founder & CEO of Mindler
1. Tax incentives and benefits for ed-tech players to drive the overall ecosystem and increase technology adoption. This will be important to achieve some of the massive reforms being rolled out by UGC. With over 50% of our population below 25 years the government should look at lowering the tax rates.
2. Investment towards technology infrastructure at schools must continue to grow, given the emerging hybrid education landscape. The last twelve months have paved the way for the edtech sector towards a hybrid future. The post covid era has reinforced the importance of educators as the most important pillar in the student learning journey. Government should continue its focus on aligning substantial budgets on this front.
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.”
Vikas Gupta, The chairman and managing director of Miles Education
“The upcoming Union Budget should have a strong focus on education, particularly in the areas of implementing the National Education Policy and reimagining university education. This includes increased funding for higher education institutions and a reconsideration of the 18% GST rate currently imposed on educational and training services, which includes PG certifications and executive programs from any institution, private or public. Such a high GST rate acts as an entry barrier for many individuals to upskill themselves, thereby hindering the goal of building a skilled and competitive workforce, and driving economic growth in the country. An upskilled workforce will not only earn more but also spend more, ultimately paying higher taxes and giving better returns in the long run. Therefore, high taxes on upskilling programs seem counterproductive, becoming an unnecessary hurdle in the way of India becoming an economic powerhouse. Thus, the government should take the necessary steps to make education more accessible and affordable for all.”
Girish Singhania, CEO of EduBridge
After the pandemic, the Indian markets are experiencing the unlock phase and operating in full swing. Schools and colleges are now up and running just as they used to. One observes a positive change in the educational pedagogy, but as a work development platform, we are rooting for more profound changes in the educational system. Some of these changes include,
- We look forward to extending support for new educational guidelines penned down by NEP in 2020. The expectations will involve a greater focus on skilling initiatives, where we advocate the importance of skilling at every level.
- Introducing more vocational courses earlier on and implementing them at the grassroots level.
- Formal Educational Institutions, Academies, and EdTech Platforms advocate the removal of GST on any of the educational products and services for ten years.
- A more profound Tech-enabled training of teachers or perhaps revitalizing the existing Diksha App to enhance the reach.
- Profound financial plans that encourage learners to sign up for skilling initiative to better their career prospects.
- We also look forward to more news on the advancements made towards firing up the Digital University to ensure that education reaches even the underserved pockets of the country.
We expect a better financial allocation towards education in general, to ensure that we meet with heightened literacy rates by the upcoming fiscal year of 2024-25.
Bipin, Preet Singh, Co-Founder & CEO, MobiKwik
Vikas Garg, Co-founder and CEO, Paytail.
Fintech companies are navigating the country’s path towards financial inclusion, where the robust techstack in combination with the strong distribution network is going to ensure the availability of financial products across the country
As one of the players operating in the fintech environment, we are hoping for tax subsidies, that would support more investment in the fintech sector, thus facilitating creation of innovative technologies for better credit provision.
In terms of regulation, a dedicated regulatory body for fintech domain would give a more extensive idea in terms of formulation of credit policies to ensure proper risk management and reduce delinquencies.
Also, as India outperforms global growth of digital transactions, investing heavily in the same can prove to be fruitful in terms of providing credit to underserved and untapped business instituitions and individuals.”
Pratekk aggarwal Managing partner-Growthcap Ventures
The top issues for me are mostly related to the simplification of the definition of eligible startups , taxations on the employee ESOPs and Angel tax and lastly the tax treatment of Angel Investors gains if any from investments in startups as these are more risky asset class compared to others.”
Sousthav Chakrabarthy, Co-Founder & CEO, Siply
“The increasing cost of living, rising inflation and the lingering effect of the global pandemic has impacted the middle class and the lower middle class the hardest and savings have taken a hit. Indians are feeling the pinch and putting lesser and lesser amounts in the piggy bank, and this is a huge cause of concern for the Indian economy. We expect the Budget 2023-24 to address this situation by providing some tax relief to the salaried class, bringing down the cost of goods and essential services to control inflation and increasing the limit under Section 80C. Overall, the upcoming budget should be geared towards creating a savings and an investment-oriented economy.
Additionally, while the Indian government has taken several measures to give startups the impetus to grow, further measures are needed. For one, we expect an increase in the angel investor pool at the seed stage and a tax relief on Angel tax which wipes away a significant part of the surplus that startups need for their growth.”
Pratekk aggarwal Managing partner-Growthcap Ventures
The top issues for me are mostly related to the simplification of the definition of eligible startups , taxations on the employee ESOPs and Angel tax and lastly the tax treatment of Angel Investors gains if any from investments in startups as these are more risky asset class compared to others.”
Vineet Founder & CEO, Castler
India has wholeheartedly embraced digital payments, and as we push for a cashless economy, there is a need to promote services that can help build a secure digital transacting ecosystem. One such service that needs attention in the upcoming budget is Digital Escrow which can play a pivotal role in building trust in digital payments for various use cases.
I also hope that the upcoming union budget will bring measures to ease the financial burden on startups, like reducing taxes with no GST until Rs 10 crore turnover annually and introducing greater tax breaks for depreciation on fixed assets, reducing angel tax to promote seed stage investments and doing away with dual taxation on ESOPs. Furthermore, the upcoming budget should further incentivise the development of made-in-India software products, and the GST rate of 18% on the same should be reduced to help indigenous software creators flourish in the domestic and international markets
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.”
Sachin Sandhir, Founder & CEO, Genleap
“In the upcoming Union Budget, 2023 Edtech businesses seek a lower tax bracket on educational goods and services. In our opinion, the high tax slab that we, Edtech founders, currently find ourselves in acts as a barrier to democratizing education at a time when the government is pushing for it. We wish to democratize education, according to the government, which claims that education is not for business. According to the NEP (new education policy), we wish to introduce multimodal learning. However, the tax system hasn’t kept up when linked to the GST (goods and services tax) that we pay. The use of technology in education has been promoted since the covid. In this Budget 2023, The Government of India is expected to reduce the overall cost, which will pass on to schools and parents and could result from the GST exemption on the supply of goods (including TVs and tablets for digital education, which are currently subject to a 28% GST) and services (used for teaching and learning applications and content, which are currently subject to an 18% GST). This will lower the cost of educational goods and services and encourage the adoption of NEP nationwide”.
Nitin Varma, Managing Director, India & SAARC, CrowdStrike
We are hoping for policies that drive progressive investments in cybersecurity; talent and skilling; boosting digital infrastructure as these are critical components of the IT industry, allowing organizations to drive operational efficiency, accelerate innovation, and protect sensitive information. The upcoming Union Budget can play a very important role in positioning India as an attractive destination for technology investment. The growth of the technology sector is expected to be a key driver in achieving this goal. Cybersecurity, data, cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) are the top priorities for the technology industry. The recent cybersecurity breaches in multiple healthcare and public sector entities, necessitates the need for robust and secure digital facilities. As technology advances, the importance of having a cyber safe & data driven digital infrastructure will only grow. Today, cybersecurity is the need of the hour and budgetary support must be extended to strengthen public digital infrastructures. Budgetary allocation for resources for IT services, cybersecurity, intellectual property, emerging technologies will also be crucial for the sector.
Another big impact of digitization is the rising demand for skilled talent. Skilling has become the need of the hour for various industries with new and emerging technologies. The skill gap in the cybersecurity industry in particular has been observed over the last few years and the ongoing pandemic and remote work added to the exponential growth in cyberattacks. In addition to this, many organizations are facing resource crunch. The previous budget laid down a huge focus on skilling and training with steps like alignment of national skill qualification framework to dynamic industry needs and plans to establish a digital university to provide world-class education. University education in the field of cybersecurity is extremely important and training in this space will enhance students in building the required skills as there’s a growing demand for cybersecurity professionals in the market.
Anil Jayaprakash, Founder and CEO of Assertify Technologies
“As the Indian government prepares to present its annual budget, the gig economy is definitely set to continue to benefit. Driven by the increasing convenience of digital platforms for job seekers and employers alike,the gig economy is expected to be the primary driver of job creation in the coming year.
Post-pandemic, there is a lot of focus on providing flexible and remote positions in technology and other sectors. Many firms are changing their hiring strategies owing to the Great Resignation, quiet quitting, and the impending recession. The current hiring trends tend to favour a more skills-based strategy that emphasises transferrable abilities and competencies rather than emphasising degree requirements.
With the advent of skill based assessment and hiring, It is likely that the government will also focus on job training and skills development, to ensure that workers are equipped to take on new roles.This will lead to the growth of innovative skill demonstration platforms.The budget could also bring some relief to workers in the form of tax cuts and other incentives, which would make it easier for employers to hire more workers.
The government should also provide incentives for employers to hire more women, and focus on tier II and Tier III areas. The Indian job market looks likely to remain dynamic and fluid in the coming year, as the government seeks to encourage job creation and provide incentives to employers and employees alike.”
Deepak Sahni, Founder & CEO, Healthians
“The pandemic has instigated the need for people to monitor their self-health and accordingly apply lifestyle changes to prevent or manage diseases. And in such a scenario, cost effective, rapid and accurate diagnosis is of utmost importance. Hence to facilitate and motivate more and more people to go for preventive tests, the government should push for enhancement of health insurance premium exemption, and an increase in tax exemption on preventive health check-ups. At the same time, while healthcare services are exempt from GST, the high GST rates on diagnostic equipment, re-agents, lab supplies and devices, ultimately is a hindrance in bringing down the cost to the consumer. I look forward to some relief from this burden on the consumer by a reduction in the GST rates.”
Niranjan Vemulkar, Co-founder & CEO of Yellow,
“Presently, people who wish to make a Will must sign the document in person for it to be legally recognised. Even though bank and mutual funds providers in India are allowed to offer e-signature attestation services to their customers, digital Will makers are not allowed this benefit yet as per the Information Technology Act of India. We hope that digital Will makers in India are granted permission to provide e-signatures services so that more and more Indians can easily create a Will to protect their loved ones.”
Saurabh Pandey, Co-founder and CEO of Eloelo
“The influencer marketing industry is estimated to be around INR 1,500 crores and has become a prominent part of the digital marketing industry. Typically, an influencer earns in two ways. The first is through freelance gigs, where influencers work with brands on a freelance basis by making short videos about the brand or doing live streams etc. And the other is through barter collaborations, where brands send their products to the influencers to review. Speaking of barter collabs, it is a crucial step that the government has formalized and included in the GST, which helps influencers in gaining recognition. However, since the government has included it in an 18% GST slab, it has adversely affected influencers as they now have to pay a hefty tax on the products they receive. So, our expectation or request to the government is to include barter collabs in 5% or 12% GST slab. Now speaking of freelance gigs, the influencers who earn more than INR 20 lakhs are also categorized in the 18% GST slab. As the creator economy is an emerging one, we hope that the government reduces this slab to 5 or 12%, which can encourage more creators to take it as a full-time job and take home a decent amount of money as their income. I’m sure this would encourage more people to join content creation as a legitimate career option.”
Tarun Joshi, CEO & Founder, Join Ventures and IGP.com,
“Overall, we expect the upcoming budget to boost consumption by increasing the purchasing power of Indian households. Reduced tax slabs and tweaking GST slabs on some products will be a good measure in this direction. This, in turn, will boost all consumer-facing businesses.
New age D2C brands are creating a big impact in the consumer economy of India. We expect the upcoming budget to provide support to the D2C sector through incentives on local manufacturing and ability to claim refunds of unutilized GST input credits.
Lastly, for Indian businesses to compete on the global stage, they need to adopt the latest technologies and a tax incentive on capital or operational expenditure for using new-age technologies like Artificial intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), etc. will be a welcome step.”
Kamalika Bhattacharya, CEO and Co-founder, QuoDeck
“The gig economy is one of the fastest growing segments in the country – whether it is in white collar, grey collar or blue collar jobs. This time from the Union Budget, our expectation is to see the government play into the potential of this segment by partnering with the industry on its growth. As a gamification company, we believe in incentivization and positive ways to drive enablement of this workforce. Therefore, we would expect to see forward-thinking approaches from the government in incentivizing industry in the hiring, enablement and management of the gig workforce. Just like export incentives or tax benefits are provided to encourage exports in certain sectors, the budget must consider providing incentives to employers who are creating and providing opportunities in the gig economy, and are taking welfare measures for this segment.”
Ram Shriram, CEO, Mahagram
It is estimated that the Fintech market will reach Rs 9.2 billion by 2027 at a CAGR of 24.96%. We are hoping for tax breaks or expecting that government would reduce the corporate tax and anticipate assistance in the fintech sector as well as support for rural populations. In our expectation, the 2023 budget should prioritize more investments in digital infrastructure, financial education, and building robust & secure payment systems. This is vital to ensure that the most vulnerable populations can access the same quality of financial services as their urban counterparts. In addition, it will bring more clarity to those operating in the fintech sector and will surely help regulate it. Moreover, it would also help bridge the digital divide between cities and rural areas and will open up new opportunities for economic growth.
HP Singh, Chairman & Managing Director, Satin Creditcare Network Limited
“NBFCs are a major contributor to driving India’s economy and are one of the major focuses of the government. The Government of India has introduced various new rules and regulations for the NBFC sector in FY2022-23. The new regulatory framework, which was primarily introduced to create a level playing field for the MFI segment and help the RBI de-risk the sector, has been very beneficial. One of the major benefits of this new framework is its assessment of household income and debt obligations as a means to better underwriting, and the flexibility of responsible risk pricing approved by the board of the NBFCs, which helped build a stronger lending ecosystem and ensure the smooth functioning of the sector. NBFCs are a crucial part of the banking ecosystem in India. By providing lending services to low-income and high-risk individuals, the NBFC sector is helping strengthen the MSME sector in India. The NBFC sector is expecting this year’s budget to provide additional funds for small and medium NBFCs, which will ultimately help the growth of this sector. Furthermore, RBI increased the common household limit earlier this year to Rs 300,000 for loans to qualify as microfinance and the cap on NBFCs was increased to 25% of assets as opposed to 10%. This helped the NBFC sector grow strongly, and the number of unique borrowers sharply increased to 62mn in the second quarter of 2023 as opposed to 60mn in 1QFY23. We are hopeful that the budget will introduce additional regulations like these that will level the playing field for the NBFC sector. Additionally, the RBI has raised rates by a total of 190 basis points since May 2022 in order to curb inflation and its effects. We believe that the repo rates will further increase in 2023, providing an added cushion for dealing with inflation. We also would like to see some taxes relief, in terms of exemptions to NBFCs, within the 2023 budget.”
Kunal Mehta, Founder & Director, Arthan Finance
“The Budget for 2022 given by the government of India was built on the value of pro-growth through the lens of digitization. With a strong focus on economic recovery, the Finance Minister announced a 35% increase in CAPEX and extended the ECLGS for the MSME sector. This greatly helped in increasing and stabilizing the liquidity in the NBFC sector. These measures taken by the government in FY23 have helped boost recovery for the NBFC sector. With the role of NBFCs in supporting and augmenting the economic growth of India, we are hopeful that the government will continue to introduce initiatives that will ensure liquidity within the sector, helping its growth and expansion. Additionally, with the new regulatory framework introduced for the NBFCs by the RBI in FY23, we are expecting certain measures that will help harmonize the rules and regulations surrounding recovery measures and provide tax relief through certain exemptions. While we have been recovering well from the Covid-19 pandemic, with the information of new variants being introduced, the government needs to introduce certain initiatives that will strengthen the self-employed and the MSME sector of the country. The budget allocation for MSMEs in FY22 had more than doubled to Rs. 15,700 crores. The MSME sector contributes to around 30% of India’s GDP and will continue to be a driving force adding tailwinds to the economic growth of the nation. However, many MSMEs are unable to receive credit from banks. With NBFCs focusing on credit lending to these MSMEs, the budget allocation of 2023 needs to provide stronger support to the NBFC and MSME sectors, ensuring their robust growth. Additionally, the government needs to increase the credit for retail MSMEs to help them to secure loans from regulated entities with ease and place a stronger emphasis on building the credit lending ecosystem for the underbanked sector of India.”
Prateek Singhal, COO and Co-founder, Ecozen Solutions
Mr. Mrityunjaya Singh, Managing Director,CLAAS India Pvt Ltd
The subsidy schemes, guidelines and budgetary support of the Central Government is interpreted and implemented by State Governments in varying degrees. Some states are perfectly implemented and payment to farm equipment suppliers are made in reasonable time. But in several other states, not all subsidy schemes are implemented. In these states, payments to machines suppliers are severely impacted leaving suppliers no option but to approach the law for redressal. In order to address this, I expect the following policy level changes:
It is recommended to have the Central Government issue a list of mandatory farm mechanization schemes to be implemented by the State.
It is also recommended that these schemes should be under the reserved budget of both Central and State as per contribution ratio and payments should be made within 7 days of receiving verified claims by the State Treasury.
Alex George, Chairman and Managing Director at ITLH
“The govt has been showing us that it will have a focus area around Globalisation of education, with a plan of expanding higher education territories like iits abroad and by inviting internationally acclaimed campuses in India, we can expect the govt to allocate provisions to help the Education sector for territorial expansion. We expect the government to encourage online learning especially skilled based learning which can help create a major impact to Employability.Focus area to encourage skill based learning across tier 2 , tier 3 cities will be high. GOVT has encouraged digital opportunity and wfh as well as new end technologies are the future, we will see emphasis on technology based learning on AI, blockchain, ar/vr, uiux and iot. Emphasis on think tanks, and practical based labs for schools & colleges will also be seen. Atal Tinkering Labs is one such initiative for the k12 segment.”
Ankit Agarwal, Founder & CEO, InsuranceDekho
India is amongst the least insured nations globally despite having 57 insurance companies. As we approach the Union Budget 2023-24, we expect the government to increase the tax deduction limit under section 80C which currently stands at Rs. 1,50,000 or carve out a separate exemption category for life insurance premium. Besides, there should be a higher deduction limit for health insurance premium under Section 80D, which is currently limited to Rs 75,000.
Higher insurance penetration not only reduces the overall financial risk in the system but also enables crucial development capital available to the economy. Government should reduce the GST on insurance premium from 18% to 5% or make it nil completely. Making insurance products affordable will increase the demand and accelerate its penetration in the country.
In India, majority insurance gets retailed through intermediaries, especially individual insurance agents. To offer much-needed momentum to these agents, the tax deducted at source (TDS) exemption limit on insurance commission (under section 194 D of the Income Tax Act) should be increased from the current level of Rs 15,000 to a higher amount. This will leave higher cash in hand of these insurance agents, who are rightly the lifeline of the Indian insurance industry.
Ratish Pandey,Business Coach, Ethique Advisory
“Initially, in the year, MSMEs were challenged by inflationary pressures on their products, but that settled down as the European & US economies slowed down. All in all, in my experience, MSMEs, in India have had a great run once the markets opened up post-Covid.
While the Government continued the slew of supporting packages it extended to the MSME sector during Covid, no new program or package was announced this year.
The most significant challenge faced by the MSME industry has been inflationary pressure on essential products, resulting in bottom line challenges for MSMEs. The strengthening of the dollar also impacted the MSMEs’ bottom line, especially those dependent on imports.
Some of the key trends that I can see are as follows:
a. Rollout of 5G across the country, which will impact data consumption positively and increase the adoption of e-commerce across geographies.
b. Declining interest rates towards the end of 2023
c. Cooling of unheard-of salary increases in the technology sector… as the demand slows down
d. It is predicted that in 2023, the growth will be slow in the western economies.
As the pandemic ebbed, other Macroeconomic conditions reared their bothersome head. The war in Europe, with no seeming end, continues to provide a cloud of gloom over the European economies.
For the Indian MSME industry, one hopes that the Government extends the support packages for at least another year.”
“For the startups, the winters came in early. The equity funding dried up, forcing startups to look at cutting costs (read – employee costs), to extend their runway. The investors did not totally disappear; they altered their approach to offer venture debt. Despite that, Startups battled the “funding crunch”.
While the slew of supporting packages introduced by the Government to help the Startup sector’s post-Covid recovery continues, no new program was announced during the year.
With the rest of the world grappling with the aftermath of a pandemic, recession, energy crisis, war, or supply chain breakdown, Indian startup industry has been taking giant strides in creating sustainable solutions across various sectors. Startups continue to bring innovation and disruption in multiple industries, including space tech, Edtech, femtech, health tech, and fintech, bringing tremendous opportunities for investors. With decisive leadership in place, the stage is set for the country to realise its vision of becoming a $5 trillion economy and global powerhouse by 2024-25.
One is hopeful that Government will continue the announced support packages for another year to keep the momentum going.”
Mr Gaurav Mathur, Director of Lexar Co. Limited.
“We believe that manufacturing companies should be rewarded for developing new technologies and implementing environmentally friendly business practices in the budget for 2023. The budget for this year could have a positive impact on infrastructure; with tax reforms and ease of doing business at the forefront. We anticipate that the upcoming budget will include measures to improve the entire system. Government should focus on improving the condition of the flash memory industry because everyone can see how rapidly the flash memory market has expanded over the past three to four years. The only field in which young India is also contributing is the obviously expanding flash memory market.’
Rakesh Goyal Director of Probus Insurance broker
From the insurance perspective there are many expectations from the upcoming budget. A large number of other financial products, such as public provident fund (PPF), equity linked savings scheme (ELSS) and insurance, take up most of the 80C limit. A separate section should be dedicated to insurance, particularly term insurance. If we need to further improve the penetration of life insurance in India, there should be some push towards term insurance plans. Even the limit of 80C has not been increased for many years now, it would be great if the limit s hiked to Rs 2.5 lakh per annum. Coming to non-life insurance, the limit for health insurance is Rs 25,000 which I feel is slightly lower, it would be great if that can be increased to Rs 50,000. Currently, annuities are taxed in the hand of investors, which results into lower returns. There can be huge relief to the investors, if the annuities are tax exempted.”
Ashish Munjal, Co-Founder and CEO, of Sunstone
“This year’s budget must focus on providing students with monetary relief as well as best-in-class advanced educational infrastructure and amenities. Furthermore, increased financial support for the start-up ecosystem and digitization will assist the nation in creating a variety of job prospects. There has been a greater emphasis on Edtech players to lead transformation within the sector as they have revolutionised the Indian education system. Forums such as NETF (National Educational Technology Forum) might continue to be the government’s focus areas to aid technologically enhanced learning strategies. While increased investment in areas of AI learning and other developing technologies is anticipated, students, particularly in tier 2 and tier 3 cities and government schools, must have uninterrupted access to digital resources. States are developing smart classrooms at a fast pace, and it is anticipated that there will be a significant push in this direction as well. ”
Paul Alapat, Chief Product Officer, Acuity Knowledge Partners
“The FY 23 budget will be key in determining how the country works to stimulate growth while ensuring macroeconomic stability. Most immediately, the country must navigate between managing cost-push inflationary pressures, a weakening global economy, and deteriorating external and internal balances, while it seizes the opportunity to capture the FDI that is planning to shift out of China. Walking this fine line may not allow the upcoming budget to unveil many radical new policies and will most likely will see a continued emphasis on infrastructure spending and sustained poverty alleviation measures including expansion of some subsidies with an eye on forthcoming national elections. It would be critical that this budget initiates a reform of our trade policies with a bias to rationalizing our import tariff and other trade barriers if we are to attract manufacturing investment on a major scale. Export stimulus measures would not surprise, but major changes to tax regimes or liquidity-boosting efforts are not expected in this latest statement of the government’s economic policy.”
Sandeep Gulati, General Manager – South Asia, ResMed
“We are encouraged with the current scaling up and ongoing R&D in the digital health system, healthcare, tele-medicine, and med-tech sector. The government has made accessibility and affordability a priority. We consider that there are numerous aspects of healthcare that ought to be explored and engaged in and it will be interesting to see what the budget holds for this industry. One among them could be addressing sleep disorders, which is more of a silent disease in India. The sector would progress with the development of preventive healthcare by employing the necessary R&D investments, leading to the best possible health outcomes.
We are in sync with the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) which aims to establish the infrastructure required to sustain the nation’s innovative integrated healthcare system. We are hopeful that the 2023 budget will focus on the expansion of ABDM, emphasizing on Home based Chronic Disease Management for patients using telemonitoring”.
Gaurav Dubey, founder and CEO of LivLong
“Healthcare has been a constant agenda since COVID-19, and with numerous varieties and sub-variants of the virus being discovered on a regular basis, it still maintains to be a topic of conversation and concern. Working closely with patients gave us the chance to learn about the issues that people encounter every day. We have found that concerns like mental health, diabetes, and reproductive health, and the infrastructure of healthcare call for special attention and should be taken into account in the budget for 2023. It is recommended that the budgetary allotment for the healthcare sector be increased by at least 20% this year, or by at least a good amount that can be sub-allocated to infrastructure, education, human resources, research, and other departments are only a few examples. The static figure of 1.3% must increase to at least 1.5% this year in order to meet the commitment of 2.5% of GDP made in the National Health Policy, 2017. Also we do see there is a neglect in OPD space, we recommend regulation of Outpatient departments to ensure seamless communication between patient & medical professionals. As a health-tech company, we vigorously advocate for infrastructure improvements in terms of internet capabilities and adequately staffed tertiary institutions for patients who need more than simply consultation.
Krishna Raghavan, Founder at Unlistedkart
Startups currently have taxation benefit u/s 80 IAC where they can take rebate for any 3 out of 10 FYs. However, this was applicable only for eligible startups and incorporated till 31.03.2023. This could be further extended by one more year.
There should be a single window for all relevant registrations like company incorporation, shop establishment, goods and services tax (GST) registration, MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) certificate etc. That will help startups save considerable time, effort, and money.
In line with the National Single Window System, that has been started recently, something similar for the startups would help too.
About 90% of the total investment for start-ups in India comes from VC firms, angel investors, and incubators/accelerators. There are approximately 364 venture capital funds active in India (SEBI, 2014). The number could reach 480 if the non-SEBI registered ones are included (Venture Intelligence, 2013). Only in academic settings have there been established about 180 business incubators. Today, a number of angel networks are actively running out of India’s main start-up clusters.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is in the early-stage planning to increase the minimum ticket size for any Limited Partner (LP) in Alternate Investment Funds (AIFs) from the existing threshold of Rs 1 crore to Rs 5 crore.
Prior to this development, private equity and venture capital funds contacted the regulatory authority for the stock market to request a relaxation of the rules and an easing of the requirements for alternative investment funds. The government aims to strike a balance between privately held and publicly traded businesses. However, if the ticket size could be raised gradually, it would put less strain on investors.
A new, more straightforward tax and regulatory structure for startups, venture capitalists, and private equity firms is anticipated. Investors are substantially more at risk when investing in unlisted companies. Investors in unlisted companies therefore assume a lot more risk and pay a lot more tax than those in listed ones.
In India Listed LTCG shares are taxed at 10% and unlisted equity investments are taxed at 20%. From Budget 2022 there was a maximum cap of 15% on Long term capital gains as previously unlisted investments were liable for maximum surcharge of 37%.
Period of holding for listed equity to become long term is 12 months whereas for unlisted equity it is 24 months.
The capital gains taxation law is very complicated in India with respect to various class of assets, tax rates and period of holding and indexation benefits.
A restructure of the same like bringing in uniformity for tax rates, period of holding and compliances would close the gap between listed and unlisted equity.
By bringing in parity from taxation point of view, it would result in growth for many start-up companies and would provide a relief to angel investors or VCs. Since the government is ambitious about its Make in India project.
Manish Khanna, Co-Founder, of Unlisted Assets.
For start-ups to claim an exemption or deduction under the Income-tax Act, it is expected that a single window clearance is made available and they do not need registration with multiple authorities to claim tax incentives. We anticipate some generalized reductions in start-up taxes with no GST until annual revenue of Rs. 10 crores. This will assist SMEs in strengthening the economy. Start-ups are eligible for a 100% tax credit for three consecutive years following their ten years of establishment. Usually, new companies are not highly profitable in their first ten years. Therefore, instead of three years, this eligibility should be extended to 15 years and for a block of 5 years instead of 3 years.
In the unlisted market, there has been considerable increase in participation of retail and institutional investors including ESOP holders which has created a demand for creation of liquidity protocol around ecosystem of unlisted shares in India. At times, it is very difficult for investors to take an exit and liquidate their investments. Though some of the platforms have come up to provide monetization opportunities for investors and employees in unlisted companies including pre-IPO and start-up companies where it is tough to get liquidity pooled against unlisted shares/ESOP of those companies, in 2023 budget, a tax relief or a boost can be given to such platforms for their promotion and growth.
A parity in the LTCG tax rate for both the listed and unlisted markets can boost PE and VC investments in start-up ecosystem in India and there could be huge participation of retail investors in the same way we have seen in listed space. Tax arbitrage should not be a decision-maker for investments to be made by any institutional or retail investors.
The current regulations aim to make investments in Indian start-ups easy, but equal focus should be given to exits, and taking capital out should also be easy.
In the 2023 budget, an emphasis and boost should be given to such upcoming fin-tech start-ups which can assist PE and VC funds to invest as well as exit from their investments.
Currently, unlisted stock held for longer than 24 months is subject to a higher LTCG tax than listed equity shares held for a full year. Unlisted stock investments are subject to a 20% LTCG tax, while listed stock investments are subject to a 10% tax.
The unlisted market is comparatively less liquid. As a result, there is more patient capital that is invested in unlisted companies. The sector wants the government to address the fact that unlisted stocks are taxed twice the rate of listed shares as this disparity negatively impacts start-up investments in India.
Family offices and alternative investment funds (AIFs) choose to invest in listed companies despite the lower expected rate of return since the LTCG tax on listed shares is only half as high as that on unlisted stocks.
In the 2023 budget, a parity is expected in the taxation of listed and unlisted capital gains which in turn will boost the growth of start-ups and new-age businesses.
Rajiv Srivastava, MD, Redington Ltd
“In the upcoming Union Budget 2023, we look forward to policy initiatives which will accelerate our journey to a $10 T economy in the near term. Economic growth is now increasingly driven by digital transformation and therefore investment initiatives that lead to the build-out of a quality digital infrastructure – data centres and high-speed internet – will be crucial.
India is a global leader in technology services and we expect incentives for investments in new innovative technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Metaverse, 5G, Internet of Things, and Data Sciences to ensure we maintain our leadership. We have to encourage people to participate in the digital economy and towards this, the budget should also address the need for talent and skilling in digital technologies. This has the potential of creating a range of sustainable jobs.
We must aspire to become the global hub for innovation and our capabilities in technology can make that possible. The budget should provide an incentive structure for creating intellectual property in the country. Sectors like Healthcare, Green Energy, Retail, Fintech, Research and Development and others can benefit immensely, help improve the quality of life for all citizens and make us a real powerhouse.”
Deepak Aggarwal, Co-Founder, Moneyboxx
With 65% of population residing in rural India and largely dependent on agriculture and allied sectors, fast and sustainable growth in the sector has long-lasting implications for inclusive growth. While policy initiatives such as priority sector lending targets, Jan-Dhan accounts, Mudra Yojana have led to improved access to credit over the years, further impetus is needed given that rural India received only 9% share of banking credit despite contributing close to half of country’s national income. New-age, Fintech players are expected to play a pivotal role along with banks in widening financial inclusion and ease of availability of credit. In the upcoming Budget, policies focused on addressing this structural credit gap and measures to boost rural income would be welcome.
Arun K Chittilappilly, Managing Director, Wonderla Holidays
The amusement park sector could play a pivotal role in the Indian tourism industry. Amusement parks provide recreational opportunities for cohorts and help to strengthen bonding. Currently, the density of such infrastructure could be much higher in our country. Even in large cities, there are few good parks. The govt should look at the sector more favourably as a social infrastructure that creates lasting employment and social impact.
The coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc, and Amusement parks were the worst affected. To help the industry, the Government should:
- Reduce the GST rates applicable to the Amusement Park from 18% to 12% (Make it par with the 3-star Hotel).
- Scrap Local Body Tax (LBT) for the sector at the State level.
This will help project take-off, and the consumption base grow and will get reflected in GDP growth.
Sudhakar Raja – Founder and CEO – TRST Score
The two new slabs that have been formed for income tax reasons would benefit salaried professionals. For all salaried professionals, the increase in the income tax rebate from 5 lakhs to 7 lakhs is a pleasant change. A new tax band at the 20% tax rate is being implemented, and it ranges from 12 lakhs to 15 lakhs. Students will have the opportunity to learn and find employment based on the new skill centres, AI-driven hubs and data being provided for analysis by start-ups. The new national data governance policy will open up new opportunities and insights that can drive businesses.
Numerous people will find work as a result of the new nursing schools, and the pharmaceutical sector will benefit from incentives to support R&D by having more options for employment and skill development. The government’s effort to improve R&D in the pharmaceutical industry ought to be applauded. The boost in capital spending will create jobs for many people and help tide the downturn brought about by the western economies. Another intriguing project that has the potential to revolutionise the IT sector is artificial intelligence.
The removal of 3400 legislative requirements and 39,000 compliances will make doing business in India easier. Green growth has been given sectoral importance which is a welcome move.