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Union Budget 2017: How Technology Sector reacted to Arun Jaitley’s budget speech

Diverse reactions are coming in on finance minister Arun Jaitley’s Budget 2017, including those from IT industry bodies, Consultancies, Corporate, Software & Hardware Companies, Start Ups and the Channel community.

Union finance minister Arun Jaitley’s budget for the year 2017-18 has evoked diverse reactions from industry leaders and experts

Here are some of the reactions:

Nasscom: The Union Budget 2017 reinforces government’s reliance on technology for achieving development goals, as it focuses on Infrastructure and empowering startups and SMEs, although IT industry expectations on facilitative proposals remain largely unmet… The budget evangelizes digital payments and infrastructure, along with promoting a transparent business environment.

Anant Maheshwari, president, Microsoft India

Anant Maheshwari, president, Microsoft India: “The Finance Minister has presented a balanced budget, underlined by the continued push to using technology to aid a digital economy. As India strengthens its position on the global map, the need for skilled youth is crucial. The budget’s focus on extending market relevant training for the youth and setting up 100 international skill centers across the country, is a positive move. The emphasis on science and technology for students, and launch of SWAYAM, will further
empower India’s youth for the future. I am glad to witness the increasing focus on cybersecurity, which is critical to securing the economy’s digital transformation. The reduction of corporate tax for MSMEs is a welcome move and will boost the economic growth. The momentum in the implementation of GST is promising and I look forward to seeing it unfold in the coming months.”

Debjani Ghosh, Managing Director of South Asia, Intel and President, MAIT

Debjani Ghosh,  Managing Director of South Asia, Intel  and President, MAIT : “It’s good to see continued and strong commitment towards increasing technology adoption and usage across critical sectors like education, agriculture, financial inclusion and  rural and infrastructure development. That’s how we can successfully drive the digitization of India. However, the budget has fallen short of creating avenues to increase the manufacturing of the technology solutions in India beyond smartphones.”  “As MAIT has been recommending, there is a real opportunity to grow the PC manufacturing ecosystem in India leading to increased job creation and impact.  By not extending the support for local manufacturing to these segments, we are missing an opportunity for creating a robust electronics manufacturing ecosystem.”

Kalpana B, Partner and Head, Robotics and Cognitive Automation, KPMG in India

Kalpana B, Partner and Head, Robotics and Cognitive Automation, KPMG in India : “With initiatives such as digital payment platforms (Aadhar pay, Bhim, pay, UPI), budget allocations towards infrastructure modernization, bringing transparency in the ease of doing business as well as long term tax initiatives, technology is clearly a key focus area for this government. Even the unprecedented move of demonetization is a mammoth effort undertaken by the government to shift from a cash heavy economy towards a digital era. A great opportunity platform for foreign investments, technology-centric businesses and job creation. “

Rostow Ravanan, CEO and MD, Mindtree

Rostow Ravanan, CEO and MD, Mindtree : “Several measures introduced in the 2017 Union Budget are an important step towards building India into an important digital economy. This budget has made special provisions to ensure greater financial growth, with emphasis on enhancing cybersecurity in finance, and bringing greater coordination and transparency between departments. The Computer Emergency Response Scheme is a great initiative which will smoothen coordination between finance regulators. The push to drive adoption of mobile and an Aadhaar-enabled payment system will help bring in greater financial inclusion amongst citizens.

Additionally, IT exemption for start-ups will help reduce income tax for smaller companies with a turnover less than INR 50 crore, which we believe will significantly improve the ease of doing business for smaller businesses and start-ups in India. There has also been a revision in personal income tax rates which will boost consumption to some extent.

The new budget has also made provisions to raise India’s innovation quotient, through the setting up of an innovation fund to encourage and fuel innovation amongst youth. The budget’s focus on making education more accessible to educationally backward blocks, along with the steps taken to ramp up the Skill India Mission will also help in maximizing the potential and capabilities of youth in the country.”

Nitin Kunkolienker, Vice President, MAIT and Director -Corporate Affairs, Smartlink Network Systems

Nitin Kunkolienker, Vice President, MAIT and Director -Corporate Affairs, Smartlink Network Systems : “We were very hopeful that Government would extend duty differential scheme to PC, Laptop, servers and also cover more critical CPE products such as Switches etc as it would have encouraged manufacturing in a big way and would have also created a manufacturing value chain in the country.”  “The domestic value addition of around 20 to 30 percent on Bill of material would have been feasible and  would have also helped in creating a good export potential from India to be aligned with ‘Net zero import’ strategy of government and we will continue to impress upon MEIT, MOF and other authorities on this.”

BS Sethia, Past President ELCINA and Co-Chairman Policy Committee : “Domestic value added manufacturing is not supported by the budget and it will encourage imports especially of POS Machines, Micro ATMs and Scanners to promote cashless economy as all duties including BCD, CVD and SAD have been waived. The industry had recommended differential duty or imposition of BCD on the finished products to give an immediate boost to their assembly. Waiver of all duties will result in a flood of imports without enabling creation of a local industry and a big opportunity for manufacturing these products in the country would be lost.”

Peter Chang, Region Head – South Asia & Country Manager for ASUS India

Peter Chang, Region Head – South Asia & Country Manager for ASUS India : “The budget gave the smartphone industry a lot to look forward to in the coming year. Government’s thrust on digitization through its push on Aadhaar-enabled payments will provide impetus to the demand of mobile phones in the country. The BHIM app has already been adopted by 125 lakh people and government’s plans to introduce two new schemes to promote its use will make the concept of a cashless society and digital currency, a reality. In addition to this, proposed extension of the OFC network to 1,50,000 gram panchayats for high speed broadband connectivity and rollout of 4G in the country will create a more digitally inclusive society. The budget was also conducive to promoting domestic manufacturing of electronics. With a provision of INR 745 crores in 2017-18 in incentive schemes like M-SIPS and EDF, manufacturing of smartphones in India should see a boost. We now look forward to the successful rollout of GST this year. Besides achieving standardization of taxation levels and making interstate movement of goods easier, it should also help sellers achieve similar selling prices. This coupled with all the other initiatives will enable us to bring more people under the digital umbrella.”

Andy Stevenson, Head of India, Turkey and Middle East, Fujitsu

Andy Stevenson, Head of India, Turkey and Middle East, Fujitsu :

“Fujitsu is enthused by the slew of measures being introduced in Budget 2017. While the move towards an internal ‘borderless’ nation  will obviously benefit the nation, as has been discussed in various forums – an emphasis on infrastructure in terms of electrification, digital services, roads etc. will further build on the foundation  to India being a world class economy.”

Dr Anand Agarwal, CEO, Sterlite Technologies

Dr Anand Agarwal, CEO, Sterlite Technologies: “Overall, it’s a very positive and progressive budget. We welcome the Government’s move to initiate additional corpus and schemes to empower rural development, especially post demonetisation. The goal to create a smarter digital infrastructure pan India continues with the allocation of Rs 10,000 crore for BharatNet. This is a major step towards delivering high-speed, last-mile connectivity at the grass root level through optical fibre in 1,50,000 gram panchayats by the end of 2017-18.

With the FM focusing on mobile broadband, rural broadband and Digital India for the benefit of people living in rural, remote and urban areas, we anticipate a strong push to build broadband highways in the country. This is another step towards the realisation of the ‘Broadband for All’ vision, and will bring true broadband experience to the masses. With this, we look forward to exponential growth in smarter digital infrastructure through large-scale fibre network deployments in the country.”

Sriram S, Co-Founder and Director at iValue InfoSolutions

Sriram S, Co-Founder and Director at iValue InfoSolutions : “We will call it a balanced budget, which will drive growth with prudence and addressing needs of the poor. The major thrust on Capex growth of 25% should drive demand. The focus on infrastructure and rural areas are welcoming.

As the digitization was one of the core area for this post demonetization budget the promotion of BHIM app and plan for Aadhar based payment without mobile is an appreciable initiative. Also, limiting the cash transactions to 3L is a good step which could have been pegged at 1L. The 25% corporate tax cap for companies up to 50Cr revenue is a great step which will benefit more than 90% Indian firms. 50% personal tax reduction for 2L to 5L slab should help the emerging class.

We did not hear much on cyber security with a greater push on the digital transaction, but for the creation of CERT. We still think a lot more focus is required on this front.”

Shibu Paul, Regional Director (IN, GCC & SEA ) at Array Networks : “I am overall happy with the budget, the increased focus on cashless economy and move towards digitization is very much appreciable. I will call it a forward looking budget with the balanced Tax soaps, IT rebates, focus on rural areas and SME development. Also, the reduction in tax for companies with less than 50cr turnover which will now be placed at 25% is a big win for MSME sector and around 96% of the companies will be benefitted by this major announcement.”


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