Union Budget 2021 Reaction By Industry Leaders

CH S. S. Mallikarjuna Rao, MD & CEO, Punjab National Bank

We welcome the measures announced by Hon’ble Finance Minister in Union Budget 2021-22. The budget rightly strikes a reasonable balance between addressing the key pillars of Health & Well-being, Inclusive Development, Human Capital, Innovation and R&D, apart from laying the path for a robust economy by providing a major infrastructure boost. The array of measures announced are in line with people as well as market expectations and will go a long way to bring the nation back on track by boosting spending on infrastructure and rural development while fighting the pandemic through health focused measures.

As far as the financial sector is concerned, further recapitalization of Rs 20,000 crore for PSBs in the FY 2021-22 is a welcome step. The other measures which are expected to strengthen the sector are as under:

  • Various measures have been announced on the infrastructure front, which are expected to take the economy into a new trajectory of growth. In addition to over a 34% increase in capital expenditure, new highway projects have also been announced.
  • Setting up of a professionally managed Development Financial Institution will catalyze infrastructure funding.
  • Creation of an ARC and Asset Management Company that will take over the stressed assets and sell to Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs),  is also welcome as it will help improve the health of the banking sector through impact on price discovery and improving competition in the market.
  • The NCLT system will be strengthened and e-Courts will be adopted and alternate mechanism of debt resolution will be set up.
  • The massive program for monetization of completed/ running projects will help in creating required resources through the instruments like INVITs.
  • Other important announcements of bringing in the IPO of LIC, hiking the FDI limit in insurance increase to 74% from 49%, strategically divest 2 Public Sector Banks and 1 general insurance company, are steps in the right direction.

The voluntary scrapping policy proposed for discarding old commercial vehicles will boost the automobile industry. The gross borrowing programme is also helpful to maintain the fiscal health of the economy, while providing necessary funding towards growth and development of the infrastructure.

Dr. Samantak Das, Chief Economist and Head of Research, JLL India, said, Given that the economy is well on its path to recovery, Union Budget 2021 has focused on enhancing expenditure while keeping the fiscal targets at bay in the short term. This Budget focuses on augmenting infrastructure with a special focus on expediting urban infrastructure projects which will act as a strong catalyst in driving real estate in urban areas. There is also a continued thrust on the agriculture sector which is likely to result in higher incomes and drive consumption. The proposed easing of restrictions on leverage by InvITs/REITs will attract more REITs listings and thus higher investments into real estate. The announced monetisation of surplus land of government and government bodies is a welcome move; however, the implementation will need to be monitored. While the government has not announced any significant fresh policies and / or programs pertaining to real estate, its commitment towards boosting affordable housing remains intact. The Budget has extended the benefit of additional interest deduction on home loans for first-time homebuyers in the affordable segment. Further, there is a time extension to claim the tax holiday on profits from affordable housing projects until March 2022. The government continues to promote affordable rental housing schemes by providing tax exemption for notified rental housing projects. This will accelerate the pace of investments in this scheme and is likely to fall in line with achieving the overall objective of Housing for All.

Mr. Sanjiv Bajaj, Joint Chairman & MD, Bajaj Capital, on Budget 2021 announcements, “Deposit insurance increase from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh, is a great boon for bank account holders. Making the system more efficient is a great step by the Finance Minister. The insurance Industry’s longstanding demand for increasing foreign holding from 49% to 74% has now been met. The whole industry is now set to change and should help in job creation in this sector. Huge investments in infrastructure projects announced in Budget 2021 will help create jobs as well as push up commodities players. IPO of Life Insurance Corporation of India should finally happen in 2021, this would give Indian another great company to invest in.”

Mr. Anuj Mundra, Chairman & MD, Nandani Creation, said, “With focus on Aatmanirbhar Bharat, announcement of establishment of 7 textile parks by Modi government in Budget 2021 should be welcomed with open arms. It’s a big boost for the local textile industry. And, this will help India become a world leader in textile sector. Hon’ble Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Union Budget 2021 has clearly conveyed a message that this government believes in giving a big shot in the arm of textiles and local manufacturing with special focus on Vocal for Local.”

Mr. Raghunandan Saraf, Founder & CEO, Saraf Furniture, said, “Hon’ble Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sithraman by announcing that Modi government will introduce a bill for the development of financial institution has shown a clear path for the growth on financial infrastructure in the Atmanirbhar Bharat. Further, Modi government’s announcement of a sharp increase in Capital Expenditure and thus providing Rs 5.54 lakh crores will develop momentum for financial infrastructure domain. Further, the announcement of the development of investor charter should also be welcome as it will protect the hard-earned money of a number of investors.”

Mr. Anil Chopra, Group Director – Financial Wellbeing, Bajaj Capital, said, “Senior citizens above 75 years age need not file Income tax return if income is only from Pension and interest . It’s a big relief to this section of senior citizens. Although they have to pay tax but need not file ITR. Corporates and all other employers must deposit PF contributions of their employees before due date , otherwise this expense will not be allowed resulting in loss to such defaulting employers. This will ensure that innocent employees do not suffer due to non deposit or late deposit of PF by their employers.”

Mr. Ravi Singhal, Vice Chairman, GCL Securities Limited, said, “Hon’ble Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sithraman by announcing that Modi government will introduce a bill for the development of financial institution has shown a clear path for the growth on financial infrastructure in the Atmanirbhar Bharat. Further, Modi government’s announcement of a sharp increase in Capital Expenditure and thus providing Rs 5.54 lakh crores will develop momentum for financial infrastructure domain. Further, the announcement of the development of investor charter should also be welcome as it will protect the hard-earned money of a number of investors.”

Shabnum Khan, Founder, 750ad Healthcare Pvt. Ltd., said, “After dealing with a pandemic for over a year now, it was evident that the budget for healthcare needed to be expanded. We have experienced the need for better healthcare in the country and hence the setting up of 17,000 rural and 11,000 urban health and wellness centers is a great step. But, when we look at the figures, the allocation of healthcare budget, is a very slight increase of 5.7% to Rs. 67,484 crores as compared to the last year’s Rs 63,830 crores. This is lesser than the target spending of 2.5% of GDP on healthcare. Another major need of the hour was to dedicate budgets towards data protection to set up an infrastructure in order to safeguard all the online data saved in the healthcare sector. On the positive side, the PM Atma Nirbhar Swasthya Bharat Yojana to develop primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare systems is a promising step towards developing a better healthcare infrastructure in the country.”

Mr. Lokendra Ranawat, Founder & CEO, WoodenStreet, said, “The budget was awaited with a lot of expectations and of that most have been met. Infrastructure & healthcare were the main spotlights of budget 2021 and a large investment has been allocated for the expansion of the road network. Also, just like it was predicted, Startups were given importance in this budget as well. The tax-exempt on the revenue, as well as investments, have been increased by one more year which will be beneficial for the startup growth in the country. On the other hand, the investment in MSMEs and the moratorium on loans of up to 2Cr will also play a crucial role in for the Indian corporates. Privatization of several government-related sectors such as ports will also add to the economic growth and employment generation.”

Mr. Annuj Goel, Managing Director, Goel Ganga Developments, said, “Hon’ble PM Narendra Modi has always laid special emphasis on the ambitious Housing For All and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) projects. Now, even in Budget 2021, Union Finance Minister Nirmala  Sitharaman by announcing tax holiday for affordable housing, Modi government has made it clear that Housing For All is one of the top priorities of Modi government. Also, tax exemption for notified affordable rental housing projects in the interest of migrant workers is a win-win both for migrants and realtors. As Hon’ble Nirmala Sitharaman in Union Budget 2021-22 has given special priority to Real Estate, these decisions are bound to show positive impact in realty business in future.”

Mr. Vaibhav Lall, Founder – Khojdeal, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked unprecedented havoc on the startup sector in the Indian ecosystem. There was a much needed support required by the cash-strapped industry from the Union Budget to take them out of the conundrum. We therefore welcome the FM’s decision to extend the tax holiday and capital gains exemption incentives by one more year. Also the initiative to include 1 lakh digital villagers in the next 5 years is great news for businesses with penetration in tier 3 and tier 4 regions. Icing on the cake are the GST provisions provided for SMEs earning less than 5 cr – to file GST only once in the quarter of a year. The budget will not also provide much needed time for start-ups to get back up on their feet but also boost the overall performance of the SME sector.”

Mr. Bhaskar Rao Abburu, CEO & Managing Director, iRam Technologies, said, “We expected more from the Union budget 21-22. While the focus has been on infrastructure, FM has allocated Rs. 93,400 Crores for roads only, no allocation has been made for development of Smart Cities. Though FM talked about double digit growth of the manufacturing sector for India to become $5 Trillion economy, no roadmap has been laid out for the same. We also need more clarity on how Rs. 2217 Crores allocated for setting up 42 Urban centres to tackle pollution problem will be used. Change in definition of Small companies may benefit some Small-scale companies, provided more support for Small scale companies are announced.”

Seema Prem, CEO and Co-Founder, FIA Global, said, “The budget this year has given a significant support to startup ecosystem that will help turbocharge their growth. The concept of OPCs with an option to convert into any other type of company at any time, reducing residency limit for an Indian citizen to set up an OPC from 182 days to 120 days, and allow also non-resident Indians to incorporate OPCs in India will certainly boost innovation. Collateral free loans and fund of funds for MSMEs will stimulate growth and provide solace to MSMEs hit by the pandemic. The portability of One nation, one ration card will be a boon for migrant workers and speedy implementation will ensure that migrants can move across boundaries without worrying about access to ration. The additional allocation to MNREGS will provide substantial relief to workers whose livelihood has been impacted by the pandemic.”

Mr. Kunal Lakhara, VP of Finance and Operations, Pocket Aces. (Start-up and Digital entertainment sector), said, “The Union Budget 2021-2022’s revised fiscal deficit estimate for FY21 which is pegged at 9.5% of GDP seems promising, and has taken on a realistic approach that is focused on spends which are much needed to revive the economy. The tax holiday given to startups for an additional one year brings relief to enabling the sector to sustain and grow, as we recover from the pandemic. Furthermore, the move to encourage one-person companies without any restrictions is a step in the right direction. This will go a long way in encouraging more people to come forward to set up innovative businesses that solve the challenge of the day, and grow the high-potential startup ecosystem within the country.”

Mr. Atul Rai, CEO, Staqu, said, “In the Union Budget 2021, FM Nirmala Sitharaman made several encouraging announcements when it comes to India’s technology sector as well as the startup ecosystem. It was announced that cutting-edge tech including data analytics, AI, ML, and MCA-21 version 3.0 will be launched to have additional modules for e-adjudication, consultation, and compliance management and monitoring. This, along with the proposed extension of tax holiday for start-ups by one more year, will enhance ease of doing business and encourage the next generation of tech companies to step up and carry the mantle of development towards a digital-first future in line with the PM’s Digital India mission. The Finance Minister also proposed to revise the definition of small companies under Companies Act, 2013 by increasing their threshold for capitalization to not exceeding INR 2 crore from the current INR 50 lakh and turnover to not exceeding INR 20 crore from the current INR 2 crore. With this step, the Government aims to benefit about two lakh companies. We further welcome the FM’s plans to incentivize incorporation of one-person companies (OPCs). Besides allowing a company to convert into any other type at any time, the Government has reduced the residency limit for an Indian citizen to set up one person company from 182 to 120 days while allowing NRIs to establish OPCs in India. This move will provide a big boost to startups and innovators by enabling them to grow without regulatory restriction on paid up capital and turnover, thereby bolstering the startup ecosystem and the economy at large.”

Mr. Rajit Bhattacharya CEO Data Sutram, Location Intelligence Enterprise, said, “We welcome this budget as it steers growth in the right direction. Extension of tax holiday by one year is a great move that will give startups more time to evaluate and fix things, owing to the pandemic-related challenges. We are also happy to see the government’s increased focus on technology by leveraging data analytics, AI, ML to revamp MCA-21 portal. This will ensure seamless compliance across businesses of all sizes. With the integration of these advancements, we can expect the MCA-21 3.0 to be equipped with new features like a single source of truth, ease of doing business, e-adjudication, online compliance monitoring, to name a few. Incorporation of one-person companies to incentivize innovation is another ground-breaking move for startups and will help them grow without any restrictions, mainly on paid-up capital and turnover. The technology-driven moves taken by the government will also help streamline India’s healthcare and pharma industry while widening the avenues for recruitment across the startup ecosystem in India.”

Mr. Pankaj Khanna, MD & Founder, Gem Selections, Khanna Gems Pvt. Ltd., said, “Custom duty on gold and silver to be rationalised as per Budget 2021, this seems to be a great step for the better import and export of gemstones and jewellery across the globe. Also, a revised custom Duty will be seen in 2021 which will aid the entire export and import industry.”

Mr. Kunal Kislay, Co-founder, CEO, Integration Wizards Solutions, said, “Union Budget 2021 has highlighted the government’s focus in kickstarting the economy through boosting the infrastructure which in turn will create more jobs. Further, with a heavy budget of 5.4 lakh Cr, we can see the government recentering their attention towards building a stronger infrastructure via highways, railways, ports and energy, considering the high allocation towards MORTH. A robust tech integration would be needed in order to avert health hazards and keep a check on OSH. Additionally, promoting Atmanirbharta through extensive plans for the future of the retail and manufacturing sector which strengthens the fact that boosting the industrial sector was a key driving agenda of this budget. Out of the six pillars for the vision of Atma Nirbhar Bharat, Innovation and R&D stands to be pivotal for the enterprise tech sector. Through the 30-lakh-crore plan set up by the Finance ministry, improved credit access for enterprises is likely to bring about relief in the sector and also encourage the new entrants. The Tax audit threshold has been increased from 5 Cr to 10Cr, which is not a monetary gain but a convenience for MSMEs and startups. The Budget is focused on reviving the growth of our economy that was hampered by COVID.”

Anu Prasad, Founder & CEO of India Leaders for Social Sector (ILSS), said, “The Education Budget 2021 comes as a much-needed respite for small charitable Trusts amidst post-COVID fund crunch and current compliance structure for the sector. The key focus areas in education: will be effective implementation of NEP, setting up of Higher Education Commission and International research collaboration. These resources and opportunities will empower the youth of our country and our country will benefit from the demographic dividend. The good news for the education sector is that; government channelized efforts towards digitization, be it the additional allocation for MGNREGS, aim for technology-driven education National Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Mission. We strongly believe these efforts will converge into building a holistic blueprint for development on all human development indicators and benchmarks.”

Jyotsna Chaman, Co-Founder, Vaaya, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has affected not only the revenues but also the operational functions of the retail sector. While mass-production suffered tremendously as the pandemic continued to spew its wrath, customization was also on a low. This ordeal arises owing to auxiliary issues such as mass job losses, decrease in purchasing power, et al. Overall- revenues declined but expenses were constant, if not hiked. Recuperating from this deep blow would definitely require support from the Union Budget. While Make in India is a well-thought out initiative, the prowess to carry it ahead comes from digital and man-power advancement, which are main asks from the budget. This would also help to ensure seamless supply chains that would add to profits. Additionally, there is also an immediate need to simplify as well as reduce GST slabs so as to ensure participation from the retail sector and increase collection. The rollout of National Retail Policy is long awaited and would provide a framework and direction to the Indian retail sector- another important expectation from the budget. Incentives can be rolled out to new entrants into the industry so as to encourage them to create a niche for themselves and also contributing to India’s economy on the whole.

About Vaaya: Vaaya is a sustainable and body-positive clothing brand that embraces simplicity, comfort, beauty and good design. Each garment’s story begins at the grassroot level, with handpicking the weavers, dyes, prints, pattern and style, bringing you a unique design that is reflective of traditional Indian artisanal skills fused with modernity. Each piece is handcrafted using indigenous weaves and handwork that stands at the intersection of local and global, classic and contemporary.”

Mr. Sarbendra Sarkar, Founder & MD, Cygnett Hotels and Resorts, said, “While there is nothing specific on the tourism and hospitality sector in the budget, I feel broader focus on the budget on increasing consumption and infrastructure spend by the government will have a positive impact on the hospitality sector. The government has done the right thing by not introducing any new tax or COVID cess as some had anticipated. We also believe that the amount allocated for COVID vaccination is a positive for our sector as more people get vaccinated it will encourage people to travel.”

Mr. Gaurav Mehta, Founder & CEO, Jaipur Watch Company, said, “I think the budget is positive in the sense that it will drive consumption and encourage consumers to spend like they were doing the pre-COVID times. The announcement on rationalization of custom duty on gold, silver and other precious metals is a huge positive for us in the bespoke watch industry. The demand for bespoke gold watches is at all time low, a lower customs duty will help us in reducing our input costs which we can pass on to consumers. Await to hear details on custom duty for imported watches.”

Dr. RB Smarta, Managing Director, Interlink Consultancy, said, “Overall, it is a very promising and encouraging budget for the health and wellness sector. Happy to see that health and well-being has been given due importance and noted as the first pillar of the budget. Most of our suggestions have been incorporated. Increasing outlay by 138 percent and the focus on strengthening the healthcare infrastructure across the primary, secondary and tertiary levels is a welcome move. The investments allocated for the detection and cure of new and emerging diseases, renewed thrust to Mission Poshan, skill development appropriate to the healthcare segment and commitment to meet one of the SDGs on infant mortality is commendable. I believe all these steps combined will benefit millions of Indians and help us move ahead on the goal of ensuring healthcare access for all. The budget has also given a fillip to innovative, agile companies and has opened several avenues for them. The API sector will get an incentive to boost PLI and the tax holiday to R&D is another positive move. The only let down in a sense has been that while the government has increased funding and allocation, in some areas it has increased the cost of doing business. Again, given that healthcare is a largely state issue, the onus will be on the states to ensure that these allocations reap benefits. On the whole, I would give the budget a thumbs up, but resource allocation and on-ground implementation will be critical for success. I would also like to see prevention, cure and wellness being continuing themes for the budget y-oy.”

Mr. Narayan ‘Naru’ Ramamoorthy, Chief Revenue Officer, Global PayEX said, “At the outset, it is laudable that the Union Budget 2021-22 lays an increased emphasises on use of data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning across industries. We welcome the Government of India’s move in taking definitive steps towards using the power of digital technologies and boosting the fintech and startup ecosystem through initiatives such as fintech hub in Gujarat International Fintech Tec (GIFT). The benefits accrued through the allocation of Rs. 1,500 crores for promoting digital modes of payment as well as the increased tax audit limit for those who carry 95% of their transactions digitally will enable businesses, especially MSMEs to digitise their entire value chain and drive exponential impact on key business levers – innovation, growth and efficiency. Add to it, the proposed setup of Asset Reconstruction Company (ARC) and Asset Management Company (AMC) for stressed assets, which will help accelerate the much-needed credit line in B2B payables and receivables financing from the banking system. Further, the allocation of INR 3000 crore for skill development and facilitating a National Digital Educational Architecture (NDEAR) within the context of a Digital First Mindset will help bridge a sizeable technological skill gap in the country and offer the right engine of incessant growth, while setting the foundation for India’s future in the right direction.”

Mr. Sai Srinivas, Co-founder and CEO, Mobile Premier League(MPL), said, “Government’s budget announcement has been extremely encouraging for the start-up ecosystem in India. The extended exemption on capital gains for investments will definitely make more funds available for budding entrepreneurs and growing organizations alike. Digital payments infrastructure has played a very important role in the growth of the mobile gaming industry. It is very encouraging to see the government’s efforts to strengthen digital payments through incentivization. The Rs 1,500 crore boost will further support migration of more people towards digital payments and will have a positive impact on the mobile skill gaming industry. The incentivizing of one person companies is especially heartening as it promotes the development of more game creators that will help in strengthening the gaming industry in India. The move has also allowed conversion of one-person companies to any other kind, reducing residency limit from 182 days to 120 days. India is at the cusp of creating a wave of mobile gaming unicorns, these measures only support that momentum. With these announcements acting as winds in our sails the Indian Gaming Industry can aspire to be the Global Hub of game development.”

Mr. Lalit Mehta, Co-founder & CEO of Decimal Technologies, said, “The budget presented seems to tick most boxes that India needs today post COVID. The promise on CAPEX should help in generating employment and also solve for long-term growth objectives. The six pillar focus will set the foundation for growth in coming years and make us better prepared for difficult situations like the COVID. Some of the items that would see effect faster than others would be the FDI cap increase for Insurance, which will surely lead to a better capitalized Insurance sector and better reach of Insurance to the masses. Privatization of PSBs is a welcome move. It should help in make the banking sector more agile and oriented towards digital growth. This should lead to a few acquisitions of PSBs by private lenders. Hopefully, this will increase reach of the private sector to rural markets and will enable these markets with new products and a digital ecosystem. The fintech hub in the GIFT city is a great step towards enabling the fintech industry and shows the government’s recognition of FinTech as a significant play in the financial sector. This should set the road for creation of the required regulations and frameworks for FinTech to work with conventional lenders and banks. Fiscal deficit and achievement of divestment targets is something that needs to be under close watch. Any slippage on any of these can put a spanner in some other initiatives. Overall a positive budget that tries to balance between long term and immediate needs.”

Mr. Ashraf Rizvi, Founder & CEO of Digital Swiss Gold & Gilded, said, “The Sensex witnessing a rise of over 4.5% signals the positive sentiment towards the Union Budget 2021. The gold and silver market received good news with a rationalization of import tariffs. The reduction in import duty on gold and other precious metals from 12.5 percent to 10 percent, will make jewelry cheaper in the domestic market for the buyer, as India continues to be the second-largest buyer of gold in the world. Moreover, the announcement of SEBI as the regulator for gold exchanges in India, is also a welcome move as it hints at deeper regulation of digital transactions of the yellow metal, which is a critical to earn consumer trust. Overall, a very positive shot in the arm for the Indian economy that looks to help India and its citizens recover in 2021 after a very difficult 2020. We at Digital Swiss Gold and Gilded will continue to ensure savings to our customers, so that more investors consider gold as a critical asset in their investment portfolio.”

Mr. Shachindra Nath, Executive Chairman & Managing Director, U GRO Capital, said, “Broadly evaluating, the Union Budget 2021 is a significant attempt by the government, to accept a higher fiscal deficit and enhance expenditure towards economic revival. It is appreciative of the government to put a special emphasis towards providing relief to the tax payers and reducing the burden posed by COVID-19. One of the key highlights of the budget is setting-up of the development finance institution (DFI) towards infrastructure financing and institutional framework to purchase corporate bond, which would solve the issue of liquidity for the infrastructure sector and corporate bond market. Also, with the path-breaking initiative of instituting Asset Reconstruction Company (ARC) and asset management company (AMC) for NPA consolidation, banks have been allowed to streamline their focus on the much needed growth. The government has reduced the threshold for NBFCs to initiate recovery under the SARFAESI Act, 2002. This is an effective step towards ushering credit discipline and in the long-term will increase the penetration of credit to small businesses. The government has also doubled its allocation towards MSMEs, which would greatly support their revival and the eventual growth. Holistically, the Union Budget 2021 is an encouraging event, yet we optimistically look forward to a distinctive support for NBFCs, with a framework to provide them sufficient liquidity, while also furthering the credit guarantee scheme support to the MSMEs.”

Mr. Abhinav Sinha, Co Founder, Eko India

MSME’s: “We believe the Finance Minister has taken some very bold and welcome steps to get the growth back on track. Announcements made in the budget are a healthy mix of steps taken for reviving the MSME’s. The measures taken for startups by extending the tax holiday for start-ups by one year uptil 31st March 2022 and allocating Rs 15,700 crore (ie more than double the previous year) for MSMEs. “

FDI– “Certain measures like allocating Rs 35,000 crore for Covid-19, hiking FDI limit in insurance from 49% to 74%, rationalizing duty structures on iron and steel, significantly higher allocations made for railways and urban infrastructure including public transport systems are going to give a significant boost to the industry overall.”

Migrants: FM has rightly understood the pain the migrant workers are going through because of the displacement from their workplaces and the resultant reduction/loss in their livelihoods. Measures like One Nation One Ration Card wherein through which beneficiaries can claim their rations anywhere in the country, Social security benefits extended to gig and platform workers via the newly launched portal are steps which are extremely vital to provide the much required relief to these migrant workers.”

Mr. Praveen Kumar Gupta, Co-founder, Planet Organic, said, “The Budget 2021 has really pushed for a stronger and improved Aatmanirbhar Bharat. The government’s focus on increasing the purchasing power of the farmers will encourage more farmers to adopt organic farming. As Organic farming products generate more outflow as compared to traditional farming methods. We at Planet Organic believe that Organic farming is the future of agriculture.
The government’s proposal for allocation of funds for MSME sectors, reduction of marginal money requirement and extension of tax holiday for start-ups is a great initiative and will be helpful for all start-ups.”

Mr. Rajat Singhania, Founder of HyLyt by SocioRAC said, “The budget is growth-oriented. Govt expenditure on infrastructure is high which will boost the economy. There are no major changes in direct/ indirect taxes. For startups, the tax extension, increase in paid-up capital, registration of one-person firms, NRI permission to incorporate OPCs in India is a good boost to Startups. Overall a positive budget to spur growth, stock markets have responded very positively and we can expect to overcome some of the losses of the year gone by.”

Mr. Paavan Nanda, Co-Founder, WinZO Games, said, “The measures announced by the government demonstrate its bullishness towards the startup ecosystem. The extension of long-term capital gains by another year will offer tailwinds to early stage funding. Extension of tax holiday by one year is also an encouraging offering, however, most of the new age startups don’t start booking profits in the early years. The Budget’s focus on economic development, infrastructure and health will definitely put India back on the growth trajectory after an unprecedented past financial year.”

Mr. Anand Kumar Bajaj, Founder, MD & CEO, PayNearby, said, “Considering the challenging year faced by the Indian economy, the Ministry of Finance has put up a fine balancing act. While initiatives to support digital payments are few, the budget showcases a strong intent to continue driving a less-cash ecosystem. On one hand, the Union Budget 2021 has various encouraging initiatives that will propel aspiring entrepreneurs and boost small businesses. On the other hand, it renders a lot of focus on uplifting the lower stratum of the society which includes the migrants, gig workers and farmers among others. The pandemic-induced economy has played an important role in dispelling the long-held scepticism regarding the gig workforce’s efficiency and dependability. The proposal to extend social benefits to gig economy workers and farmers along with a portal to register their details will pave the way to formalise the sector and create employment avenues amid a robust ecosystem to fulfil the government’s Aatmanirbhar vision. Furthermore, initiatives such as the development of a world-class fintech hub at GIFT, investor charter and a dedicated fund of Rs 1,500 crores for digital payments are extremely encouraging as they will augment innovation within the fintech industry and accelerate the pace of a financially inclusive, cashless economy. we are eager to explore the new and exciting opportunities that will emerge.”

Mr. Murali Iyer, CEO and Principal Officer, InsureNearby , said, “Increasing the FDI limit to 74% from the current 49% in the insurance sector is a welcome move by the government which was long overdue. Providing equal rights to foreign partners will help open up the sector while offering the much-needed capital infusion. This will provide a huge fillip to employment opportunities besides helping boost insurance penetration, especially in the hinterlands of the country. Additionally, the move will also help Indian shareholders to find new buyers easily, thereby eyeing a smooth exit.

At just about 4%, India has one of the lowest insurance coverage ratios among the most populous nations and this amendment is likely to put the industry back on the growth track from the present stagnation period. Upscaling FDI in the industry will also encourage innovation-backed tools and technologies that will help drive inclusivity at the bottom of the pyramid. This is likely to boost growth and transformation and will put the insurance sector at par with the banking sector.”

Adding further, Rajesh Jha, Co-founder & Director, PayNearby mentioned, “The increase of FDI limit in insurance is an extremely favourable move for the industry. Considering the skewed nature of insurance penetration in the country, we require innovative, cost-effective tools to cater to the target audience of which 90% is still unbanked and underbanked. The increased FDI limit will offer true metamorphosis for the sector as capital infusion will help businesses expand, aligned strongly with the government’s vision of financial inclusion.”

Mr. Sanjay Jain, Director, Elan Professionals Pvt. Ltd., said, “We are delighted that the government has recognised and considered strengthening the healthcare system for betterment of individuals, healthcare workers and hospitals along with the required infrastructure. It is an opportunity for a brand like ours to step forward and support the government’s initiative by fully utilizing our portable vaccine carrier which will not only ease the transportation but will also lower the wastage of COVID-19 vaccine. Along with this, I think it is important to consider our industry under the PLI scheme to boost Atma Nirbhar Bharat packages. The manufacturing of commercial refrigerators is important and it will help in improving the agricultural industry as it would help avoid the wastage of vegetables and fruits due to lack of improper cold chain facilities. Also, almost 50% of cold chains are still import dependent. Hence, I look forward to the Government considering this.”

Mr. Seshadri Kulkarni, CEO, DigitSecure, said, “The development of fintech hub in GIFT City and Rs. 1,500 Crores to promote digital payments clearly demonstrate the government’s strong commitment to digital economy. The RBI’s Payments Infrastructure — Development Fund of Rs. 345 Crores to drive merchant acceptance in rural India combined with today’s budget allocation are certain to boost digital payments benefitting all the stakeholders. The government’s facilitation in setting up ‘world class’ fintech hub will help bring together new technologies such as big data, AI and blockchain to transform the way that financial services are delivered, making them cheaper, more efficient, more convenient and more inclusive. The fintech hub will also help facilitate interaction and collaborative learning between regulators, innovators, investors, startups and established players.”

Mr. Alok Mittal, CEO and Founder, Indifi Technologies, said, “Significant investments in the infrastructure sector is a welcome step and is likely to accelerate the revival of the economy in a sustainable fashion. Setting up of a world-class fintech hub in GIFT City is a tremendous opportunity to provide seamless linkage for Indian fintech companies to global financial ecosystems. MSMEs have borne the brunt of Covid-linked disruptions, and more may have to be done outside of the budget announcements to revive that key engine of India’s economy.”

Mr. Kumar Abhishek, CEO & Founder, ToneTag, said, “The support extended by the government to GIFT city is a crucial development for the Fintech ecosystem, especially startups. The availability of customised support and tools will not only expedite the processes and development but also create an environment conducive to ideas and innovations. Also, the investment to promote digital payment will definitely uplift and establish infrastructure throughout the country, especially in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. Fintech companies will have better access to different locations and adequate incentives for growth.”

Mr. Gaurang Sinha, Director of Go-to-Market Strategy at Flock said, “We welcome the Finance Minister’s announcement to introduce the scheme allowing 1-person company(s) for start-ups and innovators to be exempted from paid-up capitals and turnover norms, in the Union Budget today. This will enable India to develop new technologies and boost employment like never before. Additionally, the government’s move towards boosting emerging technologies such as the internet of things (IoT), machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics, will accelerate the growth of our digital economy. Further, the adoption of video conferencing for various tasks by the Government will encourage the use and demand for professional communication and collaboration platforms. We believe that with all of these measures, this new decade looks great for the Indian start-up ecosystem.”

Mr. Kunal Lakhara, VP of Finance and Operations, Pocket Aces said, “The Union Budget 2021-2022’s revised fiscal deficit estimate for FY21 which is pegged at 9.5% of GDP seems promising, and has taken on a realistic approach that is focused on spends which are much needed to revive the economy. The tax holiday given to startups for an additional one year brings relief to enabling the sector to sustain and grow, as we recover from the pandemic. Furthermore, the move to encourage one-person companies without any restrictions is a step in the right direction. This will go a long way in encouraging more people to come forward to set up innovative businesses that solve the challenge of the day, and grow the high-potential startup ecosystem within the country.”

Mr. Dhruvil Sanghvi, Chief Executive Officer, LogiNext said, “We welcome the incentives proposed by Honourable Finance Minister Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman. Strengthening global and national supply chains is of paramount importance for economic growth. The proposals to set up freight corridors across the country, as well as the proposal for a future ready rail system, along with development of national highways will bridge the gaps that currently exist, bringing in better connectivity between production and consumption markets. Furthermore, the push towards digitisation along with proposals of the one year tax holiday for startups and extending cap gains tax exemption for investment into start-ups shows the intent towards making it easier to do business in India and push forward on the technology wave.”

Mr. Chiranjeev Saluja, Managing Director, Premier Energies, said, “Premier Energies welcomes the budget. Our honourable finance minister in her 2021-22 Budget speech, announced promoting clean energy initiatives as the Government of India’s commitment to combating climate change. Allocation of resources for solar and renewable energy is a step in the right direction. This will certainly help tackle the burgeoning problem of poor air quality in major Indian cities. By focusing on clean energy, we will be also able to contribute to a cleaner and greener world. As one of the leading domestic players in the renewable energy sector, we will work with the government closely to achieve the target of 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022.”

Mr. Vamsi Krishna, CEO & Co-Founder, Vedantu, said, “The National Education Policy has been a strategic move towards guiding the development of India’s education. To strengthen the policy further, this Union Budget is focusing on initiatives like National Digital Educational Architecture (NDEA) which will provide a diverse education eco-system for the development of digital infrastructure, educational planning, governance and administrative activities. The complete shift from using assessments to not only judge the cognitive levels of the learner but also using it as an opportunity to identify the unique strengths and the potential, is a student centric approach which will lead to the holistic development of a child and provide them a greater edge, globally. Further, I would like to see more investments & budget allocation to go into the education sector to enhance it with more trending technologies which will make education accessible to students in the farthest corners of the country.”

Mr. Ujjwal Jain, CEO & Founder, WealthDesk, said, “Consolidation of multiple securities laws into a Single Securities market code will bring in clarity and boost capital and debt markets. Likewise, the introduction of an institutional mechanism to buy corporate bonds and an AMC to handle stressed debt from banks will further strengthen debt markets, bringing in faster debt resolution and greater liquidity. Avoidance of changes to taxation – income tax, LTCG, STT, wealth tax, or a Covid cess – will further spur capital market participation in the coming year. The budget also ensured continued support to the Startup ecosystem by extending tax holiday and capital gains exemption for investment by 1 more year to March 31, 2022. Increased spending on infrastructure and enabling entry of FPIs into debt financing in the sector will also boost economic growth and revival.”

Ms. Surabhi Goel, CEO – Aditya Birla World Academy, Aditya Birla Education Academy, The Aditya Birla Integrated School, said, “The measures announced by the finance minister in today’s union budget 2021 focuses on two important aspects – one is the continuous upskilling of India’s youth and also providing education for all. We are in-line with the announcement as Aditya Birla Education Academy is at the forefront of creating various programs that help the educators of the country upskill themselves. Finance minister Niramala Sitharaman has set aside funds worth 3000 crore with an aim to create an opportunity for millenials of India to upskill themselves. The budget also provided an impetus on establishing a National Research Foundation by allocating Rs 50,000 crore thereby qualitatively strengthening the education system through the National Education Policy. At Aditya Birla World Academy and The Aditya Birla Integrated School, the focus has always been on creating a cohesive learning environment for the students even through the online medium over the course of last year. We aim to make the students future ready by imparting practical learning along with theory based sessions. We believe that the measures announced by the government will further boost in augmenting the education sector of the country.”

Mr. Amit Kumar, CEO, OLX Autos India, said, “This time the budget will go a long way to assuage concerns regarding the economy. For the automobile sector, voluntary scrapping of old vehicles is a welcome move as it will boost supply and demand for pre-owned vehicles. Doubling the tax audit limit to Rs 10 crore will improve ease of conducting business for micro and small enterprises and will benefit the used car dealer ecosystem, many of whom are small to medium-sized entrepreneurs themselves. A heightened focus on developing highways and transporation infrastructure will augur well for the automobile sector as this would boost the need for personal vehicles for last-mile and first-mile connectivity.”

Mr. Manish Chandra Founder & CEO RailRestro, said, “During the Union Budget 2021, our Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman has announced a record-high allocation for the development of the Railways sector in the upcoming fiscal. It is heartening to see the Government prioritizing on significantly increasing the capital expenditure for Railways. Additionally, the increased thrust on digitization and digital payments is a welcome step for online food delivery service providers like us. Morover, with the National Rail Plan on the anvil, as highlighted by the FM during her Budget speech, the doors have started opening for greater and more-integrated levels of participation by private sector players for the betterment of the Railway sector. In the months and years to come, the Government must focus on equitable distribution of the funds for various key development agendas with respect to Railways; furthermore, allied sectors such as e- catering and special service providers in trains need to be supported and incentivized parallely in order to boost overall customer satisfaction of Indian Railways’ passengers.”

Mr. Abhishek Kumar, Regional Director, Onvu Learning, said, “The annual budget brings in good news for Smart Class solutions. The Union budget has a major thrust on the education sector. The decision to strengthen 15,000 government schools provides a major avenue for Smart Class teacher-training solutions such as Onvu Learning. The decision to set up more than 100 Sainik and Eklavya schools with a 50-100% increased budget further opens up this sector for video-enabled teacher’s self-training solutions.”

Mr. Abhishek Kumar, Regional Director, Oncam, said, “One of the key focus area in annual union Budget is on infrastructure. The decision to boost transport sector by allocating increased budgets for National Highways and Metros shall create opportunities for overview and incidence detection solutions. Oncam with its unique position in the market as the best overview surveillance solution is strategically placed to further increase its market share in roadways safety security solutions. The union budget is intelligently thought of and shall propel India as the fastest growing economy of the world.”

Nemesisa Ujjain is Director – Innovation Projects at The Circle.Work, said, The budget announcements prove once again the government’s commitment to advancing the mission of #DigitalIndia at an accelerated pace, and the decision of going paperless and using a “Made in India” tab to present the budget highlighted this effectively. Impressive reforms like simplification of GST, incorporation of one-person companies, the extension of Tax Holidays (till 31st March 2022) will provide a boost to startups. This definitely appears to be a startup-friendly budget, with initiatives like the Swasth Bharat Scheme, the setting up of the National Research Foundation, massive infrastructure projects, and incentives to promote digital payments, which would create new opportunities for entrepreneurs in the country.

Prof. Manoj K. Arora, Vice Chancellor, BML Munjal University, said, “The establishment of Higher Education Commission with four verticals viz Regulation, Accreditation, Standard Setting and Funding, each working independently, is a welcoming step, which was long due. The regulation perhaps will now hinge on accreditation which is directly related to the quality of education. Allocation of 50000 crores to National Research Foundation over a period of 5 years is very forthcoming. Both public and private institutions will be able to take part with equal stakes to apply for research funding in thrust areas. The creation of nine clusters of academic and research institutions without disturbing their autonomy will certainly be helpful in optimal usage of hard and soft infrastructure, quality knowledge creation and dissemination, and collaborative learning.”

Mr. Rahul Pagidipati, CEO, ZebPay, said, “We are excited to see a budget that put priority on healthcare and economic growth. Blockchain and crypto assets can play a positive role in improving healthcare delivery and financial inclusion. Moving forward on crypto regulation will allow India to take full advantage of this technology. Until that time, we’ll continue to self-regulate with strict KYC and AML policies. And we’ll stand ready to have an honest, positive dialogue with the government about this new asset class the whole world is investing in and how blockchain technology can help in various sectors including the budget priorities like healthcare, agriculture, and the first digital census.”

Mr. Vinay Bagri, CEO and Co-founder, Niyo, said, “The Union Budget 2021 has been in the favour of the Fintech and startup community. After the last one year of pandemic and the impact it has had on the Fintech sector, the facilitation of a world-class fintech hub at GIFT city is a huge step in providing further growth opportunities to the sector. Given the need for digital shift with an aim of having a cashless economy, the allocation of 1500 crores for the promotion of digital payments comes at the right time. The startup sector has been one of the most affected sectors in the pandemic. Finance ministry’s move to extend tax holidays for startups until March 2022 will offer much needed relief and boost productivity in the coming future. This along with the decision to allow incorporation of one person companies will further empower the overall sector, thus leading to innovation as well as birth of new startups. The government’s announcement of social security benefits for the gig and platform workers is a first of a kind initiative which will give further impetus to financial inclusion. The announcement of ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ for migrant workers and provision of minimum wages to all categories including women, will further contribute in strengthening the migrant workers’ position in the economy by providing them with the required economic support thus safeguarding their future.”

Mr. Prem Kishan Dass Gupta, Chairman & Managing Director, Gateway Distriparks Ltd., said, “The Union Budget 2021-22 placed key focus on healthcare, infrastructure, digital economy and job creation for the youth. The announcement of massive investment of Rs. 2000 crore on seven port projects under PPP mode will boost the logistics sector and enable overall economic growth. Under the Recycling Act, 2019, a recycling capacity of around 4.5 Miliion Light Displacement Tonne (LDT) will be doubled by 2024. This will not only benefit us as a company but also be a way of providing employment opportunities. With road and rail connectivity being an indispensable factor of the economic development, an allocation of Rs 1,10,055 crore for Railways has been made where the eastern and western dedicated freight corridors will be commissioned by June 2022. This will help in bringing down the logistics cost as well as ensure smooth connectivity between different points of country and ensure easy and faster freight movement. The Union Budget targets 100 percent electrification of broad-gauge railways to be achieved by 2023. This will increase efficiency, and reduce dependence on conventional fuels. The Government’s push to port, road and rail infrastructure through various investments, initiatives and projects will further add to the development of the logistics industry in India.”

Mr. Aneel Gambhir – CFO, Blue Dart, said, “We are pleased to know that the Budget is in line with our expectations. The industry is eagerly waiting to see the results of these measures in our field of work. The proposed solutions include a succinct focus on improving road and railway infrastructure; investments in National highway corridors and economic corridors will aid in the speedy movement of goods and improve turnaround time which, in the long run, will bring down logistics costs significantly. The National Highway work planned in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal, Assam will further assist in the final goal of last-mile delivery and we are eager to see its results on our business. In the long term, all the expenditures could be assisted with the proposed introduction of the DFI which will speed up the infrastructure development in India. Apart from this, the focus on the manufacturing sector in the budget would also help the logistics sector grow further. While the budget carries good news for the logistics sector, we are also happy to see the Government’s efforts in propelling areas such as healthcare, infrastructure, and employment, all of which require a special focus going into 2021. With COVID-19 continuing to be a significant threat to the world, India is providing the vaccine against COVID-19 to over 100 countries across the world which is a commendable effort. With the Government also providing 35,000 crores towards the Covid-19 vaccine in 2021-22, we are sure to bid adieu to the virus sooner rather than later.”

Mr. Paavan Nanda, Co-Founder, WinZO Games, said, “The measures announced by the government demonstrate its bullishness towards the startup ecosystem. The extension of long-term capital gains by another year will offer tailwinds to early stage funding. Extension of tax holiday by one year is also an encouraging offering, however, most of the new age startups don’t start booking profits in the early years. The Budget’s focus on economic development, infrastructure and health will definitely put India back on the growth trajectory after an unprecedented past financial year.”

Mr. Swastik Nigam, Founder & CEO, Winvesta, said, “Hon’ble Finance Minister has taken several key decisions to catalyse start-ups in India. Allowing one-person companies will unlock entrepreneurship and innovation. This brings India at par with the US and the UK to stir the start-up ecosystem as well as SMEs. This move removes expectations that companies in India must have two shareholders which have often resulted in bringing in family members, who are not professionals into the company. The NRI’s tax relief is another welcome move and should definitely spur greater investments by NRIs into India. Moreover, investors will appreciate extending capital gains tax exemption for investment into start-ups by another year, spurring more investment into the early stages. I also eagerly await reading more about the Fintech Hub in GIFT City.”

Mr. Avinash Godkhindi, CEO of Zaqggle, said, “FinTech Hub at Gin City will give a tremendous boost to the Fintech Industry. This will pave the way to look at disruption Technology in the not just Finance sections but Payment and lending sections too. Push for Atma Nirvbhar again rephrases the Govt commitments in Make in India. This will not only boost jobs in the country but also encourage entrepreneurship & innovation. The 1 person company changes & the valuation in residency days again helps in a big way to attract global Indians to come back and start contributing to Indian Growth. Their entrepreneurship will act as a catalyst and a guiding line to the young entrepreneurs of India and create an even more robust ecosystem.”

Mr. Anand Kumar, Founder of Pier Counsel, said, “We welcome the Union Budget tabled in the parliament by the Finance Minister. Realizing the importance of financial impetus, the government has increased its capital expenditure this year by about 34.5% against FY2021, wherein Rs. 5.54 lakh crores have been set aside by the same. Out of this, Rs. 2 lakh crores will be extended to states and autonomous bodies while another Rs. 44,000 crores have been earmarked for the Department of Economic Affairs. On the startup front, the government has made a good move by incentivizing one-person companies, something that will unlock sizable innovation within the segment. The tax holiday for startups has further been increased for one more year – which will be lucrative for both startups and their investors. Entrepreneurs will have more freedom to innovate. We are pleased to see the proposed budget and await the fine print of the same.”

Mr. Shishir Kumar is the Director General at ImaginXP, said, “The budget gives a runway to the dream of reaching a 50 percent Gross enrolment ratio in india. We are at 25 percent today, and online degree programmes, focus on embedded courses in university and enabling colleges to work on their own curriculum are great accelerators. The budget helps a university in india focus on research based learning. The budget is a 4 percent increase over last year and the innovative idea to use retired teachers as mentors will take us a long way. The cream of the cake is in the implementation of the NEP 2020 and the budget sets the right direction over expenditure.”

Mr. Sonesh Jain, EIR, WheelsEye, said, “Budget 2021 is a pro-transportation, pro-development budget. While the 34.5% increment in capital expenditure will drive demand upwards, the reinforced focus on improving road infrastructure will help in delivering a faster, safer, and reliable supply chain. The mention of the National Logistics Policy was completely missing. While the budget has emphasized enough on building better road infra by announcing targets of adding 12% to national highways and adding 30% to the budget allocation of the Ministry of Roads, it focuses little on empowering small and medium commercial vehicle owners.”

Mr. Jitendra Chouksey, Founder of FITTR, said, “We welcome the steps outlined in the Union Budget 2021-22. It hinges on augmenting economic recovery while laying emphasis on self-reliance. This year’s Union Budget has a strong focus on healthcare with increased spending. The allocation of INR 2,23,846 crore for healthcare in FY21-22 and the proposed ‘Aatmanirbhar Swastha Bharat Yojana’, with an outlay of INR 64,180 crore over six years is expected to give the right impetus to healthcare in India. What makes it significant is the fact that this year the allocation is almost double of last year’s budget. Considering the given circumstances, this was the need of the hour. Besides healthcare, the budget has given due importance to the start-up segment as well. The extension of tax holiday by one year, till 31st March 2022, on revenue as well as investment was much needed during these challenging times. This will further foster the growth of start-ups in India. On the whole, we believe that announcements made today will help usher in a well-balanced growth of the economy.”

Mr. Suvankar Sen, CEO, Senco Gold and Diamonds, said, “ The duty reduction is a good initiative and a support by Govt to reduce unofficial smuggling . It will help the sector to be more organized . The responsibility of SEBI to manage bullion exchange implementation will help in making the gem and jewelry sector more organized . It is a good initiative by Govt to take care of consumers ,company , and manufacturing sector , karigars as well.”

Mr. Rajeev Karwal, Founder -Chairman, Milagrow – Humantech, said, “The Union Budget 2021 meets the economy wishlist halfway as it is not very focused on the revival of the consumer markets. It was absolutely essential for an immediate impact. There could have been reductions of income tax rates, GST, duties and excise rates across the board. There are so many sectors which have suffered badly. There are a lot of businesses which are on a road to recovery. Tax cuts would have boosted the market growth. Once the fine print of the budget is read, one can react more. The capex measures and other initiatives must be implemented fully to see a positive impact in the longer and medium term.”

Mr. Suraj Malik, Partner, BDO India (M&A), said, “Budget 2021 constructively impact the lives of common man with targeted proposals for extending social security benefits to gig economy, tax concessions on affordable housing and rental housing, simplified compliance regime for start-ups and exemption to senior citizens from tax filings. Stability in tax regime, simplification in compliance procedures along with consolidation of laws will provide a strong foundation to the six pillars for achieving economic growth.”

Mr. Neetish Sarda, Founder, Smartworks, said, “Hon’ble FM’s vision for Atmanirbhar Bharat with a budget focused on six essential pillars is commendable. The government has set an ambitious target to build infrastructure in the country and increase focus on digitisation and public investments. The proposal to exempt dividend payments on REITs and InVITs from TDS will surely boost investor sentiment thus augmenting funds for infra and real estate sectors. Initiatives to boost the Indian startup ecosystem by incentivising the setting up of One Person Companies (OPCs), announcing tax holidays and an extension in capital gains exemption are welcome steps.”

Mr. Prashant Solomon, MD, Chintels India and Hon. Treasurer- CREDAI NCR, said, “Finance Minister has presented a forward looking Budget that is aimed at generating investments and reigniting the growth cycle. The government’s big bet on infrastructure is bound to pay off in the long term and bring in growth for real estate and allied sectors. Giving flexibility to REITs to raise more debt capital will attract more investment in the real estate sector and will lead to faster closure of transactions. The decision to extend tax holiday for affordable housing projects is a step in the right direction and will help realise Prime Minister’s dream of ‘Housing For All by 2022’.”

Jahnabi Phookan, National President, FICCI FLO, said, “The budget proposed by Finance Minister will help to boost the revival of our nation’s economy following the Covid induced Economic Fallout. With its targeted proposals for extending benefits to the women in form of policies such as Mega Investments Textiles Park, Incentivising one-person companies, Implementation of the four labour codes, dedicating 3000 crore to NATS, proposal of funds for the welfare of tea workers especially the women & children in Assam & West Bengal, It will provide a strong foundation for the female strata to rise and support in building an Atmanirbhar Bharat.”

Shammi Pant, Co-Founder, myJen.ai, said, This budget reinforces the focus on the fundamentals with intent to revive the economy from the unprecedented pandemic setback of last year. In a major way it focuses on Health, Infrastructure and further rationalization of our financial regulations, which is going to give the economy an impetus in revival and put the focus back on fundamentals. The startup community welcomes the attention given in Budget speech of the Finance Ministry and we thank for announcements regarding Tax Holidays and Capital Gain Exemptions.”

Romira Roy, Founder and Chairperson – SEED, said, “The six-pack budget proposed by the Finance Minister encompasses the true spirit of sustainable and equal growth. The push for the health sector and the skilling space with tie-ups with UAE and Japan, to begin with, will go a long way. The focus on revamping the health infrastructure, the push for aggressive disinvestment with LIC’s IPOs, Tax holiday for start-up, expansion & strengthening of nameless faceless IT along with the revision of years are something to be applauded. Although tax slab revisions & further involvement of the private sector in the COVID vaccination distribution is something that could have also been looked at. Overall it was a well-balanced budget given the fiscal deficit constraints.”

Mr. Rishi Ahuja, Founder, Klip VR Immersive Tech, said, “It’s heartening to see the focus on Education in Finance Minister’s budget speech where she rightly said youth of the country have abundant skills and it needs proper channelization. This year will be historic and motivational for our youth with events like 75th Year of Independence and Chandrayaan Mission 3. The education budget and steps announced for effective implementation of National Education Policy, increased focus on the role of technology will provide further opportunities for growth and sustained development of the sector and students. Rishi Ahuja, Klip VR Immersive Tech.”

Mr. Sharad Malhotra, President – Automotive Refinishes and Wood Coatings, Nippon Paint India, said, “With an expansionary Budget that focuses on growth, the Finance Minister has delivered on major counts. The Budget has announced a massive infrastructure boost with huge outlay for Railways and privatizing airports. Along with this, measures that will increase consumer spending and make India more self-reliant are a step in the right direct. Fitness testing for both PVs and CVs is a positive move that will not only generate employment opportunities but also ensure a cleaner environment. Our sector has got a favorable boost in form of FM’s voluntary vehicle scrappage policy announcement.”

Mr. Arun Pandey, Chairman & MD, Rhiti Group, said, “The Union Budget 2021-2022 laid major impetus on unlocking our nation’s true potential by introducing schemes such as providing financial incentives to promote digital transactions, providing incentives to one-person companies, allocating resources for the revival of the MSME sector, setting up of Central University in Leh, allotment of 3000 cr to NATS, etc. These initiatives will help to foster the Start-up Industry, MSME sector, education sector & help in the overall development of the nation. Through this budget, the Finance Minister was able to address each & every aspect of the economy.”

Mr. Farhan Pettiwala, Executive Director & Head Development, India & South Asia, Akhand Jyoti Eye Hospital (AJEH), said, “We expected a bigger change and disruptive budget, indeed the budget has Kickstarted by increasing investment in Infra, healthcare, ARC (assett management company), LIC IPO disinvestment, no change in tax structure, INR 64,180 crore to new health scheme is a big plus, with 35,000cr for covid vaccine.”

Mr. Manish Mehan, CEO & MD, thyssenkrupp Elevator (India), said, “The direction of the Union Budget 2021 seems progressive. However, more focus on the realty sector would have been welcome. Having said that, the Government’s decision to extend the tax benefit to boost demand and supply of affordable housing, and providing the much-needed push for the metro expansion projects across the nation will propel growth across segments including the elevator industry in India.”

Mrs. Sucheta Shah, Executive Director, Atlas Integrated Finance Ltd., said, “An extremely well structured and a forward looking budget encompassing all sectors and detailed steps for implementation. The ground level reforms in Health Infra, Agriculture, finance, education sectors have been supported by the necessary acts and regulations from the top level. The Development Financial Institution, Increase in FDI in insurance and the PSE and PSB divestment will provide the much needed boost to the financial sector. Tax consistency and transparency are a big relief for tax payers. The budget comes when India is trying to get its growth back on track and create enough jobs for its workforce. Hence we think, its overall a growth budget providing huge employment opportunities for the Indian economy. The development of Infrastructure is fundamental to the revival of the economy and this continued boost from the government will have a multiplier effect on various sectors that provide material & equipment for construction & development. We believe that the Infra sector will be at a great advantage as each sub sector , shipping, railways , roads, energy and power has been addressed with specific reforms. Also, the introduction of DFI and a Single security market code will enhance the liquidity in the secondary markets and enable smooth capital market operations. Overall, the budget is poised to bring us closer to the dream of an Aatma Nirbhar Bharat and positioning India as an alternative global destination for manufacturing and innovation.”

Mr. Sanjay Bhatia, Co-Founder & CEO, Freightwalla, said, “For most of the last year, the shipping & logistics sector has been under strain due to global headwinds. The industry was expecting short term measures to lower the current pressure faced by the industry. Having said the budget did include steps to boost the sector in the long term. Invitation to private players to manage the ports is a beneficial move for the industry. Private port management players having knowledge and competencies can transform the overall functioning, thereby increasing its potential in shipment handling. It can also lead to digitizing the entire port facility and providing an experience to the consumers and users. The industry provides direct and indirect employment opportunities to millions of people in the country. The launch of the scheme to promote merchant ships’ flagging will further give a rise in employment. It also sends a signal that the Indian government is welcoming to the international logistics industry. Additionally, the goal to double the ship’s recycling capabilities is another move to generate career opportunities among the nation’s youth. Aggressive road infrastructure push will help in smooth cargo movement to and fro from port to shipper. Overall it has been a reasonable budget for the sector, more investments or steps to digitize the industry could have made it even better.”

Mr. Sudarshan Lodha, Co-founder, Strata, said, “Considering the challenging year the country has been through, I would like to congratulate the finance minister for putting up a bold budget focussed on growth. It is extremely encouraging to see that the budget bets big on the infrastructure industry to help kick-start the economy. Divestment and monetisation of assets across industry including airports, ports, railways and freight corridors is a big stride and will go a long way in making India Atma nirbhar in the real sense of the term. This will also offer a big impetus to fractional investment models in real-estate. Instead of solely depending on the developers for the supply side, the industry can expect big government assets on the block thereby opening up the industry further to retail investment. Considering infrastructure needs long term debt financing, a professionally managed Development Financial Institution will act as an enabler, while an Asset Reconstruction Company and Asset Management Company will usher in consolidation in the sector. Additionally, Debt Financing of InVITs and REITs by Foreign Portfolio Investors will help boost much needed liquidity in the sector, whereas reduction in taxes and measures for affordable housing will spur consumption and growth at the retail level. The budget also offers big boost to the startup sector. Besides extension of a tax holiday, extended capital gains exemption for investment in start-ups by another year will help the sector attract more funds. This will encourage more entrepreneurs to join the bandwagon while also evading the cumbersome compliance procedure.”

Mr. Mandar Agashe, CMD, Sarvatra Technologies, said, “The Union budget 2021 has lot of encouraging initiatives for the startup ecosystem and meets some of the expectations of the Fintech industry. We are happy that aspiring entrepreneurs and small businesses will benefit from the measures government has taken including broadening the definition of start-ups, simplifying regulations, providing income tax exemptions amongst others. We believe that this announcements will give startup economy a boost! Also, Considering digital has changed the way transactions are done, Fintech is an important thread for financial inclusion, hence creation of Fintech hub in GIFT ISFC will help companies step up their activity, grant them incentives, help them raise more funds, and create more collaboration opportunities for growth. These initiatives are likely to create a strong foundation for cashless payments and pave a path for robust and sustainable growth for the industry. Besides, the move to provide financial incentive to promote digital mode of payment will further give boost to digital transaction. Hence to summarize, the vision of the government is to be digital first, promote the domestic industry and create an adequate infrastructure and the budget lays down its foundation through focused policies in the same direction. At Sarvatra Technologies, we will continue to offer our support to enable government and start-ups to achieve their goal and be a part of the growth story.”

Mr. Prakash Chhabria, Chairman, Finolex Industries Limited, said, “The Union Budget 2021, being the foremost budget of this decade was largely influenced by the global contraction caused by the pandemic. We believe the government has put their best foot forward to stabilize the investors and stakeholders in times of uncertainty. The budget seems to be well allocated at a macro level for all relevant sectors that would act as an enabler to India’s economic growth. We believe the introduction of the National asset monetization pipeline with a focus on relevant sectors was an exceptional move to augment revenues of the government. The proposed new DFI would certainly go a long way in helping infra projects and will play a key developmental role. A vision for Atmanirbhar Bharat in the initial part of the budget, the announcement of Urban Swachh Bharat 2.0 Mission was justified to be launched at an outlay of Rs 1.41 lakh crore over 5 years. We hope to see revival and sustainability of PVC pipes sector through the medium of Jal Jeevan Mission Urban which is to have an outlay of Rs 2.87 lakh crore. Further, boost to the housing sector by extension of tax holiday, increase in agricultural credit target, increase in contribution to rural infra development fund and increase agriculture infra fund made available to APMCs will provide the much needed liquidity in the rural economy. We are certain that timely implementation of a well-targeted budget announcements will hold the key for supporting the burgeoning growth revival of the Indian economy.”

Mr. Dilip Modi, Founder of Spice Money, said, “It was encouraging to see the ‘Sankalp of Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ as well as inclusive and sustainable development come into focus right at the beginning of Financial Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s budget speech. We had hoped for a boost to digital as it has the ability to bridge the gap between haves and have-nots when it comes to access to financial services. This was evident when the lockdown hit last year, when the digital financial infrastructure came to the rescue of millions of citizens. So, the incentive of Rs. 1,500 crore for digital payments is a move in the right direction. We are eagerly waiting to see what the scheme entails and how the industry can benefit from it. We hope a part of the fund goes towards fostering the banking correspondents (BC) network by introducing reimbursement schemes or alternatives to zero merchant discount rates (MDR) which has hampered the growth of the network and the payments ecosystem. We also expect the scheme to have provisions for device subsidy to strengthen the micro ATM infrastructure in rural India. We believe it will accelerate the transformation towards an Aatmanirbhar, Digital India and bring about financial inclusion for underserved parts of India. We are also excited to see the innovations that emerge out of GIFT International Financial Services Centre to support rural financial infrastructure to be on par with urban India. This is in alignment with Spice Money’s vision to bring innovation in rural fintech and uplift the underserved parts of India.”

Mr. Shridhar Venkat, CEO, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, said, “The 2021-22 Union Budget has provisioned to merge the supplementary nutrition programme under the Anganwadi Services Scheme with Poshan Abhiyan. It is indeed a welcome move by the Government. At a time when we are threatened with the massive burden of malnutrition, it’s better to have our efforts aligned under one umbrella. Though the Government has been making several interventions in the past to improve nutrition, allocating additional resources will help broaden the base of people reached. Considering that during the pandemic, school going children were deprived of mid-day meals, it is imperative that nutrition deficit is tackled on a war footing. I look forward to Mission Poshan 2.0 that will create a positive impact on public health & nutrition and rid the nation of hidden classroom hunger. As a foundation we are committed to working with the Government in meeting UN’s SDG goals of Zero Hunger by 2030.”

Mr. Sameer Katole, CEO, Crossloop, said, “The Hon’ble Finance Minister laid major emphasis on enhancing domestic manufacturing of electronic equipment. The Union Budget 2021 has a strong focus towards the revival of the economy and extensive plans for Atmanirbhar Bharat. It shows extreme commitment towards a strong comeback for the sectors which faced major backlashes in 2020. The budget covered several demanding issues faced by the economy earlier and with an attention concerning startup community, the extension of tax holiday for start-ups by one more year is an important decision made. This will encourage the survival of startups and give them the required support for bounce back. Further, the increased spending on PLI for electronic manufacturing schemes is a positive sign. The 2.5% taxation on manufacturing of smartphone parts is also a vital decision as it will boost the inclusive growth of the country and further bring major changes in the consumer electronic and domestic manufacturing segment.”

Mr. Amit Dhakad, Co-Founder, CEO, CTO of Market Pulse, said, “The announcement of the budget for FY 21-22 left us with a lot to look forward to. Specifically, for startups- extension of tax holiday forby a year coupled with the approval to incorporate one-person companies unaccompanied by any restriction on the paid-up capital is a welcome change that can encourage the startup ecosystem. The plan for a world class Fin-Tech hub looks promising & it will be interesting to see the implementation. Doubtless, its establishment can be a crucial change for developments around the Indian FinTech space and connecting it to global advancements. In terms of markets, considering the dynamism and various features of the securities markets, the proposal towards launching a unified securities markets code along with the Government Securities Act, 2007 would assist in efficient and smooth functioning of the securities markets. SEBI regulated Gold Exchange in India is a step in the right direction and many countries like Turkey (Istanbul Gold Exchange) & China (Shanghai Gold Exchange) have shown that recycled gold discovers its correct value through a regulated exchange, eventually lowering the Gold import bill which will largely assist India in containing its fiscal deficit. Additionally, this will attract more hedgers into the gold futures market indirectly and increase the liquidity of the contracts.”

Mr. Ajay Piramal, Chairman, Piramal Group, said, “I would like to commend the Finance Minister for a well-balanced and realistic Union Budget 2021-22 designed to put India’s ongoing business cycle recovery on a much more solid foundation. The Budget’s high focus on public capital expenditure, relaxing fiscal deficit targets and concrete plans to support financial markets through recapitalisation of public sector banks, and an asset reconstruction company for bad loans will provide the necessary impetus to restore economic growth. While the Budget is cognizant of the country’s immediate economic needs, it also lays out a medium term vision of 3-5 years. Furthermore, the introduction of a Development Finance Institution (DFI) to fund long term projects will complement the high focus on infrastructure. With banks remaining evasive towards long term institutional exposures, the DFI is expected to ensure availability of credit for projects with long gestation periods.”

Mr. Abdul Rashid, Head- Accounts and Finance, STEMROBO Technologies, STEM Education company for K-12 students, said, “In the Union Budget, to promote Startup – announcement of Incorporation of One Person Company, Easing of Definition of Small Company from the point of view Corporate Law Compliance are a welcome step. Innovation & R&D will get a boost by allocating National Regional Foundation (NRF) a sum of 50000 Cr and boost Innovation Culture in startups. Announcement of Non-Auditing of Income Tax till 10 Cr. and allowing Startups to claim IT Exemption and Capital Gains for 1 more Year will ease the Compliance Burden of Startups and help in raising more funds. NEP (New Education Policy) has been given a thrust in the budget. The plan to set up 15000 Pilot Schools as a showcase for NEP, which can be exemplary for other schools, is a welcome step and will lead to promoting NEP in the School Ecosystem. Tribal School-Eklavya Schools with newer allocation – in tribal areas will spur further development of education in tribal areas. Allocation of the National Apprenticeship Scheme for 3000 Cr and increasing the contours of it will benefit companies. Innovation & R&D will get a boost by allocating National Regional Foundation (NRF) a sum of 50000 Cr for the next 6 Years. Research and Innovation Ecosystem to get a substantial growth.”

Mr. Khadim Batti, CEO and co-founder, Whatfix, said, “The extension of the tax holiday and capital gains exemptions for investments made in startups by a year is a welcome move. While this will go a long way in boosting investments in startups, some form of tax rebates for employees would have been a greater benefit. Employees who join startups at various stages of growth bet on them by accepting more equity and less cash in terms of compensation. Due to this, additional benefits with respect to ESOP taxation would have facilitated a larger flow of skilled talent to startups, as the majority are still attracted to multinationals and large corporations. Further, the revised definition of small companies by increasing their threshold for paid up capital by four-fold and that for turnover by ten-fold, will greatly ease the compliance requirements for companies. We also expect that the MCA21 Version 3.0 enabled by data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning will ease regulatory filings for startups. Also, the new one person companies (OPCs) move will boost entrepreneurship in the country and improve ease of doing business. While the announcements have been encouraging, we would have welcomed further simplification and clarity on startups taxes which have proved to be a challenge for the sector especially in recent times.”

Mr. Prateek Mehta, Co-founder and Chief Business Officer of Scripbox, said, “The Budget is a promising and positive one in the current context, though the fine print has yet to be evaluated. There is a clear intent of push for public health and a desire to incentivise job creation as seen through initiatives. This will have a positive impact on the economic activity and has already been received positively by the markets. The government has taken some key steps to encourage and incentivise individual investors to participate in the markets. The decision about the arrival of advance tax liability only after declaration of dividends is a very welcome move for investors. No filing requirements for Senior citizens is an encouraging sign of where things can go for citizens with simple income streams. ARCs for stressed debt assets will also help financial institutions improve their balance sheets. This will improve the health of the financial sector. The proposed investor charter that cuts across regulators can simplify on-boarding and improve access while protecting the interests of the investors. Raising the FDI cap in insurance to 74% is a very positive move. We do need FDI in this critical sector to improve penetration and product innovation. The FM has also proposed extension of tax holiday for startups by one more year, which is much needed for the growth and recovery of startups, in the wake of COVID recovery. This will help the startups in getting back their confidence. There is a lot to take home from this budget as it lays down the ground for future value creation in the economy. It was a tough but a well managed balancing act.”

Mr. Jitendra Nayyar, CFO, ACKO Insurance, said, “Insurance industry in India is growing at a great pace. With the penetration levels being low, there is a large headroom for growth. However, growth also comes with higher solvency requirements. An increase in the FDI cap from 49% to 74% will enable insurance companies / insurtechs to invest for growth across areas such as technology, innovative products, strengthening distribution etc. This move also provides a huge opportunity for global investors who have been looking forward to enhanced participation in the growing insurance sector in India.”

Janani Viswanathan, VP, Strategy and Planning, ACKO Insurance, said, “The pandemic has reminded us yet again of the importance of a robust healthcare ecosystem. That the government is planning to set up 17,000 rural and 11,000 urban health and wellness centres is a welcome move. Increase in total health spends by 137% totalling to 2.23 lakhs will enable better access to quality care.”

Mr. Jai Dhar Gupta, Founder and CEO of Nirvana Being, said, “As an environmentalist and air pollution activist, I have to mention that I am disappointed by the reduced allocation for Clean Air. Air pollution is a far greater public health emergency than COVID; while COVID claimed 1.5 lakh lives in 2020, air pollution is responsible for about 18 lakh lives across India. However, I do want to highlight other things in the budget that will impact the environment positively such as the voluntary vehicle scrapping policy, plans for 100% electrification of broad rail routes, the Urban Swachh Bharat Mission, Ujjwala Scheme and allocation for waste management to reduce plastic waste.”

Mr. Ashish P. Dhakan, MD & CEO, Prama Hikvision India Pvt. Ltd., said, “The Union Budget FY 2021-22 is a transformative budget with positive resolve for India to grow further with a vision of the AtmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyan that compliments the ‘Make-in-India’ initiative of the Government. AtmaNirbhar Bharat is an expression of 130 crore Indians, who have full confidence in their capabilities and skills. The Union Budget has identified the six pillars of Atmanirbhar Bharat’s vision. On behalf of Prama Hikvision, we welcome the progressive and visionary budget and look forward to economic growth and stability. The budget has sincere intent to provide momentum to strengthen local manufacturing capabilities. The Production Linked Incentive scheme (PLI) is a welcome move by the government. The review of the customs duty structure is clearly seen as a move towards promoting domestic manufacturing. We hope that the review of the custom duty structure will be done after extensive consultation with the key stakeholders. The move to strengthen the overall research ecosystem to boost innovation and R&D in the country, an outlay of Rs 50,000 crore, is being announced for the National Research Foundation. It is a big step for accelerating innovation and R&D in India. The budget clearly shows the government’s mega thrust on developing Infrastructure, Road Transport, Waterways, Airports, Railway, Metro Rail, ‘MetroLite’ and ‘MetroNeo’. It is commendable for its inclusive growth agenda, overall a gradual step toward Atmanirbhar Bharat.”

Mr. Ramananda SG, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Pearson India, said, “Education Budget 2021 presented by Nirmala Sitharaman, Finance Minister of India today concentrated on effective implementation of National Education Policy (NEP), Research & Development and upskilling. the budget highlighted some of the initiatives such as the development of National Professional Standards for Teachers, CBSE board exams to test students on their conceptual clarity and analytical skills, academic collaboration with foreign higher educational institutions and setting-up of Higher Education Commission of India. The announcement towards building the research ecosystem in collaboration and Training Inter Training Programme (TITP) with countries like Japan will enhance teaching, learning and transfer skills among learners. I am confident that ‘The Apprenticeship Act’ by the government will improve opportunities for students further helping them to progress and become employable. Skill development has been crucial and the collaboration with United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a significant step as it that will set the criteria for skill qualifications, assessment and certification. Under the National Education Policy, government proposed to strengthen 15000 schools initially for its implementation across the country, which will set the foundation for the new-age education system of 21st century. All eyes are on its execution to bring about deeper transformational shift and accomplishing the objectives of inclusive and excellent education system. We are very optimistic that these moves shall yield high impact results.”

Mr. Krishna Kumar, Founder and CEO of Simplilearn, said, “Post 2020, we have witnessed the role of technology taking center stage, opening new job opportunities and increasing the demand for a technically skilled workforce. The government’s decision of introducing post-education apprenticeship with an investment of over Rs.3,000 crore towards the skilling of engineering graduates, diploma holders, etc. is definitely a forward-looking proposition aligned with improving employment opportunities for students pursuing different disciplines. However, it would have been encouraging if the government had introduced a reduction on GST for online education services, with learners and teachers alike taking to online skilling programs in view of the demands of the “New Normal”. Another highlight of the Union Budget 2021 is the extension of social security benefits for gig employees. COVID-19 accelerated the growth of India’s gig economy, giving rise to a new genre of employment and employees. All the initiatives announced by the Government of India today, are signs of building a new India for the generations to follow.”

Mr. Prateek Shukla, CEO and Co-founder of Masai School, said, “With rapid digitization and online learning defining the days ahead, technology is set to be the prime job creator. The Union Budget 2021 has introduced useful propositions in line with enabling a technically skilled future workforce. The government’s investment towards a robust framework which includes the skilling and upskilling of engineering graduates, diploma holders, and an enhanced focus towards technical skilling of non-science students will aid in paving the path in creating a job-ready workforce in the “New Normal”. However, it would have been advantageous if the Government introduced amendments with regards to the GST cut from 18% to 5% for edtech products, benefitting both learners and edtech companies.”

Mr. Prateek Kanwal, Co-Founder, Kautilya School of Public Policy, said, “The year 2021 has brought in new hope among the people of India as 2020 robbed the country of its basic needs and the education sector suffered the worst fate due to COVID-19. Primary education had to be tended to and our Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman has paid close attention to this aspect in this year’s Union Budget. Bolstering the quality of primary and higher schooling, Sitaraman has announced more than 15,000 schools under the National Education Policy along with 100 new Sainik Schools. By setting up 750 Eklavya residential school in tribal areas, the minister has allowed for upliftment of students under SC&ST section. From Proposing the foundation of a Central University in Leh to a Higher Education Commission for accreditation and regular funding of Colleges and Universities, the budget has proved to be a boon for academia this fiscal year. Going big on funding and budgetary allocations, it will be interesting to inculcate a stronger sense of schooling in students across all sections of the economy. It is of great pride to see the research ecosystem being adhered to as well.”

Mr. Harshil Mathur, CEO & Co-founder of Razorpay, said, “2020 saw an 80% increase in digital payments, especially from Tier 2 & 3 cities, and the Gov. has understandably focussed on capitalising on this momentum and incentivising the adoption of digital payments for the year ahead. I believe the 1500 Cr. incentive announced will open a plethora of opportunities for Fintechs to innovate for the new normal, leading to large scale adoption even in the smallest of towns and villages. I’m hoping the funds will be used towards developing alternatives to Zero MDR policy and initiatives towards bringing digital financial literacy in vernacular languages. These will instil trust in the system and accelerate adoption from MSMEs and entrepreneurs who are apprehensive towards moving money digitally. Fintech in India has grown more in the last ten months than in the last two years, thanks to young Startups who’ve built tailored solutions and addressed markets never served before. And so, easing the norms around setting up of One-Person Companies (OPC), without any restrictions on paid-up capital and turnover, is a good step towards removing barriers to innovation amongst startups. Also, the 1-year extension towards capital gains exemption will provide additional tax relief for startups, enabling ease-of-doing-business in this new order and allowing small businesses to prosper.”

Mr. Akash Gehani, Co-Founder & COO, Instamojo, said, “The announcements made by the Finance Minister towards the further development of digital payments in India, as part of the Union Budget 2021 are indeed positive. In fact, the allocation of Rs.1500 crore for digital payments is a welcome move, but it is too early to comment on the same. What we should be looking forward to is the implementation of the same. While the funds have been announced it is still unclear how these budgets allocation is going to be used for the benefit.”

Mr. Prajodh Rajan, Co-Founder & Group CEO, EuroKids International, said, “The education sector has found a prominent place in this year’s Union Budget, given the large scale impact the pandemic has had on it. With an aim to move India towards an Atmanirbhar Bharat, this year the focus is on rolling out the NEP and its elements across schools. The Digital First Mindset will take blended learning further so that students can continue their learning paths. Teacher training and a toy based learning pedagogy will help strengthen the sector and take us ahead on the learning curve.”

Dr. Anand Bansal, Medical Director at Action Group of Hospitals, said, “Amid COVID 19 pandemic the sudden and unprecedented changes the world had to go through, this budget was keenly awaited especially for the announcements in regards to the health sector. Healthcare is certainly a top priority of this budget as 137% hike in health & wellness budget has been announced. Our health sector needs more expenditure and infrastructure development. With the announcement of PM Atmanirbhar Health Yojana worth around Rs. 64000 crore we are certainly going to witness more inclusive growth in our healthcare in upcoming years, which is full of challenges in the current scenario. Also the amount of Rs. 35000 crore announced for COVID 19 vaccine will strengthen this fight against pandemic. As per health concerns this budget is satisfactory and full of vision, considering the challenges our healthcare is facing, things will surely need time to reflect results on a larger scale.”

Cdr Navneet Bali, Regional Director, Northern India, Narayana Health, said, “The Union Budget this year has clearly announced the paradigm shift in the way we look at the health and wellness in our country. From 137% increase in healthcare budget allocation to Rs. 64180 crore spending in next 6 years towards the ‘PM Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana, this is a movement towards making our country more aware about wellness and ensuring that our citizens are more productive. When a country has more productive and healthy citizens it manifests into everything that we do and this budget typically has shown a direction towards how we are headed in the next five to 10 years. Setting up of health and wellness centres in rural and urban India, having integrated public health labs, having a nationwide Pneumococcal vaccine which will prevent deaths of over 50000 children to the announcement of Rs. 35000 crore towards vaccines, I think these are very important and critical steps towards that direction. Along with that thinking about clean air missions in 42 urban areas with a million plus population, setting up of critical care hospital blocks 602 districts in India; I think these all are very important steps which will strengthen our healthcare. I think this budget points out that along with spending on treating illness it is also better for the country to work towards wellness and make the citizens healthy and productive. In that way I think this is an extraordinary and great Budget.”

Mr. Ganesh Raju, Founder & CEO Ken42 said, “Budget 2021 is growth-oriented and presents a lot for the industry to look forward to as the country recovers from the pandemic. At 600 million, the youth comprise more than half of our population, and the budget has included announcements to improve their lives and education, as well as the future of the nation. The announcement to strengthen 15,000 schools as part of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 will be a major fillip to the quality of school education. The proposal to start an apprenticeship and embedded degree and diploma courses for students in non-science and technology streams in 150 higher education institutes by March 2021 will increase the available opportunities to students for upskilling and employment. It’s also likely to open up more opportunities for edtech companies to collaborate with the government education sector. It can be expected that the edtech companies that form a part of the MSME sector will benefit from the allocation of Rs 15700 crore that has been provided for improving the sector and industry. The move will generate a lot of employment opportunities as well.”

Mr. Samir Sathe, Executive Vice President, Wadhwani Advantage at Wadhwani Foundation, said, ” The current budget has a thrust on globalising supply chains in manufacturing and increased investment in hard infrastructure, which together is a welcome step for SMEs, albeit indirectly and with a lag, since the SMEs will need to experience on the benefits of such investments only in the latter part of 2021 or 2022. I am hopeful and happy about the changes on the healthcare, which is an important area for India, for the Foundation and for the Advantage program. The key is in its implementation. Also. the act of increasing the threshold limits of the small company definitions is symbolic not fundamentally disruptive. While this will make more companies beneficiaries of the sops and concessions that the government has with a view to protect them, this does not change fundamental competitiveness of the small companies unless they build management capabilities to address and make the best use of the concessions or protection they will enjoy. It is like offering more playground without skilling the players how to win. I was hopeful of deeper, capability building budgetary changes for them.”

Mr. Sunil Dahiya, Executive Vice President, Wadhwani Opportunity at Wadhwani Foundation, said, “The proposed amendment of the Apprenticeship Act in the. Budget has the potential to reboot and revitalize our education and training systems with a view to further enhance apprenticeship opportunities for our youth. Apprenticeship could be the best model to skill India’s blue-collar workforce as it will transform the student into a fully-trained industry executive with real-time exposure to shop-floor dynamics. It will not just enhance employability and reduce joblessness, but from an employer perspective, it will lead to improved skills, productivity and professionalism.”

Ratna Mehta, Executive Vice President, Wadhwani Catalyst Fund at Wadhwani Foundation, said, “This is a budget of hope, a wand of positivity. This was a critical budget in the face of exceptionally difficult circumstances. A lot of hopes were pinned on the budget to pull the economy back to normalcy. FM was walking a tight rope of managing the deficits and boosting the economy. But she seems to have saved the day, increased the spending to boost employment and thereby consumption, which is a great move and need of the hour. Also, healthcare needed support where she has increased the allocation significantly. Startups will benefit from the tax exemptions and focus on digitisation, especially the startups in healthcare, logistics, education who will see increased growth opportunities. The corporate sector was spared cess and tax increases which will let the recovery continue undisturbed. To sum up, the budget of hope seems to be doing the right things, now the devil will be in the details and execution.”

Mr. Nitin Potdar, Partner J. Sagar Associates, said, “An allocation of 3,002.21 crores to skill development ministry and its various programmes is a welcome step but not sure whether that’s enough given the current pandemic and need to create a digital infrastructure for education. Higher Education Commission, an Umbrella body to regulate education, is a welcome step and hopefully would provide clarity and ease for educational institutions to introduce multiple academic programs. However, there is a disappointment due to no relief from the burdensome 18% GST on Edtech industry which is doing a massive job of educating our next generation.”

Mr. Prateep Sen, Co-CEO & Founder, TriBeCa Care, said, “We are pleased to see the immense focus of the budget in improving India’s healthcare infrastructure (incl 64,180 cr spend over the next 6 years around preventive, curative, and overall well being of the population). At TriBeCa we have experienced our members facing issues as a result of income tax filing, and believe that the initiative of the Govt to exempt senior citizens from filing income tax (ITR) for senior citizens will be very much welcome.”

Mr. Tamojit Dutta, Co-CEO & Founder, TriBeCa Care, said, “The FM had to accommodate many interest groups in this COVID budget and she has done well. For example the 137% increase in health & wellness spends is truly welcome, though the specifics will be as important as the headline number. Support for Covid vaccination will be certainly important for senior citizens, who are the most vulnerable category. Some exemptions on IT filing for senior citizens have also been announced. However, beyond that there is limited support for the elderly. Not much focus on higher interest income or cheaper health insurance. So senior citizens remain trapped in a low interest rate, high inflation environment. This is challenging for those who mostly depend on interest income from savings and are worried about galloping health expenses not adequately covered by a generous insurance scheme.”

Mr. Amit Saraogi, Managing Director, Anmol Feeds Pvt Ltd., said, “Budget 2021 was indeed one of the most awaited announcement in recent times as it became evident as a harbinger for the revival of the economy. Union Budget 2021 has been a holistic, progressive and planned one that aims to take India forward towards a new socio-economic resurgence over the next decade. The Financial bill encompasses equitable and appropriate attention to the vital pillars of development such as healthcare, education, physical and financial capital, agriculture, infrastructure, inclusive development for aspirational India, reinvigorating human capital, innovation and R&D. The focus on the agriculture sector as expected has been satisfactory with key action points such as 1,000 more agricultural mandis integrated with e-National Agriculture Market being proposed. the rising government spending for purchasing grains and pulses at support prices, with an aim to further strengthen the state-regulated markets, or APMCs is noteworthy. Government’s Agricultural credit target attuned to INR 16.5 lakh crores in FY22 is a welcome move. This will also encourage the farmers to invest more which will only contribute positively towards the growth of the country. Focus on ensuring increased credit flows to animal husbandry, dairy, and fisheries is something we had been advocating. The budget had nothing specific related to animal husbandry. MSP should have also been fixed for the poultry industry so that farmers did not get affected by the fluctuating market. Increasing allocation to the Rural Development Fund is a constructive move towards boosting of the rural economy and increasing employment opportunities. Development of modern fishing harbours and fish landing centres, along the banks of rivers and waterways will further bolster the fisheries sector which holds tremendous potential. We also welcome the increase in duty in fish and shrimp feed. Hon’ble Finance Minister has rightly put forth the need to improve agricultural infrastructure in the country in order to boost output of the sector. For seamless supply chain and logistics, the focus on rail and road infrastructure especially, freight corridors will enhance competitiveness of Indian agriculture sector by lowering the cost of transportation and better connectivity between production and consumption markets, not just domestic but also globally. Overall the budget leaves room for optimism but left the poultry sector in a lurch.”

Ms. Charu Noheria, Co-Founder & COO, Practically, said, “The budget for FY 2021-22 has been a balanced one. The decision to strengthen the education sector as per National Education Policy, has certainly been one of the highlights of the Union Budget 2021. We welcome the government’s move to set up a Higher Education Commission of India and its plans to integrate nine cities, including Hyderabad, our home market, under an umbrella structure for higher education institutions to allow for better synergy among them. Also, the government’s decision to extend the tax holiday by one more year, to March 2022 along with capital gains exemption will help India’s startup ecosystem deal with the pandemic blues.”

Mr. Sohinder Gill, Director General, Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles, said, “We thank the Hon’ble Finance Minister for announcing the Scrappage policy, which would help in encouraging the adoption of greener vehicles. Though we are awaiting more details on the policy but hope that it would be designed in such a way that would automatically push the adoption of electric vehicles. For Clean Air, setting aside an amount of `2,217 crores for 42 urban centres with a million-plus population is a good move. The fund could be utilized to spread awareness about the benefits of using e-vehicles for the environment and its contribution to make the air clean. The government’s plan for strengthening the public transport sector under PPP models with an outlay of Rs 18000 crores for operating 20000 buses is encouraging for the EV industry. The scheme could strengthen the EV industry if more number of e-buses could be supported through the scheme. We urge the government to mandate procurement of E-Buses under the scheme which would help us fight the issue of air pollution.”

Mr. Harish Manian, CEO, MGM Healthcare, said, “We are delighted to note that the budget session was introduced with the announcement of increase in the healthcare budget by 137%. The government’s holistic approach to healthcare will help in creating awareness on preventive healthcare. post-pandemic Learning from the recent pandemic, the move to establish more number of critical care blocks in Hospitals and strengthening of primary, secondary and tertiary care is a much need move by the Government. The launch of Misision Poshan 2.0 is a commendable move to prevent over 50,000 child deaths annually. Coupled with initiatives like clean water, clean air and clean environment, it will act as a binding force to achieve a universal health coverage. Detection of new and emerging diseases like COVID have been given the right impetus and will encourage all-round development and preparedness towards a progressive and safe future.”

Prof Mahadeo Jaiswal, Director, IIM Sambalpur, said, “Since the last Budget, the size of India’s economy has reduced from Rs 2.24 lakh crore nominal GDP to Rs 1.94 lakh crore. There has been lower-than-budgeted revenue growth and higher expenditure to tackle the negative impact of the pandemic. The very fact that Hon’ble Finance Minister delivered her budget speech with the help of a ‘Made in India’ tab to deliver India’s first paperless Budget address, accentuates the move from traditional to modern, yet keeping the essence alive. Overall Budget 2021 has been constructive considering the economy is in the revival mode. After a year of economic contraction, the Union Budget rightly focused on capital expenditure which was much needed. It needed to be more investment oriented rather than an income generating one. Laying emphasis on development of infrastructure across the country was essential to contribute to the growth and create employment. Boosting the healthcare infrastructure is a welcome move as there was a yawning gap and a 130% jump in provision for the sector bears testimony to the fact that health of the nation is a priority. Privatisation of the public sector banks will increase efficiency in the banking sector and help in funds reducing NPAs. The MSME sector also required heightened allocations as this sector can help India reach its full potential. I am glad Hon’ble Finance Minister doubled the allocation to this sector. Tax holidays and incentives given to start-ups will also bolster progress for the country and reinvigorate vocal for local. Focus on the manufacturing, automobile sector was much needed because India’s core strength lies in these sectors. Automobile sector has been reeling under low demand and INR 5.54 trillion infusion in developing infrastructure around the country, which is expected to boost the demand for heavy and medium commercial vehicles is a welcome move. Overall Budget 2021-22 has the much needed financial impetus to augment India in becoming a $5 Trillion-dollar economy. From Education standpoint, as was predicted, this Budget has also stressed upon the implementation of NEP 2020 with the setting up of new educational institutions across the country, in the remote corners and focusing on strengthening the quality of education in existing schools. The setting up of the Higher Education Commission will also add a structural reform and streamline the higher education scenario of the country. Allocation of funds towards upskilling of the youth was an imperative. As Hon’ble Finance Minister rightly mentioned, channelization of the skill of our youth is of utmost importance which can fillip our economic development. The learning that we received from the pandemic has also been properly implemented by earmarking funds to support the research ecosystem of our country. This can create more job opportunities and reduce dependency on other countries. Setting up of the National Digital Educational Architecture (NDEAR) is a positive step. However, some more stress had to put on the development of digital infrastructure of the country for the implementation of NEP 2020 and mitigating the challenges institutions are facing in remote learning. A substantial step towards lessening the digital gap that exists would have helped make the education sector become future ready.”

Mr. K. Satyanarayana, Co-founder & Director, Ecom Express, said, “We are encouraged to see the government’s commitment towards ensuring smooth logistics services by creating an outlay budget for national highway projects to the tune of Rs 1.18 lakh crore of 8,500 km by March 2022 and an additional 11,000 km of National Highway Corridor. This impetus given to Infrastructure and Logistics industries, being the backbone of the economy, will help give a solid and much needed boost to the economy, especially post the global health pandemic related situation. In particular, we welcome the continued focus of a digital India with the introduction of a Rs 1,500 crore-scheme on digital payment which will help smoothen the customer interface for logistics companies like us. We also feel heartened to see the government’s efforts to allow women to work in all categories with adequate protection and the introduction of minimum wages. This will definitely help encourage more women come on board in Logistics sectors across categories as the government has also introduced social security benefits for gig and platform workers. This will augment our current initiatives in this direction for more diversity and inclusion.’’

Mr. Kshitish Nadgauda, Senior Vice President | Managing Director – Asia, Louis Berger, said, “As the backbone of any economy, impetus to infrastructure is one of the key tools to give the economy a solid boost. It is one of the surest ways for an economic rebound, especially after the global health crisis which has slowed down and crippled many economies. Infrastructure has been a key focus area of the government. It was therefore encouraging to see it amongst the top 2 pillars of the Budget for FY21-22 as announced earlier today by the Honourable Finance Minister, Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman. In particular, we welcome the focus on continued investment in the development of urban mass transit (Metro Rail) projects in India. Such mass transit projects are vital to realize multiple benefits such as reduction in air pollution, time saving for commuters, reduction in accidents, reduction in traffic congestion, fuel savings, etc. The announcement of the central fiscal funding for Metro Rail projects showcases the government’s continued focus on Metro connectivity. We welcome this move and believe that this will lead to building safe, world-class transportation facilities which would be availed of by the common man. We also welcome the proposals of the continued development of Economic Corridors. These road and highway projects will boost the economy by creating thousands of jobs that are much needed during these times and attracting greater investment along the corridors because of the improved infrastructure. Additionally, the soon to be tabled bill on DFI (Development Financial Institution) is a much awaited step which will provide funding to construction in the Infrastructure sector. Additionally, we welcome the announcement of the new 11,000 km of proposed roads and highways in the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam and West Bengal. We would urge similar investment in other states.”

Mr. Rishi Chandiok, Regional Director (South Asia) QNET Ltd., said, “The budget announced today is in line with the expectations and rightly focuses on the health and wellbeing of the nation recovering from the pandemic. We believe that the policy reforms announced by the Finance Minister will help boost the economy. Steps taken towards Aatmanirbhar Bharat, local manufacturing, employment generation, will help boost economic activity. We also appreciate the Government’s vision to announce a new centrally sponsored scheme, PM Aatmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana which will be launched with an outlay of about 64,180 crores over 6 years. Aatmanirbhar Bharat is a viewpoint of 130 crores Indians who have full assurance in their capabilities and skills. As a leading direct selling company, we believe that the entrepreneurship has always been in our country’s DNA. The recently announced “Vocal for Local” initiative that encourages local businesses and products to strive for international standards of quality and service, will further boost the entrepreneurial spirit among the young and upcoming entrepreneurs.”

Mr. K Paul Thomas, MD and CEO of ESAF Small Finance Bank, said, “The budget is a progressive one that could tackle the economic challenges. Happy to see the focus on sectors like health and wellbeing, inclusive development, innovation and R&D. Focus on Swach Bharath 2.0 and Swasth Bharath is a welcome idea that would complement the focus on health measures. The idea of a Development Finance Institution is another good move as a provider, enabler and catalyst for infrastructure financing. Initiatives like textile parks and modern fishing harbors could encourage MSMEs and mobilize employment opportunities. The focus on rural areas through farmer welfare schemes like an extension of agriculture credit targets, Ujjwala scheme, and support to migrant laborers through one nation one ration card scheme is truly appreciable. Less compliance to small companies through 2 cr capital and 20 cr turnover is a move that can accelerate the revival of MSMEs. There is a visible thrust on innovation and digital transformation through policies like faceless IT Appellate Tribunal, fintech hub, scrapping of vehicles, etc. All these measures can potentially facilitate a reset of the economy. Closer to home, support extended to Kerala for highways and metros can contribute significantly to the infrastructure development of the state. Also, the Product-Linked Incentive scheme can attract global players in the manufacturing sector. Developing capacities of primary, secondary, and tertiary healthcare will augment the infrastructure of rural India. Funds of 2500 cr allocated to solar and renewable energy was another futuristic move. The move to hike the FDI limit in insurance is likely to increase capital and could boost a potential segment. Infusion of 20000 cr to PSBs compounded with Asset reconstruction and management Company for Stressed Assets could revive the economy as a whole. This could strengthen the state-owned banks and hasten the process of clean-up of their balance sheet. Education policy to strengthen rural education, Reduction of the tax burden to senior citizens, etc is also other notable and welcome initiatives. An increase in cash transfer under PM_Kisan was expected but was not mentioned in the budget.”

Mr. Sumit Rai, MD & CEO, Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance, said, “Budget FY22 lays a heavy emphasis on protecting lives and livelihood, charting out a clear roadmap for spurring structural demand. The increase in FDI limit in insurance sector is a welcome move, which will open growth opportunities for the sector. Insurance, inherently, is an upfront capital-intensive business with a long gestation period. So, this move will enable the sector to play a bigger role in capital formation and channelise that capital for long term growth. Given the patient nature of its investments, life insurance sector will also support the country’s infrastructure and consequently spur economic growth. Today’s announcement, coupled with the recent hike in FDI limit in insurance intermediaries, shows government’s clear intent to provide a gradual and holistic support to the sector.”

Mr. Ashwath Ram, Managing Director, Cummins India, said, “At first glance, it appears to be a progressive budget. There is a focus on the socio-economic development of the country with an emphasis on Railways, the Power sector, infrastructure, healthcare, and enhanced digital connectivity. The voluntary policy on the scrapping of vehicles will have a positive impact and will drive the commercial vehicle and auto sector forward, the industry wanted an incentive-based scheme so we are still seeing the details. In addition, MSMEs and other user industries have been severely affected by the recent sharp rise in iron and steel prices. The industry will definitely receive a push by the decision to double the allocation of MSME and reduce the customs duty on some of the steel products. The focus on highways and the infrastructure investment plan will definitely give the necessary impetus to the CV and construction equipment businesses.”

Mr. Farrokh Cooper, Chairman & MD, Cooper Corporation Pvt. Ltd., said, “Budget 2021 is optimistic, driving the country towards Aatmanirbhar Bharat by putting significant stress on Railways, Power sector, infrastructure healthcare, banking, insurance, and agriculture, which will not only enable the country to revive its economy but will also stimulate growth. Voluntary policy on the scrapping of vehicles would have a positive effect and will move the commercial and automobile industries ahead. The industry would definitely be encouraged by the decision to double the allocation of MSME and to reduce the customs duty on steel. Focusing on highways and the investment plan would certainly give the CV and construction equipment the requisite impetus. The government’s increased focus on the infrastructure sector will certainly bring in positive impact.”

Mr. Vikas Bajaj, President, AIFI(Association of Indian Forging Industry), said, “This year’s Union budget is positive, as well as a progressive one with a strong drive towards the country’s socio-economic growth. It focuses on the Railways, Power, Health Infrastructure, Banking, Insurance and Agriculture sectors. Voluntary policy on the scrapping of vehicles will definitely have a positive effect and will drive the commercial and automotive industries forward. Furthermore, a recent sharp rise in iron and steel prices has affected MSMEs and other user industries severely. The positive step of reduction in customs duty uniformly to 7.5% on semis, flat, and long products of non-alloy, alloy, and stainless steels would certainly contribute to better raw material prices and reduced input costs. Also, no new corporate tax has been added which is positive news as it is a tough time for the industry. The increased government attention on the highways and infrastructure sector would definitely contribute to a significant impact on the manufacturing and Auto industry and help in employment generation which is the most critical need to revive the economy.”

Mr. Rahul Raj, Founder & CEO at FloBiz | Building for Growth, Building for Bharat, said, “I’d like to commend the government on presenting a comprehensive budget that aims to address some of the most important aspects of how we can build a resilient economy, especially in light of the global pandemic. The budget was clearly pro-growth, pro-technology, pro-infrastructure and also had an earmarked place for improving healthcare in our country. The initiatives announced will certainly aid economic recovery, whether that’s through capital infusion, change in taxation norms, programs for promoting domestic manufacturing or development of relevant infrastructure – these will create large opportunities for the MSMEs and is a right step in the direction of building an “Aatmanirbhar Bharat.”

Mr. T Chitty Babu, Chairman and CEO, Akshaya Pvt Ltd., said, “We congratulate Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman on budget speech in the Parliament today. We welcome the move in launching a portal to maintain information on gig workers and construction workers. This could help in monitoring the health and also in providing the benefits. We also welcome the major proposal about boosting the road, rail and airport infrastructure for a robust public transport. This will ease the mobility and now people will also think about property investments outside the city. This budget allocation towards pubic transport will definitely reduce the air pollution resulting in a healthy and peaceful living. Government’s decision to extend eligibility of erstwhile tax sop on home loan up to FY22 and the proposal that affordable housing projects can avail tax holiday for one more year can ease financial constraints on the real estate developers. It will certainly boost the real estate sector and accelerate it towards the growth wave. Homebuyers can expect a slew of options in the coming quarters as developers get the due support from the financial institutions as well as the government.”

Mr. Ratul Puri, Chairman, Hindustan Power, said, “The thrust of the Budget is on reviving the economy. It is positive and refreshing in its scope and scale. All the announcements are forward looking and will put India back on the growth trajectory. The announcement of ₹3.05 trillion package for discoms is encouraging and will reform the ailing power distribution sector. Prime Minister Narendra Modi government’s focus on improving financial health of state power utilities will ensure consumers get more choices as it will promote competition, reliable power supplies and make sector attractive to foreign investors, besides giving overall boost to the industry. The Budget has also given a boost to non-conventional energy sector by allocating Rs 1,000 crore to solar energy corporation and Rs 1,500 to renewable energy development agency. It is a welcome move.”

Mr. Sumanta Kar, Senior Deputy National Director of SOS Children’s Villages Of India, said, “This is just the right budget for the welfare of women and children as the Finance Minister has focused on increasing household income of farmers; strengthening the healthcare infrastructure, and promoting women’s participation in the workforce, which are some of the key enablers of an equitable and knowledge society. Besides the Budget has given the much-needed impetus to the implementation of the new National Education Policy. The attention to such key areas of development is crucial for every child to have the opportunity to grow into a contributing and responsible citizen. In the wake of the pandemic-led disruptions the need for ensuring social security, protection of livelihoods, and creating economic opportunities for women, and youth cannot be overlooked or overstated. Hence, it is heartening to see the importance this Budget has given to doubling farmers’ income, and opportunities for youth to learn vocational skills and become either employable or turn into entrepreneurs. Rs 3000 crores is earmarked for this skilling initiative. And for the first time, the government is spelling out social security benefits to gig and platform workers. A bold and commendable move is to set minimum wages for all categories of workers. Timely policy intervention is to allow women to work in night shifts with adequate protection and to simplify the compliance procedures in this regard. This will increase the participation of women in the workforce. When these measures are implemented, the household income of many vulnerable families will increase – and the risk of the children of these families losing parental care will come down to that extent. The Finance Minister has laid out a Rs 64,180 crore spending plan for healthcare over the next six years to strengthen primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare. The Budget envisages the setting up of about 17,000 rural and 11,000 urban health and wellness centres. There will be integrated public health labs, the importance of which is profoundly felt during the pandemic, in each district. In addition, there will be over 3,380 block public health units across 11 states. Mission POSHAN 2.0 will strengthen nutritional content, delivery & outcome, as part of an intensified strategy for improving nutritional outcomes in women and children. On the education front, we get the feeling that several laudable proposals of the new Education Policy are going to take off sooner than expected. The government has demonstrated its commitment to qualitatively strengthen over 15,000 schools. It is opening more Sainik Schools and about 750 Eklavya schools for the children of tribal communities. Overall Budget 2021 has left no stone unturned in making sure that societies prosper economically and afford opportunities for the children and the youth to realise their potential.”

Mr. Alok Sharma, CEO and Co-founder, NebulARC, said, “It is very encouraging to see India’s infrastructure getting a big boost in Budget 2021. With the allocation of INR 1,70,000 Cr for transport infrastructure and the move of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to build 60,000 km of highways in the next five years, including 2,500 km of express highways is a welcoming news as it will positively impact freight movement. With the allocation of INR 103 lakh crore across 65 projects including logistics and warehousing- the industry is going to get a major boost this year as well. We also expected the government to introduce technological mandates for logistics networks As this would spur the use of technology in every pocket of the industry and make it more equipped to meet the current demands and future challenges.”

Mr. Joby. C. O., CEO, Dvara KGFS, said, “The Union Budget 2021 has acknowledged the NBFC and cooperatives that are operating in the agricultural credit space. The government’s initiative to bring in mechanisms to monitor the health of financial institutions, to set up Asset Reconstruction Company Limited and Asset Management Company and to safeguard the interest of depositors are welcome steps towards a robust banking mechanism. In addition to this, the increase in agriculture credit target, increased allocation towards MSME sector & increased focus on Migrant Workers & Labourers in the Budget is expected to be highly beneficial for NBFCs and MFIs. Better capital access, improved governance and enhanced lending mechanisms are some of the key focus areas in the budget and this will enable financial institutions to bring in transparency and accountability in the sector. Banking reforms will go a long way in addressing bad loans, capital infusion, development of FinTechs and support for NBFCs. Promotion of digital transactions & continued focus on financial inclusion are two key pillars in the Budget that will outline the financial landscape for the underserved sections in the society.”

Dr. Mona Lisa Bal, Chairperson, KiiT International School, said, “Budget 2021-22 was significant as it was expected to revive the economy after the COVID-19 crisis. Education for All was one of the prime focal areas of the Budget and overall, the announcements made for the sector were positive. The industry was expecting allocations on the implementation of NEP 2020 which has been met to an extent. Emphasis on strengthening the quality of education in schools will benefit students by cementing their primary education and promote growth and knowledge. Setting up of new Sainik schools and Eklavya model residential schools, especially in the remotest parts of the country will further bolster educational development. Upskilling of the youth has become extremely vital in the present scenario. Our youth are our strength and streamlining skill development for them will catalyse a better tomorrow for India. International collaboration on research and development is also a welcome move because the pandemic has made it clear that innovation is the way of the future. Setting up of the National Digital Educational Architecture (NDEAR) Development is a firm steppingstone towards a digital transformation to take the country to newer heights. Upskilling of teachers and training under National Initiative for School Heads and Teachers for Holistic Advancement (NISTHA) will be beneficial to the students and the sector at large. Focus on holistic education, moving away from rote learning to strengthen analytical, conceptual skills of students will foster critical thinking among them which will help in their overall development and learning. It is good to see the Budget focus on the needs of the special children, especially the ones with hearing impairment through standardization of Indian Sign language across the country and development of National and State Curriculum materials for use.”

Ms. Preethaa Ganesh, Vice President, Vels Group of Institutions, Chennai, said, “We acknowledge the initiative taken by the central government to make India as a preferred destination for higher education. Towards the same, the proposal of Ind-SAT comes in as a boon as this will help in boosting the education scenario in India by bringing in more foreign candidates. Enhancing online education by introducing a full-fledged education programmes will majorly benefit the students of deprived section of the society. Increase in apprenticeship embedded degree/diploma courses by March 2021 will result in providing more internship opportunities to fresh engineers thereby creating a wholesome job environment. In addition to this, we feel that the sum allocated for skill development and training of teachers will give us room to create a better work environment and deliver higher quality of education.”

Mr. Aakash Chaudhry, Managing Director, Aakash Educational Services Limited (AESL), said, “Coming in the wake of an ongoing pandemic, the Union Budget 2021-22 is a balanced and progressive Financial Bill that has done a commendable job of paying equal and adequate attention to all the key areas of development such as health and well-being, education, physical and financial capital, infrastructure, inclusive development for aspirational India, reinvigorating human capital, innovation and R&D. The overarching promise and the overall direction set by this visionary budget is minimum government and maximum governance. The Finance Minister has given a big boost to the implementation of the National Education Policy 2019 with several measures. Notable among them is the creation of an ‘umbrella’ structure for central higher education institutions in various cities. This will go a long way in creating standards, monitoring, and ensuring quality of pedagogy in higher education in the country. The government has demonstrated its commitment to qualitatively strengthen over 15,000 schools – as proposed in the new Education Policy. The long term demand for opening more Sainik Schools across the country is finally met with the proposal of setting up 100 such schools across the country. Another highly appreciable move is to allow women to work in night shifts with adequate protection. The government is all for simplifying the compliance for companies in this regard. This is going to pave the way for more participation of women in the workforce in the organized sector and, to that extent, going to serve as an incentive for girls to pursue higher education and enter the world of work after graduation, which is not the case with most of the female graduates today. The announcement to set up 750 Eklavya schools will no doubt speed up the mainstreaming of children from tribal communities, which is the need of the hour. Other measures that will go a long way in scaling up higher education in the country are setting up of the National Language Translation Mission to translate policy-related information that will be available on the internet in regional languages; regional national institutes for virology; amending the Apprenticeship Act and a central University in Leh. Budget 2021 is opening a new chapter in India’s education system and we welcome it wholeheartedly.”

Mr. Jashan Arora, Director at Mastertrust Capital Services, said, “The 2021-22 budget comes amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it is a significant one for Finance Minister. Ms Nirmala Sitharaman’s first budget of the decade doesn’t have much for the common man. While no changes were made to the personal income tax, senior citizens will get an exemption from filing returns. No income tax for those with taxable income below Rs 2.5 lakh. For the startups, she has introduced that the centre will reduce the margin money requirement to 15 percent from 25 percent for schemes under Startup India. There is nothing adverse as far as taxes are concerned. The government has planned to inject about 64,180 Cr over the next 6 years in the health sector under PM “Atma Nirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana”. It is expected to develop the capacities of various health care units under National Health Mission to strengthen existing national institutions, create new institutions, and cater to the detection and cure of new and emerging diseases. The main interventions under the scheme support for 17,788 rural and 11,024 urban Health and Wellness Centers. Setting up integrated public health labs in all districts and 3382 block public health units in 11 states. Expansion of the Integrated Health Information Portal to all States/UTs to connect all public health labs. Also, by setting up of a national institution for One Health, a Regional Research Platform for WHO South East Asia Region, 9 Bio-Safety Level III laboratories and 4 regional National Institutes for Virology. The Government has also shared a plan to divest 2 PSBs and bring in an IPO for LIC. This not only plans to minimise a thrust of Central Government in financial institutions but also opens up new investment space for private sector. Post disinvestment, economic growth of Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs)/ financial institutions will be through infusion of private capital, technology and best management practices. This will contribute to economic growth and new jobs. Disinvestment proceeds to finance various social sector and developmental programmes of the government.”

Mr. Vishal Bhatia, CFO – True Balance, a lending & financial Service platform, authorized by RBI, said, “This Budget makes us optimistic about growth of digital ecosystem. Emphasising on importance of Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics will go a long way in digital governance. To give a further boost to digital transactions, the budget earmarked 1500 crores to promote digital payments. Although we were looking for some positive announcements on digital lending for the regulated entities but could not find any such direct announcement. Nevertheless, all-in-all a positive budget which has vouched for the power of digital, and more so in the post Covid-19 era. “

Mr. Raghav Kansal, Founder & CEO, ET Medialabs, said, “The Finance Minister’s first paperless and crucial budget of the decade turned out well for startups as the Budget made space for easing norms around setting up of One Person Company (OPC) by reducing the residency limit of NRIs from 182 to 120 days. Earlier, only Indian resident citizens were allowed to form one person companies in India. Allowing the relaxation on OPC will be helpful in encouraging solo founders to take the leap into entrepreneurship, will also encourage startups and entrepreneurs to do business in an organized structure that will help them to grow and boost the economy. Additionally, minimizing the tax burden is a strong step forward to support the startup ecosystem. It would have been great if there was a tax rebate on ESOPs as it might be more beneficial in the long run.”

Dr. Sunita Gandhi, Founder of GETI and GCPL, said, “Following the schools shutting down, classroom education shifting to the online space, and introduction of NEP in 2020, there were a lot of expectations from this year’s budget. Announcement about opening 100 new Sainik schools in partnership with NGOs, private schools, and states is a welcoming move that will encourage the sector. Further, allocating Rs 50,000 crore over five years to the National Research Foundation (NRF) for Innovation and Research & Development will stimulate the sector in the medium to long term. Introduction of the Apprenticeship Act that will spur employment opportunities for students post-education apprenticeship. Overall the budget has made positive developments and is moving in the right direction. As per the NEP, The percentage of GDP was supposed to go up not reduce it. Which is not a good sign in Budget. Education is not loosest point and setting back the education sector. As schools were shut during covid. Education Sector needed a bigger boost from the current Budget. It’s good that knows that 15000 schools will be a part of NEP now. Also, Samagra Shiksha was not explained properly as its a good initiative by the Govt.”

Mr. Jatin Ahuja, Founder and MD of Big Boy Toyz, said, “This year’s budget has made some valuable developments in building a strong domestic market for the automobile sector. The kind of financial support that the sector has received, including approx. INR 57,000 crores for auto and auto components and 1.08 lakh crore to MoRTH for capital is remarkable. Other than this, increased expenditure on building road infrastructure to support the sale of commercial vehicles, voluntary scrappage policy, and Research & Development, look promising for the automotive sector. Also, the increase in the customs duty on some auto parts by 15% along with PLI scheme seems to be a favourable step towards building an independent nation.”

Mr. Puneet Gupta, Founder of AstroTalk, said, “This year’s budget has taken a number of steps to promote and support startups. As opposed to last year’s allocation, this year’s budget has allocated Rs 15,700 crore to the sector. Not just this, it has also emphasized on creating a separate framework of Data Analytics, Machine Learning (ML), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to assist the companies. Further, to mitigate the lost months during the COVID-19 pandemic, FM Nirmala Sitharaman also proposed to incentivize incorporation of one-person companies without any limit on paid-up capital to help startups and innovators. All of it was much needed to boost entrepreneurship in India and promote Aatmanirbhar Bharat.”

Shri Rahul V Karad, the Visionary Educationist, and the Managing Trustee & Executive President, MAEER’s MIT Group of Institutions & Executive President, MIT World Peace University (MIT-WPU) said, “I welcome the budget announced for this year by our Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The budget aims at the overall economical revival with a major thrust on infrastructure, healthcare and agriculture along with other sectors. The decision to introduce IND-SAT to invite Asian and African students to study, will make India the preferred destination for education. It will also introduce more diversity amongst the student population. Introducing FDIs in the education sector will further help ramp up this sector and help meet global standards. The young engineers getting the internship opportunity for a period of 1 year by the Urban Local Bodies of India will further build a greater industry connect for our engineering graduates. As a university that is proactively bridging the industry-academia gaps, this is a welcome change. What is also path-breaking is the government’s decision to introduce degree-level full-fledged online education programs by the top 100 institutions listed in the NIRF. This will make good quality education accessible to aspiring students especially in the rural regions of our country where there is a lack of education infrastructure. The idea of attaching medical institutes to a district hospital in the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode will address the future demand for doctors and healthcare professionals in our country and also provide them with a better exposure early in their careers. This year’s budget has taken into account some of the challenges faced by the Indian education sector and presents opportunities that can be turned into strengths to make our nation Atmanirbhar, as India will have the largest working age population in the world by 2030.”

Mr. Vishal Yadav, CEO, FDI India, said, “This year’s budget provides a great philip to the economic growth by clearly laying out strategic moves that not only foster the growth of key industries such as manufacturing but also make India an attractive investment destination. We are thrilled that the government has put an increased emphasis on ease of doing business as is a basic prerequisite for a thriving FDI ecosystem. There is definitely a balanced approach to FDI whether in terms of equity or debt. The insurance sector has attained great importance in the post-pandemic phase especially life and health. Therefore, the government’s move to raise the FDI cap for the insurance sector from 49% to 74% allowing foreign ownership in insurance with safeguards was indeed a much-required step. We appreciate the government’s conceited efforts towards cementing India as a preferred investment destination globally.”

Mr. Vinkesh Gulati, President FADA, said, “FADA is happy to note that the Hon’ble Finance Minister has finally announced the much awaited Scrappage Policy, though voluntary to phase out old vehicles. If we take 1990 as base year, there are approximately 37L CVs and 52L PVs eligible for voluntarily scrappage. As an estimate, 10% of CV and 5% of PV may still be plying on road. We still need to see the fine prints to access the kind of incentives which will be on offer and thus have a +ve effect on retail. The 6,575 km Highway works proposed in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal and Assam and another 19,500 km work for Bharat Mala project will definitely add fillip to much needed revival of Commercial Vehicles especially M&HCV segment. Government’s reduction of customs duty on steel products to 7.5% will benefit Auto OEMs. We hence expect the benefit to trickle down to end customers thus helping in boosting of demand.
While we expected disposable income for individuals to increase with enhancement of IT slabs and depreciation benefit on vehicles for individuals, the same has not been taken into consideration.”

Seema Prem, CEO and Co-Founder, FIA Global, said, “The budget this year has given a significant support to startup ecosystem that will help turbocharge their growth. The concept of OPCs with an option to convert into any other type of company at any time, reducing residency limit for an Indian citizen to set up an OPC from 182 days to 120 days, and allow also non-resident Indians to incorporate OPCs in India will certainly boost innovation. Collateral free loans and fund of funds for MSMEs will stimulate growth and provide solace to MSMEs hit by the pandemic. The portability of One nation, one ration card will be a boon for migrant workers and speedy implementation will ensure that migrants can move across boundaries without worrying about access to ration. The additional allocation to MNREGS will provide substantial relief to workers whose livelihood has been impacted by the pandemic.”

Mr. Srividya Kannan, Founder, Director – Avaali Solutions Pvt Ltd., said, “The first time paperless budget presented in ‘made in India’ tablet brought in much cheer to speed up the economy. Sharp increase in capital expenditure, massive investments in infrastructure, roads and railways and customs duty reduction on certain components to promote domestic manufacturing are very encouraging to further boost the economy and create a self-reliant India. For start-ups this is a great budget with tax incentives and extensions on tax holidays and capital gains exemption. Incorporation of a one person company including residency limit for an Indian citizen to 120 days are all really good measures to increase the number of start-ups in India. Also the change in definition of small company will definitely benefit several enterprises in the form of further simplifying adhering to regulatory and governance requirements. It is estimated that over 2 lac firms will be benefitted as a result of this. Also, tax reforms and simplifying the tax governance to make it easier for companies and individuals is a much welcome move. Overall, this budget has brought in the much needed boost across several sectors to accelerate the pace to recovery and growth.”

Dr. Suresh Ramanathan, Dean, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai, said, “The Honourable Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman has rightly included the education and skills sector as an integral part of the Aspirational India plans. We are thrilled to see the support given by the government to boost the country’s education system, recognizing the need for greater inflow of both funds and talented faculty along with the importance of innovation and better lab infrastructure as a means to improve overall standards. As a leading management institute, Great Lakes is proud to charter a course that heavily emphasizes knowledge creation as a means to deliver highly relevant and contemporary education to its students. We believe that this will eventually and invariably lead aspirational India towards better standards of living and greater employment opportunities. The allocation of Rs. 50,000 crores in the budget towards the National Research Foundation is a step in the right direction. It will put India firmly on the path to attaining global standards in knowledge creation.”

Subhrakant Panda, Vice President, FICCI & Managing Director, IMFA, said, The budget is very comprehensive and proposals are well thought through which will provides fiscal support for investment & consumption while also providing a 5 year roadmap to come back to prudent norms. Higher outlays for various sectors augurs well, as does the fact that the quality of expenditure is improving with more thrust on capital expenditure. Setting up of a DFI to fund long gestation projects, and an asset reconstruction cum asset management company to deal with stressed assets are welcome steps. Limiting reopening of assessments and providing for a faceless ITAT will encourage the honest taxpayer. Similarly, several regulations and laws subsiding into a single securities code is a very positive step. Finally, no major changes in the tax structure is a major commitment to provide stability.

Mr. Yogesh Mudras, Managing Director, Informa Markets in India, said, “FM Nirmala Sitharaman presented the first-ever paperless budget with a special focus to Healthcare and Infrastructure sector. The announcement for Rs 64,180 crore for the overall Healthcare sector in the Union Budget of 2021 was a vital move by the Government to strengthen the Health and Wellness centers across India and contribute to our National Health Mission. The vision for recovery in the state-wise infrastructure activities supported by robust investments will give the economy the much-needed impetus and help us march towards the $ 5 trillion marks. The collateral-free loans and funds for MSMEs will stimulate growth and render solace to MSMEs hit by the pandemic.”

Mr. Anil K Sood, Professor and Co-Founder – IASCC [ The Institute for Advanced Studies in Complex Choices ] on Union Budget 2021

The Economic Survey highlighted that COVID-19 has affected our lives as well as livelihoods and “the lockdown had a causal impact on saving lives and the economy recovery”. While the CEA mentioned (19 times) that are experiencing a V-shaped recovery, the FM did not even mention that once in her speech. The Budget assumes that the economy will grow at 14.4% during the next year and the FM highlighted that the government is investing in aiding recovery without worrying about the level of fiscal deficit.

It is true that the government has wisely ignored the concern about fiscal deficit, it is not clear if the Budget is actually going to aid nascent recovery and put us on a path of growth that will help take the country back to a level between 6-7% on a sustainable basis. We have to remember that our growth rate had already fallen below 5% during the pre-pandemic period itself.

While the capital expenditure is budgeted to increase by 26.2%, the revenue expenditure is expected to decline by 8.6%. Interest payment are estimated to go up by 16.9% during the next year. Increased allotment for CapEx is just Rs. 1.15 lakh crores, though 26.2%.


The total expenditure is expected to go up only by 0.95%, far less than expected inflation rate. In real terms, the government support to the struggling economy is shrinking.

We therefore need to ask the following questions:

  1. Does it imply that economic recovery is well under its way and we don’t need government support?
  2. Does it also imply that the private sector is going to lead the recovery and the government support is needed only on the margin?
  3. Would the government be able to reduce the subsidy to about half of what it is during the current year, when oil prices have been hardening and we are struggling to grow employment, particularly in employment intensive sectors like tourism, consumption, etc.?

Our assessment is that the private sector will find it difficult to lead recovery, given that MSMEs are continuing to struggle for orders as well as finance and banks are inadequately capitalised (particularly the PSBs who have not received adequate capitalisation support in the current budget too). If private sector is going to struggle to recover, the government will need to continue supporting the economy.

The government’s own maths, as seen in the Table below, on resource mobilisation betrays its confidence about recovery, as seen in its estimate of revenue collections.


Increase in collections is largely driven by increase in taxes on individuals – direct as well as indirect (union excise duty). Corporation tax and GST are not expected to grow over the FY 20, which itself was a low growth year.

Consequently, there are compromises in resource allocation across the most important sectors of the economy, as seen in the table below.


The government has focused its policy choices on privatisation and disinvestment, expecting that private enterprise will drive growth in the long run. Given the state of public sector organisation and their valuation, we will have to sell them cheap, which is definitely not in the public interest and also there are not many private sector firms in India that have resources and/or the capability to integrate large public sector organisations.

The budget has and will definitely perk up the financial markets, the question that would come up during the coming weeks is:  Has the budget provided the needed to support to prepare the ground for robust recovery or not? We will know that in a couple of quarters.

Mr. Shivjeet Ghatge, CEO & Co Founder, StepSetGo, said, “The announcement made by honourable finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman is welcoming. One more year to grab tax holidays by incorporating startups in FY 2021-22 is relieving. Additionally, extending the due date for investing capital gains in startups would indeed motivate a larger number of startups to come into play and generate more opportunities,”

Mr. Ratish Pandey, Business Coach, Ethique Advisory, said, “This Year’s budget is a good one, a trying task in the face of unpreceded times and innumerable expectations from the public across sectors. The big push on infrastructure I believe will bode well for the economy. SME & MSME segments will gain from the Healthcare reforms that govt intends to bring along with the PLI scheme. Relief in import duties on raw materials will help reduce input cost. The change in compliance laws and formation of the dispute resolution panel for the smaller taxpayer are other two aspects of the budget that I feel would bring a lot of relief for the sector.”

Mr. Rohit Warrier, CEO and Founder, Warrier Safe Shields, said, “Much anticipated Budget 2021 under most difficult circumstances seems to be balanced. Start ups gets yet another with the tax holiday being extended by a year. Incentive on registering a One Person Company also makes sense since it is the most formal and stable way to do business as well as attract investors in the future. FDI hike to 74% in insurance sector is debatable, yet encouraging. Reducing the time limit of re-assessment of file give a good breather especially the startups, since there will quite a possibility of a startup goofing up with documentation un-intentionally and this gives them much relief on focusing on growing the business.”

Ms. Meghna Suryakumar, Co-Founder & CEO, Crediwatch, said, “The proposed plans to spend on infrastructure is fundamentally sound. Over time this will bring down the cost of business and value creation. The huge increase in the overall capital expenditure budget should augur well for mid to long-term growth. Rationalisation of some of the customs duties should aid sustaining these sectors as well as incentivising offshore manufacturers to set up base in India. Production linked incentive (PLI) schemes will also aid the growth of MSMEs. Overall, this appears to be a growth-oriented budget that should hopefully enable and empower small and medium businesses as much as the rest of the Indian economy.”

Mr. Vishnu Saraf, Co-founder and CEO, Possible, said, “Overall, the budget is quite positive. 33% increase in capex to Rs 5.5 lakh crore will boost demand. Also, Rs 64,000 crores Atma Nirbhar Health Program is a good initiative. It’s also good to see no new taxes, especially when the fiscal deficit is so high. Allowing one person company will also help entrepreneurs to start a new company.”

Mr. Nityanand Sharma, Co-Founder & CEO, Simpl, said, “Budget 2021 is a Budget of hope towards realizing India’s growth aspirations, strengthening the start-up ecosystem and boosting the digital-first economy. We believe Budget 2021 aligns to the urgent need of the hour to shift focus from survival to revival of economic growth.

The following key Budget provisions will benefit the start-ups, fintech and digital payments space:

– Recognizing the crucial role of fintech and the huge jump in digital transactions, the FM has allocated INR 1500 cr towards financial incentives to promote digital payment modes.

– Start-ups are innovation hubs. To further encourage the start-up ecosystem to thrive, the Budget has extended the eligibility for claiming tax holiday for start-ups till 31st March, 2022.

– Additionally, to ensure access to funds, the capital gains exemption for investment in start-ups has been extended till 31st March, 2022.

– To ease the process of setting up of start-ups, the Budget incentivizes the incorporation of One Person Companies (OPCs). This would encourage entrepreneurs to grow as OPCs, without any restrictions on paid-up capital and turnover, with the flexibility to convert into any other type of company at any point of time.”

Mr. Ankit Gera, Co-founder, Junio, said, “The Finance Minister and the Government of India have been very supportive in promoting digital payments, which is reflected in the budget speech today. While India has been one of the fastest-growing fintech markets globally, it is also important to note that the digital mode of payments has also emerged as one of the most transparent and trustworthy methods to track payment/credit repayment compliance. This can be reflected even in the budget announcement today wherein the Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman proposed to increase the limit for tax audit for persons who are undertaking 95% of their transactions digitally from 5 crores to 10 crores. Another encouraging factor has been 1,500 crores investment for a proposed scheme that will provide financial incentives to promote digital modes payment. This will further strengthen the buyer and provider market sentiment, and we are optimistic that a lot of market consolidation will happen this year. Also, The extension of tax holidays for start-ups and capital gains will also spark greater capital activity in the investment landscape and serve as an enabler of robust early-stage venture funding for start-ups.”

Hadi Riachi, Market Head, Swiss Re India Branch


The people-focus of Budget 2021 stands out and is very welcome in the post-COVID economic and social recovery of the country. The focus on human capital, inclusive development, and the holistic approach towards Health, through strengthening the three areas of Preventive, Curative, and Wellbeing, are promising. The 137% increase in the total health budget outlay itself speaks to the government’s focus on building societal resilience.

Development and Environment

Another highlight of the Budget is the focus on infrastructure expansion coupled with that on building resilient infrastructure in terms of solar energy. India has tremendous potential in solar and the proposed capital infusion (to the tune of 2500 crores) and capacity addition (to the tune of 7,500 megawatt) are very encouraging as the country continues to take giant strides in development. The increased outlay on roadways and railways infrastructure spending and the creation of a development finance institution are very welcome.

Closing the Protection Gap

The opening up of FDI limit from 49% to 74% for insurance companies and allowing foreign ownership and control with safeguards speak to the government’s focus on accelerated development and to India’s overall appetite for growth. The re/insurance industry can play a vital role in supporting the private and public sector achieve sustainable development through i) closing the health and mortality protection gap, ii) investing in infrastructure resilience and iii) ensuring the integration of insurance in a holistic digital ecosystem.

Mr. Sandeep Chaudhary, CEO, PeopleStrong, said, “The budget guns for improvement in important areas of the economy. It was encouraging to see that development of human capital was one of the six pillars on which the government aims to make inroads. Coming out of an unprecedented year like the last one, the industry has accepted unconventional employment types including gig & contractual. The extension of social security to gig & platform workers is a welcome change and adds stability for this segment.”

Mr. Mahesh Ramamoorthy, MD – Banking Solutions, FIS India, said, “The Union Budget 2021 has announced significant steps for promotion of digital payments and less-cash economy. The government has provided strong impetus to digital transactions in the country by allocating Rs 1,500 crores for promotion of digital modes of payment. This will encourage FinTech companies to offer innovative and enriched customer experience. The Finance Minister has given major incentive to MSMEs who carry out 95% of their transactions digitally. To further boost digital transactions and reduce compliance burden for MSMEs, the government has increase the limit for tax audit to Rs 10 crore from Rs 5 crore. This will not only encourage MSMEs to adopt digital platforms for business transaction, but also will boost the overall digital payment ecosystem. The FinTech industry is playing an important role in penetration of financial services to grassroots, the Union Budget has extended the eligibility for claiming tax holiday for start-ups, including those in Fintechs by one more year – till 31st March, 2022, and the government to incentivised the funding availability for start-ups, extended the capital gains exemption for investment by one more year – till 31st March, 2022. This will encourage Fintech start- ups to invest more in resources for future growth.”

Mr. Sandeep Mathur, Brand Leader, CASE India, said, “The Budget 2021-22 has put a lot of focus on reviving the infrastructure sector. The government’s effort towards further enhancing the roads and highways projects to 7,400 new projects is a welcome step which will ensure a better year for the infrastructure sector as well as for the construction equipment industry. The announcement of introduction of the Development Finance Institution providing ₹20,000 crore to launch the National Asset Monetization Pipeline to fund new infra projects, will strengthen the stability of the sector. Additionally, the multitude of announcements on the highway projects in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal and Assam will further give a much needed boost to the sector. The governments vision of committing Rs 1.97 trillion to the manufacturing sector over 5 years will help the industry immensely. We are confident that all these efforts will play an important role in reviving the sector and bringing back the economy to normalcy.”

Yogita Tulsiani, Director and Co-founder iXceed Solutions( A Leading Tech Recruitment Provider), said, “The year 2020 has seen a lot of ups and downs. The budget for 2021 has included various ways to bring the scattered businesses back on track. The Union Budget 2021 has focused on skill development by tieing up with countries like Japan and UAE. This would help in overall development of the Human Resource sector. With everything going digital, the launch of an online platform for gig workers will definitely ease the process of work. Startup sector is gifted with the Tax Holiday with the extension in eligibility for one more year till 2021. The tax exemption on capital gains till March 2022 will push more investments.”

Ms. Priyanka Madnani, CEO and Co-founder, Easy to pitch, One stop pitching solution, said, “Many startups in this lockdown started from the ideation stage. In order to do the pivot of their projects,seed fund would be very much beneficiary to them as they would be able to consume that amount for pilating of their ideas and to move to the idea stage to the prototype stage ,development stage and hence would be able to start making sales. So this seed fund is very helpful for those startups pan India. Also, this would encourage more and more startups to get recognised by the startup government of India. That is the base, if a startup is getting registered in the DIP, it is getting these benefits, last year it was 41000,we would be able to see more numbers, crossing more than 60000 this year for sure. The exemption of taxes would definitely benefit the startups, as we all know that it takes a lot of tax to be given to the government when investment happens. So this would give a rebate till March 2022. There are many more plans that NITI Aayog has brought up this financial year which would be using these funds, so those who have stopped their operation could utilise this benefit and come back to action.”

Mr. Anshul Gupta, CEO & Co-founder and YellowClass (An online hobby platform for young kids), said, “This is a very progressive, forward looking budget. The government has been supporting startups and business innovation. The budget continues to keep the focus sharp. Extension of tax holiday for startups is a welcome step.”

Mr. Barnik Chitran Maitra, Managing Partner & CEO of Arthur D. Little India and South Asia, said, “Finance Minister has done a commendable job in reducing the fiscal deficit of 9.6% of the GDP in 2020-21 to 6.8% of the GDP in 2021-22 in an admirable growth-oriented budget. The government’s strategic plan to invest in infrastructure while monetizing government assets and disinvestments will go a long way to ensure fiscal prudence. Scrappage policy initiative is a great push in ensuring sustainable and pollution free environment with spill over benefits to the automobile sector and catalyze the Electric Vehicle ecosystem in India. Extending this policy further to government-owned vehicles would enhance true benefits of the policy. Increase in infrastructure spending with a capital spending increase of over 25% notably in railways, metro, and roads will serve the dual purpose of job creation and building long-term assets for the country. Instituting successful Public Private Partnership (PPP) models and creation of a Development Financing Institution (DFI) is a bold move to ease mobility, boost automobile sector and create jobs for the youth of India. The government has taken a bold move by considerably increasing the healthcare spending from 0.5% of the GDP to over 1% of GDP to create necessary primary, secondary and tertiary care infrastructure. This is a 137% increase from the previous year commendably addressing the most pressing issue in the economy and prioritizing the health and well-being of the citizens of the country. It’s a pro-reforms budget with a bold move to privatize two public sector banks and implement the LIC IPO. However, a funding roadmap for bank recapitalization needs to be detailed out further in an otherwise stellar budget.”

Mr. Alok Sharma, CEO and Co-founder, NebulARC, said, “It is very encouraging to see India’s infrastructure getting a big boost in Budget 2021. With the allocation of INR 1,70,000 Cr for transport infrastructure and the move of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to build 60,000 km of highways in the next five years, including 2,500 km of express highways is a welcoming news as it will positively impact freight movement. With the allocation of INR 103 lakh crore across 65 projects including logistics and warehousing- the industry is going to get a major boost this year as well. We also expected the government to introduce technological mandates for logistics networks As this would spur the use of technology in every pocket of the industry and make it more equipped to meet the current demands and future challenges.”

Mr. Abhik Mitra, MD and CEO, SpotOn Logistics, said, “The government’s dedicated effort towards allocating the highest ever CAPEX of 1.08 trillion to the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways are highly appreciative. We are glad that the government is further augmenting road infrastructure and planning new avenues for more economic corridors. With more than 13,000 km of roads awarded under Bharat Mala project and an addition of 11,000 km NH corridor by March 2022, it is going to strengthen the physical infrastructure sector and bring groundbreaking transformation in the logistics sector. We also expected the government to bring Fuel under the purview of GST which would have transformed the Indian logistics sector. Moving forward, we hope that the government will lay more focus on the increasing use of digital technologies and automation.”

Shubhi Agarwal, Co-Founder and COO Locobuzz Solutions, said, “A strong push for Infrastructure is always a welcome step, especially in our country where significant growth will be visible with the correct implementation. This is extremely vital if we truly want to have hundreds of smart cities. It is bound to have a positive impact on other growth-oriented policies. While the tax holiday is extended for some startups, there is a dire need to include benefits for nearly 40,000 DPIIT registered startups. This is a good way to support the implementation plans for achieving the intricate and pro-development details announced in the budget today. The ability to create a one-person company without restrictions will definitely give a boost to innovation. This, along with continued exemption of capital gains tax by a year should also help with investments, thereby facilitating growth. We would be very keen to know the details of the Rs 15.700 allocation for the MSME sector, this could also be vital for the ecosystem. Overall, a decent budget like this, crafted for unprecedented times will definitely see growth in the current market.”


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