Big smile on Crypto market, Startups look for good run

Representational pic

Big smile on Crypto market, Startups look for good run

Budget support highly appreciated

All praise to FM Nirmala Sitharaman for focus on wellness, digital, Gatio Shakti.

BizNewsConnect presents a cross section of opinions, post-Budget.

Arushi Jain, Executive Director, Stayhappi Pharmacy -We welcome the much-deserved attention on India’s healthcare sector in the Union Budget 2022-23. We are encouraged by the government’s renewed focus on preventive and curative health as well as the overall wellness and well-being of our citizens. An open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem which will consist of digital registries of health providers and health facilities, unique health identity and universal access to health facilities will widen access to health and wellness while driving focus on preventive health.

Basically, this infrastructure consists of an internet platform that provides digital health services. This system improves interoperability by allowing healthcare professionals to communicate among themselves. The system also enables sharing of virtual health records (VHR) for a 360-degree view of patient health.

Puneet Gupta, Managing Director & Vice President, NetApp India -I am excited to see the government’s focus on technology sector, as a whole. The incentives towards creating digital infrastructure, education, and skilling, spell out the intent on developing the country’s human capital. The emphasis of digitised skilling will help make our country's youth future-ready. Additionally, the announcement on RBI introducing digital currency and the government providing infrastructure status to data centers, will help create a framework for emerging technologies making the digital India Inc better and stronger.

Dhruvil Sanghvi, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, LogiNext -We welcome the move by the Government of India to boost logistics as a means towards ensuring economic growth. The proposal to set up a Unified Logistics Interface Platform is a welcome move. Leveraging technology to complement the development of infrastructure will help bring in better efficiency. Furthermore, with real-time tracking, and inventory management as a part of the platform, this will go a long way in bringing India at par with global supply chain networks. LogiNext has always been an advocate for digitisation of supply chains, and it is reassuring to see the Government work towards this. The decision taken to extend the tax incentives provided to startups till March 31, 2023 is a reflection of the Government’s commitment towards ease of doing business in India.

Niraj Hutheesing, Founder and Managing Director, Cygnet Infotech -The advancement in enhanced transparency of payments is a huge stride forward for India in terms of fintech innovation. The proposed end-to-end online e-Bill system will enable increased productivity for industries that go completely paperless. This will prove to be extremely fruitful for digitization. Furthermore, the acknowledgement that India's GST collection stands at Rs.1.4 lakh crore for the month of January 2022, exemplifies the growing need for digital taxation solutions that promise to take the Indian economy to the next level.

Taran Chhabra, Founder & CEO, Neeman’s -The Union Budget 2022-23 looks promising for the start-up ecosystem especially, with the extension of tax benefits for one more year and promoting ease of business. This is a welcome move as it will help in the industry's fast-paced growth. Also, focusing on an efficient logistic system will reduce logistics costs and time. Furthermore, another area of significance is enhancing the digital ecosystem for skilling and livelihood through online training programs. This step will allow more people to be upskilled and employable ready—however, a slight focus on offering concessions for companies committed to promoting eco-friendly products would have helped as by going green, we are saving natural resources and helping in reducing pollution.

Deepak Shenoy, CFO, Wolken Software -A serious growth budget, which will give a very strong impetus to economic growth, with Capex exceeding INR 10L crores, continuing high GST collections, escalated private sector participation in defense and railways, and a conservative divestment target of INR65k crores. All this while pegging the deficit at 6.4% and expected GDP growth at 9-10% for FY22 and FY23, augurs good times for India.

Some favourable revisions on LTCG, and ITax for salaried class, would have given it the universal approval, but this does not take away from the overall soundness of the Budget.

Execution and delivery is as important, so that the Capex short spend of FY22 does not repeat leading to lumpsum disbursal.

Suyash Singh, Co-founder & CEO, GalaxEye -Budget has factored in allocations for Space Tech very well. Entire budget for the Dept of Science and Tech has been increased thus the Department of Space gets a good chunk. This will push ISRO's Gaganyaan Project and spend funds on new infrastructure. at the same time, it will help private space companies to access high quality infrastructure.

Anubhav Jain, CEO and Co-Founder of Rupifi - With COVID-19 playing a significant role over the past couple of years, the Union Budget announced today by Hon’ble FM laid a conscious focus for neutralising its effects and proposed a slew of measure to aid the recovery of an economy hit by the pandemic. As a platform that aims to simplify payments and create financial products to help solve challenges faced by the long tail MSME’s of India, we have been a first-hand witness to the difficulties faced by MSMEs to continue operation in these trying times. The move to extend ECLGS to MSMEs to cope up with pandemic losses is a welcome step and will have a positive impact in assisting the industry in overcoming its struggles. Additionally, recognition of the fact that start-ups have emerged as a growth driver of the economy and incentivising them through measures such as extending the sunset date for eligibility for tax holiday by one more year, will provide the required thrust to the ecosystem. This concurs to our belief towards the ecosystem’s pivotal role in driving India’s growth story.

Prasanth Madavana, Co-Founder and CEO, Fedo -It is delightful to see healthcare taking centre stage in the Union Budget today. The open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem is a welcome move to accelerate digital health push, especially when predictive and preventive healthcare is needed for the nation. The same will aid the fast-evolving healthcare technology sector leverage digital health data and offering solutions that empower people to take control of their health."

Rishi Chhabra, Country head & GM India and Sri Lanka, Fiserv -The Union Budget 2022-23 supports India’s vision to enhance financial inclusion. Motivating organisations to expand and innovate through technology and integration of post offices to banking services, will take digital banking and payment solutions to the last mile. While this will undoubtedly boost the banking and payment ecosystem by enabling easy access to financial products in the country, it will also create room for technological advancements and innovations to offer simplified, user-friendly and secure financial services and payment solutions.

Raktim Chattopadhyay, Founder & CEO, Esperer Nutrition -Healthcare and infrastructure were the major focus of the budget 2022 and significant investment has been allocated for the expansion of roadways and logistics networks which will definitely strengthen the nation. As we were expecting, start-ups were given keen importance in the budget. The ECLGS credit scheme guarantee cover has been expanded by Rs 50,000 crore, which will provide collateral-free loans to stressed-out MSMEs. The Govt has confirmed support for R&D expenditure, AI, genomics, etc. which is very encouraging. We shall wait for the right spirit in the implementation of all good plans in budget 2022.

Subh Jha &Sujit Jha, Founders, Legal Salah -his budget has something or other for all Industries. It's a more growth-focused budget to achieve a $5 trillion economy. This budget will foster startups and SMEs working in the technology and digital sector. Making cryptocurrency and virtual assets taxed created a positive environment in India and globally as it gave clarity to the investors of their investments.

Having said that, we expected more incentives and financial support for startup sectors as they are growing humongous with every passing year and contributing largely to the Indian economy. Besides, we also feel that it is critical that the government ease the tax burden on the startup industry, which is already dealing with the COVID-19 situation.

Kumar Gaurav, Founder & CEO of Cashaa -The industry was waiting for the government to recognise crypto technology and innovation. Today, it is the beginning of a revolution when the government has itself announced the launch of digital cryptocurrencies. We, as an industry, have taken a step ahead towards adoption of digital currencies. Yes, currently taxation imposed is a little on the higher side, but the industry which was already growing rapidly in the absence of regulation, will now thrive with the government’s clear support.

Gurpreet Singh, Co-Founder & CRO, Awign -Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, has pushed the engine of digitization forward with a focus on addressing the frothing issue of Employment and Skill Development through this budget presentation.

With the digital ecosystem expanding into more sectors, the government is focusing on skilling, reskilling, and upskilling Indian citizens through online training, which will be the source of their livelihood. This initiative will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the gig economy, as digital integration will aid in further crossing the borders between urban and rural geographies.

These efforts to formalise growth into an opportunity are progressing, thanks to its ongoing support in the form of increased budget allocation for skill development and job creation. We at Awign believe that with this boost for skill development, businesses will be more focused on investing in gigification, allowing them to have a stronger presence in Tier-II and Tier-III markets.

Raj Das, Global Co-Founder & India CEO, Hirect -With the presentation of the Union Budget, 2022 made by the Hon’ble Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, some of the most important aspects have been addressed as to how the country can build a resilient economy, especially in the post-pandemic era. The budget has several aspects that are clearly pro-growth and pro-technology, which would definitely boost the hiring and recruitment domain - majorly the startup ecosystem in India.

The recent announcement such as the reduction of surcharge on unlisted shares from 28.5 to 23 percent will boost the incorporation of furthermore startups. The tax incentive announcement for startups will not only motivate a robust ecosystem but also will help in the creation of more job opportunities. The PM Gati Shakti initiative and reduction in corporate surcharge from 12% to 7% is a positive initiative. Moreover, to boost the digital-first economy, the National Skill Framework will definitely play a vital role in the upskilling and reskilling of the workforce.

Overall, this looks to be a budget, which is focused on the growth of empowering startups, small, and medium-sized businesses along with overall economic growth.

Mugdha Pradhan, Functional Nutritionist, CEO and Founder of iThrive -As a startup founder, I think this budget is balanced when keeping in mind the long-term priorities in terms of establishing a framework for extending tax benefits to the startup to be incorporated till 23.  I see the Digital Health Registry will benefit the population at large. At the same time, the government should address concerns regarding privacy, especially health-related matters. The privacy concern raised by many people is having these centralized databases of health-related records, which are quite vulnerable.

Mental Health Awareness needs more than a Telemental health lane. I strongly feel we need to have a policy or framework to address this issue at the institutional level, rather than just going by the popular sentiment of establishing.

We were expecting some announcements in terms of GST reduction for the healthcare sector covering all wellness-related services, including naturopathic to nutrition, that has not been even considered, which is a disappointment for us.

We are optimistic about the new policies currently. However, we are looking forward to the revised budget speech, which might include certain policies such as GST reduction and making the procedure simpler for ESOP allotment in a startup especially. So we hope the government will come up with a revised policy or announcement on these soon.

Pranav Bajaj - Co-Founder - Medulance -Budget 2022 has surely come as a booster dose for the healthcare sector.

The new initiatives announced by the Finance Minister will help India recover from the damages to the healthcare infrastructure caused by the pandemic and strengthen it further. These initiatives, especially the open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem will also help  strengthen the healthcare sector of the nation at the core. The past few years have revolutionised the way mental health is being viewed, I am sure that the National Tele Mental Health program will receive a very warm welcome.The Tax breaks for setting up hospitals in tier 2 and tier 3 cities is highly appreciated, this break will encourage the boom in quality healthcare providers in these cities, along with the proposal for the PM Gati Shakti Master Plan will help connect the tier 2 and tier 3 cities and will ensure that the healthcare services are accessible to all regions equally.

The increase in the GDP proportion for healthcare was much needed and is rightly implemented. All these announcements made today have come as a ray of hope for the healthcare sector. I am sure that the country is moving towards a stronger, more accessible and quality healthcare infrastructure.

Behram Mehta, MD Aava Natural Mineral Water -This budget drives home the message that focusing on strengthening our diet and nutrition is key in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic. Especially through clean drinking water. Adequate supply of naturally nutritious and mineral rich drinking water is the need of the hour. At Aava, we believe naturally occurring healthy minerals are key to wellness and a balanced diet , and hence are happy that the new budget discourages the use of RO that causes demineralisation and tremendous water wastage.

Gunita Pahwa, Joint Managing Partner, S&A Law Offices -We welcome the Govt's decision to set up Int'l Arbitration Centre in Gift city in Gujarat. Arbitration is one of the foremost alternate Dispute resolution mechanisms worldwide, and Govt's initiative is yet another step in strengthening dispute resolution through arbitration in India.

As Indian enterprises go global and many foreign enterprises enter India for business, this initiative will help ease the dispute resolution process. Hopefully, others will too be encouraged to set up such arbitration centers in other cities to give this initiative a further push.

Ratish Pandey, Business & Executive Coach, Ethique Advisory -For startups, the extension of the incorporation period till March 31st 2023, is a welcome move as it will help them claim the much-needed tax incentives.

Opening up sectors like defence research for startups would open up gates of opportunities for young researchers working on cutting edge technology for the defence. The introduction of the Digital Rupee by the Government of India is another welcome move.

Manvendra Shukul, CEO – Lakshya Digital & Governing Council Member - Media & Entertainment Skills Council (MESC)- AVGC, gaming in particular, is an industry segment with phenomenal potential for creating jobs as well as revenue for the exchequer. Given the right eco-system, India can easily be a global leader in this space. Creation of the AVGC Task Force is amongst the first steps that needs to be taken to capitalize on India’s inherent strength in this space. Selection of the right people from each of the segments of the AVGC will be key to the success of this much needed initiative.

Karan Shaha, Co-Founder and CEO, Vahak, India's largest online transport marketplace (Ecommerce Startup)- It is very encouraging seeing the Finance Minister focus on the Gati Shakti masterplan. Infrastructure is one of the key components in the Indian logistics industry. By increasing infrastructural investments, the logistics and transport sector will see drastic growth, allowing for everything from intercity to intracity goods transport to become seamless. The mention of focus on productivity enhancement and investment suggests that there will be a greater allocation for technology integration in this sector, and that has been one of the main demands from the stakeholders of this industry. Another key area that has been mentioned is energy transition and climate action. This along with the plethora of upcoming development opportunities indicate a greater focus ahead on electric mobility in the logistics sector. Overall, the emphasis of the budget seems to be on the right areas. As expected by us prior to the budget reveal, the focus on infrastructure development, energy transition, EVs and technology-based logistics operations has been there in the Union Budget 2022, and that is quite encouraging for us. This emphasis on inclusive development will not only augur well for the logistics sector, but for the overall growth of the Indian startup economy''.

Ankit Kedia, Founder and Lead Investor, Capital A, a venture fund for seed to early-stage meaningful startups (Investment Startup)- The Budget touches upon various important areas related to ease of doing business, and the investment arena. The 35.4% increase in the public sector investments budget suggests that the government will be investing heavily in the infrastructure development as well as the industries that need financial support. This alongside the announcement about investments in energy storing such as dense charging infrastructure and grid scale battery infrastructure will promote clean energy usage across the board, and that’s one area Capital A has also been focusing on. We are also launching a special cleantech focused fund for the development of Clean Energy and charging infrastructure, and this announcement augurs well in that direction.

The government has extended startup tax holiday and concessional tax for manufacturing startups by a year. While that was on the cards, it doesn’t address the core need of startups to be given a longer tax holiday of 5 years as required. There hasn’t been any announcement to cover all startups registered with DPIIT for the tax holiday either, and that was a much- needed measure for companies hit by the pandemic. FDI in the sustainability sector is also announced to be facilitated, and we look forward to follow up action on that account. One of the most encouraging aspects of the budget has been the announcement to setup an AVGC (animation, visual effects, gaming, and comics) promotion task force to plan and build domestic capacity for serving domestic as well as global markets. Overall, this budget seems to be reasonable with some areas of improvement that will hopefully get attention in the coming months.

Varun Goenka, CEO and Co-Founder, Chargeup, Bharat’s largest battery swapping network (Auto Startup)- One of the most pressing needs of the day is to establish a network of battery charging and swapping stations across India that can eliminate the range anxiety and encourage people to adopt EVs with greater confidence. The government’s announcement to encourage private sector players to develop sustainable and innovative business models in this arena, is a welcome move. Further, the support for interoperability would lead to battery standardization. The push towards public transit usage by establishing more EV exclusive zones wherein private or non-electric vehicles will be barred is something we had been anticipating. Holistically, the various measures announced are highly encouraging for the EV sector as well as the overall environmental sustainability, and this seems to be a budget that focuses on the right areas."

Chirag Agarwal, Co-Founder, TravClan,(B2B Startup)-Being a B2B travel tech Startup, we are happy to see that the ministry has prioritised our needs and has extended the tax incentive until March 2023. This is a much needed relief for new businesses such as ours to sustain and it’ll also help a lot of new startups to take off. From a travel perspective, since travel agents are considered our primary partners, we welcome the much deserved loans that are being introduced to give this sector some relief. The pandemic has been tough on the industry and this decision will not only aid our business but will also impact the entire industry on the whole.

Rishubh Satiya, Co-Founder, Plix , (plant-based nutrition brand) -Being a startup we are pleased to see that the budget has once again prioritised our needs. The decision to extend tax incentives to March 2023 is a welcomed move. The pandemic has been difficult for a lot of businesses. Many startups had to pivot overnight and this extension is a great way to support the fraternity. Plix being a plant based wellness brand, welcomes the attention being given to the sustainability movement. The budget also focuses on the need to prioritise mental health. However, we were hoping to see some decisions to support overall health and well-being. We also hope that in the future the ministry prioritises the need for sustainable and clean living.

Aditya Sanghi, Co-Founder, Hotelogix -The Indian hotel industry has taken a hit of over ₹1.30 lakh crore in revenue during the fiscal year 2020-21. The hospitality industry generates employment for close to 4.5 crore people in India and so we welcome the decision taken by the government to extend the ECGL service towards the Hospitality industry but this may not be enough. We are looking forward to seeing some GST relief in the budget for the sector. Being a hospitality startup we also welcome the tax incentives for Startups until March 31, 2023. Startups are the backbone of a thriving economy and we are glad that the government is focused towards prioritising this sector”

Jerin Venad, Co-Founder, Cityflo, (app-based bus service)-We appreciate the government's decision on aiding the Mobility sector in its recovery. As a startup brand, we are also happy with the government’s decision to extend the current incentives being provided to Startups until March 2023. The pandemic has been a difficult period for new ventures, especially in the mobility sector, and as the national economy returns to its pre-pandemic trajectory, these will help further the mission to aid the growth of Startups in India.

Dr. Shyam Bhat, Chairperson, LiveLoveLaugh -The pandemic and its aftermath have aggravated mental health issues, and this situation requires renewed focus. Therefore, it is encouraging to see plans in this year’s annual budget to bolster mental health care infrastructure in the country. The setting of new mental health institutions and a national tele mental health program provide a robust platform for more research, better treatment and follow-up, and an overall improvement in health outcomes. We look forward to the implementation of the policies announced in this year’s budget.

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