Hail Nirmala! Singing to FM tunes

Hail Nirmala! Singing to FM tunes

Growth-oriented budget, say many

From corporate stars to startups, tech Cos to Teachers shower praise on Finance Minister

Mohit Nirula, CEO, Columbia Pacific Communities -The Union Budget for 2022 announced by Finance Minister Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman would prima facie disappoint many.

As a creator of and service provider to senior living communities, we are disappointed that none of the initiatives announced bring succour to the demographic we serve – senior citizens.

There were no announcements about making homes in senior living communities more affordable or any rationalisation of the high 18% GST levied even as the collection for January 2022 touched a record high.

That said, over the past many decades, we have gotten used to what can best be described as “tinkering” of the direct and indirect tax structure,  or impex subsidies, which are industry specific. But while these measures were welcomed on news channels and by the sentiment-driven stock market, they make no real impact in the long run.

This budget, on the other hand, coming as it does at the end of two years of the economy being severely affected by COVID – 19 has taken a more strategic view of the economy with increased investment in infrastructure. The government, while juggling with its own fiscal responsibilities has maintained its focus on all-inclusive welfare initiatives. Hopefully this approach will stimulate the economy by massaging both the demand and supply side of the equation.

As with any budget, the devil is in the details, the fine print and most importantly the implementation. So for now let’s wait and watch.

Gautam Khanna, CEO at P.D. Hinduja Hospital & MRC, Mumbai, Chair, FICCI Health Services Committee, President, Association of Hospitals, Mumbai

I am happy that Union Budget 2022 has focused on the need of the hour that is mental health with the launch of the National Tele-Mental Health program. As an increasingly larger number of people are being diagnosed with depression, having an open discussion and a platform providing universal access to mental health facilities is welcome step.

We all have witnessed how healthcare digitalization has taken a new turn in the pandemic and have realized that it is the future. Digitalization has had a massive impact, especially in delivering quality health services by providing solutions like telemedicine. Implementing a holistic platform with a unique health identity, consent framework, and digital health registries will create a space for efficiency in delivering precise treatments and maintaining consistent health records.

As per the pre economic budget survey, it is promising to see that the government has conducted over 2.2 crore teleconsultations so far through government’s e- sanjeevani portal. The increased focus on digitalisation will help the delivery of healthcare to the masses.

The AB-PMJAY, which was launched in 2018, is a potential game-changer of Healthcare services in our country. Over 17.5 crores Ayushman Cards have been issued already and hospital admissions worth 30673 crore have been provided through a network of 25000 hospitals that includes private and public.  The country is looking forward to a similar insurance scheme for the middle class too.

Being a progressive and futuristic budget, we would have liked a concrete commitment towards increasing government expenditure to 2-5% - 3% of GDP to ensure a healthy India. Furthermore, measures announced in the last budget need to be fully implemented, like the operationalizing of the Ayushman Bharat wellness centres.   

In addition, we are currently facing the after-effects of the pandemic, our expectations from Budget 2022 would have been actions that would strengthen the country's healthcare system. Therefore, we urge the Finance Minister to announce incentives for Hospital expansions under the infrastructure category and some incentives for medical research. There is a need for Long term financing for the sector as it is classified as an Infrastructure sector but does not get long term loans which inhibit investments in growing the physical infrastructure required for the country.


Covid - 19 brought the importance of communicable diseases and the preventive measures we should be taking. However, our country needs a lot more focus on Preventive health as the threat of Non Communicable diseases is increasing. So some incentive for preventive health was needed.


More incentives should also be directed towards R&D to encourage upskilling in the healthcare fraternity. Steps on these areas were missing in the budget speech, and we need to see if they have been included in the detailed budget document.


Prasanna Kumar, CEO & Co-Founder, BLR Brewing Co & Managing Director at Brew & Barbeque - Government has not considered any particular major relief for the hospitality sector though it’s one of the major employment providers across the country, our industry has been worst hit since past 2 years. It’s kind of disappointing that the Hospitality industry is never considered with first to get affected and last to get revived!

Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairperson & CEO Salesforce India -Overall, this is a budget with a long-term vision supported by growth oriented policies driving job creation, digital inclusion, climate action and infrastructure development and therefore, is very timely for our country. As we continue to digitally transform, the focus on bolstering digital payments with a consumer-friendly lens, will continue to augment digital adoption across regional India. As a knowledge economy, I cannot emphasise enough on the importance of skilling to lead the digital disruption. Initiatives to drive skilling, reskilling and upskilling, digitally, will ensure we are ready for the digital future much ahead of the curve. Lastly, climate change is the most pressing global crisis that humanity is facing today impacting every individual, institution, government, community, and business. Investments in energy transition and climate action will take us on our path to sustainable development.

Dr. Akhil Shahani, Managing Director, Thadomal Shahani Centre for Management, Shahani group and CEO, Ask.Careers, "Considering the experience of e-learning in the pandemic, it is good that the government is seriously looking at integrating online technology to make our education system more inclusive for the less-resourced segments of the population. However, it is important to realise that online technology is no substitute for good quality brick & mortar schools & colleges, as many students have fallen behind over the last 2 years of the lockdown. So, it would have been important for the government to have focussed on efforts to train more teachers & support the building of more institutions. Another good initiative is the increased focus on skilling and upskilling to improve employability among our youth. Along with the new skill-oriented National Higher Qualification Framework being issued by the UGC, I see better integration between the academic & vocational streams of education. Allowing foreign university campuses to set up in Gujarat's GIFT city will hopefully be an interesting pilot initiative that could encourage foreign universities to expand into other Indian states. A couple of initiatives that were not addressed was the reduction of GST rates for Edtech services & allowing private for-profit investment into India's schools & colleges, which could have greatly helped expand quality education across India."

Rajkiran Rai G, MD and CEO, Union Bank of India -The Budget 2022-23 is set in context of recovering economy with good macro stability. The Finance Minister takes forward growth impetus through enhanced outlays on public capex, incentives for digital, start-ups, supporting MSMEs, and targeted welfare spending in 2022-23. The cumulative Government support through ECLGS rising to Rs 5 trillion till March 2023 is welcome enabler for credit to vulnerable sectors of economy. Moreover, the absence of capital allocation for public sector banks reaffirms confidence in strength of banking sector in meeting the credit needs of economy. Overall, it is a growth oriented Budget.

Ramanujam Komanduri, Country Manager, India, Pure Storage -The Union Budget 2022 expectedly turned out to be a growth-oriented budget. The government is focused on reviving the economy through various programs across industries and especially MSMEs, which were hardest hit by the pandemic. The rollout of the Raising and Accelerating MSME Performance program will help address the challenges faced by the sector, through injection of liquidity and ease of compliance norms. The Credit Guarantee Trust for MSME will not only enable them to revive their businesses with additional funds but also enhance employment opportunities and enable job creation.

There is also a strong push for digital transformation in the education sector by announcing Digital University and high-quality e-content across regional languages for the students to skill, upskill and reskill the youth. Addressing the structural challenges in the education landscape, the government has focused rightly on upskilling and digital learning. Another impactful announcement is the confirmation of the auction of 5G spectrums this year which will improve accessibility, speed, and availability of the internet across India and particularly in rural areas. This budget’s emphasis on Digital India will further attract investment and put India firmly on the global innovation map.

Deepak Mittal,  CEO and Co-Founder, TO THE NEW -The government's unprecedented commitment to technology innovation and adoption in this union budget is highly encouraging. Breakthrough developments and futuristic technology such as the introduction of digital currency, the rollout of 5G within FY22-23, and e-passports using embedded chips are exciting for the country's future. Among the measures announced, the budget highlights special incentives to startups and the launch of a progressive, new portal encouraging a digital ecosystem for skilling and upskilling. These initiatives will serve as a successful catalyst for the country's economic growth.

Farman Beig, Co-founder & CEO of Wat-a-Burger -The government has been supportive towards the F & B sector and did announce some steps to help the sector bounce back by shifting the GST compliance onto online food delivery partners on behalf of the restaurants. However, some relief in terms of ITC (Input tax credit) would have further catalysed the recovery of the sector which otherwise is on the bleeding end. Currently, when the industry is struggling to manage the fixed cost with GST, it requires immediate boost, and cutting down ITC would have worked wonders.

Kushang, Co-founder & CEO of SupplyNote- Indeed the food & beverage industry in India was bleeding, and it required a lifeline to recover. Though the government certainly announced a number of steps for its resurgence, the Budget announcement of extension ECGL service for the sector will play a significant role to empower the vertical once again and get it up and running. Additionally, a slight consideration on the investors front on funding the F&B startups could have further accelerated the recovery of the industry. We further expect fundamental policies to revive the vertical in the country.

Harshil Salot, Co-founder, The Sleep Company -The budget announced by the government today has been an incredibly encouraging one for India’s startup ecosystem and is an encouraging indication of the future roadmap of India’s digital transformation. As a made-in-India startup, the ECLGS 1 year extension is a great initiative that can aid SMEs to help sustain some semblance of normalcy and business momentum in these challenging times. Furthermore, the launch of the 5G spectrum can be a game-changer in increasing the speed of digital transformations across different spheres;  specifically for the D2C ecosystem that has y-o-y been making significant in-roads into India’s heartland, connecting more consumers to products and essentials that they otherwise would not have access to.

Abhijit Bhave, CEO, Fisdom Private Wealth -Admiration for the Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman for proposing a pro-growth budget against the backdrop of the Covid 19 issue, focusing on capital expenditure to drive economic growth and employment while fiscal prudence took a backseat. Stepping into the investment cycle, with a special focus on the start-up ecosystem, clean energy, electric vehicles, and infrastructure will drive GDP growth and create jobs, though pressure on the bond yields is imminent in the near future. Salary earners may be disappointed by the lack of change in direct taxes. Support for Fintech, an emphasis on payment platforms, and the RBI's launch of a digital currency are other major announcements in the budget.

Shilpa Khanna Thakkar, CEO, Chicnutrix  - The Union Budget 2022-2023 is a welcome move for the start-up ecosystem. FM Nirmala Sitharaman in her budget extended the redemption of taxes from three consecutive years to further extending it by one more year which is a big boost for young start-ups in India. We really appreciate the Indian government’s continuous efforts to improve digitization and increase digital and financial inclusion in the country which are key factors leading to growth. The Government’s emphasis on ‘One Nation, One Registration’ will facilitate the ease of living & doing business in India. Besides this, the FM also announced that 25,000 compliances have been eliminated and 1,486 union laws have also been revoked which will make it easier to do business in the country. This will provide an impetus to the business economy and hence ease the process.

 Also, the Government has recognized the power of “Nari Shakti” in India and revamped the schemes like Mission Shakti, Mission Vatsalya which will benefit the women in India.

Varun Khanna, Group CEO, Fullife Healthcare -The Union budget 2022-2023 presented by the Hon’ble Finance Minister Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman has boosted the morale of the healthcare industry. With the ongoing pandemic, it is a welcome change to see the digital emphasis on healthcare programmes and initiatives where Indians can have their own unique digital health identity and access to health facilities pan India. This attempt is a step forward to be at par with other countries.  Additionally, launching a National Tele Mental Health program is much needed in a country like India which often considers the subject of mental health a taboo. In her speech, Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman also said that as many as 95 per cent of 112 aspirational districts have made significant progress in health and infrastructure which shows we are on the right tracking and taking health seriously through a holistic approach.”

Vijayaraghavan Venugopal, CEO & Co-Founder, Fast&Up -With the announcement to set up a National Tele Mental Health program in India, Hon'ble Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman highlighted the accentuation of mental health problems in people of all ages amid the pandemic. The stress and lifestyle adoption has definitely taken a toll on our mental as well as physical health. Commendable on the part of our government to address it with having access to quality mental health counseling and care services. 

For a healthy functioning mind and body, your nutrition and lifestyle play an important role in keeping your brain healthy. Good nutrition with an active lifestyle improves the immune system, overall body functionality and concentration. It’s more important than ever to advocate the vitality of unplugging, distressing and having a quality sleep to give yourself the rest to promote physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Kushal Nahata, CEO & Co-founder, FarEye -We welcome the positive steps the government has taken for strengthening and further developing the logistics sector under the PM Gati Shakti plan. Rs 20,000 crore allocated for developing transportation shows that the government is focused on building a robust logistics infrastructure in the country.

The expansion of the national highways network, implementation of multimodal logistics parks and development of 100 new cargo terminals will facilitate swift movement of goods, improve pan-India connectivity and reduce logistics costs.

The Gati Shakti scheme's focus on sustainable growth and digitisation looks extremely promising. The proposed unified logistics interface platform will accelerate digitisation of the logistics sector in the country. It will help reduce paperwork and aid better logistics and supply chain management. Indian Railways' One Station One Product plan to provide capable logistics services to farmers and MSMEs will ensure that local businesses overcome the existing bottlenecks in the supply chain.

Ashwin Mittal, CMD and CEO, Course5 Intelligence Ltd.-Union  Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman's futuristic growth friendly Union Budget rightly envisioned the roadmap for India entering Amrit Kaal, the 25 year long leadup to India@100. Analytics is the key to successful implementation of the multi-modal PM GatiShakti master plan with its seven-engine focus for economic transformation and inclusive development for India@100. FM highlighted that Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a sunrise opportunity while advocating promoting digital economy & fintech, technology enabled development; and we, at Course5 Intelligence, reiterate the importance of AI-led analytics and insights. The role of analytics is more pronounced post global pandemic accelerating digital adoption by companies globally as they seek to digitize their core business model to remain economically viable. We, at Course5 Intelligence have been working with Fortune 500 global giants and it is good to see that the Indian Government is now aligned to this progressive global thinking. As FM included Data Centres in the harmonized list of infrastructure, we re-emphasize the significance of Data and Analytics, which is expected to account for 13.9% of the estimated total digital spend (US$2.39 trillion) by 2024. The boost to startups will facilitate innovation required for Digital India. As the Government invites private participation in strengthening public infrastructure and seamless coordination between diverse pillars, we advocate the growing significance of AI-led analytics in Urban Planning. Clearly, the government is focusing on deep tech at an opportune time. Till now the focus has been on the application layer which provided solutions to problems and business opportunities. A focus on deep tech will only highlight the significant role data analytics and AI can play in providing that strategic depth to the digitalization of India. With our rich experience in AI-driven data analytics and insights, we at Course 5 Intelligence look forward to support the tasks ahead.

Rohan Verma, Co founder CEO, Breathe Well-being -The FM has acknowledged the role played by tech led health services throughout the course of the ongoing pandemic. The government is focusing even more than ever to ensure that the healthcare infrastructure of the country continues to strengthen by collaborating with new age health tech companies. For the first time ever at a national stage, FM has made first ever reference to mental health and well being and has gone ahead and announced the launch of a portal. The tele mental health portal will improve access to patients seeking professional help and no doubt the government is going to look towards health tech startups to collaborate and grow this initiative. As a health tech company, which helps people reverse type 2 diabetes, mental well being is an important pillar of our programme. We are keen on exploring this further once the fine print comes out. If there is a scope to collaborate with any of the stakeholders, we believe we will bring the right know-how to the table.

Aneel Gambhir, CFO, Blue Dart -We are pleased to note that the Union Budget, is progressive, focuses on growth and is in line with our expectations. The Government’s focus on consistently investing in infrastructure development across the country bodes well for the Indian economy and more specifically for the logistics industry. The focus on public investments, by expanding the National Highway network by 25,000kms, the Gati Shakti masterplan with seven engines, 100 new cargo terminals, will give an impetus to the growth of the industry and help bring efficiency in logistics operations. We must also recognize the push for utilizing and promoting a digital ecosystem, whether that be with the launch of Gati Shakti and the numerous opportunities it initiates or the adoption of eVehicles; it further streamlines systems and processes, propelling the idea of Aatmanirbhar Bharat.

The prioritization of technology is a 2-pronged strategy that also seeks to drive cleaner operations. The announcement of the special policy for battery swapping, introducing a uniform standard for EV batteries, encouraging the private sector to engage in sustainable business models and setting up additional public charging stations, have the potential to revolutionize the eVehicle industry. Moreover, eVehicles can also play a key role in last-mile logistics, a feat that can assist the industry in reducing its carbon footprint. The Government has also highlighted initiatives that will be beneficial for all by reducing the surcharge on long term capital gains.

While the budget carries good news for the logistics sector, we are happy to note the Government’s efforts in propelling areas such as infrastructure, digitalization, sustainable practices and citizen well-being, all of which require a special focus going into the new financial year. The world is now acclimated to COVID-19 and we are keen to see the subsequent results of these initiatives on the nation, going forward.”

Dr. K Anand Kumar, Managing Director, Indian Immunologicals Limited -The Union Budget is indeed growth focused with a sharp increase of over 35% in the allocation of CAPEX at INR 7.5 Lac crore. The indicated GDP growth 9.2%, being one of the highest among all economies, is also a sign of economic revival of the country. Announcement of 100 PM Gati Shakti cargo terminals for multimodal logistic facilities and expanding the national highways by additional 25,000 km will also provide the due impetus to the logistics and supply chain, thereby, helping the life-sciences industry ensuring medical products deliveries to the remotest of the places.

Karun Tadepalli, CEO & Co-founder, byteXL-Creating a digital ecosystem that is accessible by everybody in the country is a welcome announcement by the Finance Minister. It is indicative of the fact that people are awakening to the idea that digital education has become indispensable. It’s not just about education, it’s more about keeping up the skillset in response to the market demand. I suppose such a common digital platform will bring one whole agglomerate of digital education on one platform and enable people to keep up their skilling, reskilling, and find relevant jobs or entrepreneurial opportunities through a trustworthy platform.

Jerold Chagas PereiraExecutive Director & CEO, mPowerO -The announcement of the formation of a Digital University indicates a bigger shift towards greater technology adoption in education. Further, the Finance Minister talked about the need to develop high quality digital or e-content in vernacular languages as well as expanding the e-Vidya initiatives to widen the access and reach of quality education. All of these announcements bode well for greater tech-adoption, which is the only way that scale can be achieved without compromise on quality.

Koneru Satyanarayana , President, KL Deemed to be University -In the Union Budget, the inclination of the government towards digital education is a progressive step. Involving the new universities in offering courses in financial services and technology and AICTE in improving the urban planning courses will have long-term benefits for Indian education. Developing the employability of the youth through the Digital DESH e-portal for skilling, upskilling & reskilling and the National Skill Qualification Framework will augment the ongoing efforts of some of the universities like us. To promote the crucial critical thinking skills, setting up 750 virtual labs in science and mathematics, and 75 skilling e-labs for the simulated learning environment, will also boost innovation amongst the student community.

Richa Singh, CEO & Co-founder, YourDOST -YourDOST is thrilled to witness the keen and continued interest of the government in addressing mental health issues. The announcement of the setting up of a National Tele Mental Health Program by the Finance Minister is in the right direction and will offer a strong support system for the mental wellness issues that people of all ages in the country are going through. This will play a significant role in removing the stigma attached to the topic of mental wellness in the country. Additionally, the rolling out of an open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem will also assist in connecting the relevant health providers and health facilities through the digital registry, thereby, making required health assistance more accessible.

Gautam Nimmagadda, Founder & CEO, Quixy -Aspects of the union budget 2022 provide great confidence to startups and innovators. The previously well-received decision to exempt startups from taxes for three years received an annual extension in this budget. This decision will further boost the fast-growing startup ecosystem in India. This continued support is immensely favourable for cultivating and sustaining innovation and providing financial assistance to the startups. And, in a salutary step towards data security, the Finance Minister has recommended giving an Infrastructure Status to the Indian Data Centers, thus enabling the providers with easier access to funds and encouraging more Data Centers to come up in the country to augment the digital revolution. We wish to see policies with a continued boost for digital technologies to achieve our collective dream of a digital-first future for the country.

Rishabh Khanna, Cognitive Scientist, Co-founder, Suraasa -Accessibility to quality learning is a huge challenge for the country, especially in the digital mode of delivery. I think that the Digital University and 'One Class One TV Channel' are very thought through ideas to ensure that no children are left behind due to language, resource, or digital barriers. Skilling and Upskilling have been the talk of the EdTech town for the longest time (for all the right reasons) and it's great to see the government working towards that too. The FM also talked about teachers being trained to be able to deliver quality learning outcomes to students. I think that is one of the most important components of the education system since a trained teacher has the potential to transform lives of many children and create impact at scale. I am excited to witness the implementation of proposed initiatives and how they impact education across the country.

Bharat Bhut, cofounder and director, Goldi Solar -Budget 2022 has given indigenous manufacturers several reasons to cheer. Implementing 40% BCD on solar modules and the additional allocation of Rs 19,500 crore for PLI for solar PV module manufacturing will ensure the growth of the entire domestic manufacturing ecosystem. The application requirements should be tweaked to ensure that MSMEs also benefit from the scheme. All of these measures will result in a more robust domestic module supply, increased confidence in Indian solar modules and reduced reliance on imports while furthering our aim to achieve an Atmanirbhar Bharat. As a next step, the government needs to define measures to be taken in the R&D space to foster innovation and help companies stay ahead of the technology curve.

Dr. Priya Virmani, Founder, Ameluxe - The Government ‘heard’ the setback the travel and tourism industry faced yet again with Omicron but not to the extent the industry wanted. It could be argued that the incentives are too little, too late but nevertheless the Budget looks at increasing liquidity in the sector by facilitating loans. This will offer some respite but much more needs to be done to also make India travel friendly and welcoming to international travellers.

Vishakha Singh, VP, WazirX NFT Marketplace -It’s heartening to see that the government has acknowledged the potential for blockchain technology and digital assets, and is looking at formalising policies around them. It's a widely acknowledged fact that the crypto/NFT industry has also led to a boom in job opportunities and the government is now recognising the same. Their decision reflects the growing potential of NFTs as a digital asset in our country. We officially have a definition of digital assets, both fungible and non-fungible, on paper. We hope that this development leads to mainstream crypto/NFT adoption in India.

Dilli Babu Nandarapu, Founder & CEO, ShopConnect -The Union Budget 2022 saw the MSME sector getting a much needed booster dose with a series of initiatives that will accelerate economic growth. The extension of Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) and the interlinking of Udyam, e-Shram, National Career Service(NCS), and Aatamanirbhar Skilled Employee Employer Mapping (ASEEM) portals is a positive move as it will enable ease of doing business in India which in turn will encourage entrepreneurship.  Moreover, Credit Guarantee Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) scheme and RAMP programme  will also support their revival and growth.

Anurag Sinha, Cofounder and CEO OneCard and OneScore.-Considering we have not yet emerged out of the shadows of the pandemic, I believe the Finance Minister has done an excellent job in striking a fine balance in being fiscally prudent and growth supportive. The budget has laid out a host of top-notch measures offering a huge push for infrastructure besides incentivising manufacturing and addressing key growth driving cohorts such as MSMEs, youth and even the startup community.

The budget has laid considerable focus on public investment and capital expenditure however on the other side it is quite conservative in its tax growth estimates. The budget however contains several significant reform measures and fiscal initiatives that will boost social and economic development.

Promoting digitization across sectors and levels is indeed a welcoming move which would not only speed up the processes but also bring much-needed transparency and uniformity to the system. Introducing digital currency is a dynamic decision taken by the government and would really help the economy in coming at par with developed economies. It would also streamline the current financial infrastructure, making it cheaper and faster to conduct monetary transactions. Further to promoting digital currency, the move of introducing 75 digital banking units in 75 districts will significantly strengthen the financial infrastructure across the country. All in all, with an outlay from India at 75 to India at 100, I believe this Budget is futuristic and focuses well on economic revival while ushering the next era of growth for India.

Dr. Sujata Seshadrinathan, Director, Basiz Fund Services -India’s position as world leader in Information technology software and FinTech, has consolidated significantly in the last few years. GOI has always been very clear in its classification of the 3 distinct aspects of the crypto issue. The finance minister has taken the first steps towards harnessing the power of digital currency and blockchain and the government’s policy framework for it has been clearly established in this budget.

Also, Inclusive Digital banking all across the country including rural sectors, land records and registration integration with unique IDs on a single platform, NDGRS for one nation one registration and end to end digitization of government procurement are all applications where adopting blockchain can have a transformative effect, and this is a very welcome move. For the Indian IT and FinTech sector, the provisions for digital currency and blockchains in Budget 2022 open up major vistas for growth and position consolidation as world leaders.

The FM has announced a digital currency to be issued by the RBI starting 2022-23, and I believe this will bring along the benefit of safe and cheaper currency management systems based on blockchains and other technologies.

Amit Pamnani, Chief Investment Officer, Swastika Investmart Ltd.-The budget focuses on nurturing business & encourage digitalization in all sectors

The union budget 2022-23 is very exhilarating for businesses & startups since most of the announcements are with the objective to nurture them & create a sustainable environment. Since the startup ecosystem is emerging in India and was expecting support from the government, FM has brought smiles to entrepreneurs' faces by announcing schemes that will boost the Startups. We are confident if these policies are implemented in a timely manner they will bolster startups in all sectors especially – EV, Agri, fintech, Deeptech, defense.

For Venture capital investors also it is an exciting budget on two aspects – one, there is a thrust given to startups for their growth, and second, the government to allocates the capital contribution to VC funds for investing in startups.

India has over 61k startups recognized under the Startup India program. We expect Startup registration to increase by 20% this year and startup funding to augment since funds from the UK, US, UAE, Singapore are chasing Indian Startups.

Nandini Taneja, Vice President, Reach Pro Group -"The Union Budget demonstrates a strong commitment to urban growth via sustainable living and better governance. The establishment of a high-level committee for urban planning is a crucial move in the FY22-23 budget to define the future urban settings in terms of transportation, employment, health, education, and living. The budget is progressive, particularly in its emphasis on infrastructural development for the country. The emphasis on sustainable living with opportunities for all, including women and youth steers a positive approach for a sustainable tomorrow.

Naman Shah, Founder & CEO of NowPurchase -Given the unusual times we live in, the Union budget for 2022–23 has been quite positive for Indian enterprises. The government's decision to push skill development through the  DESH Stack e-portal is commendable. The proposal to extend a 6,000-crore RAMP programme for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) over the next five years is encouraging for increasing competitiveness of this sector. We expect that the government's efforts to interconnect MSMEs' portals such as Udyam, e-Shram, NCS, and Aseem in order to broaden the scope will aid the formidable growth of the MSME sector. Along with this, the gradual phase out of some custom duties should definitely bolster manufacturing. The government's support for India's startup and MSME sectors has continued this year, and the industry is poised to be back on a growth trajectory after an unprecedented last financial year.

Sudheer Perla, Country Manager- India, Tabreed -The finance minister has indeed presented a budget focused on growth, with a clear emphasis on capital spending, to assist an economy that is beginning to recover and will thrive if proposed measures are implemented swiftly. Given the need for decisive climate action, the emphasis on sustainable urban development through the establishment of new centers of excellence for urban planning, capacity building to support more holistic and integrated approaches, and revamping building by-laws and rules is commendable, all of which will act as catalysts for the growth of the country's sustainable cooling utility market. Furthermore, the government's issuance of green bonds for use in projects that reduce carbon intensity could be another significant step forward in the advancement of green infrastructure projects. More rapid infrastructure development may be possible if appropriate public-private partnership models are used, as well as the private sector's ability to take risks and raise green financing. Focus on promoting energy efficiency through Energy Service Company (ESCO) business models will also help this sector build capacity and scale better, something that has not been possible to date in India.

Tabreed lauds the overall forward-looking policies presented. Cooling is one of the largest drivers for energy demand growth, with cooling utilities and Cooling As A Service business models still being at an embryonic stage in India. The announced initiatives will contribute to the country's net zero goal and accelerate India's transition to a sustainable and energy-efficient economy.

Prof. V.P. Singh, Professor of Economics & PGDM Program Director, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon -Digital economy needed a thrust on digital education and that’s been proposed in this budget. Technological innovations in other sectors need to be complemented with innovations in education for yielding the desired growth in employment and economic development. The proposals on Digital Desh Digital University will make education available anywhere anytime at low cost. India will see a new revolution in productivity through this confluence of enablers of investments in skilling, logistics, infrastructure, financing and youthfulness. Pandemic increased the divide between rich and poor in terms access to education. The proposals will bridge this gap and provide opportunities of continuous learning for those who missed out on formal education in the last two years.

Govind Singh MD & CEO Utkarsh Small Finance Bank -The economy is at a stage of stimulus with India continuing to be one of the world's fastest growing economy. A 35 per cent increase in capital expenditure indicates the desire to improve infrastructure and more importantly serves as a significant avenue for job creation. Another important thrust is the Affordable Housing.

Higher GST collections in January 2022 indicate a growth, and compliance in taxes picking up augurs well for the future. With fiscal deficit projected to be at 6.4% in 2022-23, coupled with higher fiscal deficit for states, it clearly  indicates the desire for growth by the government.

Digital currency is an initiative that would give significant boost to this sector.

The  Finance Minister has outlined the desire for 5G roll out in the Budget.  Optic fibre net for all villages under Bharat net, is an important focus that, is slated to bring India under the digital infra.  All of these indicate that the Banks enhanced digital capabilities will be made available for better customer experiences.

With forex reserves at record high levels, India needs to watch out on oil prices and its effect on inflation.  India is poised for an investment lead GDP regrowth with banks acting as catalysts for growth.

Dr. Dishan Kamdar, Vice-Chancellor, FLAME University -“The decision to establish the digital university is a disruptive and futuristic decision that will benefit a large number of students even from the remotest part of the country by making world-class education accessible. This will surely give wings to the dreams of deserving students and meet the goal of providing high-quality education to all students across the country.

The plan to increase the 'One Class One TV Channel' from 12 to 200 TV Channels in all States in India will enable students to learn through radio and DTH channels thereby overcoming the problem of internet connectivity. The two decisions truly reflect the Government’s aims to leverage technology advancements and use them as tools to meet the educational aspirations of a large number of students in the country. They have set an example that is worthy of being emulated by others.

Milan Ganatra, Founder & CEO, 1SilverBullet -Firstly, I would like to express my appreciation and welcome the Budget presented by the government, which has been tremendously encouraging for India's startup ecosystem. Bringing in the unlisted equity taxation at par to the listed, will encourage more Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) in India, allowing a substantial quantity of wealth to flow into the pockets of founders and investors, bettering the appeal for investors to invest in unlisted equities or startups in the country. The administration is also proposing to form a committee to develop a framework for attracting more investments and monitoring regulations, which is a wonderful step forward from the eyes of the Fintech startup entrepreneur.

Finally, opening various things at the Indian Financial System Code (IFSC) will allow it to become a worldwide financial services centre, fueling a slew of Fintech-related operations. The government has been extremely pro-infrastructure, and they have granted industry data centres status, which is a great move with multiple benefits. Overall, the government has recognised the importance of technology, startups and has assured that there will be adequate and more entrepreneurial opportunities, which will be backed up by government assistance.

Miten Kakaiya, fitness coach, founder of Miten Says Fitness -A great initiative has been taken during this Union Budget to digitize every possible industry. I am really delighted with the introduced the ‘National Tele Mental Health Programme’. Health is the top priority at the moment, and rolling out of 'National Digital Health Ecosystem' will be a great help to quickly access to health facilities.

Also for Startups, exemption from taxes from three years has now been extended for one more year which is a helpful step for entrepreneurs during such a critical time of the pandemic, as the fitness industry no doubt demanded benefits for gyms and respective startups.

Abhinav Sinha, Co-founder Eko.- "As part of the latest budget announcements, MSMEs like Udyam, e-shram, NCS & Aseem portals will be inter-linked, and their scope will be widened. These MSMEs will now work as portals with live organic databases, providing G-C, B-C & B-B services like credit facilitation and enhancing entrepreneurial opportunities. Another beneficial initiative from the budget is the extension of the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme to March 2023 with a guarantee cover that will be expanded by INR 50K Crore to a total cover of INR 50,000 Crore. This scheme has already helped 130 lakh MSMEs mitigate the worst impact of the pandemic. The announcement of rolling out 6,000 crore rupees programme to rate MSMEs over the next 5 years shall help the sector become more resilient, efficient and competitive.

Another welcome move is the launch of India's own blockchain-based digital currency by the RBI. Digital currency will lead to more efficient and cheaper currency management proposed to introduce digital rupee, using blockchain and other technologies to be issued by the Reserve Bank of India starting 2022-23.

Sudhesh Chandrasekar, Chief Financial Officer, Slice -Several initiatives announced by the government in the budget have been directed towards the country's financial inclusion agenda. The government's continued focus on digital payments and digital banking will contribute towards making the entire ecosystem far more robust. This inclusion showcases the government’s commitment to encouraging further adoption of digital payments in the country, especially in the smaller cities and towns. .  With the aim to take digital banking to every citizen in the country, the government's proposal to set up 75 Digital Banking Units (DBUs) in 75 districts of the country by Scheduled Commercial Banks is another major step towards achieving our financial inclusion goals.

We were also expecting the government to announce key measures to address the need for a liquidity boost for fintech companies and smaller NBFCs. We will have to wait and see if any additional measures will be announced.

Ketan Patel - CEO, Mswipe -On the boost provided for the Fintech Ecosystem -The fintech ecosystem requirements have been well addressed in the budget. Measures to boost skill development through public private partnerships, and by incentivising courses on fintech through world class education institutions will definitely help the work force and the ecosystem. The government’s outlay on capital expenditure, includes the proliferation of digital payments, and technology infrastructure expansion for MSMEs, both of which brings much cheer to the ecosystem players as they make efforts to drive digital penetration across India. Not just fintech, the government’s shout out to startups across Agritech, HRtech, EdTech is a clear sign that the technology ecosystem is going to play the major role in achieving not just near term GDP targets but in the long run elevate India as a technology driven economy.

For MSMEs:

Interlinking portals such as Udyam, e-shram, NCS and Aseem to improve credit facilitation for small business is welcome and it will push them to embrace entrepreneurship. Raising and Accelerating MSME Performance (RAMP) programme for MSMEs that is slated to be rolled out in the next five years will push a high number of technology companies to come forward with innovative solutions.

For Consumer:

Setting up of Digital Banking Units to mark 75 years of Independence is not just a symbolic honour but also recognition of digital first banking approach that the government is keen to pursue to help the larger part of the population, which is new to digital or new to banking, find it easy to access financial services. By choosing to continue with the benefits that the digital payments ecosystem enjoys, the government has reaffirmed its commitment to digital payments and digital financial services as ‘the way forward’ for consumers. Bringing post offices under core banking system is a major step to ensuring inclusive and accessible financial services to the remotest of locations in the country.

Sumeet Mehta, Co-founder and CEO, LEAD -Overall, this has been a progressive budget as it accelerates the government’s efforts towards inclusive and sustainable development. As an educator, I welcome the emphasis on creating digital and free-to-air channels of education. However, at the same time, the budget appears to circumvent physical schooling. I sincerely hope that is not the case. While online learning was inevitable due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it would never be as effective as offline learning, which brings out the best in students in terms of learning outcome and performance. Online education can at best only play a supplementary role in education. I would have also loved to see a greater focus on improving the teaching and learning processes in our schools vis-a-vis infrastructure and tech-enabled curriculum. Going forward, I hope there will be policy changes in that direction.

Prajodh Rajan, Co-founder and Group CEO, Lighthouse Learning -The much awaited Union Budget has delivered many positive developments for the education sector. The implementation of One Class One TV Channel program of PM eVIDYA to be expanded from 12 to 200 channels, should help mitigate the learning loss our children have endured during the past two years as schools remain closed. This will definitely support supplementary education in regional languages for students across classes 1 to 12. A boost in the digital infrastructure across the country is essential and the mention of the completion of 5G spectrum auction in 2022-2023 will certainly help enable education institutions to attain the much needed learning outcomes. The Digital DESH e-portal set to be launched will help the youth in skilling, upskilling and reskilling so that they are ably employed and can contribute to the country’s economic growth. We will soon be a super-energised and digitised economy!

Dr. Alok Khullar, CEO, Gleneagles Global Health City, Chennai -The impetus given to the healthcare structure in the last 2 years has benefitted the sector. In today’s budget, the focus on infrastructural development is bound to spur growth and enable accessibility for more people. It is imperative that healthcare infrastructure grows alongside the overall infrastructural development of the country. There is still a need for focused skill development for various healthcare needs which the budget failed to address. The impetus given to manufacturing sector can facilitate setting up manufacturing units for healthcare devices and equipment in India, thus, reducing the end cost. While the pandemic has unfolded many aspects of healthcare, a lot of mental health problems across all age groups were also witnessed. We welcome the budget’s focus to implement a ‘National Tele Mental Health Programme’ to address the mental health problems and provide counselling & care services. This will create more awareness and also open more avenues in the overall health & wellbeing of an individual. Additionally, the budget aims to roll out a National Digital Health Ecosystem which comes in as a blessing for the public where digital registries of health providers and health facilities, unique health identity, consent framework, and universal access to health facilities will be made available.

Dr. C.J. Vetrievel - Founder Chairman & Managing Director, Be Well Hospitals, Chennai -The finance minister highlighted the need to have accessible healthcare across rural parts of the country. With our aim to also provide infrastructure and health services in sub-urban and peri-urban regions, we believe that accessible healthcare is the need of the hour. We thank the finance minister and the Central Government for recognizing the efforts taken by the healthcare sector in tackling the pandemic as well as accelerating the nation-wide vaccination drive. We have been seeing the importance given to Mental Health since the beginning of the pandemic and now that has also taken a significant position in the Union Budget 2022 – 2023. The need to pay attention to one’s mental health has been well addressed in the budget where allocation of funds to set up a ‘National Tele Mental Health Programme’ is proposed. This move will create more awareness among the public and the need to prioritize mental health & overall wellbeing. The overall impetus towards primary healthcare and public healthcare is a welcomed initiative. This is a visionary budget with long term unprecedented infra spending. This provides impetus to all sectors due to the ripple effect. The allocation of funds for healthcare, being a core infra sector, could have however been better.

Prasanna Kumar, Founder, Vilcart -Startups in India have emerged as a growth driver for the economy. The announcement of tax incentives for startups from three years to four years of incorporation is a great decision, and it will help startups in further development and growth. The extension of capital gains exemption and claim for tax holiday till March 31, 2022, is a great relief.

Using startups to boost the rural economy is a welcoming proposal by the Finance Minister. We are hopeful that rural e-commerce companies like ours would also benefit greatly from the launch of the 5G telecom network. It will help us to offer additional features to kirana store owners, corporate brands, and buyers through our mobile apps.

Ajay Bijli, Chairman and Managing Director, PVR Ltd -Budget 2022 is a consistent, balanced  and growth-oriented budget with Capex spend allocation rising by 35% which will certainly aid economic recovery. Having said that it is disappointing that there are no specific support provided to the movie exhibition sector which has been the worst impacted sector from Covid – 19. I continue to hope that Government will look into our demands which are essential for cinema business to reach pre-Covid levels.

Atul Shrivastava, Group CEO & Executive Director at Laqshya Media Group - “The union Budget underlined the government’s focus on long-term growth. As India’s economic growth is estimated to be 9.2% in the upcoming financial year so it would be good for all the industry and with overall growth, we are sure advertising & media will also show remarkable growth which was low due to the pandemic in the last couple of years. As announced the National Highways to be expanded by 25,000 km under PM Gati Shakti mission. Highways are adding a new dimension to the growth of the OOH Industry as advertising on the Highways is emerging as very strong choice for brand building for many categories.

Y. Viswanatha Gowd, MD & CEO of LIC Housing Finance -The Union Budget announcements is a booster for the affordable housing segment with the expected completion of 80 lakh homes under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and allocation of Rs 48,000 crore under PMAY urban and rural.  The proposed initiative by Central government to closely work with state governments to reduce time required for all land and construction-related approvals will give confidence to both builders and homebuyers alike planning to invest in affordable housing.  This will aid in the supply side of affordable units.

Vikram Agarwal, Managing Director, Cornitos - The Union Budget 2022-23 is a progressive budget, our Government is concentrating on infrastructure, employment generation, and future developments. This appears to be a growth-oriented budget as efforts are being made to reduce compliance burdens and improve ease of doing business. The Budget has given an extension of the ECLGS Scheme which would provide much-needed help to the MSME sector especially the hospitality and related food processing segments. The past few years have been tumultuous for the hospitality segment and I am hopeful that this initiative gives the industry a much-needed boost.

Anamika Pandey, Founder, Naario -“COVID 19 pandemic had a significant impact on the world economy, including disruption of nations' varied industries like manufacturing, supply chain, food processing, etc. Lockdowns did not just halt the mobility of goods, services, and humans but also pulled back the governance receipts affecting the fiscal balance.

From the perspective of overall macroeconomic stance, increased GST collections present a favorable picture indicating two key aspects -Economic Recovery; Reduced anti evasions activities; Now Economic Recovery also means Financial Inclusion of the marginalized and unemployed who are contributing to the economy more than before for instance women- especially homemakers.

It also indicates the formalization of the workforce. This is aligned with Naario's vision of empowering women and making them participate in the formal sector.

However, every good indication comes with some fallouts. What people often ignore is the differential contribution of varied sectors and direct vs indirect taxes in this overall illusive figure. Recent trends have shown that corporate taxes in comparison to income taxes of non-corporates and higher indirect taxes. This is problematic as indirect taxes do not distinguish between rich and poor and it shifts the burden of tax to the poor and deprived majority which may lead to a rise in inequality and deprivation of select classes and communities.

Dr Rishi Bhatnagar, President, Aeris Communications -FM has laid great emphasis on EV ecosystem by announcing battery swapping policy. This will promote and encourage private sector to create innovative and sustainable business models, improving efficiency. I welcome the budget and excited to assist the government in its electrification efforts. AI and IoT provides a clear image of the battery's charge status. Remote monitoring via IoT can help verify that the station is correctly optimised. The most appealing aspect of the battery swapping infrastructure is that it does not necessitate any investment from local power distribution companies. This will aid in developing the necessary charging station ecosystem proving beneficial to domestic EV market. As a company Aeris Communications has battery management and swapping solutions and working closely with EV OEMs and service providers”.

Mayank Jain, Director , Crayon Motors -This government is bringing the change towards mass adoption of EVs. A move that is also helping nurture the start-up ecosystem in our country.

The Battery Swapping Policy introduced in the budget will go a long way in improving the affordability of EVs. This policy will lead to battery standardisation. This will also push towards mass adoption of EVs. The policy will also open new opportunities in this sector and support growth of new start-ups.

The special mobility zones with zero fossil fuel policy will help bring down the pollution level in our cities and give the people the option of breathing cleaner air, something that is the need of the hour.

These policies are a welcome step taken by the government. This industry and growing and we look forward to more support, especially in the area of retail finance, from them to help nurture and grow this industry.

Vijay Chandok, MD & CEO - ICICI Securities -The Union Budget 2022-23 is a Budget with a vision to transform India in the medium term. The budget has adopted new economic growth template for “Amrit Kaal” (run up to India@100) by promoting capital expenditure led economic growth. Outlay of Capital expenditure of Rs 7.5 lakh crore, up ~35% YoY (and at 2.9% of GDP) along with expanding the scope of private capex through PLI for new age segments is expected to deliver inclusive growth, job creation and welfare for all.  

The Budget also seem to be presented in the backdrop of likely pandemic aftereffect which is reflective in the relatively conservative estimation of growth (merely ~11% nominal GDP in FY23) and receipts. Thus, there is a likelihood of lower than projected fiscal deficit. With growth-oriented focus intact in the Budget, we expect economic and capital market buoyancy to remain.

Joy Chakraborty,COO at PD Hinduja Hospital & MRC, Mahim, Mumbai -The focus on improving mental health by introducing the National Tele Mental Health Programme is a welcome move in the current times .This should encourage more people to seek medical help for mental health issues and improve the overall well- being of the population.

Introducing virtual labs and skilling e-labs to be set up to promote critical thinking skills and a simulated learning environment is a good step. This should help to bridge the skill gap in the healthcare sector,  especially in the allied health sciences / paramedical area.

Undoubtedly, the internet and the digital landscape have transformed

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