New FM Tune - Aatma Nirbhar Digital Bharat

Team FM @Parliament

New FM Tune - Aatma Nirbhar Digital Bharat

With No prescriptions for COVID-hit sectors

Ms Sitharam misses out on concerns such as primary health, job creation, mid-size companies, manufacturing, say analysts

Prashant Ruia, Director, Essar Capital -A blueprint budget with a nice touch of green! A bold one with a massive hike in public investment will be the booster dose to restart corporate investments. The infrastructure allocation with a focus on technology will generate employment & help transform tomorrow!

Gurpreet Sidana, Chief Operating Officer - Religare Broking Ltd -The government has reemphasized its focus on growth through the Union Budget and positively surprised many with a sharp increase of 35% in allocation for capital expenditure in key sectors like Infra, housing, defence and agriculture etc. Moreover, the focus is also on inclusive growth as several measures were announced to ease supply-side issues and promote domestic manufacturing. At the core of all these announcements, the continuous push towards digitization shows their commitment to assure inclusion. Amid all, the government also intends to get the fiscal deficit down albeit at a slow pace as anticipated. Overall, while there was little relief on the personal income tax front i.e. capping of surcharge on LTCG and easing of tax compliance, with no other negative surprises, we believe the focus on spending more would create employment opportunities and help in kick-starting the investment cycle which in turn would help to strengthen the economic growth.

Uday Narang, Founder and CEO, Omega Seiki Mobility - The Union Budget 2022 presented by the Central Government  has several positive signals for the electric vehicle, manufacturing and logistics sector, which are fundamental to the economy. The announcements made today, clearly shows the shift towards sustainable development with close collaboration with the private sector.

An introduction of a Battery Swapping Policy will play a pivotal role in the long-term adoption of Electric Vehicles in India. Interoperability standards across industry for EVs will be especially beneficial for electric two and three-wheelers. Our recent foray in swappable technology with our flagship product ‘OSM Rage+’ is the first step towards achieving this dream.

The Union Budget 2022 provided the much-needed impetus which would augment our country’s road infrastructure and projects for the Highway network to grow by 25,000 km this fiscal with investments of 20,000 crore as part of Prime Minister’s Gati Shakti Plan for Expressways . This will not only lead to demand for electric vehicles, but also for ancillaries supporting the EV industry. However, the possible increase in import expenditure of certain components may cause some lack of joy among several of our industry peers. Lastly, the announcement on Drone Shakti with introduction of Drones as a ‘service’, especially for the agriculture sector will help track the lifecycle of crops efficiently. We have already earmarked a capex of Rs. 75 crores towards OSM Drones and at the moment we are in active discussion with several partners for the same.

In all, this is a very balanced and growth oriented, forward looking budget which will help in broader economic development of the country, both on micro and macro fronts.

Chintan Lakhani, Director - Large Corporate Ratings, Brickwork Ratings -Announcement of formation of a high-level committee for urban planners and economists shall provide an indirect impetus to the real estate sector since a planned implementation boosts housing demand including creation of employment opportunities. Affordable housing segment received a booster dose with the allocation of Rs. 48,000 crores and targeted completion of 80 lakh homes by 2023 under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) a key initiative under Government’s vision of Housing for All.

Vaidyanathan V, CFO At Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai -The Budget 22 has provided a much-required push to the economy by increasing the allocation to Capital Expenditure by about 35%. The budget has given thrust to the Gati Shakti – for sustainable growth. The budget has also given a push to the digital economy, introduction of Digital currency starting 200 TV channels to fill the gap in learning of the children due to the pandemic are some of the welcome points. Repealing 1486 Acts, which were redundant, introduction of e-passport, thrust for EV (electric vehicle) by introduction of charging stations and battery swapping are all welcome moves. Modification to the filing of tax returns for rectification/ including left out income at a nominal fee is a welcome move to avoid litigation.

Rajee R, Chief Ratings Officer, Brickwork Ratings - The growth-oriented Union Budget 2022-23  has buoyed overall sentiments and provided an ambitious blueprint for the next 25 years. Emphasis on infrastructure building through the PM Gati Shakti scheme, increase in outlay on capital expenditure by around 36% to Rs 7.50 lakh crore, infra spends in PPP mode, steps for urban capacity building, thrust on the digital ecosystem, support for start-up ecosystem, renewable energy, electric vehicles, chemical-free farming etc. are positive steps in steering the nation to India@100. There is a good balancing act between fiscal consolidation and growth prioritisation. Extension of Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) scheme by a year to March 2023 and increase in outlay by Rs. 50,000 Crs. are welcome announcements, expected to significantly help the MSME sectors and the hospitality sector specifically, by aiding the sector’s financing needs. Emphasis on ‘inclusive development and ‘financing of investments’ would lead to rapid financial inclusion and extension of the credit ecosystem. Earmarking 68% of the capital procurement budget of the defense sector for domestic industries is expected to sustain investments, attract fresh capacity creation and promote Atmanirbhar Bharat. Continued emphasis on the importance of mobile connectivity and broadband for economic development, especially in rural India, will certainly boost the telecommunication and associated sectors. Ease of Doing Business 2.0 is a step in the right direction and the Single Window clearance mechanism will go a long way in this direction. The push on digital economy, fintech innovation and introduction of central bank digital currency are expected to give the much-needed thrust to a growing fintech sector. Amendments proposed in the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code would enhance the resolution process's efficiency. BWR expects that the various announcements will have a positive impact on the country’s growth agenda.

Dr Suresh Surana - Founder RSM India -The Union Budget 2022 is a very progressive budget with focus on growth, investment and employment as well as stability of tax regime. As per the Economic Survey, GDP for FY 2021-22 is expected to grow by 9.2% and for FY 2022-23 by 8% to 8.5% in real terms making India the fastest growing economy in the world.

There is a massive outlay of Rs.7.50 lac crores towards investment and infrastructure and an additional outlay of Rs.1 lac crore towards support to states for investment in growth assets and infrastructure. There is an enormous focus on solar and renewable energy which would also reduce India’s dependence of oil imports over the next few years and result in sustainable growth. There are concrete steps to improve the supply chain infrastructure in terms of railways, national highways, logistics parks, cargo terminals, unified logistics interface programme for real time information and so on. The logistics and distribution cost accounts for 12% to 14% of the GDP and this would greatly improve India’s global competitiveness. The ECLGS scheme has been extended to 31 March 2023 with an additional outlay of Rs.50,000 crores for providing credit support to MSMEs which will be very helpful particularly for Covid impacted sectors. The accelerated corporate exit scheme for voluntary winding up which is expected to reduce the period for closure of a company from 2 years to 6 months would reduce hardship for businesses. The fiscal deficit of 6.9% for FY 2021-22 and 6.4% for FY 2022-23 is on the higher side but this is a conscious and correct decision with a higher priority being accorded to growth and investment.

There is no change in the structure of corporate tax rates nor personal tax rates. Given that the corporate tax rates under the new concessional regime are 25.17% and for new manufacturing companies is 17.16%, the stability is a very positive news. The extension of period for eligibility for new manufacturing companies from 31 March 2023 to 31 March 2024 for commencement of manufacturing operations is welcome. There was an expectation that the maximum rate of taxation on dividends which is 35.88% would have been reduced to 23.92% but the same has not been met. There was a widespread expectation that the personal tax basic exemption would be increased from Rs.2.50 lacs to Rs.3 lacs keeping in view inflation which has not been fulfilled.

Overall, the Union Budget is one of the best budgets despite uncertain and challenging times and has focused on the right priorities of growth, investment, infrastructure, supply chain, MSMEs and at the same time, maintained stable tax regime.

Arjun Ranga, Managing Director, Cycle Pure Agarbathi -The Make in India initiative to create 6mn jobs will boost our economy and strengthen India's Atma Nirbhar Bharat dream. The focus on ease of living will boost Naya Bharat and enable more businesses to flourish. The move to repeal union laws to make it easier for businesses will uplift the employment scenario of the nation. As we are already in the jobs creation space, it will be a notable moment to witness industries coming together to create 60 lakh new jobs. The move to create a Special Economic Zones Act to enable states to become partners in ‘Development of Enterprise and Service Hubs’ will enhance the competitiveness of exports. New businesses and brands should now take climate change seriously and align their brand’s vision to minimise the effect on the environment. It is our responsibility to take India towards a more sustainable development path.

Pavan Ranga, Director, Rangsons LLP- The Union Budget 2022 looks promising for private industry in the Defence Sector. The move to allow private firms to take part in the R&D will encourage more players to take part in the growth of the nation’s defence sector. This will shorten the buying cycle of manufacturing products from foreign countries and make India capable of producing world class products in the defence and aerospace segment. The allocation of 25% of defence R&D budget will push more startups and academia to set incubation centres and accelerate new solutions in India that will be aligned to promoting Atma Nirbhar Bharat dream.

Dr. Navneet Gupta, Founder & CEO at YPay -India’s fintech system was a silver lining in the difficult times of lockdown and the pandemic. The nation has been bullish with digital payments, and the current budget has further fueled the same by announcing 75 digital banking units in 75 districts. Inclusion of 1.5 lakh post offices under banking system with digital infrastructure enablement will promote financial inclusion, and accelerate shifting micro economy in the mainstream banking system. Gradually, all the efforts will strengthen credit access, and payments in the MSME system will certainly reflect in the nation's economic growth at large.

Harminder Singh Multani, CEO, MyDentalPlan Healthcare Pvt. Ltd -The government had placed health care and well-being as one of the six pillars in the Union Budget 2021. With the pandemic still raging, it was expected that the government would continue to keep the sector in the focus and we are happy that it was indeed the case.  In today’s budget, the government has announced rolling out an open platform for the National Health Digital ecosystem, which will help various health workers across India. This is in alignment with PM Modi’s vision of the National Digital Health mission. We welcome this move and believe it will help in nurturing good health for all.

 In Budget 2022, a lot of impetus has been laid on healthcare and mental health, which is a step in the right direction. However, oral health has not got the importance that it deserves. It is a well-established fact that oral well-being is the gateway to overall health. We were hoping that the Hon’ble Finance Minister would address this in the budget 2022 and announce measures to accentuate this sector. One of the ways to do this was to drive faster adoption of dental insurance in the country as we believe that this move would not just help in lowering the cost of treatment but also encourage people to visit a dentist when they need one.

Nitin Vijay,  CEO & MD, Motion education - (www.motion.ac.in) -As stated by the FM, the Union Budget focuses on inclusivity and collective effort, particularly with its focus on online education and outreach into rural and, as yet, underserved areas, and demographics. The deliberate and significant focus on education, particularly edtech with the provision of ‘one class, one channel’ and for regional language learning will collectively boost outcomes for education in many ways. We foresee a fillip to education-based content services, supplementary learning systems, and e-infrastructure development. The PM e-Vidya scope has been extended to 200 channels and we wish this effort all the success considering the vacuum created by the pandemic and the urgent need for swift and decisive recovery and transformation in student’s learning horizons. To this end, the proposed setting up of the Digital university is sure to usher in a sea change as far as new initiatives in the field of virtual teaching and education are concerned. This budget does echo the noble intentions of ‘Sabka Prayas’ and ‘Sabka Vikas’.

Pramod Gummaraj, CEO, Aprecomm- "This budget is a step in the direction of bridging the gap of digital divide of connectivity, access to e-services, communications and digital resources to residents of rural vs urban areas. Our Finance Minister has provided ample opportunity towards commercialization & promotion of Research & Development in the areas of affordable connectivity. And Finally, this budget has laid the foundation stones to bring 5G to reality. 5G is considered to be industry game changer and we are very happy to see enough support from the government to roll our 5G mobile services in the coming years.

Dr. Shuchin Bajaj, Founder Director, Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals, said, "When we were struggling with the massive pandemic second wave last year, we thought that the only silver lining out of this would be that the current state of health care facilities in the country would attract the attention of the government, especially the Prime Minister and the finance minister. And we will see a big push towards healthcare spending, at least to the promise 3% of GDP that the government has been promising since a long time. Unfortunately, we haven't heard much on health care and education in this budget. The welcome part of the budget is that the national digital health ecosystem has been opened up and the National Mental Health tele helpline is being launched. Mental health has been disregarded for a very long time in the country. But overall, haven't had any exciting news so far from the budget, which we were looking forward to.

Dr. Jyoti Kapoor, Founder, Manasthali, said “This has been a best budget when it comes to highlighting the need of mental health when the nation is gripped by the COViD pandemic from the last couple of years. The isolation and social-distancing have brought mental health concerns to the forefront. All strata of society have suffered tremendously due to stress of pandemic, financial uncertainty,  and lack of adequate medical services. It’s commendable that the mental well-being of the community has been prioritised. In this regard, the announcement of a mental health care and counselling program is a silver lining. IIT-Bangalore has been appointed for providing the tech support in implementing the program."

Dr. Prakriti Poddar, Managing Trustee, Poddar Foundation,said "The current direct allocations for mental health are grossly insufficient, taking into consideration that 14% of India’s population lives with some form of mental illness, and there exists a treatment gap of 72–92%. The launch of a national tele-mental health program for mental health counselling in collaboration with IIT Bangalore is a much-awaited move from the government. Mental healthcare & well-being are complex & intersectoral in nature, for an effective mental health system, intersectoral linkages must be strengthened and this has been reflected in the Union Budget 2022-23. Also, the launch of 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 is a testimony of the commitment of the government to building stronger health systems."

Dr. Tushar Grover, Medical Director, Vision Eye Centre, New Delhi - " With the budget 2022 continuing to be growth-oriented as it picks up from budget 2021, the sharp focus on infrastructure building by way of Gatishakti being one of the four priorities underlines the long term perspective of the government.  Even as the pandemic apparently seems on its way out notwithstanding the persisting risks, the endeavour to comprehensively digitalise the health infrastructure in the form of National Digital Health Ecosystem along with setting up of mental health centers of excellence must be welcomed by all means. The provision for digital registries of health providers and health facilities, unique health identity, consent framework, and universal access to health facilities would make it easier for everyone including patients and caregivers in the coming years."

KR Raghunath, Senior Chairman, Jindal Naturecure Institute -"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. Also, to better the access to quality mental health counselling and care services, a National Tele Mental Health programme has been announced that'll further help in tackling the rising number of mental health disorders in the country. These patient centred initiatives will play a pivotal role in the success of the National Health Mission."

Nishchal Chaudhary, founder of BattRE Electric Mobility- Implementation of battery swapping policy for EVs is a positive step towards increasing EV penetration. This will help in reducing the upfront cost of EVs by up to 40%.

Rs 2.73 lakh crore MSP payments will improve rural economic sentiment and will indirectly increase vehicle demand."

Dr. Akshay Singhal, Founder, Log9 materials- The Central Government's constant push for EVs and climate action is commendable, and the same outlook has been resonated in this year's Union Budget as well. The openness showed by the Government to accommodate new-age business models like battery swapping are a welcome step, and the push to encourage battery- -as-a-service and energy-as -a-service business models will provide further thrust to emerging homegrown startups in these areas. At the same time, financial decoupling of batteries irrespective of swapping has the potential to enable faster adoption. Going ahead, it would be exciting to see some great climate focussed debt lines initiated from blended finance. However, bringing EVs and batteries into the priority lending sector was also expected this time, but was missed in this Budget, which is albeit disappointing to note.

Ratnesh Jha, CEO, India and South East Asia, The Burlington Group of Companies -The education ecosystem in India has been quickly transforming, particularly in the last two years of the worldwide pandemic. The Government proposed many initiatives in this year's budget to improve the nation's digital infrastructure so that experienced educators can comprehend new tools and approaches and offer students access to world-class quality education", said.

The budget has strategically allocated funds to initiatives, like the launch of the Digital DESH e-portal that will encourage skill development and promote an innovative culture by introducing high-quality e-content in all spoken languages. It will be developed for delivery via the internet, mobile phones, television, radio, and digital teachers. Giving another impetus to the pandemic-affected education sector, the PM eVIDYA scheme's 'one class, one TV channel' program will be expanded from 12 television channels to a total of 200 channels to supply radio and DTH channels to students who do not have an internet connection to decrease the widening gap in accessing education. Also, these initiatives mentioned above, proposed in the Budget, 2022, will generate more employment opportunities for individuals.

Neeraj Sharma, Vice President, Global Business at Globale Media -The budget presented by Ms. Sitharaman has shown great promise in making India a digitally strong and sound country. The 'India at 100" vision is profound and I feel the whole digital sector is poised for better days. The mobile advertising tech sector has a bullish future too. Combine that with India's Make in India machinery and you could have companies from India blossoming on the world maps.

Ayan Nagpal, Director, Agrocorp Landbase -The BUDGET 2022 reflects growth agenda at the macro level.The government is focussed to give a boost to MAKE IN INDIA and DIGITAL INDIA clearly. The enhancement of capital expenditure will give a major boost to infrastructure development and growth which will act as a catalyst to achieve set goals at macro level. During the pandemic india has emerged as a preferred destination for setting up of large manufacturing units because of rich human capital, the govt further added fuel to this fire by introducing PLI( production linked incentives)& single window clearance schemes across different sectors and states.

ML Mittal, Managing Director, Bharat Wire Ropes -Thrust on Capex, strengthening the infrastructure and policies to support the survival and growth of MSME has been some of the key focus areas of the budget 2022-23.

Push on infrastructure via the Gati Shakti will provide the much-needed push to infrastructure development. Rural India is the backbone of our economy and an enhanced focus on rural infrastructure development will bolster the Indian economy. The government has provided the much-needed lease of life to the MSME sector. The extension of ECLGS till March 2023 and additional allocation credit facility to the extent of 2 lakh crores via CGTMSE will help provide the impetus to MSME growth.Thrust on rural housing with housing project allocation of 48,000 cr will provide wings to the real estate development in rural India. The massive thrust on the capex spending is clearly the highlight of this budget and will go a long way in fulfilling the aatma nirbhar dream.

Yash Jain, BU Head- Docprime.com - The launch of an open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem by the government in today's Budget is a great step towards fast-tracking the adoption of digital health products and services. The ecosystem will comprise standardised registries of doctors and health facilities, unique health ID for each citizen and electronic health records, thereby enabling universal access to healthcare facilities. This announcement promises to empower India's Digital Health Mission and thereby help customers navigate the healthcare system seamlessly. With a holistic, technology-driven approach, this will provide a unique ID to every Indian citizen and help create a repository of healthcare information and clinical establishments. This not only helps monitor and report critical health updates directly to the caregiver but also effectively ensures that the patient receives the best and timely diagnosis. It certainly promises to empower and bring in a new set of innovators to strengthen consumer-centric services on the platform.

Avneet Singh Marwah, CEO SPPL, Exclusive Brand Licensee of THOMSON in India -This budget has been more like announcements and slogans, I’m surprised how FM missed on health and education, which are two main pillars of the economy, despite the pandemic. Coming back to consumer electronics, on one hand the government talks about how electronics will contribute 1 trillion to the economy and on the other for consumer electronics no major announcements, no roadmaps have been given to the industry. The Government should have assured to reduce the GST tax slab from 28% to 18%, despite collecting more than 1 lakh cr on MoM basis. Few signs of encouragement that 5G will be launched this year, this will have a direct impact on sales of televisions. As consumers will upgrade to smart TV’s and will have better content quality. The Government has spoken about adding 80 lakhs affordable homes, which will benefit the consumer electronics industry. Apart from that we were expecting big announcements on inflation, income tax, manufacturing sector etc which could have improved market sentiments.

Dr. Manoranjan Sharma, Chief Economist-  Infomerics Ratings -This is a Budget with an accent on growth and distributive equity. Financial inclusion is given a renewed thrust by the proposals on agriculture and food processing, Ken Betwa Link Project, universalization of quality education, and an all-inclusive welfare focus. There is clear stress on the ambitious PM Gati Shakti programme driven by the seven engines of  Roads, Railways, Airports, Ports, Mass Transport, Waterways, and Logistics Infrastructure to transform the process and pattern of economic development in India in these VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity) times. The accent on increasing investment, creating externalities towards improving the economic environment, enhancing productivity for sustained high growth with greater private sector participation, quality of expenditure, and catalyzing India’s digital economy is well-conceived. Measures regarding digital rupee, 5G, crypto tax, taxpayers getting 2 years to update I-T returns are also welcome.  Contextually significant Budget, entirely in conformity with the needs of an India on the move.

Jai Prakash, CEO, VRXtream -Wonderful to know that RBI will introduce the Blockchain powered Digital Currency. This would certainly give an impetus to the participation of institutional players in the blockchain space. Hoping to see that as the new class of assets finds more traction with the people, cryptocurrencies not only get recognised as legitimate investment vehicles but also get taxed accordingly.

Rahul Raj Singh, Director, Marketing and Sales, Catseye Systems and Solutions -The budget has come up with a mixed bag of emotions, the government has definitely made a bolder decision with the involvement of technology and we can clearly see that they are moving in a direction of accepting the importance of digital assets by taxing them, this is a huge advancement for the digital currency market, also looking forward to RBI launching its own digital currency and its implementation, all these steps will bring more relief to the digital investors who have invested their money in digital assets. Overall this budget is one step closer to making the operational infrastructure more efficient and effective which in turn will put more money in the hands of the Indian consumer eventually.

Roopali Prabhu, CIO and Co-head P&S, Sanctum Wealth -Since the covid outbreak in India, the finance ministry has been taking a series of steps to ease pain and aid recovery with reasonable fiscal prudence, given the circumstances. Our expectations were that this budget will build further on the same. We expected manufacturing and housing to get a further push. The thrust areas in the budget have been in line with our expectations. The budget carries forward its CAPEX focus with a higher-than-expected budget allocation at Rs 7.5 lakh crores, a 35% increase over the last budget. Additionally, policy support for the domestic industry has been extended in the form of protection duties, allocation to domestic companies in the defence sector etc. All of this points to the nascent investment cycle gaining further traction over the next few years. Also, the long-term vision outlined in the Gati-shakti master plan gives further visibility to infrastructure impetus for several years ahead.

The budget also addresses the pain of sectors that have been hit hard by the pandemic. The extension of ECLGS and the revamping of the CGTMSE for increased effectiveness are important measures announced in the budget.

The start-up ecosystem in India has evolved to be very vibrant. There has been an acknowledgement of the same and policy support in the last few years. The extension of tax incentives and capping of long-term capital gains will help start-ups and founders further.

The announcement of a digital rupee certainly comes as a surprise to many. While there are several economies evaluating the launch of their own central bank digital currencies (CBDC), India would be one of the first to announce and officially launch its own. A CBDC, we would argue, is the most significant announcement in the budget that could impact the future of banking. The budget also introduced a tax on digital assets and has preceded the tabling of the cryptocurrency bill. This could pave way for the acceptance of cryptocurrency as a new asset class.

The general expectation from the budget was growth over fiscal consolidation. The budget announcements are in line with these expectations. But that is leading to higher-than-expected fiscal deficit guidance for FY22-23. The lack of any specific measures on the inclusion of Indian bonds in the MSCI is a disappointment and will adversely impact flows as well as the sentiment. A moderate divestment target and higher gross market borrowing (Rs 14.95 lakh crores) will hurt bond investors.

Overall, the budget, despite being devoid of several big bang announcements, firmly focuses on aiding economic growth.

Runam Mehta, CEO, HealthCube -A national tele mental health programme, announced by the government in this budget, is a very welcome and appropriate step because telehealth will now be a key player in the delivery of healthcare. Under this programme, 23 tele mental health centres of excellence will provide mental health counselling with NIMHANS  as the nodal centre. An open platform for National Digital Health Ecosystem consisting of digital registries of health providers and health facilities, unique health identity and universal access to health facilities will be rolled out. The government will provide 80 lakh affordable housing by 2023 and further expand two lakh Anganwadis with upgraded facilities.

Overall, the budget for the fiscal year 2022-23 was a disappointment as far as health sector is concerned. We had high hopes for a greater allocation to strengthen the public health infrastructure, which has come under tremendous stress because of the Covid pandemic. There has been no change in personal income tax bracket, though the tax regime has been made easier. Updated return can be filed within 2 years from the end of the relevant assessment year.

Meena Ganesh, MD & Chairperson, Portea Medical, (home healthcare brand) -The budget has not given clarity on healthcare allocation. It is understood that the government has been spending heavily on healthcare services and the vaccination drive in the wake of the pandemic. However, there is an urgent and humongous need for investment in the country’s healthcare infrastructure, and towards chronic disease management and elderly healthcare. These areas haven’t been mentioned in the budget. Another key area that is the out-of-hospital and digital healthcare which has become a mass need in the new normal, and it didn’t find any mention in the budget either in the form of allocations or even the clarification of GST related matters for the healthcare industry. There has also been no allocation for hygiene or vaccination mentioned in this budget. We must not assume that the pandemic is over, even though we would wish for that to happen at the earliest. That’s where budgetary allocations are critical for these areas. While this lack of addressal of these critical issues has been underwhelming, there are also some positives in the budget. Mental health has been a highly neglected area in the past, and seeing clear and interactive action being taken by the government is heartening. Even though it is a small beginning, having a helpline that people can talk to is a good step forward. What remains to be seen is how effective it will be and whether people will be comfortable using the digital helpline in the times ahead. The other encouraging and highly expected development is the sustained focus on the National Digital Health Mission. We expect that the Unique Health ID will also gain momentum now. As of now, these are early days and there are some challenges that need to be overcome to achieve a full-fledged rollout of the NDHM. First challenge is to convince all the healthcare providers and workers to be a part of the mission by making its benefits known to them. The other will be to convince patients to share all their medical records digitally and to store it in the digital locker. There is a humongous volume of existing health data that would be needed to be digitized and integrated into the system. That’s also going to be a massive transformation process and it remains to be seen how the Government will achieve that. One of the most fundamental and impactful aspects is the consent framework that the FM mentioned. It is going to be the first time that the patients are going to own their medical data and not the doctors or the hospitals. They will have the authority of tracking or sharing their medical records as and when they find it appropriate. From an empowerment perspective, this is a good step, but it can backfire in instances where the patients refuse to share their medical history as that would impact the delivery of care by the providers in future emergencies.

Rishubh Satiya, Co-Founder, Plix (a fast-growing clean plant-based nutrition brand for daily wellness and strength (D2C lifestyle startup) -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.

Nilesh Aggarwal, CEO, IJCP Group, founder Medtalks and eMedinexus -The focus on e-learning and exploring digital mediums for continued education is a welcome step for all sections of the society. The finance minister announced opening platforms for the National Digital Health ecosystem that will consist of digital registries of health providers and health facilities, unique health identity and universal access to health facilities. This will be important towards building a more independent health ecosystem and provide equitable access to health facilities and better accountability of the health service providers. We are ready to support the Government on digital upskilling with our large bank of upskilling and CME courses. The national tele mental health is an important step, especially in view of the mental issues caused by the pandemic. We at MEDtalks have several mental health courses for healthcare professionals and other digital support tools to empower the public about their mental health.  We had however hoped for a much bigger focus on healthcare given the Covid pandemic so that we can attract more investment in the sector.

Dr Veena Aggarwal, Trustee Dr KK's Heart Care Foundation of India -The budget for the year 2022-23 has been presented by the Government today. We had great expectations from the budget with respect to an increase in healthcare expenditure particularly because of the Covid pandemic, which has exposed the inadequacies in the public health infrastructure as well as the disparities in the healthcare system. But again, health appears not to be a priority directly, though the government announced launch of a national tele mental health programme comprising of a network of 23 tele mental health centres of excellence with NIMHANS as the nodal centre in an acknowledgement of the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of the people. The government also announced the roll out of an open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem consisting of digital registries of health providers and health facilities, unique health identity and universal access to health facilities. Two lakh anganwadis will be upgraded with better facilities; 80 lakh affordable houses by 2023. Personal IT slabs remain the same. Though now taxpayers can file an updated return within 2 years from the end of the relevant assessment year.

PN Vasudevan - MD & CEO, Equitas Small Finance Bank -The Union budget 2022-23 has attempted to strike a balance between long-term imperatives and short-term growth priorities for healthcare, infrastructure, and rural development. Launch of digital rupee would be a breakthrough step towards building a more sustainable and inclusive financial sector.

The capping of tax on long-term capital gains (LTCG) on any asset at 15 percent from 20 percent as before is a major sentiment booster for investors. Increase in capital expenditure was beyond our expectation and a pleasant surprise while fiscal deficit target is within acceptable levels, given the current imperatives.

We believe this budget would spur overall economic growth, leading to healthy credit offtake for banks.  And with interest rate cycle looking to trend upwards, depositors should also expect to get better returns in the near term.

Sumit Gupta, Founder, Viral Pitch -With 2 lakh cr of budget allocation for MSMEs, it's more obvious than before that the startup ecosystem will be thriving like a rage.

Now, it's interesting to see that finally the separate Animation and Gaming Task force will be set up, and made its way to the budget offering immense potential to employ youth and empower them.  I am optimistic about the fact that this will clearly pave the emergence of new brands and creators in this space of Visual effects, Gaming and Comic Sector creating more opportunities to further accelerate creators' economies. This will also lead to build a better and stronger base of our domestic capacity in the line of serving the markets and efficiently cater to global demands and collaborations with a pool of global creators in the niche. Also, the introduction of digital rupee by using blockchain will indeed prove to be a booster for Fintech, making people more Crypto oriented this year. Certainly, Metaverse, NFT, Web 3.0 will have a significant role to play in the brand promotional landscape, starting from this year onwards.”

Paavan Nanda, Co-founder, WinZO -We welcome the Finance Minister’s announcement during Budget 2022 to set up an Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming, and Comics (AVGC) task force with the objective of building domestic capacity to serve our markets and global demand. Gaming is a soon-to-be trillion-dollar industry, and it is heartening to see that the Government of India has acknowledged the exponential potential that this sector holds. As a giant step towards contributing to the same, WinZO launched the country’s first-ever national-level scholarship program called B.O.S.S (Battle of Super Scholars) and unveiled a $26M Game Developer's fund with an aim to provide a platform to the best minds to disrupt this emerging global gaming industry. WinZO, as a leading game tech company, will be willing to work with public stakeholders to attract the best talent to this growing industry.

Harresh Mehta, CMD, ROhan Lifescapes -Union Budget 2022 has further given impetus to the growth of the housing sector in India. Continued emphasis on urban planning by adopting modern laws will boost the development of the segment in the near future. Also, the government planning to launch ‘Ease of doing business 2.0’ will add different flavors with more dynamic aspects to make India a lucrative destination for investment. Overall, the budget proves to be a helping hand for more or less all the sectors keeping the current disruption in mind.

Anurag Mathur, CEO, Savills India -The budget has taken a commendable position of increasing the expenditure significantly in order to boost demand and investment. Direct real estate measures were focused on providing infrastructure status to Data Centres and allocating ₹48000 cr for 80 lakh houses under PMAY. However, there are long term gains wherein the focus on creating a broad-based platform for manufacturing and R&D should create newer avenues for investment and development. In addition, there was significant focus on urban capacity building, digitisation of land records and new proposed SEZ law that will enable states to partner in existing and new exclaves to enhance exports.

Sumit Gupta, Founder, Whizard API -Tech-enabled startups have played a crucial role in empowering people to help them tackle the gripping effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The fact that our finance minister used a digital format to deliver her address in the Union budget 2022 speaks volumes about the use of technology for good governance. Accordingly, innovation has been awarded an extended tax benefit of 1 year thereby giving the necessary impetus to startups working towards establishing an Atmanirbhar Bharat. Furthermore, digitization measures such as Drone shakti policy, digital banking and fintech amalgamation, digital university and introduction of digital rupee should help give the much-needed thrust to establish a digital face of Amrit Kal - from India at 75 to India at 100.

Bhaskar Majumdar, Managing Partner, Unicorn India Ventures -This budget shows that technology enablement for transparency and roll-out at scale remains at the heart of the Government. Every aspect of the Budget speech has this aspect in mind. At the macro level, this tech enablement as an integral part of governance will be a boost for all new age tech companies and would further enhance the environment of new age digital and tech companies. Drones have now become an Integral part of the implementation of schemes be it in agritech, in defence and other areas. Creation of Nabard Agritech Fund for “Kisan Drones “ shows the Government recognition of a new view on how to upgrade the farming. Recognition of digital assets and bringing them under the tax structure is an excellent initiative as this would bring these in the mainstream. The tax on crypto/ NFTs will now make it legalised and users won’t be able to circumvent tax and other financial regularities. In addition to this, Defence, Artificial Intelligence (AI), geospatial systems, drones, space economy, genomics & pharmaceuticals and clean mobility have immense potential to achieve sustainable development and offer employment to millions. The government will enable development in these sectors through the startup community.This is a long term directional growth budget and can be called the “digital future growth budget.

Ravish Naresh, CEO & Co-founder, Khatabook -The Union Budget 2022 is a well-balanced and progressive effort towards growing India’s economy, especially with regards to, Startups, MSMEs, Fintech, and Digital Infrastructure. Meeting working capital requirements during the initial years of operation is often tough for startups. Hence, tax exemption for startups being extended by one more year is a welcome move, and it is likely to further encourage innovations and growth that the startup ecosystem is delivering. The announcement of the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) extension until March 2023 is much-needed support for the MSME ecosystem’s recovery. Aiding the MSME segment’s cashflows and finances will be crucial in 2022 as it will be a year of transitioning to growth from recovery for this segment. The budget has also shown great support towards expanding the digital Finance infrastructure in the country with the issuance of Digital Rupee and continuing the financial support for digital payments and initiatives such as setting up 75 digital banking units in 75 districts by scheduled commercial banks. Overall, the Budget 2022 has successfully addressed the need of the hour by bringing in policies and reforms crucial for the growth of the country.

Akash Gupta, Co-founder & CEO, Zypp Electric -The formulation of battery swapping standards and interoperability is a much-needed step in the right direction. There's been a lot of confusion in the swapping companies, which has dampened EV adoption. Seamless and widespread charging infrastructure is the need of the hour to accelerate the EV revolution in the country. The focus and thought towards the EV sector by the honorable finance minister reflects the government's poise towards accelerating EV adoption. This will also help us achieve our vision of expanding our battery-swapping network across 100 cities in the next three years I would have loved if GST in battery and spare parts had also been reduced to 5% like it's there for E-vehicles purchases; this would also help the entire electric vehicle ecosystem.

Shashi Banerjee, Director of Education, Shiv Nadar School -Shiv Nadar School believes that digital learning is here to stay, therefore, we welcome the education budget for 2022-23. Its focus on accessibility and digitalization of education amid a prolonged impact of the pandemic on learning due to the closure of schools brings a ray of hope. The new e-learning content delivery platform  through internet, TV and smartphones, particularly to help rural and semi-urban students can bridge the gaps in learning across sections. It is commendable that the budget outlined strategic steps to improve accessibility of quality education for students all over the country. A crucial component of this is the provision of supplementary teaching aid for Grades 1-12 by state governments in regional languages through the expansion of the present PM eVidya scheme, from 12 channels to 200 channels. This is a big win for inclusivity in the education sector. In a pragmatic move to ensure the production of high quality e-content, it has promised to develop a competitive structure within which teachers- who will be responsible for developing and delivering the content- will be empowered with digital tools and training. This is a great way to motivate teachers to develop their skills as well as produce better educational outcomes, something that our school has put in practice and received great results for it.

Alok Kumar, Founder & CEO, StockDaddy- With decisions like steep hike in capital expenditure, that was the demand of the market, increase in capital expenditure by 35.4%, extension of ECLGS by March 2023 and increase in guarantee cover to Rs 5 lakh cr, Union Budget 22-23 seems quite positive and motivational for the overall economy. Finance Minister has hardly neglected any key sector and the introduction of the 'One Nation, One Registration' scheme will be very effective for start-ups across the country for quick and easy registration. Moreover, as the nation and its economy cannot progress without skilled and future-ready talent, reorientation of skilling programmes will definitely help meet the demand-supply gap in the job market. All in all, it’s an inclusive and progressive budget for the revival of the Indian Economy.

Sunil H Talati, SEPC, Chairman, Ministry of Commerce and Industry says, "The Union Budget as presented by Finance Minister is growth oriented, forward looking, focussing on infrastructure and CAPEX. The budget will serve the poor farmers and create new job opportunities. Focus on roads, railways, airports, Mass transport, waterways and logistics infrastructure will drive the PM Gati Shakti programme and propel inclusive development. Post pandemic conditions of the Hospitality services in the small & medium segments are yet to bounce back, therefore, an extension of the ECGL service in March 2023 with an increased cover of Rs 50,000 shall act as a booster for them. In the Education sector, a new scheme 'One Class One TV Channel' to provide supplementary education in regional languages for classes 1-12 is a very pragmatic step forward. One of the best efforts we believe the government has made this financial year is towards the mental health of the citizens, which we feel stands the utmost importance today.  A National Tele Mental Health Program will be launched to benefit everyone across the nation. Digital Ecosystem for skilling and Livelihood (DESH-Stack e-portal) can be a catalyst for changing the landscape of learning and entrepreneurship. Setting up of Digital University is a great step towards e-learning initiatives. Proposal to open up world class foreign universities, institutions and setting up of an International Arbitration Centre in the GIFT City points towards a forward looking approach on education and legal sector. The focus on AVGC sector by proposing a Task force will go a long way in cashing in on the emerging global opportunities in this sector. Reforms in SEZ will also provide necessary impetus to various sectors like IT/ITes. Opening up defence R&D for industry, start ups and academia with 25% of defence R&D budget is a very welcome move towards inclusive development."

Amit Sharma, Founder and CEO of eExpedise Healthcare - "The projected economic growth of the country in this financial year is expected to be 9.2%. Finance Minister, Nirmal Sitarama has focussed largely on the health industry by announcing various growth projecting budget allocations across various segments. Strength-building implementations of vaccination programs have stood as an evident validation for the stability of the Health infrastructure in the past year. As expected, an open platform for the national digital health ecosystem is suggested to roll out that shall consist of digital registries of health providers. They constantly highlighted pandemic-induced mental health problems of people of all ages that have aroused the requirement of the best access to quality mental health counselling and care services. Hence, the national tele mental health programs across various channels will work as a slip in between ciaos for the affected lot. As International travel is likely to recover soon, the introduction of innovative initiatives like e-passports is set to boost security and enhance the convenience of international travellers by cutting down long queues at immigration counters. This will help support a faster revival of international travel in a pandemic-driven environment. Holistically, the various measures announced are highly encouraging for all the sectors."

Anika Parashar, Founder and CEO at The Woman Company - "The emphasis on mobile connectivity and broadband, especially in rural India will boost economic development in the country. It will help bring the next set of consumers to the D2C ecosystem.  The launch of three new schemes for the integrated development of women and children is a positive step forward to bring women and child health and welfare to the forefront. Recognizing the importance of Nari Shakti as the harbinger of our bright future and for women-led development during the Amrit Kaal, our government has comprehensively revamped the schemes of the Ministry of Women & Child Development."

Nitin Sharma, Partner at Antler India and Global blockchain Lead at Antler -This is a huge development. For the first time, a budget speech at the highest level has framed things in terms of “virtual digital assets” which can be regulated and taxed as a legitimate asset class in the future.The devil will be in the details but I see this as possibly a step 1 towards a regulatory framework which many of us have been advocating for since 2018 to ensure India plays a huge role in the development of Web3 - the new Internet. Until now, the debate was slightly misguided by assuming all digital assets were “private cryptocurrencies”, while most cryptos aren’t meant to be currencies. For me, it was still a positive surprise because the RBI continues to have serious opposition to non-sovereign digital assets, and only supports a government CBDC.At the same time, it was important to curtail rampant speculative retail activity and with the tax brackets and TDS, the government wants to disincentivise some of that.

We have to wait for the crypto bill later this year to understand the details around whether the CBDC will mean any further constraints with respect to digital assets, but the overall intent seems positive and clear. 

At Antler, our thesis remains the same. Indian developer talent can shape the future of blockchain and Web3. We understood early that regulation would be a multi-year process and had reiterated our commitment last year to backing 25-30 startups developing Web3 infrastructure from India for the global market.

Raghunandan G, Founder & CEO,  Zolve - 'With this budget, investors at large were hoping to see an update on Crypto and other digital assets. The introduction of ‘Digital Rupee’ goes on to show the acceptance of digital currency and digital assets nation-wide, and provides a pathway for India to play a more proactive role in the international financial arena. With clarity on the taxation implications on digital assets, it is now set to go mainstream. Coupled with the Government’s efforts to boost the overall fintech ecosystem in this Budget by promoting economical and user-friendly payment platforms, this will definitely provide a fillip to making India a fintech powerhouse.

Suyash Gupta, Director General, Indian Auto LPG Coalition -With India remaining the best performing economy among the larger economies as duly highlighted by the budget, the budget has stayed the course in terms of remaining a growth-oriented one. In terms of promotion of cleaner mobility, while the government’s intent to encourage battery swapping technology with an eye on galvanizing electric mobility is appreciated, it still remains to be seen what more is there in the fine print for promotion of cleaner alternative fuels. At the same time, the provision for sovereign green bonds with the aim of reducing the carbon intensity of the economy must be appreciated. Also, the encouragement of agroforestry, the extension of PLI schemes to manufacturing of solar PV modules will further help in pursuing a more carbon-free economic pathway for the country. It must also be added that the increase of excise on unblended fuel will also help to some extent in achieving cleaner mobility. However the bigger picture with regard to air quality has been missed. Electric is a while away. What does the country do in the interim? Low hanging fruits like Auto LPG need to be acknowledged, which could bring an immediate relief to the urban air pollution.

Kovid Kapoor, Co-founder, Holidify.-After two years of being badly hit by multiple COVID waves, and the restrictions imposed due to it, the travel industry was looking for a boost from the union budget. But so far, there’s no relief for the travel industry to help kickstart the tourism economy and get it back on track. The travel industry needs 2022 to be a breakthrough year to recover from 2 years of heavy losses, and the union budget was a little disappointing with regards to that. The government could have considered a GST rebate/rate reduction for hotels, offer fuel subsidies to airlines, or generally make it easier to offer new travel services by easing some restrictions, to incentivise more people to travel once the Omicron wave subsides.

Tourism employs a significant percentage of the population, directly or indirectly - small shopkeepers selling travel souvenirs, roadside dhabas along the highways, the service staff at hotels and resorts, and much of the tourism spend goes directly to people at the grass-root level. A little bit of effort in ensuring that the upcoming summer holiday season is a bumper season for travel would have gone a long way to ensure that a lot of small businesses don’t have to shut shop.

There could have been a big push to attract foreign travellers to India, through a large-scale marketing campaign, streamlining the process for visa applications, and removing any COVID bottlenecks for fully vaccinated travellers. This could be hugely beneficial to the industry. Hoping to see something in the budget tomorrow, on behalf of thousands of SMEs that rely on tourism to keep their businesses afloat” Kovid Kapoor, Co-founder, Holidify.

Dr. Puja Kapoor, Paediatric Neurologist & Co-founder of Continua kids -The fight against the pandemic is of course the highest priority hence the obvious focus is on COVID vaccination. Apart from that, I am glad to know that the government has introduced the ‘National Tele Mental Health Programme’ to provide better quality access to mental health counselling and care services.

The healthcare sector has been given prominence in the budget with National Digital Health Ecosystem and this open platform will definitely improve access to healthcare facilities for all sections of society. Insurance for specially-abled or disabled people can now be taken by their parents which is a major development that will provide relief to them. Moreover, allotting better infrastructure and audio-visual aids to Saksham Anganvaris will enhance the environment for early childhood development.

Akshay Chaturvedi Founder & CEO, Leverage Edu.-I believe the 2022 budget is focused around smart digital expenditures in not just education, but across sectors! A very forward-looking budget in my opinion that will enable startups take lead in India's next phase of development. Introduction of the e-passport facility will decrease friction in the immigration process and I look forward to Indians getting access to such world-class tech. Lastly, steps like capping off long-term capital gains at 15% clearly position this as a document which heard and implemented feedback from all quarters, and that’s amazing!

Nishanth Chandran, Founder & CEO, TENDERCUTS -The major initiative to introduce chemical-free natural farming is sure to create a better outlook on the quality of food and essentials related to farming and poultry. Provision of funds through NABARD for agriculture and rural enterprises, especially for the farm produce value chain, would be helpful in strengthening the poultry, meat, and seafood sectors. Secondly, as drivers of growth for the economy, the announcement of tax incentives for start-ups to be incorporated until March 31, 2023, will have a good impact on nurturing the start-up ecosystem. It is wonderful to note that the 2022 budget’s focus on road infrastructure will be a game changer and help in maintaining smooth supply chain management. Moreover, the introduction of data exchange will ensure better logistics and the efficient movement of goods.

Mythri Macherla, Assistant Vice President & Sector Head, Corporate Sector Ratings, ICRA Limited -Given that one-time healthcare costs during the second wave of Covid-19 are expected to have bumped up the expenditure in FY2022 and assuming that there are no severe waves in FY2023, the increased allocation (growth of 16.1%) as against the FY2022 budgeted estimates is a welcome move. While allocation towards National H

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