Union Budget 2015-The Countdown begins

By VARINDIA - 2015-03-11

Union Budget 2015-The Countdown begins

5 more days to go for the Union Budget to be tabled and there is already an expectant hush among consumers, investors and taxpayers from what Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's second budget would be like. While for now all we can do is keep our fingers crossed, we bring to you a few expectations from some of the leading industry-folks and what they feel the FinMin should do to create a favorable climate, conducive for investments and development -

  Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman - Microsoft India Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman - Microsoft India

"Over the past nine months, the Government has set the right context and articulated its vision for India’s economic development. We look forward to this vision being realized over the next year with key announcements in the Budget. Programs such as Digital India, smart cities and Skill India require the creation of technological infrastructure that will need budgetary support. A policy framework for industry and SMEs in particular that encourages innovation and adoption of technology can boost the Make in India initiative. We hope this year’s budget will create an enabling environment for Indian industry to realize its growth potential."

  Alok-Ohrie-Dell-IndiaAlok Ohrie, President and Managing Director - Dell India

"Dell is very excited about the government’s ‘Make in India’ vision aimed at building the country’s manufacturing capabilities, fostering innovation and creating the best-in-class infrastructure for manufacturing products. Dell has a keen interest in partnering with the government in creating a conducive manufacturing environment in the nation, given our experience of manufacturing here and elsewhere. There are two factors that could potentially boost the manufacturing ecosystem, if taken into consideration in the upcoming budget.

The first is with regard to the inverted duty structure. While most key global leaders in the personal computers space have set-up manufacturing operations in India, most of the domestic demand is still being catered to by imports. The customs and central excise tariff structure has historically been such that, the finished goods import for resale/direct import are more often than not better placed than import of components for manufacture and supply. For import substitution to occur, it is imperative for the tariff structure be restructured to provide the much needed edge to a domestic manufacturer. The impact of the inverted duty structure is such that it effectively makes direct import by end customers or trading (i.e., import and sale) of IT hardware/ ITA goods far more advantageous in comparison to manufacturing of these products in India, thus making Indian manufactured goods non-competitive for the domestic market. Streamlining the tax rate for components across the board and extending the benefits that mobile manufacturing gets today, will normalize the situation.

The second is an exports-led approach. Dell believes that there is great potential to develop India as an exports hub for the region. An exports push could potentially attract investment in the component manufacturing ecosystem, due to the surge in demand. In terms of incentives and support from the government, we would like to place our views which would benefit the overall industry, and this is currently an ongoing discussion. The extension of the Focus Product Scheme in the upcoming Foreign Trade Policy will provide the necessary impetus for exports.”

  Ravi-Swaminathan-AMDRavi Swaminathan – Managing Director, AMD India & Corporate Vice President, AMD South Asia                                                                                                                                                                

“We are interested in a transparent, stable and sustainable roadmap for creating a vibrant domestic industry. In the interim budget last year, the government pledged to support the growth of domestic information technology capabilities in both hardware and software, this year we expect the budget to be aggressive, focusing on making India emerge in the top 3 hardware countries in terms of demand.

With this budget, we look forward to India becoming a centre of excellence for product development and design and also being integrated into the global supply chain with manufacture of key components for both domestic and international markets.”

  Sanjay-Rohatgi-President-Symantec-IndiaSanjay Rohatgi, President - Symantec India

“The upcoming budget 2015-16 is an opportunity for the new government to accelerate the reform process unveiled over its first eight months in the office. While the growth rate has already started improving and the forecast for the next year is even better, we need a blue-print for sustained and sustainable growth over the next decade or two. It should focus on simplification, predictability and consistency in overall tax regime even as it goes for fiscal consolidation and broadening the tax net.

Technology has the potential to empower the 1.3 billion Indians through visionary programs like ‘Digital India’, ‘Smart Cities’ and ’Skill India’. The budget is a perfect opportunity to charter a clear plan in this endeavour.  The budget should pave the way for expeditious implementation of e-governance projects, incentivizing investments in world-class data centres and cloud computing infrastructure besides a chance to be a pioneer in the realm of Internet of Things. However, this should be done without causing disruptions in the free flow of data across borders – the lifeline of India’s IT exports.”

  Jerold-Pereira-ceo-videoconJerold Pereira CEO  - Videocon Mobile Phones

“India is already one of the world’s largest mobile phone markets, and is fast becoming one of the world’s largest smartphone markets. The Make In India initiative started by the Government is a great opportunity for the country to focus more and more on building indigenous capabilities – both in the hardware and software sides of this technology-driven industry.

We are optimistic that the upcoming budget would send the right signals to key players at all levels of the “value chain”, particularly those players required to help the country build its own eco-system and infrastructure required to support local manufacturing. The collateral benefits are greater employment opportunities, higher quality standards, better pricing, and more.”

Ambarish-Deshpande-Blue-coatAmbarish Deshpande, Managing Director- India - Blue Coat Systems

“The Government should focus on information security sector for long-term growth and development of organizations across the country. The rapid growth of cybercrime has created a dent in various companies due to their under-preparedness and this has led to a growing demand of information security professionals across these organizations. Our workforce lack information and specialized courses can bridge this gap. I foresee this imminent need being addressed with the upcoming budget. Information security is a critical issue and an increased awareness about the same from an educational perspective is the need of the hour. I also believe that procurement of Internet Security technology should be planned at initial stages of a project rather than setting up the complete infrastructure and then thinking of securing it later. This leads to gaps in completed projects and makes it vulnerable to use.”

Koichiro-Koide,-MD---NEC-IndiaKoichiro Koide, MD - NEC India

“India is on a high growth path currently. At the stage India is today, growth, both at social and economic front appears promising further with improvement in technology infrastructure in the country. Putting in place smarter ways of communication, public safety, transportation and overall governance can empower India to achieve its growth and development objectives. The strategy has worked for Japan and several other countries across the globe, and is even more relevant today with technology is playing a much larger role in our lives. The union budget must encourage investment and innovation in technology infrastructure to make the new government’s agenda of building smart cities a reality.”

  L.C.-Singh,-Vice-Chairman-and-CEO---NihilentL.C. Singh, Vice Chairman and CEO - Nihilent

“IT product development has been a key focus area in our PM’s Make in India initiative. We look forward to the coming budget to promote the culture of product development & innovation. In order to promote the culture of product development & innovation, the entire R&D budget for IT companies must be exempted from tax. The transfer pricing must be made simpler and practical. As of now, it is extremely cumbersome. Clarity on transfer pricing related issues will greatly improve ease of doing business.”

  Tito-Vatapilly-CEO-Node-TechnologiesTito Vatapilly - CEO & Co–Founder - Node Technologies Pvt Ltd

“As an entrepreneur I'm very optimistic about this government and my expectation from the budget is to continue to be that of positive. The reform agenda must continue towards the reality of ‘achhe din’ and this budget is an important one for the current government in making that point.

Thankfully some factors like bank rates, oil prices and low inflation have created a feel good factor in the economy as a whole. I would expect tax rates to be reduced or left untouched and more positive measures in key sectors like infrastructure, manufacturing, automobiles, telecom are going to indirectly effect most other sectors. While the Govt has been focussing on Make in India, there must be incentives for such companies who see the big opportunity and potential in the India market alone.

The IT success story in India has mostly been that of a services one and export driven. The government could do more towards encouraging IT companies to take the product journey.”

  Satayakam-Mohanty,-CEO---Ma-Foi-AnalyticsSatayakam Mohanty, CEO - Ma Foi Analytics

“We are looking forward to this year’s budget very keenly. For initiatives like ‘Digital India’, ‘Make in India’ or the ‘Jan Dhan Yojana’ availability of deep insights, reliable, accurate and comprehensive data is very critical. One key challenge to data based decision making in India has been the availability and quality of data. The Government will be able to make better policy, budget decisions and improved implementation with richer data. With Data moving online and to designated data stores, Big Data Technology and Data Science can play a leading role in helping both governments and businesses become more profitable and grow faster. We also believe that in the year 2015 the Government will become a key client and will hold valuable data that can be analyzed to accurately predict future outcomes as well as design tactical and policy interventions for the future.”

Pradeep-Vajram,-CEO---SmartPlayPradeep Vajram, CEO - SmartPlay

“The 2015 budget is much awaited, especially in light of the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.  Currently the manufacturing sector faces many challenges. Right policies, incentives, infrastructure and encouragement from Government will act as a catalyst for ‘Make-in-India’ drive. This will transform import driven Indian electronic industry to an indigenous manufacturing hub, leading to reduction in import bill and making India a self-sustained economy. We expect that the evolution in manufacturing sector will naturally foster innovation and talent growth.”

Vinay-Pradhan,-Country-Manager--SkillsoftVinay Pradhan, Country Manager- Skillsoft

“In the upcoming budget, the Modi Government should focus on allocating sufficient resources to accomplish the Digital India dream. Creating and building a digital infrastructure along with delivering services digitally and on digital literacy are critical to help achieve this goal. This initiative will help deliver online education to every corner of India. The government should also boost and fast-track the Skill India proposal to develop a constructive and productive framework for the development of the youth in this country. A symbiotic interplay between Skill India and Digital India will truly impact India’s growth story in the next five years.”

Jaswinder-Ahuja,-Corporate-Vice-President-and-Managing-Director---CadenceJaswinder Ahuja, Corporate Vice President and Managing Director - Cadence

With the focus on economic progress, the FY2014-15 budget is keenly awaited by the business community. Manufacturing, rural and urban last mile connectivity and smart cities are some of the concrete initiatives the government has rolled out since assuming office last year. Coupled with the overall focus on accelerating growth, the economy has responded positively to such announcements.

For the electronics and semiconductor industry, the launch of the “Make in India” campaign was a much needed catalyst to fast-track the development of the eco-system, given the ground work laid down over the last few years. Preferential market access (PMA) to Indian companies and removal of import restrictions for equipment used by R&D facilities are some measure that can nurture innovation, encourage the building of manufacturing units and create employment opportunities.

Setting up an electronics regulatory authority that can take the lead on policy implementation and developing regulations can provide the necessary governmental guidance and infrastructure to speed up the growth of the ESDM sector in the country and help realize the goals as set forth by the Make in India campaign.

We hope the government will be able to address the need for a strong Goods and Services Tax (GST) that will include all indirect taxes. A strong roadmap to implement the GST can have a substantial impact on R&D and manufacturing. In general the Government should continue the focus on ease of doing business and non-adversarial approach of the tax authorities.”

  Aninda-Moitra,-President---Applied-Materials-IndiaAninda Moitra, President - Applied Materials India

“We are positive that Budget 2015 is going to be a growth-oriented one, with enough focus and discussions around Make in India and the electronics industry. The government should now back this up by accelerating the execution of Policy so that we have concrete actions that move us forward. Semiconductor electronics industry is core to high-value added manufacturing and with full government support has the potential to attract FDI and Indian investors. The budget should support and strengthen high-value added manufacturing enablers, viz Capital Availability, R&D Intensity, Skilled Labor and Infrastructure. It should also focus on building a high value manufacturing ecosystem, which enables close collaboration between industry, academia and government. When all of these are in place, India will be well on its way to realize its vision of enabling a self-sufficient, sustainable electronics manufacturing sector.”

S-Ganesh-CEO-Dun-Bradstreet-TechnologiesS Ganesh, CEO - Dun & Bradstreet Technologies and Data Services

“The current government came in power on its promise of economic growth and employment generation and therefore the main expectations continue to be on a broad range of economic reforms to revive economy and improve employment opportunities. In its first nine months, the government has announced a number of initiatives but now it needs to spell out the details of execution plans more clearly.

Firstly, Finance Minister should look at rationalization of taxes to put more money in peoples’ hands to improve customer demand, while clearly spelling out the fiscal incentives for its ‘Make in India’ program with special thrust on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) that encourages manufacturing rather than importing. Government also needs to take forward the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill by providing more clarity on states’ allocation and implementation roadmap to create a single market throughout India. Rationalization of Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT), Dividend Distribution Tax (DDT) & Transfer Pricing will also go a long way to boost the investment climate.

In previous budget, a number of new projects were piloted with an allocation of Rs 100 Cr. The 2015 budget needs to assess the progress of these projects and provide appropriate allocations to take them forward.”

  Pruthvi-Nanjappa-sesPruthvi Nanjappa, VP – Human Resources, Ness Software Engineering Services (SES)

“There is a strong sense of optimism in the job market and the economy seems to be on the upswing. I expect the budget to boost the job sector and hiring to pick up significantly across sectors and industries. India’s GDP growth is projected to rise to 6.5% in 2015-16 and this will imply good news for job seekers at all levels, especially freshers. There is a lot of expectation from this government and I feel the initiatives and reforms that will be announced should positively impact jobs. During the last budget, the government laid emphasis on startups, which is really a shot in the arm for entrepreneurs, job seekers, as well as cities like Bangalore that provide a sound startup ecosystem. I expect more focus on startups, as well as on sectors like IT/ITeS that employ millions. I think we also need more clarity on issues like taxation, and incentives to ease the process of doing business. Moreover, I feel there should be tax rebates given for investing in skills training, since upgradation of skills is a necessity for industries that are constantly on the lookout for talent to fuel growth.”

Mr-Aloke-GhoshMr. Aloke Ghosh, CFO & CS - Blue Star Infotech

"Since the government has actively advocated technology penetration and digital literacy, we hope the next move will be to foster technology adoption by sprucing up infrastructure and ensuring last mile connectivity. Government should look to introduce special monetary incentives for the Indian IT companies that invest heavily on research & development to create world-class products. Technology innovation, apart from contributing to foreign exchange is also integral to the government’s ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ initiative. Also, the Manufacturing and Infrastructure will continue to remain government’s top priority as stated by Mr. Modi on numerous occasions. The sub-industries that fall in these two categories such as MSME, steel, automobile, power, construction, railways and ports could receive some fillip from the government in this year’s budget."

  Eddie-Chandhok-President-InfogainEddie Chandhok, President – Global Delivery Organization, Infogain

“To Make the Digital India dream a reality, there is a need to initiate tax incentives for the IT Sector and also establish big networks of large software products’ companies within the country. We are expecting the government to provide some incentives and budgetary assistance to further promote digital literacy across India. This would help us ensuring success for the country’s flagship “Digital India” programme and growth of the targeted smart cities. The SMEs and technology start-ups need an environment of constant nurturing including access to funds, incentives to support operations and a simplified compliance framework and the upcoming Budget should concentrate on these aspects.”

  Nigel-Eastwood-CEO-New-Call-TelecomNigel Eastwood, CEO, New Call Telecom

“We are very excited by the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s Digital India dream. It marks a new beginning for India, her people and economy, and will integrate every Indian into her new future. However, to realize that dream, the government must consider updating the key policies for establishing technology parks and attracting foreign investment into the ICT and infrastructure sector. Ministers must ensure liberal laws, giving tax and non-tax incentives to investors so they can work effectively and swiftly with the Government to deliver this new future. Currently, several existing tax provisions exert additional burdens on the industry that not only require a thorough review but also need complete revamping in few cases. As a newcomer in the Indian telecoms market, we would seek efficient policy changes, coupled with effective implementation to sustain and promote growth so that companies like ours can partner with the Government in connecting rural areas with high-speed internet networks.

Meanwhile, smartphone applications that improve mobility and workforce productivity are driving mobility (BYOD) among businesses. Organizations are increasingly turning to these applications as they also help them reduce the cost of hardware, support, maintenance and telecommunication costs. Therefore, the Government should try and relax foreign investment policies so that India’s technology can advance at the rate needed by both SMBs and larger corporations.”

Tushar-Sighat-dlinkTushar Sighat, Executive Director & CEO – D-Link (India) Ltd.

“The change of power at center post recent election was set amidst high expectation. The present government in its interim budget only raised the expectation higher with some big ticket announcements like ‘Digital India program’, vision to set-up ‘Smart cities’, ‘Make in India’ campaign, revision of ‘Skill development policies’ to promote employment opportunities etc. Overall the government has set the ball rolling with its progressive approach, ushering in reforms & growth. However with Union Budget 2015-16 being just a few days away, general expectations are very high, and the same time market sentiments are also very optimistic. A pragmatic approach with defined policy framework and budgetary support will prove crucial in accelerating the reform programs.

The present government has already recognized the potential of technology in nation building process. As an organization specializing in networking connectivity devices, D-Link looks forward to policies that will promote broadband penetration PAN India, along with adoption of new age technology like internet of things, Cloud computing etc. It is also imperative for government to first work towards building state-of-the-art IT infrastructure that can efficiently support its reform programs. Further IT literacy in the country is another crucial aspect that needs to be looked into, as people across all strata of the society should be able to optimally benefit from digitization. However lack of computer knowledge will deter the citizen from getting benefited.”

Rodney-Noonoo-Chief-Financial Officer-Xerox-India   Rodney Noonoo, CFO - Xerox India

“The Government of India has adopted a visionary approach to transform the country into a connected knowledge economy with focus on ’Digital India’. The measures & reforms taken in this budget will be crucial for successful implementation of the programme and everyone will be watching this eagerly. The last budget did send out signals of progressive reformation of the economy but a lot will depend on the concrete steps the government will take to propel the economy.

With respect to policies, we feel the two key issues facing the corporate India on the whole are: · The need to propagate a conducive tax environment and clarity of taxation laws · The other key aspect that requires action is a consensus on the contours of the Goods and Services Tax (GST)

The government is also taking up the ‘Make in India’ initiative in a big way. While this is a great initiative, the budget needs to address the issues of skill-gap, improve ease of doing business, expedite reforms and accelerate digital deployment at a national level – reaching cities and villages.”

Srinivasan-H-R-Take-SolutionSrinivasan H R, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director - TAKE Solutions

“The three key factors for the IT industry that I would like the budget to address are policies for the growth of the SME sector in IT, focus on R&D investments and manpower development incentives.

Policies to focus on SME growth in the IT sector are vital for both sectoral employment and new innovation which happens more in the SME sector. We need to address the funding of the SME. With challenges such as low asset base access to bank funds, investor regulations and lack of tax incentives make equity funding difficult, firms with sub 50 crore turnover need encouragement and must have special incentives. Larger IT companies should be encouraged to do seed/small funding of these SMEs with appropriate incentives. Most importantly SMEs must be encouraged to bid for Government projects – all projects below 50 crores budget should be reserved for SMEs. Today the eligibility criterion is loaded in favour of bigger firms with large balance sheets. This should go. The future of the IT sector is in the development of SMEs.

Secondly, focus needs to be on development of software products to compete on global scale. The services model of ‘time and material’ is now out-dated and firms need to be encouraged to develop non- linear scalable business models that can compete globally.”

Mrinmoy-Purkayastha,-VP---Alten-Calsoft-LabsMrinmoy Purkayastha, VP - Alten Calsoft Labs

“The recently rolled out ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ initiatives of the government have intensified corporate India’s expectations from the upcoming Union Budget 2015-16. With a task of a growth oriented budget, we hope to see increased investment in infrastructure: roads, railways, power, water supply and sanitation – which are the main pain points of SMEs. In most cases, infrastructure development can be accelerated through Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) which is a business model that the Government should make more attractive for businesses.

This coupled with increased spending on vital sectors like primary education and healthcare, will lead to positive growth and prosperity in the long term. One of the biggest challenges for the government is to balance development between the 'leading' and 'lagging' states in India. This mismatch leads to labour migration to a few cities thereby aggravating power, water, sanitation and hygiene issues, and hampering planned infrastructure development in cities. Balancing and accelerating infrastructure in the ‘laggard/lagging’ states is essential. This would lead to enhancement of productivity of individuals, in turn impacting the economy as a whole.

With an ambitious plan like ‘Digital India’, we do hope the Union Budget 2015-16 will provide investments in India’s technology infrastructure, and a significant amount should be invested in developing a robust network infrastructure across the country to build a foundation for our ‘Digital’ economy. A policy framework for industry and SMEs in particular that encourages innovation and adoption of technology can boost the ‘Make in India’ initiative.”

Vivek-Tyagi-scandiskVivek Tyagi, Director, Business Development, Commercial sales and support - SanDisk India

“The Make in India initiative is riding high on expectations. Today, almost 100 percent of the smart phones in India are imported. We hope the Government will incentivize local manufacturing of electronic products, which will in turn drive the growth of component manufacturing such as the semiconductor business in India, including production of embedded flash memory for storage devices. We are also excited about the Government’s focus on Smart Cities. All Digital India initiatives will lead to increase in data volumes which would boost the enterprise storage industry. We expect the Government to have clear and adequate budget allocations for all these initiatives in this Union Budget.”

Anil-Valluri,-President---NetApp-IndiaAnil Valluri, President - NetApp India & SAARC

“The Government of India has charted out quite an ambitious list of plans including the creation of a digitally enabled India, smarter cities and ‘Make in India’. To transform the lives of people by making them digital, the Union Budget 2015-16 should address the technology need of the hour. I’m sure that the budget will focus on providing investments in areas such as India’s technology infrastructure. A substantial amount needs to be earmarked to develop a robust network infrastructure across the country, which will be the foundation on which India’s digital economy will be built.

We also expect reduction in taxation for IT players, who will be key in realizing this network infrastructure. The government is taking up the ‘Make in India’ initiative in a big way. While this is a great initiative, the budget needs to address the issues of simplifying the tax regulations, improve ease of doing business and accelerate the speed of big ticket reforms on the anvil.”

Amitabh-Vira,-CEO-&-Founder---NetProphets-CyberworksAmitabh Vira, CEO & Founder - NetProphets Cyberworks

“In keeping with the Prime Minister’s initiatives of Make in India and Digital India, I would expect a qualified emphasis in the 2015 Budget on providing incentives to young entrepreneurs and the Information Technology SME sector in the Country.

In the recent past most Government Policy seems to have focussed on big businesses. What India really needs is to address the concerns of the SME sector which employs 40% of the Indian workforce and enable them to compete with firms across the world. Fiscal innovation and administrative support to the India’s SME sector will go a long way in allowing them to compete in an increasingly global market place. India needs to have a plan around a start-up fund to promote similar Digital Entrepreneurship ideas under a panel that comprises creative thinkers and social scientists rather than a convention of bankers and financial analysts.”

Prabhu-Ramachandran,-Director-WebNMSPrabhu Ramachandran, Director-WebNMS

“As the Government gears up for 100 pilot smart cities projects in India, ICT will play a crucial role as the communication infrastructure acts as the backbone. As an IoT Platform and solutions provider rooted in India, it is an exciting time ahead for us in the domestic market as the Department of Telecom has already drifted an IoT policy draft. We can also expect a greater convergence of smart city and smart grids in near future to improve energy efficiency, enhance grid security and optimize energy distribution process. One step closer, we expect the Government to boost IoT by funding incubation and research centres. We are also anticipating ambitious plans around Digital India to foster economic growth and smart governance. As we look forward to 2015, we foresee a connected India with digital literacy reaching even to the bottom of the pyramid.”

Ranjan-Kaul,-Managing-Director---Oxford-University-Press-IndiaRanjan Kaul, Managing Director - Oxford University Press India “The forthcoming Union Budget that will be unveiled on February 28 will be keenly watched for many reasons. It comes at a time when the Government is close to completing 10 months in office, and this will be a good opportunity for them to set the tone for their vision for India’s economic growth over the next few years. The economy too is in need for some buoyancy and a progressive budget can provide that impetus.

While the Union Budgets are important from the outlay and policy perspective for all sectors, the impact on some sectors such as Education and Health are long lasting. Education is seen as a critical sector by almost everyone from an ‘India growth story’ perspective, and thus education related developments will be keenly watched.

We are hopeful that the education outlays this year will spell landmark changes that will have a long term impact on the sector.”

Rahul-K-Patwardhan,-CEO-Designate---NIIT-LimitedRahul K Patwardhan, CEO Designate - NIIT Limited

“The government has been laying a lot of emphasis on skills development to promote economic growth; hence we are hopeful that the Finance Minister will announce some much awaited reforms to hasten the pace of the sector. As private sector participation is key to developing skilled manpower, we expect specific indirect tax rebates in the forthcoming budget, for the companies & its partners i.e. be it direct partners or their franchisees, involved in Skilling.

We would also expect the government to take initiatives to build social acceptance and industry buy-in for skills development through high decibel media campaigns, through which vocational skill courses/jobs are made aspirational. Placing a premium on certification by ensuring only certified people get government jobs is much required. Accelerated tax benefits should be provided to organizations that enable their employees to upskill through Sector Skills Council approved training and certification bodies.

The government should also create and empower Skills Universities within existing Universities, and enable them to provide training pan-India through distributed, technology-connected hubs or delivery centers. High government spends on skills development initiatives should be continued.”

  Satya-PrabhakarSatya Prabhakar, Founder and CEO, Sulekha.com

“An increase in service tax from an already very high 12+% adversely and significantly affects small to medium businesses whose cost of marketing and service procurement increases dramatically. Most SMBs are not sophisticated enough to make full use of service tax credit so an increase in service tax only increases their cost of doing business. We hope the Government keeps the SMBs, the biggest and most powerful generators of economic growth and employment, in mind before taking any steps in increasing service tax.”

Satinder-Sohi,-India-Country-Director---FreescaleSatinder Sohi, India Country Director - Freescale

“Government’s initiative of a Digital India has certainly brought in excitement for the semiconductor space in India bringing forth opportunities and investments to embrace Internet of Things (IoT). 2014 was a very positive year setting the tone of reform, with business sentiments running high post new government formation. In 2015, the consumption of electronics is expected to rise from $6.03 billion in 2011 to $9.7 billion as per Indian Semiconductor Association (ISA). However, domestic manufacturing is predicted to show a downward trend by as much as 6.7%, with the gap being offset by electronics imports resulting in capital outflow. To achieve the exponential growth forecasted, the need of the hour is tangible and specific initiatives to implement the terms outlined in the National Policy on Electronics. In addition, tax exemptions, sops for manufacturing, and R&D grants to arrest the outflow of capital will encourage electronic system design and manufacturing (ESDM) in India.

Internet of Things will be a key driver not only across various verticals like auto, healthcare, telecom etc. but also will help the manufacturing sector. So it will be interesting to see what policies and initiatives the government launches for corporates to adopt IoT. Various studies indicate that by 2020, there will be 50-billion devices connected to internet, creating a $19-trillion industry.”

Subhash-AgarwalSubhash Agarwal, Managing Director - Cheers Devices

“India has emerged as one of the fastest-growing mobile phone markets. The government has to be in sync with the industry to help and grow the same. This requires an overall good budget and monetary policy to boost IT and telecom industry. For the Indian mobile market, our expectation from Budget 2015 is that the government should make policies to do something to encourage small business holders. This will help us to participate willingly with the ‘Make in India’ project. This is only possible when all the small and big industrialists come together and join their hearts to succeed with Make in India. We also expect the same for the e-commerce segment as they have a huge role to play for our sales and overall marketing. This will help the overall market and economy to raise double the figures.

Make in India and Digital India both is crucial for us and needs to be well synchronized to begin local manufacturing. IT and mobile technology sectors are one of the fastest growing sectors in the country. Tax rebate policies and manufacturing and infrastructure reforms will only boost the present condition.

Apart from that, we are hopeful for the GST bill to be passed in the forthcoming budget will open up wide avenues for the states. Moreover, we are also positive about the policies to take shape for the e-commerce industry given the fact that the revenue generation of the mobile industry is being hugely supported by the e-commerce websites.

There is a major boost in the sector already given the fact that there are many successful start-ups. Chinese companies like One Plus, Gionee, Oppo, Lenovo, Huawei are a massive hit and are hugely accepted by the customers and it may likely to increase its market share against homegrown companies. The government has considered the technology industry time and again and the mobile developers are hopeful things will take a positive turn after the Union Budget 2015-16.”

Ritesh-SunejaRitesh Suneja, Chief Financial Officer - LAVA International

“The budget will play a very critical role in shaping the future growth of mobile handset industry in India. Smartphones today have a huge potential to boost education, healthcare in the country and the government should try to ensure that it reaches in the hands of every Indian. We expect that the government will take measures to promote domestic manufacturing and investments in technology, especially for companies like Lava International which are now looking to tap India’s manufacturing potential and create jobs in the country. Industry players should get incentives and taxation reforms such as a ten year tax holiday, interest free loans, exemption of special CVD (SAD) on mobiles accessories and parts, components for post sales warranty repair, exemption of BCD/CVD on Capital goods and removal of retrospective amendments in tax laws amongst others. A level playing field should be created between E-Commerce and physical retail segments by putting a uniform VAT rate structure for mobile phones, until GST gets implemented.

Additionally, companies should also get full support in the cost for skill development for enriching the existing talent pool in the country. Talking about investments, we expect the government to also take measures in providing 100% clarity, transparency and ease for foreign investments in the country. A lucrative return on capital is very important for the investors to invest and is most critical for India. Overall we believe there is a positive sentiment in the industry and the budget announcements will augur well for the Indian consumer and economy.”

Gaurav-VohraGaurav Vohra, Co-Founder & CEO - Jigsaw Academy

“I am hoping for a large allocation from the Government of India for online education for MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) through the HRD ministry under the Swayam Bharat programme. In the interim budget presented by this Government, it had shown its thrust on digitization which was an encouraging step. I expect more details to emerge about various initiatives under Digital India and their budgetary allocations.

Online education has the power to break down geographical barriers and the need for physical infrastructure. The Government should therefore provide special incentives to encourage the development of online education in India. As an online school of analytics, I would also want to see the Government increase spend on Big Data initiatives particularly in the light of the ambitious plans unveiled under Digital India. Government should unveil plans for deployment of Big Data in national security, to address infrastructure problems etc. It should also announce measures to create more analytics hubs like the ones in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.

Overall, I feel the budget will look at boosting the start-up ecosystem beyond Bengaluru and across cities and also announce steps catering to ‘ease of doing business’ in India.”

Kenny-YeKenny Ye, MD - UCWeb India

“We expect PM Modi government’s first complete Union Budget to outline the policy and regulatory framework to aid business sentiments and bolster growth. We have high expectations in terms of attention and budget allocation for the IT sector. We hope the new government is able to provide adequate thrust to investments in IT and its infrastructure. Digital literacy and mobile internet penetration are other areas onto which we would like to see the Finance Minister’s focus. The budget should allocate substantial funds to develop a robust network infrastructure and realize the government’s “Digital India” mission that will positively impact the nation.”

asoke-k-lahaAsoke K Laha, President and CEO of InterraIT

The current tax regime requires IT companies to pay service tax based on invoices raised. Being a customer – focused services business, we often make adjustments in the final payments when a job or project is completed. This could be because of changes in the scope of work or a dispute over deliverables. It could also be there is a delay in recovering dues. The authorities need to make allowances for such dynamic transactions. This budget should help find a way that service tax is charged on the bases of payments received. Rather than invoices raised Transfer pricing is a financial strategy that helps multinational firms optimize profit. In India, finance ministry bureaucrats and other policymakers see profit as somehow an ill-gotten gain; they also see multinational firms as large blue-chip firms such as General Motors and General Electric. Flowing from that, India’s regulation of transfer pricing is flawed and cumbersome and gets in the way of growing international business conducted by small and medium enterprises. Keeping in mind the “Make in India” policy articulated by the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister needs to call for a review of transfer pricing clauses in his tax policy. It is only when small and medium enterprises begin to look at global opportunities that the domestic economy will blossom, creating jobs and profits. A business-friendly transfer pricing regime aimed at the SME sector is the first step.

 

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