India’s Union Budget 2020: Expectations of Industry Leaders and Entrepreneurs

On February 1st 2020, India’s Hon’ble Minister of Finance, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, will present the union budget 2020. Union budget plays an important role in determining the country’s future economic activities and growth. The effects of a government’s budget on society and the political economy are of considerable concern to economists as well as to consumers and taxpayers. 
Various Industry leaders and entrepreneurs have their own opinion and expectations from this year’s union budget.
Startup Terminal presents budget expectations from various industry leaders and entrepreneurs (Part VI).
Nishant Pitti, Co-Founder & CEO, EaseMyTrip
“We are hopeful that Budget 2020 will have special focus on the travel sector. India is a culturally rich & diverse country with immense potential for travel & tourism. Ranked 6th globally, I feel E-visa facility should be allowed to more countries to encourage more foreign travelers to visit India. In my opinion, there is a need to bring-in relaxation in taxes for the Indian Airline Industry considering the thin margins they work on. In addition to this, the hospitality & hotel industry can show tremendous growth if the GST on hotels is reduced.
In order to promote domestic tourism and inspire people to travel more, there is a need to improve the internet connectivity in Tier II & Tier III cities. This will ensure a growth in domestic travel while promoting the Digital India Campaign.
Safety is an important factor while considering travelling to a foreign land. Lately in India, safety for foreign nationals has become a big concern. For this, adequate budget should be allotted to state tourism boards to ensure welfare & adequate protection for tourists coming to India.”
Abhay Batra, CFO, Clovia
“There has been transparency in the ecosystem & broadening of the tax-paying base of the country and all this has been possible because of GST in the country. As a startup, we are expecting a refund of accumulated GST input credit due to input services & capital goods especially for companies with an inverted duty structure, i.e. where the tax rate on input services is higher than the tax rate on output goods, prevalent in sectors such as apparel, newspaper, etc. Also, the government needs to allow postponement of output GST liability of brands until the final sale to the end-customer & not on transfer of goods to intermediaries such as distributors, branches in other states, channel partners, etc.”
Nikhil Rungta, Country Manager, India, Verizon Media
“I look forward to measures in this budget that can bring many more women into the workforce, making them powerful economic contributors. India currently lags with only 27% of women in the workforce. Bringing this number closer to the global average of 48 per cent in the next 10 years can reportedly add another USD 700 billion to GDP growth (according to Niti Aayog). However, this isn’t just an urgent economic priority. Joining the workforce is now an ‘aspiration’ for women in the country. A recent poll by MAKERS India, our media brand dedicated to accelerating the women’s movement, conducted found that education, job-readiness, safety and career development are top priorities for women Internet users in India. Supportive infrastructure, with provisions that deepen skilling, boost women’s employment opportunities and entrepreneurship potential will empower women as they prepare to take their place in the workforce.”
Suvodeep Das, Vice President Sales & Marketing, Sodexo Benefits & Rewards
“According to the latest CEO Poll on pre-budget by CNBC, 42% of them believe that slowdown in consumer spending and demand is one of the factors affecting economic slowdown. Direct Tax Reform will be a big focus for this year’s budget. Hence, it will be imperative to ensure that consumers i.e. salaried individuals enjoy greater spending power and higher take-home salaries. The best way to get consumers to spend more is to provide them avenues within the compensation structure wherein they get tax-saving benefits towards expenses they would
otherwise hesitate to make, either on their professional development or for enhancing their quality of life.”
Paras Arora, CEO & Founder, Qdesq
“Co-working ecosystem cannot be seen/ considered as a standalone industry since coworking industry acts a backbone to larger startup ecosystem by providing managed, flexible and cost competitive office spaces to operate, perform and grow thereby playing a much larger role to specifically boost startup ecosystem in India. Presently, industry relies solely on equity infusion from investors for fund growth. Bank/ FI funding options for recognized co-working startups to raise debt funds and avail short term credit facilities should be provided for funding their capital needs to set up world class co-working spaces. This will bring Indian coworking startups at par with global players and help in attracting large enterprises as clients.
Coworking sector should be brought under the Infrastructure category. This would help in attracting priority sector lending benefits to co-working companies just like infrastructure companies. Co-working sector is driving development with innovation in the infra sector.”
Aayushi Lakhapati, Co-Founder and Chief Health Officer, 23BMI
“I think the government must make provisions to create more jobs. They can do so by promoting the Make in India campaign and by making more startup-friendly policies. Personal & professional skill development centres must be established & promoted to enable lesser privileged to qualify for better job opportunities. Better incentives to business must be provisioned to create more jobs and reduce emigration to the retail available workforce. We must also ensure that we improve the health of employees to improve productivity and introduce & promote health improvement policies of employees. Tax benefit must be extended to employees on their spend on services that aid better health such as gyms, weight loss centres to promote better health amongst employees and support Mr. Modi’s fit India movement initiative. Furthermore, companies and establishments should have nutritionists & health coach on-board to assess food habits, timings of the employees. Lastly, to maintain a healthy work-life balance, the government must review and make changes to the average working hours per week of employees to promote better health and productivity just like Japan and western countries are experimenting.”
(Views expressed are of different industry leaders. Email us your feedback at startupterminal@gmail.com)