Tuesday, March 5, 2024
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Industry Leaders Expectations from Union Budget 2024-25

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As we anticipate the Interim Budget 2024 on February 1, the nation looks forward to the Union Budget 2024-25 with expectations of strategic measures that drive economic growth, innovation, and resilience. The upcoming budget holds the key to shaping a path toward prosperity and progress for our nation in the fiscal year ahead. Industry leaders provided their quotes on pre-budget expectations.

Mr. Rajesh Sinha, Founder and Chairman, Fulcrum Digital
Mr. Rajesh Sinha, Founder and Chairman, Fulcrum Digital

Mr. Rajesh Sinha, Founder and Chairman, Fulcrum Digital

In light of India’s rapid strides in the field of Generative Artificial Intelligence throughout 2023, the upcoming interim Union Budget could hold the key to unlocking the full potential of this transformative technology for enterprises across the nation. 

The government’s focus on initiatives such as ‘Make AI for India’ and ‘Make AI Work for India’ align with the rapidly advancing AI landscape and the vision for India to lead this global AI transformation. Addressing challenges such as the shortage of AI talent, creating public-private partnerships, and fostering innovation in advancing fields like insurtech, food tech, education, and cybersecurity is a pivotal step in this direction.

We are hopeful that the interim budget makes provisions for investments in data infrastructure, skill development, and data accessibility. This will ensure that India not only catches up with global AI leaders but emerges as a front-runner in responsible AI adoption. The government’s vision and its successful implementation in the form of this Union Budget is set to fuel the trajectory of yet another year of rapid digital advancement for the country.

Mr. Sunil Sharma, Vice President, Sales, Sophos India & SAARC
Mr. Sunil Sharma, Vice President, Sales, Sophos India & SAARC

Mr. Sunil Sharma, Vice President, Sales, Sophos India & SAARC

Over the past year, India has witnessed a rise in cyber-attacks of various magnitudes, placing many businesses and individuals at risk. In the wake of these attacks and the Finance Ministry’s directives throughout 2023 to enhance cybersecurity measures in different industries, hopefully the upcoming interim Union Budget 2024 will include a continued focus on reinforcing the nation’s cyber defences. With a heightened emphasis on prevention of data breaches, ransomware attacks and AI-powered cyber threats, increased budgetary allocations towards cybersecurity awareness and training initiatives are imperative. The Finance Minister’s call for proactive cybersecurity measures augur well for a renewed focus on bridging the current cybersecurity skill gap in the industry, fostering an efficient cyber-task force within organizations. This strategic investment will not only fortify our defence against cyber threats but also contribute to job creation and economic resilience in the face of evolving digital challenges, powering the future of a secure Digital India.

Mr. Kunal Nagarkatti, Chief Executive Officer, Clover Infotech
Mr. Kunal Nagarkatti, Chief Executive Officer, Clover Infotech

Mr. Kunal Nagarkatti, Chief Executive Officer, Clover Infotech

In the upcoming budget, I would like to see the government prioritizing measures that foster the development and widespread adoption of AI. A strategic investment in AI initiatives will not only drive economic growth but also position our country as a global leader in the digital era. I look forward to policies that support research and development, incentivize AI talent, and create a conducive environment for businesses to harness the full potential of AI. By leveraging AI, we can build a smarter, more competitive, and technologically advanced nation.

Puneet Gupta, Vice President & Managing Director, NetApp
Mr. Puneet Gupta, Vice President & Managing Director, NetApp India/SAARC

Mr. Puneet Gupta, Vice President & Managing Director, NetApp India/SAARC

The AI push by Honorable Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in last year’s Budget was a visionary step which has helped place the country on the global AI map. We are hopeful that the upcoming Interim Union Budget 2024 will continue this momentum. The strides being made through initiatives like ‘AI for India’ set the stage for the nation to lead the ongoing technology transformation. What is also equally important is to safeguard the data required for this push towards an AI-driven nation. We look forward to diligent data governance and intelligent data infrastructure driven by AI. The budget presents an opportunity to streamline data access and address concerns on ethics.  

An increased investment in R&D will help create the foundation for innovation in key technologies such as AI/ML, IoT, Blockchain, and Cloud Computing. It will be good to see tech startups getting the necessary tax benefits and policy support that will encourage entrepreneurship. These initiatives will unleash India’s potential to develop new technologies and help achieve the government’s goal of a Viksit Bharat by 2047, sooner.

Mr. Vijendra Katiyar, Country Manager for India & SAARC at Trend Micro
Mr. Vijendra Katiyar, Country Manager for India & SAARC at Trend Micro

Mr. Vijendra Katiyar, Country Manager for India & SAARC at Trend Micro

In 2023, the cybersecurity landscape in India raises significant concerns due to the rising tide of ransomware attacks and an ever-expanding attack surface of organisations, which have had a substantial impact on key sectors of our economy. The evolving techniques of hackers, particularly in the realm of Generative AI (Gen-AI), have turned the past year into a crucial learning experience. Therefore, for the upcoming union budget, it is imperative to prioritize increased expenditures in AI research, strengthen the focus on cybersecurity, data privacy, and digital infrastructure.

Furthermore, directing heightened investments towards skill development for the youth is pivotal to address existing gaps and foster a future-ready workforce. Additionally, a crucial aspect that demands urgent attention is the integration of cybersecurity into the Indian education system. It is crucial to impart comprehensive knowledge about various cyber threats, securing devices, and understanding hacker techniques. This proactive educational approach is essential to empower individuals with the skills needed to navigate and mitigate evolving threats. The tech industry anticipates a budget that champions cybersecurity, AI innovation, and youth skill development, aiming to fortify not only our digital infrastructure but also pave the way for a resilient and secure future for India.

Mr. Hitesh Garg, Vice President, and India Managing Director, NXP Semiconductors
Mr. Hitesh Garg, Vice President, and India Managing Director, NXP Semiconductors

Mr. Hitesh Garg, Vice President, and India Managing Director, NXP Semiconductors

As we approach Union Budget 2024, the semiconductor industry in India is all set for a significant boost. Programs like PLI and DLI, especially in supporting Global MNCs, are set to spark innovation on a global scale. The rapid formation of the Indian Semiconductor Research Consortium (ISRC) further indicates a commitment to progressive research.

Our pre-budget forecast emphasizes on joint funding and collaboration with technology leaders, which can be seen as a smart move to establish India as the world’s semiconductor hub. The key proposals include the exemption from customs duty for electronic transmissions and a uniform tax policy that fosters favorable business conditions by promoting smooth cross-border data flow.

The focus on fostering start-ups and creating jobs in the semiconductor industry also brings out India’s stride towards becoming a center for advanced technological prowess, ensuring a resilient semiconductor ecosystem.

Mr. Anil Agarwal, CEO and Co-Founder, InCruiter
Mr. Anil Agarwal, CEO and Co-Founder, InCruiter

Mr. Anil Agarwal, CEO and Co-Founder, InCruiter

The upcoming Budget is not just about economic reform but is about having an ecosystem where start-ups can thrive, innovate, and contribute significantly to a thriving business environment. In particular, the 2024-25 budget should include a unique opportunity to empower tech startups and small businesses by allocating dedicated funds for innovation and providing tax incentives for research and development.  Furthermore, the regulatory processes could be simplified to establish clear guidelines to encourage innovation. Moreover, a simplified compliance framework could lower complexity and foster talent development. Also, a simplified compliance network could reduce administrative burdens to foster agility. 


To empower employees a focus on labor laws is a must, the main priority should be to maintain employee well-being which could involve provision for flexible hours, remote work, and a ‘right to disconnect.’ For this, a dedicated fund could be allocated for professional development, education, and skill training. Lastly, digital infrastructure could be fortified with the help of technologies like cloud-based solutions, cybersecurity measures, and scalable IT infrastructure. As we draft the budget, the focus should be on the seeds of innovation and support we plant for startups, ensuring a thriving business environment for years to come.

Mr. Manoj Gupta, Managing Director, Fortune Marketing

Mr. Manoj Gupta, Managing Director, Fortune Marketing

The upcoming interim-budget 2024 should prioritize digital infrastructure, new-age technologies, and skills development. India’s rapid growth in the IT and ITes industry calls for a future-oriented approach with increased investment in innovation and R&D to stay competitive globally.

Mr. Alok Dubey, Chief Finance Officer, Acer India
Mr. Alok Dubey, Chief Finance Officer, Acer India

Mr. Alok Dubey, Chief Finance Officer, Acer India

The upcoming Union Budget 2024 has the potential to shape the IT Tech sector in the next fiscal year. As we anticipate Budget 2024, our expectations revolve around fostering India’s tech innovation ecosystem. We look forward to heightened investments in Research and development and Artificial Intelligence, underlining a strategic roadmap emphasizing innovation, sustainability, and accessibility within the industry. Aligned with the Make in India initiative, we expect that the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) program, designed to support IT hardware and computer server manufacturers, along with the government’s resolute commitment to digital skill development, will be accorded significant priority. We anticipate a budget that not only aligns with but elevates the Make in India objectives, providing a robust framework for the growth and alignment of the IT Tech sector.

Mr. Sonit Jain, CEO of GajShield Infotech
Mr. Sonit Jain, CEO of GajShield Infotech

Mr. Sonit Jain CEO GajShield Infotech

The government is steadfast in its commitment to economic deregulation and the initiation of systemic reforms. Recognising the imperative role of Information Technology, it is dedicated to fostering inclusive growth across all sectors. Aligned with our Prime Minister’s visionary outlook for India, there is a potential era of heightened digitisation on the horizon, propelled by Artificial Intelligence and regular technological disruptions. As a technology-driven entity in the dynamic tapestry of India, we perceive innovation as the pulsating force behind progress. In the anticipation of the upcoming budget, we envisage a future where strategic investments in technology become the cornerstone of our nation’s growth. Embracing the ‘Make in India’ initiative, we aspire to witness a robust ecosystem that not only fosters innovation but also encourages indigenous production and technological self-sufficiency. We anticipate policies that empower businesses and individuals to harness the full potential of technology, propelling India into a new era of economic resilience and technological excellence. This collaborative effort between government initiatives and tech-driven enterprises will undoubtedly steer us towards a future where ‘Made in India’ resonates with global technological prowess.

Mr. Alok Kashyap, Founder and CEO at Yatiken Software Solutions
Mr. Alok Kashyap, Founder and CEO at Yatiken Software Solutions

Mr. Alok Kashyap, Founder and CEO at Yatiken Software Solutions

At Yatiken Software Solutions, our expectations for Union Budget 2024 align with key areas crucial for the IT sector’s growth. We look forward to potential allocations for EV infrastructure development, presenting exciting opportunities in software for EV systems, IoT integration for smart charging, and data analytics for EV performance optimization. Additionally, we hope for a significant GST relaxation for the service sector, leading to a reduction in the 18% GST rate. This move would alleviate operational costs for IT firms, enhancing global competitiveness and providing resources for further innovation and talent development. Besides that, initiatives for upskilling programs in emerging technologies such as AI, blockchain, and cybersecurity are critical for the continuous growth of the tech industry. Collaborative efforts between educational institutions and industry partnerships can ensure a skilled workforce. Likewise, the establishment of tech-focused Special Economic Zones (SEZs) holds promise, offering tax benefits and infrastructure support to attract foreign investments and foster innovation in the IT sector. Moreover, investments in internet adoption and 5G deployment, especially in healthcare, could create opportunities for developing applications in telemedicine, remote monitoring, and data-driven healthcare solutions. These expectations, if addressed in the Union Budget, have the potential to remarkably shape the trajectory of the IT sector by fostering innovation, supporting infrastructure development, and enhancing skills in emerging technologies.

Mr. Sumit, CEO and Co-founder at DashLoc
Mr. Sumit, CEO and Co-founder at DashLoc

Mr. Sumit, CEO and Co-founder at DashLoc

As we eagerly await the Finance Budget 2024, DashLoc envisions a budget that champions startups, fostering Artificial Intelligence (AI) research and innovation for resource generation and employment opportunities. Expecting initiatives promoting tailored upskilling programs in AI, we look forward to partnerships between educational institutions and the industry, ensuring a steady pipeline of skilled professionals for the tech sector. In India’s retail-dominated market, the government’s ONDC platform is set to transform purchasing patterns over the next five years. Finance Budget 2024 therefore also presents an opportunity to enhance innovation and community-centric solutions, strengthening the role of startups like ours in reshaping hyperlocal discovery with a keen emphasis on personalization and precision.

Mr. Sudhir Kothari, Managing Director & CEO, Embee Software's
Mr. Sudhir Kothari, Managing Director & CEO, Embee Software’s

Mr. Sudhir Kothari, Managing Director & CEO, Embee Software’s

Experienced and successful founder & CEO with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry for 35 years. Built a successful company, Embee Software Pvt Ltd around the philosophy of Intrapreneurship so that the organization forever remains agile to change, and client-oriented. A highly decisive, action-oriented, and hands-off person who believes in “always on” business transformation to achieve continuous success. Skilled in Business Alliances, relationship management, building medium to long-term vision & strategy and successfully executing them.

Mr. Sarvagya Mishra, Co-founder & Director at SuperBot
Mr. Sarvagya Mishra, Co-founder & Director at SuperBot

Mr. Sarvagya Mishra, Co-founder & Director at SuperBot

As we stand at the crossroads of innovation with Union Budget 2024 on the horizon, our anticipation at SuperBot goes beyond fiscal measures. We envision a budget that transcends traditional boundaries, streamlining Ease of Investing, catalyzing a robust Startup Funding Scenario, and laying the foundation for profound Digital Transformation within the startup landscape. We look to this budget not just for resource allocation but as a strategic path towards a future where Artificial Intelligence (AI) seamlessly integrates into our startup ecosystem. We anticipate targeted initiatives that propel AI research, development, and adoption, fostering innovation and ensuring global competitiveness.

Ms. Yamini Bhat, Co-Founder and CEO, Vymo
Ms. Yamini Bhat, Co-Founder and CEO, Vymo

Ms. Yamini Bhat, Co-Founder and CEO, Vymo

The Union Budget this year will play a key role in providing tech players more fuel to propel India’s growth story. With the number of deep tech start-ups, it is evident that India has the talent to contribute immensely to the future of technology. Supporting such start-ups with incentives for research and development and providing infrastructure support can help them move faster towards their goals. As start-ups struggle to survive the extended funding winter, robust intellectual property (IP) protection measures can help talented firms attract global investors and stay on their growth path. 

I also think that India can immensely benefit from specialized education and training programs for the youth – if the Budget can introduce such programs, it will help position India as the hub for remote-friendly tech expertise. 

It will also be interesting to see how the budget will lend weight to AI-led initiatives in the country. Prioritizing AI infrastructure development and encouraging AI-enabled public services, defining security standards, encouraging firms providing such technology services and upskilling government employees is the need of the hour and any support towards this will be a welcome move.

Mr. Kumar Gaurav, Co-Founder of Cashaa
Mr. Kumar Gaurav, Co-Founder of Cashaa

Mr. Kumar Gaurav, Co-Founder of Cashaa

As we eagerly anticipate the Union Budget of 2024, Cashaa is hopeful for transformative measures that will shape the future of the Indian crypto sector. Our primary expectation is a reduction in the flat tax rate from 30%, aligning crypto gains with other asset classes like debt and equity. We also advocate for a significant drop in the high TDS rate from 1% to approximately 0.01%, aiming to rekindle trading volumes crucial for a vibrant market. A decisive and supportive regulatory framework is pivotal, as it will not only encourage innovation but also attract vital investments to fuel the growth of the crypto sector in India. While our optimism runs high, we remain mindful of the interim nature of this budget, preceding the 2024 general elections.

Mr. Shreeranganath Kulkarni, Managing Director of InfoVision
Mr. Shreeranganath Kulkarni, Managing Director of InfoVision

Mr. Shreeranganath Kulkarni, Managing Director of InfoVision

As team InfoVision eagerly awaits Budget 2024, we highlight AI’s potential to multiply business efficiencies by up to 10X. We call on the government to bolster AI investments, supporting advancements in quantum computing, social digital innovation, and Explainable AI (XAI). Crucial to this effort is the upskilling of our workforce and the reform of data governance laws to boost data center investments and enable wider AI/ML adoption. AI’s integration into sectors like urban planning, healthcare, and education will be pivotal. A collaborative governance model ensuring ethical data use is key to driving India towards a $5 trillion economy.

Mr. Vivek Tyagi, Managing Director, Analog Devices Inc India
Mr. Vivek Tyagi, Managing Director, Analog Devices Inc India

Mr. Vivek Tyagi, Managing Director, Analog Devices Inc India

As we approach the Union Budget 2024, we at Analog Devices Inc are hopeful for a forward-looking fiscal roadmap that steers the nation towards technological prowess and sustainable growth. We believe the upcoming budget will play a crucial role in shaping India’s economic development, particularly in emerging sectors like semiconductor, e-mobility, green hydrogen, and renewable energy. Recent commitments observed at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2024 underscore the industry’s collective dedication to Indian Government’s vision of a ‘Developed India @2047.’

In this dynamic landscape, we encourage policies that bolster indigenous semiconductor manufacturing ecosystem. The announcements by global players to invest in Gujarat highlight the sector’s potential and the need for a conducive policy environment. We believe that the budget should be a catalyst for nurturing innovation, research, and skill development, particularly in frontier technologies like artificial intelligence, 5G/6G networks and renewable energy.

As the world embraces the integration of 5G technologies, AI-enabled solutions and sustainable practices, we look to the budget to provide a strategic framework that not only navigates current challenges but also sets the stage for India’s emergence as a global technology and innovation hub. In essence, the forthcoming budget represents a pivotal opportunity for India to fortify its position on the global stage, and Analog Devices Inc remains committed to contributing to this transformative journey.

Mr. Jaydeep Singh, General Manager for South Asia at Kaspersky
Mr. Jaydeep Singh, General Manager for South Asia at Kaspersky

Mr. Jaydeep Singh, General Manager for South Asia at Kaspersky

The previous Union Budgets have shown India’s dedication to boosting its cybersecurity infrastructure. We expect the same commitment in 2024 as the local threat landscape continues to evolve.
 
It is foreseen that India’s enterprise technology sector will contribute $350-400 billion in the next few years, advancing the country toward its $1 trillion digital economy goal. This will be driven by the continuous mass adoption of digital financial tools and will be further enabled by the multi-year artificial intelligence (AI) programme recently unveiled by the government.
 
Cybercriminals, on the other hand, will also ride along these trends. For instance, our advanced detection systems discovered an average of 411,000 malicious files daily last year, with an increase of nearly 3 percent in 2023 compared to the previous year. This year, we also anticipate enhanced financial threats as attackers use advanced artificial intelligence and heightened automation.
 
As we navigate the evolving cyberthreat landscape, it becomes crucial for the Union Budget 2024 to focus on cybersecurity, which could help deploy proactive cybersecurity strategies, foster sector collaboration, and implement innovative defences against cyberattacks. Kaspersky remains dedicated to collaborating in building India’s cybersecurity capability this year and beyond.

Nishant Pitti, CEO & Co-founder, EaseMyTrip
Nishant Pitti, CEO & Co-founder, EaseMyTrip

Nishant Pitti, CEO & Co-founder, EaseMyTrip

In expectation of the Union Budget 2024, we earnestly expect crucial reforms to strengthen and revitalize the tourism sector. We expect the Government to allow GST input on holiday businesses, a strategic reduction in income tax to catalyze growth in the country’s tourism industry, and the streamlining of the TCS structure to a more favorable 5 percent slab. Additionally, we expect a comprehensive overhaul of tax exemption policies related to Leave Travel Allowance (LTA), urging the Government to consider an annual allowance and the inclusive coverage of the entire tour package cost under LTA, surpassing the limitation to only flight expenses. Predicting the realization of the full potential of domestic tourism, we look forward to a budgetary emphasis on infrastructure development, technology integration, and health-safety measures across airports, aviation, roads, railways, and waterways. Recognizing the vast, underleveraged potential of India’s waterways, which includes sea and river cruising opportunities, we strongly urge the Government to undertake necessary measures for the development of this sector.

Dr. Ravinder Goyal, Co-Founder, Erekrut HR Automation Solutions Pvt Ltd.
Dr. Ravinder Goyal, Co-Founder, Erekrut HR Automation Solutions Pvt Ltd.

Dr. Ravinder Goyal, Co-Founder, Erekrut HR Automation Solutions Pvt Ltd.

As we approach the 2024 budget, the HR sector in India harbours specific expectations, particularly regarding policy reforms that currently pose challenges. A primary area of focus is the streamlining of labour laws, which were characterised as cumbersome, rigid, and difficult to follow. The sector thus anticipates reforms that would simplify these laws, making them more adaptable to the modern workplace, especially in terms of flexible working arrangements and remote work policies.

The segment could also benefit from the refinement of the Provident Fund (PF) and Employee State Insurance (ESI) schemes. The current structures of these schemes pose administrative challenges and often result in delayed contributions and settlements. An overhaul aimed at simplifying these processes could greatly enhance operational efficiency in HR management.

Moreover, the HR sector needs more supportive measures to nurture talent, specifically through enhanced tax incentives for employee training and development programs. This would encourage companies to invest more in upskilling their workforce, aligning with the evolving skill demands of the digital economy. Along with this, the expansion of tax benefits under schemes like Section 80-IAC, which currently has restrictive criteria, is desired to enhance accessibility to a broader range of startups.

In essence, the HR sector’s pre-budget expectations for 2024 revolve around policies that reduce compliance complexity, foster talent development, and support startups through more inclusive and flexible fiscal incentives. These changes are crucial for creating a more dynamic and responsive HR landscape in India’s rapidly evolving economic environment.

Mr. Sanjoy Bhattacharya, Director of Sales & Marketing, IT Business, ViewSonic India
Mr. Sanjoy Bhattacharya, Director of Sales & Marketing, IT Business, ViewSonic India

Mr. Sanjoy Bhattacharya, Director of Sales & Marketing, IT Business, ViewSonic India

As we eagerly anticipate the unveiling of the Union Budget for 2024, we applaud the government’s ongoing commitment to the “Make in India” initiative, fostering the growth of indigenous manufacturing capabilities. We hope the forthcoming budget will further strengthen this program, providing incentives and support for the domestic production of high-quality electronics, including monitors. In alignment with the government’s focus on Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) schemes, we anticipate continued encouragement for the electronics sector. Additionally, third-party manufacturers should receive incentives and benefits through Production Linked Incentives (PLI). Enhancements to existing schemes or the introduction of new ones specific to display technologies can significantly boost local manufacturing and make India a global hub for monitor production. To foster innovation and R&D in the electronics industry, we look forward to policies that incentivize technology advancements, product design, and sustainable practices. Support in these areas will contribute to the development of cutting-edge technologies meeting the global standards.

He further adds, “A rationalized customs and import duty structure would play a crucial role in making raw materials and components more accessible and affordable to the companies, boosting the economy and new innovation. A suggestion would be to put anti-dumping duties on refurbished products imported from China to ensure fair market competition. Furthermore, the government must establish comprehensive rules and regulations to regulate the domestic sales of refurbished products as well effectively.

Mr. Suresh VP, Co-Founder and COO, Experion Technologies
Mr. Suresh VP, Co-Founder and COO, Experion Technologies

Mr. Suresh VP, Co-Founder and COO, Experion Technologies

As the budget approaches, the central government must address the challenge of high unemployment rates among recent graduates. This problem is worsened by the current market situation, where big IT companies are not hiring in large numbers as they used to. To address the unemployment gap, a practical step would be for the government to actively support the growth of small and medium-sized IT enterprises to flourish under the ‘Make in India’ initiative. As per the project idea, a large amount of raw materials usage, technical know-how and manufacturing should happen within India. So, the government should actively encourage these manufacturing companies to give their IT projects to Indian IT enterprises. This would significantly help in generating employment as well as boosting the economic growth of the country. Additionally, the central government should promote the development of tier-2 states, transforming them into budding IT hubs by investing in infrastructure and creating a conducive business environment. Moreover, a crucial aspect of economic growth involves the digital transformation of Kirana stores. The government should support and incentivize the digitalization of Kirana stores, ensuring proper accounting practices through the use of digital wallets. Facilitating the swift adoption of GST reporting and implementing last-mile automation for Kirana stores is paramount to ensuring timely reimbursements and overall financial prosperity. The government is actively implementing initiatives to stimulate the economy and support local businesses, exemplified by the ‘Vocal for Local’ campaign, which encourages individuals to sell their homegrown products. Additionally, the ONDC (Open Network for Digital Commerce), an e-commerce platform by the central government is there for people to sell their products. However, to further empower local sellers, the government should increase investment and enhance the visibility of the ONDC platform, ensuring that more individuals can easily and effectively sell their goods.

Mr. Manish Rathi, co-founder and CEO, IntrCity SmartBus
Mr. Manish Rathi, co-founder and CEO, IntrCity SmartBus

Mr. Manish Rathi, co-founder and CEO, IntrCity SmartBus

As the 2024 budget announcement approaches, we are focused on driving significant improvements in the private bus sector, which is projected to be the dominant mode of long-distance public travel in India.

While the Government has done a remarkable job in the development of the highway networks across the country, this has set the stage for now creating a framework for development of essential public transport infrastructure, to help drive consumer adoption. The lack of convenient boarding infrastructure is one of the biggest roadblock in shifting travelers from private cars to public transport.

Along the lines of airport development, we would request the Government to consider a budgetary framework for development of centralized bus terminals on national highways, which can be used as transit points for inter-city passenger movement. We believe that this can be a significant game changer for India, and has the potential to be the global leader in promoting adoption of public transport worldwide, where private cars tend to dominate the landscape.

Second, for historical reasons, passenger buses are not allowed to carry commercial cargo. This is a national waste, as modern vehicles have spare storage space and adequate engine capacity, which can be used to carry the cargo at marginal extra cost. Both the Railways and airline industry already do so. We request the Government to allow carrying of commercial cargo in passenger buses which will eliminate the wastages on unoccupied space, and also help reduce the cost to consumers.

Mr. Nitin Varma, Managing Director, India & SAARC, CrowdStrike
Mr. Nitin Varma, Managing Director, India & SAARC, CrowdStrike

Mr. Nitin Varma, Managing Director, India & SAARC, CrowdStrike

As the Union Budget 2024 approaches, we look forward to the government continuing its focus on initiatives promoting cybersecurity, data privacy, and responsible AI development. Steps like the Data Protection Data Privacy (DPDP) Bill to strengthen data privacy and initiate new laws around deep fakes are highly appreciated.

We hope to see sustained investments in cybersecurity infrastructure and human capital development. With cyber threats only increasing each year, educating Indian businesses and government entities about the risks as well as providing them with access to modern cybersecurity solutions and highly skilled security professionals is paramount for the Indian economy. We would hope to see the budget funding more educational and training programs to build expertise in the responsible use of AI and cybersecurity spaces.

Despite rising cyberattacks, organizations struggle with skills gaps and resource crunches and so increasing the number of skilled professionals is important. Also, through the right education initiatives, Indian businesses should be aware of and consider using modern managed detection and response solutions to ensure they have 24/7 cyber protection without the need for additional security staff.

Further, there are still businesses in India settling for what they consider “good enough” cybersecurity and so it’s important to provide education around what cybersecurity solutions provide protection against modern cyber threats. The ‘good enough’ approach to security that too many companies have settled for does not work in our industry. Organizations need the best outcomes, which is stopping the breach and consolidating point solutions to drive down costs.

Achieving these outcomes requires a true security platform, natively built with AI at the core together with human expertise to protect their critical assets from the endpoint and beyond. This is what we deliver to customers with the Falcon platform and why analyst firms like Gartner recognise CrowdStrike as the clear leader.

Overall, a focus on these critical areas in the upcoming budget will pay dividends by creating a safe and innovation-friendly digital ecosystem. India has the potential to become a global hub for technology and talent. The right security approaches, policy support and funding for these key areas will help unleash this potential.

Mr. T V Ramachandran, President of BIF
Mr. T V Ramachandran, President of BIF

Mr. T V Ramachandran, President of BIF

India is undergoing rapid digital transformation on the back of continuous Government reforms. The recently notified Telecommunications Act 2023 is a game changer and will help catalyze the growth of the sector even further.

As Broadband India Forum, we would like to see the Union Budget 2024-25 focus on three important aspects viz.

  • Facilitate affordable Broadband through Satcom through reasonably modest spectrum fees
  • Budgetary support for the growth of Public Wi-Fi through waiver of duties & levies on equipment and on revenues
  • Budgetary support to incentivize Fiber to the Building +Wi-Fi to enable rapid growth in Fixed Broadband, by way of reduction in statutory fees and levies and exemption of GST on service revenues

With the above measures, we hope that Union Budget will help accelerate the momentum of the reforms in the sector which has been set by other Government policies & measures.

Mr. Manoj Nair, Head of Global Delivery Centres, Fujitsu
Mr. Manoj Nair, Head of Global Delivery Centres, Fujitsu

Mr. Manoj Nair, Head of Global Delivery Centres, Fujitsu

Major economies across the world are seeing a challenging macroeconomic situation with slowdowns that have affected various industries. Amid this period, it is the tech industry that is leading the charge in recovery with a positive outlook. The demand for IT skills, especially in the new-age technologies – AI, ML, analytics, data science and other digital capabilities continues to surge presenting an opportune time to GCCs to further scale and usher in the next phase of digital revolution in India. India is a leading hub of Global Capability Centers (GCCs) with 1500+ GCCs housed in India that play a crucial role in growth of the tech industry. According to EY, the domestic GCC market size is expected to hit US$110b by 2030 with the number of GCCs  expected to scale to 2400. Over the past few years, there has been a major shift in how GCCs operate – from delivering cutting-edge services to becoming powerful innovation hubs. These GCCs, with their vast trove of STEM talent and heavy investments in technology and upskilling are uniquely positioned to spearhead digital transformation for customers. Our technical capabilities across AI, ML, data science, cloud, automation, enterprise applications are crucial to powering deep research and product development.

Now, as GCCs continue to invest in reskilling talent in the face of evolving tech landscape, building demand-based and niche skills in relevant areas, they are playing a crucial role in employment generation for India. With GCCs being a major engine for economic growth, Budget 2024 can play a key role in facilitating growth and sustainable development. GCCs require support and investment for infrastructure and growth environment. The Budget 2024 can help GCCs further scaleand accelerate innovation at a faster rate as India emerges as the world’s technology and services hub.

Mr. Bimal Khandelwal, (Chief Financial Officer, STT GDC India)
Mr. Bimal Khandelwal, (Chief Financial Officer, STT GDC India)

Mr. Bimal Khandelwal, (Chief Financial Officer, STT GDC India)

As India charges ahead on its digital transformation journey, the upcoming budget offers a timely window to cultivate a world-class data center ecosystem that steers this advancement. We are hopeful of incentives to spur domestic manufacturing and infrastructure builds specially tailored for data centers’ massive scale and seamless connectivity needs. Attractive capital subsidies for setting up future-ready facilities and easy financing options to offset development costs will unleash growth. We also envision provisions that encourage the adoption of renewable energy to meet data centers’ clean power appetites. Additionally, preferential procurement directives favoring home-grown data centers will provide an upside. With an emphasis on nurturing a cutting-edge domestic data center industry, India can swiftly go up the technology value chain and cement dominance in delivering digital services globally. Having granted an infrastructure tag has remarkably expedited logistics.

Mr. Sumit Sabharwal, Head of HR Shared Services, Fujitsu International Regions
Mr. Sumit Sabharwal, Head of HR Shared Services, Fujitsu International Regions

Mr. Sumit Sabharwal, Head of HR Shared Services, Fujitsu International Regions

As an HR leader, I eagerly anticipate the 2024 budget, urging the Government of India to prioritize robust investments in skill development. A strategic focus on honing our workforce’s capabilities will propel India’s IT industry to new heights, fostering innovation, and global competitiveness. The India artificial intelligence market size reached $ 680 million in 2022 and further it is expected to reach $3,935.5 million by 2028, showcasing a growth rate (CAGR) of 33.28% between 2023-2028. Data Science and Analytics have emerged as a game-changer across industries, with organizations harnessing data-driven insights to make informed decisions. With exponential growth in the digital realm, this field is expected to witness substantial opportunities in the coming years. The demand for STEM jobs in India has increased by 44% in the last 5 years. STEM skills will be a requirement for 80% of the jobs created in the next decade. To meet the increasing demands for STEM professionals in India’s rapidly growing technology, engineering, and manufacturing sectors, it becomes imperative to offer robust STEM education. For organizations, it has become necessary to provide upskilling and reskilling opportunities to existing employees. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us, and STEM education will align closely with its demands. To keep up with this new information-based and technology-dependent world, India must scale up the innovation ladder with initiatives.

Mr. Meghan Nandgaonkar, Head of JDU, Fujitsu
Mr. Meghan Nandgaonkar, Head of JDU, Fujitsu

Mr. Meghan Nandgaonkar, Head of JDU, Fujitsu

Technology has played an important role in India’s growth story. Our expectation from Budget 2024 furthers to boost technology solutions for sustainable society, green initiatives, agro-tech, etc., Additional focus on skilling initiatives for people engaged in traditional sectors, using technology and online delivery along with incentives for technology companies in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.

Mr. Anji Maram, CEO and Founder, CriticalRiver Inc
Mr. Anji Maram, CEO and Founder, CriticalRiver Inc

Mr. Anji Maram, CEO and Founder, CriticalRiver Inc

The upcoming Union Budget 2024 presents a significant opportunity to advance India’s technological and digital landscape. Focused investments in AI and technology are essential, not only to foster innovation but also to enhance productivity in various sectors. This is a strategic moment to address the skill gap in these fields through dedicated training and education initiatives. Additionally, with the rapid pace of digital transformation, it’s crucial to allocate substantial resources for cybersecurity. Strengthening our cyber defenses will protect national and corporate entities from the growing range of cyber threats. Overall, this budget has the potential to position India at the forefront of the global technology stage.”

Mr. Karun Tadepalli, CEO and Co-Founder, byteXL
Mr. Karun Tadepalli, CEO and Co-Founder, byteXL

Mr. Karun Tadepalli, CEO and Co-Founder, byteXL

Startups have emerged as a catalyst for the nation’s economic growth by creating significant employment of close to a million in the last 6-7 years and playing a significant role in India’s 40th position on the Global Innovation Index. While the sector has many expectations from the Union Budget, what would immediately assist startups is to reduce the rate, if not abolish, Angel Tax to make funding more effective and founders being left with a better equity which otherwise they have to compromise due to such high taxation. Better financial support to the startups working in the rural arears will further encourage them for a faster and a higher growth trajectory thereby generating more employment opportunities. For the edtech industry, a reduction in the current high rate of GST at 18% to 5% would be a significant boost for the sector. This would significantly bring down the deployment costs for the educations institutes and enable specially the tier 2 and 3 category institutes to utilize the new age technologies. Additionally, allocating funds for the vacant seats in the engineering colleges and providing support to leverage the existing infrastructure will further enhance the educational landscape thereby playing a pivotal role in the nation building.

Ms. Archana Srinivasan, Chief Financial Officer, iOPEX Technologies
Ms. Archana Srinivasan, Chief Financial Officer, iOPEX Technologies

Ms. Archana Srinivasan, Chief Financial Officer, iOPEX Technologies

We are not expecting major changes as it is most likely to be a vote on account. Inflation-targeted rate mechanism should continue with liquidity for necessary events. Focusing on digitization is the need of the hour in the IT industry. We are witnessing a runaway increase in labor costs, and this affects the IT industry. Keeping the interest intact among smaller companies, the government should come up with specific schemes related to the IT sector. This is similar to measures like the PLI scheme for the manufacturing sector.

Mr. Sanjay Saha, India Country Manager, Synaptics
Mr. Sanjay Saha, India Country Manager, Synaptics

Mr. Sanjay Saha, India Country Manager, Synaptics

Our commitment to ‘Design in India’ is reflected in our increasing investment here in operations and technologies critical to our differentiation and growth. These investments in end-to-end design are key to Synaptics’ ability to address global semiconductor trends and opportunities in the IoT. Looking ahead to Budget 2024, we look forward to greater emphasis on the DLI scheme, providing a vital boost to in-country intellectual property creation. We remain optimistic that the government will introduce ground-breaking and transformative initiatives, elevating technology use cases and fostering growth in semiconductors, fabless design, and the electronics startup ecosystem essential to dynamic markets such as AI, IoT, consumer electronics, automotive, telecoms, and computing.

Such endeavors are poised to accelerate innovation, drive research and development, and position India as a global powerhouse in electronics and semiconductors. With India embarking on its electric vehicle (EV) journey, we eagerly anticipate additional budgetary support to develop the requisite technologies for sustainable vehicles. Together, we have the opportunity to shape a future where India leads in technological advancements and innovation on the global stage.

Covered By: NCN MAGAZINE / Union Budget

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