Tuesday, March 5, 2024
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IT Industry Leaders’ Reactions on Union Budget 2024-25

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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled her sixth budget On February 1, marking a crucial interim phase before the upcoming general elections later this year. The Interim Budget 2024 emphasized a dedicated focus on empowering youth and women, all while upholding fiscal consolidation and sustaining capital expenditure.

NCN Magazine engaged in conversations with industry experts who provided valuable perspectives on India’s prospects on the global stage. They delved into discussions about the nation’s strides toward creating a more conducive ecosystem for growth and development.

Mr. Alok Dubey, CFO, Acer India

“The ₹1 lakh crore corpus for interest-free financing is a massive boost for research and development. This will fuel innovation and create jobs within the technology sector. Empowering women entrepreneurs also adds a crucial dimension to diversity, enhancing the talent pool and fostering creativity within the industry. I am also happy to see steadfast commitment to environmental sustainability. Overall, the Interim Budget 2024-25 has generated excitement within the technology sector. However, the industry awaits further details and calls for transparent implementation to ensure the success of these ambitious plans.”  

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

 “We at Sophos are in complete alignment with the vision presented by the Honorable Finance Minister in the Interim Union Budget 2024, towards creating a prosperous and inclusive India. The highlighted emphasis on skill development, technology-driven innovation, and sustainable infrastructure resonates with our organizational mission, focused on empowering Indian businesses through state-of-the-art cybersecurity solutions. The government’s steadfast commitment to increasing the cybersecurity budget from INR 400 crores to INR 750 crores within a year is a noteworthy development within the industry, and promises to address cybersecurity threats that may endanger the rapidly digitizing nation. The intersection of democracy, demography, and diversity, encapsulated by the ideology of “Sabka Prayas,” emerges as the key force that will unlock India’s true potential in the technology sector. Other significant initiatives such as the allocation of a substantial amount of Rs 1 lakh crore for tech startups and the strategic emphasis on deep-tech for defense, underscore the government’s dedication towards realizing its Atmanirbhar Bharat vision. Within this transformative landscape, Sophos remains unwavering in its commitment to playing a constructive role in realizing the vision of a cyber-secure India. Our dedication extends to equipping businesses with resilient cybersecurity solutions and nurturing a culture of cyber awareness, thereby contributing to the empowerment of citizens and the assurance of our digital future.”

Mr. Rajesh Doshi, Director & Cofounder, Zebronics
Mr. Rajesh Doshi, Director & Cofounder, Zebronics

Mr. Rajesh Doshi, Director & Cofounder, Zebronics

 “The Union Budget 2024 demonstrates a continued focus on the tech landscape, emphasizing inclusive growth across various sectors such as agriculture, finance, health, and diverse communities that empowers the economy across all sectors. The Skill India mission has resulted in robust training, re-skilling and upskilling of the youth which underscores the goals to enhance ‘Atma Nirbhar India’ thereby the proclivity towards more local manufacturing, Research & Development will eventually make India a true leader in manufacturing at a global scale. The comprehensive approach towards channelising efforts into the Start-up community, women entrepreneurs, provision of fundamental needs to the nook & corner of the country is the face of an upward trajectory. We wish to see more scalable changes in the coming years into the tax regimes where the maximum benefits would be reaped by our country’s young gen.”

Mr. Sudhindra Holla, Director, Axis Communications, India & SAARC
Mr. Sudhindra Holla, Director, Axis Communications, India & SAARC

Mr. Sudhindra Holla, Director, Axis Communications, India & SAARC

“The Union Budget of India 2024 has a visionary approach to sustainable development. Introducing the Blue Economy 2.0 scheme, focusing on environmental restoration through multimodal strategies, is a commendable step towards a greener future. The budget’s emphasis on improving rail and air connectivity is crucial for fostering economic growth. Implementing major railway corridor programs and converting rail bogeys to higher safety standards demonstrate a commitment to enhancing transportation infrastructure. Similarly, expanding air connectivity to tier-2 and tier-3 cities and the growth of airports are positive moves supporting inclusive development. Overall, the Union Budget’s focus on sustainable initiatives and strategic infrastructure development sets a promising trajectory for India’s growth. It creates opportunities for various industries to contribute to a more environmentally conscious and technologically advanced future.”

Mr. Ashish P. Dhakan, MD & CEO, Prama Hikvision India Pvt Ltd
Mr. Ashish P. Dhakan, MD & CEO, Prama Hikvision India Pvt. Ltd.

Mr. Ashish P. Dhakan, MD & CEO, Prama Hikvision India Pvt Ltd

We welcome the growth oriented interim budget 2024-2025 with a clear roadmap for a new and empowered India. This budget has the vision of ‘Jan Kalyan’ (Public Welfare) and Viksit Bharat (Developed India) with the idea of inclusive growth. It has a clear imprint of the government’s mantra ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, and Sabka Vishwas’. It is a visionary budget with special focus on infrastructure development, inclusive growth and skilling youth. The agenda of empowering Amrit Peedhi(the emerging generation) through multiple schemes and initiatives (Skill India Mission, PM Mudra Yojna and Start-Up India) is quite evident in the budget. These initiatives are assisting our youth and entrepreneurs while delivering amazing results. The Indian Electronic Security Industry is hoping for more concessions and tax rebates for strengthening the manufacturing sector. This will help to enable the latest technologies and security products for the greater good.We sincerely hope that the Finance Minister would consider the key concerns of the key electronic security Industry stakeholders in the futurepolicies and tax reforms. We are sure that the government will continue to support the Make-in-India 2.0 with a clear roadmap and policy structure. The Electronic Security Industry is expecting the continued government support to contribute significantly to the nation’s economic growth.”

Mr. Arun Balasubramanian, VP & MD, India & South Asia, UiPath
Mr. Arun Balasubramanian, VP & MD, India & South Asia, UiPath

Mr. Arun Balasubramanian, VP & MD, India & South Asia, UiPath

We firmly believe that innovation is fundamental to progress. At UiPath, we recognize the critical role of a skilled workforce in advancing Digital India. The introduction of the INR 1 Lakh crore corpus, along with 50-year interest-free loans for the private sector to boost research in sunrise domains, marks a significant stride towards unlocking the potential of innovation. This initiative will provide necessary resources for our tech-savvy youth to smoothly integrate and apply transformative technologies such as AI, automation, and robotics. While commendable progress has been made with the Skill India Mission, it is now crucial to streamline and facilitate demand-driven formal skilling, bridging the gap between academia and industry. With these initiatives, India’s digital evolution holds promise for a bright future.

Mr. Manoj Nair, Head of India GDC, Fujitsu India
Mr. Manoj Nair, Head of India GDC, Fujitsu India

Mr. Manoj Nair, Head of India GDC, Fujitsu India

“We welcome India’s Union Budget 2024-25 unveiled today and applaud the Indian Government for putting digitalization, inclusive and sustainable development, and enhanced capabilities and contribution to the generation of resources to power investments at the core. As the demand for tech talent surges, the Government’s Skill India Mission has played a pivotal role in stemming the talent gap in the IT industry. With 1.4 crore youth upskilled and reskilled the announcement of higher learning institutions including IITs and IIMs will help India address the AI skill crunch and bridge the gap effectively. Additionally, the Government’s corpus of Rs 1 lakh crore with a 50-year interest-free loan will encourage the private sector to scale up research and innovation significantly in sunrise domains. This will be a big boost for tech-savvy youth and help the Nation strengthen capabilities in the deep tech sector. The government’s continued focus on EV ecosystem is indeed a pragmatic step forward and will continue to help India succeed in achieving its long-term decarbonization objectives. This is an exciting time for the country’s green industrial and economic transition. At Fujitsu, we are committed to providing sustainable transformation and supporting green growth and we shall continue as strong partners in helping the nation in its journey towards net-zero!”

Mr. Hitesh Garg, VP and India MD, NXP Semiconductors 
Mr. Hitesh Garg, VP and India MD, NXP Semiconductors 

Mr. Hitesh Garg, VP and India MD, NXP Semiconductors 

“Union Budget 2024 delivers a resounding commitment to sustainable tech, spotlighting support for EVs and bio manufacturing. Metro Rail and Namo Bharat projects elevate city connectivity, while the dual focus on public transport and defence tech reveals a visionary agenda. The game-changing move of a Rs 1 lakh crore corpus for our tech-savvy youth, coupled with a 50-year interest-free loan, sets the stage for long-term financing, propelling research and innovation. This bold step positions India for a golden era in technology and innovation. Aligned with our pre-budget expectations, the government’s emphasis on fostering a conducive environment for research and development perfectly mirrors the semiconductor industry’s trajectory. The collaborative spirit and proposed incentives position India as a global semiconductor hub, solidifying its commitment to cutting-edge technological advancements. Budget 2024 charts the course for India’s robust future in sustainable tech and innovation.”

Mr. Agendra Kumar, MD, Esri India
Mr. Agendra Kumar, MD, Esri India

Mr. Agendra Kumar, MD, Esri India

“The 2024 Interim Budget has placed a robust emphasis on fostering innovation and embracing cutting-edge technologies to realize the ambitious goal of ‘Viksit Bharat by 2047.’ It rightly underscores the pivotal role that technology plays in shaping our economic landscape. A notable strategic move is the allocation of a 1-lakh crore corpus through a 50-year interest-free loan, aimed at incentivizing the private sector to elevate their investments in Research and Development (R&D) and propel digital innovation. Financial backing provided to start-ups is also poised to make the ecosystem flourish and contribute significantly to the overall economic landscape. This forward-looking budget not only fuels the growth of the IT sector but also actively supports a comprehensive skills development ecosystem, ensuring the creation of a workforce that is geared for the future. As technology continues its rapid advancement, the 2024 interim budget emerges as a catalyst, steering the IT sector, including the robust geospatial sector toward sustainable excellence and global competitiveness. The visionary initiatives outlined in this budget position India on the trajectory of becoming a technological powerhouse, laying the foundation for a prosperous and globally influential nation.”

Mr. Sachin Panicker, Chief AI Officer, Fulcrum Digital
Mr. Sachin Panicker, Chief AI Officer, Fulcrum Digital

Mr. Sachin Panicker, Chief AI Officer, Fulcrum Digital

 “Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s sixth consecutive budget presentation sets a decisive course for India’s future, rooted in the vision of ‘Viksit Bharat’ by 2047. The government’s emphasis on GDP – Governance, Development, and Performance, lays a sturdy framework for sustainable growth. With a focus on empowering youth and fostering innovation, the budget outlines a roadmap for unprecedented development over the next five years. In addition, initiatives like the Skill India Mission, training, upskilling and reskilling 1.4 crore youth and establishing new educational institutions, reflect a commitment to human capital development and digital empowerment. At Fulcrum Digital, we stand ready to leverage deep technology and the power of our youth to continue to create opportunities for India at a global level. As a global enterprise AI organization, we are committed to contributing to India’s growth story, and fostering innovation for heightened development.”

Mr.  Puneet Gupta, VP & MD, NetApp India/SAARC
Mr.  Puneet Gupta, VP & MD, NetApp India/SAARC

Mr.  Puneet Gupta, VP & MD, NetApp India/SAARC

 “The Interim Union Budget 2024 focuses on data-driven innovation, and this gives us much to look forward to. The Honourable Finance Minister has acknowledged the potential of deep technologies like AI in transforming varied industry sectors. In addition, the GoI’s focus on training, upskilling, and reskilling the youth of the nation through the Skill India mission is likely to place India well on the global map of tech-savvy nations. With India’s tech prowess growing, we expect the need for unified storage and intelligent data infrastructures to grow as well. Harnessing the power of data will be a key growth driver and differentiator for businesses across sectors. At NetApp, we are aligned with the government’s focus, with innovation in data management being at the heart of everything we do. Combined with the capabilities of our tech talent, particularly the youth, we are well poised to contributing towards building a ‘Viksit Bharat’ by 2047.” 

 Mr. Debashis Chatterjee, MD & CEO, LTIMindtree
 Mr. Debashis Chatterjee, MD & CEO, LTIMindtree

 Mr. Debashis Chatterjee, MD & CEO, LTIMindtree

“We welcome the interim budget’s focus on skilling, deeptech, R&D, innovation, and digital infrastructure, all of which are critical drivers for the IT industry’s growth. The Skill India Mission has helped in building a highly skilled workforce, and the Rs. 1 lakh crore corpus with interest-free loans for tech-savvy youth will be a true game-changer. This will fuel innovation and entrepreneurship, fostering the next generation of tech leaders. As we strive towards achieving the goal of “Viksit Bharat” by 2047, LTIMindtree stands committed to partnering with the government in its digital transformation journey. We believe this interim budget has laid a strong foundation for continued growth, with technology playing a pivotal role in shaping India’s future.”

Ms. Archana Srinivasan, CFO, iOPEX Technologies
Ms. Archana Srinivasan, CFO, iOPEX Technologies

Ms. Archana Srinivasan, CFO, iOPEX Technologies

“The emphasis on GYAN, infrastructure and construction through schemes such as affordable housing and solar and EV investments is positive. The overall impact sets the tone for unprecedented development. We will wait to see the fine print for the changes in areas such as TCS. The budget is silent on the banking, IT sectors and we will continue to be optimistic on the proposed investments to result in more disposable income in the hands of the middle class and aggressively manage inflation”,

Mr. Sumit Singh, CEO and Co-Founder, DashLoc
Mr. Sumit Singh, CEO and Co-Founder, DashLoc

Mr. Sumit Singh, CEO and Co-Founder, DashLoc

The budget has clearly exhibited that the government is extending full-fledged support towards adoption of technology across sectors. The special mention that deeptech in defence section gained in the speech truly indicates that the government is going to support emerging technologies in crucial sectors too. Alongside, it is a matter of pride that STEM courses have seen aggressive enrolment from women. We can expect a quality and skilled workforce in India that will keep the wheel running towards striking progress.” Said Mr. Sumit Singh, CEO and Co-Founder of DashLoc

Mr. Sudhir Kunder, CBO, DE-CIX India
Mr. Sudhir Kunder, CBO, DE-CIX India

Mr. Sudhir Kunder, CBO, DE-CIX India

“Budget 2024 is a testament to India’s commitment to technological advancement and digital entrepreneurship. I am thrilled to see the emphasis on tax incentives for Data Centre Investments and the recognition of the pivotal role they play in our digital economy. In fact, under the hyperscale data center scheme, the government is targeting an investment of Rs. 3 lakh crore in the next five years. This is a significant move that will undoubtedly spur growth in the tech sector. This budget makes it clear: this will be the year for the tech-savvy generation. The opportunities are immense and robust, paving the way for India to expand globally. With India emerging as the third largest ecosystem for startups globally with over 116,679 recognized ventures across the country, the focus on innovation and entrepreneurship is not just encouraging, but it also provides a solid foundation for the future. We are on the brink of a digital revolution, and I am excited to see where this journey takes us. With the government’s dedicated push to boost R&D within the country, and the allocation of Rs 8,000 crore to set up data centers and IT parks over the next five years, we are set to witness a surge in technological innovation and digital entrepreneurship”–  

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

“In line with the government’s ambitious vision of technology contributing 20-25% to the GDP by 2025, this forward-looking budget charts a promising course for the IT sector. The allocation for EV infrastructure development is particularly noteworthy as it opens avenues for software development in EV systems, IoT integration, and data analytics. The 1-lakh crore corpus for long-term financing is another indispensable boon for the IT industry, fostering innovation and research. Moreover, the Skill India Mission’s initiatives and tax benefits for startups provide a robust foundation for skill development and entrepreneurial growth.”

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

Mr. Shreeranganath Kulkarni, MD, InfoVision

“InfoVision warmly welcomes the budget announcement by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The introduction of a 1-lakh crore fund with a 50-year interest-free benefit for private sector research and development is a transformative step, particularly for innovation-driven enterprises like ours with a strong focus on edge technologies such as  Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). The injection of such long-term, interest-free capital promises to substantially boost our research and development initiatives that serve not only India but also the global market. It arrives at an opportune time, aligning with InfoVision’s recognition in the Zinnov Zones for Engineering R&D and Digital Services 2023, particularly for our work in Data & AI Engineering. This financial support will undoubtedly speed up efforts to create top-tier innovations in India for the world. It underscores our commitment to leveraging India’s rich talent pool and contributes to our nation’s technological progress.”

Mr. Sunil Vachani, Executive Chairman, Dixon Technologies and President CEAMA
Mr. Sunil Vachani, Executive Chairman, Dixon Technologies and President CEAMA

Mr. Sunil Vachani, Executive Chairman, Dixon Technologies and President CEAMA

It is an overall positive Union budget for our country, where fiscal prudence meets visionary aspirations. The reduction in fiscal deficit from 6.4% to 5.9% lays the stable groundwork, while the substantial capital expenditure of Rs 10 lakh crore amplifies the government’s commitment to infrastructure and innovation, leading to growth. The ambitious goal of achieving an 11% nominal GDP growth seems to set the stage for a dynamic economic landscape, particularly benefiting the consumer electronics, manufacturing, and technology sectors. The liberation of 25 crore individuals from multi-dimensional poverty aligns with a forward-thinking approach for the country overall, creating an inclusive consumer base that fuels demand for cutting-edge technology. Budget 2024 ushers in a golden era for the tech-savvy youth, with a Rs 1 lakh crore corpus offering a 50-year interest-free loan, catalyzing innovation and long-term financing. The ‘First, Develop India’ spirit in FDI inflows and the positive impact of GST on industry compliance further position the technology sector for sustained growth, innovation, and global competitiveness. I express my gratitude to the Hon’ble Finance Minister for the strategic reduction in import duties, implemented days before the budget announcement for the mobile manufacturing sector. These duty cuts are bound to enhance the competitiveness for Indian Mobile manufacturers, in both domestic and export markets, rejuvenating the market sentiment.”

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

Mr. Sarvagya Mishra, Co-Founder & Director, Superbot

“It’s encouraging that the government recognizes the importance of addressing skill development to meet the demand for a high-quality workforce in the emerging technology sector, crucial for India’s ambitious goal of a $5 trillion economy. All the initiatives mentioned in the Interim budget speech like establishment of more IITs, IIITs, STEM courses etc., are cementing the foundation of the growing India, which is youth. Commendably, the government’s embrace of deeptech in critical sectors like defense underscores our country’s progressive stance. Given that R&D is a capital-intensive step for businesses in deeptech, blockchain, machine learning, and Generative AI, increased allocation towards MUDRA schemes and the announcement of a 1-lakh crore corpus with 50-year interest-free support will undoubtedly fuel technological growth.”

Mr. Ankur Srivastava, Founder and CEO, Qi Tech and Qi Medi
Mr. Ankur Srivastava, Founder and CEO, Qi Tech and Qi Medi

Mr. Ankur Srivastava, Founder and CEO, Qi Tech and Qi Medi

“I find the Union Budget 2024 a mixed bag. Infrastructure improvements and rural development hold promise for wider digital access and a larger user base. Stable tax policies offer predictability, but the lack of targeted tech initiatives feels like a missed opportunity. The high fiscal deficit might constrain further investment in R&D and talent development, crucial for long-term growth. While this budget provides some positive ground, I hope the full post-election budget will offer more concrete support to accelerate the Indian tech and startup landscape and unlock its full potential. Let’s see how the industry reacts and shapes the future of our digital economy!

Ms. Arundhati Bhattacharya Chairperson & CEO, Salesforce India
Ms. Arundhati Bhattacharya Chairperson & CEO, Salesforce India

Ms. Arundhati Bhattacharya Chairperson & CEO, Salesforce India

India has showcased a robust and resilient growth story driven by perseverance, ingenuity, and vision. The 2024 interim budget is an action-oriented one, with the mantra of reforming, performing and transforming India. It is a budget of confidence. It promises to continue to empower the four vulnerable sections of society- the poor, the youth, farmers and women folk in order to realise India’s potential. The continued focus on increased capital investments will result in generation of employment opportunities and thereby growth of the economy. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) are an integral part of our economy – locally and globally. As of October 2023, 1.14 lakh startups were recognised by the government under the Startup India initiative and reported the creation of more than 12 lakh jobs. The next-generation reforms focused on timely and adequate finances, relevant technologies and appropriate training for the MSME’s to grow and also compete globally will facilitate sustaining high and more resource-efficient economic growth creating opportunities for all.

India is the talent basket of the world and has one of the youngest populations globally; we have a humongous opportunity to unlock the potential of the country’s young workforce. I am personally pleased with the 43% increase in enrolment of women in STEM courses, the highest in the world. What’s more, our country’s population is massive and tremendously diverse – which gives us access to some of the richest data sets for AI and innovation. India is showcasing multiple solutions through innovation and entrepreneurship of its people. Technology, youth and innovation continues to be the cornerstone of the Government’s strategy. Creation of a corpus of rupees one lakh crore with a fifty-year interest free loan is a welcome move combining the power of our youth and technology for driving more innovation.

Promoting sustainable growth is an opportunity for India to lead and has been a top of mind initiative for all leaders. Bold action towards climate change for realizing our commitment to becoming ‘net-zero’ by 2070 is much needed. We are on a high growth path with all-round development and it is encouraging to see the focus on environment-friendly alternatives 9 roof top solar, offshore wind power generation, mixing of bio fuels with CNG etc) to ensure that such growth is sustainable.

We need more women in the workforce and women-led initiatives are an imperative. Achieving high resilient growth while ensuring sustainable and inclusive livelihood options for all remains a priority for the country. There is emphasis on programs for this segment as well including their health and nutrition. The budget shuns unnecessary populist measures and focuses instead on ensuring that India continues on its high-growth trajectory. 

Dr. Ajai Chowdhry, Chairman of Epic Foundation, Co-Founder, HCL
Dr. Ajai Chowdhry, Chairman of Epic Foundation, Co-Founder, HCL

Dr. Ajai Chowdhry, Chairman of Epic Foundation, Co-Founder, HCL

Good budget towards making India a developed nation by 2047. For the first time ever we are talking long term! We need to move from low value added services to becoming a high value added Product Nation India needs to move from services to creating high value added products especially in domains like semiconductors, electronics, drones, Medtech, space etc. ₹1 lakh crore sunrise sector fund will be instrumental in enabling deep R&D to take India towards becoming a Product Nation.

Mr. Manoj Gupta, Managing Director, Fortune 
Mr. Manoj Gupta, Managing Director, Fortune 

Mr. Manoj Gupta, Managing Director, Fortune 

The provisions in the Interim Budget are not just encouraging but also indicative of the government’s proactive approach towards economic rejuvenation. Most importantly, its enthusiastic focus on key sectors and initiatives is commendable, setting a positive tone for the vibrant future of the overall economy and industries across the spectrum. While we are highly optimistic about the transformative impact these measures will have on the economy, we are equally hopeful for the efforts towards growth in the IT industry to take the next leap forward. We also appreciate the government’s proactive efforts towards boosting the IT industry through PLI scheme under which it has already disbursed more than Rs 1600 crore, and further it has allocated Rs 6,903 crore in interim budget 2024. All these initiatives will further boost the development of semiconductors.

Mr. Yogesh Agrawal, CEO and Co-Founder, CONSISTENT INFOSYSTEMS PRIVATE LIMITED 
Mr. Yogesh Agrawal, CEO and Co-Founder, CONSISTENT INFOSYSTEMS PRIVATE LIMITED 

Mr. Yogesh Agrawal, CEO and Co-Founder, CONSISTENT INFOSYSTEMS PRIVATE LIMITED 

Government of India’s Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for large-scale electronics manufacturing received a major boost in Interim Budget 2024 with a nearly 1.5x increase, increasing its outlay to Rs 6,200 crore for 2024-2025. This will enhance confidence in rest of the remaining manufacturers who haven’t availed the benefits of the PLI Scheme. However, despite expectations, the Interim Budget did not announce any further expansion of the PLI scheme that aims to encourage setting up of manufacturing facilities in the country as well as creation of jobs in line with the government’s vision of Make in India and Aatmanirbhar Bharat.

Mr. Pramod Sharda, CEO of IceWarp India and Middle East 
Mr. Pramod Sharda, CEO of IceWarp India and Middle East 

Mr. Pramod Sharda, CEO of IceWarp India and Middle East 

In the interim budget 2024, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced an establishment of ₹1 lakh crore (₹1 trillion) ($12 Billion) with 50-year interest free corpus to help finance research in technology. The corpus will provide long-term financing or re-financing with long tenors and low or nil interest rates. This will encourage the private sector to scale up research and innovation significantly in sunrise domains. This will act an incubator for harnessing and combining the power of Indian Youth and Technology which will further boost the startup culture by creating new techpreneurs in the country.

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

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

While we appreciate the focus of the Skill India Mission on training and upskilling millions of youths, the emphasis should be on bridging the gap between skilling initiatives and industry needs. Hiring skilled talent for the right opportunities remains a challenge for HR professionals, and a more targeted approach could be the adoption of AI tech-driven HR software to make the process faster and more efficient. Fostering a culture of continuous learning to align skill development with emerging sectors and specific job profiles is crucial. The new institutions of higher learning are commendable, but ensuring quality education and industry exposure is key. We also need to see stronger industry-academia partnerships to equip graduates with the practical skills that businesses demand.

Furthermore, for the startup ecosystem, access to skilled talent can make or break their ventures, and schemes like PM Mudra Yojana and Start-Up India are positive steps for budding entrepreneurs. We stand ready to collaborate with the government and skill development bodies to bridge this gap, ensuring that India’s startup ecosystem can hire skilled talent for the evolving economy.

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

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

We commend the government’s efforts in improving the education sector under the National Education Policy. This forward-thinking approach has led to increase in the female enrollment in higher education by 28 percent and in the STEM courses by 43 percent. As the government is also aiming to promote medical education with new medical colleges, they might bring in more enrollments from the female candidates.

It is encouraging to see that under the Skill India Mission, the government has trained more than 1.4 cr people and 54 lac more are undergoing the upskilling and reskilling programs. This will not only help in the overall technological knowledge growth of the country but also will lead to key innovations and developments. This will assist in increasing the digital literacy and help in reducing the digital divide.

Mr. Binu Jacob - MD and CEO, Experion Technologies
Mr. Binu Jacob – MD and CEO, Experion Technologies

Mr. Binu Jacob – MD and CEO, Experion Technologies

As we assess the Union Budget for 2024, it’s crucial to acknowledge certain aspects that merit attention. While the government’s recognition of the importance of education and skill development in the youth is commendable, sustaining and expanding these efforts is imperative, especially considering the prediction that 20% of the global labor force will be supplied by India by 2047. The continuation of educational investments is a necessary step, and we hope to see tangible outcomes.

The expansion of airports and railway corridors, particularly in tier II and III cities, has potential benefits for accelerating the growth of Global Capacity Centres in states like Kerala. However, the impact of such infrastructure initiatives needs to be monitored closely, considering the challenges associated with execution and long-term sustainability.

The promise of interest-free loans for research and development in sunrise sectors is a positive note. It holds the potential to stimulate innovation and drive the startup ecosystem – I am particularly excited to see how the youth will make use of this opportunity to set up and grow startups in emerging tech like AI. Yet, the execution and accessibility of these opportunities will be critical in determining their actual impact on the ground.

The focus on ensuring the welfare of farmers and the agriculture sector is a step in the right direction. It remains to be seen how effectively these measures will address the complex challenges faced by the agricultural sector and whether they will lead to tangible improvements for farmers – what would make a real difference is bringing about policy changes that will enable the export of our produce. Export controls need to be unblocked and we need to work on an inter-governmental level to have our produce accepted internationally.

In our march to becoming a 7 trillion dollar economy by 2030, we need to focus on continuance in policies for infrastructure development, which will in turn improve supply chains and thereby lower costs for global competency.

Mr. Nikhil Rajpal, CEO, Hero Electronix (makers of Qubo)
Mr. Nikhil Rajpal, CEO, Hero Electronix (makers of Qubo)

Mr. Nikhil Rajpal, CEO, Hero Electronix (makers of Qubo)

In the unveiling of the Interim Union Budget 2024, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has strategically charted out a path not just for driving economic growth, but for a transformative era of inclusive prosperity.

The strategic emphasis on empowering entrepreneurship with robust financial support is a game-changer. It paves the way for innovation-led development, mirroring our own ambition to be at the forefront of ‘Viksit Bharat’, and resonates deeply with our vision of building successful technology businesses out of India.

This budget is not just a financial statement; it’s a blueprint for a resilient and self-reliant India, capturing the spirit of ‘Sabka Prayas’ and our collective resilience through challenging times.

As we at Hero Electronix (Qubo) stay buoyed by the government’s sustained support, we are more committed than ever to be instrumental in India’s journey. It’s a journey not just towards economic success, but towards establishing India as a beacon of innovation and visionary leadership on the world stage.

Ms. Sindhu Gangadharan, SVP and MD, SAP Labs India; Vice Chairperson, nasscom
Ms. Sindhu Gangadharan, SVP and MD, SAP Labs India; Vice Chairperson, nasscom

Ms. Sindhu Gangadharan, SVP and MD, SAP Labs India; Vice Chairperson, nasscom

The Interim Budget 2024 is reflective of the India’s sustained focus on Atma Nirbhar Bharat (Self Reliant India). The long-term financing and re-financing scheme with a corpus of INR 100,000 Cr with a 50-year interest free loan to promote R&D in the private sector in sunrise domains, as well dedicated initiatives to promote DeepTech/R&D in the defence sector underscore the commitment to position India as a global leader in the world of technology. The focus on skilling, upskilling, and reskilling of youth will ensure an industry-ready workforce to navigate the headwinds of a volatile marketplace.

Additionally, the extension of tax exemptions for eligible startups, granting newly incorporated ventures until March 2025 to claim tax benefits for three out of their first 10 years, is a progressive and encouraging move. By incentivizing entrepreneurship, the government is actively promoting the creation of a robust startup ecosystem, which is crucial for driving economic development.

Lt. Gen. Dr. S.P. Kochhar, Director General, COAI
Lt. Gen. Dr. S.P. Kochhar, Director General, COAI

Gen. Dr. S.P. Kochhar, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI)

The Interim Budget presented by the Finance Minister today reemphasized the government’s economic policies and the commitment to sustained growth, improving productivity and creating opportunities with a focus on skilling and reskilling. In a significant gain for the telecom sector just before the interim budget, the current customs duty exemption granted to vessels engaged in laying submarine cables in India – which lapses on 31st March 2024 – was extended up to 30th September 2024. Telecom companies depend heavily on submarine cables for the high-speed transfer of data around the globe and this step will help in following the compliances.

The announcement of a corpus of ₹1 lakh crore for the technology sector is a positive measure as access to capital is a critical factor to support innovation and growth. The long-term, interest-free or low interest rate loans and focus on deep tech will further encourage the private sector to scale up research and innovation.

We are hopeful that in the post-election full budget, the industry’s suggestions to reduce regulatory levies like License Fee, deferring USOF contribution till the existing funds are exhausted, exemption of Basic Customs Duty (BCD) on Telecom equipment, waiving of GST on regulatory payments and refund of ITC, among others, will be considered and addressed by the Government during the course of the year.”

Mr. Nishant Pitti, CEO & Co-Founder, EaseMyTrip
Mr. Nishant Pitti, CEO & Co-Founder, EaseMyTrip

Mr. Nishant Pitti, CEO & Co-Founder, EaseMyTrip

The budget prominently highlights a substantial emphasis on the tourism, aviation, and railways sectors. It’s truly exciting to observe the government’s keen attention to nurturing and expanding both domestic and spiritual tourism and highlighting Bharat’s strength through global events like G20. 

The dedicated efforts towards developing aviation and rail infrastructure, especially through the commendable initiatives of UDAN and the PM Gati Shakti scheme, encouraging States to promote iconic tourists’ centres by providing interest-free loans are noteworthy with special focus on developing island tourism and fortifying port connectivity, including Lakshadweep. 

These measures are anticipated to spur economic growth, create employment and create new opportunities, marking a progressive move towards positioning India as a global destination.

Ms. Harsha Solanki, VP GM Asia, Infobip
Ms. Harsha Solanki, VP GM Asia, Infobip

Ms. Harsha Solanki, VP GM Asia, Infobip

It’s inspiring to see the government’s steadfast commitment to fostering women empowerment, encouraging private sector investments, and promoting entrepreneurship. Furthermore, the focused approach to infrastructure and continued emphasis on housing for all reflects a comprehensive strategy for inclusive and societal development.

Over the last decade, initiatives aimed at empowering women through entrepreneurship, enhancing ease of living, and upholding dignity have gained significant traction. The strides made are evident with over 30 crore MUDRA Yojana loans disbursed to women entrepreneurs, female enrollment in higher education witnessing a remarkable 28% surge, and women constituting 43% of enrollment in STEM courses – among the highest globally – the landscape of opportunity for women is evolving positively. Importantly, these efforts are translating into tangible outcomes, with an increasing number of women joining the workforce. As we reflect on these achievements, let’s continue to support and amplify initiatives that further empower women, ensuring a more inclusive and equitable society for all.

The Budget’s forward-looking approach to fostering innovation creates a conducive environment for companies like us, paving the way for sustained success and meaningful contributions to India’s economic landscape. We are very positive about this trajectory and committed to supporting the long-term growth of businesses in India by integrating innovative tech capabilities into their operations. The allocation of a corpus of Rs 1 lakh crore, coupled with a 50-year interest-free loan for financing and refinancing, aims to catalyze private sector investment in sunrise domains for youth and technology. This visionary initiative propels technological advancement and creates a fertile ground for the emergence of diverse entrepreneurial ventures. By nurturing innovation and entrepreneurship, especially in sectors poised for exponential growth, the government is laying the foundation for a dynamic and inclusive economy that empowers individuals of all backgrounds to thrive and contribute meaningfully to India’s progress.

Mr. Deepak Visweswaraiah, vice president, platform engineering, and site managing director, Pegasystems, India
Mr. Deepak Visweswaraiah, vice president, platform engineering, and site managing director, Pegasystems, India

Mr. Deepak Visweswaraiah, vice president, platform engineering, and site managing director, Pegasystems, India

With an emphasis on welfare for the youth, women, and farmers reflecting a holistic approach to societal progress, the Interim Budget for this year sets the stage for a very positive and people-centric development. The budget outlines a path towards ‘Vikshit Bharat’ by 2047 and innovation remains to be at the core for this year as well. Backed by a significant focus on women’s empowerment, and with a notable increase in female participation in STEM courses, the aim for this year’s interim budget aligns with our commitment to diversity and inclusivity.

The allocation of INR 1 lakh crore corpus for interest-free loans to foster innovation among the youth is a game-changer, ushering India into a golden era for our tech-savvy talent. We stand ready to leverage these opportunities, contributing to the nation’s growth and development. As a pioneering force in technology, we commend the government’s strategic focus on fostering innovation and enhancing accessibility. The government’s ongoing dedication to fostering skill development, advancing higher education, and upholding fiscal responsibility is praiseworthy and resonates with our vision of propelling India towards technological advancement and economic resilience.

Therefore, this budget establishes a strong groundwork for collaboration, growth, and innovation, reaffirming our dedication to spearheading transformative solutions that empower both individuals and technology providers.

Mr. Kumar Gaurav, Founder and CEO of Cashaa (Fintech)
Mr. Kumar Gaurav, Founder and CEO of Cashaa (Fintech)

Mr. Kumar Gaurav, Founder and CEO of Cashaa (Fintech)

We indeed were expecting some progress on the lines of the regulatory framework in the crypto sector, which has been one of the primary speculations all this while. Nevertheless, the government is whole heartedly accepting technological disruption in different sectors by emerging technologies like AI, machine learning, blockchain etc. Adoption of deeptech in sectors like defence indicates a positive sentiment. We do understand that it is an interim budget, and there has been no mention of any regulatory framework or rationalization in tax or TDS structure, in regard to the crypto sector which has been long pending. However, we are hopeful about the coming months and expect to hear encouraging policies soon.

Mr. Nikhil Goyal, CEO & Founder, Beyond Imagination Technologies & BitMemoir
Mr. Nikhil Goyal, CEO & Founder, Beyond Imagination Technologies & BitMemoir

Mr. Nikhil Goyal, CEO & Founder, Beyond Imagination Technologies & BitMemoir

The Union Budget 2023-24 has set the stage for a transformative era, particularly laudable in its focus on empowering the youth and fostering sustainability. By earmarking a significant corpus of one lakh crore with a fifty-year interest-free loan, the government is not only acknowledging the potential of our youth but also fostering entrepreneurship opportunities on an unprecedented scale, with a keen eye on sustainability practices.

This budget paves the way for a golden era for our tech-savvy youth, offering employment avenues in manufacturing, installation, and maintenance, while also emphasizing the importance of sustainable practices. The commitment to deep-tech technology for defense purposes reflects a strategic vision towards self-reliance (atmanirbharta), aligning with the broader goal of Jai Jawan Jai Kisan Jai Vigyan and Jai Anusandhan. This forward-looking approach not only recognizes the pivotal role of innovation in driving growth, employment, and overall development but also places a strong emphasis on sustainable solutions.

The inclusion of sustainability in the budget highlights the government’s commitment to addressing environmental challenges and fostering eco-friendly practices. The emphasis on long-term financing and low-interest rates will undoubtedly catalyze private sector involvement in cutting-edge research and innovation across sunrise domains, with a particular focus on sustainable technologies. This approach propels India onto the global stage as a solutions-driven and environmentally conscious nation.

In essence, this budget is a resounding endorsement of the symbiotic relationship between our youth, technology, economic prosperity, and sustainability. It lays the foundation for a future where India not only keeps pace with global advancements but also leads through indigenous innovation, entrepreneurial vigor, and a steadfast commitment to sustainable practices.

Mr. Nirmit Parikh, Founder & CEO, apna.co
Mr. Nirmit Parikh, Founder & CEO, apna.co

Mr. Nirmit Parikh, Founder & CEO, apna.co

The Interim Budget 2024 deserves a nod of appreciation for its commitment to fostering a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem. The extension of tax benefits to startups, along with a seamless continuity in taxation, reflects a tangible dedication to long-term sustainability. Kudos to key initiatives like Start-up India and the Start-up Credit Guarantee schemes, which genuinely showcase a hands-on effort to empower the start-up sector. The support for technology and innovation within start-ups isn’t just policy; it’s a true progress accelerator. These measures are concrete steps that strengthen the ‘rozgardata’ and lay a foundation for inclusive, balanced, and robust growth within the start-up landscape. Overall, the Budget presents a realistic and impactful vision for a dynamic and thriving entrepreneurial future.

Mr. Sushil Virmani, Managing Director, Best Power Equipments India Private Limited (BPE)
Mr. Sushil Virmani, Managing Director, Best Power Equipments India Private Limited (BPE)

Mr. Sushil Virmani, Managing Director, Best Power Equipments (BPE)

As we navigate the landscape of Union Budget 2024, it’s crucial for the government to accentuate and foster an environment for both local and global investments in semiconductor technology, AI, and digital platforms. This strategic focus aligns with our industry’s evolution. Simultaneously, we recognize the imperative to integrate these cutting-edge technologies into our educational curriculum, ensuring a skilled workforce. This synergy is pivotal for propelling our nation towards the coveted 7 trillion economy by 2030.

Mr. Vishak Raman, VP of Sales, India, SAARC, SEAHK & ANZ at Fortinet 
Mr. Vishak Raman, VP of Sales, India, SAARC, SEAHK & ANZ at Fortinet 

Mr. Vishak Raman, VP of Sales, India, SAARC, SEAHK & ANZ at Fortinet 

The cybersecurity challenges have expanded at an unparalleled rate, witnessing a 68% surge in the detection of unique cyber threats over the last 5 years according to FortiGuard Labs. Addressing this threat requires unified approach, leveraging strong partnerships and collaborative efforts across both the public and private sectors, as well as various industries.  Understanding the gravity of these concerns, the government has significantly elevated its commitment to safeguarding our nation’s critical infrastructure and digital assets. The latest budget reflects this dedication, nearly doubling the cybersecurity funding from Rs. 400 crores in the previous fiscal year to Rs. 759 crores for the current year. This significant increase in investment towards cybersecurity initiatives arrives at a crucial moment, as we face an expanded threat landscape fuelled by the rapid proliferation of IoT devices and the merging of Operational Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT) networks.

Mr. Sunil Sapra, Co-Founder and Chief Growth Officer, Eventus Security
Mr. Sunil Sapra, Co-Founder and Chief Growth Officer, Eventus Security

Mr. Sunil Sapra, Co-Founder and Chief Growth Officer, Eventus Security

Amid India’s transformative economic journey, the allocation of a ₹1 trillion corpus for technology research becomes a strategic enabler. This significant investment underscores the government’s commitment to innovation, which is crucial for achieving our collective vision of a $5 trillion economy by 2027. A new scheme fortifying deep tech technologies for defence purposes and self-reliance highlights the importance of technological advancements in national security and economic self-sufficiency.

The government’s focus on empowering the MSME sector is evident, with commitments to timely finances, relevant technologies, and training. This will bolster a robust financial ecosystem supporting MSME growth.

Budget 2024, characterized as a ‘Golden Era For Tech-Savvy Youth,’ resonates profoundly with the essence of Eventus Security. We are enthusiastic about actively contributing to this transformative journey, collaborating with the government to realize our shared technological aspirations.

In Nutshell

Tech leaders in India express positive sentiments towards the Interim Union Budget 2024-25. They appreciate the emphasis on innovation, skill development, and sustainable infrastructure. Key highlights include a ₹1 lakh crore corpus for interest-free financing, increased budget for cybersecurity, focus on deep-tech for defense, and measures supporting environmental sustainability. Leaders anticipate positive contributions to India’s technological growth and global competitiveness.

Covered By: NCN MAGAZINE / Union Budget

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