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This is What Entrepreneurs Expect from the Budget 2017

There is a rapid growth in establishment of E-commerce companies in India, supporting the Government’s “Make in India” campaign as well helping the country in being digitally empowered.

Photo Credit : ShutterStock,

Over the past year, the most significant transformation that took place in our country was demonetisation. It impacted the industry as a whole which has further tempered the economic growth. Moving forward with the current state of the economy and cash crunch, we are aiming at adopting a holistic cashless model. This move has definitely whetted the interest of the entrepreneurs as to what the upcoming budget has in store for them this financial year. Check out below budget expectation quotes from them:

Ritika Nangia, Founder, Funcart.in, said, "Tier 2 and tier 3 cities are an important market for us. Thus, our expectation from the budget is a more flexible and improved infrastructure facilities which will help us in delivering the products to our target customers without any hassle. Also, we are hoping that government will take a step forward especially in these cities in respect to their initiative of having a cashless economy."

Ishita Sanghal Gupta, Founder of Zurova.com, said, “There is a rapid growth in establishment of E-commerce companies in India, supporting the Government’s “Make in India” campaign as well helping the country in being digitally empowered. Being an e-commerce company, we envisage that the government will grant leverage to this sector in Budget 2017 through tax reforms. From the GST, we are expecting the rate should become rational making the Inter-state movement of goods free from multitude of taxes. It will support our reach to every corner of the country, thereby enabling the customers to buy goods & services as and when they require.”

Pradeep Dadha, CEO and Founder- Netmeds.com, said, "We look forward to a budget that encourages business growth, and re-energizes consumer spending, perhaps through slight rate reductions in both corporate and personal taxes. And although it's a foregone conclusion that GST announcements will be delayed, it shouldn't bee too long before that, too, makes it easier to do business throughout the country."

Harshvardhan Lunia, Cofounder and CEO, Lendingkart Technologies, said, “One of the important decisions that the startup ecosystem will be awaiting eagerly in the coming budget is the implementation of GST. GST is a gateway to economic development through superior tax administration, lower interstate trade barriers and overall ease of doing business. As of now, GST is aimed to be rolled out in mid-2017. Timely implementation of GST will help to reduce effective taxes on goods and services at the earliest. The Government also needs to think about extending tax-breaks for startups. Currently, the tax-break is three years which is good and a positive move, but 3 years is too short a time-frame as most startups make no profits in these years.”​

Peter Chang, Region Head – South Asia & Country Manager for ASUS India, said, “The mobile industry has registered strong growth in the past decade and half and is extensively contributing to India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). More so, in an attempt to boost digitization, the government amplified its push on cashless payments, deeming smartphones a functional necessity. Nevertheless, India still has a long way to go, as the smartphone penetration of the total potential population is still below 50 per cent of the overall market size, hence it is important that Government enables further acceleration of growth of smartphones. Post-Demonetization, the budget can look at rationalizing tax rates or changing the tax slab in a manner there more disposable income in the hand of people. Thanks to the ‘Make In India’ campaign, we have already seen major global smartphone manufacturers set up base in India. The government can now further work upon directionally establishing and strengthening the component ecosystem in India to further enhance manufacturing value chain in India.

Further, the Government should positively aim to introduce the much awaited and hyped GST at the earliest. With its impending implementation, the upcoming budget should not only detail out steps for its successful rollout, but also give clarity on custom duty / excise duty on mobiles post GST roll out. Additionally, to carry forward the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Digital India’, the government should consider special incentives and taxation benefits on the entry consumer PC segment especially for below Rs. 20K.

Lastly, the upcoming budget should include provisions that create a favorable environment for them while making it easier to conduct business in order to help elevate the country’s status on a global scale.”

Kamal Khetan, Chairman and Managing Director, Sunteck Realty Ltd, said,
"The Modi Government has been ushering in key initiatives to drive India’s economic growth and social welfare over the last few years. Given the recent increase in liquidity in the banking system, the government now has more breathing space to provide benefits from a taxation perspective. We could see some relaxation in the tax rates for salaried individuals across income slabs which is increasing the buying capacity of an individual. The initial benefit of the increased liquidity has already been passed on by the banks by reducing home loan rates in the beginning of the year. On the home loans front, tax deduction limit for home loans should be increased, especially in metro cities like Mumbai. The current limit of Rs 2lakh is very low in the context of ticket sizes being priced upwards of approximately Rs 1crore. Also, it remains to be seen whether the tax exemption provided to first time home buyers in the last budget (units costing less than Rs 50 Lakh with loan amount less than Rs 35 Lakh) will be extended in the upcoming budget.”

“To sustain the growth trajectory of the booming textile industry, the budget should focus upon better infrastructure, education and skill-set training; along with a further relaxation of laws to give a boost to the textile industry. The future for the Indian textile industry looks promising, buoyed by both strong domestic consumption and demands from export. With consumerism and disposable income on the rise, the retail sector has experienced a rapid growth in the past decade with the entry of several international players like Marks & Spencer, Guess and Next into the Indian market. This industry will continue to explode, and a favorable budget will give the industry an extra push!” said Lubeina Shahpurwala, Partner, Mustang Socks.

Narayan, Founder and CEO, Power2SME, said, “The government must focus on reforms that not only encourage new businesses in the manufacturing sector but also affect the existing SME players that are widespread in the country. The government should also devise policies that help SMEs step up and ensure that the sector is able to participate as expected, in ambitious government initiatives such as GST Bill, Demonetization, Digital India, Make in India and others.”

Vinamra Pandiya, CEO and Founder, Qtrove.com, said,
“We are very keen about the 2017 budget and are excited about Mr. Jaitley’s announcement of the same on 1st Feb. As an e commerce startup, we look forward to receiving some more clarity for FDI in B2C e-commerce through an automatic route. We also hope for a provision of enabling marketplaces to give a discount from their side. Besides this, we are also expecting relaxation of the rule of 'not more than 25% of the business coming from one vendor for marketplaces.' And lastly, I feel quite a lot of entrepreneurs are awaiting the implementation of GST at the earliest to enable cross state logistics with minimum constraints and friction.”

Vivek Mathur, CEO at Giftease Technologies Pvt. Ltd, said, “The current financial year has seen some landmark reforms, which should help boost tax collection. Hence, there are strong expectations of a significant cut in income taxes, for both corporates & individuals. Overall, consumption has been severely impacted in the last couple of months, and firm steps to boost consumption & improve consumer sentiment, are crucial for the retail & ecommerce sectors.”

Rohit Chawla, CEO and Co – Founder, The Man Company, said, “The last couple of months have definitely created an impact for most ecommerce and FMCG brands selling online. In this budget, we are expecting the government to take steps that will boost consumption and sales. How the government goes about digitisation of the economy will be interesting to know. We hope that there are provisions that encourage digital payments over cash transactions. We are also expecting a smooth execution of GST.”

Abhimanyu Bhosale, Co - Founder, CEO at Livehealth, “The year started amidst the wave of demonetization and we are anticipating effective execution of the roadmaps laid by the Modi movement. Clear and measurable timelines is what is most important. Supportive financial systems and an uncomplicated process in getting clearances along with the provision of tax are some of the key expectations for the startup ecosystem to thrive and boom in the country. The interesting thing to look forward for this budget would be, how the government promotes and incentivise electronic payments to minimize economic slowdown as much as possible. We are hopeful that the government promotes authentication of e-based payments, where the entire process from signup, authentication and transfer is smooth, simple and secure. We are hopeful that the union budget 2017 will be positive for the entire startup ecosystem.”

Ashwani Rathore, CEO and Co - Founder, SpiderG, said,
“As a startup we face various tax and regulatory issues and I am hoping that this union budget will address some of these issues. Last financial year was tough for Indian startup ecosystem and to make the situation better Employee Stock ownership (ESOP) plans for the startups should be taxed at the time of sale which would help in paying their taxes as they would have greater liquidity and the instruments could also get a fair valuation.Government should announce a series of initiatives to support the startups, including widening of the tax-free regime to five years from three years and faster procedural clearances. Such announcements will boost our honorable PM’s Startup India movement. I am also expecting some announcements at the backdrop of demonetization to promote the digital economy where online payment transaction charges would be reduced.”

Saran Chatterjee, CEO, Housejoy, said,
“The budget 2017 is expected to be a pragmatic & balanced budget, which addresses key issues impacting the economy. The demonetization drive is a great indicator towards that. The government is on its way to a digital and cashless economy, this vision is totally in line with businesses like ours which has been earlier known for very cash heavy transactions. I am hoping for the budget to give adequate attention through tax incentives and exemptions to help achieve a transparent and digital economy. The government has proposed a reduction of 2% in the profit rate for receipts through banks or digital channels for the current year, which is very beneficial for e-commerce companies. On similar lines, the budget should have more such incentives and amendments for e commerce service providers. The gst of 18% on the other hand is a concern from the current 15% service tax.”

“With the Demonetisation and subsequent push for Digital payments, the Government has thrown all it could to change consumer and merchant behavior towards less cash. However, the ‘acceptance’ gap still remains leading to the risk of cash returning as default payment mode after remonetisation. India being a vast country with multiple economic drivers, one sure way to push adoption is by mandating large billers in compulsive spends like utilities, government and education to achieve 100% digitization in a graded time-bound manner, and incentivize them accordingly. Let each biller decide on what strategy works best for them. Government should also consider a tax holiday for service tax and TDS on transaction fees which tend to have a cascading effect and adversely affects merchants and consumers. Also required is a common national law to deal with online payment frauds and consumer protection”, said Anand Ramachandran, CFO, TechProcess Payment Services.

Sandeep Aggarwal, Founder, Droom and Shopclues, said,
“We should be restricting rules, policies, and definition that restrict the natural growth of industry.

Here are 5 major points of what we expect

1.India must enhance various policies to ensure that capital in easily accessible to entrepreneurs. Having said that, government should not intervene when it comes to funds or bank loans. Rather, entrepreneurs should be provided easy access to seed funding, VC funding and angel funding.
2. Money shall be coming to India and can be repatriated easier
3. No capital gain for any kind of start-up sale or exit
4. Make foreign listing for any Indian company straightforward rather than the company having to incorporate itself in every country individually.
5. Give R&D credit if someone is making innovative tech product

I strongly believe that start-ups and digital economy have the potential to take back India to 20% by 2025. The focus therefore should be on helping startups and fuelling the industry with good policies, whether it is incentivizing investors or making favorable cost of capital laws, or having institutions teach entrepreneurship or celebrating failure.”

Neelesh Talathi, CFO-Pepperfry.com, said,
“E-commerce sector in India continues to grow at scorching pace thereby contributing to Government's ambitious plans around "Make in India" & employment generation. We anticipate that the government will leverage Budget 2017 to provide further impetus to this sector through tax reforms and enhanced level playing field. GST is the cornerstone to releasing the dream of one-country one-market, as it can potentially resolve impediments in Inter-State movement, unburden e-Commerce of multitude of taxes e.g. Entry Tax etc.”

"The implementation of GST is quite an anticipated reform of the government. The reform holds the potential of easing the task of manufacturing units in estimating and filing taxes, and hence the government should look at speeding the process of its implementation. Another reform which goes in hand with GST is Make in India. With recent moves of FDI and anti-dumping duties on imports from China, Make in India will get a boost with this budget so that we achieve our target of being the 3rd largest manufacturing nation in the world by 2020," said Rahul Garg, CEO & Founder, Moglix.

"The Finance Minister has already announced significant discounts on digital purchase of life and general insurance premiums from public-sector insurance companies. We think it's time to push the envelope. We recommend service tax exemption on insurance, specifically home, bike, health and accident insurance, that are sold through the digital medium. This will promote digital transactions and help make these important products within the reach of the Non-Metro, Semi Rural and rural areas,” said Jaimit Doshi, Chief Marketing Officer, Coverfox.com.

Abhiraj Bhal(Co-founder, UrbanClap), said, "Keeping the startup industry in mind, the most important thing for a government to do, is to steer clear of setting too many policies and rules as well as making doing business very straightforward and easy. Minimum governance is actually very good."

Shylaja Shreedharan, Head of Finance of Timesaverz, said, "Government is being sustained with high tax collection due to demonetization hence expect the budget to propose low personal & Corporate tax rates. Start-up India Campaign Initiatives which kick started in last year would yield and benefit, if more of Indirect and Direct tax incentives are announced by the government. "Digital India" a buzz word after demonetization drive - expect some tax exemption for digital transactions which will be a good incentive for E commerce startups."

Sairee Chahal,Founder & CEO, SHEROES.in, mentioned, “We look forward to more investment in healthcare and education sector. It would also be nice to see some work around lowering women tax and making the items affordable there by working on gender parity. And lastly, would be great to have support for the startup world.”

Rajiv Vij, MD & CEO, Carzonrent.com, said, "On various occasions the Government has spoken about its strong agenda around ‘Smart Cities’. It will be a welcome step on the Finance Minister’s part to spell out specific initiatives to be implemented during the course of the year along with related budgetary allocations and measures to address the crowded metro cities’ rampant urbanization in the past by bringing about planned development, which match global standards of modern cities in developed economies. This will go well for the estimated $150 billion foreign investment the sector needs.”

Sunil Kumar Gupta, Founder & Director, ExportersIndia.com, said,
"With the demonetization drive and the digital push, it has dawned on the SMEs that shifting their business online is the need of the hour and they are looking ahead expectantly on the upcoming budget. The government’s intention of lowering Corporate Tax to 25% announced in FY 16 has raised hope for a further plunge this year anticipating a drop up to 18%, including all surcharges and cess with withdrawal of all tax incentives, concessions etc. This would not only boost the overall tax revenue, lead to job creation but also turn India into an attractive international investment destination. With cashless economy and the given trends of incentivising cashless transactions on focus, it seems that more such schemes encouraging digital payments in the FY 17 may be announced that are sure to set the cash registers ringing for online businesses. GST is one of the best things to happen to B2B E-commerce; its early implementation and addressing issues related to Tax Collection at Source, treatment of refunds and cancellations etc. should spur the growth of SMEs. Additional measures to strengthen the Government initiatives such as ‘Make in India’, ‘Start up India’ and ‘Skill India’ is sure to be in consideration and will boost the growth of entrepreneurial SMEs."

Aditya Loomba, Joint Managing Director, ECO Rent A Car, added, "I expect this year's budget to be a special one focusing on key growth agendas of our government. I hope that this years budget provides much needed stimulus to tourism, road infrastructure and the hospitality industry."

Vishwavijay Singh, Co-founder, SaleBhai.com, said,
"We still have to see proper implementation of the slew of initiatives announced in the last Budget session. While a tax holiday of not less than five years would help startups, even the three-year relaxation for those set up between April 2016 and March 2019 is underutilised because of the tedious registration process.

I feel the government also needs to set aside indigenous funds to support the startup ecosystem in the country and decrease its current dependency on foreign funds.

Another much-needed change is required in the banking sector. Both private and government banks need to have a policy in place for startups. Apart from help in opening accounts, there isn't anything on offer. We hope to see some dramatic changes and concrete steps being taken to help startups, especially e-commerce, from the upcoming Budget."

Shrutam Desai, Co Founder, Onlymobiles.com, added, "This budget is very important as we are expecting it to be the foundation stone for GST rollout. Govt should step forward and provide more clarity over dual layer GST structure - state GST & centre GST. We expect government to make TDS claims process easier. Service tax eats big chunk of the profitability right now. and there are instances where we are seeing dual taxation on the same service. Govt should act upon the same. Though govt cannot force state governments at this juncture but central govt must push state govt to abolish entry taxes which are being levied by different states.”

Ranjit Punja, CEO & C0-founder, CreditMantri, said, “The general consensus is that the 2017 Union Budget will need to factor in the political and economic compulsions brought on by the demonetization initiative. There is widespread expectation that the Budget will usher in welcome changes in personal income tax, as well as corporate tax, and that there will be an easing of the tax rates on all income slabs. We will also probably see incentives that encourage greater adoption of digital payments and a move towards a cashless, or at least less-cash, economy. The NDA government's attention to the rural economy will continue with more rural and farmer-friendly development schemes.”

Manish Goel, Founder - Director at Research & Ranking, said, "Budget 2017-18 is widely believed to have a populist overtone. Ahead of upcoming legislative elections in seven major states next year, representing ~25% of Lok Sabha seats, in all possibility electoral management is expected to assume top priority in the forthcoming budget session. We at Equentis believe that the segments that have been most affected due to the ongoing Demonetization drive may find special attention in this budget. Also, given that this government understands that in the backdrop of weak global demand relying on domestic demand is critical to meet growth targets, it would like to take all necessary measures to bring domestic demand back on track.”

Alok Mittal, CEO & Co-founder Indifi Technologies, added, "Based on the recent announcements by government supporting MSME sector such as extension of credit guarantee limit and focus on incentivised digital transaction movement will help the sector to get more access to credit and more digital existence. We hope that the budget will announce concrete measures to create momentum behind digital payments, and hence help MSMEs create a transaction trail that starts to improve their creditworthiness.”

Viren Batra, CEO & Co Founder of nirvana excursion said, “with the government helpful intervention and current growth rates, India is projected to be one of the fastest growing nations in the tourism sector in the next five years, clocking over 20 per cent gains annually through 2017. While demonetization did threaten to shake up the sector, the Union Budget 2017-18 is expected to make sweeping changes to the sector. Thus, many in the industry look forward to it hopeful of better measures in the days ahead.”

Bhavin Turakhia, Co-Founder and CEO, Directi, said, “2016 saw a slew of announcements made by the government. With the goal of putting our country on the path towards a cashless economy, the Union Budget 2017-18 should include definitive SOPs and tax rebates to encourage and boost e-payments. Moreover, to achieve the goal of financial inclusion, the government should also rationalize indirect taxes and charges levied with respect to digital payment transactions, and further incentivize companies operating within this space. To adapt to the need of time, government should also rationalize income tax provisions including provisions related to employee tax benefits such that payments/ documents in the digital medium are treated at par with physical instruments.”

Aakash Chaudhry, Director, Aakash Educational Services Pvt. Ltd, said, “Access to basic quality education is still a bigger challenge in India, especially in rural areas. With digitization and innovation seeping in to bridge this gap, there is still room for financial and statutory incentives from the government to motivate private organizations to invest their efforts and time into it, apart from money. Further standardization of curriculum across states and boards will enable cheaper access to education, with large number of facilitators in the market. Leveraging of technology is vital to gain access to progress of delivered education; hence developments and additional benefits around education technology will be a welcome step.”

Nikhil Hegde, Co-founder & CEO, 6Degree, said, ” It would help to have a pool of mentors identified by the Government which can be accessible by startups founders and incubates. This can be launched under free or subsidized programs as a startup outreach benefit. Crowdfunding policies need to be clearly defined and it would be useful if there is a special Govt initiated move. We expect to allow a fair and transparent system for startups to apply for governmental projects along with incumbents. Since many startups are reaching a slightly advanced stage in raising funds, it would help to have a government fund to invest in advancing startups as well.”

Fynd Co-founder, Harsh Shah, said, “Since there are a lot of chances of investments moving back to the US, there is a need to push investments in India as well to promote Startup India and make in India a favorable change in FDI policies is expected. We are expecting to see cut down the transaction cost or subsidizing Tax of online transactions possible. The last budget saw relaxed norms on international brands and it is expected that this budget would relax it further to let brands create their own brick and mortar stores with 100% FDI holding. With an implementation of GST, prices are expected to go down, state purchase and sales are expected to increase. Expected reduction in Individual Income tax rates will see the boost in spending activities. Even the government has observed, the misuse of FDI guidelines last year by e-commerce companies and more stringent reforms will be expected. This will help strengthen small e-commerce players to be back in the game and make the battleground a fair one.”

L C Singh, Vice Chairman & CEO (Founder) at Nihilent Technologies, added, “As IT enabled services industry embrace the influx of enterprise applications and cater to the modern business requirements, the sector expects unvarying support from the Government to promote R&D practices in the country. To maintain its leadership position, the sector looks forward to continued support from the Government to not only ensure the financial viability of the sector but also to trigger a wave of innovation particularly on the backdrop of the digital demand from global organizations.”

Pawan Gupta. Co-founder, Curofy, said,
“The last budget saw Mr. Jaitley announcing a slew of tax cuts and commitments for easing the clearances. The last budget was successful in establishing the commitment of the current government to the startup ecosystem of the country. This year the expectations are much higher. For a startup, more than income tax, service tax is what hurts the most. The current exemption limit of Rs. 10,00,000 p.a. is too less. More than income tax, service tax reduces the competitiveness of a startup. Then, with increasing digital payments, TDS is one complicated area for startups especially with international payments. Most of the times, startups are ignorant of the TDS rules and end up violating them unintentionally. More than anything TDS rules make doing business and payments highly complicated for Indian startups. Next, govt should take the first step and make quotas for startups in their procurements. Further incentives could be given to PSUs and corporates for procurements from startups. Last, one of the most talked about reforms has been a single window clearance system. But even after so much talk, little can be seen on the ground. Either the marketing of such efforts has not been good, or the action is lacking. But for a new entrant, it is impossible to wade through all the regulations and compliances. We have high hopes from this budget and are eagerly looking forward to it.”

Madhur Deora, Chief Financial Officer, Paytm, said,
"The Union Budget 2017 is widely expected to encourage digital payments and universal access to financial services. It’s important for our country to create a robust infrastructure to offer high-speed, reliable Internet access to one and all. Improving access to digital services with tax rebates on the production of affordable smartphones and offering subsidized data will also go a long way in democratizing India’s payments sector. We need to focus on digital money to stay digital, by strongly encouraging digital payments of all forms, as compared to ATM machines. Waiving off transaction fees for low-ticket purchases and increased access to credit would also help bring millions of unbanked and under-banked individuals into the folds of the mainstream economy.”

Atul Rai, CEO and Co-founder, Staqu, added, "I am expecting a stronger push towards the entrepreneurial ecosystem from the budget this year. While last year, the Government of India supported our cause with the Startup India, Standup India initiative, amongst Make in India and Digital India, we need to now tread on the uncovered grounds.

Startups continue to invest their time and effort into sorting several tax-related and regulatory issues, which makes the operations further cumbersome and challenging. By extending the tax-free regiment to 5 years and taxing ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership) at the times of sale, would really give a boost to the startup environment today. Since RnD happens to be a crucial part of our operations I expect government should also consider tax relaxation to those startups which are collaborating with academic institutions for RnD related purposes as it will not only improve the country’s ranking in “global innovation index” but will also produce world-class researchers and companies in India."

Anshul Mittal, Co-Founder, Konsult, mentioned,
"Recently demonetisation has changed the way people are paying for their medical procedures or surgical procedures. Whether they pay via using E-wallets or online transfer, there is a fee levied on that transaction. It would be a welcomed change if that transaction is not charged with any other additional fee like regular cash transactions.

Additionally, we are hoping that Finance Minister will be announcing more measures to help start-ups grow stronger by introducing more tax breaks. Though tax breaks for three years is a good initiative but it is a short time frame and many start-ups do not even reach the break-even point in the given amount of time. So, we are hopeful of few amendments in this initiative of the government."

Pranjal Prasar, Founder & CEO of Repup, said, "In the financial year 2017, we can assume that this budget can be a big push towards increasing the digitization with high-tech solutions. As we market the creation and sharing of online material and as a part of digital marketing, we wish budget will include more emphasis on digital infrastructure to boost up the Indian brands and company among the universe with intended to stimulate interest in Indian products or services".

Vinay Singhal, Co-Founder & CEO, Wittyfeed, said,
"India continues to be poised at the cusp of economic growth. The digital sector continues to have a huge role in keeping things buoyant. We, therefore, expect a recognition for the Digital industry in the coming Budget 2017 in the form of an all-round, better, growing and scalable digital infrastructure. As a start-up, we also look forward to realistic and balanced taxation structure and easier compliance rules. The digital industry would also like to see some key initiatives and projects which would boost growth and employment both".

Chiranjiv Patel, Regional Director, Entrepreneurs' Organization, South Asia, added,
"There is a lot of anticipation and expectation about the initiatives that the government will articulate to revive demand along with investments in its quest to accelerate growth and create the much-needed jobs.

Given the way and uncertainty already prevailing in the economy, it seems the Budget is likely to stay away from any harsh measures that could further erode the confidence of Top companies.

It has been observed that since last six month there has been weak industrial production, poor investment activity, deteriorating bank credit, rising non-performing assets, strengthening of core inflation, FII outflows and rupee depreciation are the concerns which have gradually happened over the years even before the impact of demonetization hit the economy. And with the recent changes, it doesn't seem that Rupee will get any stronger recently."

Ambarish Gupta, Founder and CEO of Knowlarity, said, "Over the past few months, one of the major talking points and a bone of contention between central and state governments is the enigmatic Goods and Services tax, popularly known as GST. While the intricacies of GST are still not crystal clear, it is definitely being supported by numerous businesses as it would enormously reduce the ominous task of estimating and filing their taxes. Also, the government’s hints of the entire value of demonetized notes not finding their way back into the economy will see the forthcoming budget giving a further boost to cashless transactions. The intention is evident in some of the steps such as discounts while using cards at toll booths, waiver of merchant discount rates while using debit cards at POS terminal, etc. which have been implemented although for a limited time period. It would be great to introduce additional benefits for users of cashless transactions through credit cards, debit cards and mobile wallets. Certain benefits should also be announced to promote the usage of payment bank services in the unbanked and under-banked sections of the society,"

Shailaz Nag, COO, PayU India. added, "The demonetization drive needs to be followed by strong, systematic and organized steps by the government, and we need to rope in users from tier 2, 3 and 4 cities and towns. My only expectation from the Union Budget 2017 is the availability of enough funds dedicated to imparting and increasing knowledge and creating awareness amongst Indian users, both merchants and consumers, on how to pay and accept payments digitally."

Manavjeet Singh, CEO & Founder, Rubique, mentioned, "The startup ecosystem in India is flourishing every year. Some startups have seen a phenomenal growth & success towards implementation of their ideas last year. And for further boost to growth of startup economy, the upcoming budget announcement is very crucial. There is expectation towards various kind of exemptions on taxes like the exemption under the minimum alternate tax for startups, tax concessions for the ESOPs, unlisted securities and convertible instruments. Post demonetization, we have witnessed growing traction for technology startups, the government should also recognize their contribution in the digital economy vision of India by considering extra incentives/concessions."

Abhesh Verma, COO, nexGTv, added, "I have great expectations from the Union Budget this year. Last year, the Indian Government issued a series of benefits for the startup community, including and yet not limited to Startup India, Standup India initiative, along with Digital India and Make in India. As a result, we see India transforming into a mobile-first economy, with a host of foreign players setting their base for operations in India. Besides, towards the end of the year, Government denouncing INR 500 and 1000 currency notes further pushed the economy towards digital transactions.

In 2017, I expect the government to continue to support and nurture the budding entrepreneurial infrastructure in India. To begin with, the government should consider extending the tax exemptions for startups. This is especially crucial given the state of economy post demonetization and infrastructural changes that are yet to be put in place. Furthermore, the Google tax is going to further increase the costs of operations and hence, the same should be checked, and startups should have enough incentives to grow and expand, without having to necessarily invest their resources in additional levies.

At last, I expect the government to reduce and streamline the taxes charged on e-commerce services and digital goods, such as games, music, and videos consumed online. The same would allow OTT players like NexGTv to grow our consumer base and provide the most simplified services."

Ranjit Punja, CEO & CO-founder, CreditMantri, mentioned, “The general consensus is that the 2017 Union Budget will need to factor in the political and economic compulsions brought on by the demonetization initiative. There is widespread expectation that the Budget will usher in welcome changes in personal income tax, as well as corporate tax, and that there will be an easing of the tax rates on all income slabs. We will also probably see incentives that encourage greater adoption of digital payments and a move towards a cashless, or at least less-cash, economy. The NDA governments's attention to the rural economy will continue with more rural and farmer-friendly development schemes.”

Satyam Kumar, CEO, Loantap, stated, "This is going to be a very tough balancing act for government. So far middle class has been at the receiving end. Be it de-monetization, fuel prices, various cess and taxes. This segment has been expecting Direct (Income Tax) slab reduction from last two budgets. They also make some equity and real estate investments, which has received the burnt of executive decisions. Naturally, they are awaiting much needed break in tax slabs.On the other hand, there is widespread misery in agrarian community. Farmer suicide, mounting debt, crop losses and price reduction due to restricted goods movement during demonetization. SME sector is struggling to stay afloat as bank credit is at its lowest. And do not forget this is going to be the last budget sans election fervour. So, a very crucial one to watch out for. From sectoral point of view, we wish that tax on services (even under GST) to remain at 14% level, and additions cess and levies should be removed."

Piyush, CEO & Founder, Rooter, said, "1. Sports Industry budget was just increased by 50.87 cr in 2016 Budget as compared to 384 cr hike in 2015 budget. With the dismal performance of India in Olympics 2016, I really hope government will allocate substantial budget for development of sports, specific to few disciplines where India is likely to get more success.

2. I also believe that India is getting ready to host a lot of International tournaments, starting with FIFA U-17 World Cup in Oct 2017. So a substantial budget allocation to infrastructure development will be key to make more such events happen.

3. I also hope tax-free regime for startups will be extended to 5 years instead of 3 years currently.

4. The new budget should take special measures to upgrade the digital infrastructure in all parts of the country. More emphasis should be given on rural areas where high-speed internet network should connect all the cities, villages and towns altogether with uniformity in speed for the digital platforms to grow given the potential of the market."

Arun Bhati, COO & Founder, Orahi, stated,
"Incentives for Digital payments is very critical for the growth of cashless transactions. Existing surcharges in uploading money in wallets or paid to credit card and debit card companies only discourage people. Expecting this budget to provide all incentives to go cashless

2015-16 has seen thousands of startups, Startup India is an excellent initiative that has helped startup, however 3 years of tax rebate does not help much as at takes at least three years for a startup to get to a viable level. Govt, should increase tax rebates to 5 years for startups, so that they can re-invest savings into the company.”

Prashant Solomon, Managing Director, Chintels India Ltd. and Hon. Treasurer, CREDAI NCR, said,
“The Indian real estate sector remained in headlines due to many policy level changes in 2016. RERA Act 2016), Benami Transaction Prohibition (Amendment) Act 2016, amendments in REITs regulations, GST and Demonetization, were the ones that were considered to have the potential to change the way real estate sector work. In 2017, the sector is eagerly looking forward to and has several expectations from BUDGET 2017. We look forward to real estate being given Industry Status. This will pave way for increased adoption of industry best practices by the developers and attract further investments in the sector. The long and complex process of obtaining approvals, leads to huge time and cost overruns. A single window clearance will go a long way to ensure that projects remain viable and corporate houses stay invested in the sector.”

“The recent announcement of slashing home loan rates by the PM will be a boon as far as affordable housing is concerned and we expect the sops to be extended to the middle class home buyers as well. Lastly, the recent demonetization drive by the PM is perceived as a significant reform. In the long run, this measure along with others such as Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA) will align the real estate sector to the international standards of doing business. However, despite the positive initiatives undertaken by the Government the real estate sector did not see the boom it expected. We hope that the Budget 2017 to have more constructive and definite reforms which will help in an atmosphere of growth and development in the real estate sector.”

Ajay Laddha, Co Founder, YMS Mobitech Pvt Ltd, said, "The India consumption story, especially the sectors dealing in cash, faced a small roadblock when the government announced its demonetization move in November. We think the Finance Minister will try and reverse the negative sentiment with his Budget speech. While demand has been sharply hit, we are expecting a sharp recovery in the next couple of months. The Budget may look to aid consumption by tinkering with personal income tax. We are also expecting incentives for e-payments and digital transactions, improving the share of retail business, hitting the grey market and leading to higher acceptance for e-based offline distribution."

Alok Dubey, CFO, ACER, said, “The Union Budget for the year 2017-18 is likely to be unique as many prime factors like demonetisation, GST, cashless economy measures, will play a key role this year. We are expecting favourable change in the Income Tax slabs and rates, as customer spending is still anticipated to decline for short term due to demonetisation. We also expect the budget to focus on shaping the IT infrastructure and urge the government to provide tax deductions on purchase of PC for consumers as well providing easy short-term loans for retailers for working capital requirement. This is required to accompaniment India's emergent IT sector and further help the industry make improved technology more accessible to Indian market to fulfil government’s push for a digital economy.”

"Taxing start-ups at early stages of investments has put a limitation to their performance and morale. Startups are a very risky proposition wherein only less than 1% actually manage to become successful. Angel funding is the very first resource, the very first encouragement for a start-up, and tax levied on the same acts like a major deterrent to the growth of many novel ideas. With the new budget, early stage investors should definitely be protected against archaic policy measures like the angel tax - which should be completely done away with. Also, the government should help startups in reducing their cost in the early years rather than offering tax holidays for the first three years because most startups don't make profits in their early years. For example, , lowering income tax slabs for startup employees should immensely help startups reduce their cost. This year, we look forward to some significant tax exemptions, that would give a great boost to all existing and upcoming Indian startups." - Mayank Bhangadia, CEO and CoFounder, Roposo.

Rakesh Deshmukh, Co-Founder and CEO, Indus OS, said, “Modi-led government transformed the Indian industry outlook by initiating multiple programs. Today, Make In India, Digital India, Standup India and Startup India programs not only enrich entrepreneurial dreams but also provide financial aid for making it viable to create long term sustainable impact. We expect focus on these programs to be maintained in this Union Budget as well for positive investor sentiments and overall long term growth. Additionally, India's cashless dream is expected to come alive basis policy changes to enable infrastructure for 4G smartphone growth, formalization of UPI digital payment mode for its widespread application and additional Govt. initiatives focused on regional smartphone users.”

Rajiv Bhalla, Managing Director, Barco India, stated, "Indian Government has covered massive strides in transforming our country into a digital, less cash-oriented economy. Post demonetization we have seen a doubling of debit card and mobile wallet transactions. In this process of creating a cash free economy, we expect the budget to incentivize digital payments and provide for ample enabling infrastructure; this will encourage SMEs to adopt digital finance channels and become a part of the formal financing ecosystem, We would furthermore, welcome the frameworks necessary for addressing the present issues, especially the ambiguous and redundant regulations."


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