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Budget 2021 Expectations LIVE: What India wants from Modi government, Nirmala Sitharaman? Check latest news, updates, quotes, demands here

Union Budget 2021 Expectations LIVE: The Union Budget 2021 is scheduled to be presented in Parliament on February 1, 2021. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has promised a never before like Union Budget as the Modi government looks to give a further boost to Indian economy. Ahead of the Union Budget 2021 presentation, here are all the LIVE updates on the expectations from Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Union Budget 2021:-

Budget 2021 Expectations LIVE UPDATES: 

Alok Patnia, Managing Partner, TaxMantra, says, “Budget 2021 is just around the corner. We are seeing an outpour of requests, inputs and wishlist from various sectors of the economy. Here is our wishlist for the Budget 2021.”

“1) Incentives for most effective segments during COVID

Hospitality sector- The Hotel Association of India (HAI), said the revenue loss of the sector of approx ₹90,000 crore in 2020. The organized sector alone, which is 10% of the entire industry, has a debt of ₹45,000 crore. The HAI requested for infrastructure status to hotels with above Rs. 25 cr. investment, excluding land which is currently for over Rs.200 cr. 

Also, businesses are pining for recommendations for remedying the unfavorable position taken by amendment in section 17(5) of the CGST Act by denying credit to hotel buildings/structures. Apart from that,easing of direct taxes, such as lowering income tax rates for hotels to help increase cash flows, allowance of business losses to be carried forward for up to 12 years instead of 8 are a few more items on the wishlist.

Education Sector- There has been a paradigm shift in the mode of learning and teaching method and also in the meanwhile of challenging pandemic there has been approval of The National Education Policy (NEP) by the Union Cabinet of India on July 28th, 2020. There are expectations regarding the norms for technology in Education, guidelines for NEP implementation, Rural education, Primary Education considering health of students along with their ability to pay tuition fees and get admission on time, since these issues have led to leaving the course halfway. Also, expectations are there regarding the increase in the fund accumulation limit from 15% to 25% under section 11 of the Income Tax Act, 1961, old accumulated funds via 15% were not able to deal with pandemic situations.

Health care including Covid Vaccines – To cope with the pandemic, the Centre announced a stimulus package of Rs 20 lakh crore in May, of which Rs 15,000 crore was allotted towards the country’s “Covid-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness. To bring about real focus and qualitative improvement in public healthcare, India needs systemic, multifold allocation and investments. Building a strong infrastructure, more funds towards training of medical staff, establishing and improving supply chain of vaccines, medicines etc are prerequisites for a robust public health mechanism.

2) Incentives for Empowering startups and SMEs

Foreign Direct Investment Policy (FDI)- There are expectations by the startups from Budget 2021, regarding the removal or relaxation in approval procedure for Hong Kong FDI Policy, who invested approx $ 4 billion in 90 startups like edutech giant Byju’s, ola, zomato, etc. Therefore, recommendations are there for consideration in issues faced by startups for exit of chinese investors, as well the views of the new global investors in startups presently funded by chinese startups.

Global listing of Indian Companies- The Indian start-ups and conglomerates can raise large amounts of foreign money at higher valuations vide direct global listing of Indian companies eliminating secondary listing in India, being the positive hope for Indian startups after such a mess faced during pandemic 2020 to a greater extent, even leading to shut of various startups.

Relief by government- There are expectations of relief packages for start-ups including possible purchase orders from the government, tax relief and swifter tax refunds, as recommended by industry bodies.

Domestic funding- Domestic investors are still wary of investing in startups. Measures to boost domestic investments like easier compliance and exit processes are a must. tax parity between listed and unlisted securities is needed.

As of now, investing in listed securities provides more benefits for investors from a tax point of view. There is also the angel tax issue, where many investors have complained about high rates of taxes on their angel investments in startups, and being taxed years later, with retrospective effect. AIFs such as venture capital and private equity funds pay GST, and the management fee which fund managers earn is treated as cost of service. Now, AIFs are a only pooling vehicle and provide no other service. Hence, the GST paid on fund management is a sunk cost, and challenging for the industry as a whole. 

3.Incentives to promote ease of doing business
Among the chosen 190 countries, India ranked 63rd in Doing Business 2020 from 142nd in 2014 as per the World Bank Report.The Indian government envisions to take the country to the top 50 in the global Ease of Doing Business rankings.

Easing FEMA Laws and inflow and outflow of foreign exchange funds inside and outside India, Long term Capital Gain Taxes on unlisted shares, dividend taxes and additional surcharge, Simplification of GST laws and labour laws, ESOP Taxes on un-listed Companies, easier financing for exports are some of the areas that should be looked considering more for startups and MSMEs including others encouraging greater business functioning in India. 

Cut in corporate tax rates, abolition of MAT, easier compliance regime, rationalisation of TDS TCS provisions, lower tax burden on partnership firms, simplification of GST compliance and labour law regime, measures to implement more schemes like Vivad Se Vishwas to mitigate litigation issues, strengthening the Make in India initiative are few things that have been consistently there in the wishlist of the Indian businesses.

Hope for the best!! Government from past records had been great in working in smoothing business in India, for instance- Improved construction permits, getting electricity connections, cut in corporate tax rates, easier compliance regime, easy formation of companies through introduction of a single SPICe Form eliminating many compliances, implementations schemes like Vivad Se Vishwas to mitigate litigation issues, strengthening the Make in India initiative, etc., we wish the expectations would get fulfilled considering the factors of improvement of economy of India.”

Budget 2021 Expectations LIVE UPDATES: Healthcare

Ayush Mishra, CEO and Founder, Tattvan E-clinics, says, “Over the last few months, millions of people have relied on video or telephone calls to talk to their medical professionals and doctors for discussing their medical issues. We believe that telemedicine will continue to exist and expect that in the post-pandemic era, around 40-50 percent of their OPD will continue to be conducted through teleconsultation together with other innovations in the industry including AI, ML, Tele-mobile operator services, etc. Telemedicine has not only helped people during COVID but for the people especially the elderly who are more prone to any kind of infection tele consultation has emerged as a boon, and follow up consultations through tele- consultations will be a great step towards geriatric care as well.  Tattvan itself did a huge telemedicine camp during lockdown for geriatric care in a senior living project at 5 different locations of Rajasthan, Haryana, Maharashtra and Karnataka and it was a huge success, so we have realised that the telemedicine sector will definitely be here to stay. The Union Budget 2021 will be tabled in just over a month’s time and the health sector is expecting more specific allotments in this year’s budget to mitigate Covid and growth of the telemedicine sector.”

Budget 2021 Expectations LIVE UPDATES: E-commerce

Rajiv Kumar, Founder & CEO, StoreHippo, says, “This has been an unprecedented year for businesses as well as humankind. So, we expect the government to focus on helping businesses cope with the challenges and effects of the pandemic. Since offline businesses are hit badly and every business owner is planning to go online, we expect the policies that make it easy for businesses to go online and manage their online store and marketplaces. Not all businesses have resources to meet the tedious compliance requirements like GST or going with the paperwork needed for starting an online venture. The government should ease rules and also offer support/exemptions to small and medium businesses from certain mandatory compliances. Overall the budget needs to facilitate easy access to capital to businesses that are reeling from after-effects of COVID. Apart from this, there should be some relief for businesses that have suffered significant losses during the lockdown and thereafter. “

Budget 2021 Expectations LIVE UPDATES: Healthcare

Anmol Arora, CEO, Docvita, says, “During the pandemic, Telemedicine helped countless people in India seek timely care and ensured the continuity of care for many under lockdown. Besides, Telemedicine has long been viewed as India’s solution to bridge the rural-urban mismatch in demand & supply of healthcare services. The lockdown helped Telemedicine demonstrate its potential for impact, growth & expansion. There’s no better time for the government to give the industry impetus to bridge the gap between healthcare accessibility and affordability. The post-pandemic budget is expected to keep health as a top-notch priority. Increased allocations in the Union Budget 2021 for Telemedicine & NDHM can benefit our healthcare infrastructure and build a strong backbone for our country’s digital health infrastructure. Telemedicine can help address inequity & lack of healthcare access and make healthcare expenditures more predictable for all Indians.”

Budget 2021 Expectations LIVE UPDATES: Startups

Vikram Wadhawan, Founder & CEO, Vasitum, says, “With the upcoming union budget, we are looking forward to the government’s decision to elevate the startup ecosystem including the MSMEs, which are one of the biggest growth drivers of the economy. One of the major problematic areas for them is the availability of working capital. Thus, a framework which can mobilize funding for Startups and MSME will be a great initiative and will drive serious growth for both the sectors. In addition, we are anticipating the government to focus on extending credit facilities to MSMEs by re-leveling the banking and NBFCs to the same ground to ensure consumers get benefited. Furthermore, we are also confident that an easy to maintain compliance agenda will provide the required impetus to various startups to stick to their homeland. We are also expecting the government to introduce new policy incentives that will accelerate the business growth of startups & MSMEs; thereby helping them to expand, hire resources, generate employment opportunities and contribute to the GDP. In short, we feel a stronger and simpler framework for the Startups and credit / grants to the MSMEs should form a part of the Union Budget along with other usual announcements.”

Budget 2021 Expectations LIVE UPDATES: MSMEs

Rajesh Gupta, Co-Founder and Director, Busy Accounting Software, “In the upcoming budget, the government should factor in a GST rate cut for the MSME sector and also extend some incentives for filing GST returns timely. Even the process of providing GST refunds should be improved as this has a direct bearing on the working capital available with MSMEs. The ongoing pandemic has made digitization imperative at each stage of the business cycle at large. Similarly, MSMEs were pushed to adopt digital technology for their operations owing to the repercussions of Covid-19. For instance, accounting software changed the method of traditional accounting, enabling accountants to move to digital accounting methods. Technology is definitely the enabler that can place Indian SMEs ahead of the curve. The government can introduce strict compliance rules regarding the digitization of accounts, processes, deliveries and trade, to encourage further transparency.   BUSY has also witnessed significant growth in the demand of accounting software in tier-2 and tier-2 cities, so at the grassroots level, a large section of the population needs to understand digitalization and require basic upskilling to meet the demands for skilled professionals in upcoming fields like big data and machine learning. Introducing digital lending can enable small-sized businesses to be financially sufficient as they will get easy access to loans. The Union budget is likely to be a turning point for the SMEs, if the government fulfils these expectations.”

Budget 2021 Expectations LIVE Updates: MSMEs and startup sectors

Dr Vivek Bindra, Founder & CEO, Bada Business, says, “Despite the economic crisis created due to the COVID 19 outbreak, the Indian industry and particularly the MSMEs and startup sectors have shown remarkable resilience and innovation in overcoming the challenges. Indian startups managed to raise over USD 9 billion in investment deals this year despite the demand and fund crunch. Having said this, the government can provide further policy support to tide over the recessionary phase. Given the fact that this is the first budget in the post COVID, the industry is hoping for concrete measures to revive the economy, ways to increase consumer demand particularly in sectors that were hit hard by the Covid crisis . Through the budget, the government must find ways to infuse more liquidity into the system, leave more money into the hands of consumers and further ease the process of fund disbursement to MSMEs. As India aspires to become a vishwaguru and one of the engines of the global economy and India’s economic revival is critical to the global economy as well. Over the past year, the Government has created hope in the economy through its Aatm Nirbhar Bharat initiative that seeks to boost local manufacturing and production. The manufacturing sector needs significant policy support if it is to attract a chunk of manufacturing projects moving out of China.. The Government must create a competitive tariff structure that favors imports of raw materials over imports of finished goods. It must also find ways to boost a wave of new micro enterprises in rural India to create more employment opportunities outside agriculture. Building the entrepreneurial capability of rural youth through business training, easing the norms to start businesses and creating a fast loan disbursement mechanism for micro enterprises in villages can help infuse a new entrepreneurial energy in villages. It is high time that the GST structure is made less complex and ease of taxation is improved particularly for MSMEs to make tax compliance easier and simpler. Job creation must be another top priority. The Government needs to infuse more infrastructure based activity in both the rural and urban economies to generate more work opportunities. To revive growth and create jobs the Government needs to infuse more infrastructure based activity in both the rural and urban economies. Importantly, effective mechanisms must be created to evaluate the effect of relief packages on the ground.”

Budget 2021 Expectations LIVE Updates:

Major Manjit Rajain, Global Chairman, Tenon Group of Companies, says, “The government should emphasise on standards of training to be met, as well as the infrastructure standards to be maintained by a training center. NSDC/ sector skills council should also be mandated to undertake surprise checks of TPs (training partner) to ascertain the quality of training being imparted by the registered TPs. The major concern for the security industry from a policy perspective is that it is subject to an overlapping set of federal and state regulations, leading to a multiplicity of registrations to conduct business, therefore It is critical that a single-window licensing system is created as a combination of central/ state level registration, depending on factors such as the size, scale/ area of operations, employment conditions/ terms, past experience and the like for the PSA. Also, in the private security industry, security personnel work more than 8 hours per day and even they do not have any specifications about overtime working hours, this needs to be enhanced & specified by the government and regularisation of compensation as per Duty Hours should be well stated by the government.  The government should also need strengthening of minimum wage guidelines & Compliances. The company where the manpower is being deployed needs to clear the payments for all the policy components like PF, ESIC, and Gratuity in time in order to stay compliant otherwise should be penalised heavily.”

Budget 2021 Expectations LIVE Updates: Solar sector

Rahul Sankhe, Co-Founder & President, SenseHawk, says, “We expect the government to have a strong focus on renewable energy in this budget as in previous years. As a SaaS startup offering solutions for solar companies globally from India, we are excited about how the government has been vocal about India taking a leadership role in the clean energy wave. We believe that AI solutions are getting widely adopted for managing solar assets globally and India is no exception and are hopeful that stimulus for the sector in the budget will drive growth for the industry.”

Budget 2021 Expectations LIVE Updates: Ease of Doing Business

Deepak Gupta, Founding Partner, WEH Ventures, says, “One area which has implications for growth and job creation is the ease of doing business (“EODB”). Within that India lags substantially relative to most in the area of enforcement of contracts- there are many elements to resolving this issue- from accelerated recruitment of judges to improvement of arbitration processes and others. We hope that action can be taken on this front in short order with specific pronouncements in the budget and follow-up from thereon. There are other things in EODB which can also be pursued- e.g the websites of government agencies that deal with the public tend to have downtimes (sometimes at peak filing season)- an impetus on measuring the user experience and uptime and targeting improvement could perhaps save time and give us a leg-up in EODB. “

Budget 2021 Expectations LIVE Updates: Technology

Deepak  Mittal, CEO & Co-founder, TO THE NEW, says, “The Indian IT and IT-enabled Services (IT & ITeS) sector has witnessed a complete turnaround and an unprecedented boost in the wake of COVID-19. Furthermore, the year 2021 promises to be a huge year for the sector fuelled by the growing need and adoption of digital technologies across the board. The sector has not only generated immense job opportunities but has also positioned India as one of the most preferred investment destinations globally. Given, the current business scenario, we expect a strong push towards policies promoting IT innovation by pushing business-critical and bold policy interventions to propel digital adoption across multiple industries. ‘Digital-first’ and ‘Data-centric’, should be the key focus areas for the Indian government in our view as we push for Digital innovation as an important building block for India’s future growth. We are more than excited about the opportunities that this year has to offer and eagerly look forward to this year’s Budget.”

Budget 2021 Expectations LIVE Updates: Technology, AI-based online learning

Sameer Nigam, CEO & Co-founder, Stratbeans, says, “The Union Budget for FY 22 is one of the most anticipated socio-economic events for this year. As the Government and many other agencies have projected slower economic growth via the last financial year, there will be more emphasis on ‘ease of doing businesses. Needless to say, the general public and businesses are really hopeful for some major relief in the budget announcements. The Government has already taken a slew of measures to reduce the compliance burden upon businesses across industries. The Union Budget will also bring out more ways to ease liquidity for MSMEs. The IT industry has been the backbone for Digital India and Startup India. Providing the right incentives to the industry will be the key for the country’s economic revival. One such incentive is to simplify the tax-related complexities to encourage global trade of software products from and to India. Some effort in this direction will help increase revenue for the exchequer that can flow back into the country for socio-economic welfare. Another important area for improvement is to introduce measures that encourage corporates as well as individuals to pay taxes and contribute to the nation’s progress. This will also create a collaborative, nationwide effort towards building a great nation.” 

Budget 2021 Expectations LIVE Updates: Consultancy

Vishal Yadav, CEO, FDI India, says, “We are optimistic that the upcoming budget will have policies and recommendations that will further strengthen the FDI ecosystem. The steps taken by the government in this direction are commendable, like enhanced FDI participation in more areas and higher participation in existing sectors. Considering the fact that India received the highest ever FDI in 2020, we hope that this year Government will further look on to strengthening the ease of doing business as it is a basic prerequisite for making investments. The upcoming budget also needs to be favourably allocated to various sectors such as manufacturing, electronics, automobiles, etc in order to boost foreign investments. There is room for demand-side measures in the budget as actions so far have been supply-centric. Therefore, we are hopefully looking forward to better times in 2021.”

Budget 2021 Expectations LIVE Updates: Co-working sector 

Manas Mehrotra, Founder, 315Work Avenue, says, “The demand for coworking office spaces has seen tremendous growth in the last few years and the post lockdown scenario is bringing in a wave of new opportunities for the coworking players. Medium-to-long-term fundamentals remain sound as companies seek out alternative options to reduce costs and capital expenditure. Now, more than ever, flexibility is crucial and hence coworking spaces, with their natural flexibility and inherent readiness to add value are best positioned to adapt and redefine the future of work and workspace. Companies will strive to be agile and prefer to build more flexibility into their real estate portfolios. As companies look to resume business, redesigning and restructuring of existing real estate will pose yet another challenge, however coworking spaces will be able to respond to design changes required post-COVID-19 quicker and more efficiently than traditional office spaces. However, we have some important expectations from the upcoming Budget 2021 to further propel the growth in the sector. Coworking has changed the very concept of the workplace today and the market scenario of the real estate industry. As coworking is playing a vital role in the economic growth of the country, the Government should recognise it under special schemes like REIT and provide tax benefits to handhold the industry for better growth. Financial support to start-ups would also create greater demand for coworking spaces. As several entrepreneurs who opt for coworking solutions are early and mid-startups, the government could look at reducing the present rate of registration charges and stamp duty to register documents at registrar offices as high rates additionally burden them. This will give a fillip to both start-ups and coworking spaces. Presently, the rate of TDS applicable on coworking services is 10% as coworking companies provide renting of both movables and immovables. As the industry is going competitive, it will be good if the rate of TDS on coworking services is reduced. It will enable us to provide real estate solutions to clients at economical rates and will also help in better flow of working capital. As remote working has taken root in the context of the pandemic and corporates have been making a beeline to coworking spaces to cut costs and capital expenditure, hence support to coworking spaces in this context would be a fillip to their growth and overall economy. There is also need to reduce GST to the lowest slab for upcoming startups as it will make a significant impact on their budget. Currently, coworking spaces charge a GST of 18% to all clients and this is a big impact to startups. Hence, it can be reduced drastically. Apart from these, input tax credit under GST is also an important issue that concerns the sector. The government should enable co-working firms to claim input credits on work contract and construction services supplied as detailed under GST provisions. This would check increased outflow of cash coworking firms are currently experiencing. Coworking firms are also hoping that input tax credit under GST be extended to developers so that it could be passed on to companies who lease out space and thereby reduce their overall costs. Institutional capital is crucial to coworking spaces which are dependent on funds for multiple factors and we expect advancement in this direction. The government must also allow banks to give loans to coworking firms against the cash flow of coworking players. Also, to increase funding in coworking sector, the government should provide investment benefits to investors of these coworking spaces. Further, in order to expand from the metro cities to the tier II and tier III markets, the sector is also looking forward to an added infrastructural push from the Government and a single window clearance system would help quicker setting up of coworking spaces.  The coworking sector, which is now the new mantra for small and large-scale enterprises all across the country is further expecting improvement in the ease of doing business.”

​Budget 2021 Expectations LIVE UPDATES: Real Estate

Rajesh Binner, Founder and CEO, YieldAsset Real Estate Tech Pvt Ltd, says, “Commercial office real estate has been a booming investment class in India. With policy reforms, institutional investments, foreign partnerships and growth in the IT-ITES service sector, demand for grade A office real estate has become very attractive so much so that top global investors are betting big even while there were concerns emanating due to work from home. With several notable government initiatives like Make in India, reforms like RERA and GST, and the coming of Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) and Infrastructure Investment Trust (InvIT), India is expected to continue its growth in the commercial segment in 2021 and beyond owing to assured and lucrative returns on investment. To further propel the growth of commercial office real estate in the country, we expect government to look into some of the key concerns to boost the economy. Stamp duty needs to be reduced and while Maharashtra has taken the lead in this, implementation of the same by other states too would be welcome. The GST input credit on rent received has to be allowed for commercial office space developers. GST on TDR and joint development of commercial properties could also be looked into. We hope the budget would allocate more funds towards IT infra spends involving digitization of land records in urban areas. The government should also promote proptech companies by providing Credit Guaranteed loans to build blockchain implementation of property records. Since the growth of start-ups is likely to have a positive bearing on commercial real estate, it is important for the Government to address the concerns of these prop tech and fractional investment start-ups too. With the commercial segment is set to grow in the post-pandemic period, fractional ownership is one of the additional options for the developers to expand the market to get liquidity by selling commercial properties.  While Fractional Investment opens new avenues for the office developers, it also offers an investment class to smaller investors which otherwise was available only to the HNIs, Family Offices and Institutions due to the ticket size of owning large office space. Fractional ownership in the real estate has been prevalent in the US and Europe which is enabled by few prop-tech companies. This concept is finding its acceptance in India now. For small and second home investors, it is one of the best ways to invest and own grade-A premium commercial properties and build a stable long-term income. Fractional investing also enables you to diversify by investing in multiple properties with smaller investments. It is an investment that offers both portfolio diversification and is superior to residential investment in terms of yield.”

​Budget 2021 Expectations LIVE UPDATES: EduTech

Akash Aggarwal, Founder & CEO, eduTinker, says, “”The COVID-19 crisis has been a major catalyst in the adoption of digital technology in education at every level. 2020 built a strong foundation for online education and now, 2021 is ready to integrate with a jump start. I believe that even when the pandemic is over, India’s education system can be raised by several meters. I believe that ed-tech startups are here to stay, with no turning back, owing to what we bring to the table. With these drastic, prevalent changes in the education system, we have high hopes in 2021 for the sector! As we enter a brand new year, we anticipate the need for better internet infrastructure and robust data protection, in order to expand digitized education. We, as ed-tech startups, expect unwavering support from the government, via the allocation of funds to further rise in the 2021 Union Budget. Also, the State Governments must come up with initiatives for schools where free digital education is provided to every student, without a second thought.”

​Budget 2021 Expectations LIVE UPDATES: Healthcare

Vivek Sagar, Founder & CEO,, “Our expectation from Union Budget 2021 is to recognize the growing mental health problem in India and provide more budget for facilitating counselling across India including the government schools. In FY2019, the budget allocated for the National Mental Health Program (NMHP) was brought down to Rs 40 crore from Rs 50 crore in FY18 while the actual funds spent were only Rs 5 Crore each year. We expect the government to change its attitude towards mental health with an increase in allocation for starting awareness campaigns about mental health across schools, colleges, armed forces, banks and government offices with the objective of providing primary mental health treatment online in local language in participation with mental health startups. Government should also spend on sanctioning more seats for preparing Psychologist and Psychiatrists.
The budget for Mental Health in India should at least be increased to Rs 5000 Crore or atleast 5% of the India’s healthcare budget as approximate cost of implementing the Mental Healthcare Act is around Rs 95000 Crore and the current budget is nowhere close to the actual requirement as assessed by Indian Journal of Psychiatry. “

Budget 2021 Expectations LIVE UPDATES: Technology

Gaurav Shinh, Founder and CEO at DAAS Labs, says, “According to a recent NASSCOM report, Deep-tech and new start-up hubs will continue to grow at 40-45% CAGR.  It also stated that investments are expected to return to 2019 levels,after seeing a dip in 2020 (if not exceed in 2021). The pandemic has been a huge boost to Edtech, AgriTech, FinTech, HRtech and HealthTech startups. So, we expect to see decisions to fuel the growth of cloud data storage, big data and AI technologies in several domains. The work from home trend due to the pandemic has seen a lot of investment being made in Tier II and Tier III cities and the trend is supposed to continue. Reforms are expected to support and enable these start-ups as they can have a huge long term impact.”

Budget 2021 Expectations LIVE UPDATES: Startups

Gaurav Mehta, Founder & CEO, Jaipur Watch Company, says, “As an entrepreneur, I hope this year’s Budget prioritizes growth-oriented measures and includes incentives for homegrown brands. From a watch industry perspective, considering the hit that we’ve all taken following the pandemic, tax concessions, reduction in GST rates encouraging consumers to spend more is of utmost priority at the moment. Especially since the demand for bespoke gold watches are at an all-time low, what with gold prices soaring, we are looking forward to the budget addressing the issues of high Import/Custom duties on gold and thus helping bring stability to the market. Also we are hoping government comes up with a special mark for “Made in India”products to distinguish them from Imported products.”

Budget 2021 Expectations LIVE UPDATES: Startups

Rohit Warrier, CEO and Founder, Warrier Safe Shields, “Start-ups are set to be the growth drivers of the economy, however, the government needs to devise policies that encourage them to focus on being profitable and sustaining themselves without riding the investment and valuation bubble. I believe that funded start-ups should have an obligation of turning in profits within 2-3 years else face a minor fine. This will force the founders and the mentors to think hard about building a profitable company. Working capital is a critical factor for any company but is more so for a start-up. Schemes such as govt contribution towards employer contribution of PF during the handholding period, will leave the start-ups with more cash in hand and capital. Awareness of various government schemes on the purchase of capital equipment is currently less amongst the start-ups. Increasing their visibility in the start-up community will increase the utilization of these schemes, resulting in the generation of employment and revenue for the government.”

Budget 2021 Expectations LIVE UPDATES: Healthcare

Dr. Rohinton Dastur, Director Medical-Bhatia Hospital Mumbai, says, “The COVID-19 pandemic has taught the entire world the importance of having a strong healthcare sector. To begin with, one of the primary expectations from this year’s Budget is that there should be a bigger focus on public spending on healthcare. We need more public private partnerships, and further investments to strengthen indigenous manufacturing of medical devices, personal protective equipment (PPE) and raw material for drugs. It is also more important than ever now to provide greater investment for preparedness against other health emergencies that may arise in the future, by buttressing diagnostic testing capacities and contact tracing mechanisms. We need more collaborative effort between private sector players and members of academia, scientific experts, and governments to strengthen R&D in drug discovery. Necessary incentives should be brought in to develop such partnerships and make them meaningful for the stakeholders. On the GST front, the government can consider making healthcare more affordable by taking an immediate step of making ‘zero rating’ of GST for healthcare services. This will offer two-pronged benefits — keeping the credit chain intact and ensuring that tax is not added to the cost of healthcare services. As the private as well as public health sector have worked relentlessly through the pandemic, it is only fair to hope that Budget 2021 will come with some positive news that provides a major boost to the healthcare sector.”

Budget 2021 Expectations LIVE: Internet companies, Real estate, Hotel, Travel, Cruise Line, Airlines, Pharma and Medical Equipment sales

Sheshgiri Kamath, Co-founder & CEO Kapture CRM, says, “Startups have long been wishing for the relaxation of the FEMA laws. The ease of inbound/outbound financial transactions internationally has been a much-debated subject due to the number of startups that are raising capital from foreign funds. Currently, there are talks around simplifying the compliance procedure with reduced paperwork – especially the ones pertaining to filings. Startups will definitely benefit immensely if filings, returns, and submissions are made online. The technology sector has faced tailwinds in recent times, especially during the pandemic. Making the process of raising capital a little easier by simplifying foreign outward and inward transactions will go a long way. Additionally, making changes to capital gains tax and the tax structure on ESOPs is going to help the sector tremendously as well. ‘Make in India’ is another initiative where technology companies have been leading from the front, especially considering the size of the Indian software exports. And as reportedly, the government is planning to make this the best budget in the past century, I believe that the tech space is eagerly awaiting big changes. “

Budget 2021 Expectations LIVE UPDATES: Education

Dr. Sunita Gandhi, Founder – Global Classroom Pvt. ltd. & Global Education Training institute, says, “The previous year proved to be a gamechanger for the education industry by drastically replacing traditional classrooms with online teaching methods. This along with the introduction of National Education Policy 2020 made a strong foundation for the following year. We expect the 2021 Union Budget to be open to creating an Edtech ecosystem with greater access to the internet and robust data protection. By allowing innovation in the sector and improving the basic digital infrastructure of the country, the government can ensure that our education system is immune to any pandemic in the future. The global COVID-crisis was a wake-up call for all of us and now that we have it, we believe this year’s budget will focus more on making education accessible, affordable, and scalable. Our education system needs a perfect combination of digitization and traditional classroom learning; the budget must elevate startups in the EdTech sector which reciprocate the same beliefs.”

Budget 2021 Expectations LIVE UPDATES: Startups

Puneet Gupta, Founder & CEO – AstroTalk, says, “The Indian government has taken steps in favor of young startups & MSMEs before and we expect the same from the budget, this year. The centre needs to encourage entrepreneurship, as this is the best way to generate more jobs & progress economically. Startup friendly policies should be made to easily register a business & provide relaxation in taxes till it reaches a minimum revenue. Make a provision for a collateral-free loan and remove major roadblocks from foreign investments in India. Once the startup culture flourishes, the country would start progressing for good.”

Budget 2021 Expectations LIVE UPDATES: AUTOMOBILE 

Jatin Ahuja, Founder & MD– Big Boy Toyz, says, “While the rest of the automobile sector was financially and economically impacted due to the coronavirus pandemic, the pre-owned luxury car market grew at an unusual pace. The sales recorded a strong sequential recovery post the lockdown months as the urban demand and people’s sentiments had a positive influence. Tier-2 and -3 cities also came forward as prospective clients as the festival season picked-up. Going forward, we expect to have continuous government support to sustain the recovery that we have made. Increasing the spending capacity of consumers will help us to regain the lost momentum. Also, initiatives to promote the phygital experience (physical + digital) will be appreciated as this is the new normal now. Lower taxes, simplified and GST filing must be the motto of this year’s budget. Companies, OEMs, and individuals are expecting the budget to be long-term friendly rather than focusing on just survival.” 

Budget 2021 Expectations LIVE UPDATES: Health

DS Negi, CEO Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute & Research Centre, says, “Being presented in the wake of the pandemic, our expectations from the Budget 2021 centre around allocation of higher spending towards healthcare. Ayushman Bharat is no doubt a highly positive step towards attaining the objective of universal healthcare; however more budgets need to be apportioned for its continued success. India is one of the youngest nations with over 60% population under the age of 35 years. However the disease burden is quite acute. Especially lifestyle-induced illnesses are taking a heavy toll. We would expect the Government to apportion larger funds towards preventive health and wellness segments. Over 60% of the cancers can be cured and disease burden brought down if preventive health check-ups are undertaken and the disease is detected early. Institutes such as RGCIRC are actively pursuing this with a dedicated unit on preventive oncology. India woefully lacks in hospital beds required for its populace. Higher tax incentives to the private sector towards modernizing medical facilities will go a long way in ensuring better healthcare, more investments and thereby generate more employment.”

Budget 2021 Expectations LIVE UPDATES: Real Estate

Anand Shukla, Managing Director, Ocean Infraheights Pvt. Ltd. (Golden I), says, “Considering that real-estate is the second-largest job creating sector in the country, we are hoping that the Government looks at doing something concrete for the sector, keeping customer sentiments in mind. Especially from a commercial real-estate perspective, we are looking forward to reforms and incentives that provide encouragement to the manufacturing, start-up sectors, etc.; offer interest or capital subsidies on systems and equipment for all players looking to invest in technology, sustainable building and digitization of operations. Furthermore, we hope that the central and state governments can work together and take a look at reducing GST, stamp duty and circle rates.”

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