Union Budget 2021: How heads of technology companies in India rate it – Times of India
Vivek Sharma, MD, India, Lenovo Data Center Group
This is a pro-growth, pro-technology budget with a vision to disinvest where required and re-energize infrastructure, healthcare, banking, and agriculture sectors through numerous employment and capital generating reforms. There is a strong focus on Digital India be it through setting a fintech hub at GIFT city, enhancing digital payments and use of AI, ML etc in governance, or making tax appellates faceless and tech enabled – all provide a solid foundation for a forward looking data-economy.
Prakash Mallya, Vice President and Managing Director, Intel India
At a time of great uncertainty, the first ever paperless Union Budget 2021 stood out for its unremitting focus on economic recovery through higher spending and inclusive growth opportunities. The allocation of Rs. 50,000 crores over the next five years through the National Research Foundation to develop India’s potential as a global innovation hub is particularly exciting. This will undoubtedly provide greater impetus to the Indian innovation story and cement our position on the global map of leading economies. At Intel, we are steadfast in our commitment to partnering with the Indian government on this journey of technology fueled innovation and growth. The Budget’s elaborate focus on developing healthcare infrastructure is also very encouraging. Technology will be a key enabler for building a robust healthcare ecosystem that can ensure universal access to high quality and personalized medical resources across the country. The past year has also refocused efforts on a digital-first mindset to enable greater access to education, support educational planning and teaching, and elevate learning outcomes. The proposed National Digital Educational Architecture (NDEAR) together with online modules for education and provisions for digital training for teachers are welcome steps towards ensuring quality education for all. The other thing that stood out in the Budget was the major push to revive and drive growth for the MSME sector. Doubling the budgetary allocation for this crucial sector, coupled with reducing margin money requirements for startups and promoting ease of business for foreign investors will help this sector develop further. It is evident that the government is banking on India’s digital technology foundation to power its revival journey. It is encouraging to see the government’s sharpened focus on adoption of cutting edge technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. We are excited to see the future of Indian innovation and economic resurgence unfold over the next few months. And we look forward to continuing to partner with the government to develop innovative technology solutions that can support the nation’s growth objectives, generate employment and strengthen India’s digital innovation capabilities.
Ketan Patel, Managing Director, HP India Market
Today’s budget announcement confirms government’s focus on developing infrastructure and skills which will have short and long term benefits to Indian economy & people. From a technology point of view, the incentives for creating digital infrastructure, education and skilling spells out the government’s intent on developing the country’s human capital. Steps like international collaboration to develop new skills will help Indian youth prepare for modern job requirements and make them global ready. The announcement of the National Digital Educational Architecture (NDEAR) is a welcome step, which will help build a Digital First mindset in the entire education system in India and help students and educators adopt new ways of learning and teaching. In addition, we welcome the doubled allocation for MSME sector which will incentivise digital transformation of our small businesses that are the backbone of our economy.
Rahul Agarwal, CEO & Managing Director, Lenovo India
The six pillars of the Union Budget 2021 add enormous value to the economic relief post the pandemic issues and paint a futuristic picture for the new year. It has managed to address some of the key issues around Atmanirbhar Bharat, education and Digital India that presents significant business opportunities for global corporates such as Lenovo. With the PLI scheme announced along with the increased focus on ‘Make in India’ in this budget, we are confident that it will encourage local manufacturing, and further bolster the local PC market. Lenovo will also support the government in enriching India’s economy, by boosting digital infrastructure in the field of education and additional focus on promoting inclusive development. The national education policy also creates an opportunity to build the Indian EdTech ecosystem to make it best across the globe for research & innovation, and empowers the citizens to scale up their skills.
Manish Sharma, President & CEO, Panasonic India & SA
The Budget presented by the Honorable FM in the background of five mini budgets is continuum of reformative measures to boost the economy to drive – Job, Demand and Spending. I believe the methodical approach of identifying six focus areas where Health and Infrastructure, with significant incre ase in allocations, sit on the top is in the right direction to revitalize the economy and invest in well-being of people. For manufacturers, Govt re-iterated its commitment to reforms like introduction of Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme with a budget outlay of Rs 1.97 lakh crores across 13 sectors which reaffirms their intent to provide impetus to domestic manufacturing, while elevating India’s position as a global manufacturing champion. We look forward to implementation details here to participate. The increased spending on infrastructure to improve roads and public transport is also a positive move and will provide easy access to raw material.
Mike Chen, General Manager, TCL India
We do welcome the recent PLI scheme of the government. However, we need to ease up the duty imposed on raw materials keeping in mind the make in India thought. We should also be getting added incentives so that transformative measures can be taken. The industry contributes 25% of the country’s GDP.
Avneet Singh Marwah, Director and CEO of Super Plastronics Pvt Ltd, a brand licensee for Kodak and Thomson TVs
Government intends to boost local manufacturing through its announcements in various PLI scheme in next five years. As part of consumer electronics, televisions should be considered to be included into the scheme. Also a dedicated Freight Corridor will be a game changer for supply chain of manufacturing. By spending on infrastructure, India will be competitive at global stage. Like metals, government should consider taking back customs duty on panels as there is increase of prices by 300% on the raw materials.
Rajeev Singh, Managing Director, BenQ India
A very significant budget as India is coming out fast from effects of COVID 19, Government has given strong emphasis on spending on Infrastructure along with big push for Atmanirbhar Bharat. Alongside, there is no change in direct taxes largely which were moderated for companies last time. This will mean more money in the system and will act positively towards faster growth of economy. Government has also given additional push to education and skill development segment in the budget which will result in extensive use of technology which in turn will give a boost to virtual classroom and Blended and Hybrid Learning.
Supria Dhanda, Vice President and Country Manager for India, Western Digital
We congratulate the Government’s initiative in amplifying Atmanirbhar Bharat. Wonderfully captured by our Finance Minister, Atmanirbhar Bharat is an expression of 130 crores Indians who have full confidence in their capabilities and skills. Digitisation, Skill Development and Job Creation are necessary to lead India towards high growth and be self-reliant. With rapid digitisation across industries over the last year, it is an opportune time to enhance our spending in training imparting digital skills to the youth. The budget clearly prioritises job creation and rural development with generous allocations for various developmental schemes. The focus around National Apprenticeship Training Scheme (NATS) with an allocation of INR 3,000 crores will empower a new wave of talent transformation and adequate employability opportunities for the Indian youth.
Alok Dubey, Chief Finance Officer, Acer India
At Acer, we believe that the Union Budget 2021 announcement has covered several important issues faced by the economy and is going to bring growth opportunities despite the COVID-19 pandemic. There are several areas where the honourable Finance Minister has announced allocations of funds. This year the government aims to spend Rs 1.97 lakh crore on various PLI schemes over the next 5 years, starting this fiscal. This is in addition to the Rs 40,951 crore announced for the PLI for electronic manufacturing schemes which will accelerate growth opportunities for the industry. And, we look forward to a complete policy and leveraging the same to kickstart domestic manufacturing.
Dinesh Aggarwal, Joint Managing Director, Panasonic Life Solutions India Pvt Ltd
As was expected, the Union Budget 2021 has focused on our nation’s growth and brings a very positive sentiment to facilitate the economic reset. While on one hand there is a generous allocation towards the continued fight against COVID and the vaccination drive; on the other side, there is a clear objective of reviving India’s GDP growth across all sectors, i.e. agriculture, manufacturing, and services. This was seen in the major fiscal support announced for Farm produce, the PLI scheme of 1.95 Lac crores over 5 years, for boosting manufacturing and the opening of FDI in the Insurance industry up to 74%. Reflecting on the continued focus on ‘AtmaNirbhar Bharat’, the Finance Minister has announced extended support for the manufacturing of electronic components & sub-assemblies, including mobile phones. The public infrastructure has got a strong boost with specific allocation for NHAI for continued vigour on highway construction and improvement of the roads; with specific budget allocation for some of the states, including Assam. REIT will be vastly encouraged due to the abolition of dividend distribution tax and, this will accelerate the real estate growth, especially since debt financing by FII has been allowed now. This long-awaited concession will steamroll global funding into India’s real estate sector leading to a large boom in Housing and Commercial infrastructure. Specifically for the Electrical Construction Materials industry, reduction of import duties on steel flats & copper scrap, long-awaited revision in the labor laws (including women being allowed to work in night shifts) are some of the significant steps that will create a strong export-led economy in the Manufacturing sector. With special sops in renewable energy, specifically for Solar; the government aims to encourage domestic production by ensuring a uniform policy across the states. Thus, energy generation & domestic Solar module capacity will essentially remain a key area of focus. One expected similar encouragement for EV adoption in India, but perhaps it was not overtly mentioned in the FM’s budget speech. Focusing on rebuilding India, this is a very positive budget for the industry as the PLI scheme will accelerate growth and encourage global manufacturing companies to create large-scale employment in production and allied areas like product development and design, considering the talent pool which exists across India.
Sanjay Gupta, Vice President and India Country Manager, NXP Semiconductors
The Union Budget 2021 has been the first-ever digital budget marking a major milestone in the digital journey of India. The budget has put the much-needed focus on Atmanirbhar Bharat and the need to grow the innovation and R&D sector in the country on a sustained basis. We are excited about the announcement of INR 50,000 crores for the National Research Foundation over the period of five years. This will surely boost the overall research and innovation ecosystem of the country. R&D is the lifeline for any organization and any country to continue to prosper in changing dynamic times. In India, we have to focus parallelly on ‘design-in-India’ in addition to ‘Make-in-India’ to continue to be ahead of the curve. Looking forward to having more and more companies leverage this increased R&D budget from govt and develop future researchers and Innovators. The voluntary vehicle scrapping policy would play a major part in phasing out the old and unfit vehicles thereby encouraging uptake in environment-friendly means of transport like electric vehicles. Overall, we are hopeful that Budget 2021 will propel India in the direction of becoming a global economic superpower.
Leo Joseph, Managing Director, Xerox India
As expected, the core needs of the economy, coming out of a pandemic-hit year, take prominence in the Union Budget 2021. However, long-term, the budget focuses on the D in India – standing for both development and digitization. The progressive budget lays the roadmap for greater digitization in governance. A budget presented and disseminated in a digital format for the first time to a digital census will pave the way for the government to serve citizens through technology and data more seamlessly. The promise of ‘minimum government, maximum governance’ can only be realized through greater investments in technology and focus on greater R&D and innovation – which the budget does.”