Despite very little focus on technology, in the Prime Minister Narendra Modi government interim budget 2019, the technology firms, startups and SMBs are hopeful that various initiatives of the central government be it setting of AI centre and making one lakh digital villages will create newer opportunities for technology firms in India. Here’re the views of some of the companies on the interim Finance Minister, interim Budget 2019.
Arun Balasubramian, Managing Director, Qlik India
The interim budget, the government has rightly comprehended the necessity and competence of digital technologies such as AI, machine learning, big data and more. We are glad to find out the government’s plans of developing a National Artificial Intelligence portal, which will significantly boost research and development measures and thus allow businesses of all sizes and sectors to gain better data-driven and decision-making insights and advance the nation in competitive global space.
Rahul Kumar, Country Manager India and SAARC, F-Secure
Leading the world in mobile data consumption is a big milestone for India and promises a great opportunity for development. The lower rates of 4G data are pushing the opportunities for digital growth, even in the hinterlands of India. We believe that the next crucial step will be addressing cybersecurity concerns, as a number for first-time users; and users with a lack of nuanced understanding of cybersecurity are expected to on-board the digital bandwagon. Hence, educating the new internet users about data privacy and online safety should be highly prioritized. As the world moves towards digitization and IoT connected devices, personal data is the most vulnerable commodity and must be carefully safeguarded.
Sanjeev Gulati, Country Director India and SAARC, VIVOTEK
The inclination of IP surveillance industry towards the AI technology is expected to further boost with the establishment of National Artificial Intelligence Portal. Not only this, the ongoing smart surveillance projects in railways is another positive development as Indian railways have been allocated a lion’s share in this year’s budget. India, on the other hand, is also fast-developing its highways with a prime focus on rural roads. Smart surveillance can tangibly increase the efficiency of authorities on keeping a track of such projects which will later also ensure safe and secure traffic management.
Kunal Agarwal, Co-Founder and CEO, Priority Vendor
As India’s largest early payment platform, we at Priority Vendor believe that the interim budget carries some of the significant developments, especially for our SME partners. Businesses registered as SMEs will now receive a 2% loan relaxation by the government, thus easing their access to organised credit facilities. Furthermore, the announcement also gave a boost to SME suppliers, making it mandatory for the government projects to source 25% of their requirements from SMEs. The segment has also been bogged down with the GST compliance, however as per the announcement, SMEs with a turnover of less than 5 Cr need to only file GST once in three months.
While the SME segment would be appeased, we believe the interim budget to also be forward-looking. India has already emerged as the second largest hub for start-ups and the government has vowed to support advanced technologies like AI by setting up a national centre for artificial intelligence. We believe it will propel India on the path of emerging as the key centre for growth and innovation. With artificial intelligence constituting the very fabric of our platform, we are excited about this development and look forward to being part of an innovating, enterprising, and digital India.
Arun Nathani, CEO, Cybage
This budget is providing major boost to real estate segment through fiscal incentives like extension of benefit Under Section 80 IBA, no tax on notional rent on unsold inventory for two years, no notional rent on two self-occupied properties instead of one. Additionally, direct benefit of INR 6,000 to small farmers will provide positive sentiments and will have a positive cascading effect on GDP growth. We welcome the step to promote AI hubs in India which will help to build technical competence and have a long-lasting impact from the technology point of view for the future of India.
This budget has populist and election-oriented flavour, Government will have to balance the spending and keep the fiscal deficit under control.