Any political party which forms government in the centre has certain social, political and economic responsibilities. In countries with deep cultural, religious and economic diversity such as India, it is extremely important for the government to allocate resources wisely. Various factors such as uplifting underprivileged sections of the society, facilitating financial inclusion, mitigating regional disparity, upgrading defence capabilities, providing proper educational facilities, and much more need to be focused on. Therefore, a well-planned budget is of utmost importance for any government to ensure economic stability and growth.
When it comes to budgeting, identifying areas of weakness helps the government to allocate resources in a useful and sustainable manner. This is one of the most fundamental objectives behind framing a government budget. It’s important for the government to ensure that funds reach where it’s required the most. Therefore using past data to identify sections of the society in need of economic welfare policies and implementing those policies helps.
A budget allows the government to regulate the imposition of taxes in various sectors. Investment and expenditure are some of the most prominent factors contributing to the growth of a nation’s economy. The government can encourage people to emphasize more on savings and investments by providing tax rebates and subsidies.
Businesses and enterprises look forward to the government budget as resources being allocated to various sectors are revealed. The government can encourage business owners to revise their policies accordingly and contribute to the country’s economic prosperity.
Economic disparity and inequality is an imminent threat to any country’s economy. The government can address these kinds of threats by introducing public and economic welfare policies for the underprivileged sections of the society through the budget.
Industries operating in the public sector contribute immensely to the country’s economy by providing employment to a lot of people and generating revenues. A budget helps the government focus appropriately on companies in the public sector by introducing policies to aid their growth.
“The interim budget in early 2019 rightly focused on digital transformation and the need to enhance technologies such as IoT, AI, ML, Robotics across key sectors like Manufacturing, BFSI, healthcare. With the upcoming budget, the Government with its ‘Digital India’ vision should look to pushing reforms on digital innovation and creating policy frameworks that encourage MSMEs in India to invest in deep tech locally. First steps the Government needs to take is to improve infrastructure that supports disruptive technologies and enable companies like SUSE to align strategies in sync with ‘Digital India’. With a little encouragement from the policy makers by making regulatory compliance policies more friendly, there is potential to boost India’s digital footprint and innovation journey.”
“With the introduction of central government’s Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection scheme, the burden on healthcare scheme is only expected to rise. As it covers 50 crore households or 500 million people, healthcare isn’t only getting more accessible but also becoming more efficient in diagnosing and treating patients with a strong primary care system in place. The need of the hour is the primary care system should be strengthened in such a way that they are capable of doing the initial assessment, diagnosis and basic management and appropriate referral if needed be. A thorough assessment and investigation at the primary care or secondary care can lead to a significant saving of resources in the territory level. The government should facilitate more Continuous Medical Education (CMEs) to upgrade their skills which can solve the problem of shortage of trained doctors.”
Mr. K. K Ghosh, Chief Administrative Officer, Jindal Naturecure Institute
“Disease patterns have undergone a significant shift over the last two decades, and the disease burden for non-communicable diseases has gone up. With over 60 % of the deaths caused by NCDs, we are in the midst of a growing epidemic. These diseases require regular visits to the hospital and put a dent in patients’ wallets and there is a growing need to educate people on the benefits of holistic preventive care systems such as yoga and naturopathy. Last year, the Union Government increased the allocation for the AYUSH Ministry by 1630 crores to promote education and research in indigenous systems of medicine. When Mr. Shripad Naik assumed office as Minister of State in the AYUSH Ministry on May 30, he stressed on the need to increase the infrastructure required for the dissemination of indigenous healthcare treatments. We hope that government will increase the budgetary allocation this year, and lay out a roadmap to better integrate the use of naturopathy and yoga as these two systems can be developed with minimum cost into our primary healthcare systems. This will help us reduce the burden of NCDs in the long term and bring down the economic burden of health for patients with limited financial resources”.
A lot rides on the allocation for the healthcare sector in the upcoming Union Budget, especially considering the fact that the interim budget left a lot to be desired in terms of a concrete future roadmap to improve healthcare delivery systems. Health spending needs to go up from 1.15 % to 2.5 % of the GDP by 2025 if we are to get closer to meeting the UN’s sustainable development goals and achieve universal health coverage. Although the healthcare sector attracts a lot of investments from private players, most of them go to secondary and tertiary centers while the bedrock of the health industry, primary healthcare, is in shambles with just one primary healthcare center for every 51,000 people. The proposal to set up 1.5 lakh Health and Wellness Centers in rural areas by 2022 is ambitious, but the government needs to leverage public-private partnerships to make it a reality. We also hope that the Union Minster allocates resources to roll out more programs that focus on promoting preventive care practices to reduce the disease burden of non-communicable diseases, which are currently responsible for 61% of all deaths in the country, a number that is only set to go up due to rapid urbanization and lifestyle changes.”
“The re-election of the Modi Government ensures steadiness of the government’s gripping vision for India to boost the economy and put the country in the forefront of the technology sector by 2030. We expect the government to announce a budget that will encourage the entrepreneurial energy in the economy leading to more jobs and development. Most start-ups have a variable source of income and need support from various government sources and investors to grow and become successful. They won’t have the bandwidth to manage multiple GST registrations. We’re hoping the forthcoming Union Budget will boost the start-up eco-system by abolishing the Angel Tax and introducing a single GST registration.
We look forward for the government to strengthen investments in the IoT sector, so that the benefits of IoT technology can reach the masses. The key to the success of the Digital India initiative lies in making the necessary reforms to the tax structures including GST, and driving domestic innovation coupled with fiscal incentive schemes. With a view to accelerate the adoption of IoT services and achieving the NDCP’s goal of 5 billion connected devices by 2022?, we strongly believe that the GST rates for digital products and services should be reduced from current rate of 18%. As the government aims to build one lakh digital villages in India in the next five years, it’s imperative that the services are affordable to the end customers, hence, companies working in digital sector should be given incentives.”
“Right on the top of my wishlist for this year’s budget are schemes to create jobs as that is integral to a lot of other systemic issues outside of unemployment such as affordable housing. More, high-quality jobs typically help address all other societal problems. I strongly feel SMEs taking to digital tools and becoming more efficient, will drive better jobs and outcomes. These initiatives will help us avoid stimuli, such as Universal Basic Income Schemes and other alternatives.
The only other piece on my wishlist is to abolish the angel tax for government recognized startups and SMEs. It’s unfair in structure and policy and curbs growth within SMEs and is largely detrimental to building a world-class startup and SME ecosystem in India.”
“The Indian IT services industry is at a watershed moment. It has strongly aligned itself to ride the global digital transformation wave. There is a huge demand for skilled talent in IT services and the budget should earmark funds to address this. A thriving IT services sector will not only augment exports but also fuel the growth of our consumption economy. The government must introduce favourable policies, tax benefits etc. for skilling manpower and provide much needed employment boost. Enabling IT companies to strengthen India’s digital capabilities and train and employ human capital to seamlessly work on new-age digital technologies is the need of the hour.”
“For the upcoming budget, two key areas to focus on are – technology and India’s salaried population.
India’s online economy has made significant strides, shifting from a largely ‘cash on delivery’ model to now clocking a massive number of online digital transaction. In the upcoming budget, an increased focus on giving better sops to build an infrastructure that can continue to empower individuals digitally will further boost our economy. Also, with technological disruption being key for startups’ growth today, we would urge the government to encourage investments in technology hubs that will help strengthen technologies such as AI, ML etc. The government must also work towards bringing in some respite to GST, by reducing the tax slab for technology services and products, encouraging the early adopter market to flourish.
For salaried employees, in the past few decades, we haven’t witnessed any increase in several allowances that are offered. For instance, the meal allowance is only ₹50 per day; while children education allowance has a limit of just ₹100 per month and the driver salary limit is only Rs 900 per month. It would be of great benefit for the salaried people employees if the Union Budget 2019 considers increasing the limit of such employee tax benefits.”
“The government’s commitment to support entrepreneurs could be evidenced in the form of credit guarantee schemes, easing of regulatory requirements for start-ups and time savvy technology introduced for tax compliance. In the Interim Budget, the government increased allocation to Interest Subvention Scheme for Incremental Credit to MSMEs by 25% over the previous year’s allocation. Given the current slowdown in MSME credit, it is expected that the government would announce further measures to improve the ease of access to finance for MSMEs.
- An increase in the target for lending under Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) is anticipated. Either new schemes that provide collateral free loans of up to Rs 5 mn would be launched under PMMY or the existing ceiling of Rs 1 mn would be raised.
- There may be an increase in fund allocation for setting up new technology centers.
- Some measures to improve the welfare of small traders, such as establishment of National Traders’ Welfare Board, creation of a National Policy for Retail Trade and a scheme on the lines of Kisan credit card and providing merchant credit cards to registered merchants are also likely.”
“We are hopeful that the government would continue the good work it began carrying out in its first term with regards to GST, Make in India, and the host of initiatives it has undertaken in the power / FMEG sector. In the upcoming budget, we also expect that the Government continues its keen focus on improving India’s infrastructure as this coupled with ease of doing business would ensure India becomes a USD 5 trillion economy by 2025 as envisioned by the Prime Minister. Additionally, I am confident that the Government will continue to promote manufacturing in India through its ‘Make in India’ initiative as this would not only provide a boost to Indian companies but also aid in creating more employment opportunities.”
Mr. Jitendra Chaturvedi, Director & Co-Founder, Batooni Mobile Advertising
“The economy has seen tightening of regulations in the past few years. Now the time has come to unleash the animal spirits of entrepreneurs and let a million businesses flourish. We need a jungle of new businesses and ideas that generate employment for a large number of semi-skilled people, and not curated gardens that favor a few. I hope this budget reduces the compliance burden so that businesses may focus more on growth.”
Shekhar Sanyal, Director and Country Head, The Institution of Engineering and Technology
“The work environment is changing at a rapid pace, the government needs to set aside resources to ensure that the country creates an ecosystem for the future of work and skill development, to enable Indians to be globally valuable and competitive. The government regulatory framework around skilling and future of skilling and work require continuous research and input which the budget should allow for. We hope to see more provisions for academia to spend on new technologies and expand their facilities to help students with exposure to real-time application of new-age technologies.”
“With the upcoming budget we hope to see the government’s focus on driving domestic innovation, coupled with fiscal incentive schemes and liberalisation norms with regards to IoT. We, the IET IoT Panel, hope the revamping of the IoT policy is done with adequate industry representation. The budget should look at 3 sectors that play a crucial role in establishing India as a leader in IoT, Manufacturing (Devices & Sensors), Telecommunications and IT/ITeS. It should also ensure key existing policies (National Electronics Policy, National Digital Communications Policy and National Software Product Policy) and formation of new policies (Data Protection, Cybersecurity and IoT Policies) receive adequate financial assistance.”