Budget Reactions

BUDGET 2024: DEEP TECH IN SHARP FOCUS

Nirmala Sitharaman
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman arrives to present the interim budget in the parliament on 1st Feb, 2024.

A balanced budget adhering to fiscal prudence, the interim budget, while continuing infrastructure growth, prioritizes deep tech innovation, R&D culture and capacity building through youth empowerment and new age upskilling.

As India prepared for the 2024 budget, the IT industry was abuzz with lot of expectations. Leading lights across various domains, from cybersecurity and artificial intelligence (AI) to semiconductors, shared their takes on the most important giveaways on the election year budget. SME Channels tries to decode the  who-gets-what matrix for you.

The interim budget chose to go with fiscal prudence with no major surprises. The FM presented a balanced, workman-like interim budget. FM Sitharaman grounded her budget speech on four social groups: women, poor, farmers, and youth. The groups, which PM Modi believes, are the only four castes that matter in India.


“The focus on digital infrastructure lays a robust foundation for innovation, and the commitment to skill development among youth mirrors the mission to empower the next generation with AI capabilities.”

– Abhinav Jain, Co-Founder & CEO, Almonds AI.


It is very encouraging to see the continued focus of the Government of India, on accelerating, evolving and scaling up infrastructure development in the country. Considering the rapid rise of India as a global powerhouse, a robust and advanced infrastructure is mission-critical for the country’s short-term and long-term goals. The increase in capital expenditure outlay by 11.1 percent will provide a significant impetus to the already strong economic momentum in the country. The addition of the three major railway corridor programs will further deepen the impact of PM Gati Shakti mission, and establish an integrated infrastructure ecosystem to reduce logistics cost, improve connectivity and efficiency. The continued focus on expansion of public infrastructure like Airports, Metro Rail, NaMo Bharat and Electric Vehicles, will ensure that the urban transformation in the country gets fast-tracked.


“Within this transformative landscape, Sophos remains unwavering in its commitment to playing a constructive role in realizing the vision of a cyber-secure India. Our dedication extends to equipping businesses with resilient cybersecurity solutions and nurturing a culture of cyber awareness, thereby contributing to the empowerment of citizens and the assurance of our digital future.”

Sunil Sharma, Vice President- Sales, Sophos India & SAAR

When it comes to the IT industry, the budget was expected to propel India forward in its embrace of Artificial Intelligence (AI), marking a significant stride in the nation’s technological evolution. The budget to a great extent attempted to facilitate the integration of AI across diverse sectors, signifying a milestone in India’s technological landscape.

AI Back in Focus

The budget was expected to fortify both AI development and data center infrastructure, crucial components supporting AI’s data-driven operations.


“The Skill India Mission has helped in building a highly skilled workforce, and the Rs. 1 lakh crore corpus with interest-free loans for tech-savvy youth will be a true game-changer. This will fuel innovation and entrepreneurship, fostering the next generation of tech leaders.”

 Debashis Chatterjee, MD & CEO, LTIMindtree

“Government’s forward-looking budget aligns remarkably well with the impetus required for the AI and technology sectors. The focus on digital infrastructure lays a robust foundation for innovation, and the commitment to skill development among youth mirrors the mission to empower the next generation with AI capabilities. The support for electric vehicles and clean energy initiatives resonate with the Green Loyalty Program, reinforcing belief in sustainable technological advancement. This budget not only catalyzes a tech-driven economy but also heralds a golden era for companies like ours at the intersection of AI and market technology. We are eager to contribute to this transformative journey and commend the government’s vision for a tech-empowered, inclusive growth trajectory,” feels Abhinav Jain, Co-Founder & CEO, Almonds AI.

Sushil Virmani, Managing Director, Best Power Equipments (BPE), says, “As we navigate the landscape of Union Budget 2024, it’s crucial for the government to accentuate and foster an environment for both local and global investments in semiconductor technology, AI, and digital platforms. This strategic focus aligns with our industry’s evolution. Simultaneously, we recognize the imperative to integrate these cutting-edge technologies into our educational curriculum, ensuring a skilled workforce. This synergy is pivotal for propelling our nation towards the coveted 7 trillion economy by 2030.”


“At NetApp, we are aligned with the government’s focus, with innovation in data management being at the heart of everything we do. Combined with the capabilities of our tech talent, particularly the youth, we are well poised to contributing towards building a ‘Viksit Bharat’ by 2047.”

– Puneet Gupta, Vice President & Managing Director, NetApp India/SAARC.

A Shot in the Arm for EV sector

Over the last year, the Electric Vehicle (EV) sector underwent a rapid transformation. Both the two-wheelers and the three-wheelers segment experienced a rapid surge, with double digit growth of 33% and 63%, respectively. This happened, despite reductions in incentives. It was  a turning point in India’s EV journey, when there occurred a major shift from niche to mainstream, transforming the automotive landscape forever. Although the four-wheeler market clocked a substantial growth of 109 per cent the same year, it still awaited an impending transformation. Even though, massive investments have poured in, widespread market adoption is yet to be fully realized, with a potential inflection point projected around 2025. 

The FM has made provision in the budget to nurture not just the EV vehicles but the entire EV ecosystem. The allocation of resources towards the development of a robust infrastructure signifies a pivotal moment for the country. This budget not only encourages entrepreneurship but also opens doors for a multitude of vendors, providing ample opportunities for supply and installation services. The strategic initiatives, laid out in the 2024 budget, provide a strong support for the e-vehicle ecosystem, including manufacturing, charging infrastructure, and incentivizing e-bus adoption. This is certain to foster important changes in the industry. Additionally, the introduction of secure payment mechanisms for e-buses addresses a crucial obstacle to public acceptance.


“The corpus of Rupees one lakh crore for the tech-savvy youth, will have far-reaching impact and provide a much-needed impetus to research and development of new age technologies, and help India emerge as a global leader in the field. The government’s commitment to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship is very encouraging and will go a long way in creating a thriving ecosystem for technology startups in the country”

Deepak NG, Managing Director, Dassault Systemes India

Akash Gupta, Co-Founder and CEO, Zypp Electric, says, “The emphasis on supporting manufacturing and charging infrastructure not only aligns with our company’s mission but also ensures a sustainable future for the entire EV industry. Additionally, the focus on creating employment opportunities for the youth, particularly those with technical skills in manufacturing, installation, and maintenance, will catalyze innovation and growth. We look forward to collaborating with the government in realizing this shared vision and contributing to the electrifying transformation of our nation’s mobility landscape.”

“I applaud the government’s forward-looking stance in supporting the electric vehicle (EV) sector. This move not only aligns with global sustainability goals but also presents immense opportunities for women entrepreneurs to contribute to a greener, technologically advanced future. The budget’s dual focus on women’s empowerment and the EV sector is a testament to our nation’s commitment to inclusive progress and environmental sustainability,” echoes Rashi Agarwal, CBO & Co-Founder, Zypp Electric.


“The collaborative spirit and proposed incentives position India as a global semiconductor hub, solidifying its commitment to cutting-edge technological advancements. Budget 2024 charts the course for India’s robust future in sustainable tech and innovation.”

Hitesh Garg, Vice President, and India Managing Director, NXP Semiconductors

Budget 2024 provides a boost to the future of mobility. The dedicated support for manufacturing and charging infrastructure will prove to be a game-changer, promising exponential growth in the EV segment. “The encouragement for greater adoption of e-buses in public transport networks, coupled with the implementation of payment security mechanisms, not only propels environmental sustainability but also sparks innovation and economic prosperity. This strategic move not only aligns with our values at Delta Electronics India but also signifies a significant leap towards a greener and technologically advanced future for the entire industry,” says Benjamin Lin, President, Delta Electronics India.

“At Delta Electronics India, we understand the transformative potential of e-mobility and are prepared to use our global expertise and local knowledge to accelerate its development. This budget represents a significant step towards cleaner air, sustainable transportation, and a thriving domestic EV industry. We are excited to be part of this journey,’ says Niranjan Nayak, MD, Delta Electronics India.


“The interim budget 2024 recognises the potential of tech-focused start-ups and its vital contribution to development of the country. The continuation of essential schemes like credit guarantee and Start-up India, Funds of Funds show a promising start-up environment in India, one that will provide employment for youth in the country and drive innovation.”

 Prashant Singh, Co-founder, and Chief Operating Officer, LeadSquared

“Our government is committed to advancing sustainable development by enhancing and strengthening the electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem. Through robust backing of manufacturing and charging infrastructure, they have reinforced the groundwork for a more environmentally friendly future. The focus on creating accessible and eco-conscious mobility solutions underscores the significance of this announcement in the budget. These efforts will enhance EV adoption, paving the way for a cleaner, more interconnected future. The details of this announcement in the forthcoming budget will play a crucial role in steering the country’s net-zero agenda in a positive direction,” says Hyder Khan, CEO of Godawari Electric Motors.

Echoing similar sentiments, Rohan Shravan, Founder and CEO of Tresa Motors, says, “Tresa Motors commends the Interim Budget 2024 for taking strides towards a greener future. The focus on strengthening the EV ecosystem through manufacturing support and state-wide charging infrastructure development is a welcome step. This will undoubtedly accelerate EV adoption, especially in the crucial commercial vehicle segment. We’re also encouraged by the vision for rooftop solarisation and free electricity, empowering consumers and contributing to energy security. The installation of 1.3 crore LED street lights further demonstrates the government’s commitment to sustainable infrastructure and improved road safety.”


“Initiatives like the Skill India Mission, training, upskilling and reskilling 1.4 crore youth and establishing new educational institutions, reflect a commitment to human capital development and digital empowerment.”

Sachin Panicker, Chief AI Officer, Fulcrum Digital

“While these initiatives are impactful, we believe the budget could have further fuelled India’s economic engine by considering additional measures. Targeted incentives for local battery production and recycling facilities would bolster supply chain resilience and create valuable jobs. Additionally, extending FAME-II subsidies beyond two-wheelers to include commercial EVs would significantly accelerate their adoption, promoting cleaner logistics and reducing carbon footprint. We remain optimistic that future policies will address these points, and Tresa Motors stands ready to actively contribute to building a cleaner, more sustainable transportation future for India,” adds Shravan.

A Women, Children and Youth Friendly Budget 

As stated earlier, the budget has spotlighted three major interest groups: Women, Children and Youth. “As a woman entrepreneur, the post-budget focus on empowering women is truly uplifting. The allocation of thirty crore Mudra Yojana loans reflects a powerful endorsement of our capabilities. The government’s commitment to ease of living and preserving women’s dignity has led to a commendable twenty-eight per cent rise in female higher education enrolment and forty-three per cent in STEM courses over the past decade. These initiatives are already making a substantial impact on women’s workforce participation,” says Rashi.  


As we navigate the landscape of Union Budget 2024, it’s crucial for the government to accentuate and foster an environment for both local and global investments in semiconductor technology, AI, and digital platforms. This strategic focus aligns with our industry’s evolution.”

 Sushil Virmani, Managing Director, Best Power Equipments (BPE)

“The FM’s interim budget is balanced from the point of view of adhering to fiscal prudence, boosting infrastructure growth, and prioritizing focus on four key sections of the economy – the poor, women, youth, and farmers,” says Aryaman Vir, CEO of WiseX.

“While the silence on real estate specifics is noticeable, the increased allocation for infrastructure is a promising indicator for the economy’s overall health and an indirect boon for the real estate sector. The focus on reducing the fiscal deficit to below 4.5% by FY26 offers stability, likely to enhance investor confidence in Indian equities and bond markets. Of particular interest is the substantial ₹1 lakh crore innovation fund, a significant stride towards fostering technological growth. This is a beacon of optimism for startups and fintech firms, signaling strong governmental support for their crucial role in shaping India’s economic future,” adds Vir. 


“The emphasis on supporting manufacturing and charging infrastructure not only aligns with our company’s mission but also ensures a sustainable future for the entire EV industry.”

 Akash Gupta, Co-Founder and CEO, Zypp Electric

Big Boost to INNOVATION

Not often in India, it happens — a government chalking out a very significant sum to be spent on fuelling innovation and R&D activities in the country. Even though, a major portion of these is earmarked for developing cutting-edge defence technologies, it will doubtlessly be a big step towards realizing “Aatmanirbhar Bharat.” Crucial technology denial by big players has always plagued India’s Defence and allied sectors. PM Modi has looked to bridge that gap by developing and nurturing home-grown technological prowess.   

“We, at Dassault Systemes strongly resonate with the Hon’ble PM Shri Narendra Modi’s clarion call of Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, Jai Vigyan and Jai Anusandhan. Innovation, indeed is the foundation of development.

The corpus of Rupees one lakh crore for the tech-savvy youth, will have far-reaching impact and provide a much-needed impetus to research and development of new age technologies, and help India emerge as a global leader in the field. The government’s commitment to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship is very encouraging and will go a long way in creating a thriving ecosystem for technology startups in the country,” says Deepak NG, Managing Director, Dassault Systemes India.  “We at Dassault Systemes India look forward to supporting this initiative of the Government and contribute to the innovation endeavors of the youth of this country.”


“This budget represents a significant step towards cleaner air, sustainable transportation, and a thriving domestic EV industry. We are excited to be part of this journey.”

Niranjan Nayak, MD, Delta Electronics India

Commitment to Digital Public Infrastructure 

The interim budget has been applauded for its forward-looking approach towards the financial sector and the overall Indian economy. The government’s commitment to fiscal consolidation, coupled with an aggressive fiscal deficit target, sets a positive tone for economic resilience. The commitment to Digital Public Infrastructure aligns with the Financial sector and the Fintech industry’s tech-centric vision for innovative financial services.

“Choice International is particularly encouraged by the focus on fostering private investment, enhancing MSME growth, and orienting the regulatory environment. The government’s focus on International Financial Centres positions financial service providers to benefit from global capital. The decision to withdraw outstanding disputed tax demands is a significant boost for over one crore taxpayers. As we navigate these economic waters, Choice International remains dedicated to actively contributing to the India’s financial sector and support its journey towards sustained economic prosperity,” says Arun Poddar, CEO & Executive Director, Choice International Ltd.


“Through robust backing of manufacturing and charging infrastructure, they have reinforced the groundwork for a more environmentally friendly future. The focus on creating accessible and eco-conscious mobility solutions underscores the significance of this announcement in the budget. These efforts will enhance EV adoption, paving the way for a cleaner, more interconnected future.”

Hyder Khan, CEO of Godawari Electric Motors.

A Suitable Cradle for Start-ups

Like the previous budget, this time too, there’s added focus on nurturing the country’s mammoth Startup ecosystem. The stress on nurturing innovation in the country’s startups is unmistakable. Prashant Singh, Co-founder, and Chief Operating Officer, LeadSquared, says, “The interim budget 2024 recognises the potential of tech-focused start-ups and its vital contribution to development of the country. The continuation of essential schemes like credit guarantee and Start-up India, Funds of Funds, show a promising start-up environment in India, one that will provide employment for youth in the country and drive innovation.”

Focus on Deep Tech

Another most most noticeable feature of the interim budget has been its focus on developing Deep Tech. “The intersection of democracy, demography, and diversity, encapsulated by the ideology of “Sabka Prayas,” emerges as the key force that will unlock India’s true potential in the technology sector. Other significant initiatives such as the allocation of a substantial amount of Rs 1 lakh crore for tech startups and the strategic emphasis on deep-tech for defense, underscore the government’s dedication towards realizing its Atmanirbhar Bharat vision,” states Sunil Sharma, Vice President- Sales, Sophos India & SAARC.


“The government’s focus on International Financial Centres positions financial service providers to benefit from global capital. The decision to withdraw outstanding disputed tax demands is a significant boost for over one crore taxpayers.”

Arun Poddar, CEO & Executive Director, Choice International Ltd.

Gaurav Sahay, Practice Head (Technology & General Corporate), Fox Mandal & Associates, says, “Deep tech innovation is transforming sectors such as Deep Tech, Healthcare, and Clean Energy are bolstering India’s global economic competitiveness. In the interim Budget 2024, tax rates, including import duty, remain steady. However, start-ups will benefit from tax exemptions for specific IFSC units that are extended to March 2025. FM Sitharaman has allocated ₹1 lakh crore for interest-free loans, stimulating private sector research that would particularly aid deep tech startups. The economic policies aim to sustain growth, foster inclusive development, enhance productivity, create opportunities, and generate resources for investments and aspirations.”

“Initiatives like the Skill India Mission, training, upskilling and reskilling 1.4 crore youth and establishing new educational institutions, reflect a commitment to human capital development and digital empowerment, “ says Sachin Panicker, Chief AI Officer, Fulcrum Digital.

 “At Fulcrum Digital, we stand ready to leverage deep technology and the power of our youth to continue to create opportunities for India at a global level. As a global enterprise AI organization, we are committed to contributing to India’s growth story, and fostering innovation for heightened development,” adds Panicker.

The industry welcomed the budgets focus and provisions to align with developing deep tech capabilities.“The Interim Union Budget 2024 focuses on data-driven innovation, and this gives us much to look forward to. The Honourable Finance Minister has acknowledged the potential of deep technologies like AI in transforming varied industry sectors. In addition, the GoI’s focus on training, upskilling, and reskilling the youth of the nation through the Skill India mission is likely to place India well on the global map of tech-savvy nations. With India’s tech prowess growing, we expect the need for unified storage and intelligent data infrastructures to grow as well. Harnessing the power of data will be a key growth driver and differentiator for businesses across sectors. At NetApp, we are aligned with the government’s focus, with innovation in data management being at the heart of everything we do. Combined with the capabilities of our tech talent, particularly the youth, we are well poised to contributing towards building a ‘Viksit Bharat’ by 2047,” says  Puneet Gupta, Vice President & Managing Director, NetApp India/SAARC.

“We welcome the interim budget’s focus on skilling, deeptech, R&D, innovation, and digital infrastructure, all of which are critical drivers for the IT industry’s growth,” says Debashis Chatterjee, MD & CEO, LTIMindtree.

“The Skill India Mission has helped in building a highly skilled workforce, and the Rs. 1 lakh crore corpus with interest-free loans for tech-savvy youth will be a true game-changer. This will fuel innovation and entrepreneurship, fostering the next generation of tech leaders. As we strive towards achieving the goal of “Viksit Bharat” by 2047, LTIMindtree stands committed to partnering with the government in its digital transformation journey. We believe this interim budget has laid a strong foundation for continued growth, with technology playing a pivotal role in shaping India’s future,” he adds.

Spotlighting Cybersecurity

 The budget highlighted emphasis on skill development, technology-driven innovation, and sustainable infrastructure.  Increasing the cybersecurity budget from INR 400 crores to INR 750 crores within a year is worth mentioning.  “The provisions resonate with our organizational mission, which is focused on empowering Indian businesses through state-of-the-art cybersecurity solutions. The government’s steadfast commitment to increasing the cybersecurity budget from INR 400 crores to INR 750 crores within a year is a noteworthy development within the industry, and promises to address cybersecurity threats that may endanger the rapidly digitizing nation,” says Sunil Sharma, Vice President- Sales, Sophos India & SAARC.

“Within this transformative landscape, Sophos remains unwavering in its commitment to playing a constructive role in realizing the vision of a cyber-secure India. Our dedication extends to equipping businesses with resilient cybersecurity solutions and nurturing a culture of cyber awareness, thereby contributing to the empowerment of citizens and the assurance of our digital future,” he adds.

Handholding Semiconductor Manufacturing

We have been covering each important move of the Government on developing a self-reliant Semiconductor ecosystem in the country. In continuation of the Government’s policies, the interim budget has outlined provisions to boost up the country’s semiconductor journey. 

“Union Budget 2024 delivers a resounding commitment to sustainable tech, spotlighting support for EVs and bio manufacturing. Metro Rail and Namo Bharat projects elevate city connectivity, while the dual focus on public transport and defence tech reveals a visionary agenda.

The game-changing move of a Rs 1 lakh crore corpus for our tech-savvy youth, coupled with a 50-year interest-free loan, sets the stage for long-term financing, propelling research and innovation. This bold step positions India for a golden era in technology and innovation.

Aligned with our pre-budget expectations, the government’s emphasis on fostering a conducive environment for research and development perfectly mirrors the semiconductor industry’s trajectory. The collaborative spirit and proposed incentives position India as a global semiconductor hub, solidifying its commitment to cutting-edge technological advancements. Budget 2024 charts the course for India’s robust future in sustainable tech and innovation,” says Hitesh Garg, Vice President, and India Managing Director, NXP Semiconductors.

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