From Education Reforms to E-Commerce Revolution to Fintech Push, Industry Leaders Unleashed Union Budget Expectations

Here are some key expectations from leading industry players for Madam Finance Minister, Mrs Nirmala Sitharaman just ahead of Union Budget 2021:

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Here are some key expectations from leading industry players for Madam Finance Minister, Mrs Nirmala Sitharaman just ahead of Union Budget 2021.

Satya Prabhakar, CEO & Founder, Sulekha.com:

Satya Prabhakar, Sulekha, Budget 2019

Satya Prabhakar of Sulekha .com

“The Covid pandemic dealt its most lethal and devastating blow on service sector SMEs who were locked out of work for several months and ensuing sharp decline in business even after the lockdowns were lifted. The Government of India, taking into consideration that the service sector SME has become the backbone of our economy, must provide relief to this sector in the form of fast-approval guarantee-free loans and allow them GST-free spending for their marketing to start building their business back up.” Sulekha.com is India’s leading AI platform for expert services. 

 

“Budget needs to focus on financial aid, fast tracking NEP implementation, introduction of NAPs 2.0 and easing of license raj to achieve the ambition of 50% GER by 2035”

Mr Sumit Kumar, Vice President – NETAP, TeamLease:

“The past two budgets have taken strategic measures towards boosting education and skilling in India, one of which was allocation of more funds to augment the ecosystem. However much of this allocated budget still remains unutilized (close to 13% of the budget allocated in the last fiscal is unused). Given the disruption in the ecosystem in the past year due to the pandemic, the upcoming budget needs to take conducive steps to improve education and skilling in India. Firstly, we need to ensure better and optimum use of the funds which remain unused. Secondly, we need to look at creating appropriate avenues where the allocated funds can be utilized more effectively.

The budget should also take measures to fast track adoption and implementation of the New Education Policy 2020.This will improve the employability of learners and bring more skilled talent to formal employment (India still has 94% of its workforce in informal employment). Further, the budget also needs to introduce more stabilized regulations for Skill Universities. The industry is looking forward to the introduction of NAPS 2.0 wherein not only employers are incentivised for training through apprenticeships, but also include tax breaks to absorb trained apprentices into employment, or link it with PMRPY (PM Rozgar Protsahan Yojana) under which PF contribution for fresh hires is taken care of by the Government. This will encourage MSME sectors to engage with apprentices and other skilling initiatives which in turn will further raise formal employment.

Additionally we are aware that the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digitization, but the current license system for online education still remains to restricted. Over 5 lakh students in India are enrolled for online education with foreign Universities, but our 995 Universities continue to reel under the pressure of multiple license raj. We expect the budget to make the rules flexible under Digital India Initiative for Universities including Skill Universities, so that quality education is accessible and affordable. A combination of all the above will surely put us on track to achieve the ambition of 50% Gross Enrolment Ratio by 2035.”

Dukaan App-  Vaibhav Tolia, COO, Dukaan App

2020 has been a tough year for everyone but the worst affected segment has been SMBs across the country. They were forced into lockdowns multiple times and while their businesses were primarily offline. 

Our expectations from 2021 budget is to empower these businesses with financial support as well as weather-proof them from black swan events.
Digital-first SMBs can weather such events and thrive in the consumer economy which is quickly moving online. Regulatory framework & compliances needs to be thought from an SMB perspective, making it easier for them to do their business digitally and not be dependent on large e-commerce providers.

Government should also focus on incentivising businesses that are willing to transition to the digital era. India has millions of entrepreneurs fueling one of the fastest-growing GDP globally, digital-first should become the precursor to Digital India.

Branch Personal Finance App- Matthew Flannery, CEO and Co-founder, Branch Personal Finance App

2020 was a tough year for borrowers and lenders. Lenders saw a sharp increase in demand and subsequent delinquency rates. This in turn had tightened lending rules for the most part of the year. With early signs of economic recovery, we are hoping the Government stimulates spending and increases liquidity in the market. It would be an excellent move from the government if there are economic stimulus packages that can aid both individuals and industries.

Groversons Group Pvt. Ltd- Siddharth Grover, Director, Groversons Group Pvt. Ltd

The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically ruined economies across the globe. Indian retail industry got affected the most by this pandemic. Although the industry witnessed some recovery during the festive season by shifting to e-commerce channels, sustenance of this demand remains critical for the overall revenue prospects of the industry. Being an old and trusted brand in the Indian Innerwear industry we expect the government to allocate good amount of funds in the retail segment as most of the retailers are currently crippled with short availability of finances. Adding to this the government should also focus on reducing the corporate tax rate, which is currently 30%, this will result in improving the financial health of retailers. At last, we also expect the FM to throw some light on the service tax which has always been a major concern for retail marketers. We all suffered huge losses due to the pandemic, let’s hope this budget 2021 will bring some positive news for all the sectors.

TaxMantra Global- Alok Patnia, Managing Partner, TaxMantra Global

All inflows and outflows of funds into and outside India must go through stringent RBIScrutiny, reporting, and limits. They become a blocker for foreign investments into India as investors worry about the extant compliance not only during inflows but also when the funds are to be repatriated back, either the original investment amount, interest, or dividend. The institutional investors and investees still have the resources at their disposal to carry out the compliances, however, many times it becomes a deal ‘breaker’ for smaller investors impacting the smaller MSMEs / startups seeking such funds.

Bhartiyam International School- Mr. Bharat Goyal, Founder & Director, BHARTIYAM INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL

In our country, the core services provided by schools, colleges and universities remain outside the umbrella of GST. Having said this, there are out-of-school education like hobby classes, sports training that are taxed 18 per cent and when they are passed on to the parents, they feel the pinch. One expects reconsideration of GST slab on supplementary education in the upcoming budget.

There needs to be an increase in facilities that aim to build capacity of the teachers, and the support extended to the Anganwadi workers should be bolstered. The expense for the same is huge which is why budgetary allocation for the education sector has to be stepped up from the existing levels. It needs to be mentioned here that as things stand right now, the current level of around is only around three percent of GDP.

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