Union Budget 2022: The tech sector’s wishlist

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Over the last two years, the terms “digitalisation” and “digital transformation” have become very commonly used buzzwords. While much has been accomplished and India has made significant progress in this area, we still have a long way to go before we can call ourselves a “Digital India”.

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The Indian tech industry has shared its wishlist for the government ahead of the Union Budget 2022, emphasising the importance of incentivizing digital transformation.

“Over the last few years, we have seen exponential growth in cyberattacks. The ongoing pandemic and work from anywhere models have further increased the attack landscape for cybercriminals. In addition to this, organizations are facing cybersecurity resource crunch and stringent budgets. Our expectation from the Union Budget is on two aspects: cybersecurity skill gap and cybersecurity awareness. We are hopeful of the Government increasing spends on cybersecurity awareness and training initiatives to empower cybersecurity resources. Eventually, this focus will help to create employment as well as good defense against cybercriminals,” said Sunil Sharma, managing director sales for Sophos India & SAARC.

“It is interesting to note that software exports from India at USD148 billion is more than oil exports from Saudi Arabia. Digitization is set to accelerate, and India will leverage its expertise in developing products and solutions to digitally connect the country to the last mile. It will be encouraging if the budget can introduce steps towards building digitally skilled human capital at a much faster pace and to enhance the infrastructure and connectivity measures further. It is also imperative for us to keep the innovation momentum going by creating incubation centers, national-level hackathons, and augmenting the early-stage funding ecosystem further to solve problems at scale and put technology to the best use,” said Kunal Nagarkatti, CEO at Clover Infotech.

“The Union Budget should accelerate the growth of the digital economy by making it easier for businesses to invest in tools and technology that are crucial to their growth. The government can spur innovation in India by creating policies that incentivize technology product exports and encourage startups to make in India for the world,” said Bhavin Turakhia, founder and CEO at Nova (Flock and Titan).

“Following two years of economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic, and amid the third COVID-19 wave, I am expecting that this year’s Union Budget will be a pragmatic one. There is an urgent need for the Government of India to continue its focus on infrastructure spending to boost the economy and increase employment opportunities. It will be great to see the Union Budget allocate funds toward incentivizing the use of emerging deep technologies like artificial intelligence, intelligent automation, blockchain, augmented / virtual reality etc., among businesses. Today, businesses across verticals are generating large amounts of data, which when harnessed through the use of new age technologies can be better leveraged to solve challenges faced by citizens. Promoting digitization is the need of the hour, and while we have made significant progress in this area in the last few years, we still have a long way to go. At this juncture, incentives, tax benefits, and provisions for optimization of cloud services can greatly help in building a truly ‘Digital India’,” said Puneet Gupta, managing director & vice president, NetApp India.

“The digital payment industry is playing an influential role in ushering transparency and formalization of the economy. To further promote the industry by supporting new business deployment solutions the government could consider incentivizing Venture Capitalists and Private Equity players and other investors to fund Research & Development and technology infrastructure upgradation in India,” said Neeraj Dhawan, managing director at Experian India.

“The Union Budget in India is always eagerly awaited by everyone, from corporates to taxpayers, with all hopes attached to having simplified compliances. In the wake of the third COVID wave, there is a certain expectation in terms of rebates and relief from the finance ministry on indirect and direct taxes. Stimulus packages and tax exemption policies designed for the COVID impacted era would help revitalize the economy. Moreover, the duration of compensation cess ends in June 2022, hence it would be great if the government could look at providing an extension on this by six months or a year. The Ministry of Finance may have some surprises in their bags for the GST regime specifically from a sectoral perspective, hence as a leading industry player we are looking forward to this. In order to provide a fillip to business growth the government is also expected to introduce financial aid to build a strong digital infrastructure for MSMEs and startups,” said Niraj Hutheesing, founder and managing director, Cygnet Infotech.

“India saw a euphoric rise in the number of unicorns in 2021, adding 33 in a year making it one of the fastest growing technology startup ecosystems globally. This growth has been on the back of overall improvement in ease of doing business, and this should continue to remain an ongoing focus and priority. Within the logistics space, there has been a massive disruption led by a major increase in last mile deliveries. Additionally, as Make-in-India along with the national freight corridors gains momentum, this is going to further increase demand for logistics. All of this necessitates building infrastructure capabilities that are future ready. We can achieve this with the right focus on digitizing processes and making international trade easier, which would go a long way in elevating India’s position in the global technology and logistics arena,” said Dhruvil Sanghvi, founder & CEO, LogiNext.

“When it comes to electronics system design and manufacturing, we as a country have a huge potential in becoming a global hub. The recent semiconductor-focused Performance Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme announced by the government has been a major boost for the ecosystem. The Design Linked Incentives (DLI) which is another element linked to the scheme has been beneficial for the design and fabless companies. From a Union Budget perspective, we are definitely hopeful of an MSME-centric budget from the finance ministry which will help in stabilizing growth and further boost this segment, especially during these challenging times caused by the ongoing pandemic. This will also help MSMEs working in the deep tech space to engage in product R&D and manufacturing,” said Vishwakumara Kayargadde, co-founder and COO at Saankhya Labs.

“The government slashed its allocation towards education in the annual budget by 6% last year, amounting to a total allocation of Rs 93,223 crore, against Rs 99,311 crore in the year before that. This year, the education sector seeks higher allocation in the overall Union budget. With a considerable shift to virtual or online education models, ensuring access to better technology and improved e-learning infrastructure should be prioritized to reduce the digital divide in smaller towns and cities,” said Avinash Kumar, founder, Credenc.

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