The Indian technology industry is undergoing a major transformation as many global companies are choosing Indian cities for setting up their R&D and cyber security centers. Even the tech startup companies are playing a major role in digitally transforming the economy as they continue to develop innovative solutions to solve the most complex market problems. Technology is even having a great impact on the sellers selling strategy and buyers buying behavior. But this transformation is not only on the positive side; it has a darker side too.
Last year Cisco systems, announced to cut around 5,500 jobs or seven percent of its total workforce, acting against the sluggish demand for its product lines. Even Microsoft is expected to cut around 700 jobs as part of its previous announcement for off loading around 2,850 employees by June 2017. In such a scenario of continuous ups and downs, Ankush Kumar reached out to leading tech companies to gauge their views and expectations from the upcoming budget announcement:
Rajeev Sharma, Head-Corporate Services & Strategic Planning, Mitsubishi Electric India
The Economy has positive potential with a decent GDP growth rate since the last couple of years. We expect this budget being the 3rd of the existing government should be about execution and implementation of the schemes announced in the past. Simplified tax norms, increased spending on social infrastructure, policy to boost “Make in India” are the key things we expect.
Rajeev Jain, CFO, Intex Technologies
We expect a long-term and stable policy on mobile manufacturing in India. The industry has huge potential and can supplement government initiatives of ‘Make in India’ with highly technical product if focused. Incentives to create sufficient technical manpower will lay the foundation of a strong and robust manufacturing base in India. Further, a clearly laid out research and development policy is necessary to succeed in a highly technical industry like ours and will help bring component manufacturing base in India to save precious foreign exchange. In the end, to create a truly inclusive digital economy, affordable mobile handset or consumer durable items up to certain value should be given a concessional duty treatment.
Vivekanand Venugopal, VP & GM, Hitachi Data Systems, India
” The upcoming budget will create opportunities keeping innovation in the heart of every policy. To efficiently drive the journey of Digital India, the focus should be to modernize infrastructure as this will boost growth across sectors, especially technology. In the wake of large scale digital transformation, Data is becoming increasingly valuable. The Government’s efforts such as GST is a definitive step towards accelerating digitalization. Additionally, corporates and enterprises are expecting a cut in tax rates at various levels to grow more business opportunities in India to further allow the Make in India dream come true.”
Uday Reddy, CEO & Founder, YuppTV
“2016 has been an impressive year for the OTT industry in India. Given the 4G spectrum sales and increasing affordability of smartphones, India transformed into a mobile-first economy. In 2017, I expect Government to help us sustain the momentum. For the same, certain funds should be dedicated solely to boosting the reach of internet, especially to tier 2, 3 and 4 cities and towns. Since majority of OTT viewership is still subject to Wi-Fi, improving the broadband access and Fiber optics network shall also be considered under the budget.”
Pulkit Punj, Director, AnG India
With governments mandatory move of CCTV cameras installations, centrally monitored systems and solutions in huge numbers in verticals like banking, transportation, public places and more, the budget should invest significantly in video surveillance solutions and quality cameras in various segments to make India a safer and smarter country for our citizens specifically for creating a safer environment for women and children. The Electronics industry can play a key role and the government should continue to offer necessary incentives, eased tax framework and infrastructure support, reductions in import duties of security equipment’s with a proper oversight and resources for dealing with threats and attacks.
Suman Reddy, MD, Pegasystems India
From an IT employee perspective, there is an anticipation of increasing the minimum limit for taxable income. There is also a need restructuring of the tax slabs (currently 10% charged on 2.5 lakhs – five lakhs, 20% for 5 -10 lakhs and 30% on income above 10 lakhs) given the inflation over the years, increasing the limits will certainly help create a better consumption economy. The government could also re-look at increasing the exemption limits on allowances such as house rent, travel, education, medical reimbursement etc.
Within the IT community, the focus on ‘digitization’ continues to remain a focal point. Transforming citizen services to become 100% digital will require a significant investment targeted towards upping our current technology capabilities and infrastructure in the country.
Rostow Ravanan, CEO, Mindtree
For the IT industry, the biggest expectation is that the GST implementation plans need to be revisited urgently. The current model given in the draft rules make it very cumbersome for the IT industry. Lastly, at a personal level, some of the incentives given to an individual tax payer needs to be streamlined and updated for current realities, for example, the limit for medical expenses is set at Rs 15000 per annum which is very inadequate for a family of 4 in urban India. I feel we should remove some of the older incentives which are not relevant anymore and increase the limits for other incentives which are more useful in today’s context”.