Finance minister Arun Jaitley presented the Union Budget for 2017-2018 on Wednesday in the lower house of the parliament. The budget comes months after the government’s move to demonetise high-value currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 in a bid to cut down on corruption, flush out black money and strike at the roots of funding of counterfeit notes. Jaitley claimed double digit inflation has been controlled and sluggish growth replaced by high growth. The budget this year focuses on poverty eradication, farmers issues and rural development.
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Here’s how various online businesses reacted to the Union Budget 2017:
Ashish Hemrajani, CEO and Co-founder, BookMyShow
“We look forward to the GST (Goods and Services Tax) roll out in the coming financial year. The e-commerce space will hugely benefit from real time taxation which not only will introduce the required transparency but will further enable free flow of products and services. We also hope that the GST will play a critical role in automating demand curve pricing to a large extent, thereby improving yields and offering much-needed clarity on taxation in the entertainment ticketing space with respect to e-tax for cinema, plays, live events and sports ticketing, similar to airline pricing. A unified tax structure would also help in removing ambiguity and ease the process for e-tax application and collection. The Industry and the Government will both be winners.”
Mr. Sanjay Sethi, CEO & Co-founder, ShopClues
“Budget was overall a populist budget; a move in the right direction but short of expectations. Push for Digital transformation & financial inclusion is applauded but the government has deployed lot more sticks rather than carrots too to push the “less-cash” agenda. I would have expected zero TDR for small value digital transitions. Investments in infrastructure, focus on Bharat & employment guarantee & women empowerment, political trans is welcome. Corporate tax break for SMES is very nice, and much awaited, it is important that Government recognizes SMES to be the engine of India’s GDP growth. Incentive for Startup fell short of expectations. There is not much clarity around FDI, FIPB so let’s see how it pans out in coming days.”
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Mr. Manu Agarwal, Founder and CEO, Naaptol
“Government has planned to take digitisation of transactions to the grass-root level and believe it is a good step towards a stronger economy. The convenience of digital payments will instigate the consumers to spend more and I believe it is positive sign for us”.
Ms. Nita Kapoor, Head, India New Ventures, News Corp
Much like the Startup India initiative, the Union Budget 2017 has left the Indian startup community asking for more. Be it a 5 year tax holiday or the profit linked-deductions for start-ups are benefits which are virtually redundant. This is because there is a long gestation period for them to even break even, forget achieving profitability. Had there been fiscal incentives for private sector to support the setting up of more incubators through industry academic partnerships, that would have been a positive for startups in India.”
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Kunal Bahl, Co-founder & CEO, Snapdeal
We commend the focus on growing the digital footprint in the country – enhancing digital infrastructure, capping cash transactions, reducing cash donations, using Adhaar Pay to enable more digital payments are significant measures. Initiatives make an impact when there is continued attention and the announcement of today builds on the demonetization efforts of last few weeks. We also welcome the emphasis on skill development and technical education – this will enable India to successfully harness the demographic dividend. The attention to affordable housing, greater employment in rural areas are the right interventions to build a more equitable society.
Kenny Ye, GM-Overseas Business, Alibaba Mobile Business Group
Union Budget 2017-18 is a big relief for the common masses – from reduction in personal income tax to sops for affordable housing- the Finance Minister has announced various measures to benefit farmers and weaker sections of the society. On the corporate side, abolishing of FIPB is a bold step and further liberalization of FDI policy will cheer foreign investors. While last year’s auctions removed spectrum scarcity in the country, expansion of Bharat Net project will ensure high-speed broadband to 1.5 lk gram panchayats via Wifi. With increasing smartphone penetration and push for high-speed broadband connectivity in rural areas, a massive digital revolution is imminent in India. Lastly, reduction of corporate tax for MSMEs is a welcome step but larger Indian conglomerates looking to compete with global peers will continue to find the tax rate challenging.
Neelesh Talathi, CFO, Pepperfry.com
The Union Budget 2018 has set the right priorities as India takes head-on the challenging global economic environment. The emphasis is rightly on growth with a slew of initiatives including higher allocation to infrastructure, increased emphasis on affordable housing & more disposal income in the hands of middle class Indians. The Budget continues to focus on transforming India as a Digital Leader by allowing for easier flow of capital to create jobs and fostering innovation in our country, connecting Bharat and encouraging indigenous manufacture of POS terminals. These steps towards creating a digital economy will help grow our e-commerce ecosystem. The Indian furniture industry employs around 5mn people and over 85% operate in the unorganised sector. We are heartened with the Government’s investment in skill upgradation and tax relief for the MSME sector. The Pepperfry marketplace continues to be committed to a strong partnership with small business owners and craftsmen; together we shall help 20 million Indians create beautiful homes by 2020.”