The budget 2022 countdown has begun and come February 1, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will announce the annual financial statement for next fiscal.
In this episode of the Budget Podcast, CNBCTV18.com’s Kanishka Sarkar shares what edtech startups, fintechs, chipmakers, and women want from the upcoming budget.
According to the WEF Global Gender Gap Report 2021, India has slipped 28 places to the 140th rank out of 156 countries due to inadequate representation in politics, technical and leadership roles, decrease in women’s labour force participation rate, poor healthcare, lagging female-to-male literacy ratio and income inequality.
However, over the past year, 42 percent of women business owners have shifted to a digital business model, and 34 percent have identified new business opportunities in response to the pandemic. But, more needs to be done.
Priyank Shah, co-founder and director, RENEE Cosmetics said he expects the Finance Minister to introduce some relief in taxation and goods and service tax (GST) policies so that women entrepreneurs are encouraged to take the leap with a little more convenience.
He wants the government to encourage and provide funds to enable academic incubation centres in women-only colleges so that young women can explore entrepreneurship and also create startups. Shah thinks support of working capital and interest-free loans would be another highly beneficial move to encourage women-led startups.
Given the critical applications of semiconductors in artificial intelligence, 5G, robotics, automobile industry and other, and the supply constraints, Dinesh Kumar, Associate Partner — Indirect Tax and Raghunathan Parthasarathy, Associate Partner — Direct Tax at BDO India, suggest the government could consider announcing incentive packages.
This could include activity-based incentives in the form of 150 percent weighted deduction towards in-house R&D expenditure, income tax holiday for chip export businesses, enhanced income tax deduction to companies that aid development, operate and maintain relevant infrastructure, and reduced GST rate from the present 18 percent.
These, the duo thinks, will be a great support to home-grown chip companies and could go a long way in making India more self-reliant.
Meanwhile, another sector that is booming given the shift towards digital, is the edtech startups ecosystem. The e-learning startups bagged $4 billion worth of funding in 2021
On the budget wishlist, Rachit Agrawal, co-founder and Director, AdmitKard says he expects to see the economy moving its focus to build stronger capabilities in the school infrastructure to enable the hybrid model of education. He also thinks early education needs to get more tech-enabled.
Amid a rapid shift towards digital payments, George Sam, business head and co-founder at Mindgate Solutions, has said the finance minister must take action to minimise translational costs, thereby promoting large ticket size payments in the B2B segment. He said that one such critical step is expected to come through a push towards prepaid transactions through UPI.