Budget 2024: Reactions From Technology Sector Leaders

Here’s how leaders from digital/technology sector are responding to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s budget announcements.

(Source: Sansad TV/X)

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has presented the interim budget 2024. While announcing the budget, Sitharaman said that new-age technologies and data are changing the lives of people and businesses. They are not only enabling new economic opportunities and facilitating provision of high-quality services at affordable prices for all, but also expanding opportunities for India at the global level.

With the FM’s announcement that India will continue to invest in digital technologies, the industry is optimistic about the future. Here’s how leaders from digital/technology sector are responding to the government priorities for FY24-25.

Ravi Kunwar, Vice President, India & APAC, HMD Global (Maker Of Nokia Phones)

“The interim budget is forward-looking and represents the remarkable evolution of India's mobile and telecom landscape in the last decade, standing true to our expectations. The allocation towards development of electronics manufacturing clusters unlocks the accessibility of high-quality technology for varied consumers, including those at the bottom of the pyramid. Additionally, the proposal to further provide relief in customs duty on the import of battery covers, main lenses, back covers, and mechanical items will boost the Make-in-India initiation and solidify the mobile manufacturing ecosystem in the country.

This reduction, coupled with the establishment of a 1-lakh-crore corpus supported by a 50-year interest-free loan, will empower the private sector to significantly advance research and innovation in sunrise domains.”

Manoj Nair, Head Of India GDC, Fujitsu India

“We welcome India’s Union Budget 2024-25 unveiled today and applaud the Indian Government for putting digitalisation, inclusive and sustainable development, and enhanced capabilities and contribution to the generation of resources to power investments at the core. As the demand for tech talent surges, the Government’s Skill India Mission has played a pivotal role in stemming the talent gap in the IT industry. With 1.4 crore youth upskilled and reskilled, the announcement of higher learning institutions including IITs and IIMs will help India address the AI skill crunch and bridge the gap effectively.

Additionally, the Government’s corpus of Rs 1 lakh crore with a 50-year interest-free loan will encourage the private sector to scale up research and innovation significantly in sunrise domains. This will be a big boost for tech-savvy youth and help the nation strengthen capabilities in the deep tech sector.”

Sameer Dhanrajani, CEO, 3AI

“We look forward to welcoming the points from the Interim Union Budget 2024-25 made by FM Shreemati Nirmala Seetharaman on the AI sector. We appreciate the acknowledgement made by the government that AI adoption in various sectors of the government will usher in a golden era for citizen welfare. We have seen various sectors like education, agriculture, manufacturing and healthcare embrace AI to progress further. The Interim Union Budget 2024-25 encourages this to make significant moves forward to a developed India. The Government’s commitment to inclusive development and profound positive transformation in the last 10 years, despite challenges from pandemic, is making strides towards an Atmanirbhar Bharat. We look forward to the future roadmap that will be outlined in the full budget later this year.”

Bimal Khandelwal, Chief Financial Officer, STT GDC India

"The Union Budget 2024-25 presents encouraging prospects for the technology and digital infrastructure sector. The substantial increase in FDI inflow and the commitment to negotiating bilateral investment treaties signal a favourable environment for sustained foreign investment, aligning with the digital aspirations of the nation.

The noteworthy outlay of Rs 11.11 lakh crore for infrastructure development, with a focus on technology, is a promising move. This budget holds the potential to positively impact the data centre industry, fostering innovation and growth. The emphasis on technology, innovation, and infrastructure aligns seamlessly with the evolving needs of the data centre sector, and we anticipate contributing significantly to India's digital journey."

Alekh Sanghera, Co-Founder And CEO, FarMart

“Budget 2024-25 is a great step towards a promising and bountiful agritech future. The budget provisions will help strengthen agriculture chains through food processing infrastructure, minimised wastage and crop insurance.

We, at FarMart, echo the vision of PMKSY and PM-FME, bridging the farm-to-fork gap. Better market access and post-harvest management will empower smallholders with sustainable income. We are aligned with the government’s vision to boost productivity and farmer welfare through incentives around credit access, infrastructure and public-private collaboration. This budget fuels India's agritech ecosystem, ensuring local and global food security."

Srividya Kannan, Founder And CEO, Avaali Solutions 

“The Interim Union Budget India 2024 unwraps a portfolio of measures that exude optimism for the future. Two noteworthy announcements are brimming with potential for transformative impact—the continued robust expansion of the Skill India Mission and a laudable push towards enhancing female enrollment in higher education.

The allocation of interest-free loans to stimulate innovation is not just a fiscal transaction but an investment in the unbridled ingenuity of Indian minds. By easing the financial burden on entrepreneurs and startups, the government fosters an environment where bold, forward-thinking ventures can flourish without the stranglehold of interest payments. This will ultimately bolster India's reputation as a hub for innovation and drive the indigenous tech ecosystem forward. With an already burgeoning talent pool, focused investment in innovations, including in the technology sector, will likely yield significant returns, catalysing the development and adoption of innovative solutions across industries."

Mandar Natekar, Co-Founder And CEO, NeuralGarage

"The interim budget, presented today, shall provide an impetus to an ecosystem of startups, technology companies and aspirants, providing them with ample opportunities to set up, enhance technological offerings and bolster innovation. These are positive sentiments that will further strengthen India's technology landscape through research and innovation.

The private sector will witness a steep growth with innovation being at the forefront. Further, the government has extended tax benefits for startups up to March 31, 2025, and withdrawn some outstanding direct tax demands. Deeptech and Gen AI have the potential to revolutionise a variety of sectors. Ethical practices and its usage will lead to Indian brands and artists being recognised from local to global markets creating a seamless experience and put India on the global map for technological prowess.”

Rajeev Singh, MD, BenQ India

“The government’s resolute commitment towards ensuring the continuous growth of the Indian consumer tech industry has been highlighted through the initiatives outlined in the interim Budget 2024. PLI 2.0 (production-linked incentive) represents a new dawn, a step in the right direction, that aims to kick-start an era of unprecedented growth. It also lays the groundwork for path-breaking innovation within our sector. Incentivising domestic manufacturing empowers our industry to significantly scale up production, create valuable job opportunities, and deliver high-quality products that are more readily accessible to Indian consumers.

Focus on both upskilling initiatives and robust R&D investments will not only broad base innovation and startup culture, but also result in the creation of a tech-savvy workforce. For India to manufacture within its own borders, we will require a culture of continuous innovation, something that can only be achieved through strategic focus on R&D.

The timely budgetary allocation of Rs 6,200 crore towards PLI schemes across industries, including consumer electronics and technology, will undoubtedly serve as a significant catalyst for localised manufacturing endeavours.”

Nandini Tandon, Co-Founder And Chief People Officer, Indusface

"In the budget speech 2024, the government has unveiled a series of ambitious initiatives aimed at empowering our youth and driving innovation forward. The strides made in skilling, particularly through the Skill India Mission, are not just commendable but pivotal for our nation's socio-economic development.

The revelation of a 43% enrolment rate for girls and women in STEM courses signifies a positive trajectory towards gender inclusivity and diversity in these critical domains. Yet, while enrolment figures are encouraging, we must ensure that women are not just participants but leaders in shaping the technological landscape, breaking barriers, and driving innovation forward.

The focus on deep-tech technologies for defence purposes underscores the importance of self-reliance and innovation in critical sectors. However, what is missing in the budget is a mention or focus on cybersecurity, which is crucial. Insurance industry for example is seeing massive penetration and has a huge upside in India and bad actors have caught up with that trend. We saw 100% websites getting targeted by sophisticated bots in the last year and they even target public-facing internal systems such as HRMS or ERPs as per our latest state of application security report. With the landmark announcement of the DPDP (Digital Personal Data Protection) Act last year, the government has indeed taken steps to protect citizens’ data. Therefore, it's essential that cybersecurity receives the attention and resources it deserves in our national budget and strategic planning."

Sudhir Kunder, Chief Business Officer, DE-CIX India

"Budget 2024 is a testament to India’s commitment to technological advancement and digital entrepreneurship. I am thrilled to see the emphasis on tax incentives for data centre investments and the recognition of the pivotal role they play in our digital economy. This budget makes it clear—this will be the year for the tech-savvy generation. The opportunities are immense and robust, paving the way for India to expand globally.

With India emerging as the third-largest ecosystem for startups globally with over 1,16,679 recognised ventures across the country, the focus on innovation and entrepreneurship is not just encouraging, but it also provides a solid foundation for the future."

Nikhil Rajpal, CEO, Hero Electronix (Makers Of Qubo)

"In the unveiling of the Interim Union Budget 2024, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has strategically charted out a path not just for driving economic growth, but for a transformative era of inclusive prosperity.

The strategic emphasis on empowering entrepreneurship with robust financial support is a game-changer. It paves the way for innovation-led development, mirroring our own ambition to be at the forefront of 'Viksit Bharat,' and resonates deeply with our vision of building successful technology businesses out of India.”

Hrishikesh Rajpathak, Co-Founder And CTO, nRoad

In the dynamic landscape of technology, the government's budget signals exciting prospects for growth, innovation and employment. By acknowledging the transformative impact of new-age technologies and emphasising research and entrepreneurship, it fosters an environment conducive for businesses to thrive and push boundaries. 

This budget positions India to enhance its global standing in the technology sector, thereby contributing to positive socio-economic impacts. However, amid this momentum, there's a pressing need for stronger policies on data mining and usage. As technology evolves, data becomes increasingly valuable, raising concerns about privacy, security and ethical usage. Clear guidelines and regulations are essential to safeguarding corporate enterprise data and ensuring optimum utilisation across industries.” 

Amit Mishra, Co-Founder And CEO, iMocha

"We commend the budget's focus on skill development and its recognition of technology's pivotal role in driving India's economic growth. The achievements of the Skill India mission underscore our commitment to a skills-first approach. Tax benefits for startups align with Atmanirbhar Bharat, yet a more targeted approach is needed for skill development, especially in emerging technologies like AI and cybersecurity.

There's a pressing need for targeted resource allocation toward essential tech skills. Collaborative initiatives between the government and the private sector will be crucial for addressing workforce challenges and making individuals future-ready. Skills intelligence will play a vital role in identifying and meeting these objectives.”

Yamini Bhat, CEO And Co-Founder, Vymo

"The budget has taken steady steps towards fostering an environment, where women excel both professionally and academically. The allocation of 30 crore Mudra Yojana loans for women entrepreneurs will strengthen women-led micro businesses and their contribution to the economy. A 28% surge in female enrolment in higher education and stronger representation in STEM courses reflects progress in gender inclusivity.

Vymo applauds the various initiatives launched for the startup community including the PM Mudra Yojana and transformative schemes like Fund of Funds and Start Up India. The Rs 1-lakh-crore corpus for research aligns with Vymo's commitment to innovation, and is a boost to the private sector as they scale up research and innovation in sunrise domains."

Praveen Grover, Vice President And Managing Director, Ahead

"In response to the budget's pro-people initiatives and swift implementation, Ahead recognises the creation of conducive conditions for increased employment and entrepreneurship opportunities. The announcement of a Rs 1-lakh-crore corpus with a 50-year interest-free loan is a visionary step. This strategic move will serve as a catalyst for the private sector to scale up research and innovation, particularly in the sunrise domains.

India's global opportunities are expanding, and the budget underscores our nation's commitment to showcasing innovative solutions through the entrepreneurship and innovation of our people. For our tech-savvy youth, this heralds a golden era, emphasising the need for programmes that synergise the prowess of our youth and technology."

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