How Indian Startup Ecosystem and Entrepreneurs responded to the Union Budget 2022

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, on February 1, presented her fourth Union Budget, which touched upon all aspects of the economy — from infrastructure development, education initiatives, to instituting the National Tele-Mental Health program.

During her speech today, FM Sitharaman said that this year’s union budget will lay a parallel track of a blueprint for Amrit Kaal, the 25-year-long leadup to India@100.

This Budget seeks to lay the foundation and give a blueprint to steer the economy over the Amrit Kaal of the next 25 years – from India at 75 to India at 100. It continues to build on the vision drawn in the Budget of 2021- 22. Its fundamental tenets, which included transparency of financial statement and fiscal position, reflect the government’s intent, strengths, and challenges.

She also said the budget will benefit youth, farmers, SCs, STs, and big public investment for modern infrastructure, readying India at 100 years of independence.

The government is aiming to attain growth in the digital economy and fintech, technology-enabled development, energy transition, and climate action, and Relying on a virtuous cycle starting from private investment with public capital investment helping to crowd-in private investment.

The Budget comes at a time when the Indian economy has been on the path to recovery from the pandemic slump, with Principal Economic Advisor in the Ministry of Finance, Sanjeev Sanyal, saying the economy is now performing above pre-pandemic levels.

Here’s a look at how Indian entrepreneurs, startup founders, investors, and other stakeholders across the Indian startup ecosystem reacted to Union Budget 2022.

Bhaskar Majumdar, Managing Partner, Unicorn India Ventures

“This budget shows that technology enablement for transparency and roll-out at scale remains at the heart of the Government. Every aspect of the Budget speech has this aspect in mind. At the macro level, this tech enablement as an integral part of governance will be a boost for all new-age tech companies and would further enhance the environment of new-age digital and tech companies. Drones have now become an integral part of the implementation of schemes be it in agritech, in defense, and other areas.”

The creation of Nabard Agritech Fund for “Kisan Drones “ shows the Government’s recognition of a new view on how to upgrade farming. Recognition of digital assets and bringing them under the tax structure is an excellent initiative as this would bring these into the mainstream.”

The tax on crypto/ NFTs will now make it legalized and users won’t be able to circumvent tax and other financial regularities,” Bhaskar said.

In addition to this, Defence, Artificial Intelligence (AI), geospatial systems, drones, space economy, genomics & pharmaceuticals, and clean mobility have immense potential to achieve sustainable development and offer employment to millions. The government will enable development in these sectors through the startup community. “This is a long-term directional growth budget and can be called the “digital future growth budget,” Bhaskar adds.

Prashanto Das, Founder, Hyperstate Technologies

“This is the Big Tech Push budget- A recognition of breakthrough tech and all that it contributes to the growing digital consumption economy. No code tech platforms like Kappa that democratize tech for a larger mass can help the larger population become more tech-savvy in a shorter time, creating new employment opportunities,” Prashanto said.

Further, we see many opportunities esp with the humanization of assets that can help small businesses grow exponentially in building Duniya ki apni Dukan without a significant expense in infrastructure.

“For a country hungry to grow quickly, the FM’s words resonate with our outlook,” He adds.

Ritesh Agarwal, Founder & Group CEO, OYO

“The Budget, presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, is progressive and growth-oriented. It will help in India’s progress towards its aspiration of a $5 trillion economy. The focus on startups, which have emerged as drivers of growth for our economy, was evident. The extension of the incorporation period for eligible startups will certainly give a boost to this segment,” Ritesh Agarwal said.

Hospitality services by the small and medium sector are yet to bounce back, and the Finance Minister’s decision to extend the ECGL service for this sector up to March 2023 expanding the cover by Rs 50,000 crore is a welcome move.

Additionally, The budget also puts a huge focus on infrastructure and logistics which is a welcome development and ensures that the economy continues to witness not only revival but also show robust growth in the long run.

“Steps such as e-passport issuance will strengthen overseas travel and expansion of highway network by 25,000 km and contracts of eight ropeways under PM Gati Shakti to develop seven engines will also benefit domestic travel,” he said.

Relief to the small businesses and startups through the recent future (Amrit Kaal) is reassuring and these, coupled with steps taken towards digitalization (Drone Shakti, Digital University, Digital Banking and Payments, EVs, Launch of 5G) and Web3.0 (Digital Rupee) will provide new opportunities for young emerging India.

Ravish Naresh, CEO & Co-founder, Khatabook

The Union Budget 2022 is a well-balanced and progressive effort towards growing India’s economy, especially with regards to, startups, MSMEs, fintech, and digital infrastructure. Meeting working capital requirements during the initial years of operation is often tough for startups.

tax exemption for startups being extended by one more year is a welcome move, and it is likely to further encourage innovations and growth that the startup ecosystem is delivering.

— Ritesh Agarwal

 

The announcement of the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) extension until March 2023 is much-needed support for the MSME ecosystem’s recovery. Aiding the MSME segment’s cashflows and finances will be crucial in 2022 as it will be a year of transitioning to growth from recovery for this segment.

The Budget has also shown great support towards expanding the digital Finance infrastructure in the country with the issuance of Digital Rupee and continuing the financial support for digital payments and initiatives such as setting up 75 digital banking units in 75 districts by scheduled commercial banks. Overall, Budget 2022 has successfully addressed the need of the hour by bringing in policies and reforms crucial for the growth of the country.

Byju Raveendran, Founder & CEO, BYJU’S

There is a significant jump of 12% in the budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Education.

Byju Raveendran

The government continues to approach education reforms with a digital-first mindset. Programmes such as ‘One class One TV channel’ for supplementary education in school, DESH-stack for upskilling India’s youth and virtual labs for developing critical thinking skills will go a long way in fulfilling the liberating vision of NEP 2020. I have always maintained that the digital learning gap is easier to bridge than the physical learning gap.

The plan to connect all villages and their residents with optical fibre by 2025 is a welcome step in this regard. The proposed digital university with a personalized learning experience will make higher education more accessible and equitable.

Mr. Vivek Saxena, CEO & CoFounder, Thinkly

“While some of the bitcoin and other crypto asset investors might be disappointed with the 30% tax, the silver lining is that the government has taken a nuanced view around it and recognized digital assets as part of the evolving future – making it illegal and driving it underground would’ve done this asset class more harm”.

Neha Indoria, Co-founder & CEO, Boingg! (a Kids focused D2C furniture brand)

The domestic furniture market has grown at a CAGR of 10-11% in the last 5 years. Yet, 80% of this market remains unorganized. With the focus on increasing consumption and capital expenditure that this budget has brought in, furniture manufacturers who are focused on ‘Make in India’ can expect to increase their organized market base, bring economies of scale, and in turn make themselves cost-competitive for the international export market as well.

Pankit Desai, Co-founder CEO, Sequretek, a Mumbai-based cyber security startup

Agriculture, healthcare, and digital banking have all received significant boosts in the Budget 2022-23.

Pankit Desai

India has seen a surge in startups, particularly in the IT/knowledge-based sectors, over the last six years. The one-year extension of tax incentives for startups, as well as the launch of the e-stack portal, which encourages a digital ecosystem for skilling and finding relevant jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities, will encourage a stronger entrepreneurial culture in India and position India as the global hub for technological innovation.

The FM stated that startups will be encouraged to facilitate drones by developing various applications and providing drones as a service. The allocation of 25% of India’s defence R&D budget to private industry, startups, and academia is a positive step.

The FM also mentioned formalizing cryptocurrency, 30% tax on income from transfer of virtual digital assets, and announcement of a blockchain-based and RBI-backed Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). With tech advancement, innovation and widespread adoption of digital payments, the government should also focus on raising awareness and education around the importance of cybersecurity, privacy and data security among businesses and consumers for sustainable growth.

Poshak Agrawal, Co-Founder & CEO, Florence Capital

We welcome the vision outlined in the Union Budget 2022 regarding digital payments and how it can be a key tool towards enabling financial inclusion. The Budget has acknowledged that taking forward the digital banking and fintech innovations is the way to go – it is proposed to set up 75 digital banking units in 75 districts of the country by scheduled commercial banks.

We hope to be able to support this mission and vision of financial inclusion by providing secured, transparent and accessible credit to women. Financial inclusion will play a key role in ensuring that the goal of 9.2% economic growth is achieved.

Ajay Ramasubramaniam, Co-Founder & CEO, Startup Reseau

Wearing a startup enabler lens, what is noteworthy is the mention of technologies ranging across AI, IOT, Blockchain and Digital across core sectors of the economy. India @75 is setting up a massive road map for India @ 100 to be a technology powerhouse in infrastructure, financial services, agriculture and national defense.

Setting up a roadmap for adoption of CBDC and making digital and fintech as the priority of the Gov’t stands out in the Budget 2022 announcement. Allocation of INR 1,500 Crores for development initiatives in the North East is another big one, that should see the startup ecosystem grow in the region.

Arjun Gupta, Founder, Courseplay

The 2022 Budget saw many missed expectations for SMEs and Startups. As one of the fastest-growing contributors to GDP, the SaaS sector should be promoted more by the central government. Share allocation process for start-ups to be simplified. Low-cost tech education in Tier 3 and smaller towns is a huge must, as the supply of skilled tech workers is at an all-time low compared to demand.

Getting government contracts for tech start-ups is still very complicated and should be made easier. Labour Law reforms for tech companies would be appreciated too. The govt needs to stand behind Indian SaaS companies to make India the no. 1 SaaS exporter in the world. Hopefully, we will see some of this in next year’s budget.

Ananth Narayanan, Founder, Mensa Brands

We were delighted to watch the Finance Minister acknowledging the contribution of start-ups to the growing Indian economy, followed by the roll-out of well-thought-through sops to encourage more entrepreneurs to set up shop, while incentivizing existing businesses with the startup tax holiday being extended by one more year.

Overall, the government seems determined to support the growth machinery – evident from the decision to form an expert panel to encourage more venture capital and private equity, following massive investments to the tune of 5.5 lakh crore in the sector in 2021.

Going forward, I would love to see three additions to the agenda – 

1) Rationalisation of ESOPs to the global standard and the benefit of deferment of tax on ESOPs being extended to all registered start-ups and their employees 

2) Set up a sovereign wealth fund from India to be an active participant in the next-gen entrepreneurial wave across the world

3) Setting up SEZ-like entrepreneurship zones to incentivize setting up businesses outside the key metro areas – providing equal opportunities to people across the country and uplifting our economy.

Vamsi Krishna, CEO and Co-founder at Vedantu

The COVID-induced gap in learning needs to be addressed on priority and edtech platforms should continue to ensure that students receive uninterrupted learning in such challenging times. By providing students easy access to quality learning, this year’s budget lays a clear emphasis to reduce the gap between students in remote areas and education.

Initiatives such as the ‘One Class One TV Channel’ and the E-Vidya scheme is welcome move that will drive impact at scale and bridge the language divide amongst students from small-town India.

Vamsi Krishna

Akash Gehani, COO and Co-founder, Instamojo

It is heartening to see that the Union Budget 2022 focused on addressing the long-standing challenge of access to credit for MSMEs, along with enabling skilling of the MSME sector.

The extension of the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) comes as a relief to several MSMEs who faced testing times post the pandemic, which made them financially fragile.

Akash Gehani

With better access to credit, there is hope for the revival of existing businesses and the creation of new businesses. The ECLGS has by far provided credit for lakhs of MSMEs preventing the sector from moving into the NPA (non-performing loan) category.

It is heartening to see that the Union Budget 2022 focused on addressing the long-standing challenge of access to credit for MSMEs, along with enabling skilling of the MSME sector. The extension of the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) comes as a relief to several MSMEs who faced testing times post the pandemic, which made them financially fragile.

With better access to credit, there is hope for the revival of existing businesses, and the creation of new businesses. The ECLGS has by far provided credit for lakhs of MSMEs preventing the sector from moving into the NPA (non-performing loan) category.

Rikant Pittie, Co-founder, EaseMyTrip

International travel has been severely impacted by the pandemic, which is why we are pleased with the introduction of e-passports with embedded chips. This will provide a big boost to travel and add a level of convenience for international travelers.

Additionally, the expansion of the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme by Rs 50,000 crore to Rs 5 lakh crore will enable the small travel operators and stakeholders within the travel and tourism industry to reel back from the disruptive impact of the pandemic.

Suhail Sameer, CEO, BharatPe

This budget will fuel the next level of growth of the Indian economy.

Suhail Sameer

The budget has re-emphasized that digital payments and fintech innovations have grown at a rapid pace in the country. The government is continuously providing thrust to ensure digital banking reaches every new nook and corner of the country and this is extremely encouraging.

We strongly appreciate the government’s decision to set up 75 digital banking units in the country. This will help promote digital payments aggressively in the country and drive financial inclusion further. The introduction of the RBI-approved digital rupee is another landmark move- it will disrupt the Indian payment system and add a new dimension to the financial system. ‘One Nation, One Registration’ is a great initiative as it will facilitate ease of living and doing business.

Saurabh Garg, Co-founder and CBO, NoBroker

I think one of the big focuses of this budget is affordable housing. Finance Minister has proposed to invest 48,000 crores in affordable housing which will give a big boost. Almost 80 lakhs houses would be completed this year itself. Another very interesting thing which we have seen this year in NoBroker’s real report is that water supply is one of the key reasons for choosing locality.

Finance Minister coming in and proposing 60,000 crores to provide water supply to 3.8 crore houses is the right step in this direction.

Saurabh Garg

Also, I think creating jobs at this moment is the need of the hour with covid impacting the jobs. So, the government creating 60 lacs jobs is going to help the economy in a big way. All the sectors would benefit from that, especially these people would also drive demand for housing. We would have expected more benefits especially for the middle class and upper class for driving the demand in real estate. I think that is missing from this budget. But overall I would say it’s a budget in the right direction and it’s a positive budget.

Vikram Thaploo, CEO, Apollo Telehealth

The government in its last Union Budget had placed health and well-being as the first of its six pillars, and with India into its third year into the COVID-19 pandemic, that focus has reflected in this year’s Union Budget as well.

The launch of the National Tele-Mental Health Programme, which will include a network of 23 tele-mental health centres of excellence with Nimhans being the nodal centre and IIIT Bangalore providing technology support is a welcome move by the government to augment the use of telemedicine services as well as provide support to people with mental health disorders.

Also, an open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem will be rolled out and it’ll further help in strengthening the healthcare services within the country. It will consist of digital registries of health providers and health facilities, unique health identity and universal access to health facilities. The increased investment towards Health Infrastructure and focus on a holistic approach to health is seen as a testimony of the commitment to building stronger health systems in the country.

Edul Patel, CEO and Co-founder, Mudrex

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has suggested 30 percent taxation on crypto gains. The losses, if any, cannot be offset against other income. Additionally, the introduction of TDS on crypto transfers can now monitor crypto transactions. On the sale of digital assets, 1 percent TDS would be applicable. Besides taxation on digital assets, India will soon have its blockchain power digital rupee. The digital asset classification will consist of crypto, NFT, and government-issued currencies.

It is undoubtedly a progressive step towards boosting crypto adoption in the coming years.

Edu Patel

Mihir Gupta, CEO and Co-founder, Teachmint

Given the level of disruption the education ecosystem has seen over the past couple of years, it is safe to say that the Education Budget 2022 was one of the most eagerly awaited. And it is heartening to see that there is a significant provision for education in the budget and a strong focus on empowering teachers through digitization. 

From the expansion of PM E-Vidya to 200 channels to the setting up of a digital university, the initiatives indicate that the government has put the spotlight on digitization to boost the penetration and access to education across Bharat. 

The need of the hour to make this vision a reality is by integrating a mobile-first, teacher-led education infrastructure, which can take digitization to the masses. Focusing on mobile will boost the reach significantly as India’s smartphone base is estimated to cross 83 crores in 2022, with rural India seeing the fastest growth.

Sudarshan Suchi, CEO, Save the Children India

We welcome the Honorable Finance Minister laying focus on learning outcomes and combatting learning loss by providing supplementary education for children whose education has been drastically impacted by the pandemic.

Steps like “One Class One Education TV Channel” through PM e-Vidya expanding 400 channels with a dedicated focus on regional languages for classes up to 12th can make a big difference, ensuring recovery of learning loss.

Sudarshan Suchi

It is critical that supplementary support reaches the most marginalized children who have no or limited access to technology-enabled solutions. More low-tech or no-tech solutions need to be added to reach every last child.

FM’s statement to align National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) with industrial need must include a focus on skilling for social development sector that includes frontline workforce such as Anganwadi workers, healthcare workers, child protection workers, and others. This will support effective service delivery to children and uphold their rights. Skill enhancement of Anganwadi workers must include and promote foundational literacy and numeracy skills to meet the mandate of NEP (National Education Policy) 2020.

The budget speech has no citation on the allocation of budget for Early Childhood Education (ECE). We hope that there is a dedicated allocation for ECE (Early Childhood Education) ranging between 1.5 percent to 2.2 percent of GDP in alignment with the need highlighted in NEP 2020.

Chandan Garg, Chairman and MD, Innovana Group

The extension of ECLGS scheme is a welcome move for MSMEs. The credit and fiscal support of 5 lakh crores will give a huge boost to this sector encouraging new businesses to come to the fore. This announcement will certainly generate more than 10 lakh employment opportunities in a short span of time.

However, a slight focus on easing the trade and the taxation policies for MSMEs facilitating more freedom to do business was also expected from this year’s budget announcement.

Vivekananda Hallekere, CEO and Co-founder, Bounce

We welcome the Honourable Finance Minister’s progressive vision to facilitate faster adoption of electric vehicles in the country. With the Budget 2022 -2023 announcement on bringing out a robust battery swapping policy, this is a vindication of the path that we have pioneered for Bounce. 

Government and policymakers have recognised battery swapping as the most effective solution to accelerate EV adoption in India

Vivekananda Hallekere

We believe this move can enable affordable and clean mobility at scale. At Bounce, we are nearing a million battery swaps already and the Hon’ble Finance Minister’s announcement ties in with our vision that clean, affordable mobility is a fundamental right.

Mayank Tiwari, Founder and CEO, ReshaMandi

The budget today was focused on tech-driven enhancement across sectors allowing for more robust growth in agriculture, MSME and manufacturing setup. The emphasis laid out on public-private partnership on tech-driven agriculture is a welcome note for most of the Agri tech startups.

I am sure the budget will allow for more investments in terms of domestic investors and FDI across sectors in India to drive India@100 vision.

Mayank Tiwari

It is also great to see the government’s continued focus on tech development, especially in the fields of Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain. It is truly the Amrit kaal for India.”

Gurjodhpal Singh, CEO, Tide (IN)

The financial support for the digital payments ecosystem is a welcome move and further reaffirms the Government of India’s digital banking push. This push on digitisation will make way for more inclusion in the ecosystem.

The focus on ‘Ease of doing business’ is a great step, as it will further promote entrepreneurship in the economy.

Fintechs will continue to play the role that we have been playing for the past couple of years now, and these policies will further strengthen our role in the ecosystem. Moreover, the decision to interlink MSME portals and added corpus is the much-needed support at this hour.

Virendra Ranawat, Co-founder, WoodenStreet

With Union Budget 2022-23, a lot of expectations have been met. Healthcare and infrastructure were the main highlights of the budget 2022 and immense investment has been allocated for the expansion of roadways and logistics networks. Just like it was expected, the youth and startups were given keen importance in the budget as well. The ECLGS credit scheme guarantee cover has been expanded by Rs 50,000 crore, which will provide collateral-free loans to stressed-out MSMEs.

The budget also announced “one station one product” program will facilitate local supply chains, this will be a huge improvement impact on small farmers and MSMEs. The budget also revealed about 100 PM Shakti Cargo terminals, which will develop in the next three years.

Overall, this year’s budget will bring positive change for the MSMEs and other small industries.

Virendra Ranawat

Madhusudan Ekambaram, Co-founder and CEO, KreditBee

Union Budget 2022-23 had special emphasis on Financial Inclusion, technology adoption and entrepreneurship in the Union Budget 2022 -23, which is highly appreciable. Initiatives like Desh stack e-portal and interlinking of Udyam, e-shram, NCS and Aseem portals will surely contribute to the Digital Infrastructure and entrepreneurial push. Introduction of Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), leveraging blockchain technology will influence the digital transactions and hence its implementation process will be something to pay attention to.

The government’s recognition of startups as the drivers of economic growth is heartening. Measures like setting up an expert committee to suggest measures to help attract investment and extension of tax incentives period for startups incorporation by one year, will certainly aid in creating a healthy startup ecosystem.

Equally encouraging is the government’s bid to boost digital banking and financial inclusion with initiatives like bringing 100 percent of 1.5 lakh post offices into the core banking system. In a broader sense, the Finance Ministry has presented a distinctive set of measures in Union Budget 2022-23, with a streamlined focus on rapid, holistic and inclusive economic growth.

Pawas Tyagi, Co-founder, Edustoke

A clear emphasis on digital content development and delivery and overall efforts to digitize education is applauded as is the upgradation of Anganwadi. Coupled with 5G rollout – this budget should accelerate more accessible quality education in the country.

Amit Gupta, MD and Co-founder, SAG Infotech

We have deeply realised the benefit of the latest provisions for the taxpayer community. One better scheme is for the tax deduction limit which is now hiked to 14 percent on the employer’s contribution to the NPS account of the state government employees.

And the updated return filing provision is much better than the previous with the time bracket of two years at maximum to the end of the assessment year. To add a delight, the tax benefits to the startups have been offered redemption of taxes to the three consecutive years is now extended to one more year.

Abheek Barua, Chief Economist, HDFC Bank

The 2022-23 budget finely balanced fiscal retreat with supporting economic recovery. The budget focussed on a familiar strategy of driving capital expenditure to drive growth, with the intention of crowding in private investment through higher public spending.

Although markets could be disappointed with a higher fiscal deficit of 6.4% of GDP for FY23 than expected, it is perhaps prudent to not undertake aggressive fiscal consolidation at this nascent stage of recovery. While elevated market borrowings are likely to pressurize bond yields, the inclusion of green bonds in the borrowing plan is an interesting innovation.

In terms of specific policy announcements, the move towards self-reliance through protection for domestic manufacturers (change in custom and import duties) aligns with the long-term goal of Atmanirbhar Bharat. Moreover, there is an effort to weave in short term capital spending with the long term 25-year investment plan for India.

Specific moves on education and mental health issues are critical and well-recognised in the budget. Lastly, Central Bank Digital Currency is likely to have an impact on banks, but the implications of the same will have to be thought through further.

Mughilan Thiru Ramasamy, CEO and Co-founder Skylark Drones

The Union Budget 2022 and the initiatives announced by the honourable Finance Minister continue to provide impetus to the growth of the drone industry in India. The introduction of drone shakti is a welcome move and will ensure business momentum and drive faster adoption of UAVs in the country.

It is encouraging to see the government promoting Digital India and digitisation of various sectors through the integration of UAVs through varied applications and drones as a service. India with its vast natural resources spanning from agriculture, minerals, and great infrastructure is finally getting the much-required momentum to become digital.

The announcement to promote the use of ‘Kisan drones’ in the agricultural sector as part of the Budget for 2022-23 will enable the drone industry to collaborate with our farmers to improve operational efficiency and maximise profitability.

Mughilan Thiru Ramasamy

Vimal Singh, Founder and CEO, ReadyAssist

The government’s thought leadership level act on the policies for bringing EV battery swapping interoperability is a brilliant move. This could push the adoptability of EV to 10X and also gives opportunities of collaboration between vehicle manufacturers and battery/service technology providers to enter in the space of BaaS (Battery as a Service). 

While the government is doing everything best possible to boost the economy and bring financial inclusion to all, I think the government should consider waiving off the GST for services that are below Rs 500. This would benefit the whole country in multi-folds:

  • People will not be burden with taxes for essential services,
  • Prices for certain services can go down as every service provider would try to fit in the less than 500 bracket,
  • Since the services below Rs 500 are exempted from GST, every service provider would be inclined to account the transaction digitally than offline cash and hence financially included,
  • Help startup like us to bring standardisation in the ecosystem

Avinash Shekhar, CEO, ZebPay

Tax has always been applicable to gains on virtual digital currencies, but the ecosystem did not have clarity on it. The move to tax virtual digital assets gives the entire ecosystem including investors and exchanges transparency on the road ahead. 30 percent tax on income from virtual digital assets, while high, is a positive step as it legitimises crypto and hints at an optimistic sentiment towards further acceptance of crypto and NFTs across stakeholders in the country.

The government has come a long way in its stance towards crypto from last February to today and we are confident that this will herald a new era of growth and innovation for India in a Web 3.0 world.

Additionally, the announcement on the launch of a Digital Rupee using blockchain issued by the RBI will familiarise Indians with the benefits and efficiency of virtual currency, building an appetite for crypto, blockchain and the multitudes of innovations and employment opportunities that these technologies are capable of fostering.

The Budget focused heavily on integrating technology across sectors, and the gradual acceptance of a digital currency, blockchain and virtual digital assets has the potential to make India a leader in this new paradigm of blockchain-enabled revolution.

Paavan Nanda, Co-founder, WinZO

We welcome the Finance Minister’s announcement during Budget 2022 to set up an Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming, and Comics (AVGC) task force with the objective of building domestic capacity to serve our markets and global demand. Gaming is a soon-to-be trillion-dollar industry, and it is heartening to see that the Government of India has acknowledged the exponential potential that this sector holds.

As a giant step towards contributing to the same, WinZO launched the country’s first-ever national-level scholarship program called B.O.S.S (Battle of Super Scholars) and unveiled a $26 million Game Developer’s fund with an aim to provide a platform to the best minds to disrupt this emerging global gaming industry.

Aravind Sanka, Co-founder, Rapido

Two major takeaways from the budget first are the importance of the multimodel public transportation experience with the first-mile and last-mile as well. As a two-wheeler and three-wheeler ride-sharing company Rapido will play its role encourage multimodel and connecting to public transportation as much as we can. The second one is to increase the EV adoption coming up with the policy and battery swapping I think it’s a great move.

Rajarshi Bhattacharyya, Co-founder and MD, ProcessIT Global

The Union Budget 2022 is a forward-thinking, positive, tech-oriented, macro-budget.  A positive tone was set with India estimating a GDP growth of 9.2% for FY 2022, the highest among all economies. 

The budget is pro-young and aspirational India with emphasis on digital and technology, especially with the focus on health, education and the startup ecosystem.  There is now better clarity on the implementation of digital technologies across the sectors. Spectrum auction for 5G rollout to be conducted and completed in 2022-23 is another positive step towards growth.

Regarding promoting the growth of startups, it is encouraging to know, the tax incentives will be increased for one more year, i.e., extending the period of incorporation of the eligible start-up to, March 31, 2023 from the earlier 31st March 2022.

Furthermore, the launch of the ease of doing business and ease of living in general and extending of the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme up to March 2023 for MSMEs in the hospitality and related services are encouraging measures too.  The raising and accelerating MSME Performance (RAMP) programme with Rs 6,000 crore outlay over the next 5 years will certainly support the sector to become more competent.

Sandeep Aggarwal, Chairman and CEO, Droom

In terms of the overall budget, I think the budget was very balanced for the masses. India talking about close to Rs 11 lakh crore going for capital expenditure and this is a very exceptional policy and hopefully will not only improve the infrastructure for the country but also create a significant amount of jobs.

There were many announcements like putting a limit to the surcharge on a capital gain coming from the sale of stocks. There was a lot of mention of acknowledging the contribution of Startup companies. For automobile companies, the battery swapping policy for the electric vehicle once they are used for public transportation. This will indeed increase the adaption of an electric vehicle for the transportation industry. Finally, this is consistent with the prior announcement of vehicle scrappage and now on EV and focus on developing a 25,000 km of road infrastructure in the fiscal yr 2022-23 that will ultimately contribute to the higher adoption of automobiles in the country.

Union Budget 2022 at this juncture is as varied as possible when it comes to its stance on crypto and NFTs. it seems there is clear indications from the external chatter, that implication of long term capital gains and short term capital gains deduction at source of sales is a possibility for crypto transactions. It is an asset class and should not be treated any different than other assets, so it would be an obvious step to tax it upon gain with inflation adjusted pricing. 

As far as NFTs go, they are digital assets like art, music or any other form of collectible art, and GST may be more applicable tax structure than long term or short term taxation. Yet, to be seen where this all goes, but it is clear,

Taxation governance for both crypto and NFTs is imminent next step for union bill.

Keyur Patel

Ankit Maggu, Co-founder, Geekster

The biggest challenge that our youth face is the lack of in-demand skills, the reason for this is that our higher education has not been able to adapt as per the changing Industry requirements. The new-age entrepreneurs are trying to address this gap through different models making skill-based education accessible to the masses but a lot more needs to be done.

The launch of a digital university is a great step, as it will increase the penetration of quality education even in the remotest areas at affordable price points.

Ankit Maggu

Additionally, Digital DESH e-portal will help further refine the skills of the youth making them more employable and will reduce the skill gap, benefiting both — job seekers, and employers.

Karanvir Singh, Founder and CEO Pariksha

Digital education became the familiar way of new-age learning following the lockdown. The new trend has been well accepted by the government as the way forward for upskilling, widening access to education, and strengthening the higher education system in the country.

Additionally, the budget too circumscribed the fact that in a diverse nation like India, education can only be delivered by understanding the vernacular requirements of every region. The expansion of ‘One Class One TV Channel’ to provide supplementary education in regional languages for classes I-XII will boost the early and secondary education in the country.

And the proposed launch of the digital university will simultaneously cater to the requirements of higher education. Thus, the budget has served, end-to-end, to raise the education system in the country in a holistic manner.

Ritesh Jain, Co-founder – Flexiloans.com

The budget will significantly boost digitisation, MSME growth, and infrastructure. It can turn out to be a UPI moment for healthcare and education. Additional steps could have been taken to boost direct consumption demand.

For the fintech sector, digitization initiatives and subsidization of MDR will continue to help customers adapt to digital transactions. However, this will also continue the overhang of providing these services viably by the service providers.

Central Bank digital currency (CBDC) will give a big push to digital money, and in the future, many use cases will be built on top of CBDC. Announcements for the launch of 75 digital banking units and bringing Indian Post under the banking stack will bring a big push to digitization in the banking sector.

The budget acknowledges the importance of the start-up ecosystem, lays down decent initiatives on the tax front, and brings visibility to the importance of their contribution across initiatives.

Ritesh Jain

Shalini Warrier, Executive Director, Federal Bank

We are delighted with the key announcements made in the Budget presented by the Hon’ble Finance Minister that is designed to enhance the pace of digital transformation in the country. Setting up 75 Digital Banking Units in 75 Districts, the introduction of Digital Rupee by the Reserve Bank of India on the back of blockchain technology are just two examples of what we can expect in the coming days.

Our mantra of “Digital at the fore, Human at the core” remains at the core of our customer offering and announcements such as these will go a long way, we believe, in making digital a way of life for our customers.

Srikanth Iyer, CEO and Co-founder, HomeLane

One of the key highlights of this Union Budget is the consideration to extend the redemption of existing tax incentives for startups, until March 31, 2023. This will benefit the overall startup ecosystem in the country post this pandemic wave.

Furthermore, the PLI scheme to achieve the vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat is promising and has enormous potential to create job opportunities with additional production of 30 lakh crore during the next keycap digit five years.

The PLI scheme is highly relevant especially for the real estate and organised home interiors sector, who are dependent on other countries as the overall costs are still much higher for manufacturing in India, given the continued global crisis in the supply chain. I am confident that this will enable to further boost the organised home interiors sector in India and ensure increased dependency on the manufacturing requirements domestically.

Siraj Dhanani, CEO and Founder, InnAccel Technologies

As a health and medical device manufacturing MSME startup, we welcome the increased focus on employability, e-skilling, employment generation in the MSME sector with an allocation of nearly Rs 2 lakh crore for the MSME sector. The fact that there is an emphasis to create nearly 60 lakh jobs.

On the health front, we welcome the announcement for an open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem that will consist of digital registries of health providers and health facilities, unique health identity and universal access to health facilities.

Tax incentives for startups to be incorporated until March 31, 2023, is also another step in the right direction.

Siraj Dhanani

Akshay Singhal, Founder, Log9 Materials

The central government’s constant push for EVs and climate action is commendable, and the same outlook has been resonated in this year’s Union Budget as well. The openness showed by the Government to accommodate new-age business models like battery swapping are a welcome step, and the push to encourage battery-as-a-service and energy-as-a-service business models will provide further thrust to emerging homegrown startups in these areas.

At the same time, financial decoupling of batteries irrespective of swapping has the potential to enable faster adoption. Going ahead, it would be exciting to see some great climate focussed debt lines initiated from blended finance. However, bringing EVs and batteries into the priority lending sector was also expected this time, but was missed in this Budget, which is albeit disappointing to note.

Kanika Agarrwal, Co-founder, Upside AI

This budget was great because it spoke the language of new India and looks to the future. Plenty of buzzwords – Drones, blockchain, crypto, green energy, startups. But it was more than just lip service as the FM’s speech relays the government’s willingness to work with emerging sectors.

Moves like addressing crypto uncertainty, digital rupee, investment in green energy, the committee for startups, limiting surcharge on LTCG are all positive not just for the policies themselves but also for the signal the government is giving us.

Focus on infrastructure, the LIC IPO, updating the IBC are continuing themes from last year. We hope to see more execution on these this year. Overall, budget continued to signal intent and direction for the government which was positive.

Negative was the lack of tax cuts or relief for consumers and businesses who have suffered greatly in the last two years.

Kanika Agarrwal

Siddhant Bhomia, Co-founder, Krishi Network

This year’s budget is a dream budget for the agriculture sector with a focus on technology-driven solutions. The key themes that come out are tech, capital, and sustainability. The focus on financing startups for agriculture, use of Kisan drones, digitisation of land records, revision of university courses will help create an impact for a population at scale.

Digitisation of land records will also further support streamlining businesses and drive farmers and businesses at scale. Another focus on domestic production of oilseeds and chemical-free organic farming will help lakhs of farmers foray into a new era of farming.

Gunita Pahwa, Joint Managing Partner, S&A Law Offices

We welcome the government’s decision to set up Int’l Arbitration Centre in Gift city in Gujarat. Arbitration is one of the foremost alternate dispute resolution mechanisms worldwide, and government’s initiative is yet another step in strengthening dispute resolution through arbitration in India.

Dipika Jaikishan, Co-founder and COO, Basis

This budget looks like a consolidation budget. This is not a budget for a year, it has looked at a longer-term perspective keeping in mind the digital economy, a digital health eco-system, e-passport. This is a digital march forward. The budget started with the identification of the need for mental health services and recognising these and creating services.

This is a forward-looking budget with conviction and an implementation path. Technology has been recognised as the key to India’s future, paving the way for a tech-enabled and digital economy.

Anuraag Gambhir, Head of Marketplace, ShopClues.com

An interesting set of announcements in today’s budget. Capital expenditure into infrastructure and ease of doing business should springboard the next few years of growth for the country. This will also boost the backend logistics and delivery mechanism on which the entire e-commerce sector is largely dependent.

A digital currency supported by the government is truly an innovative thought – would be interesting to see how this sets up over the next few years. From our consumers’ perspective, affordable, high-speed 5G broadband and mobile communications will improve their online shopping experience a great deal, especially for online shoppers in rural India and remote areas. It will definitely bring in a much larger consumer base on e-commerce platforms.

Khadim Batti, CEO and Co-founder, Whatfix

This year’s budget has reiterated how the startup ecosystem has been one of the key drivers of growth for our economy. The extension of one more year of the current tax incentives and other measures comes as a relief for startups. India’s startup ecosystem has been witnessing tremendous growth and attracting attention from Venture Capitals and Private Equity players. 2021 saw a record of $42 billion investment from global and domestic players. 

Sumit Gupta, Co-founder and CEO, CoinDCX

The budget is forward-looking and inspirational. It has touched key points that’ll help us create modern, powerful, digital, and sustained growth.

Tanmay Kumar, Chief Financial Officer, Shiprocket

We appreciate Government’s empathy towards the startups by extending the period by a year for start-ups to avail tax incentives around the tough times of COVID-19. The announcement of ‘One station, one product’ under the PM Gati Shakti plan will help the supply chain of local products. The budget has focused on the development of infra projects which will boost the logistics system in India and will help us to become enablers of an effective logistic system.

The government has emphasised on digitisation of payments and it’s good news for small businesses and entrepreneurs who wants to start their business. 

Tanmay Kumar

Ajay Lakhotia, Founder, StockGro

The government of India and the Finance Ministry has taken the exemplary initiative to launch digital currencies, making India truly digital. This will reduce the cost of physical currency management and build accountability and traceability. The much talked about 30 percent tax on income from digital assets, i.e. cryptocurrency resolves the sector’s regulatory overhang to quite an extent through plugging tax leakage.

Padma Shri recipient Sanjeev Kapoor

The extension of the ECLGS scheme by Rs 5,000 crore for the hospitality and related sectors, announced by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is a welcoming move. It’s good to see the mention of the hospitality and related sector in this year’s budget.

The past few years have been tumultuous for the hospitality segment and I am hopeful that this initiative gives the industry a much-needed boost. It would be right to say, that it’s a good start and I look forward to a seamless allocation of the sanctioned amount to the people and segments who need it the most.

Kavitha Subramanian, Co-founder, Upstox

The Hon’ble Finance Minister has presented a digital-first Budget that focuses on quick, holistic, and inclusive economic growth. The focus on startups and fintech in this year’s Budget is a fantastic step that will help these sectors grow further.

The introduction of 5G and the spread of optical fibre to villages would provide a boost to the Fintech industry. It encourages digital investment platforms like ours to expand their services, resulting in an increase in retail activity in Tier-II and Tier-III cities and towns. The Central Bank Digital Money (CBDC) will help to enhance the digital economy by making currency management more efficient and less expensive.

The capping of surcharge at 15% on Long-Term Capital Gains (LTCG) tax for all listed and unlisted corporations responds to a long-standing demand for new-age businesses.

Kavitha Subramanian

Kunal Bahl, Co-founder and CEO, Snapdeal

This is the Digital Revolution Budget. We welcome the government’s emphasis on creating new digital touchpoints to empower multiple aspects of our society and supercharge the startup ecosystem. New initiatives across currency, banking, education, skilling, health, passports, and logistics will enable a large part of the country to benefit from India’s growing digital revolution.

The government’s focus on augmenting India’s road, rail, and telecom infrastructure will help further accelerate growth opportunities across Bharat.

Kunal Bahl

Debashis Chatterjee, CEO and MD, Mindtree

Notwithstanding a challenging macro environment, the Finance Minister has presented a forward-looking budget with a strong focus on physical as well as digital infrastructure. While the move to grant infrastructure status to data centres will be a game-changer for India, initiatives such as Digital Rupee and e-passports based on futuristic technologies are positive for the tech industry.

The digital push in various sectors is aimed at catalysing growth, efficiency, and inclusiveness in the new normal. This can be seen in the expanded scope of key labour and employment portals, the launch of a national digital health platform, the addition of all post offices to the country’s core banking system, and the support for digital payments, fintech innovations and affordable broadband.

Ketan Patel, CEO, Mswipe

Measures to boost skill development through public-private partnerships, and by incentivising courses on fintech through world-class education institutions will definitely help the workforce and the ecosystem.

The government’s outlay on capital expenditure, includes the proliferation of digital payments, and technology infrastructure expansion for MSMEs, both of which brings much cheer to the ecosystem players as they make efforts to drive digital penetration across India. 

Not just fintech, the government’s shout out to startups across Agritech, HRtech, EdTech is a clear sign that the technology ecosystem is going to play a major role in achieving not just near term GDP targets but in the long-run elevate India as a technology-driven economy.

Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairperson and CEO, Salesforce India

Overall, this is a budget with a long-term vision supported by growth-oriented policies driving job creation, digital inclusion, climate action and infrastructure development and therefore, is very timely for our country.

As we continue to digitally transform, the focus on bolstering digital payments with a consumer-friendly lens, will continue to augment digital adoption across regional India. As a knowledge economy, I cannot emphasise enough the importance of skilling to lead the digital disruption. Initiatives to drive skilling, reskilling and upskilling, digitally, will ensure we are ready for the digital future much ahead of the curve.

Lastly, climate change is the most pressing global crisis that humanity is facing today impacting every individual, institution, government, community, and business. Investments in energy transition and climate action will take us on our path to sustainable development.

Sumit Ghosh, Co-founder and CEO, Chingari

The much-awaited welcome by the Indian government to the use of Digital Currency and Crypto transactions will soon lead India to be one of the top economies of the world. Investing in and utilising advanced technologies like blockchain is what helps the nation grow at par with the other countries globally.

Nischal Shetty, CEO, WazirX

India is finally on the path to legitimising the crypto sector in India. It’s phenomenal news that India launching a blockchain-powered Digital Rupee is phenomenal news. This move will pave the way for crypto adoption and put India in the front seat of innovation.

It’s also interesting to note how our government is beginning to recognise crypto as an emerging asset class given how our FM was referring to it as a virtual digital asset. The biggest development today, however, was clarity on crypto taxation. This will add much-needed recognition to the crypto ecosystem of India. We also hope this development removes any ambiguity for banks, and they can provide financial services to the crypto industry.

The tax clarity is a welcome move. Overall, it’s a huge relief to see that our government is adopting the progressive stance of going ahead in the direction of innovation. By bringing in taxation, the government legitimises the industry to a large extent.

Archit Gupta, Founder and CEO, Clear

1. Cryptocurrency – Government has brought in 30 percent tax on cryptos income, where no deduction for any expenses except the cost of acquisition shall be allowed. The gift of virtual assets shall also be taxed for the recipient. This clears the air on taxes for cryptos, however, there are several types of incomes people earn from cryptos and hopefully, more clarity will be available in the Budget documents.

2. ITR – If the time for revising ITR has passed or it has already been assessed, a taxpayer could no longer amend and pay additional taxes. (Earlier time period was the end of AY). If the taxpayer wants to pay addl taxes and amend an already-filed return, it can be done now, within two years from the end of the relevant assessment year.

The intention is to allow taxpayers an opportunity to pay any unpaid taxes without severe consequences, in case they have made a mistake at the time of filing and return is already processed.

Ankit Ratan, Co-founder, Signzy

The introduction of a 30 percent tax on income from virtual digital assets has made holding and transacting in cryptocurrencies and NFTs quasi-legal. Further, this tax will go a long way in making cryptocurrencies a much safer ecosystem, and would necessitate the crypto exchanges to improve and enhance their KYC and compliance rules.

Aloke Bajpai, Group CEO and Co-founder, ixigo

International travel is likely to recover soon despite the progress being slowed by the current variant. The introduction of innovative initiatives like e-passports will boost security and will enhance the convenience of international travellers by cutting down long queues at immigration counters.

This will help support a faster revival of international travel in a pandemic-driven environment. Extension of ECLGS will also provide additional support to the hospitality industry which has borne the maximum brunt of the pandemic.

The current budget’s focus on modernising infrastructure and expansion of highways under PM Gati Shakti will give impetus to intercity mobility by connecting major economic hubs and saving travel time for people.

Jinesh Shah, Managing Partner, Omnivore

The Union Budget for 2022 is steering the country into a greener future. Acknowledging the impact of global warming, the rising cost of cultivation and concerns around human and planetary health, sustainable agriculture has been pushed to the centre stage.

It is an important step towards climate-proofing Indian agriculture and securing the livelihoods of millions of smallholders in the country. A blended capital fund under NABARD is also interesting as it can provide the FPOs with much-needed assistance.

Keeping up with the times, the government’s support for drone use in agriculture and stressing the role of startups in facilitating ‘drone shakti’ is a great leap forward for driving precision farming at scale.

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