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Online start-ups pin hopes from Budget 2015

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MUMBAI: The Digital India idea conceptualised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has caused some excitement within established and start up companies in the technology and e-commerce space. Some of these start-ups are of the belief that Budget 2015 will be the start of a new era of higher growth.

It may be also recalled that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had invited CEOs of Indian software and hardware companies for a meeting along with various e-commerce companies and prominent start-ups for pre-Budget consultations in January this year. Online start-ups like iTiffin.in, iSpyprice.com and Youshine.in are some of these start-ups that have raised their hopes ahead of the upcoming budget.

iTiffin.in (Intelligent Tiffin) CEO and co-founder Tapan Kumar Das is of the opinion that ‘Nutrition services and Health food,’ should be brought under the gamut of health services, thus qualifying those services for service tax.

According to Das, the cost of healthcare in the country should be reduced in order to regulate the increasing number of lifestyle disorder cases in India. He further wished that food technology is made free of import duty and income tax benefits are allocated to the Nutrition and Health Food sector. “I also wish that people are recruited from the skill development academy while Nutrition and Diet plan services should be brought under Mediclaim policy of General Insurance,” he said.

On the other hand, price comparison website, iSpyPrice.com founder and director Suresh Sharma desires that GST (Goods and Services Tax) is implemented in the budget for this year as he feels it will solve various taxation issues. Besides this, he stated that if service tax on online advertisements is abolished, it would motivate internet-based publishing companies to create more valuable content and application for websites. Sharma said that the government should give proper clarifications on service tax levied on advertising income that is earned by Indian publishers in foreign currency. Also, he hoped that MAT (Minimum Alternate Tax) is abrogated from the e-commerce landscape.

Meanwhile, VIA.com chief executive officer Swaminathan Vedaranyam said that as far as the travel industry is concerned, there is an urgent need for well-defined policies and clear commitments to ensure that all cultural heritage points are given more attention with improved infrastructural facilities. “There is a recent spurt in domestic travel as well as a higher influx of foreign tourists in India and with dedicated upkeep of the tourist hotspots, we can ensure higher growth for the travel industry,” he informed.

On a concluding note, he wished for allocation towards revitalising all unused airports in tier II and III cities as, according to him these geographies hold immense potential today.

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