Union Budget 2023: Tax rebates, digitisation and AI efforts please many

Union Budget 2023: Tax rebates, digitisation and AI efforts please many

Industry experts express what works well and what doesn’t with the budget revelation.

Mumbai: Needless to say, the Union Budget 2023 presented by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has brought much glee to the country.

In Indiantelevision.com’s pre-budget chat with veterans in the advertising and marketing industry, tax exemption and digitisation were the key highlights of the aspirations of most of them. Seems like she had her ears and intentions glued to these conversations.

Sitharaman is looking at a growth expectation of seven per cent in the Indian economy for the current fiscal, which is undoubtedly the highest among the major economies of the world. With tax rebates and exemptions galore, the common man could not be disappointed. The 5G push to set up 100 labs and setting up AI excellence centres is a befitting step towards digitisation of the country.

Here’s what the industry has to say:

RD&X Network co-founder & chairman Ashish Bhasin:

AI excellence centres, data policy, 5G app’s development initiatives etc are all in the fine print some minor tax relief putting money in common man’s pocket through tinkering of slabs reduction of surcharges at highest level. All these are good, As well as investing in employment guarantees and other schemes for the poor, I would say, given the conditions, it’s as good a budget as we could have hoped for including a control on fiscal deficit within the budget and a plan to reduce it.

mFilterIt Founder and CEO Amit Relan:

AI will change the face of India and enable the country to establish a stronger foundation of a ‘Digital India’. It will increase efficiency, improve decision-making and accelerate economic growth bringing a significant change in sectors like healthcare, education, agriculture and finance through automation, data analysis and predictive modeling.  For a country to maximize the benefits of AI, it will be essential for the public and private sectors to work together to ensure that the use of AI will align with the country's values and priorities and to address the ethical, legal and social implications of AI.

Mitsubishi Electric India chief strategy officer Rajeev Sharma:

The budget 2023 is oriented toward the economic growth of the country. I am sure that a 33 per cent growth in capital expenditure will result in balanced development. This is a smart move since it will help the country achieve its goal of becoming a 5 trillion-dollar economy and a global powerhouse. I believe that the announcement of setting up 100 labs to effectively develop 5G services and the vision to promote Artificial Intelligence in overall industries is a strong step by the government. This will further lead to automation in the industries which will help in propelling India’s growth and promoting smart cities. The union budget 2023 has come up with positive announcements for different sectors to support the Make In India initiative and can result in balanced growth in the near future.

Hungama Digital Media founder & managing director Neeraj Roy:

With Budget 2023, the Centre has given a boost to digital consumption with the National digital library and 100 labs for the development of 5Gapps which is a welcome move. The customs duty cuts on TV parts and mobile phone components are a step in the positive direction with a significant impact on the M&E industry in India. This will invariably lead to an increased degree of consumption for the television and OTT sectors.

The three centres of excellence for Artificial Intelligence that will be set up in top educational institutions will act as a catalyst to enhance the scope of new-age technologies in India, and more particularly around the M&E sector.

Pocket Aces chief financial officer Kunal Lakhara:

The Union Budget for 2023–24 will be extremely significant for the Indian startup sector. Given its impressive growth trajectory, this business is regarded as the third largest sector in India. This industry will receive a big boost from the additional year-long extension in terms of income tax benefits.

 When it comes to the M&E industry, the government's plan to establish 100 laboratories that would concentrate on creating applications using 5G services will lead to the introduction of seamless streaming and bolstered audio & video services for viewers. The Budget also announced the launch of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana 4.0 which will help the youth build new- age skills such as coding, IoT and soft skills amongst much more. With rising demand for such skills especially amongst the startup industry, we are poised to witness increased employment in the country.

Overall, by emphasizing the development of digital infrastructure and youth empowerment initiatives, the much anticipated Union Budget 2023–24 has established a solid base for the economy to expand. We are now anticipating an increased growth rate that will assist India in redefining its place within the global economy.

DDB Mudra Group chief operating officer & chief financial officer Anurag Bansal:

“It's a well-balanced and progressive budget entailing fiscal prudence. Income Tax relief provided to salaried class and middle class will help restore their buying power to a certain extent. No change in capital gain tax is a big relief to investors. Continued focus on capital expenditure, domestic tourism and agriculture will boost the economy, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. Advertising industry stands to gain as this budget will give impetus to consumption.”

Hansa Research CEO Praveen Nijhara:

This year’s budget has come out as balanced and progressive with a focus on agriculture, education, infrastructure, manufacturing, green energy, and inclusive growth. Furthermore, it has included the necessary steps for boosting India's future urbanization and digitization goals. We are glad to see progressive growth toward a digital India and hope to witness further developments in this area. The Union Budget 2023-24 showed that the government’s financial support for the digital payments sector is expected to increase. Hansa Research analyses various digital payment platforms through our syndicated study Digi Pay CuES. The study also validated that digital transactions have increased over the last few years.

GE South Asia president Mahesh Palashikar:

We welcome India’s Union Budget 2023-24, unveiled today. We applaud the Government for focusing on green growth as one of the top four opportunities for transforming the Nation during Amrit Kaal. Green growth will certainly drive cleaner economy and create large-scale jobs, and be a vital ‘Saptarishi’ priority to achieve net zero by 2070. We are encouraged by the commitment of capital investments of Rs 35,000 Crores to accelerate energy transition towards net zero. The well-deserved recognition of pumped hydro storage as a robust storage solution and the proposed detailed framework is indeed a pragmatic step forward. As India moves towards round-the-clock cleaner power, a cost-effective storage solution like pumped hydro would be game-changer in providing sustainable, affordable and reliable power access for all citizens.

We are pleased to note the proposed investment for the construction of the inter-state transmission system for evacuation and grid integration of renewable energy from Ladakh. The policy interventions in specific fuels like green hydrogen and wind must continue for India to succeed in achieving its long-term decarbonisation objectives. This is an exciting time of the country’s green industrial and economic transition. We continue to remain committed as strong partners to help the nation in its journey towards net-zero!

Modi Enterprises managing director Samir Kumaar Modi:

The FMCG industry has exhibited a healthy recovery despite global inflation and economic slowdown during the past two years. With the budget estimating India’s growth at a rate of 7 per cent in FY 2023, this first budget in Amrit Kaal focuses on creating ample opportunities for Indians, especially the youth, and provides a strong impetus to the country’s growth. The proposed exemptions in personal income tax and incentives for skill development are expected to boost consumer sentiment thereby generating demand and spurring consumption. This coupled with the government’s focus on India’s green growth strategy will catalyse our journey to become a more self-reliant nation.

Meesho founder and CEO Vidit Aatrey:

 It is heartening to see the government’s continued thrust on supporting the MSME sector. The infusion of Rs 9,000 crore in the revamped Credit Guarantee Scheme, enabling collateral-free guaranteed credit of Rs 2 lakh crore, will help address working capital issues of small businesses. Our 6.3 crore MSMEs, which collectively employ nearly 11 crore people, have been able to bounce back from the pandemic on the back of similar proactive interventions in the past and this step will further hasten their recovery. As India’s only true online marketplace, Meesho is committed to working closely with the government towards making our MSMEs competitive and self-reliant.

Omnicom Media Group India group CEO Kartik Sharma:

Building upon the momentum of the year gone by, India's 2023 budget is growth-oriented, future-focused, and abundant with reforms across all aspects of the economy.

At a time when all eyes are on India - poised to grow and thrive despite the looming economic slowdown, the standout for me is the strong thrust on Capex. The massive increase on this front shows the government's commitment to boost infrastructure, industry-agnostic productivity, and the overall economy.

In keeping with its focus on inclusive growth, it is welcoming to see the budget checking the box for people from many walks of society and offering a strong and stable macroeconomic environment for all. There is positive relief on the personal tax front - making it a friendly budget for the common man. And the increase in the taxation slabs itself is a well-concerted attempt to move people to the new tax regime, expected to benefit millions of middle-class citizens in good time.

Giving impetus to the digital economy and transformation continues to be a key focus, with new frontiers of innovation like Artificial intelligence propelled front and centre - to galvanize its application across sectors ranging from agriculture to learning and others. The narrative for accelerated transformation is also evident across the education sector, with a heightened focus on upskilling the nation's youth in new-age skills and courses like AI, Robotics, IoT, and more.

Furthermore, in addition to a lot of growth-focused benefits for rural, agriculture, and education, sectors like green energy, artisanal crafts, and even tourism - which has been impacted heavily over the past few years of Covid, have been given their due.

As companies earmark their Capex, advertisers will have their eyes set on these new policies and go forth with buoyancy in their minds. As a result, AdEx too is expected to do well for the year.

In conclusion, the overall budget is a progressive one to widen the country's horizons and further strengthen India’s economic order on the global stage.

KlugKlug co-founder and CEO Kalyan Kumar:

The Centre's capex objective for 2023-24 is Rs 10 lakh crore, which is 33% more than the budget projection of Rs 7.5 lakh crore for 2022-23. The government's emphasis on capital expenditure to stimulate economic development cannot be contested. What is actually important, though, is the resumption of the private investment cycle. When capacity utilisation exceeds 80 per cent and demand is expected to increase, investments are made. Another significant step forward in data accessibility will be the implementation of a National Data Governance framework that will provide access to anonymized data. Three artificial intelligence excellence centres to allow 'Make AI for India' and 'Make AI work for India' will be the next great thing in Indian technology.

Ssoftoons Entertainment Media LLP co-founder and chief operating officer Hansa Mondal:

The Union Budget 2023–24 is a purely development focused budget that recognizes the need for technology focused upskilling and development, with support in building visibility across industries, especially in creative fields for artisans, start-ups, tribal entrepreneurs and women led handicrafts sector, for driving visibility. With rise use of animation in brand communication for the digital platform, this is a welcome opportunity. Additionally, with thrust on building AI, IoT and other emerging tech capabilities, in alignment with the upcoming 5G environment, offers a promising environment for growth of the animation and media segment. Coupled with a constructive focus on upskilling and building a grow digitally inclusive business environment, the Union Budget offers ample opportunity for the growth of Animation and its role in the Advertising, Marketing, media, banking and education segments.

Pulp Strategy founder & managing director Ambika Sharma:

The 2023-24 Budget focus included talent, technology, entrepreneurship, and sustainability. The effort towards boosting the economy at a time when the rest of the world is on the edge of a slowdown is commendable, we welcome the Union Budget 2023-24.

One of the important issues addressed was the stressed MSME ecosystem due to or in the duration of the pandemic, In case of failure by MSMEs to execute contracts during the Covid-19 period, MSMEs will get 95% of the forfeited amount relating to bid or performance security. This amount will be returned to them by the government and government undertakings. MSMEs are the growth engines of the Economy, and this move will help to boost their morale and will provide them relief.

Micro Enterprises with a turnover of up to Rs 2 crore and certain professionals with a turnover of up to Rs 50 L can avail of the benefit of presumptive taxation. Moreover, to support SMEs in timely receipt of payments, the Centre proposes to allow a deduction for expenditure incurred on payments made to them only when payment is made. The revamped Credit Guarantee Scheme will be in effect from 1st April 2023 through an infusion of Rs 9,000 crore in the Corpus. This will enable additional collateral-free guaranteed Credit of Rs 2 Lakh crore, further, the cost of the credit will be reduced by about 1%. We believe that India has a unique success story and a step towards being a global technology leader. This budget favors the new-age digital economy and we look forward to further growth in the sector

Laqshya Media Group group CEO and executive director Atul Shrivastava:

The Union Budget 2023 is a landmark budget for the Advertising Industry in India, with a host of measures to drive growth and innovation in the sector. The government's push towards green energy, the significant outlay for railways, urban infrastructure development, and the MSMEs & startup development schemes are all positive indicators for the advertising industry. The allocation of funds for 100 last-mile railway projects, more airports coming, and the urban infrastructure development fund will lead to increased transport growth, creating new advertising opportunities. In addition, the new income tax slab will boost the lifestyle of salaried individuals, boosting the Indian economy. This budget is a clear sign that the government is committed to driving the growth of the corporate sector, and we can expect to see exciting new developments in the OOH advertising industry in the coming years. Furthermore, the movement of people out of their homes keeps growing, and the government has allocated more resources toward improving infrastructure. As a result, it will generate a heightened demand for out-of-home media."

iCubesWire founder & CEO Sahil Chopra:

The 2023 budget looks promising for the digital and technology sector. Emerging technologies such as 5G, Web 3.0, and Metaverse will give rise to new business opportunities. Moreover, implementing a comprehensive legal framework will strengthen personal data protection. Investments in tech innovation and digital asset creation will facilitate the development of a knowledge-based economy, with leading educational institutes taking the lead. With the development of three Centres of Excellence for Artificial Intelligence in its top academic institutions, we will move closer to making AI in India a reality.

Shobitam co-founder & chief product officer Aparna Thyagarajan:

A favorable budget by our FM with her measures for startups and MSME's. A decade ago, we wouldn't hear talk of startups in budget! Really liked the fact that the tax holiday for startups was extended for 10 years enabling us to reinvest and drive innovation from India."

Tonic Worldwide co-founder & CEO Chetan Asher:

The focus on digital infrastructure is significant and is designed to keep the momentum going in the growth of our digital economy. Continued support for startups was much needed. Digital Library is a great initiative and an important step in boosting literacy.

Globale Media founder & CEO Bhavesh Talreja:

The Government has put a lot of emphasis on establishing AI centres in some of the top Indian institutions to ensure AI creates a stronghold in India. And with the setup of 100 5G application labs, the gaming and fintech industry will witness a massive boost in demand.
These introductions will pose a crucial growth factor for AI and 5G in the coming time. The international market will also shift its focus on India for developing advanced tech, across sectors such as education, agriculture, healthcare, and transportation.

KISNA Diamond and Gold Jewellery director Parag Shah:

This is a step in the right direction. We see the impetus on lab grown diamonds as an overall positive for fashion accessories segment and industrial usage. Natural diamonds hold their charm for the jewellery segment given the high resale and emotional values associated with it.

dentsu India chief growth officer Simi Sabhaney:

My first reaction after reading about the priorities drawn out in this year’s budget was, ‘This is a perfect example of firing on all cylinders. India is preparing itself on all fronts, to take centre stage’.

This budget is most comprehensive and well-balanced because it has taken into account the key building blocks that are essential to get us future-ready and fuel our growth in the coming years.

Focus on infrastructure development, sustainability, MSME lending, honing the power of AI by setting up centres of excellence, boosting tourism and hospitality sectors, launching digital libraries to provide quality education, setting up Skill India International centres to promote entrepreneurship, agriculture accelerator funds to promote agri-startups in rural India, new tax regime, use of technology to enhance financial inclusion, all this and more showcases the audacious confidence that India has unleashed.

To my mind, this budget is growth-oriented, inclusive and responsible.

Zoomcar CEO and co-founder Greg Moran:

It's fascinating to see that our Hon'ble Finance Minister has addressed some major concerns about India's progress towards clean energy in the Union Budget 2023. The decision to extend the exemption to capital goods imports for the manufacture of lithium-ion cells for batteries used in electric vehicles is a much-needed boost to green mobility and EV adoption in the country.

The government has made a significant effort to promote tourism, especially in the post-covid era, by proposing the creation of an app to improve the tourist experience. We think that the tourism sector has a lot of untapped potential. Such programmes, in our opinion, can advance both green travel and tourism.

nurture.farm chief operating officer and business head Dhruv Sawhney:

The announcements around the setting up of an agriculture accelerator fund, making digital infrastructure for agriculture, computerization of primary agricultural credit societies, setting up of the AI centres etc are measures towards supporting technology adoption and promoting digitization of agriculture at scale. Empowerment of rural women by lending infrastructure, capital, knowledge, accessibility, supply chain, and marketing support to 81 lakh self-groups via the formation of farmer producer enterprise ecosystem is set to improve rural employment, rural income, purchasing power, catalysing their ability to serve large customers and meet export requirements.

The role of agritech companies to drive innovations in the insurance space, catalyze rural livelihoods, and move the transition towards sustainable food has been well called out, however support measures to scale these programs can be created. There could have been more measures to devise incentives and investments to specifically educate, and adopt practices that solve climate change in agriculture.

Greendot Health Foods managing director Vikram Agarwal:

It is a very promising and encouraging budget that ensures to be a stepping stone for a strong economy.

India is on the path to becoming a developed economy from a developing economy. This budget ensures that we would grow at a steady rate of 6.5 per cent to 7 per cent which is the fastest in the world.

The reduction in import duty will offer relief to import and export companies and boost domestic manufacturing.

The new tax regime which has been curated to benefit all classes would leave more disposable money in the wallet which would boost spending and overall GDP.  

The initiative of an Agriculture Fund to be set up will boost the agri-related Industries, investment in agri startups would help to bring fresh ideas and innovation in the agri space. Renewed focus on millets would make India a global hub for millets which is catching up globally.

Infra space has been allotted an outlay of 10 lakh crore would ensure that we have an infrastructure at par with the global peers which would attract a lot of international capital.

Overall it’s a very balanced budget.