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Business News/ Budget / Budget 2023 Reactions: Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Company MD lauds 'Baahubali budget'

Budget 2023 Reactions: Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Company MD lauds 'Baahubali budget'

  • Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the last full-fledged Union Budget of the Modi government before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Union Budget 2023 Live Updates: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the last full-fledged budget of the Modi government before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Union Budget 2023: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the last full-fledged Union Budget 2023 of the Modi government before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The Budget Session of Parliament began on Tuesday and the first part will conclude on 13 February. The Parliament will re-convene on 12 March for the second part of the Budget Session that will conclude on 6 April.

Also Read: Union Budget 2023 Live Updates

Also See: Income Tax Slabs Live Updates

Here are some Pre and Post Budget reactions from Business leaders:

Sanjay Viswanathan, Chairman, AdiGroup: "As G20 President, India is committing leadership on transitioning to the Green Economy. Today's bold Budget earmarks $4.0 billion to establish Green Hydrogen as primary fuel source. With a target of 5 MMT from Green Hydrogen by 2030 and Green Credits to Industry, AdiEnergy will partner with India to set the rubric for other Nations to follow. Green Hydrogen can become a Trillion Dollar Industry in India by 2030, thus delivering Energy Security. Besides this, Digital Marketplace for Farmers, infusion of new Skills and Technology (Drones), and Start-up capital in the sector will drive innovation and Farmer's productivity and income significantly. Adi AgriTech will bring Drones + AI + Capital to establish a strong platform of Food Security for India.

Krishna Bodanapu, MD & CEO, Cyient: “It is a good budget that balances the three pillars of the Indian economy – agriculture, manufacturing, and services. It is very promising to see long-term investments with a significant increase in capital expenditure and the focus on accelerating technology with initiatives in 5G labs, agricultural tech, and AI.

The government is taking technology adoption and usage very seriously and looking at ways technology can benefit everyone. Hence the spending and focus on technology-related initiatives, including training and skill development for the future, is a good way forward. The technology solutions industry will greatly benefit from the immediate spending and the vibrant ecosystem it will create.

I am glad the government is taking the continued initiative to address climate change and its related challenges. The use of alternative fertilizers, green credit, and incentives will go a long way in ensuring we, as a country, do our part toward meeting our climate commitments."

Nandita Tripathi, Partner, M&A and PE Tax and ENR Tax Lead, KPMG in India: “India has been leading the race in energy transition and the announcements in the budget are clearly reflective of country’s roadmap to achieve net zero target. The commitment of INR 35,000 crore for priority capital investments towards energy transition and energy security will help in improving viability of the projects. Electric mobility has got a renewed push in the budget as customs duty exemption has been proposed for import of capital goods required for manufacture of lithium-ion cells for EV batteries.

The budget continues to provide impetus to make in India by extending custom duty exemption on specific products used for manufacture of solar cells and modules. However, clarification on non-eligibility of Project import scheme for solar power plants would be a dampener for the renewable industry which is already struggling with lower tariffs and higher input costs. The industry was hopeful regarding extension of timeline for reduced corporate tax rate of 15% for new manufacturing set ups however this year’s budget does not seek to attend to that ask.

InvITs has gained popularity as an efficient model for raising funds for large infra projects. Introduction of taxability with respect to repayment of debt in the hands of unit holder will require reconsideration of tax implications in the hands of unit holders. Though extension of sunset date for Sovereigns & Pension Funds investing in InvITs and infrastructure sector at large, is a clear miss.

Like every year the Government continues to focus on rationalization of tax provisions and laying down steps for reducing the litigation. The introduction of parallel CIT appeals process for disposing off small appeals and affirmation on reduction of cases for scrutiny assessment will further help in improving the litigation landscape. This is a progressive budget and definitely provides a clear road map for sustainable and green growth.

Lt. Gen. Dr. S.P. Kochhar, Director General, COAI: “The Union Budget 2023-24 has introduced some provisions which are expected to indirectly have a positive impact on the telecom sector. The budget lays emphasis on innovation, job creation and skilling, with continued push towards Digital India. The capital investment outlay has been increased by 33% to INR 10 lakh crore and we hope the same would include development of infrastructure for proliferation of telecom and digital services. We welcome the announcement on setting up of 3 centres of excellence for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and 100 labs in engineering colleges for development of 5G applications, which are progressive steps and would help fuel the proliferation of 5G and its ecosystem in the country. The revision of Income Tax slabs could also help increase disposable income for the people, leading to greater adoption and use of data connectivity services.

The industry had requested for some measures to be introduced in the Union Budget 2023-24, to ease the regulatory and financial burden on the sector. We are hopeful that the industry’s suggestions to reduce regulatory levies like License Fee, deferring USOF contribution till the existing funds are exhausted, exemption of Basic Customs Duty (BCD) on Telecom equipment, waiving of GST on regulatory payments, refund of ITC, among others, will be considered and addressed by the Government during the course of the year.

We feel that the Government’s support for this industry is crucial, especially when 5G is slated to be an enabler for several other verticals – for increasing efficiencies and output across various applications and use cases – whether for governance, businesses and public utilities, as well as in our pursuit of achieving Industry 4.0. Telecommunications is the backbone of India’s digital economy, as established by the success of the JAM trinity – Aadhar, Jan-Dhan Yojana and penetration of mobile telephony, which has propelled financial inclusion in recent years. The 200% increase in rural internet subscriptions between 2015 and 2021 in comparison to 158% in urban areas bears testimony to the efforts being made jointly by the Government and the industry for enhancing pan-India digital connectivity. We will continue to collaborate and actively contribute to catalyzing the government’s dedicated digitization efforts to enhance digital penetration and bridge the digital divide to help India achieve its vision of becoming a $5 trillion economy by 2024-25."

Daniel Mazon, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Philips Indian Subcontinent: “We welcome the announcements made by the Finance Minister in 2023-24 Budget as there is a higher emphasis on expanding health infrastructure and development of technology-based solutions in India. The decision to set up three Centres of Excellences of Artificial Intelligence (AI) will foster innovation to develop cutting edge applications and scalable solutions in healthcare. We are also encouraged by the Government’s focus on increasing the number of skilled healthcare professionals in the country through new educational institutions as it will increase accessibility to quality healthcare. Philips, as a health-tech company, is committed to work with the Government to further strengthen our country’s digital healthcare infrastructure and improve the lives of fellow Indians."

Suresh Agarwal, MD & CEO, Kotak Mahindra General Insurance Company: "Taking it a notch above the expectations of the middle class, the budget has special thrust on women and youth which makes it truly citizen-centric. To remain the fastest growing major economy in the world, it demonstrates the government’s intent to improve a taxpayer’s purchasing power through income tax rebates, enhanced grievance redressal mechanism for direct tax payers and capital deductions from capital gains on investments, while being overall fiscally prudent to address inflation. Further, rolling out a host of initiatives to support domestic industries, the budget sets positive sentiments in placing India in a resilient position amidst a global slowdown."

Lakshmi Venkataraman Venkatesan, Founding and managing trustee of BYST: “94% MSME are microunits with 2-3 employees. Budgets don’t often address the issues faced by micro and small enterprises. Only 20% are regd even under Udyami. Rest 80% can’t benefit from many of the schemes and programs. Budget should integrate unregistered units into to formal sector.

Money should be allocated for educating/support/handholding for registering 80% micro units – street vendors, kirana shops, etc. Once they become formal, they can avail of so many schemes and market opportunities.

We should extend some of the skilling budget for entrepreneurship training (e.g., Mudra does not require it) and apprenticeship so young people and start-ups have an opportunity to get some experience working for other SMEs.

Many Entrepreneurs (borrowers) are further bearing the burden of paying the fees for availing loans under CGTMSE – ideally this should be borne by the banks and not the borrowers (entrepreneurs). Govt can incentivise banks, so they don’t burden the borrowers. Increased of outlay of Rs. 9,000 crores for CGTMSE is very good because so far banks were very risk averse, and this should hopefully help banks to be more willing to lend larger amounts in the form of business loans.

Govt should also give directives to banks to absorb or reduce the guarantee fee. Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana will help women cooperatives become large professionally managed producer collectives to establish rural enterprises. Govt should further take steps to empower these women-led enterprises to scale further through additional bank finance and mentoring.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have public procurement ranging from of 30% to more than 50% in others like France, Italy. GoI needs to increase procurement from MSMEs, simplify process and administrative burden so that they can meet the target of 25% stipulated for central government departments and PSUs."

Sumanta Datta, Managing Director, Oxford University Press, India: "The Union Budget 2023 has put forward the intent, which we believe will help democratise quality content for all. The emphasis of the government is to universalise quality education, and for this, there is an impetus to leverage new-age technology – AI and AR/VR, thus giving students easy access to high-quality content in phygital format, including internet, mobile phones, TV and radio.

Another major initiative that must pick pace - is to inculcate and increase reading habits via physical books and learning portals. The fact, that there is a push to establish a National Digital Library for children and adolescents to facilitate access to quality books across geographies, languages, genres and levels…augurs well for solution providers like Oxford University Press (OUP) which has been supporting education initiatives in the country for over 11 decades. It is a welcome move that the states will be encouraged to set up libraries at panchayat and ward levels and provide infrastructure for accessing the National Digital Library resources.

As OUP, we’re the repository of quality content, be it curricular or otherwise. And, in recent years, there has been an intentional push to use new technologies and make this content available and accessible in blended formats. We are aligned with the government’s push towards education sector and hope to collaborate with the government in its sincere endeavour to strengthen India in its pursuit of ‘education for all."

Monica Malhotra Kandhari, MD, MBD Group: “With 1,12,899 crore for the Ministry of Education, the union budget 2023 has set the highest ever allocation, this will further help in effective roll out of National Education Policy. The budget places a strong emphasis on teacher training, recognizing it as a critical requirement in light of the recent shift in learning and teaching methods by using innovative pedagogies, continuous professional development and use of ICT. Skilling is another emphasis of the budget with 30 Skill India International Centers announced in line with the National Education Policy. The launch of new-age courses like coding, AI, IOT and the move to set up 3 Center of Excellence for AI will have long term benefits.

The strengthening of the Eklavya Model Residential Schools with enhanced budgetary support of 2000 crores for the FY 2022-2023 and the planned recruitment of 38,800 teachers and support staff in the coming years is a welcome development that will enhance access to and strengthen education at the grassroots. The announcement of national digital library for children along with physical libraries at panchayat and ward level with books in local languages and English will help in promoting a culture of reading among children.

Madhur Gupta, Principal CBSE, Genesis Global School: “This year’s budget primarily focuses on capacity-building, teacher training, and skilling the youth. It also focuses on boosting medical education and aims to encourage and promote AI while ensuring equal education for all through various government schemes. Realizing the importance of multidisciplinary courses as a futuristic approach and the special impetus given to teacher training through pedagogical interventions and continuous professional development opportunities will further strengthen the mode of teaching and education sector in India. Teachers are nation-builders and change-makers, so their empowerment will have a multiplier effect on future generations. It's a great budget and we are looking forward to seeing India shine."

Arvind Subramanian, MD & CEO, Mahindra Lifespaces: "This year’s budget highlights the importance of infrastructure development, urban planning, affordable housing, domestic manufacturing, ease of doing business, and energy transition with a focus on sustainability.

The increased allocation of 79,000 Crores towards Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), is expected to provide the supply-side stimulus that will not only aid real estate developers but will also boost end-user demand for affordable homes. Moreover, the revision in income tax slabs and rates will provide more disposable income, further accelerating the demand for homes. We believe the increased outlay of 10,00,000 Crores towards infrastructure development, including the creation of urban infrastructure in Tier 2 and 3 cities will support industrial activity, create new employment opportunities and fuel demand for housing. There is a continued focus on supporting domestic manufacturing, which bodes well for the industrial parks.

As the pioneers of green buildings and sustainable construction in the country, we are particularly pleased to see the government’s commitment to transitioning to green energy and reducing emissions. By taking this important step towards sustainable development, India is further up on its path to meeting its commitment to Net Zero developments."

Naveen Munjal, Managing Director, Hero Electric: We welcome the Union Budget 2023 presented by the Hon’ble Finance Minister, with sustainability and green growth across sectors at its core. It encourages the implementation of programmes across sectors to reduce carbon intensity and create green jobs through unique initiatives like ‘Green Credit’, PM Pranam Yojna, Green Hydrogen Mission, etc. Fronting the ‘Net Zero Emission’ mission, it focuses on the promotion of battery energy storage systems to aid in fueling the electric mobility revolution. The Budget 2023 reflects the government's inclination to support the EV transition, enabling the creation of a carbon-free nation that thrives on sustainable, futuristic, and alternative fuel technology. We are confident that initiatives under green growth and sustainability will build awareness and help everyone contribute towards a clean and green future.

Ankur Nijhawan, CEO, AXA France Vie India Reinsurance Branch: “This budget has touched upon various facets of major importance to our economy including focus on last mile, green growth, infrastructure and development, youth power and inclusive development. Focus on agriculture sector with enhancing storage capacities and establishing an accelerator fund for startups serves as a watershed to increase earnings and innovation in this segment. Budget allocation towards research in pharma and health is a step in the right direction which would further make India atmanirbhar. Budget has also very aptly recognised the importance of AI by allocation of funds towards setting up of specialised AI centres in educational institutes which would enable finding solutions in agri, health and sustainable cities. Reduction in duties on goods for manufacturing lithium-ion batteries would be a major step to reduce cost of EVs and promote green growth.

Further, change in the income tax slabs is a major development towards making India a more consumer driven economy. It would leave more money in the hands of individuals giving them the liberty and power to decide where to spend. The new tax regime does not allow exemptions on savings like the earlier one. This change poses a major need for sectors like insurance to create a product which is consumer focused. Consumer has so far been buying it to avail tax incentives however, this new change demands that the sector revamp its offering to meet consumer expectations and servicing requirements to create demand by offering customised, user-friendly offerings and improving the customer experience."

Yashish Dahiya, Chairman and CEO, PB Fintech: “Like the Finance Minister highlighted in Budget 2023, the Indian economy has grown at an inspiring pace of 7% in the past FY. We are at a stage where economies across the world look at us with awe. This budget gives an additional, well thought out push to the growth through rising ease of business. This is set to increase deregulation in the insurance industry, which is the need of the hour. The government has focussed its attention on simplifying existing rules, thus opening up space for further growth of the insurance industry in particular and the Indian economy in general. We are hopeful that this will lead our country to the point where the idea that this protection against death, disease and disability is a social responsibility will become indubitable."

Vikram Thaploo, CEO of Apollo Telehealth: “The government in its last Union budget had placed a lot of significance to health and well-being and that focus has reflected in this year's Union Budget as well. The establishment of 100 new labs for developing apps using 5G services to realise new range of opportunities in healthcare is a much-needed move by the government. Also, the setting up of 3 centres of excellence for artificial intelligence to enable 'Make AI for India' and 'Make AI work for India' will certainly boost India's digital prowess. Another much anticipated move by the government is the plan to establish one hundred and fifty-seven new nursing colleges in co-location with the existing 157 medical colleges established since 2014. This will certainly help the healthcare industry to bridge the gap in care due to shortage of medical personnel.

Also, the FM announced that dedicated multidisciplinary courses for medical devices will be supported in existing institutions to ensure availability of skilled manpower for futuristic medical technologies, high-end manufacturing and research. All these essential moves by the government towards health infrastructure and focus on a holistic approach to health is seen as a testimony of India's commitment to building stronger health systems in the country."

Naman Jain, Education Policy Expert, and Director (Development) Silverline Prestige School, Ghaziabad: India desperately needs ‘Teacher’s of Tomorrow’ in both private and public schooling system. A special focus on Teacher Professional Development is a welcoming move in the Union Budget as this is the foundation stone for the success of NEP. India desperately need ‘Teacher’s of Tomorrow’ in both private and public schooling system. By preparing skilled and industry-ready teachers, India can accelerate its process of making its public school the frontiers of Modern Learning. Although the government has set up a robust professional development and audit mechanism for teachers to improve professional efficiency at every level there’s one more crucial thing to give attention to that is the appraisal mechanism of the teachers. Every quarter or a year, the superior authority prepares a CR report for teacher increments and appraisals. The evaluation and increment of these teachers should not be based only on their participation in administration tasks. Ideally, heavy weightage must be given to the classroom’s audit, the performance of the teacher, and their teaching pedagogy. This will help the system to provide a good framework for recruiting more efficient and deserving teachers.

In its endeavour to position the country as the Skill Capital of the World, the Union Budget has certainly taken exemplary steps and reforms including the set-up of 30 Skill Indian International Centres and the launch of a unified 'Skill India Digital Platform'. A direct benefit transfer under a pan-India national apprenticeship promotion scheme is also welcoming. The government can further infuse new energy into this vision by nurturing industry-ready and emerging sector professionals and entrepreneurs at an early stage especially at K-12 education level. The Indian Schooling system is already on the right track and aligned with the government’s mission by providing better exposure and skills to school-going young adults especially in emerging segments such as AVGC, AI, Machine Learning, Renewable Energy, Sustainability, and more. We need a robust infrastructure and more liberal reforms to bring Industry 4.0 directly to the K-12 level rather than waiting for higher education and above. One bold step in this direction could be to introduce certain amendments in the apprenticeship act to further minimise the apprenticeship age so as to enhance India’s talent pool at a very early stage."

Col. Manbeer Choudhary, Chairman cum Managing Director, Jewels Group of Hotels: "The special focus on boosting tourism and aggressive approach on accelerating infrastructure development is just the news the Tourism and Hospitality industry was eagerly waiting for. This would give the runway required for the ailing Hospitality industry to take off and touch new heights. The first union budget of Amrit Kaal shows an holistic outlook towards nurturing the industry by combining a push for transport infra projects complete with 50 additional airports, heliports, water aerodromes, and advanced landing zones being revitalised. Additionally, Railways get a capital outlay of 2.4 lakh crores, which is the highest-ever allocation since 2013-14.

An increase in capital investment outlay by 33 percent to 10 lakh crore (3.3 percent of GDP) will give the required financial boon to grow. The government has shown its commitment towards supporting the hospitality and tourism industry by including development of 50 tourist destinations as a whole package for domestic and international tourism".

Ajay Kanwal, MD and CEO of Jana Small Finance Bank: “Budget has consistency, growth orientation and balance. We see positive spots which interests us - agriculture, affordable housing and MSMEs. The rebate on personal tax will boost saving and consumption and super for us - the employees."

Merrill Pereyra, Managing Director, Pizza Hut India Subcontinent: “The Food Services industry relies heavily on discretionary spending and therefore stands to gain from the personal tax relief measures announced in the budget, which will further catalyze consumption. The focus on domestic tourism will also cascade positively across our sector, by opening up new markets and allowing for greater expansion, especially in unpenetrated locations."

Murali Iyer, Country CFO, IKEA India: “The budget is growth-oriented, consumer-friendly, and investment-focused. We welcome the Indian government’s call to identify ‘green growth’ as a priority sector which is aligned with IKEA’s sustainability vision.

The 66 % increase in outlay to the PM- Awas Yojana will make housing affordable for the many people and give a boost to the home furnishings sector. The decision to invest 75,000 crores on critical infrastructure, the revival of 50 airports and heliports, and the promotion of coastal shipping will improve the ease of doing business tremendously. We believe that the changes in income tax slabs will revitalize consumption and encourage retail spending."

Parminder Varma, Chief Business Officer, Sharekhan by BNP Paribas: “The Budget proposed a 33% increase in capital expenditure allocation to Rs10 trillion along with interest free loans to tune of Rs1.3 lakh crore to state governments for infrastructure development. In fact, the capital expenditure allocation has surged to 28.6% of revenue expenditure in FY2024 – more than doubling from 14% in FY2018 and highlights the improving trend in the quality of expenditure under the second term of this regime.

In line with the three investment themes, our preferred picks are ITC, HDFC Bank, SBI, M&M, L&T, Bharti Airtel among large caps while in the midcap/smallcap we like Cummins, Trent, Indian Hotels, Finolex Cables, Dalmia Cement, GNA Axles."

Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairperson & CEO Salesforce India: “The 2023 budget is a growth-oriented and inclusive one that lays a solid foundation and strengthens the economic outlook for India. We have a unique opportunity of being a demand-driven economy with a rapidly digitising population. The increased capital investment outlay has a multiplier effect on generation of employment opportunities and thereby better standard of living for citizens. India is the talent basket of the world and has one of the youngest populations globally; we have a tremendous opportunity to unlock the potential of the country’s young workforce. The unified Skill India Digital Platform, addresses the imperative of businesses and Government to do more to address the skills gap enabling inclusive development of talent. Promoting sustainable growth is an opportunity for India to lead and has been essential and top of mind for all leaders; the focus on ‘green growth’ across sectors can unlock new economic opportunities for India. We are proud of the progress we have made over the last few years on Digital Public Infrastructure and a significant driver to this has been the innovation in Fintech, this budget is an impetus to further accelerate this growth with investments in AI, 5G, startups and more, accelerating demand and innovation at scale. Continued emphasis on Trust-based Governance and Ease of Doing Business, especially in a growth economy, has the potential to attract investments. The budget gives businesses India an opportunity to shine bright - domestically and internationally - ensuring they act, and fast."

Venkatram Mamillapalle, Country CEO & Managing Director, Renault India: “Union Budget brings cheers to the automobile industry as it will positively give push to sales.

The budget has laid special emphasis on the Vehicle Scrappage Policy which will not only boost the sales but will also enable in achieving clean and green environment for overall sustainable development. Additional, funds infusion in the scrappage policy is a remarkable step and is in the right direction to achieve India’s goal of being carbon neutral by 2070. This policy would eventually help the entire eco-system of automotive industry as this will translate into growing orderbooks of OEMs, increased output and job creation.

Another significant announcement made by the government on the customs duty exemption being extended to capital goods and machinery required for the manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries used in EVs. This step is a boost for companies that are / would be manufacturing electric vehicles locally as it will help reduce the cost of EVs.

The automobile industry will witness an increase in sales with the introduction of new tax rebate limit on personal income which has been raised from INR 5 lacs per annum to INR 7lacs per annum. This step is likely to help the sector as more disposable income with salaried customers may give supplementary push to demand for personal vehicles."

Jaideep Arora, CEO, Sharekhan by BNP Paribas: “The Union Budget has delivered on all fronts such as substantially higher allocation for capital expenditure, measures to provide impetus to manufacturing sector, especially MSMEs, and focus on boosting high employment-generating sectors such as tourism, start-ups, renewable energy, among others. The relief to middle class is also on expected lines. However, at the same time, the finance minister has stayed on the course of the fiscal consolidation path. Both the fiscal deficit target of 5.9% of GDP and a manageable gross government borrowing plan of Rs. 15.43 trillion are largely in line with ours and the street’s expectations. Specific to capital markets, there is no change in capital gain tax regime or on STT front. To summarise, it is a well-balanced budget with something for everyone and no obvious negatives."

Alok Dubey, Chief Financial Officer, Acer India: "The Union Budget unveiled today echoes the government's objective of "Digital Development" for the country.

It places a high value on technology and innovation as a whole. Realizing the vision of "Make AI in India and Make AI Work for India" is projected to strengthen the country's standing in the technology industry globally and generate numerous possibilities for the youth. The mention of lowering the minimum TDS threshold and clarifying taxability linked to online gaming is an encouraging step towards gaming industry in India, and it is expected to open up more prospects in the following year. This year's budget also has prioritised sustainability; this is a step toward a green future that allows businesses and SMEs to enter the market with green products and services; this is a commendable and promising move. Overall, the Union Budget 2023 is promising and represents a significant step toward digital transformation and a holistic sustainable growth."

DP Singh, Deputy Managing Director & Chief Business Officer, SBI MF: “The Union Budget for 2023-24 has persisted on the responsible and progressive path adopted in the last few Budgets. The focus on infrastructure was expected, but the quantum of allocation for capital expenditure has come as a reassuring and positive surprise. Moreover, the relief in personal income taxes across all levels of taxpayers is likely to act as a sentiment- and consumption-booster for the economy. The budget speech also laid the required emphasis on the financial sector and its contribution to nation building. These measures will positively influence the behavior of investors.

Important capacity-building initiatives ranging from financial inclusion to artificial intelligence are long-term positives for the economy. All of this has been done without any compromise on fiscal prudence. Such a balancing act is praiseworthy."

VP Nandakumar - Managing Director & CEO of Manappuram Finance Ltd: "The key announcements around the MSME sector are likely to help the self-employed and small businesses. High focus on firming up digital infrastructure and capital expenditure will have a snowballing effect on employment generation and new business opportunities. Also, the Union Budget has given freedom of choice to the salaried class and professionals by making the new tax-regime as the default and increasing the taxable slab above 7 lakh, and proposing to reduce the highest surcharge rate from 37% to 25% under the new tax regime. In my view, these measures will go a long way in sustaining the `India growth story’ by increasing the momentum in private consumption, which incidentally contributes to approximately 60% of the GDP and its growth, by ringing in fresh demand in the economy. On the other hand, it may also lead to a higher household savings rate in financial assets, which is very important for sustaining the overall economic growth of the country."

Rajan Navani, Founder and CEO, JetSynthesys and Chairman of the CII Council on Future Businesses: “This is a progressive and inclusive budget, one that is especially favorable towards the vision of Digital India, towards the empowerment of India’s youth, and towards bolstering the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation amongst the population. Today, 1 in 10 people in the world is an Indian under the age of 25. These young guns or Gen Zs are looking at a budget that will empower them not only to be able to improve their livelihood but to also help them get skilled better and build capacity to unlock their true potential. This budget has enabled that precise vision. The PM Kaushal Vikaas Yojana 4.0 to skill Indian youth in new-age courses for Industry 4.0 is great news, not just for our young population but also for all enterprises in the digital and emerging tech space. With Coding, AI, Robotics, Mechatronics, 3D, printing, Drones, IoT and other soft skills being in focus, and the launch of the National Skill Development Mission, the National Policy on Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, and the setting up of 30 Skill India International Centres, the future is indeed promising and bright for billions.

Additionally, the launch of the unified "Skill India" platform to enable demand-based formal skilling, linking with employers (including MSMEs), and facilitating access to entrepreneurial schemes is an overall strong step forward in building and promoting the spirit of entrepreneurship in the country. Further, setting up of dedicated centers of excellence for Artificial Intelligence in top educational institutions to realize the vision of “Make AI in India’ and to ‘Make AI work for India", and the launch of 100 labs to effectively develop 5G services, will bolster Digital India, the overall economy, and our prowess in the field of emerging tech. The future is indeed tech enabled and the measures announced in today’s budget will propel India towards the goal of being a USD 5 Trillion economy and global superpower with concerted focus and gusto."

Hitesh Garg, India Country Manager, NXP Semiconductors: “The government has brought a progressive budget that will support green mobility and innovation in the automobile sector. Major steps like National Green Hydrogen Mission and extending the subsidy on EV batteries will help the country to have a seamless transition towards a low carbon intensive and fossil fuel dependent economy, empowering the country to achieve its net zero goals.

The three centers of excellence for artificial intelligence to enable 'Make AI for India' and 'Make AI work for India' will stimulate an effective AI ecosystem and nurture quality human resources in the field of technology. It will also boost the Public-private partnership in conducting research and developing cutting-edge applications and scalable solutions across industries.

In line with the government’s vision of digital India, all these initiatives will help us transform into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy."

Rajri Rengan, Head of Banking and Payments, India and Phillipines, FIS: “The achievement of 126 lakh crores of digital payments through UPI in 2022 from 7400 crores is a big milestone for india. Initiatives including extension of Bharat Bill Payments System for NRIs, approval of 2,600 crores incentive scheme for FY24 for RuPay debit card and UPI transactions, and growing digital payment acceptance with digital infrastructure have given a big boost to digital payments via UPI in India as well as global level. Additionally, the government is aiming to set up 100 labs for developing 5G apps. 5G technology in financial sector will ensure faster and efficient digital transactions."

Gautam Khanna, CEO P.D. Hinduja Hospital & Chairman FICCI Health Services: “Budget 2023-24 focused on enhancing India’s capabilities and resources through increased manpower, R&D, and PPP in healthcare sector. Setting up of 157 new Nursing colleges is welcome, in view of the severe shortage of nurses in the country. However, the current state of existing Nursing colleges must .be evaluated for upgradation & better job opportunity for nurses to be identified to curb international migration. The idea of setting up a Center of Excellence in AI for health along with the strengthened impetus towards medical education will accelerate the development of new-age, technology-driven medical solutions for better disease management and encourage start-ups to come up with Innovative solutions in the Healthcare Delivery space. Creating awareness of prevention and early screening is not only essential in eliminating sickle cell anaemia but would also be a great stepping stone for similar diseases, however its success will depend on effective implementation. The increased focus on encouraging medical education and PPP will aid the industry’s growth. The budgeted increase in healthcare expenditure of 15% does not seem to enough to tide over the current challenges of upgradation of infrastructure and providing accessibility and affordability for quality healthcare in the country. We are looking forward to clear indications of the steps to be implemented for healthcare infrastructure development and move closer towards universal health coverage with increased expenditure as a % to GDP. It would have been better if there were tax exemptions for healthcare, which is vital to reduce healthcare expenses & out of the pocket spending"

Dr. Rupa Rege Nitsure, Group Chief Economist, L&T Financial Services: "While the Budget is market-friendly in terms of every asset class, it reflects good fiscal prudence on the back of subsidy rationalisation. As in the past three years, its underlying macroeconomic framework and revenue growth assumptions are conservative and realistic. A strong capex push by the Central Government was the need of the hour. But its objective will be fulfilled if and only if the State Governments as well as the private sector start raising their fixed investment spending. A push to growth without compromising the macro-financial stabilisation should improve India's score in terms of fiscal sustainability."

Sohinder Gill, Director General, Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles: "After passing through a difficult period of lack of good quality" Made in India" EV components for the last 2 years, the local supply chains are beginning to take shape and the increase in customs duty on SKD/CBU is therefore timely as it will further incentivise the local suppliers because of the relative price advantage. There are still many a parts of EV componentry such as lithium cells, permanent magnets for electric motors, semiconductors etc that will need to be imported and we expected rationalisation of customs duty on such essential imports help keep the EV prices in check. The continuation of the customs duty-free status for machinery used to produce lithium-ion batteries could result in some stabilisation in battery pricing.

A "Green Credit Programme" to promote behaviour change has been announced as another intriguing proposal. We are awaiting the fine print and anticipate that it will support the creation and uptake of EVs.

Promoting Hydrogen as a fuel for future is another great idea specially as India is having abundance of sunshine most part of the year and majority of our goods are transported in heavy duty trucks that cannot run on lithium batteries efficiently and in a cost effective manner. We believe both Hydrogen and Lithium batteries can co-exist as great clean fuels for the energy and transportation needs of the next few decades."

Ravi Kumar, Co-Founder & CEO, Upstox: “We are thrilled to see this budget’s well-balanced and forward-looking approach. From basic infrastructure to environment, from fintech to education and upskilling, the budget covers it all and accelerates efforts to achieve inclusive and sustainable development.

In line with the government's vision to strengthen financial inclusion, the establishment of the National Financial Information Registry is a welcome move. PAN as a common identifier will simplify the KYC process and also enhance ease of doing business. For individuals, the increase in the income tax rebate from 5 lakh to 7 lakh under the new tax regime will leave more disposable income in the hands of individuals, and thus higher investment potential.

To encourage more retail investing and insurance adoption, we wish that the honourable FM would increase tax savings for investments and reconsider the proposal to discontinue the tax SOPs on mutual funds and insurance.

Initiatives for start-ups, technology, upskilling and financial literacy, will undoubtedly catalyse India's growth. This is India's moment on the global stage and our government is doing a fantastic job seizing this opportunity and realising our country's potential."

Neeraj Bansal, Co-Head and COO, India Global, KPMG in India: “Budget 2023 has demonstrated the government’s continued focus on synergising Indian economy through capital expenditure spending, green growth, digital infrastructure and ease of doing business. Capital investment of INR10 lakh crore, an increase of 33%, is the biggest highlight as that’s expected to circulate more capital, reinvigorate growth across sectors, increase consumption and attract investments. The special focus on railways (with an outlay of INR2.40 lakh crore) is critical in increasing freight movement and reducing logistics costs. Further, the budget has laid special attention on first and last-mile connectivity, which will be facilitated with the 100 critical transport infrastructure projects announced. The emphasis on bringing down the fiscal deficit from 6.4% to 5.9% in FY2023–2024 is also expected to vitalise the financial market. However, contrary to industry expectation, there has been no further announcement on the National Logistics Policy.

The last budget had launched the Ease of Doing Business 2.0, and this budget continues to expand on that. The FM announced reducing 39,000 compliances and decriminalising 3,400 legal provisions, which will attract more investments and FDI in the manufacturing sector and improve India’s ease of doing business ranking. While there has been no announcement on the extension of the Production Linked Scheme (PLI), the budget has attempted to address the inverted duty issue by lowering custom duties for sectors like toys and bicycles. Exports, especially mobile and television manufacturing, is also expected to receive a considerable boost from the reduction of custom duty rates announced. Further, the INR9,000 crore corpus for the credit guarantee scheme will be a huge boost to the MSME segment, which forms the backbone of Indian economy.

Affordable housing remains a strong focus. While Budget 2022 allocated INR48,000 crore for the PMAY, this year’s budget declared an INR79,000 core allocation—a 66% increase—under the affordable housing scheme. The revised tax slab under the new tax regime is also an encouraging move as this will enhance disposable income and drive consumption."

MP Ahammed, Chairman, Malabar Gold & Diamonds: "With the prospects of a global recession looming large, the finance minister spelt out measures to keep economic growth on track with steep capex allocation and restructuring personal income tax slabs to boost India’s consumption story. The biggest push came in the infrastructure sector with more than 33% hike in capital expenditure.

The decision to promote lab-grown diamonds would give further impetus to our exports. The gems & jewellery industry is, however, disappointed with the budget not resorting to the reduction in import duty. The increase in the duty for silver is expected to push up the price of the precious metal. The move to not impose any capital gains on the conversion of physical gold to electronic gold receipts and vice versa will help further gold monetization. '

Preeti Sharma, Partner - Tax and Regulatory Services, BDO India: ‘The Finance Minister has taken conscious efforts to make the New Tax Regime (NTR) more attractive for the taxpayers. The NTR shall now be considered as a default regime for all taxpayers but that does not necessarily mean a better regime for all. Taxpayers still need to look at their personal situation, various investments and expenditure that are eligible for tax exemption under the old regime and then decide which regime is better for them.

Although the NTR is the default regime an individual still has an option to opt for the old regime if the same is more beneficial in terms of tax outflow.’

Rohit Pathak, President, IEEMA and CEO, Birla Copper (Hindalco Industries Ltd): "Overall it is an excellent budget that will accelerate India growth as we start Amrit Kaal. The increase of capital investment outlay by 33% to 10 lakh crore for 2023-24 is a bold step. The doubling of spend on Railways, which is all electric now, is heartening to see. The cascading effect of infra spend coupled with reduced individual tax rates, will give a strong boost to consumption, especially for the Electrical & Electronics sector. The extra leeway given to States to encourage their capex, while maintaining link to Power Reforms, is also a great step. The allocation to Green Hydrogen, Ladakh RE infrastructure and Green Economy will accelerate our net zero and Energy self-reliance journey. There was no specific mention on acceleration of the T&D infrastructure, which will also be critical. All in all, an excellent budget that will position India as the fastest growing economy."

Harshil Mathur, CEO & Co-Founder – Razorpay: "The continued focus on fintech and startups in the Union Budget 2023 speech by the Finance Minister is very encouraging and inspiring. India's projected growth as the fastest-growing economy among the seven largest emerging market economies and aiming to grow at 7% is a positive sign in the global economic downturn. One of the key driving forces behind this is the rapid transformation brought about by the fintech space - a significant 76% increase in digital payment transactions in 2022 has aided in the formalisation of the Indian economy. The Union Budget 2023-24 presented a prime opportunity to further fuel the growth of the Indian economy through measures that promote innovation, and support the adoption of new technologies. I believe the move to provide credit guarantee for MSMEs through an allocation of INR 9,000 crore will empower the growth of small businesses, thereby pushing the trajectory of the economy like never before.

One of the key takeaways from this year’s Budget for the fintech sector are the Data Governance Policy and KYC simplification that will be definitive changers in the times ahead. I believe the policy will bring in an additional layer of privacy and trust for the ecosystem and enable start-ups and research entities to safely access non-personal data, and foster accelerated innovation and growth. Meanwhile, simplification of the KYC process keeping a risk-based approach in mind is in tandem with the needs of India’s digital transformation. Making PAN the common identifier for all online businesses will definitely ease the process of compliance for start-ups. Additionally, the government’s decision to facilitate the growth of the start-up community by reducing over 39,000 compliances will set the precedent for a vibrant 2023 for start-ups. Overall, it’s a well-balanced budget with a strong focus on digital inclusion."

Anish Mathew, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Gati Ltd: "In line with the government’s vision to build an integrated and efficient logistics ecosystem, the budget has proposed a slew of effective measures which will enhance the logistics competitiveness. With the development of transport infrastructure to build end-to-end connectivity, introduction of skill development programmes to build new-age skilled human resources and proposals to boost EV infra and green energy transition reflect an all-encompassing approach towards strengthening logistics efficiency and sustainability parameters. On the other hand, proposals to strengthen the MSME segment will drive demand for logistics service immensely, going forward."

Harpreet Singh, Partner, Indirect Tax, KPMG in India: In line with the trend from past years, to provide impetus to domestic manufacturing, customs duties have been increased on bicycles, electric chimneys, toys, compounded rubber, and reduced on parts for manufacture of TV panels, certain parts of mobile phones like camera lens, capital goods/ machinery for manufacture of lithium-ion cells for use in EVs.

Vamsi Krishna, CEO & Co-Founder, Vedantu: “The Union Budget 2023-24 lays out a well-defined framework for inclusive and technology-enabled education in India. With the PM’s Kaushal Vikas Yojana 4.0, students will have the opportunity to acquire the latest technical skills – from AI and robotics to IoT and 3D printing, opening new avenues of employment and global opportunities. Additionally, the 3 Centres of Excellence for AI will position India at the forefront of technological advancements, harnessing the full potential of the country's economy.

Laying emphasis on teacher training through innovative pedagogy, curriculum, and continuous upskilling will improve student learning outcomes. The allocation of resources towards the creation of 38,800 new teaching and support positions in Eklavya schools will help bridge the education divide and provide students in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities with quality education. Further, the National Digital Library for children and adolescents will provide students with a wealth of resources at their fingertips, helping democratise education and promote lifelong learning.

I am thrilled with the vision and foresight of the Indian Government in driving transformation in education. With these announcements, we are laying the foundation for a better future that is technologically enabled and educationally empowered, making India a shining example for the rest of the world to follow."

Jagdish Mitra, Chief Strategy Officer & Head of Growth, Tech Mahindra: “It is a very positive budget from a technology sector perspective, as it sets the right message about 5G labs, setting up AI centre of excellence and the focus around skilling, which is absolutely the key need for the country as we live through the Prime Minister’s vision on TechAde and technology being the core enabler. From a business perspective, steps around ease of doing business have been taken and I think that's commendable. I would like to congratulate the Finance Minister and the government for taking these steps."

Rajiv Bhalla, Managing Director, India & Vice President APAC at Barco: “Indian economy is heading towards a bright future, the 'Saptrishi' of the Budget 2023 prioritizes on inclusive development, reaching last mile, unleashing potential, green growth, youth power. Announcement around adding 50 tourist destinations as a whole package and focusing holistically on physical as well as virtual connectivity, tourist guides, high standards for food streets and tourists’ security through an app to enhance tourist experience, is a significant step that will unlock growth and job opportunities in the sector. The Budget is perfectly aligned with Barco’s aim to make India a popular tourist destination with visible impact, allowing people to enjoy compelling entertainment experiences. Further, Budget has focused on overall growth & sustainability as India has the potential to be a world-class infrastructure centre, moving toward net zero carbon emissions by 2070 & setting up the AI based solutions in health, education, and sustainable cities will give additional push towards the extensive use of technology."

Govind Singh, MD & CEO at Utkarsh Small Finance Bank: “In the background of India being considered as one of the largest growing economies in the coming financial year, the budget has laid down an all-round emphasis on inward thrust. Focus on capital expenditure, schemes on social and economic upliftment under the narrative on Atmanirbhar Bharat and Saab Ka Saath Saab ka Vikas are major initiatives.

Budget 2023 lays down prescription on inclusive development, mechanism for benefits to reach the last mile, infrastructure growth, green growth and vibrant financial sector.

The government has also indicated its willingness to relook at various regulations including BR Act.

Further lowering of income tax rates gives greater power to spend or save in the hands of the common man.

In addition, fresh allocation to credit guarantee scheme for MSMEs and push on digital architecture will augur well for access and affordability of funds for small and medium income profile borrowers to continue building their vocation".

Uday Narang, Founder and Chairman, Omega Seiki Mobility: “The government's forward looking vision in promoting environment and sustainability in the recent Union Budget 2023, will prove to be an accelerator for the EV Industry. Extension of customs duty exemption for the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries and removal of customs duty on imported machinery used for manufacturing Li-ion batteries are welcome initiatives as these will help in boosting the demand for EV’s.

The policy on the replacement of old polluting vehicles should accelerate the transition towards electric vehicles. Overall, we are happy with the budget as it is inclusive, and progressive and will encourage investments in the EV sector in a big way."

Mahesh Palashikar, President, GE South Asia: “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 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 decarbonization objectives. This is an exciting time of 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!"

Mahesh Viswanathan, CFO - Finolex Cables Ltd: “The Union Budget 2023-24 is forward-looking and positive. It reflects continuity in capital expenditure, which will mean increased growth potential and job creation. The government’s focus on the completion of the rollout of 5G services will increase application possibilities in several fields and this will create a high impact on the demand for communication cables and provide opportunities for companies operating in this sector. Additionally, the government's focus on the electronics manufacturing sector, through incentives and tax benefits, is expected to boost the production of electronic devices, further increasing demand for communication cables. The budget also focuses on enhancing the ease of doing business where more than 39,000 compliances have been reduced. This is a welcome move for all the operating businesses. The revision of income tax slabs will leave more disposable incomes in hand which will boost the consumer durables sector. Overall, the Union Budget 2023 presents opportunities for the communication cables industry, but the ultimate impact will depend on various factors, such as the implementation of the budget's proposals and market conditions."

Naveen Aggarwal, Partner, Tax, KPMG in India: “The government delivers a growth-oriented budget focused on consumption and capital expenditure to drive the inclusive development agenda, without deviating from the path of fiscal prudence. For Tax, the Finance Minister does it the RRR way. First, the ‘Reduction’ in compliance burden through the proposed simplified tax return forms and single window clearance for IFSCs’ will further the momentum gained on ease of doing business. Second, the ‘Rationalisation’ of tax provisions by way of extending the assessment window and clarifying a timeline for export realisation by SEZs’ will help drive the certainty agenda. Third ‘Revitalising’ the domestic manufacturing and export competitiveness through reduction in Basic Customs Duty on certain products and extending the reduced 15% tax rate for new manufacturing to cooperatives till 31 March 2024 will help the country move up the global value chain. In addition to this, Budget 2023 provides the much-needed fillip to the startup ecosystem by extending the date of incorporation to avail tax benefits and carry forward of losses by another three years. With the ‘completion of recovery’ as indicated in the Economic survey, it is time for India to shift gears and catapult towards the next phase of growth trajectory."

Rikant Pittie, Co-founder, EaseMyTrip: “One of the striking features of today’s Budget 23 announcement was the echoing of India’s global recognition as a powerhouse of entrepreneurship and innovation. This was mirrored in the government’s initiative to support the vibrant ecosystem by extending the date of incorporation for income tax benefits from 31 March, 2023 to 31 March, 2024. This will provide opportunity for several startups to flourish, especially in the travel and tourism industry, which are yet to recover from the blows that were dealt during the pandemic. The foresight shown with the proposal of extending benefit of carry forward of losses on change of shareholding of startups from seven to ten years, along with an enabling regulatory framework introduced by developments in GIFT IFSC will further provide employment and entrepreneurial opportunities within the tourism industry, and provide an impetus to budding entrepreneurs in the space. With the commencement of India’s Amrit Kaal, the future of India’s startup ecosystem appears bright, and the travel and tourism industry is all set to play a major role in the economy’s development."

Waman Parkhi, Partner, Indirect Tax, KPMG in India: “Recent IMF estimates of economic growth for this calendar year puts India at number one among all countries with a growth rate of 6.1%. However, the global recessionary trends and Russia-Ukraine conflicts can impact Indian growth story. To provide cushion to the economy, government has pushed up its capital expenditure. It will also incentivise states, through a 50 year loan, to undertake capex. This will improve the efficiency of every rupee spent as capex gives better returns than revenue expenditure. Budget also plans to incentivise private investment in sectors like railways, roads, power and urban infrastructure which would enable the Government to allocate its scarce resources to more needy areas. Customs duties on finished goods are increased while those on components reduced, to promote manufacture in India. The cumulative impact of all these will help the country reach the desired growth rate of 6-7 percent."

Sampath Reddy, Chief Investment Officer, Bajaj Allianz Life: “The core focus of the budget has been to provide a boost for infrastructure / capex, tax incentives under the new tax regime (which will help to boost consumption), continue on the fiscal consolidation glide path and also offer incentives for MSMEs and informal sector. The budget was a growth oriented one with central government capex budgeted to rise by 33% to Rs. 10 lakh crore in FY24 (3.3% of GDP). This should help to boost the investment cycle in India, which is already in recovery mode, and will also help to encourage private sector capex. With some economic slowdown expected in FY24, it will aid to keep the investment engine firing in India, and support India’s economic growth trajectory.

Despite the increased capex spending, the fiscal deficit target has been reduced from 6.4% in FY23 to 5.9% in FY24, and as a result the market borrowing figure was also below estimates. This has helped the fixed income markets with bond yields falling significantly post the budget announcement.

In the financial sector a boost has been provided to small savings schemes, and therefore this segment should continue to play an important role in financing the budget deficit, with increased flows expected there. However, the government announced that only traditional insurance policies with annual premium of upto Rs. 5 lakhs bought from FY24 onwards will be tax-exempt, and this is a bit of a dampener to insurance industry. It may deter insurance penetration in India and also be a constraint on household financial savings (to some extent), which have already been on a decline in the past few years.

On the taxation front, the government has provided further tax incentives under the new income tax regime, to incentivize the same and prompt more middle class tax payers to shift to the new regime. The income tax slabs have been changed in the new regime and the government has extended tax rebate from Rs. 5 lakhs to 7 lakhs (implying that individuals with income up to 7 lakhs will now be exempt from personal income tax). Also, the highest surcharge rate has been reduced from 37% to 25%, which will reduce the peak taxation rate in India from 42.7% to 39%. This could encourage high income and high net worth individuals to also shift to the new tax regime. The government has not introduced any change in the capital gains tax regime, as was expected by some market participants, which is also a positive development."

Chandrashekhar Gosh, MD & CEO of Bandhan Bank: “Budget 2023-24 is a well-rounded progressive & inclusive budget. The focus on important parameters like boosting consumption and inclusion is a welcome measure for our growing economy. The government has laid an important thrust on Capital Investment which will enhance consumption and create employment, both of which have been important areas of attention, especially post the pandemic. Allocation of the Budget to PM Awaas Yojana will further boost the housing sector. Support to the MSME sector along with enhancement of credit gaurantee scheme will provide much needed relief to the sector. The new slabs of taxes will further help boost economic parameters like consumption, thus providing more impetus to economic growth."

Anup Rau, MD & CEO, Future Generali India Insurance: “Union Budget remains in line with the Government’s growth objectives. The focus is on strengthening the foundation regarding inclusive development, reaching the last mile and financial empowerment. Some key areas insurance companies will be closely looking at going forward are the proposed investments by the Government in technology and AI, data governance policy, simplified KYC process, common business identifier and MSME sector-related initiatives. In addition, various announcements related to infrastructure investment, including sustainable cities and green energy, will also open new avenues for the sector to mitigate and insure against potential risks. The additional income in the hands of the taxpayer owing to the expansion of the personal income tax ceiling too is likely to boost consumption. Overall, a very balanced budget".

Dewang Neralla, CEO, NTT DATA Payment Services India: “The ‘Saptarshi’ Budget has laid stronger fiscal support for building digital public infrastructure in 2023-24, which will give further impetus to India’s financial technology stack, including UPI and other digital payment solutions. UPI has witnessed a great boost in recent years by registering a growth of 76 per cent in transactions and 91 per cent in value terms which shows, India is outpacing digital payments in the world and the industry is enhancing its contribution towards nation-building. The inclusion of digital payment systems in Prime Minister Vishwakarma Kaushal Samman is a major step towards strengthening the 'Digital India' initiative. The first budget in ‘Amrit Kaal’ combines both growth and consumption. Simplification of KYC methods for digital payments and increased options to keep personal and financial documents in digi-lockers will strengthen the entire digital payments ecosystem. Focus on benefits for individual taxpayers will help in creating increased disposable income, consumptions, savings, etc. all adding to the growth of digital transactions."

George Alexander Muthoot, MD, Muthoot Finance: “The Budget 2023 presented by our Honourable Finance Minister today has touched upon all the right chords of the economy, and it will go a long way to boost capital expenditure, infrastructure, housing, along with consumption. The capex expenditure outlay of 10 lakh crore will pave the way to boost economic growth, along with job creation. The enhanced outlay by 66% to Rs. 79,000 crore under the PM Awaz Yojna will boost India’s housing sector, especially in the rural and semi-urban areas. FM’s focus on sustainable cities, creating infrastructure in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities and Fifty additional airports, heliports, water aerodromes will further boost rural connectivity thereby supporting regional economy.

During the pandemic MSMEs relied heavily on gold loans to meet their credit needs and the budget further has offered a big relief to MSMEs, which have been one of the most impacted sectors during the pandemic. In order to reduce the stress on the segment and increase the flow of funds, the Government revamped the ECLGS scheme via the infusion of 9000 crores in the corpus. This will enable collateral for 2 lakh crore loans to the small and medium-sized businesses. Further, 95% of the forfeited amount relating to bid or performance security will be returned to the MSMEs by the government and other undertakings. We also believe that the reforms announced with respect to the growth and development of the agricultural sector, animal husbandry and fisheries will further boost these sectors and support the economy. All these measures will positively enhance the scope of Gold-loan NBFCs like us, which are catering to the underbanked sectors of the society."

Manish Chaurasia, Managing Director, Tata Cleantech Capital: “Government is walking the talk when it comes to Net Zero commitment. Budget has taken bold steps in adopting new initiatives such as dedicated funds for energy transition and Green Hydrogen mission. In addition, the government has been proactive in identifying the need of storage systems to integrate the ambitious renewable energy capacity plans. Both the Viability Gap Funding for Battery energy storage systems and framework formulation for Pumped Storage Projects will pave way for accelerated adoption of renewable energy."

Pranay Jhaveri, Managing Director - India & South Asia, Euronet Worldwide: “The government has continued with its focus on a digitally inclusive society that can accelerate growth. With the proposed National Data Governance policy, data security, and user privacy will improve. The KYC process is also proposed to become easier, which will add further impetus to ease of doing business across the sectors and economy.

To consolidate data available across multiple government agencies Digilocker and Aadhar will play a crucial role whereas PAN will act as a single reference point for more frictionless compliance. The budget seems like a step in the right direction and will serve to enhance India's competitiveness."

Sandeep Menon, Founder Managing Director and CEO at Vastu: “The budget 2023 is largely focused on improving the social-economic conditions of the country. Improved infrastructure in Tier 2 & 3 cities will lead to residential cluster development in the coming years. With the announcement of enhanced capital expenditure by 33% and increment in the outlay for PM Awas Yojana (PMAY) by 66% to over 79,000 crore, the government has provided much-needed support to the affordable housing sector. Also, the relaxation in income tax slabs provides additional disposable income in the hands of the common man which can directly lead to growth in the affordable homes segment."

Sarosh Amaria is the Managing Director of Tata Capital Financial Services Ltd: “We welcome this robust support from the Government in this #AmritKaalBudget. The entity wise Digi-locker will help in easing the process of digital applications. The infusion of 9,000 crore in the revamped Credit Guarantee Scheme is enabling MSMEs with an additional collateral-free credit of 2 lakh crore thereby plugging working capital gaps for small businesses."

Shachindra Nath, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, U GRO Capital: “The demand of NBFCs from the finance minister was to advance hassle-free credit access and the government has given a much-needed boost to the MSME sector. An allocation of Rs. 9000 crore for the credit guarantee revamp scheme starting April 1, 2023 will give a big relief to MSMEs in the current inflationary conditions. Presumptive taxation for micro-enterprises with a turnover of Rs. 2 crores, unified filing process, entity-based Digi lockers, and formation of National Financial Information Registry will enable better underwriting of credit to MSMEs. It will help Datatech NBFCs like us bridge the needs of India's credit-starved business segment. The government has provided the financial sector much-needed momentum, however an active liquidity support system for NBFCs still remains a request."

Anil Chaudhry, Zone President, India and CEO & MD, Schneider Electric India Pvt. Ltd: “The FY24 budget lays a strong foundation for sustainable development of India in the Amrit Kaal. With the goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2070, it focuses on energy transition and decarbonization of the economy with a sizeable allocation of 35,000 crore. The vision for ‘LiFE - Lifestyle for Environment’, is deeply ingrained in the budget and reaffirms the government's commitment to tackle the climate crisis. Globally, India ranks fourth in installed renewable energy capacity and the budget will give a further fillip to the addition of capacities in areas like wind and solar. Key measures are being taken to support green growth, including viability gap funding for battery storage, renewable energy evacuation, National Green Hydrogen Mission, and green credit policy. With an investment of Rs. 10,000 crore, the budget also underlines the need for embracing a circular economy through the GOBARdhan scheme. Furthermore, setting up three centers of excellence for Artificial Intelligence is a welcome step from the government as it bridges the skill gap in the AI space and nurtures talent to develop tech of the future"

Dr. Satish Kumar, President & Executive Director, Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy (AEEE): “The FY24 Budget appears to usher a phase of 'green transition', guiding the economy toward a sustainable development pathway. By focusing on implementing various initiatives to increase energy efficiency and lower carbon intensity, it demonstrates a commitment to foster green growth in the nation. The proposed budget places a strong emphasis on the creation of large-scale green job opportunities to prepare young people for mitigating the effects of climate change. The National Green Hydrogen Mission's outlay of INR 19,000 crore would also support and contribute to green growth and a net zero carbon future. The provision of INR 35,000 crore for energy transformation and net zero emissions would indeed help the nation in achieving its goal of net zero emissions by 2070. India will become a responsible and energy-secure country owing to the Honourable Prime Minister's vision for Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE), which will accelerate the country's transition to a low-carbon economy and lessen dependency on fossil fuels."

Madan Sabnavis, Chief Economist, Bank of Baroda: "The Union budget has quite expectedly followed the path of fiscal prudence and done its best to make money work better. Outlays have been rationalized and reoriented to the productive sectors i.e. capex in a bid to nudge private investment and growth. By retaining the net borrowing of the government at almost the same level as last year, it has ensured that there is no pressure on the market which is presently challenged by liquidity availability. A few tax sops at the individual level and firm support to the SMEs through the credit guarantee scheme would provide support to these classes. The private sector needs to provide back-up support by stepping in and investing."

Nishant Arya, Vice Chairman, JBM Group: “Alongside this, we welcome the government’s decision to remove Customs duty on capital goods/machinery for manufacture of lithium-ion cell in EV batteries and extending the subsidy on electric batteries for another year. Significantly, EVs will now be cheaper. This will make a large contribution to not only green mobility but also to overall sustainability.

This budget is true to its name, ‘1st Budget for Amritkaal’. Key highlights of the budget are ‘Infrastructure’, ‘Consumption’, and ‘Sustainability’. We appreciate govt’s decision of 33% hike in capex outlay at Rs. 10 Lakh crores which will set the ground for ‘New India’.

Further , it is also a good decision to extend timeline by 1 more year (upto 31/03/2024) for the incentive under concessional tax regime, under Section 115BAB as the cumulative impact of the persistence of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in some delay in setting up and the commencement of manufacturing or production by newly established companies."

Sudarshan Venu, MD, TVS Motor Company: “The increase in capex on infrastructure and the emphasis on green growth will help the mobility sector. This budget gives something to everyone - from rural India, start-up India, middle class India, to digital India - it is about inclusive growth and building on the recovery we are seeing after the pandemic. It strikes a fine balance between growth and fiscal prudence."

Raghupati Singhania, Chairman & Managing Director, JK Tyre & Industries Limited: “The Budget is a reflection of India’s economic resilience and its rising global stature as an economic powerhouse. India's economy is estimated to grow at 7 percent for FY 23 which shows we are on the right track to become the 3rd largest economy. The Honourable Finance Minister in her budget speech laid emphasis on infrastructure development, technology, sustainability and inclusive growth which is praiseworthy. Reduction in custom duties and replacing older, polluting vehicles will catapult adoption of green mobility and help in achieving sustainability targets. Increase of 33% in capital expenditure on roads, railways, airports etc. will create a multiplier effect including rise in raw materials consumption, creation of jobs, infrastructure development and boost in investments. India is a young country and the youth is the country’s most valuable asset; the much-needed policy push for skilling and upskilling youth will make them job-ready and prepare them for future. The 66% increase in allocation for PM Awas Yojana will increase availability and accessibility of affordable housing for all, and will lead to increase in construction activities. The Government has taken a big and welcome decision of giving much-needed relief to income tax payers this year which will strengthen their spending power and will lead to an overall positive sentiment in the market. Overall, the Budget carries all the key announcements which are also the need of the hour to maintain the country’s growth on an upward trajectory."

Bhupesh Arora, Business Head, Digital Energy, Schneider Electric India: "The Union Budget 2023 demonstrates the government's commitment to building and expanding the infrastructure sector to boost the economy. We welcome the government’s move to announce an enhanced outlay on capital investment by 33.4% to Rs. 10 lakh crore, for the infrastructure sector. This will result in more employment creation, increased manufacturing capacities, and the energy sector's active participation in nation building. The budget focuses on states and cities to encourage urban planning reforms and making cities more sustainable. We applaud the government's investment of Rs. 35,000 crore to achieve energy transition and net zero goals, and we note that green growth is one of the government's seven priorities.

We believe the move to create a new infrastructure finance secretariat, which will facilitate the private sector's investment in infrastructure projects, will play a crucial role. As the economy is expected to grow at a 7% annual rate, we feel this budget has taken all of the necessary steps to continue the growth momentum. We congratulate Union Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman for taking the courageous step of presenting a budget focused on growth."

Madhav Sheth - CEO realme India, VP, realme and President, realme International Business Group: “Budget 2023 stands out because of its focus on inclusive development, reaching the last mile, the focus on infrastructure and investment, unleashing potential and youth power. The focus on IT and Technology aligns with several of these elements. The reduction of customs duty across several components is welcome as it aligns with the industry’s focus on keeping prices low and enhancing the reach of consumer tech devices to consumers across the economic spectrum. The announcement of reduction in personal taxation will also be welcomed by industry as it will put more money in the consumer’s pocket which increases both discretionary and planned spending. The government’s intention to set up 100 labs across key engineering college to develop 5G apps is also welcome as it will help enhance the 5G ecosystem in the country. Finally the focus on upskilling initiatives for youth in alignment with the needs of Industry 4.0 is also something that stands out."

Dr. Rashmi Saluja, Executive Chairperson, Religare Enterprises: “MSMEs are growth engines of our economy. The Finance Minister has done a fantastic job in proposing the revamp of the existing credit guarantee schemes for MSMEs through a fresh allocation of Rs9,000 crore will enable relief for smaller entrepreneurs. It will reduce the cost of credit & enable further flow of credit into this stressed sector. The ‘Vivad Se Vishwas’ plan for MSMEs will provide much-needed relief. Also, a reduction in compliance and relaxation of regulatory provisions is a welcome move from ease of doing business perspective. There are many such measures proposed in the Union Budget that will provide fuel to the MSME segment – the potential engine of growth for India’s economy.

The creation of an Urban Infrastructure Development Fund (UIDF) to be managed by the National Housing Bank will help in creating essential housing infrastructure in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. . Affordable & green housing will now get their rightful due in India’s real estate firmament. In addition to this, it is a tremendous initiative by the government to increase outlay by 66% to 79,000 crore. This will improve the sentiments for all the relevant stakeholder.

The FY24 Union Budget pushes forward India’s Atmanirbhar vision. We are confident that it will herald a truly glorious Amrit Kaal for the country."

Sunil Badala, Partner and Head, Financial Services, Tax, KPMG in India: "The budget signals stability in so far as it does not tinker with the overall corporate and business-related tax framework. There is good news for the small individual taxpayer, especially the salaried class and there is some relief for individuals in the higher tax brackets as well with the highest effective tax rate reduced from 42.74 % to 39%.

Specifically for financial services, the proposal to simplify KYC processes and the suggestion of a consultative approach in the review of regulatory framework are items that give positive vibes for business. The recognition of p-notes issued by IFSC based offshore banks is a huge positive for the IFSC. The withdrawal of tax benefits on insurance products where aggregate annual premia exceed Rs. 5 lacs in a year is a dampener for the insurance industry. Financial institutions need to critically consider the quality of their account holder related tax information reports with hefty penalties being introduced for inaccurate or false reports."

Neeraj Choudhary, Group Head Finance, Absolute: “Government's commitment to ‘green growth’ approach is a step towards building a cleaner India. The government has clearly sent across a strong message that sustainability has to be central to economic and social growth. As per Economic Survey, agriculture has performed well but the sector needs "re-orientation" to overcome challenges like adverse impacts of climate change, rising input cost, etc.

India’s G20 presidency gives a unique opportunity to strengthen India’s role in the world economic. The budget presented a slew of initiatives that reflected our motive to take Indian agriculture to the world. To maintain this growth momentum the total allocation for the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare in the 2022-23 Budget was 1.32 lakh crore, which was 4.3 percent higher than the revised estimates of the 2021-22 Budget.

Backed by the financial allocation, the move to create Agriculture Accelerator Fund will act as a catalyst to not only encourage agripreneurship but also unlock value in the agribusiness value chain that will boost profitability for the farmers. Digitization is the future and with government announcing building robust Digital Public Infrastructure, the growers stand a chance to get a huge benefits. This move is expected to improve access to farm inputs, market intelligence, and boost agricultural businesses.

The agricultural credit target will be increased to 20 lakh crores to enhance coverage of small and marginal farmers in the formal credit system will open business opportunities for local farmers, leading to doubling their income. Encouraging farmers to adopt natural farming, the government plans to set up 10,000 bio inputs resource centres. Besides, the centre plans to develop 100 labs for developing using 5G services. These labs will enable facilities like precision farming, intelligent transports systems and others.

Overall, a future-forward budget that keep nature and nation and nature at."

R Udayan Lahiry, Co-founder & Managing Director, Medica Group of Hospitals Pvt Ltd: "We welcome the Government's emphasis on establishing new nursing colleges, as this will improve the nurse-patient ratio and be a positive step toward Universal Health Coverage. Furthermore, making medical research facilities in select ICMR Labs available for research by public and private medical colleges, as well as by the private sector R&D teams for collaborative research and innovation is also a welcome step towards the growth and development of the Indian healthcare sector. It is also encouraging for healthcare service providers to know that the Government has emphasized strengthening the multidisciplinary courses for medical devices in existing institutions since we feel that this will secure the supply of skilled manpower of the future to drive technological advancements in the healthcare sector. Also, the renewed focus of the Government to eliminate Sickle Cell Anemia by 2047 through collaborative efforts of central ministries and state governments is extremely relevant today as it coincides with our country’s firm motto of eliminating infectious diseases like lymphatic filariasis by 2027,.tuberculosis by 2025 and Kala Azar by this year itself. Overall, the union budget has captured a lot of pertinent areas of the healthcare sector and it would have been even more beneficial for the sector if the government would have addressed the mechanism to avail GST input credit."

Sanjeev Barnwal Founder & CTO, Meesho: "Making emerging tech mainstream by introducing it in engineering campuses is a masterstroke by our visionary government. The establishment of 5G labs and AI Centres of Excellence conveys a clear focus on boosting research and development, upskilling our workforce and preparing them for a new gamut of opportunities. At the same time, initiatives like the Agriculture Accelerator Fund and a unified Skill India digital platform have potential to deliver meaningful change at the grass roots."

Nirav Dalal, Executive Vice President- Business Development and Chief Investment Officer, Shapoorji Pallonji Real Estate: "We welcome the measures announced by Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman in the Union Budget 2023–24, which indirectly aims to boost the real estate sector's growth while also providing relief to consumers. The proposed increase in the income tax exemption limit to 7 lakh will help boost real estate investment. This tax break will encourage homebuyers to invest more while simultaneously increasing revenue. Meeting the long-standing demand of the real estate sector, the cap deduction for capital gains on residential housing investment is set at INR 10 crore, which will undoubtedly benefit the real estate industry. As one of the important measures to support the market, there has been a 66% increase in the allocation to 79,000 crores in the Affordable Housing Fund (PMAY). The budget also has an emphasis on developing smart cities. The budget has allocated the Urban Infrastructure Development Fund (UIDF), which will be managed by the National Housing Bank and will be used by public agencies to create urban infrastructure in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. The infrastructural development in these untapped markets will help the development of real estate here."

Vikram Gulati, Country Head and Executive Vice-President, Toyota Kirloskar Motor: “The Hon’ble Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman has presented an exceptional budget by balancing the need for sustaining rapid growth, while maintaining an eye on fiscal prudence. Given the fact that there is an outlay of Rs. 10 trillion towards Capex which represents 3.3% of the GDP, and a 33% Y-o-Y increase, this will definitely contribute to a robust economic growth. While doing so, the Government has aimed at a fiscal deficit target of 5.9% for the upcoming year with a clear glide path to bring the fiscal deficit below 4.5 per cent of GDP by 2025-26.

The Budget which not only focuses on inclusiveness, youth empowerment and skill development, but also aims to give impetus to “Green Growth" with sufficient outlays for supporting the recently announced National Green Hydrogen Mission, doubling of allocation for FAME 2 scheme and for providing viability gap funding for Battery Energy Storage System (BESS). The support for 500 new “WASTE to WEALTH" plants under the GOBARdhan scheme towards leveraging compressed biogas will also encourage a Green and circular economy.

Further, the announcement towards fund allocation for scrapping old vehicles of Central and State Governments will not only help the environment and reduce fossil fuel consumption, but will also generate demand for new vehicles.

Priorities of this year’s budget clearly resonates the Government’s vision for overall development of our country in an inclusive, environmentally responsible manner towards a technology driven and knowledge based economy . The added reforms announced towards the ease of doing business, as well as simplifying the direct tax administration, as well as introducing new tax slabs, are bound to lead to greater disposable income, which will generate demand and are supportive for the growth of the economy."

Kalpesh Desai, Partner- Deal Advisory, M&A and PE Tax, KPMG in India: "Though India is the fastest growing economy and the 5th largest economy the FM had challenges to address (i) massive global slowdown, declining growth, global geo-political / depressionary pressures; (ii) need for continuous spend to harness growth opportunities and (iii) inflationary pressures with a mounting fiscal deficit while presenting her fifth and India’s Amrit Kaal’s first budget.

The FM performed a fine balancing act by ensuring that the fiscal deficit remains within overall target and at the same time, the economy gets the right push to remain the fastest growing economy amongst the major economies.

The FM with a vision to have a technology driven, knowledge-based economy with strong public finance and a robust financial sector backed economy set out to achieve job creation, facilitating ample opportunities to the youth and strengthening macro-economic stability. To this effect, she has proposed several measures to boost the economy like increased infra capex, pushing for new age ventures in certain sectors like agri and certain sunrise sectors, making provisions for credit and subsidy for various sectors, nudge to the financial sector regulators to comprehensively review their regulations, reduced significant number of compliances, etc.

On the tax front, the FM avoided recommending wholesome changes and focused on stable tax policy and on ease of compliances. She has suggested PAN to be common identifier for all specified government agencies and proposed unified filing of details where taxpayer can choose to share same details with more than one government agency.

These measures are expected to leave higher cash in the hands of consumers facilitating increased spending, reduce the compliance burden and improve the ease of doing business and ultimately lead to faster growing businesses and consequently, the growing economy."

Abhyuday Jindal, MD, Jindal Stainless: "We welcome the Union Budget 2023-24, it's truly a blueprint for India at 100, as the Honb'le FM stated. The Indian economy has emerged 5th largest in the world, and a progressive Budget was much required to fuel India's potential. The government has taken a strong decisive stand to incentivize manufacturing industries to decarbonize by investing 20K crore in the Green Hydrogen Mission, while also galvanizing 35K crore outlay towards setting up appropriate infrastructure with priority capital investment. This a clear indication that the government has continued to be resolute in its aim of achieving energy transitions and create a circular economy, which meet our Net Zero carbon emission targets. Even the Green credit program to encourage behavioural change by incentivising companies and individuals is the need of the hour.

Speaking specifically for the stainless-steel industry, we are grateful that the Hon’ble Finance Minister has continued the exemption on ferrous scrap and stainless steel scrap. This is a saving grace for industries like ours where input materials are domestically not available/ inadequate, and who still have to compete with duty free imports of subsidized finished goods in the market.

The unfair dumping practices of our neighboring Asian economies has not been addressed in the budget, but we are hopeful that remedial measures will be taken after due government proceedings.

All in all, I am confident that all the upcoming projects offer ample opportunity for manifold applications for the stainless steel industry to contribute towards building India’s brighter tomorrow."

Rajeev Sharma, Chief Strategy Officer, Mitsubishi Electric India Pvt. Ltd: "The budget 2023 is oriented to economic growth of the country. I am sure that 33% 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."

Akash Dahiya, Co-founder, SanKash: “The Union Budget 2023-24 has some positive takeaways for tourism, given the decision to promote the industry on mission mode via the participation of states, the convergence of government schemes and public-private partnerships. The country offers immense attractions for both domestic and foreign tourists. A proactive approach will help in tapping India’s tremendous tourism potential. Through an integrated approach, a minimum of 50 destinations are to be selected via the challenge mode. Under the ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ initiative, every destination will then be developed as a complete package for tourists. Besides, through the Vibrant Villages Programme, infrastructure and amenities for tourists would be facilitated in border villages."

Nitya Sharma, Co-Founder and CEO, Simpl: "We welcome the budget for providing the much needed impetus to the country’s startup ecosystem. Announcements such as the extension of the date of incorporation for income tax benefits to start-ups from 31st March 2023 to 31st March 2024 and the provision of providing the benefit of carry forward of losses on change of shareholding of start-ups from seven years of incorporation to ten years, are truly great moves. Moreover, the Government has also deducted a whopping 39,000 compliances that MSMEs needed to abide by and decriminalised over 3,400 legal provisions. Such steps will play an instrumental role in ensuring ease of doing business in the country. Entrepreneurship is the very backbone of India’s economic development. Therefore, measures suggested in the recently unveiled economic survey, such as capital gains tax regimes like those of Singapore and UAE, and capital flow procedures similar to geographies like the US and Singapore, to accelerate reverse-flipping of startups back to Indian shores, are vital moves."

Nirmit Parikh, Founder and CEO, apna: "The central government’s push to skilling in the country for lakhs of youth in the Budget 2023-24 is a welcome move, considering the youth are the pillars of our economy. This initiative will open avenues and create millions of job opportunities in emerging technologies for over 100 million youth in the country – a huge motivation for students and graduates to thrive and succeed in their home country. Furthermore, I also commend the Government’s announcement around the launch of a unified Skill India Digital platform for enabling demand-based formal skilling, linking with employers including MSMEs, and facilitating access to entrepreneurship schemes. The vision of empowering youth and MSMEs is a strong blueprint for India@100 which is being built on inclusive India."

Divya Gokulnath, Co-founder, BYJU'S: “With a focus on digitalization and formalization, the budget is investing in digital public infrastructure that will position India for continued growth and competitiveness. The education sector is a key area of investment, with the launch of PM Schools for Rising India, the recruitment of 38,800 teachers, and the establishment of a National Digital Library for children. These initiatives will help equip students with the skills and knowledge needed for success in the future, and the emphasis on teacher training and innovative pedagogy will ensure that the quality of education in India continues to improve. This forward-thinking budget sets India on a path towards self-reliance and global competitiveness."

Mahesh Balasubramanian, Managing Director, Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance Company Ltd: "Aligned with popular expectations, the budget has placed the right impetus on key focus areas towards strengthening the India growth story. Right from adhering to a fiscal prudence and charting a clear road map for fiscal deficit by sticking to 4.5% of GDP till FY26, emphasis on Capex outlay of 10 trillion, focus on green growth, agri credit of 20 trillion, rural and social sectors with push for infrastructure creation, initiatives for ease of doing business by reducing and consolidating 39,000 laws and relief in personal income tax, the budget provides the right impetus for the India as it strengthen its position among global economies. The budget has also been good for the consumers, especially middle-class which will help spur spending, increasing consumption and demand thus helping the overall economy."

Priya Agarwal Hebbar, Non-Executive Director, Vedanta Ltd & Chairperson, Hindustan Zinc Ltd: "A forward looking Budget focused on unlocking opportunities for each Indian. The efforts on empowerment of women through Producer Organisations, improvement in nutritional outcomes by mainstreaming millets, access to learning for children via a National Digital Library, are just a few examples. The focus on people combined with an eye on preserving the planet via boosting the green economy makes this a caring and futuristic Budget."

Falguni Nayar, Founder and CEO of Nykaa: “This Union Budget presented today is encouraging and outlines some firm steps towards shaping India into a global economic powerhouse. In a big boost to employment, the launch of PM Kaushal Vikaas Yojana 4.0 and the unified Skill India digital platform are timed very well. With deeper digital integration in people’s lives, skills such as coding are crucial, both for employability and for the growth of India’s promising consumer-technology ecosystem.

India is now the third largest ecosystem for start-ups globally and we are observing rapid adoption of AI to deliver solutions better and faster. The government’s focus on making this technology work for India is prudent and given the passion for innovation in this country, the possibilities of what will be developed at the three centres of excellence are endless. The measures announced by the Finance Minister to enhance ease of doing business and reduction in customs duty are encouraging for the e-commerce and retail sectors. The simplification of personal tax should over time help discretionary spending and will likely boost the sentiment of salaried consumers."

Prashant Kumar, MD & CEO of Yes Bank: “The Union Budget 2023 attempts an inclusive growth structure for the economy through various measures that are expected to reach the last mile. The effective capex of the Central government was enhanced to INR 13.7 Lakh crores, or 4.5% of the GDP was an acknowledgment that capital expenditures are crucial for the economy and could boost the growth. As the efficiency of capital expenditures is higher at the state level, the government once again earmarked INR 1.3 lakh crores as a 50-year loan to States, which would incentivize capital expenditure. ECLGS scheme continues with an additional INR 9000 crore added to the corpus which would boost the fund flow for the MSME sector."

Sundararaman Ramamurthy, MD & CEO, BSE: “The Budget of 2023 continues from the earlier budgets which successfully guided India during one of the toughest periods for mankind, with a continued focus on Aatmanirbhar Bharat and Amrit Kaal. As a result of a consultative and inclusive process, suggestions and feedback received from various stakeholders, have been factored in, wherever possible. Various areas of national importance have received their due focus - MSME sector, Infrastructure building which fuels economic development, Ease of doing business which attracts foreign participation and domestic capital creation, Green energy, Tourism, export orientation using custom duty rationalisations, harnessing the power of youth, etc. ‘Shri Anna’ brings a novel concept to food safety, nutrition and self-sufficiency. Personal taxation has received its well-deserved attention too, bringing a smile on the face of the common man. To top it all, strict adherence to prudent fiscal management while keeping the pedal on the accelerator for long-term structural growth initiatives, which in our view, is the hallmark of this Budget."

Uday Kotak, CEO of Kotak Mahindra Bank: “Budget with vision, structure, discipline. Immediate benefits to all individual earners. Continues measured path of fiscal consolidation. Sets foundation to increase every Indian’s per capita income exponentially from 1.97 lakhs( 2400$).True to its name: 1st budget for Amritkaal."

Nilesh Shah, Managing Director, Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Company: “This budget is a Bahubali budget. With one arrow multiple targets are shot. Fiscal prudence is achieved with lower deficit and path set till FY 26. Consumption is supported through tax cuts. Investment outlay is enhanced. No’s are realistic or conservative to enhance the credibility.

The budget could have focussed more on asset monetisation but that can be pursued otherwise also depending upon market conditions. Net net a Bahubali budget."

Upasna Bhardwaj, Chief Economist, Kotak Mahindra Bank: "The Union Budget has adequately focused on the holistic development of the economy with special emphasis on infrastructure, MSME financing needs, affordable housing and consumers. The surge in capex spending if achieved will assure a significant multiplier effect on the overall medium term growth prospects of the economy. Further the personal income tax benefits may provide cushion to the weakening consumer demand. The overall reiteration on fiscal consolidation path along with inline market borrowings bodes well for the bond markets."

Giridhar LV, founder, Nuvepro Technologies: “It's great to see that deeptech such as coding and AI and other new age technologies being a core focus areas for the PMKY 4.0. This is just a step towards ensuring India is job ready with relevant skills to become the third largest economy by 2030. In a bid to drive innovation and boost the startup ecosystem, it is also important that students and professionals are imparted with right kind of skills

and hands-on training so that they are project ready resulting in better and greater output for the IT/tech companies. Technology industry should also pitch in by providing internships to all qualifying students. As per Government of India data, only 43% of the students going through the earlier PMKY schemes were placed. By making the skilling hands-on and by including internships, the placement rates can easily cross 60% across industries."

Meet Patel, Founder, Rise Hydroponics: "With the Union Budget 2023, the Center continued to place a strong emphasis on increasing farmer incomes. The precise financial initiatives that would aid agritech firms are heartily appreciated. The agritech entrepreneurs from India's rural regions stand to gain a lot from the projected Agricultural Accelerator Fund."

Saurabh Garg, Co-Founder and CBO, NoBroker.com: "The announcement of the Union Budget 2023 brings positive hope for the housing sector. With the immense rise in allocation towards Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana to 79,000 crore for the next fiscal, this is expected to boost development of more low-income and affordable housing across the country.

However, few announcements in the budget appears to be aiming towards better targeting of tax concessions and exemptions. For instance - the FM has proposed to limit the deduction from capital gains on residential property investment under sections 54 and 54F at 10 crores. Till now, there was no such limit and typically, HNIs would utilize this avenue to reduce their Capital Gains tax liability. However, it is now proposed to substantially limit the benefit available on capital gains tax arising to HNIs.

The increment in the tax rebate limit to 7 lakh and the reduction in the tax structure across all slabs would definitely help pumping in more liquidity in the markets. Individuals would now have more disposable income to save and invest in homes which would further propel the growth prospects of the sector.

The budget is positive from an infrastructure and investment point of view."

Sandeep Agrawal, Co-Founder and Director, TeamLease RegTech: "Today’s Union Budget has made 05 announcements under the individual tax category. Most of these announcements aimed at making the New Tax regime more attractive for middle class salaried individuals. The Budget proposed 05 Tax Slabs (as against the 06 Slabs) and also increased the income limits under each slab thereby reducing the tax liabilities for individuals earning up to Rs. 15 Lakhs. The budget also provided an additional benefit of Rs. 52,500 to individuals earning over Rs. 15 Lakh via introduction of Standard deduction under the New Tax regime."

Dhruv Jain, co-founder, Moonshot: "This budget will give the stimulus that we were expecting to push the consumer spending in the economy. Increasing the slab of the base taxation will help increase disposable income in the hands of the middle class which in turn gives a push to the consumption, proving favourable to the FMCG sector. Furthermore, empowerment of agri-startups and setting up a centre for excellence for millets will help boost rural demand for FMCG as well."

TV Narendran CEO and MD of Tata Steel: "The finance minister has presented a high-quality budget that focusses on increasing capital expenditure to build infrastructure while at the same time not compromising on the fiscal discipline that is so essential in an era of rising interest rates.

The finance minister has also taken multiple actions to support the agriculture sector and the rural economy. The focus on health expenditure also assuages concerns of the underprivileged sections of the society about unplanned medical expenditure. There is also a more holistic focus on logistics with significant investments in the Railways as well as proposed work on coastal shipping. The budget also assigns resources for the long-term and important transition to a greener future.

The support to the tourism sector and to MSME’s were also much needed as these sectors suffered the most during covid. Overall, a very comprehensive budget which has something for everyone."

Dr. Rupa Rege Nitsure, Group Chief Economist, L&T Financial Services: "While the Budget is market-friendly in terms of every asset class, it reflects good fiscal prudence on the back of subsidy rationalisation. As in the past three years, its underlying macroeconomic framework and revenue growth assumptions are conservative and realistic. A strong capex push by the Central Government was the need of the hour. But its objective will be fulfilled if and only if the State Governments as well as the private sector start raising their fixed investment spending. A push to growth without compromising the macro-financial stabilisation should improve India's score in terms of fiscal sustainability."

Vinay Dube, Founder and CEO of Akasa Air: “The Union Budget presented by the Hon'ble Finance Minister is growth oriented and will steer India towards holistic development across all pillars. The announcement of 50 additional airports and ramping up of air transport infrastructure is a welcome move and will support the nation's growing demand for air travel. The focus on promoting domestic tourism will provide impetus to further revival of the sector and aligns with our vision to strengthen India's transportation system. As India's greenest airline, we are delighted to acknowledge Green Growth as one the key priorities of this Union Budget and be at the forefront of creating green job opportunities in the country."

Santosh Iyer, Managing Director & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India: “The Union Budget 2023 should drive demand as it focuses on boosting consumption by increasing the disposable income of taxpayers. Further, an increased capital expenditure on infrastructure, particularly roads, should also create demand for the automotive sector. The change in basic custom duties is however going to impact the pricing of some of our select cars like the S-Class Maybach and select CBUs like GLB and EQB, making them dearer. However as we locally manufacture most of our models, this will not affect 95% of our portfolio."

Mr. Iyer, elaborated, “The focus on sustainability in the budget is commendable and initiatives like extending customs duty exemption of capital goods and machinery to manufacture lithium-ion cells for EVs is a step in the right direction, as it will consistently drive green mobility in the country."

Dinesh Khara, Chairman, SBI: “The Union Budget is growth accretive, fiscally prudent and consumption supportive. The huge emphasis on capital expenditure could be the perfect recipe for a private investment cycle that is already visible. Support for MSME and Agriculture will broad base credit growth. Reasonable Government borrowing numbers will support lower interest rates and the move towards a clutter free new tax regime will significantly spur consumption. Overall, the budget is forward looking and will support an inclusive economy."

Surojit Shome, Managing Director and CEO, DBS Bank India: “The Finance Minister has signalled the government’s intent to maintain stability, while encouraging balanced economic growth. The proposed policy reforms and increased capital infusion will provide an impetus to MSMEs and the start-up ecosystem. Coupled with the proposal to harness the power of Artificial Intelligence by setting up Centers of Excellence, this should help stay in sync with the latest innovations. It is also very encouraging to see the FM allocating more funds for transitioning to a more green and responsible economy."

Kaku Nakhate, President & India Country Head, Bank of America: "Our Honourable Finance Minister has given yet another remarkable budget balancing growth with fiscal prudence.

While the budget focused on growth through productive capital spending, India's fiscal deficit is still expected to remain at 6.4% of the GDP in FY23, and is on target narrow further to 5.9% and 4.5% in FY24 and FY25, respectively.

Allowing foreign banks to conduct acquisition financing from GIFT City is a welcome step and will attract many more banks to set up offices in GIFT IFSC. Recognizing ODIs as valid contracts will give fillip to the securities market. The dual budget proposal for a single window clearance for IFSCA, SEZ, RBI, SEBI and GSTN at GIFT City, and the inclusion of arbitration law will draw global institutions from the BFSI sector here. This will further augment Gift city as of one of the leading international financial centers of the world. Creating property tax governance reforms and ring-fencing user charges on urban infrastructure in cities will surely strengthen the municipal bonds markets in India.

Overall, I believe India's first budget in the 'Amrit Kaal' is growth oriented and progressive."

Tushar Parihar, Founder, Kaner Bagh on hospitality and MSME sector: "The Finance Minister's announcement to promote the Tourism sector in mission mode is the most welcoming news in this year's Budget 2023-2024. The hospitality and tourism industry which plays a major role in the GDP of the country was waiting for favorable policies and announcements in this budget after facing disappointment from the Centre in the previous budget. The allocation of huge capital expenditure and the innovative plan for the growth of the tourism and hospitality sector also holds huge opportunities for jobs and entrepreneurship for youths.

The industry was severely hit by the pandemic and faced a drastic drop in sales due to the lockdown and covid related curbs, for the last two years. But this year, however, I am looking forward to a fruitful and successful year as the business has returned in our favor."

Abhishek Sinha, Co-founder, GoodDot on FMCG and MSME sector: "The budget hits all the right notes for Agritech, Foodtech, and the overall startup ecosystem in India. The focus on the development of vital infrastructure like railways and highways would help improve the logistics requirements of the Agri and Industrial sector. The particular focus on Green growth as well as on millet is welcome. India is the largest producer of millets in the world and this particular focus on millets will help both domestic as well exports of millets and value-added millet products."

Jesal Sampat, Executive Director, Pune Gas - Manufacturing, MSME and Oil & Gas: "Firstly, great news for the Indian lower and middle-class citizens as per the revised income tax slabs. Secondly, the plan to make the revised tax slabs the default regimes will make it simpler to understand and implement their personal financial planning for taxpayers. The intention to reduce the fiscal deficit in the coming years is important to make our country and economy even more stronger and resilient going forward.

As a Director of an MSME company, the enhancement of the credit guarantee scheme for the MSMEs will give a further boost to the already pressurized sector as many MSMEs still have a long path to recovery after suffering for a good two years due to covid lockdowns. The idea of a Digilocker is really great and will be welcomed in a big way by Proprietors, Partners, Owners, and Directors of Companies. If implemented well, it can save precious time for doing KYC each time for every transaction.

The allocation of huge capital expenditure planned and the innovative plan for the growth of the tourism sector is the best that both the manufacturing and service sectors could ask for. It is a win-win situation for all the sectors after a torrid 2-3 years of slow growth post covid. One of the most important takeaways for us was the inclusion of 'Green Growth' in the budget speech. The world already knows the importance of reducing carbon emissions, and it is high time our country considers this as an important topic and agenda to address going forward to actually show the world we can also reduce our carbon intensity whilst showing sustainable growth."

Dr. Anil Pillai, Director, Terragni Consulting: "The budget for 2023-2024 continues on the Capital spending and infrastructure thrust. The Saptarishi focus is a good way to define priority focus areas. Given that this was a pre-election year budget, the focus on fiscal consolidation and the lack of freebies has been a very welcome sign. When the globe is facing recessionary headwinds, India committing upwards of 10,000 crores in infrastructure capital expenditure is a sign of audacious confidence in the Indian economy. Very welcome!

The focus on MSME lending, Ease of Doing Business, and contract resolutions are steps in the right direction. The reduction in income tax, costing approximately 33000 crores to the exchequer will be set off by enhanced spending. This again should see robust economic activity while providing relief to the middle class. What remains to be seen is how the GoI manages to keep inflation in check, as inflation could prove to be a dampener to growth in the coming months. Overall, from our perspective, this is an excellent budget and one that would continue to fuel the virtuous cycle of large ticket spending and growth."

Vipul Sandhya, Nutritionist, Personal Trainer & Founder, of Win Everyday: "Snacking Good Products fall under the 18% bracket of GST. Healthier alternatives with fresh and clean raw materials alongside a strong nutritional profile are in competition with refined carbohydrates and high sugar concentration-based snacks. As both categories of products fall under the same GST bracket, it makes healthier alternatives sell accessible and more expensive for the general public.

Healthcare spending in India is at 2.5% of the GDP. Which has seen a jump from the previous years but is still lacking in terms of the preventive healthcare steps we need to undertake. Health and well-being impacts as highlighted by the Pandemic are directly proportional to the wellness industry and its growth. Spent towards preventive measures needs to be ramped up.

Personal Income Tax should be reduced to increase the availability of disposable income. This empowers people to opt for healthier food alternatives. Schemes, plans, and subsidies should be introduced to support newer entrants in the health food space. Enabling them to compete with existing Large Corporations and Big Food.

The government announced the promotion of natural farming practices to 1 crore farmers. This acts as a step towards building a healthier food supply chain, directly resulting in an impact on the use of pesticides. With the set up of 30 Skill India centers, an influx of highly trained and skilled labor will help improve business manufacturing and result in better quality products.

Our Indian brands are working to be at the forefront of healthcare change on a global scale. These businesses aim to bring positive change toward preventive healthcare and require substantial support, subsidies, and a platform from the government. The healthcare industry needs a jumpstart with the Preventive healthcare segment needing to be at the helm.

Vandita Purohit, Founder, TraWork: "India as a country has a lot to offer for the travel experience. Infrastructure was a missing piece of the puzzle in the previous budget. This FY budget emphasizes on the growth of the infrastructure, tourist destinations, and airports. It has turned out to be an important aspect for better connectivity and identifying cultural sites as places of tourism.

This year's budget will not just boost tourism but also contribute to the idea of sharing our culture, history, and heritage with a larger audience. While there are many other things that can be done, this is a great start. Travel businesses and startups can and must take full advantage of this."

Govind Sankaranarayanan,Co-Founder and COO, Ecofy: "It is heartening that green growth was identified as one of the “saptarishis" or pole stars that provide direction to the economy. The 35,000 crore allocation for the green capital expenditure is a large and explicit affirmation of the Governments commitment to net zero. The customs duty exemption on inputs for lithium ion batteries manufacture and the plan to replace central government vehicles will help EV growth. Choosing to extend the credit guarantee scheme for SME’s will enable these companies to be a part of the green transition. Also the excise duty exemptions on biogas blended CNG will accelerate the waste to energy sectors growth.

I have always believed that in a developing country the Government has to drive capital expenditure so the 33% increase in capex should be an engine for much needed post pandemic job creation. The reduction in direct taxes should help us grow at the 6.5% predicted."

Venkatraman Venkateswaran, Group President & CFO, Federal Bank: "Budget 2023-24 is an Infrastructure Spending oriented budget with 7 priorities set by the FM. The budget unveiled tax cuts and set the virtuous cycle of job creation. Out of the overall growth agenda, specifically looking at Banking sector, there are two major proposals. Firstly on Agricultural credit, the target is hiked to Rs.20 Lakh crore, which will help drive rural growth. Additionally, the revamped credit guarantee scheme for MSMEs, with infusion of 9000 crore into the corpus, will enable additional collateral free credit guarantee of 2 lakh crore".

Rahul Jain - Director, Crayon Motors: "This is an impressive and well-planned budget. The budget demonstrates the government's commitment to green growth. They have clearly stated that this is one of their top seven priorities. The extension of subsidies for another year, as well as lower duties on lithium batteries, are encouraging developments for India's transition to green mobility. The infusion of 9000 crores into the Credit Guarantee Scheme, combined with lower credit costs, is a much-needed boost for the MSME sector. References to ease of compliance, rationalization, and digitisation will improve the ease of doing business even further. Overall, the budget has prioritized green initiatives, and we are excited to contribute to making the world a greener and cleaner place for everyone."

Pankaj Poddar, Group CEO, Cosmo First: “The budget is in line with the vision of the government where the main focus is on infrastructure development and making India Atmanirbhar by strengthening our MSME sector and boosting the start-ups in India not only in fintech side but now on agritech as well. The decision of introducing ‘Vivad se Vishwas’ to return 95% of bid to the MSMEs in case of failures to execute contracts during the Covid period and bring another dispute resolution scheme under Vivad Se Vishwas-2 to settle commercial disputes is indeed a great relief for businesses. The infusion of 9,000 crore through the revamped credit guarantee scheme and additional collateral-free credit of 2 lakh crore to MSMEs and reducing cost of the credit by about 1%. Through these initiatives, India will emerge to become a 5-trillion dollar economy.

Where the other economies of the world are showing signs of recession, Indian economy will grow by 6.4% - 6.8% in next year. Fiscal deficit will also get reduced to 5.9% next year from the present 6.4%. The industry was expecting a major boost in manufacturing sector by extending the last date for setting up a new manufacturing facility with lower tax rate benefit. However, the overall Union Budget 2023-24 is positive and will drive growth of the MSME as well as the start-up sector and give a boost the infra sector."

Dr. Charit Bhograj, Founder & CEO, Tricog Health: “We welcome the budget presented by our honourable Finance Minister that places increased focus on medical technology innovation in the healthcare sector. We are pleased to see the government’s increased efforts in introducing dedicated multidisciplinary medical device courses in existing institutions to ensure that India will be at the forefront of medical innovation. Furthermore, with the emphasis on AI in healthcare at the centres of excellence, the culmination of Medicine and Technology will drive advancements in patient care and help achieve better health outcomes for all. We look forward to working with the government to support the growth and development of the medical technology industry."

Rizwan Soomar, CEO & MD - India Subcontinent & Sub Saharan Africa, DP World: “Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Budget 2023 has focused on fiscal consolidation while prioritizing infrastructure creation, last mile connectivity and skill development. The substantial increase in capital outlay for infrastructure projects across centre and states, coupled with the specialized focus on improving last mile connectivity, will lead to creation of important last mile linkages. The record outlay for the Indian Railways will provide the necessary impetus to programmes like the Dedicated Freight Corridor project that are critical to bringing the cost of freight movement down.

These concurrently align with the goals envisioned under the National Logistics Policy. Development of private participation will also be crucial in implementing the 100 critical first and last mile transportation projects identified by the government as well as for helping India achieve its efforts towards net zero emissions by 2070. Rationalization of custom duties on specific products, extending credit access to the MSME sector as well as easing of SEZ regulations will also help Indian products become price competitive globally.

We are confident that the Budget FY24 will attract private investment for capital expenditure, which will spur economic growth and position India as one of the fastest growing nations in the world."

Dr Yajulu Medury, Vice Chancellor, Mahindra University: “The budget provides a much-needed impetus towards empowering the education sector and youth towards helping them realize their true potential. The setting up of 100 5G enabled labs to develop apps in engineering institutions and 3 centers of excellence in Artificial Intelligence is a major step towards 'Make AI in India and Make AI Work for India' and helps in shaping the new engineer of today. The 30-skill India international centres across states will further promote interdisciplinary research for developing cutting-edge applications to transform critical sectors and provide solutions for sustainable cities. In order to bridge the skill gap in India, the budget is in line with Mahindra University's focus on integrating critical thinking and problem-solving through a dynamic and diverse curriculum."

Anand Shukla, MD, Ocean Infraheights (Golden I): "The announcement for INR 10,000 crore per year for urban infra development fund will provide a major boost to the real estate sector. This will be beneficial for the use of priority sector lending shortfall and will provide robust momentum to the real estate sector. With the enhancement of 66% in the outlay for PM Awaas Yojana, will ensure the protection of housing rights to the grassroot level. Our initiatives in the areas of retail, IT/ITES offices, and residential construction are in line with the goal of promoting sustainable economic development while preserving the environment."

Farhan Pettiwala, Head of Corporate Affairs, Hikal Limited: “Under the provisions of the Union Budget, new programme for research in pharmaceuticals will be formulated that will not only promote R&D investments but also encourage to invest in research would boost pharma sector. The reduction of basic custom duty on acid grade fluorescence from 5% to 2.5% is a big relief for the pharma industry as it will make the domestic fluorochemicals industry Atma-Nirbhar. Similarly, the exemption of denatured alcohol, is used in chemical industry, will support ethanol blending program and facilitate energy transition. Meanwhile, 10000 Bio resource input centres will truly help India create a national-level Bio resource micro fertilizer and pesticide manufacturing network."

Manoranjan Mohapatra, CEO, Comviva: “With the ongoing 5G rollouts in India, the government's decision to establish 100 5G application Labs is a timely move to spur innovation in developing the 5G ecosystem and India relevant use cases. There is a great opportunity to combine 5G and AI to improve network speed, responsiveness, and efficiencies. The special emphasis on establishing AI centres of excellence shall help produce specialized talent to enable India preserve its global advantage and leadership."

Pratik Vaidya, MD & CVO, Karma Global, a tech enabled HR & Compliance Organisation: "The budget has moved the pedal for the ongoing initiative of ‘Amrit Kaal’. The next phase of Ease of Doing Business (EODB 2.0) will improve the productive efficiency of capital and human resources. 39,000 compliances have been reduced for ease of doing business which is a step in the right direction.

The revamped Credit guarantee scheme for MSMEs with an infusion of 9000 crore into the corpus will enable an additional collateral-free credit guarantee of 2 lakh crore rupees, which will enable to lower the cost of credit by 1 percent. This is very good news for MSMEs that are still recovering from the impact of the pandemic.

Using the unique identifier PAN, the common information and documents could be auto-fetched across systems. An integrated system at the central and state level departments will provide relief to the user from repeated submission of documents, ensure the authenticity of the same and lead to quicker processing of requests.

We appreciate the setting up of 30 Skill India International Centres for youth by the government which will help in building a stronger dedicated lot. EPFO numbers doubled to 27cr & limit increased for leave encashment.

Murali Ramakrishnan MD and CEO of The South Indian Bank: "This year’s Union Budget is noteworthy on a number of counts. Effective implementation of schemes like opening of 47.8 crore PM Jan Dhan bank accounts will benefit common citizens. With the establishment of the Urban Infrastructure Development Fund (UIDF), we expect infrastructure in tier 2 and tier 3 cities receiving a significant boost. The enabling of the Digital locker for MSMEs for securely storing and sharing documents online with various authorities, regulators and other entities will encourage seamless business."

PN Vasudevan, MD and CEO of Equitas Small Finance Bank: “The Budget presented by the Hon’ble Finance Minister today has many positives. It is a growth-oriented budget with a planned capital outlay of 10 Lakh Crore and a higher allocation for the PM Awaz Yojna Scheme which would spur the housing finance market and all its upstream and downstream industries.

It has a fillip for the rural economy in the form of higher fertiliser subsidies for the farmers, putting more money in their hand. With improved road connectivity, this is expected to improve money flow in the rural economy.

The Budget also has very positive news for individual taxpayers. The people at the lower end of the income bracket benefit from an increase in the minimum tax slab from 2.5 to 3 Lakhs along with all the other benefits available under the old scheme, while for people willing to shift to the new tax regime, the minimum taxable limit has been increased from 5 to 7 Lakhs. This may spur more people to opt for the new tax regime. And at the top end of the income earners (new tax regime), the tax limit has been reduced from the current 42.7 % to 39%. Both of these should result in higher level of disposable income and higher consumption.

While apparently being liberal with various segments as above, the Government has also done an extraordinary job of maintaining the fiscal prudence, riding on strong tax collection. The revised estimate of borrowings for the current financial year has been reduced while for the next year, the borrowings estimated at 15.43 Lakh Crore is lower than the widely expected 15.8 Lakh Crore. The fiscal deficit has also been contained during the current year within the guided 6.4%, while for next year it is pegged at 5.9%, clearly showing that the Government has very well managed the tightrope walk between fiscal prudence and supporting economic growth.

Overall, the budget scores on many fronts and should help place the country in the global map as a country well positioned to sustain its strong GDP growth and a torch bearer amongst the major economies of the world. At a time when there are significant concerns about economic sustenance in our region, this Budget further strengthens our image as a well-managed country, at the cusp of next levels of sustainable growth."

Vikas Garg, Co-Founder and CEO of Paytail: "The government's efforts to simplify the KYC process and adopt a risk-based approach will go a long way in streamlining the process for customers and fintech companies alike. We appreciate the focus on a digital-first approach and the use of technology to improve financial inclusion in India. The establishment of DigiLocker as a one-stop solution for reconciliation and identity management is a game-changer for the fintech industry. This will simplify the process and save time for customers while also enhancing the security of their personal information."

Nilesh Patel, Founder and CEO, LeadSquared: "The Union Budget 2023 aims to promote technological advancements in India by simplifying and reducing 39000 compliances in the coming year and decriminalizing thousands of legal provisions. This will ease the process of doing business for startups. This year’s budget also includes measures such as the introduction of Entity DigiLocker, which will securely store and share essential documents specifically for MSMEs, start-ups, large enterprises, and charitable organizations, and streamline KYC processes, all on one platform.

Additionally, the government's commitment to empowering the youth by introducing mandatory courses such as AI, coding, drones, IOT, 3D printing, and other soft skills under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana 4.0 and establishing of 30 Skill India international centers, will connect skilled youth with employers and leaders in the industry and encourage entrepreneurship."

Dheeraj Hinduja, Executive Chairman, Ashok Leyland: “Union Budget 2023-24 is aligned with the Prime Minister’s vision of building a competitive and resilient India, with inclusive growth. The budget emphasises comprehensive national infrastructure development and expands on the digitization of the economy. The road transportation sector plays an important role in national development and would have an even more impactful role, going forward, in supporting the Government's vision. The announcement that old vehicles owned by the central government and state governments will be replaced as part of the vehicle scrapping policy presents a significant opportunity for fleet modernisation. This budget also echoes our sentiment and commitment to clean energy vehicles for a cleaner and greener future, as part of a national mission to achieve the net zero carbon emission goal."

Bhavik Damodar, Office Managing Partner- Mumbai, KPMG in India: “This is a growth propelling budget focused on inclusive development, ease of doing business through further digitisation, significant infrastructure investments, further promoting domestic manufacturing, growth of green and alternative energies whilst achieving the stated long term sustainability goals."

Sudarshan Venu, MD, TVS Motor Company: “This budget is well rounded. The FM has put inclusivity, capital expenditure, consumption, digitisation and the middle-class front and centre. The emphasis on increased infrastructure spends and support for lithium-ion battery manufacturing will be a great multiplier for industry overall."

Divya Gokulnath, Co-founder, BYJU'S: “With a focus on digitalization and formalization, the budget is investing in digital public infrastructure that will position India for continued growth and competitiveness. The education sector is a key area of investment, with the launch of PM Schools for Rising India, the recruitment of 38,800 teachers, and the establishment of a National Digital Library for children. These initiatives will help equip students with the skills and knowledge needed for success in the future, and the emphasis on teacher training and innovative pedagogy will ensure that the quality of education in India continues to improve. This forward-thinking budget sets India on a path towards self-reliance and global competitiveness."

Anil Pinapala, CEO and Founder, Vivifi India Finance: “The Union Budget 2023 is a commendable approach towards India’s vision for inclusive growth. It has laid its due focus on building the blocks that will transform our nation into one of the strongest economies in the world. With financial inclusion at the core, the relief for taxpayers in terms of direct tax is an absolutely welcome move. The government is creating an incentive structure for people to move from the old tax regime to the new tax regime. This transformation will empower our citizens with a stronger economic stability and a higher standard of living.

The fact that the per capita income has doubled to Rs. 1.97 lakh since 2014, speaks highly of how we have significantly improved our position; as a well-governed and innovative country with a conducive environment for business as reflected in several global indices. Several accomplishments have had a major role to play in India’s rising global profile: unique world class digital public infrastructure, e.g., Aadhaar, Co-Win and UPI; Covid vaccination drive in unparalleled scale and speed; online KYC processes. Further, the budget expanding access to documents in digi-locker will help in fastening credit underwriting as well as overall KYC processes. Remote onboarding and underwriting will streamline and bring efficiency to the processes.

With the world moving towards a digital revolution, the Indian government has introduced reforms that will transform India into a digital super- power. As a nation, we are making progress in the right direction. Looking forward, initiatives for start-ups, technology, upskilling and financial literacy will undoubtedly act as a successful catalyst for India's growth."

Dhruv Agarwala, Group CEO, Housing.com, PropTiger.com & Makaan.com: “Overall, the FM presented an inclusive, growth oriented and fiscally prudent budget. Rationalisation of income tax, especially at the lower end of the income spectrum, would provide extra funds in the hands of middle-class families and alleviate the burden of increasing interest rates. It may also encourage those on the fence to purchase a home, which is the most trusted asset class for Indians. The demand for housing is already very robust, and the Budget 2023-24 would further galvanise growth for India’s real estate sector".

Also, the increase in overall capital expenditure, the increased outlay for PMAY, the setting up of the Urban Infra Development Fund and the record capital allocation for the railways, will help create better infrastructure and provide a further boost to the real estate sector".

Mohit Rathod, Co-Founder, Truly Desi - Start-up, FMCG, Agriculture, and MSME Sector: “Agri Accelerator Fund will inspire a lot of young entrepreneurs in the Agriculture sector to bring in new innovations by supporting them financially and making this space more organized. Additional provision of Marketing linkages should be considered for millet-growing farmers and startups producing millet-based products as it will give a huge boost to the sales of millet-based products in the domestic and international markets."

Vikas Jain, Founder, Acviss Technologies - Start-up, MSME and Tech Sector: "The new tax exemptions are going to help the salaried class. Startup tax benefits are welcome but could have been better. But reducing compliances will also be beneficial for SMEs. This can be a leap for creating a better and friendlier environment for startups and corporates in India. The decision to give more importance to Artificial intelligence by starting courses in top educational institutions is going to rejuvenate young minds.

The aim of ‘Make AI in India’ is a game changer for the country and businesses depending on or working with AI are going to see a big leap in terms of operation and will pave a way for witnessing groundbreaking innovations."

Vandita Purohit, Founder, Mauji Cafe: “It's great that this budget has a contingency plan for the hospitality sector which was much needed. But, there is still a lack of awareness amongst hospitality startups with respect to how to access this for the larger benefit of the hospitality ecosystem and our economy. We appreciate this step taken by the govt of refunding 95% if the MEME startup fails, but this can also have a lot of unforeseen drawbacks for the last mile startups.

Also, MSME is a very vast category to build the budget around. So, I believe it should be bifurcated according to industries so that not only one but all industries benefit from the govt offering."

These are extremely positive initiatives and shall bring technological advancements to the country as AI and 5G are the two most critical elements to enable futuristic innovations and developed related 5G ecosystem."

Matthew Foxton, India Regional President & Executive Vice-President, Branding & Communications · IDEMIA: “I am pleased to see the focus in Union Budget to strengthen the Digital ecosystem, India's digital advancements in this decade have been remarkable, especially the integration of digital infrastructure and identity framework. Establishing a strong national identity system is crucial as it boosts security, drives economic growth, and strengthens social unity. The adoption of a unified KYC process, utilizing Digilocker and Aadhaar as the primary means of identity verification, is a positive step forward and will increase financial accessibility for marginalized communities".

Arvind Bali, CEO, Telecom Sector Skill Council: “The government's focus on the skill development of India's potential youth talent through initiatives like NEP, PMKVY 4.0 for skilling in niche new-age technologies like 5G, AI, 3D printing, drones, coding, mechatronics, robotics, and IoT draws further impetus to the ongoing efforts. Blue and grey-collar job demand in India grew by up to four-fold in 2022. Annual demand in telecommunications and 5G have increased by 33.7 per cent in September 2022. There was a demand for 1.3 million workers in FY22-23 which is growing each year and. New use-cases including cloud computing, robots, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are also seeing a sharp rise in hiring. We believe the initiatives will be beneficial to close country's growing demand supply gap of technical talent workforce. With the government's push to establish 30 Skill India international centres, 100 premier labs for developing applications to use 5G services, and centres of excellence for AI, India has the potential to deliver talent not only across domestic markets but also to the international market. The initiative like the Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) is also a progressive move by the government to uplift the tribal population and empower the students to take up new job opportunities."

Rajiv Bhalla, Managing Director, India & Vice President APAC, at Barco: “Indian economy is heading towards a bright future, the 'Saptrishi' of the Budget 2023 prioritizes on inclusive development, reaching last mile, unleashing potential, green growth, youth power. Announcement around adding 50 tourist destinations as a whole package and focusing holistically on physical as well as virtual connectivity, tourist guides, high standards for food streets and tourists’ security through an app to enhance tourist experience, is a significant step that will unlock growth and job opportunities in the sector. The Budget is perfectly aligned with Barco’s aim to make India a popular tourist destination with visible impact, allowing people to enjoy compelling entertainment experiences. Further, Budget has focused on overall growth & sustainability as India has the potential to be a world-class infrastructure centre, moving toward net zero carbon emissions by 2070 & setting up the AI based solutions in health, education, and sustainable cities will give additional push towards the extensive use of technology".

A Gururaj, MD, Optiemus Electronics: “This year’s budget is a strong effort to consolidate the Indian economy in post-pandemic dynamics, raising the personal tax exemption limit will certainly boost consumption and the electronics industry will surely benefit from it. Continuing the import duty cuts on Camera Lens and batteries for mobile manufacturing is a welcome step and this will continue to fuel the remarkable growth India has witnessed in domestic manufacturing."

Jagdish Mitra, Chief Strategy Officer & Head of Growth, Tech Mahindra: “It is a very positive budget from a technology sector perspective, as it sets the right message about 5G labs, setting up AI centre of excellence and the focus around skilling, which is absolutely the key need for the country as we live through the Prime Minister’s vision on TechAde and technology being the core enabler. From a business perspective, steps around ease of doing business have been taken and I think that's commendable. I would like to congratulate the Finance Minister and the government for taking these steps".

Tarun Sharma, Founder and CEO, Yodda Elder Care: “The budget is inspiring and encouraging for the start-up ecosystem. For the elders and seniors, setting up 157 new nursing colleges is a positive step in increasing the number of caregivers and is in line with the commitment to increasing public health expenditure to reach 2.5% of GDP by 2025. Also, the limit enhancement in the senior citizen savings scheme to 30 lakhs is likely to encourage more savings from seniors.

While this budget might is very positive for the masses, it misses the intent and lacks inclusiveness for the senior citizens. With the rise of the ageing population, there is an urgent need for professional at-home care services for elders. While businesses like caregiving or home visits from nurses have been freed of tax burdens, at-home elder care continues to be taxed at a rate of 18% GST - a factor limiting the affordability and reach of such services. We urgently need these services to be tax-exempt or taxed at a lower rate to ease the burden on the senior citizens."

Neha Bagaria founder & CEO of JobsForHer: “We appreciate the emphasis on training the young population, and the decision to decrease the total tax obligation, which encourages domestic spending. However, we were hoping for a gender-inclusive budget that would offer more chances for women's career growth, tax incentives to hasten their skills development, lower the cost of higher education for women, and provide support for female entrepreneurs. Hope these are also included in future drafts"and

Prateek Kanakia, Chairman and Founder, TheGreenBillions: "This budget should be labelled as the first Green Budget as the businesses can now adopt a greener approach and cultivate sustainable solutions practices with the allocation of 35,000 for priority capital investment towards energy transition. Launching the national green hydrogen mission is a significant step in moving towards clean & green energy. Further, municipal solid waste can play an important role in achieving a hydrogen production capacity of 5 metric million tonnes by 2030. Given India’s G20 presidency, this budget is a watershed moment in India’s fight towards climate change."

Preeti Malhotra, Chairman, India - Foreign Investors India Forum: “Extremely happy to note that the vision of ‘Saptarishi’ outlined in the budget today is a vision for Bharat@100 – a democratic and developed nation by 2047. India’s growth plans are ambitious, ‘unleashing potential’ requires intense capital investment that must be financed by exploring current avenues such as FDI which continues to be a key catalyst for growth. Foreign Investors who are more committed to the motherland require certain liberalisation in terms of taxation of global income on extended stays in the country. Several reports and case studies have shown a strong positive correlation between FDI and economic growth and a lot of our Asian neighbours have successfully used FDI to achieve exponential growth. For India too, this must be the next immediate step to direct the nation towards “Amrit Kaal."

Nilanjan Banik, Economist, Mahindra University: “It is a fantastic budget. It has elements of unleashing purchasing power both from the perspective of consumers and businesses. For the common man, there has been an increase in tax rebates. For businesses and the economy as a whole, there has been an increase in the allocation of capital expenditure. Capital expenditure is hiked to 10 trillion and this money when used for building roads, ports, and airports will lead to a further round of income and employment generation. Additionally, an all-time high allocation towards the railway sector will complement this connectivity pan-India and will make India a better place to do business. And all of this spending towards capital expenditure is undertaken by taking into consideration that the fiscal deficit is kept under control. Money is being spent judiciously and towards the infrastructure sector, keeping in mind the long-term (amrit kaal) growth".

Rohit Garg, CEO and Co-Founder, SmartCoin: “Continued boost in digitisation and stronger digital public infrastructure as underlined by the new Union Budget will fillip economic growth, with positive implications for digital lending and expected growth in share for the fintech sector as a whole. The focus outlined on financial inclusion, financial literacy and reaching the last mile will greatly benefit the players operating under this agenda. It will also herald greater investor confidence in the industry. The new tax regime will ensure more cash in hand for the citizens."

Sagar Agarvwal, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Beams Fintech: "This year’s budget has been fairly positive for the startup ecosystem. The extension in time-limit of incorporation for IT incentives gives an additional push to the Indian Startup ecosystem. More importantly, the extension of carry forward period on change in shareholding from 7 years to 10 years makes startup acquistions more attractive, supporting consolidation in the industry and hence enabling exit opportunities for founders and investors. Announcements around PAN being the common business identifier and expansion of Digilocker’s scope will further lead to some reduction in compliance cost for Banks, NBFCs and fintechs. Given that multiple startups today are focusing on SMEs, we are also excited about the Rs. 9,000 Cr revamped credit guarantee scheme. Access to low cost finance will help SMEs grow faster, which will create immense value for the startup ecosystem that exists around it.

However, we were also expecting to see a few more changes specific to the PE/VC investment industry, hoping to get favorable changes around LTCG, carried interest etc. We are hopeful that the Indian Government would follow-up with some relaxations for investors in the coming financial year

Apoorva Ranjan Sharma, Cofounder and Managing Director of Venture Catalysts ++: "This budget is focused on harnessing technology in each and every sector to boost entrepreneurship and creating more job opportunities. The brief but concise budget announcement delivered by the finance minister marks a milestone moment in the development of India’s startup ecosystem. To start with, the initiative to develop a digital public infrastructure for agriculture is a step in the right direction, which will prove vital for the growth of India’s emerging AgriTech sector. The foresight displayed with the establishment of an Agriculture Accelerator Fund to support startups and entrepreneurs in the country is striking, and will go on to further strengthen India’s largest industry. Moreover, the emphasis to promote on-job training, industry partnerships, and alignment of courses with the various needs of respective industries under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana 4.0 reflects a progressive and resourceful outlook for encouraging and developing India’s resplendent startup ecosystem. The importance given to the development of Artificial Intelligence ecosystem through Make AI In India and Make AI Work For India, along with the transformative measures for ease of doing business and boost for urban infrastructure, all will convene to ameliorate India’s global status as the leader in economic development, innovation and entrepreneurship, and will promote the startup culture to produce companies of the future. With the new budget, prospects of India’s entrepreneurial ecosystem seem bright and inexorable.

Rajagopal Menon, Vice President, WazirX: "It's a fantastic project since it makes life easier for the average person. DigiLocker can help firms ease the KYC (Know Your Customer) process by offering a secure, electronic version of personal papers that can be easily shared. This eliminates the requirement for physical document submission and verification, making the process more efficient and comfortable for both the customer and the enterprise. Furthermore, the DigiLocker application's one-stop solution for identity and address updates can ease the process of changing personal information, decreasing the time and effort required to make these modifications across numerous businesses.

It's a big step to abandon the "one size fits all" approach to Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures. It can help by enabling for a more tailored and risk-based approach to client identification and verification. By decreasing the quantity of extraneous information and documents needed, this can lead to a more efficient and effective KYC process, as well as a better customer experience. Furthermore, adapting the KYC process to the individual risks posed by each customer can help to improve the business's overall security and compliance.

Nandini Mansinghka, CEO of Mumbai Angels: "India has emerged as the third-largest hub for startups in the world. While no specifics on the PE/VC space were mentioned in the Union Budget, it has directed the regulators to undertake a comprehensive review of the rules and compliance that govern the investments in ventures. This is a welcome move and we are expecting more details to come out soon, and at Mumbai Angels, we will be actively participating in this dialogue. Furthermore, apart from the extension of income tax benefits specifically for startups, the budget also talks about several beneficial schemes across several sunrise sectors, which we see as key drivers of the startup economy in the next few years, like Agritech, Healthtech, AI/Tech and sustainability. Having invested in startups like Falca (Agritech), Sunfox (HealthTech), TurboHire, Kredily, Travel Buddy (AI/ Tech), Bambrew (sustainability), we feel these moves will create a lot of traction and encourage more entrepreneurial ventures in these sectors.

Himanshu Singh Raghuvanshi, Co-Founder & COO, CapGrid: "The budget is very thoughtful driven by market dynamics. Lots of positives coming out on the green energy front. Welcome the decision of extension of subsidies on EV batteries. Scheme to support state governments and municipalities in replacing their old polluting vehicles will also give sales push to the automotive & EV segment. With cost of capital expected to remain high, glad that the current liquidity scenario in the markets have been paid heed to with Credit Guarantee Scheme for MSMEs extended with an infusion of 9000 crore. This will help the entire auto sector which is held together by MSMEs.

Jimeet Modi, Founder and CEO, SAMCO Group: "This is a status quo budget. No major tinkering has been done and rightly so. The trend of focusing on capital expenditure over revenue expenditure continues. This budget and the government will continue to support the Indian economy which is anyway firing on all cylinders. The fiscal deficit remains relatively high at 5.9% and the government estimates a 13% plus increase in interest payments to 11.12 Lakh crore for FY24E from 9.83 Lakh crores budgeted in FY23. The government is going to be a fairly large borrower and the cost of capital for businesses is not coming down in a hurry. We don’t expect interest rates to come down in a hurry and especially slower than the rate of decline in the rest of western world. This could mean that equity valuations will continue to be weighed down."

Pushkar Singh, Partner at Tremis Capital: "The Union Budget 2023 paves the way for a brighter future and gives a significant boost to the fintech sector by simplifying the KYC and identity verification process. A one-stop solution for identity and address reconciliation using an expanded DigiLocker and the use of PAN as a business identifier for digital systems will significantly reduce compliance for fintech companies. Simplifying KYC norms on a risk-based principle will enable greater ease of transactions and reduce dropout rates. Players will have access to anonymized data, allowing them to provide more innovative and customized financial services to customers, driving financial inclusion and promoting economic growth. The government's commitment to creating a supportive environment for fintech companies recognizes their critical role in driving India's economy. This budget is quite favorable for the fintech ecosystem in India."

Dr Alok Khullar, CEO, Gleneagles Global Health City, Chennai: “We are delighted to note that the budget session was introduced with the announcement of increase in allocation for Research in the healthcare sector including Pharma, Clinical Research and Public-Private partnership in Healthcare Research. The government’s initiatives to encourage Research and Development in Healthcare is a much-needed move. The collaborative set up of Research and Innovation Centre and the facilities in select ICMR Labs made available for research by public and private medical college faculty and private sector is commendable. Setting-up of more nursing colleges is a welcome move to generate adequate Nursing workforce every year. Introduction of courses for medical devices will fill a significant gap in the industry."

George Sam, Business Head & Co-Founder at Mindgate Solutions Pvt. Ltd: "The Union Budget 2023 shows a strong commitment to India’s digital future. The KYC Pan norms is a very welcome move that was much required. We applaud the government’s initiative which will provide much relief to the users. We have witnessed a surge in digital payments through the Unified Payment Interface (UPI), with a volume of over 7600 crores. Thus, the nationwide transformative potential of the FinTech sector is well poised to be realized."

Ashwini Sharma, Director, Institute of Management, JK Lakshmipat University, Jaipur: "It is good to see that the Government has laid focus on introducing new courses in the education system to adopt new technologies like AI and 5G. The budget announcements focused on research and upskilling for the education sector. Three Centers of Excellence for Artificial Intelligence will be set up in top educational institutions for realizing the vision of ‘Make AI in India’ and ‘Make AI Work for India'. This will give a fillip to AI in education and research. The setting up of 100 labs in engineering institutions is also a welcome move in this direction. The labs will cover applications such as smart classrooms, precision farming, intelligent transport systems, and healthcare applications, which are the need of the hour. The Government's proposal for a stipend to support 47 lakh young people is also a welcome move. In addition, 30 Skill Indian International Centers across different states will bring to mainstream the youth from underserved or ignored areas and skill them for international opportunities. So, we think that Budget 2023 has kept in mind fulfilling youth aspirations, job creation, and macroeconomic stability from an economic perspective.FM’s announcement for setting up a national digital library for children and adolescents for facilitating quality books is also a great move. With the advent of 5G and more smartphone penetration now, education for all is more possible than before. Now, children in remote areas or small villages will also be able to have access to quality books via a digital facility. The budget has laid focus on teachers' training that will be re-envisioned through innovative pedagogy and curriculum transactions. This will further boost the faculties across the schools and colleges in the country that play a pivotal role in shaping the future of the country."

KR Raghunath, Senior Spokesperson, Jindal Naturecure Institute, Bangalore: "We welcome the much-deserved attention on India’s healthcare sector in the Union Budget 2023-24. We are encouraged by the Government’s renewed focus on overall wellness and well-being of our citizens. Some of the laudable moves presented in this year's budget include the establishment of one hundred and fifty-seven new nursing colleges in co-location with the existing 157 medical colleges established since 2014, a mission to eliminate Sickle Cell Anaemia by 2047, and facilities in select ICMR Labs to be made available for research by public and private medical college faculty and private sector R&D teams for encouraging collaborative research and innovation. However, we are a bit disappointed that new schemes were not announced with regard to the work being done by the Ayush Ministry. The importance of preserving one's health and well-being through practices like yoga, meditation, sound healing, and other relaxation techniques has been highlighted by the pandemic and these should have received increased focus in the Union Budget 2023-24."

Sumeet Srivastava, CEO & Co-Founder, spocto: "From a financial inclusion perspective, the increase in tax slab will lead to greater access to credit, which would pave the way for more people to be a part of the financial mainstream. As for the tech ecosystem, there is ample support shown to positively impact the development of 'make AI in India' and 'make AI work for India'. In the data space, the government's initiative of bringing in the 'National Data Governance Policy' is quite progressive in nature, one that can start defining the charter for data privacy and data governance across the globe."

Sandeep Upadhyay, Managing Director – Infrastructure Advisory, Centrum Capital: "In line with announcements made over the last couple of years by FM, key highlight and a moment to rejoice for Infrastructure sector was the prolific increase in the capital expenditure outlay. With the proposed 33% increase compared to last year the Union Budget was focussed on unleashing the capex cycle. This would mean effective capital outlay of Rs. 13.7 Lac Crores which is equal to an impressive 4.5% of GDP. This certainly exceeds the expectation from Infrastructure industry.

Given the multiplier effect impact of the capital outlay on the overall economic growth as well as its contribution towards generating significant employment opportunities, FM proposed more long-term loans to states for capital expenditure, increasing the 50-year interest free loan to states to 1.3 lac crore, 30 percent more than what was allocated for 2022-23.

The capital outlay announcements include Rs. 2.4 Lac Crores for Railways and identifying 100 critical transportation projects to improve first mile and last mile connectivity apart from augmenting regional air connectivity with a reorientation of focus towards enhancing urban infrastructure projects.

Recognising the funding requirements specifically in the Urban Infrastructure sector and for municipal services which is expected to cross USD 840 Billion over the next 15 years the budget speech further emphasised on the need of raising long term capital through Municipal bonds and setting up a new fund, UIDF. This fund shall catalyse the investments required in urban infrastructure projects specifically in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. The UIDF shall receive Rs. 10,000 Crores per annum from the centre seeking further support from the states.

Special focus on energy transition with a dedicated corpus of Rs. 35,000 Crores, prioritising evacuation offtake of 13 GW renewable energy capacity being developed at Ladak and a dedicated corpus for enhancing green hydrogen production targeted to reach 5 MMT by 2030 were other key highlights in line with governments focus to achieve the net zero emission commitments by 2070."

Yogesh Agarwal, Founder and CEO, Onsurity Technologies: "This is a Budget that’s truly designed for India’s aam aadmi, one that promotes growth and consumption. Enhancement of income tax rebate limit from INR 5 lakh to INR 7 lakh will give a great boost to the country’s middle class, including the rapidly growing gig economy. Extending benefits of standard deduction under the new tax regime is a move that will give huge respite to salaried individuals. For MSMEs, the extended corpus under a revamped Credit Guarantee scheme will help these businesses avail additional credit, a small part of which can be dedicated to employee health and wellbeing. This will benefit the segment by improving productivity which will in turn contribute to the country’s GDP. Overall, the government has given India’s hard working middle-income demographic some substantial reasons to celebrate."

Atul Monga, Founder of Basic Home Loan: "The increase in outlay for the PM Awas Yojana to 79,000 crore will be a major boost for low-cost housing providers. While lakhs of people have already benefitted from the scheme, the announcement of its enhancement will be a positive step towards providing affordable homes to people and meet the existing housing shortage in the country."

Pramey Jain, Co-Founder & CEO of Tartan: "The 2023 budget of India is a beacon of hope for the working class, who form the backbone of our nation. The focus on job creation, skill development and providing social security to the working class is commendable. The emphasis on strengthening the technology adoption through payments infrastructure and Digilocker will go a long way in making a big impact in the lives of millions of Indians. The allocation of funds for skilling programmes, start-up ecosystem, and tax sops will benefit businesses and individuals alike. The budget strikes a perfect balance between economic growth and social welfare, making it a step towards a more equitable and prosperous India for all."

Angad Bedi, Managing Director, BCD Group: "The Union Budget 2023 has provided the much needed ammunition to the real estate industry to fight the recessionary fears with enhanced capital expenditure target and impetus to the salaried class by providing increased disposable income at hand with the higher tax rebate. The enhanced focus on digitalisation which will create more jobs in the IT sector will propel demand for housing and commercial real estate across the country. Particularly for the residential segment, these initiatives will encourage fence sitters and interested homebuyers to invest in this segment and reap rich dividends in the form of an appreciating asset, increased rentals and opportunity of building a passive income source. Furthermore, increasing the outlay for PM Awas Yojana by 66% to over 79,000 crore will propel the growth of affordable housing in the country, a segment which is considered the belly of the residential segment and contribute to the government’s Housing for All mission. As a leading real estate developer for over seven decades, the BCD Group is hopeful of the budget continuing the demand momentum in this and coming fiscal years as well as creating more opportunities for construction companies and associated stakeholders."

Sachin Vora, Chief Financial Officer, Assetz Property Group: "India’s transition from a low income society to a middle income society is indeed one of the largest transformations of this decade. The Union Budget 2023 has accelerated this by increasing spending on infrastructure development, creating more jobs, and accelerating growth, in addition to a slew of other measures announced by the Hon. Finance Minister in the budget presented today. The budget brings relief to millions of families who struggled during the COVID pandemic and its aftermath of inflation by increasing the threshold limit of no tax up to an income of Rs. 7 lacs per year, thereby increasing disposable income. The budget expected some changes to give a boost to the real estate sector by increasing the interest deduction on housing loans, which did not come as expected. The middle class gets a window as an investor class to invest in the fast growing mid-market housing segment while creating a pool of healthy investment assets. This enhanced tax rebate will also elevate homebuyers to mid-market housing societies from low-end apartments as changes in lifestyle and aspiration levels give a fillip to their dreams. Furthermore, the proposal to reduce the highest surcharge rate from 37% to 25% in the income tax will ensure a healthy flow of investments into the premium housing segment and contribute significantly to its growth story. These initiatives will play a significant role in propelling India to become a $5 trillion economy by 2026."

Dinesh Aand, National Managing Partner - Risk, ESG, Grant Thornton Bharat on green growth: “Accolades for a higher focus on green growth in order to achieve the ambition of Net Zero India. To achieve sustainable growth, the emphasis will be on the National Hydrogen Mission – INR 19,700 crore, 13 GW green energy from Ladakh (INR 83 bn support), the PM Pranam scheme for Green Agri, a push to the battery storage industry, setting up bio input research centres, promoting wetlands and vehicle replacement opportunities."

Apurva Sule, Chief Business Officer, Heaps Health: "Focusing on technology and a knowledge-driven economy for FY 23–24 was one of the Union Budget's significant pronouncements. According to the budget, Centres of Excellence for Artificial Intelligence will be established to offer cutting-edge applications and scalable solutions to health-related issues. The main goal of these centres is to further understand and raise public awareness of these new-age technologies. These centres are expected to produce solutions that bring high-quality healthcare facilities to both urban and rural populations. The National Data Governance Policy's announcement is the right move to improve data security and privacy in healthcare. Last but not least, the emphasis on promoting pharmaceutical research and innovation by raising capital spending will boost private businesses and contribute to the creation of long-term treatments for serious diseases."

Siddarth Pai, Founding Partner, CFO and ESG Officer of 3one4 Capital: “Budget 2023 has articulated the seven pillars that will be key to India’s economic development, with financial services being amongst them. The measures proposed for GIFT IFSC have made it even more attractive for fund managers. The single window clearance for all approvals, making IFSCA the authority for all SEZ compliances, allowing acquisition financing and enabling arbitration will truly make GIFT an International Financial Services Centre.

The announcement of a thorough review of all financial services regulations in the country through public consultation is warmly welcomed. The existing restrictions must be rationalised and modernized in order for Indian investors to become globally competitive.

One missed opportunity was that the rationalization of capital gains taxation, especially for startups, was not announced. This would have made this budget a gamechanger for Indian entrepreneurs and investors.

Startups would benefit from the Agriculture fund as well as the announcement of digital locker for businesses, a unique business ID and the Make AI in India policy. Startups will also play a key role in India@2047 and in accelerating sectors of the Indian economy".

Vishal Chandiramani, Managing Partner Products, and COO, TrustPlutus Wealth (India) Private Limited: “The revised estimate of fiscal deficit is 6.4% of GDP. The fiscal deficit target of 5.9% of GDP for FY23-24 is higher than what the market was anticipating (~5.80%). This resulted in a spike in bond yields initially. However, market borrowings are in line/slightly lower than anticipated. This has helped keep the yields in check.

33% increase in capex is much higher than what was anticipated and this should provide an impetus to the infrastructure sector and those related to infrastructure such as steel, cement

We welcome the changes to personal taxation. The rationalization of income tax rates will lead to higher disposable income in the hands of individuals and will thus boost consumption"

Sandeep Bagla- CEO, TRUST AMC: “From a bond market perspective, the borrowing numbers are in line with expectations. With the US yields down so much from peak, Indian yields were looking for opportunity to go down as well. The Budget is a non negative event, and has triggered a minor rally today. The investment demand from insurance companies, provident funds is likely to remain strong on back of increasing corpus and FPIs could turn buyers as the real interest rates have turned significantly positive as well. If inflation remains under control and there is no incremental hawkishness shown by the central bankers, it is quite possible that Indian bonds could rally by 50-60 basis points this calendar year.

Another positive aspect of the budget was to deal a body blow to so called Market Linked Debentures (MLDs), which had degenerated to instruments of blatant tax evasion, by taxing the capital gains generated at the rate of Short Term capital gains."

Abhishek Dev, Co-Founder and CEO Epsilon Money Mart: "Increase in Small Savings investment limits for Senior Citizen and introduction of a new Specific Small Savings scheme for Women is a great initiative to help protect retirement corpus and income for senior citizen and increased financial savings habits, inclusion and financial independence for women. These steps will help further strenghen our society’s financial healt."

Anish Srikrishna, CEO, TimesPro: "The budget has ushered a slew of initiatives by emphasising the National Education Policy's skilling outlook. We welcome the move and expect public-private cooperation to meet the goals of this initiative, accelerating India's transition to an Industry 4.0 economy. The three AI centres of excellence to enable 'Make AI for India' and 'Make AI work for India' will benefit the development of digital infrastructure and skills in India. At a time when skilling and reskilling are critical for India's youth, the government's recognition of the need for skilling is an encouraging move for the Higher Education and H.EdTech sectors. However, we continue to believe that lowering the GST on professional learning programmes would have made modern learning more accessible and affordable, assisting millions of learners in becoming future-ready."

Kumar Binit, CEO and Co-founder at FinMap: "It’s a pro-growth budget, not only for businesses but also for individuals. A common identifier was required to enhance the ease of doing business and also to remove information asymmetry across various government agencies. It will certainly help the business ecosystem become more secure and accurate and also help in credit growth.

Cost of compliances is a substantial operational spend incurred by businesses and any simplification will help in reducing this overall cost. Digitisation of various processes like IT filing earlier has definitely helped the consumers.

Similarly, an IT portal to mitigate cases and unpaid dividends will not only safeguard the investors but also protect them, incentivising more investors to join the pool.

Prakash Chhabria, Executive Chairman – Finolex Industries ltd: “We appreciate the budget's emphasis on promoting consumption and reviving the economy. The augmented focus on the agriculture sector will facilitate the farmers in smoothening of their operations , get more funds for inclusive rural development. The creation of agriculture infrastructure funds along with separate allocation for high-value horticulture will give the industry a much-needed boost. The industry would also gain from the 11% increase in the agriculture credit objective from 18 lakh Cr to 20 lakh Cr. We eagerly await the implementation of these measures and their impact on agriculture and farmer profitability. This budget also highlights separate focus on providing water connections & toilet facility to households. This will spur demand in the plumbing and sanitation segment. Additionally, a hike in capital expenditure by 33 per cent to 10 lakh crore for infrastructure development and the allocation of Rs. 79000 Cr to affordable housing will act as a catalyst for building, construction materials and allied sectors."

Amit Lakhotia, Founder & CEO, Park+: "Clean & green technologies like EV's will continue to dominate conversations in the foreseeable future. The budget's focus in expediting investments in green technology is a positive step in the right direction. As the largest EV charger installer in the country, we are confident of building and nurturing India's EV charging network. Additionally, the revised vehicle scrappage policy will ensure that the Indian roads no longer support old & polluting vehicles. Furthermore this step will translate into growing order books for auto companies and trigger job creation. We look forward to working in tandem with the government to make the Indian auto-tech vertical clean and green, as soon as possible."

Deepashree Shetty, Associate Partner/ Tax and Regulatory Services, BDO India: "Several measures have been introduced to promote the New Tax Regime (NTR) for individual taxpayers. These include increasing the basic exemption limit, change in the income slabs, extending the scope of tax rebate, extension of standard deduction, etc.

The proposal to make NTR as the default tax regime supports the Government’s initiative to digitise and simplify the tax process for individuals. This would also mean significant changes in the payroll procedures of employers for salaried taxpayers."

Aditya Modak, Co-founder, Gargi by P N Gadgil & Sons: “The government has maintained control of the current budget by limiting the deficit within limits, leading to a 4% higher revenue receipt over the revenue expenditure.

The gold import duty has remained the same; we expected it to go down by 2.5%. On the other hand, the import duty on silver has increased by 2.5%, affecting the fashion jewelry market due to the price hike of Sterling Silver.

On the other hand, the reduction in surcharge on super-rich taxpayers will give positive sentiment to investments. Also, the increase in the Income Tax limit will increase the disposable surplus income of the middle class, which will be good for tourism, discretionary spending, and luxury FMCGs".

Ruchir Shukla, MD-India, SafeHouse Tech on National Data Governance Policy: "We welcome the Union Budget 2023 and are excited to see the government's focus on Data Governance. Bringing in the National Data Governance Policy is a game changer for the research and innovation ecosystem, providing access to non-personal and anonymized data from both government and private entities. We hope that the government will also consider adding a component of cybersecurity to the policy in order to ensure the safety of internet users, which is a crucial requirement. At SafeHouse, it is our aim to work in collaboration with the government to secure the digital well-being of all individuals who use the internet."

Rajiv Talreja, Founder of Asia’s largest MSME business coaching company and serial entrepreneur: “Balanced, sustainable and stable - these would be 3 words to describe the Budget. The change in the tax slab is a long due reward for the middle class. Reducing 39,000 compliances is welcomed as it gives boost to ease of doing business. Credit guarantee to MSMEs, attention to Infrastructure, Agriculture and Tourism... Overall a big thumbs up to the Finance Minister for paying attention to all the critical factors that make the India story stronger. This budget is also a Sign of a secure Government with a vision for building a Stronger India. Neither Populist, nor capitalist makes this budget a clear statement of conviction in the India Growth Story."

Rahul Goyal, Managing Director (India & South East Asia), ADP: “The government’s several efforts towards skilling the youth of the nation have been laudable. Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana 4.0 which will be launched to skill lakhs of youth within the next three years will significantly benefit in the overall enhancement and development of the youth in the country. The National Education Policy will enable youth empowerment by facilitating job creation at scale thus supporting business opportunities is a step in the right direction. Furthermore, the pan India national apprenticeship that is a direct benefit transfer scheme to provide support to 47 lakh youths in 3 years will also prove highly advantageous and will enable growth and development of young guns in the right direction.

The launch of a unified skill India digital platform for enabling demand based formal skilling will help the country successfully progress towards becoming a digital savvy nation. Overall, the budget includes significant measures that will help in advancement of the youth of the country, help them become more competitive and secure positions on the global world map."

Nikhil Bothra, Director of EPACK PREFAB: “This budget reflects the government's determination to promote long-term development. Critical infrastructure like railways and airports to improve regional connectivity will lead to long term economic growth by generating employment opportunities and also give fillip to ancillary sectors like steel and cement. The impetus on green infrastructure is a welcome move that lays the roadmap for adoption of green structures using pre-engineered technology which will assist in meeting the development goals much faster, and in an economical manner."

Siddharth Maurya, Resource Specialist, Expertise Real-Estate and Fund Management: “The union budget so far has not announced any real estate-specific policy, which is a little disappointing for the industry players. However, the industry will welcome the government’s continued policy of supporting infrastructure growth. 10,000 Crore has been allocated for infrastructure funds which will also offer an institutional framework for development in Tier 2 and 3 cities. This will drive real estate growth. Meanwhile, the capital expenditure has been increased to INR 10 lakh crores which will link infrastructure growth, economic prosperity, and real estate demand. It is noteworthy that infrastructure development is the cornerstone of a healthy real estate industry. The outlay for PM Awas Yojna has been increased by 66% to INR 79,000 Crores, which is another very prudent announcement."

Rajiv Sabharwal. Managing Director & CEO at Tata Capital: Budget 2023 has included a series of measures for inclusive socio – economic development. The Indian government with its 7-priorities and a greater focus on Financial Sector and infrastructure & Investment have stepped in the right direction.

The Capex increase of 33% and a capital outlay of INR 2.40 lakh crore for railways is a bold move to create jobs and improve the infrastructure development in the country.

The overall quality of expenditure outlay provides a strong guard against global headwinds and will create impetus for private investments. This will also offer a vast scope for domestic consumption.

Strong agricultural credit outlay, support measures, ease of doing business, and digitization drive across various sectors will improve multiple clusters within the economy.

Nakul Mathur, MD, Avanta India: “In the union budget, GOI has once reiterated its commitment to infrastructure development, urban growth, and the housing for all program. The effective capital expenditure will be INR 13.7 lakh Crores, forming 4.5% of the GDP. Likewise, the outlay for PM Aawas Yojna has been increased by 66% to INR 79,000 Crores. The thrust towards infrastructure development in the form of roadways, power, healthcare, railway corridors, water supplies, affordable housing programs, etc. will drive economic growth. This in turn will push demand for housing, urban communities, construction activities, office spaces, etc."Gurmit Singh Arora, National President, Indian Plumbing Association: “GOI’s commitment to continuing top-class urban and rural infrastructure development in the form of higher capital investments and dedicated urban infrastructure funds also entails windfall for Indian plumbing and other related industries. The total capital expenditure will be INR 13.7 lakh Crores forming 4.5% of the overall GDP. This will translate into increased investment inflow into roadways, construction, water supplies, urban growth, logistics, etc. This in turn will drive demand for plumbing, pipelines, fittings, etc. Meanwhile, GOI has also announced to increase in the outlay towards PM Awas Yojna to INR 79,000 Crores. The thrust towards affordable housing projects will also unlock new opportunities for the plumbing businesses in India."

Atul Goel, Director, Goel Ganga Group: “The Indian real estate was looking forward to the upcoming budget, as a slew of policy overhauls and regulatory impetus were expected. In this regard, nothing has been announced and this is a little disappointing. However, the silver line is the government’s push toward urban development and infrastructure growth through increased capital investments. The overall Capex for the given fiscal has been increased to INR 10 lakh Crores, close to 3.3% of the total GDP. This will give a huge push to physical infrastructures such as highways & roadways, railway corridors, urban corridors, industrial clusters, aviation, etc. This can have a multiplier effect on the overall economy, job creation, expansion in the entrepreneurial ecosystems, and a general surge in income levels. The positive ramification of such a gigantic shift won’t just be restricted to housing but also commercial, warehouse, retail and other categories of Indian real estate. The government has also increased the allocation for PM Awas Yojna, which is a laudable step."

Chushul Suri, Founder & CEO, Medbikri: "So it’s always good that the centre is looking towards the Healthcare Industry, as it in dire need of investments. More R&D in Pharmaceuticals will lead to us becoming self-sufficient and a powerhouse in Pharma Manufacturing, just need to ensure we reduce dependency of APIs as well from other countries. Promotion of AI is also a good initiative as it will lead to our home-grown talent solving Indian problems like Health & Agriculture, rather than taking their talents abroad. Overall steps in the right direction!"

Goldy Nagdev, Managing Director at Hari Darshan: "As an enterprise that works with budding entrepreneurs especially in rural areas and focussed on women employment & empowerment, we welcome the 2023 budget and appreciate the Hon'ble Finance Minister's focus and progressive planning for overall growth.The emphasis on MSMEs with increased corpus and reduced credit will set a very strong base for manufacturing. Promoting manufacturing cooperatives will go a long way in generating employment as well.Adopting the Saptarishi approach i.e. seven priorities inclusive development, reaching the last mile, infrastructure & investment, unleashing the potential, green growth, youth power and financial sector makes this budget holistic and gives it a viable and focused growth engine."

Atulya Kaushik, Co-founder & CEO of PrepInsta: The Budget seems to give more push to employability readiness in youths. Direct Benefit Transfer under a pan India national apprenticeship scheme which will impact 47 lakh youths seems promising. Setting up 100 Labs in engineering institutions will help graduates be ready to build applications on India's 5G stack. Focus on smart classrooms will also help us take advantage of the metaverse and immersive learning. Overall it should help India to release its demographic dividend for inclusive development. We applaud the government’s decision to establish a National Digital Library for Children and Adolescence to facilitate access to high-quality books on any device. The finance minister’s decision to expand Eklavya model schools for tribal students is another step forward in promoting digital literacy. Furthermore, by proposing 30 Skill India International centers across various states, Surely, this year’s budget clearly emphasizes the importance of closing the skill gap in youth across India.

Rahul Jain, President and Head of Nuvama Wealth on Income Tax slab changes: "The changes in tax slabs under the new income tax regime which includes increase in basic exemption limit to 3 lakh and a rebate limit upto 7 lakh are a welcome move and a big relief for the taxpayers. This will bring about increased disposable income and savings, both through equity and fixed income segments. A reduction in the surcharge at the highest tax bracket of 42 percent from 37 percent to 25 percent will be a big boost for investment opportunities and savings for those in the high-income bracket too. This will be a big boost for wealth creation. Nuvama Wealth clearly sees this budget as a win-win for all individual income groups."Ratish Pandey, Business Coach, Ethique Advisory: “Everyone was hoping for the next step on the Credit Guarantee Scheme, and it's good to see that the Hon'ble FM lived up to the promise. As a keen proponent in the learning space, I was delighted with the focus on skill development proposed by the budget and opening up access to entrepreneurship schemes. Finally, I believe the focus on bringing artisans into a formal business space under the PM Vikas Scheme and encouraging Women's entrepreneurial spirit is a step in the right direction."

Anil Agarwal, Chairman, Vedanta Ltd: “This Budget is one of the best budgets ever, truly inclusive and addresses the aspirations of every section of society. It empowers India’s 1.4 billion people as drivers of the India story. I compliment the PM and FM for the long term vision that was laid out in the Budget speech as well as the many progressive announcements, like increased outlay for capital expenditure, incentives for the start-ups and MSMEs, green energy, a lower tax for the middle class and boost to tourism which will create massive jobs and reinforce India’s position as the fastest growing major economy in the world"

Vikram Thaploo, CEO of Apollo Telehealth: "The government in its last Union budget had placed a lot of significance to health and well-being and that focus has reflected in this year's Union Budget as well. The establishment of 100 new labs for developing apps using 5G services to realise new range of opportunities in healthcare is a much-needed move by the government. Also, the setting up of 3 centres of excellence for artificial intelligence to enable 'Make AI for India' and 'Make AI work for India' will certainly boost India's digital prowess. Another much anticipated move by the government is the plan to establish one hundred and fifty-seven new nursing colleges in co-location with the existing 157 medical colleges established since 2014. This will certainly help the healthcare industry to bridge the gap in care due to shortage of medical personnel. Also, the FM minister announced that dedicated multidisciplinary courses for medical devices will be supported in existing institutions to ensure availability of skilled manpower for futuristic medical technologies, high-end manufacturing and research. All these essential moves by the government towards health infrastructure and focus on a holistic approach to health is seen as a testimony of India's commitment to building stronger health systems in the country.

Rahul Pagidipati, CEO, ZebPay: “The 2023 Union Budget announcements is a game changing one in many areas, especially when it comes to personal income tax. Moreover, there are some welcome changes for the Indian start-up ecosystem. Entrepreneurs play an important role in the development of a country, therefore, the proposals to simplify and rationalize provisions, reducing compliance burden will surely encourage the entrepreneurial spirit in the country. Moreover, enhancing ease of doing business in India is a welcome move for many start-ups setting up business in India and international ones considering entry into this market. Growth in the UPI transactions is a positive sign for digital India with 7,400 crore digital payments worth 126 lakh crore transacting through UPI. FM’s move to skill the youth of India under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana is going to help in solving the tech talent crunch in the industry and the expansion of the Skill India Digital platform will enable the youth to find employment across the country.

With the right resources and incentives, start-ups can reach their goals and become successful in their respective fields. While India has already set a benchmark in terms of growth in the start-up ecosystem, with the budget 2023, start-ups can be confident to grow and scale even further. It is a step in the right direction for economic growth in India and the country's eventual goal of being a 5 trillion dollar economy."

Avinash Shekar, Founder and CEO, TaxNodes: “We welcome the initiatives taken in the Union Budget 2023, by the government. They will help startups like TaxNodes play a pivotal role in the high-growth sector. The move to extend the date of incorporation for income tax benefits is a crucial one for startups.

Entrepreneurs play a vital role in the growth of a country, hence, these proposals will simplify provisions and reduce the compliance burden, thus, boosting the spirit of entrepreneurship in the country. Moreover, ease of doing business makes India an investment-friendly destination and allows domestic as well as international businesses to thrive.

The focus on the youth and providing opportunities to skill them will also address the talent crunch being faced in the technology space, particularly in the Web3 domain. Though there is no mention of crypto taxation in the Union Budget, this year’s economic survey indicates the importance of a robust Web3 ecosystem and transparent regulation. Startups like ours are going to play an active role in promoting safety and stability in the crypto space."

Pratik Gauri, Co-founder and CEO, 5ire: “It is exciting to note that the government is incorporating “Green Growth" among its national priority in the Union budget agenda. India's sustained efforts towards reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) will ensure that the country's per capita emission of GHG will continue to be low until 2030-31.

The government's renewed commitment to AI development is a welcome step. Artificial intelligence has the potential to drastically improve the efficiency of a workplace by augmenting the work humans do.

Especially in data-intensive verticals such as BFSI, healthcare, e-commerce, manufacturing, and retail, India is ripe for explosive development due to being one of the world's largest consumer economies and providing a competent workforce to implement AI-developed technologies across the globe. Both AI and Web 3.0 could enable greater collaboration and knowledge sharing among educators and learners, as well as more secure and private data management. This will also result in the world shifting from a "value capture" economy to a "value creation" economy.

With this, an understanding, on the national stage, of the critical importance of entrepreneurship in the Indian economy is also highly commended and welcomed, given that India stands as the third largest ecosystem for startups globally and ranks second in innovation quality among middle-income countries."

Mahin Gupta, Founder of digital wallet infrastructure platform Liminal: The budget announcements by the honourable Finance Minister have infused new energy into the start-up ecosystem across the country. The tax holiday for start-ups has been extended to 10 years, which will provide much-needed liquidity to the start-ups in their growing phase; this is a master stroke by the government because as the economy opens up, we will see more start-ups coming up in the field of technology, digital payments, digital infrastructure and agri-tech which will create a strong foundation for the next decade of economic growth, innovation, and job creation. This is an amazing time to be a start-up founder in India as the government is committed to fostering the growth of existing start-ups and simultaneously encouraging youngsters to join the start-up revolution, which will not only add to the economic growth of the country but will make India a global hub for innovation in fin-tech space.We also appreciate the government’s move towards enhancing the ease of doing business. Compliances culminate in a major part in setting up businesses, especially in the fin-tech sector. We at Liminal lay a huge emphasis on creating a regulated and compliant ecosystem to ensure transparency, and the government’s announcement of reducing more than 39,000 compliances to provide is a welcoming move.Increasing the capital expenditure by 33 per cent to 10 lakh crore for infrastructure development for 2023-24, which is 3.3 per cent of the GDP, is highly encouraging as it is expected to boost digital infrastructure across the country for providing digital services to the remotest part of India. However, no changes in taxation were something expected w.r.t digital assets as the government is still testing the waters with the CBDC pilot project underway.In addition, Public digital infrastructure for the Agri sector under an open-source standard will revolutionize the industry, propelling it to unprecedented levels of growth. By harnessing the power of 5G, Web 3.0, and Metaverse technologies, GDP growth can be accelerated by a significant percentage. This digital infrastructure, ranging from supply chain optimization to analytics, will bolster the agri value chain and make it even stronger and more productive.Arusha Mittal COO and Co-founder, Dapps and UniFarm: We are excited to see a special focus on start-ups in the Union Budget 2023-24. The creation of an agriculture accelerator fund is a bold move towards driving innovation and creating more jobs for the youth of our country. The start-up space will get a big boost from the extension of the tax holiday as it is expected to increase the cash flow which is critical for the growth of any start-up.The fintech sector is expected to become a $200 billion behemoth by 2030 and the current budget has extended the Digi locker services to start-ups to foster innovation in fintech services. India’s robust digital infrastructure will enable larger penetration of web3-related products and services.The simplification of KYC procedures by making PAN a common identifier for all digital systems will support the vision of digital India. The PAN-based KYC will enable fintech businesses to make customer onboarding highly convenient and at the same, simplify the KYC reporting to the relevant government authorities.

Pranay Bhatia, Partner - Tax and Regulatory Services, on online gaming: “The Online gaming sector needed an independent recognition which the budget proposals provided. Outlining a simplified withholding tax regime will go a long way in addressing the anxieties of online gaming intermediaries. However, certain ambiguities arising from the language of the provisions cannot be ruled out. Specified taxation mechanism for online gaming players and intermediaries demonstrates the Government’s commitment to this sunrise sector."

Karan Rathore, Vice Chairman, Services Export Promotion Council set up by Ministry of Commerce and Industry: "Travel and tourism is one of the most crucial sectors that contributes to the GDP of our country. The budget will recognize 50 tourist destinations through challenge mode to be developed as a whole package for domestic and international tourism. That will ensure the true potential of tourism for both overseas and domestic tourists can be tapped. All relevant aspects such as high standards for food streets, physical connectivity, virtual connectivity, tourist guides, and tourist security, would be made available on an app to enhance the tourist experience. Every destination will be developed as a complete package. This will not only support the tourism industry but also offer huge opportunities for jobs and entrepreneurship for youth in particular."

Rajeev Taneja, Founder and CEO of Global Care: "In terms of accelerating the growth of healthcare, the announcement of setting up 157 new nursing colleges in co-locations with the existing 157 medical colleges already established since 2014 will truly help garner better facilities for medical value tourism. This investment in creating a skilled medical support staff will ensure that overseas patients also get the best care possible.

Besides this, facilities in select ICMR labs which will be made available for research by public and private medical college faculty and private sector R&D teams will encourage collaborative research and innovation to help bring in state-of-the-art medical facilities to the country. Dedicated multidisciplinary courses for medical devices will be supported in existing institutes to will ensure the availability of skilled manpower for futuristic medical technologies, high-end manufacturing, and research which will propel Medical value tourism to new heights ensuring facilities that are at par with international standards."

Sanjeev Chandak, Co-founder & CEO of ftcash: “The Budget laid much-needed importance on MSME sector which is still recovering from the pandemic-induced challenges. The infusion of INR 9,000 crore corpus for revamped credit guarantee scheme significantly addresses the credit gap and is aimed at enhancing credit access thereby paving the way to encourage entrepreneurship in the country. This apart, this year’s budget also laid focus on another important aspect i.e., the introduction of National Data Governance Policy which will ease the KYC process and reduce privacy breaches. It will also enhance the use, access and quality of data and improve the Government’s data collection and management while enabling inclusive development. This is still at a very nascent stage and will require consistent efforts to truly create a digital economy."

Dinanath Dubhashi, MD & CEO, L&T Finance Holdings Ltd: "It's a well-balanced Budget that has finely pushed the capex spending without compromising the fiscal discipline. The measures oriented towards improving the purchasing power of households and enhancing the prosperity of agriculture and allied sectors augur well for the business models of retail-focused NBFCs. A good control over market borrowings has avoided any negative news for the bond markets. In the absence of any significant global shock, today's Budget has every potential to bring out a broad-based revival in the Indian economy".

Ramnath Krishnan, Managing Director & Group CEO, ICRA: "The Union Budget has provided a much larger-than-expected boost to growth-inducing capital spending, while at the same time managing a fair degree of fiscal consolidation. The Budget proposals are likely to enhance business, rural and tax payer sentiment and consolidate India's growth prospects in a gloomy global setting. With the Government's borrowings similar to market expectations, the bond yields are likely to stabilise, which would also support the private sector capex plans."

Kunal Kundu, India Economist, Societe Generale, Bengaluru: "Whether the lower tax outgo will spur consumption or inspire savings is a moot point. But either way, it will be positive for the economy. Adherence to fiscal prudence while emphasizing continued focus on capex is what we expected and has been delivered.

Karan Desai - Founder at Interface Ventures: “The Finance Minister announced fiscal deficit at 6.4% of GDP, with a target of breaching 6% in FY 23-24 to close at 5.9%. She reiterated her commitment to achieve an ambitious fiscal deficit of 4.5% for FY 2025-26. The Budget supports the continued digitisation of the financial sector through steps including setting up of a National Financial Registry to enhance data availability for robust credit assessment and rolling out of a National Data Governance Policy to encourage R&D by using the Aadhar and Digi Locker platforms to simplify individual address reconciliation and verification across all regulators. MSMEs will benefit from steps including continued reduction of unnecessary compliances to promote ease of doing business and additional infusion of 9,000 crores in the Credit Guarantee scheme from April 1, 2023, with reduction in cost of guarantee by 1%. Start-ups have been given extension on tax benefits from date of incorporation and carry forward losses by a year. At a macro level, capital investment outlay is enhanced by 33% to 10 lakh crores, which is 3.3% of the GDP, with a big push on infra, employment and green growth. To conclude, a balanced budget keeping General Elections 2024 clearly in sight!"

Umesh Kumar Mehta, CIO, Samco Mutual Fund on new tax regime: "The budget's inclination towards New Income Tax regime will reduce incentive to invest in financial products (including MFs’ ELSS, insurance premium etc). Or, for that matter, even the decade-old housing sector incentives for interest payments will be the least preferred option. This budget, therefore, has rewritten the rules for financilisation of savings in India, which will induce expenditures rather incentivise savings. However, the fiscal deficit under control, no big disinvestment targets, no bigger borrowings and thrust on govt capex will keep the bulls happy on the stock markets."

Amit Jaju, Senior Managing Director, Ankura Consulting Group (India) on National Governance Policy: “The announcement of the formation of a National Data governance policy that could access anonymous data is a welcome step as non-personal data can be used for research and service improvement work within a protective framework. Moreover, it is crucial as non-personal data can include intellectual property that cannot be freely circulated. This step will further open up new avenues to leverage non-personal data in a secure manner for developmental purposes."

Rahul Dhoot, Managing Director, Dhoot Transmission Pvt Ltd. on Auto industry: "The automobile industry, which contributes a sizable chunk to the country’s GDP, has been given a futuristic thrust. The government’s focus on green and clean mobility, allocation of funds for replacing government vehicles will go a long way in transforming the automobile industry. The lifting of duty on lithium-ion batteries and the decision to scrap old polluting vehicles bodes immense growth for automobile manufacturers and will give a fillip to the electric vehicles industry which in turn will invigorate the components industry."

Sushil Pasricha, Partner at Bain & Company on pharma sector: "In line with previously announced PLI schemes for pharma and life sciences companies, the government continues to promote research & innovation in the pharmaceuticals sector, through centers of excellence. Facilities in select ICMR labs will be made available for research by public and private medical facilities. This will bolster the sector further and make them move higher up the value chain in pharmaceuticals related research, development, and manufacturing."

Lokesh Payik, Partner at Bain & Company on Smartphone manufacturing: “With India’s smartphone manufacturing sector witnessing an upward trajectory, smartphone manufacturers will rejoice the finance minister’s customs duty relief for certain inputs for the camera lens, and lithium batteries, to continue for another year in the budget 2023. This would further help incentivize global manufacturers looking to diversify supply chains and shift to India for manufacturing."

Amit Relan, Founder and CEO, mFilterIt on AI: "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."

Mr. Taranpreet Singh, Partner, TASS Advisors LLP on blended CNG: Gst exemption on blended CNG is a boon for the common man and an aid to promoting a clean and pollution-free environment. The reduction establishes Government's keenness for alternative clean energy initiatives.

Banwari Lal Sharma, CEO Consumer Business, CarTrade Tech Ltd on EV & Green Mobility sector: "The Union Budget 2023-2024 announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is progressive, prudent and growth-led, with an eye to provide impetus on the savings of the public. It is a 'green budget' for the automotive and mobility sectors. The sustainability measures taken through announcements on green hydrogen and other energy sectors will help in furthering the government’s target of carbon neutrality by 2070. The increased Capex outlay on energy transition is likely to spur investments and skill development in a green economy. The viability gap funding for battery energy storage systems is also likely to create critical infrastructure, while custom duty reduction on capital goods for Lithium batteries manufacturing will facilitate faster adoption of EVs. Increase in spending on infrastructure, setting up of 50 new airports and heliports, creation of 100 transport infrastructure projects are welcome moves, in addition to the central support for replacing old vehicles. All of these should drive consumption and overall demand of vehicles."

Harsh Goenka, RPG Enterprise: M’bap’pe of a budget, not ‘Messi’ at all. A budget that puts India on the path to become the world champion- all set to score goals on infra development, consumption and inclusion. A big boost for domestic manufacturing, job creation and ease of doing business!

OPPI DG, Mr Vivek Sehgal on Health and pharma sector: “OPPI would like to congratulate the government on the 2023-24 Union Budget tabled by the Finance Minister. The budget has brought much optimism to the healthcare and pharma sector by putting the focus on research and innovation. With the announcement of a new program for research in the pharma industry being formulated, there is immense potential for the sector to remain competitive in providing quality healthcare to its people. Moreover, the impetus for public-private collaborations showcases the government's emphasis on providing faster solutions to India's health challenges. As OPPI, we are looking forward to putting in all our resources and aligning with the government to achieve the objective of healthcare for all."

Mr. Harsh Vardhan Patodia, President, CREDAI National: "Through the Union budget 23 – 24, the Government continues to focus on the empowerment of youth, women, OBCs & farmers. With a keen focus on the future of the country with a growth-oriented budget, we applaud the FM’s vision of enabling an inclusive and sustainable development growth chart for infrastructure. An increased capital outlay for a third year in a row to INR 10 Lakh crores amounting to 3.3% of the GDP, a hike of 66% to over 79,000 crores for PM Awas Yojana and the 9000 Cr Credit Guarantee Scheme for MSMEs, will have a positive multiplier effect on economic growth and help realize the PM’s vision for ‘Housing for All’. Continuing its focus on urban planning reforms to develop sustainable cities for tomorrow, the allocation of INR 10,000 crores to the NHB for infrastructure development, the highest ever railway outlay at 2.4 lakh crore and increased regional connectivity through 50 more additional airports, helipads, water aero drones, advanced landing grounds will also boost affordable regional connectivity and will add impetus for infrastructure development, especially in tier-2 and 3 cities which will help the Indian economy to remain less impacted by a global slowdown."

Aditya Parakh, Co-founder, of Propcatalyst: It is a great move by the government to increase the PM Awas Yojana outlay by 66 percent to 79000 crore. Increasing the budget allocation for Pradhan Mantri Gramin Awas Yojna is in line with the government's long-term vision of achieving housing for all. Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna promised pukka houses for everyone in the country by 2024 and the increased budget allocation will help more citizens achieve their dream of living in their own houses. This is a big announcement in the affordable housing segment and can be a game changer for the housing real estate sector. This will increasingly boost the market sentiments, both for the consumers as well as real estate developers and consultants.

Nikhil Kamath co-founder Zerodha and True Beacon: Reducing customs duty on certain categories was a good sign, signals opening up of sorts. Increasing the exception slab to 7 lakhs should help shore up consumer spends in turn helping many industries. Didn't change anything around capital gains is a positive, markets were factoring in a small percentage chance of this detrimentallly affecting capital mkts. Overall Capex no is a positive and is better than expected. No reduction in stt is a negative, a reduction will go a long way in helping retail investors and traders who provide much needed liquidity be profitable. The issue still remains that 7 cr people file tax and 1 cr people pay tax, india has 140 cr people, this can't be right, we need increased plugs to curtail tax evasion.

Sakshi Gupta, Principal Economist, HDFC Bank, Mumbai: "The budget continues to focus on capex spending as the engine of growth while also paying heed to fiscal consolidation. The lower-than-expected borrowing number for FY24 is likely to bring in some relief for the bond market, although the absolute borrowings continues to remain high and is likely to put a floor for bond yields in FY24. Moreover, we remain cautious over the government's ability to finance the fiscal deficit through the increased reliance on small savings despite the new schemes introduced as bank deposit rates rise. The consumption boost through income tax slab adjustment is a big positive and bodes well for overall growth and domestic demand in a time when global risks remain high."

Mr Kalyan C Korimerla, MD & Co-Promoter, Etrio Automobiles spekas on Green Growth: “We applaud the budget for making Green Growth one of the top 7 priorities. The Pro-EV budget focuses on much-needed initiatives such as Customs Duty reduction from 21% to 13% on Lithium Batteries and an extension of the subsidies on EV batteries for one more year. These are welcome initiatives as these will help boost the demand. The policy on the replacement of old polluting vehicles should accelerate the transition towards electric vehicles which is in line with the budget’s aim to spur eco-conscious lifestyles. Overall, we are happy with the budget as it is inclusive, and progressive and will encourage investments in the EV sector."

Mr. Naveen Kulkarni, CEO, Quantumzyme reaction on pharma sector: “Several energizing initiatives in the budget will contribute to the expansion of the economy. The need for an extensive research and development policy has always been stressed by the pharmaceutical industry. We appreciate the government's consideration in announcing the launch of a new pharmaceutical research program to boost R&D, which will reenergize the sector and create investment prospects"

Mr. Sarvagya Mishra, Co-founder & Director, SuperBot (PinnacleWorks): This Budget is notable for its renewed emphasis on the development of digital infrastructure. The Indian government’s intention to establish three “Centers of Excellence for Artificial Intelligence" in prestigious educational institutions to make “AI Work for India" is a dose of encouragement for entrepreneurs who have been working in the field, hoping to give a new face to sectors and services. These centers will undoubtedly serve as a bridge between educational institutions and leading industries, with the goal of researching and developing practical AI applications across different verticals including agriculture, health, and sustainable cities. Furthermore, the focus on building a strong AI ecosystem in India and training skilled AI professionals will assist new businesses in acquiring the right talent. This also puts a lot of responsibility on education institutes to strengthen the curriculum in the field.

Suman Chowdhury, Executive Director & Chief Analytical Officer, Acuité Ratings & Research on on personal finance budgetary announcement: "The rationalization of the personal income tax structure is expected to lead to two things (i) raise disposable incomes for the middle class and particularly younger taxpayers (ii) transition the taxpayers to the new tax regime with minimal exemptions and lower and simpler tax slabs. This is expected to give a moderate boost to domestic consumption."

Ramesh Damani: Indian ace investor Ramesh Damani has said, “We expect 0.8% reduction in fiscal Deficit." Investor Ramesh Damani has been known for his investments in both unlisted and listed companies. Damani is known for high-quality value picks.

India Ratings & Research Pvt. Economist Devendra Kumar Pant, says "Social welfare programs would get “appropriate" allocation as “the gap between have and have nots has widened. Inflation has eroded spending power and relief in tax “can provide the much-needed thrust to the consumption demand."

Dr Jeewan Prakash Gupta, Chair of Environment and Climate Committee, PHDCCI: "To tackle the air pollution in North India, the Government should consider incentivizing the purchase and provision of Bio Decomposer Capsules and other equipment by the corporate sector since the small and marginal farmers may not be able to afford such innovative solutions."

Budget expectation: An angel investor Sharan Hedge said, “The world is facing lay-offs, high inflation. Budget'23 should bring some good news."

He also stated his top 5 expectations from the budget: Increasing the Basic Exemption Limit (BEL) of 2.5L, Increase in 80C Limit, GST Rate Cuts on Essentials, 80D Deduction Limit Expansion, relaxation in LTCG Tax.

Niranjan Hiranandani, MD, Hiranandani Group, on 2023 Budget expectations: “Logistics cost in India is 13%. If our multimodal transport matters become successful in the next 2-3 years, we can reduce logistics cost by 3-4% for every item in the country. There should be more focus on further investments in roads, railways, ports, airports and highways...The focus must be on the slum rehabilitation scheme to make India a slum-free country."

Budget expectation from Technology Entrepreneur Amit Paranjape

Mr. Navneet Munot - MD & CEO, HDFC Asset Management Co Ltd: “Balancing the expectations of an aspirational country like ours with fiscal prudence is no mean task. The first budget of ‘Amritkaal’ did a fine job of balancing the two, especially against a challenging global backdrop. This budget builds up on the reforms initiated over the past few years with a focus on improving India’s growth potential and quality of life. Continued focus on capex, job creation and special mention of financial sector reforms are encouraging. Now with the event behind us, markets’ focus shifts back to global cues, monetary policy and incoming data points."

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