Ranveer Allahbadia, digital content creator and a social media influencer, is better known by his YouTube channel BeerBiceps. The 26-year-old posts lifestyle and self-improvement videos on the platform and has close to 2.5 million followers. But that’s not where his story ends. Allahbadia also has been running a startup, Monk Entertainment, which works in the content creation, digital talent management, brand marketing and video production space, since 2018. It is this reason that he is keenly looking forward to Union Budget 2020 and see how the government facilitates the growth of startups. “Simplification of tax compliance for startups can stimulate better cash flow. Liquidity is important for startups to grow so that they can reinvest and expand to become sustainable," he said. We explore what else millennials are looking forward to in Union Budget 2020.
The greater good
Like many millennials, Allahbadia wants to look beyond his own interests and consider what the budget can do to help solve macro problems.
“The unemployment problem could be solved by having problem-solving-oriented startups. For India to achieve its Startup India Vision 2024, the government could incentivize innovation in sectors like agriculture, education, and healthcare," he said. A vision fund should be allocated for each sector, he added.
Starting up right
The startup ecosystem is driven by millennial aspirations, which in turn employs many young professionals. Allahbadia thinks that there is a need to introduce certain changes in taxation to improve the startup ecosystem. “Easier tax compliance will increase the success rate for most startups as it will give them more cash flow to test their pilot and expand at the initial stage without funding. This will eventually give them better valuation and more funding in the future," he said. He added that this would also leave more room for startups to experiment and innovate.
To resolve the startup burnout phenomenon that India has been witnessing, he suggests setting up more incubators and accelerators. “This can increase the number of startups and the right ecosystem can even increase the chances of sustainability and success," he added.
Watch video: What do millennials want from Budget 2020?
Kolkata-based Sarmishtha Dutta, 23, who is pursuing a master’s degree, wishes education loans were more tax-friendly. “In an ideal world, higher education would be free for everyone. But since it’s not, one must take education loans," said Dutta, who did not want to reveal her university’s name. Section 80E of the Income-tax Act, 1961, gives tax deduction on the entire amount of interest paid on an education loan, but not on the principal amount. Also, the deduction is only available for a maximum of eight years.
Dutta, who plans to do her PhD from a foreign university, thinks that this needs to change. “Since going for higher education abroad is not cheap, the loan amount will also be substantial. The principal amount should be eligible for tax deduction. It will take some of the burden off when I start earning and repaying my loan," she said.
Dutta also thinks that the goods and services tax (GST) levied on electronics items such as laptops is too high, and hopes the Budget will offer some respite. “The GST on computers, hard drives and even pen drives is 18%. These are not luxury items, especially for students. The government should subsidize these gadgets for students and academics," she said.
For Nikhil Sachdev, 32, the wish list is about his home. The Bengaluru-based software engineer’s grouse is that he can’t claim the 50% exemption on house rent that is reserved only for those renting homes in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata under Section 10 (13A) of the Income-tax Act. If you don’t reside in one of these cities, you can claim only 40% deduction for rent. “The rule is antiquated. It dates back to a time when those were the only major cities where rent was high. But now cities like Bengaluru and Hyderabad have emerged as major hubs and rent is equally high in these cities, but we can only claim an exemption of 40% like the rest of the country," he said. Sachdev, who pays ₹25,000 as rent per month, hopes the Budget will either level the playing field for the whole country or at least bring a few more big cities into the ambit of the 50% exemption limit. This would be a welcome change for millennials who have to move to new cities for work and live on rent—as the restrictive list of four cities that qualify for the full exemption has clearly become outdated.
Sachdev also worries about the economic slowdown and hopes that the government can offer some sops that will ease the situation and ensure that there are no job losses or pay cuts in the offing.
According to Allahbadia, one potential solution to slowdown concerns is to facilitate more foreign direct investments (FDIs). “The budget should have some announcements aimed at making India more lucrative for FDI investors. The country has a lot of potential for cross-border investments, innovation and research, which need to be tapped into," he said