Union Budget 2023-24: Post-Budget Reaction Quotes

As the Indian government announces its 2023-24 budget, industry leaders and experts have been weighing in on the impact it will have on the Indian economy. This post will bring you the most prominent post-budget reaction quotes from these key figures, giving us a deeper understanding of their thoughts and opinions on the budget’s provisions and what they mean for India’s future.

These quotes will shed light on the business community’s perspectives on various areas such as tax reforms, infrastructure development, support for small businesses, and the government’s plans for job creation. By analyzing these post-budget quotes, we can get a sense of the key challenges and opportunities facing the Indian economy, and what role the 2023-24 budget will play in shaping its future.

So, stay tuned as we delve into the insights and perspectives of India’s top entrepreneurs on the Union Budget 2023-24:

Visakh Sasikumar, CEO & Co-founder, Fyn Mobility: “This is undoubtedly a future looking announcement which will help India to become one of the prominent players in green hydrogen space and thus reducing the dependency on lithium. With the budget allocated to energy transition we will see a lot of businesses turning to EV fleets. Green credit system will ensure that the startups and MNC’s who is working for making the planet a sustainable place to live are incentivized.

The viability gap funding will ensure that new battery tech will get supported in the early days before it attains economies of scale.

Customs exemption on capital goods and machineries for lithium batteries will reduce the per kilowatt-hour cost of batteries and thus accelerate EV adoption in both personal and commercial segments.”

Swapnil Shrivastav, Co-founder, Uravu Labs: “The focus on the green economy not only addresses climate change problems but also provides a favorable environment for startups like those in the water and climate-tech domain to grow and expand. The green initiatives in the budget, such as the reduction of indirect taxes on customs duty for the green economy and the allocation of funds towards the Ministry of Energy, Oil, and Petroleum and the National Green Hydrogen Mission, demonstrate the government’s commitment to supporting the transition towards a greener and more sustainable future. This presents growth opportunities for startups in this field and can help drive their success and expansion in the coming years.”

Bhavna Udernani, Founder and Managing Director, Adhaan Solutions Pvt Ltd: “1. “Budget 2023 is industry specific along with some benefits to middle class and MSME.”

  1. “The job market will be positively affected in sectors like Agriculture (Semi Urban and Rural), Government Projects (Railways and Airports) and Industries like Infrastructure, Energy, Automation & Tech.”
  2. “Focus on easy & digital KYC and Reducing TDS on PF withdrawal will make country more compliant.”
  3. “Reducing Credit Cost for MSME and Increasing basic Exemption Tax Limit will boost cash flows in market which will positively affect purchasing power of the Middle Class.””

Sejal Purohit, Founder, Seven Spring- Premium Tea Startup: “The Indian government this year has presented a growth-oriented budget with a special focus on boosting the manufacturing sector to create massive employment opportunities and to maintain India’s status as the world’s fastest-growing economy even after the global crisis due to the pandemic.

The concessional corporate tax for newly incorporated manufacturing companies is a positive move towards promoting the “Make in India” initiative, as this will encourage new manufacturing industries as well as increase private investment in this industry.

Apart from that, the funds allocated to the Green industry are also positive for the startups who are trying to bring new technology and products to this industry to bring about a revolution as well as contribute to the whole economy.”

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 Rs 9000 crore. This will help the entire auto sector which is held together by MSMEs.

Anmol Bohre, Co-founder & Managing Director of Enigma: “It is really great to see how environmental sustainability has been one of the top 7 priorities in this budget. The Pro-EV budget focuses on much-needed initiatives such as Customs Duty reduction from 21% to 13% on capital goods and machinery required for Lithium Batteries and an extension of the subsidies on EV batteries for one more year. This will certainly encourage each EV manufacturer to contribute to Government initiatives to achieve mass EV adoption by 2030. This will also encourage investments in the EV sector which help new players to continue with innovation.”

Meghana Narayan and Shauravi Malik, Co-founders, Wholsum Foods Pvt Ltd:Union Budget of 23-24 envisions India becoming the global hub for millets. As a millet-focused brand, we applaud this step to make India the global leader of this supergrain. The Government of India has led the campaign for 2023 to be earmarked International Year of Millets and today’s budget proves their intent to drive measures which can increase the popularity of millets in both domestic and global markets. The Govt has also announced turning the Indian Institute of Millet Research- Hyderabad into a centre of excellence to foster innovation which is especially commendable and will continue to help brands like us in enabling adoption and achieving India’s millet dreams. In addition to this, the government is planning to set up an agriculture accelerator fund to encourage startups in rural areas, which we believe is the need of the hour. We are ready to support the government of India in achieving this vision through innovation in the value add sector, branding and marketing to make millets acceptable across the world, and promoting the export of millets. We wholeheartedly welcome these initiatives and are excited to see how it aids in the development of the industry.”

Shailesh Vickram Singh, Founder of Climate Angels: “FAME2 has demonstrated that with the right incentives and adequate supply, Indian customer is willing to pose their faith in EVs as in 2w space, India has seen almost 10X jump to 100,000 vehicles a month in less than one year.

With 20% of last-mile mobility already transitioned to EVs, the adoption is going fast and it has demonstrated that with the right model/pricing, India has enough appetite for EVs. And this huge demand surge has solved the chicken vs egg question related to the manufacturing of EV battery plants.

So far every question related to the building of giga batteries plant was met with the question of demand as for any large plant to be viable there has to be minimum demand of 4/5 GW and now we are standing at the inflection point where this is very much plausible.

Hence the decision to extend custom duty benefits for manufacturing of Li-On cells is a very good step as the increased volume will see capacity expansion on the domestic side which so far has been more import-driven due to low volumes.

This will result in huge domestic expansion as well as lead to innovation in the battery space where new battery packs will be more aligned to Indian conditions than global settings which will ultimately make EV vehicles, safer, cheaper, and better.”

Neeraj Tyagi, Co-Founder and CEO, We Founder Circle: “Post-pandemic a lot of startups were struggling for survival and still are. The announcement of the extension of tax benefits on the incorporation of startups, and additional 3 years to carry forward the losses to set off against future profits will serve as lifeboats to many. Additionally, what is not realized yet is that ease of compliance plays a major role for any business. More so for new businesses and young entrepreneurs. More than 39,000 compliances have been reduced which will offer great convenience to startups and encourage aspiring ones. The Agri Accelerator Fund set up by the government will not only encourage entrepreneurs but also attract investors to invest in Agri startups aggressively. The good thing is that we have some of the most exciting agri startups like Hesa, Anveshan and Growit.”

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.”

Vinod Shankar, Co-founder & Partner, Java Capital: “The biggest highlight of the budget has been the strong focus on going green and sustainable, which augurs well for the planet, the country and the startup ecosystem. There has been renewed progress over the last 12 months in investing in climate startups, this trend has been kept alive with focus of the budget on green growth.

The broad horizontal directionacross green fuel, green energy, green farming, green mobility, green buildings, and green equipment is unprecedented if executed well.  

The schemes announced align well with the net zero target by 2070. With this positive direction we should expect more startups and increased  venture capital funding in green startups like ePlane, newtrace.

Encouraging behavioural change for carbon footprint reduction  is a new paradigm for the people.  This has the potential to change individual and societal behaviour with the Green credit programme, PM-PRANAM and MISHTI.”

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.”

Kishan Tiwari, Co-Founder and CEO, TSAW Drones: “The Hon’ble Finance Minister’s announcement in the Union Budget 23-24 to revitalize 50 additional airports, heliports, water aerodromes, and advanced landing zones is a landmark decision. This will jumpstart the fourth industrialization by effectively utilizing drone technology for automation in logistics, transportation, infrastructure, and rural development, as well as create new-age jobs for the nation’s youngsters. TSAW is committed to supporting the government’s mission by assembling state-of-the-art ‘Made in India’ drones and DRONECO is committed to providing end-to-end drone services for internal sovereignty, last-mile connectivity, agriculture, healthcare and others. The announcement of the Agri Accelerator Fund by the government will encourage more entrepreneurs to serve Indian rich and heritage agriculture Industry. Being a Drone manufacturer, TSAW sees a big opportunity of collaborating with Agri start-ups to serve and show a real case of Drones in the Agriculture industry.”

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.”

Pramod Kathuria, Founder & CEO, Easiloan: “Union budget 2023-24 reflects that the government is profoundly embraced the digital revolution in the fintech sector and promoting the use of digi locker for documentation. The collection and retrieval of relevant document for customer verification and identification is a key area we as Digital home loan marketplace Easiloan are looking to optimize. We are glad that the government’s new budget is a push in the same direction. Expansion of Digi locker services to the Fintech sector will be a great boost for individuals, banks and financial institutions to store and share data online in a secured and faster manner

Additionally, The decision of the government to set up 100 labs in engineering institutes for developing apps using 5G services will usher in new opportunities unlocking various possibilities.”

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.”

Mahek Mody, co-founder Up⤴️ :“The 2023 Budget has indeed witnessed the government make conscious efforts to better the state of Indian entrepreneurship and MSMEs. In a world moving towards Smart and Connected Homes which are technology-led, the governments’ focus on AI, Robotics and other Engineering education across sectors is much appreciated. However, the limited scope of reduced custom duties and subsidies to mature industries such as Fintech, Electric Vehicles, and Mobile Phones, may hinder the growth of nascent sectors.

The $30 billion consumer appliance industry has immense potential and could be dominated by Indian companies with the appropriate support. We acknowledge the centers’ steps on reduced tax slabs and the extended loss carry-over period, but hope that startups in new and emerging industries will receive greater attention in the future. Our goal is to establish India as a leading exporter of modern and smart appliances, for which government support is a must”

Dr. Jagadish Hiremath, Chairman at AASRA Hospitals: “Although the budget does cover some of the important aspects of healthcare, it has not touched on surgical robotics which will be playing an important role in upgrading Indian medical infrastructure to higher standards going forward. Considering the fact that the number of surgeries done in India is spiking up constantly and the integration of surgical robotics has been on rise especially post pandemic, it would have been wiser to allocate a budget to encourage robotic surgeries. There was a huge expectation that the government would continue giving budgetary allocations for medical tourism which would boost the private healthcare players to thrive in current times of economic uncertainties. Over everything the much needed policy changes to make it easier for the public to claim insurance for robotic surgeries too has not been touched upon during the current budget. However in short I would say the current budget has stayed far away from what was expected.”

Sayeed Anjum, Co-founder & CTO, greytHR: “The government has taken an excellent initiative by establishing three centers of excellence in top educational institutions to nurture quality human resources in AI. A national education policy will undoubtedly facilitate job creation at large scale, and the Skill India Digital platform will allow HR service providers and employers to offer desirable jobs to skilled candidates. Also, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana 4.0 scheme is an exceptional project to expand skill training in areas like coding, AI, robotics, mechatronics, IOT, 3D printing, drones, and soft skills. While 30 new skill India International centres will not only help professionals from varied sectors but also MSMEs and start-ups who look for relevant candidates to do the work. The credit guarantee scheme will work as a cushion for growing companies to stay sustainable in difficult times. All in all, the entire economy will benefit on a large scale giving numerous scaling opportunities on various levels.”

Krishna Veer Singh Co-Founder and CEO, Lissun: “It was evident during the lockdown that mental health has remained an ignored area and demands immediate attention. In the last budget, Hon’ble FM announced the launch of a Tele Mental Health service. This year, the budget has encompassed the needs of healthcare professionals by announcing 157 new nursing colleges. All this together will serve the purpose of adding fuel to the healthcare infrastructure, and it is the only way it will make complete sense. Also, there has been a significant increase in the budget allocation towards the Healthcare Ministry which indicates the government’s attention toward health standards in the country.”

Nageen Kommu, CEO, Digitap:The Union budget announced by FM holds great significance for the Fintech sector, as it lays down the roadmap for further growth and development in the industry. Recommendations on adopting a risk based approach for KYC and a system that is amenable to meet the needs of Digital India will ensure measures taken to control potential financial crimes are in line with the risks identified.

Additionally, extending incorporation benefits for startups to 10 years will further boost sentiment and encourage entrepreneurship in the country. This will also make startups more attractive to investors since a lower tax burden means better income and returns on investment.

Lastly, provisions to boost R&D and innovation for financial inclusion, and create innovative financial products by expanding the ambit of the Digilocker facility and using 5G, AI and other technologies will help bridge existing gaps in the system and auger a positive impact to the country as a whole in the long run.

Jyotirmoy Chakravorty, Founder and CEO of Ubona Technologies: “As MSMEs are now coming through the pandemic’s big blow, the revamped collateral-free credit guarantee scheme will definitely prove to be a big boost for MSMEs. This would spur a great growth of MSME through the financial year 2023-24. In fact collateral free credit enables not only a guaranteed loan but also this removes a great deal of hassles in the process of availing the loan. This is a laudable move by the union government as it not only boosts the growth of MSMEs but also creates a huge number of jobs for youths across the country.

Also it is a great initiative for the government to establish centres of excellence for Artificial Intelligence. This would give a huge push for automation space as this initiative would create a huge skilled talent pool.”

Pramod Gummaraj, CEO of Aprecomm: “This budget’s focus on boosting use of artificial intelligence through centers of excellence and the initiative towards setting up 100 labs for app development using 5g services are indeed a great move and a great boost to the respective sectors. In fact ‘Make AI for India’ and ‘Make AI work for India’ are much needed initiatives in present times when artificial intelligence is spreading its arms wide across all the sectors. Had its scope been extended to the telecom sector along with the other three sectors the initiative would have been more fruitful.

While there are initiatives towards promoting Artificial Intelligence and 5G through dedicated budgetary allocations, the current budget has not taken into account the necessity of supporting telecom tech. With telecom players in India and abroad increasingly preferring to integrate various new age technologies developed by Indian players to ease their business in the current market scenario, the current budget could have given the much expected budgetary allocation to boost telecom tech players in the country. Budgetary allocations and policy support would have enabled India to stand atop of the world with Indian telecom tech players leading global markets.”

Sujata Pawar, Co-Founder & CEO at Avni: “We applaud the initiatives declared in the Union Budget 2023-24 by Honorable Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The budget strikes an appropriate balance between confronting the key foundations of Health & Well-being, Inclusive Development, Human Capital, Innovation, and R&D, as well as laying the groundwork for a prosperous economy by investing heavily in infrastructure. The government’s intention to empower women entrepreneurs through self-help clusters focused on raw material supply, product branding, and marketing is also a very unique and sensible step given that community impact plays a major role with women in India. Furthermore, the announcement of 157 new nursing colleges will further aid strengthen India’s primary healthcare system.”

Siya Seth, Founder and CMD of Skoodos: The Budget has many announcements that will bolster the digital economy, which is a big positive for the EdTech sector. The introduction of the National Digital Library and the setup of District Institutes of Education and Training will take the Indian startup culture to the next level. We have less than two decades to capitalize on India’s demographic dividend, which will peak in 2041. This can only be achieved by increasing enrolments and improving outcomes, as well as providing online upskilling opportunities at scale.

The government is expected to continue acting upon the liberating reforms of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, which treats school education as a continuum with the ultimate aim of empowering a child for life.” 

Nitin Pahuja, Co-Founder, Push Sports: The budget’s focus on the long-term vision for the economy is a refreshing change from past populist budgets before elections. Startups and industry will find confidence that the government is committed to its vision for India @100, making the policy trajectory predictable for the next 25 years.

The increase in capital expenditure will create new markets and deepen existing ones, as seen in the high growth during the Vajpayee era and UPA decade. The budget will outline a similar growth roadmap for the economy.

Maintaining the fiscal deficit reduction trajectory will attract foreign investment and insulate the currency from economic challenges.

The budget’s aim to increase disposable income for the lower middle class by raising tax exemptions will stimulate demand. The INR 35,000 crore stimulus could be a game-changer for D2C startups targeting this cohort.

The budget’s focus on improving employability through skill centers and apprenticeships is a positive step for startups seeking quality talent. The AI labs initiative could transform the startup industry as a public good.

Support for e-mobility and green energy offers a clear roadmap for startups in those sectors, with tax and duty rationalization to enhance competitiveness.

Expanding credit growth for MSMEs and reducing the cost of credit is a welcome move to support small enterprises recovering from the pandemic shock.

Pawan Gupta, Director, PP Jewellers by Pawan Gupta: “In recent years, the sector has faced several challenges, including a decline in consumer demand and a decrease in exports. Despite these challenges, the year 2023 holds promise for India’s jewellery sector. We, therefore, expect government’s support & some tax relief from this budget.

“The government also needs to understand the negative impact of higher import duty on the jewellery business such as the rise in smuggling & corruption cases. Higher import duty will also subsequently make it further difficult for a small pocket household to purchase gold.

We were hoping that government would propose duty reduction which is the need of the hour to make both trade and consumption of gold and silver easy and fair.

We are happy to hear some reduction in the taxes levied, people could now have more money to spend, which in turn would give the economy the boost it needs. India’s growing middle class is expected to drive demand for jewellery. With a growing population of young, urban consumers, the jewellery sector is poised to benefit from an increase in disposable income and a desire for luxury items.

The Indian government has announced to encourage the indigenous production of lab-grown diamonds, a research and development grant is to be provided to one of the IITs for five years, the policy is expected to address issues such as quality control, branding and marketing, and the development of human resources.”

Dr. Ganesh Nikam, Managing Director and CEO of Biojobz: “We had bucketed our expectations before the budget into several categories, and it is encouraging to see that the government checked at least some of them. The pharmaceutical industry’s request to incentivise and encourage R&D investments has finally been granted. The new Centers of Excellence programme, aimed to promote pharmaceutical research and innovation, will encourage investment opportunities that will directly fuel the sector expansion and jobs. It will begin to unleash the high innovation potential of rich Indian scientific talent. Also on the direct taxes, the increase in the Income tax rebate limit is a very welcoming step. Overall budget has met a lot of expectations.”

Satish Kataria, Founder – “It seems that the government has not given heed to potential demand of rationalising taxation on the virtual digital assets in this budget. I would like to reiterate that while Crypto Currencies as such could be speculative instruments, and hence demanding a higher taxation perspective – not all digital assets should be made part of this category. Again, while the government has issued its clarity of digital tokens underlying real time assets – but then, Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs) representing underlying art and content IP – are still dappling under the uncertain regime. I hope that the government realises that such NFTs and Web3 assets can actually help our content industry multifold – through adding additional monetisation layers to their existing content and enabling audiences to engage with their favourite creators in a more active, significant manner. I believe that the government should encourage Content based NFTs and bring them under the category of real asset based tokens – thus providing essential incentivisation for Indian content creators to create even a better global impact.”

Anil Joshi, Managing Partner, Unicorn India Ventures: “As expected the current budget has something for all. The Hon FM has touched every aspect of the society. The focus has been on supporting growth and continuing the expenditure on infra building. While the budget seems populist but this has been possible only due to the strong performance of the economy in general. Some of the key impact for startups in the budget which will also help the investment momentum are:

  • Provision for agri accelerator will certainly help interest in investment in agri tech and in general in agri business. The accelerator will help working on innovative ideas and may help on packaged food, which will not only help in increasing productivity but also farmer income.
  • Setting up of 157 medical colleges will not only help in improving health infra but will also help promote medi-tech startups as they will have more avenues and close to their place then depending on few hospitals for testing their innovation. This will certainly help in promoting health-tech and medi-tech startups
  • Special initiative in setting up 3 centres for AI, will help building better startups in AI space and it will help in building resources and testing of innovation.
  • FM laid special mention on converting Manhole to Machine-hole. This will certainly help companies like Genrobotic which has built a robotic product to eliminate manual scavenging and help in rehabilitation of people involved in cleaning manual holes. This kind of direct involvement also encourages investors to support startups in the space. Unicorn took the early bet and is glad to have faith in new innovative products in this space. We expect many more development in this space
  • While many may think the setting of 50 new airports is a normal announcement, the fact is, it will help in developing the economy in those cities. This will not only help in uplifting of cities but will also help in tourism and also mushrooming of startups and access to cities will be easy. This will also help in lot of job creation
  • FM has also given special attention to MSME and startups. Announcements like easing KYC, making PAN as uniform identification for business will go a long way in setting up new businesses especially in the Fintech and Insuretech segment. Increasing the tax relief period from 7 years to 10 years is a big announcement and will help startups redeploy earnings on growth of the business. Also tax rebate to MSME earning upto Rs 3 crore will also help companies to have ease of cash flow.”

Pankit Desai, CEO & Co-founder Sequretek: “On AI in India and Data governance policy:

1. AI Machine Learning (AI ML) is a big area and future of every single industry. The big challenge with AIML however is access to data, for you to be able to run algorithms and validate the outcomes, you need humongous amounts of data, be it in the medical field, cybersecurity or banking.
For startups in this space you do not have wherewithal to get access to data. Ability to have access to anonymised data will be a phenomenal capability  that really should help overall AIML research, outcomes, solutions, companies, everything becomes significantly better. This is how some of our neighbouring and developed economies have been able to do and having a formal policy in place now will ensure that you are not running afoul of data privacy norms.  

2. We have a problem of talent. ML & data science is what you need even to understand AI and the traditional courses do not do justice to the requirements of the industry. We really hope that you with these institutions as incubators will not only give access to the right pool of talent but all have carried out research as part of the curriculum so that we get industry ready talnt.

3. Data governance policy – it is high time that we had it while the data privacy act is waiting for the parliamentary approval, there is a need to have an overall Data Governance policy framework defining the do’s and don’ts of data consumption for research, education and commercial needs. Again in the context what is needed in the ML without a proper data governance policy it will be very difficult to create a viable business proposition.  Just like we liberalised services export regime by SEZs and the telecom policy for communication, we see a proper data governance plocyt to be an enabler to mass utilization and consumption if AI in various fields.

Nikhil Kurhe, Co-founder & CEO, Finarkein Analytics:

“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…

The year of Digital Public Infrastructure

The first five minutes of the budget mentioned Digital Public Infrastructure like Aadhar, UPI, and CoWIN. I think that set the tone perfectly for what to expect from the Finance Minister for the next ninety minutes, and the budget has definitely delivered on all the right fronts.

The focus remained on a people-centric world order combined with sustainable development. To facilitate ample opportunities for citizens to fulfill their aspirations, a strong impetus for growth and job creation was a core focus of the budget. Additionally, the government’s fiscal discipline and sticking to deficit targets is commendable and puts India on a path of strong macroeconomic stability. While the reaction to the last 15 minutes and changes to the personal tax under the new regime was palpable and expected, I strongly believe that there were a few foundational pieces that have  been set in motion in this budget that will have a multiplier effect in the coming years.

The first big winning theme on the DPI front I believe has been DigiLocker. DigiLocker has had a slow start over the years but has rapidly been activated with strong core utility and anchor use cases. DigiLocker + Aadhar is a robust identity and document layer and will play a key role in facilitating risk-based KYC. PAN as a common identifier for businesses will again be a central focal point, although I’m a little disappointed that Udyog Aadhar wasn’t promoted as highly in tandem with PAN. The scope and depth of documentation that will be available through DigiLocker is expanding and I expect usage and uptick will naturally follow. A one stop solution/centralized IT system was another recurring theme around KYC with a single window for identity and address updates will also be built on existing identity DPIs.

The second core theme which I feel has a lot of scope and can move the needle significantly for the Indian economy is the Agristack. A Digital Public Infrastructure focused on the agriculture domain that will be open source, based on interoperable open standards will be a game changer. As more data is made available for relevant decisioning, ancillary services which can drive growth and revenues for agriculture will flow seamlessly. I expect new credit and insurance products around agriculture to be built exclusively around the Agristack in the coming year. Furthermore, the budget mentioned a fund for agritech startups and initiatives which is yet another impetus for this sector to pick up and set us on a multiyear path.

Lastly, the third core highlight which I believe will fly under the radar is the National Data Governance Policy. This is absolutely massive. Cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence that we see today like ChatGPT, Google’s LAMBDA and other AI models are largely following similar architecture. Difference in their experience and utility is a function of the datasets they are trained on like Wikipedia edit history, social media, and other publicly available datasets are used to train these Large Language Models. India with our Open Finance (Account Aggregator) and Open Health (Ayushmann Bharat Digital Health Mission) initiatives will be uniquely positioned with datasets having such wide breadth and depth in the quantity and quality of data available in finance and health domain. Combined with the right policies, anonymised and de-identified datasets can be made available to researchers, think tanks, and other relevant entities to build cutting edge AI in these domains. In a year or two the AgriStack will provide a steady stream of data to build novel AgriAI models as well. Having a robust National Data Governance policy will be key to ensure there’s no compromise on privacy and security of data principles though. Additionally, the value that will be created from this policy will naturally accrue to the nation and have far reaching implications beyond Indian borders as well.

I would say the budget was very foundational in nature with benefits and initiatives that will continue to deliver dividends not only for the coming fiscal, but beyond as well.”

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