E-retailers and online services companies have generally expressed positive sentiment towards Budget 2017, particularly for its emphasis on developing the digital economy as well as for a number of startup friendly measures that it includes.
Calling the budget a “digital economy” budget, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder & CEO of Paytm said, "Every person from small shops to consumers are pushed towards the digital economy. Tax benefits, incentives to use digital payments and extending loans based on a digital footprint will create a larger merchant ecosystem for digital payments. Incentives for labour intensive sectors including housing, farming and dairy will help SMEs to create new jobs. Focus and attention to bank NPAs, as well as increasing bank capitalisation is great step towards strengthening the financial system of the country. Finally, the income tax rate changes will encourage more people to report their incomes and create a larger tax net for the country. Overall, it is a great budget that will encourage people to move to the formal economy and derive benefits."
Sandeep Aggarwal, Founder, ShopClues and Droom, called the Union Budget progressive and particularly praised the decision to reduce profit-linked deductions for start-ups to 3 years out of 7 years. However he did mention that there were some other issues that could have been addressed.
“There are a lot of things I was hoping 2017 Union Budget to touch upon for example policies to ensure that capital is easily accessible to entrepreneurs, repatriation of money coming to India, R&D credit, no capital gain for any kind of start-up sale or exit and to make foreign listing for any Indian company straightforward. These pointers should have been addressed. Nevertheless, increasing the tax holiday from 3 years to 7 years is a welcome change and startup friendly. I hope with the Union Budget 2017, GDP moves in an upward direction this financial year vis-à-vis calendar year 2016 which was negatively affected due to demonetization,” he said.
Kunal Bahl, Co-founder & CEO Snapdeal, welcomed the emphasis on skill development and technical educations as well as the attention to affordable housing and greater employment in rural areas.
“We commend the focus on growing the digital footprint in the country, enhancing digital infrastructure, capping cash transactions, reducing cash donations, using Adhaar Pay to enable more digital payments are significant measures. Initiatives make an impact when there is continued attention and the announcement of today builds on the demonetization efforts of last few weeks,” he said.
Vishwavijay Singh, Co-founder of SaleBhai.com, said the rural sector was a clear winner with new funds being allocated for rural-agri development and other measures that were announced. “Another important feature of the budget is the Government's resolve to ramp up infrastructure, which should help in taking forward the government's Digital India campaign. As an e-commerce player, I see consumption in rural areas going up. With rural areas likely to witness greater digital penetration, the e-commerce sector is surely to benefit," he said.
Sunil Mishra, Chief Strategy Officer of PropTiger.com said, “This budget has been cautious albeit balanced for the real estate sector. One of the standouts for the real estate sector was definitely the affordable housing segment being granted infrastructure status. Housing for All by 2022, is not just a dream but a necessity for a country like India that’s urbanising at a rapid pace. The move to measure the areas in affordable housing projects – 30 sq mts for the projects in municipal limits in the 4 metros, and 60 sq mts for the rest of India, on carpet area as against the earlier built-up area, will translate into homes that are 30 per cent larger. This should amplify the interest of developers further, to build more affordable projects, thereby, increasing supply. A one year tax break for unsold inventory that has received the CC, will bring some relief to developers.”
He further said that the move to abolish FIPB indicates further liberalisation of the FDI policy, something that the finance crunched sector would welcome.
For the travel and tourism industry, there was some good news with the removal of service charge on bookins made through IRCTC. Aloke Bajpai, CEO & Co-Founder of ixigo.com said that this is a further indication of the government’s focus on digital transactions.
“Railway budget 2017 has laid out big investments in terms of infrastructure by claiming to invest upto Rs.3,96,135 crore in infrastructural development during the next financial year - we hope to see more technological advancements including high speed trains along with an increased focus on rail safety. This year’s rail budget of Rs.1.31 trillion is the highest ever till now, and about 8% more than last year. A couple of announcements such as Raksha coach, clean my coach services, coach mitra facility for registering complaints and installation of bio-toilets indicate the fact that railways wants to attract back travellers by improving cleanliness, safety and passenger comfort," he said.
“I believe the government has taken concrete steps to give a fillip to the economy and yet tilt it towards white. Reduction of income tax by 5%, from 30% to 25%, for SMEs with a turnover of less than 50 Cr strongly indicates Government’s belief that it expects the SMEs to be major drivers for the economy. Reducing the LTCG window for property from 3 years to 2 years and putting affordable housing (below 30L) under infrastructure development category is also a significant step to improve the real estate sentiment in the country,” said Satya Prabhakar, Founder & CEO of Sulekha.