Mr. Layak Singh, Founder & CEO- Artivatic.AI (Startup POV)
“India houses the third-largest cluster of startups in the world, which means nurturing them back to their feet can ensure untold boost to employment rates, drawing maximum FDI channels to the country again and result in a quicker, more sustained recovery of the markets to their heydays.
Since 2020, an atmosphere of uncertainties and challenges has plagued startups. And while startups have stepped up their game even during the pandemic, they could do with a helping hand from the budget. Less cumbersome, liberal IPO policy guidelines, a revised compliance policy that’s easy especially for taxation purposes and relaxation of tax obligations will lift a huge burden off our shoulders. Extending necessary exemptions to all companies that qualify as ‘startups’ such as easing of angel tax and gift tax regulations will further incentivise Indian and overseas investors to engage with our sector—a heaven sent opportunity for the industry. The COVID-19 pandemic has ensured that the health technology sector buckles up quickly to respond to this prolonged environment of heightened crisis. Digitisation has aided the transformation to on-ground awareness and actual, calibrated penetration of information and treatment. But there’s always scope for improvement. Expenditure on genetic research in India is in no way comparable to even the world average. Experts are advising rich fund allocation for genome mapping programmes in order to hasten the development of monitoring resources to calibrate the genome-related health status of the Indian population. Such projects are humungous in nature and are only successfully possible in a close public-private partnership. The “Make-in-India” initiative is another tough, timely call-to-action for the tech sector in general. This planned push for tech adoption is important to make the economy self-reliant again. Hence, health tech-centric startups will need the aid of policy and tax sops such as moderated GST rates. These will encourage them to continue building these scalable, digital infrastructures that can help in these challenging times, plus they streamline offline offerings and save costs and time.”
Mr. Layak Singh, Founder & CEO- Artivatic.AI (Insurance Tech)
“The COVID-19 pandemic has ensured that the insurance sector transforms and responds quickly to this critical environment. And in this scenario, an acute need for a dedicated tax deduction and reduction in GST levied on the personal accident insurance cover is felt. Currently resting at an expensive 18% slab—similar to the rate that premium goods attract, health insurance, an essential service deserves a GST slab adjusted to a nominal 5% or abolished altogether, along with the stamp duties. In this manner, this necessary instrument will become more attractive and accessible to buyers.
Health cover premiums have increased since the inclusion of the serious diseases clause while the deduction cap under Section 80D remains steady at Rs. 50,000. Raising this ceiling to Rs 1 lakh would ease the insurance customers’ burden further. For senior citizens, the current limit is Rs 50,000, which could be raised to a proportionate Rs. 75,000. At present, employers providing group health insurance programmes are unable to claim input credit for the GST paid. Allowances made for GST-registered businesses to be able to take input tax credit claims for GST paid will keep them from defaulting on these necessary policies. There’s also the case of unfair tax treatment on the basis of double taxation of reinsurance brokerage. This needs to go.
Dedicated tax deductions for non-life insurance products are sorely lacking in India, as is enjoyed by life insurance products. Designing and setting aside tax deductions specifically meant for non-life insurance products will go a long way in reversing the appalling penetration in this segment. One way is to capitalise on the fact that India is essentially a deal-hunting country and we can entice the under-insured or uninsured population under the insured umbrella by introducing byte-sized, small-ticket insurance products such as sachet products, and micro-insurance. These should be completely exempt from all kinds of GST or taxes to make them super-affordable. With such products, we’ll empower people from even the lowest economic strata and SMEs to get some coverage.”
Mr. KR Raghunath, Senior Chairman, Jindal Naturecure Institute
“The need of the hour to spend more on creating awareness about why preventive healthcare is important, more so with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Food as a medicine should be promoted as much as possible. The benefits of making positive changes in the diet should be advertised. This can not be achieved without a nationwide programme of educating the masses. During the pandemic, PM Modi has given the much-needed push to the AYUSH sector as he encouraged the world-class R&D enablement and manufacturing capabilities of India. We are looking forward to more promising announcements from Budget 2022. Even though COVID is a communicable disease, its worst effects are visible in those with non-communicable diseases– cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, hypertension, obesity and chronic respiratory diseases. Therefore, an allocation only for strengthening communicable disease surveillance is a sub-optimal solution. The budget for up-skilling of the youth to become Preventive Health Coaches is also required since this will address the problem of unemployment and build on PM Modi’s Atmanirbhar mission. We need to look at coming out of this pandemic as a healthier and fitter country. Apart from yoga, the government should promote naturopathy and make it a part of school and college curriculums, and set up a committee to introduce naturopathy practices in universities. Standardizing naturopathy practice is critical as it will enable us to lay down strict standards that have to be adhered to by all Naturopaths. Legitimizing naturopathy and conducting mass awareness campaigns to educate the masses is the right way forward.”
Startups & HR Tech
Mr . Vicky Jain, Founder, uKnowva ” (Technology Angle)
The pandemic has disrupted every sector and one thing that everyone wants from the UnionBudget 2022-23 is to bring the economy back on track. While every sector has faced its own ups and downs over the past year, there is one sector that has witnessed immense growth and potential i.e. technology and automation. The technology and automation sector has become a significant contributor to the country’s mission of digital empowerment. Given the role of the technology sector in the growth of Digital India, it is expected that the government may implement effective and favorable policies, in creating the digital infrastructure and the ecosystem to support innovation. Similarly, incentivizing research and development of next-generation technologies like AI, ML, robotics, etc. could help leverage India’s cost-effective science and engineering talent to develop strategic capabilities in scientific and industrial research. Special provisions and schemes need to be introduced to increase Digital Education and relevant Digitization to foster employment generation as well as re-employment. Another important area to focus on is the upskilling and reskilling of the existing workforce. There has been a lot of change in the way we operate and do business post COVID. It’s quite clear that the skill gap from education to corporate remains quite huge. This gap is now increasing with the AI-driven work culture setting in. Youth unemployment is close to 20 percent and that’s quite alarming. Adequate allocation for upskilling and reskilling is the need of the hour.
Mr . Vicky Jain, Founder, uKnowva (Startup)
With the Union Budget of 2022 expected to be announced next month, like every other business, start-ups also have some expectations. Considering how the economy has slowed down again the world over, because of the advent of Omicron, everyone is waiting for some incentives to propel different industries forward. Start-ups are looking forward to some provisions in the Union Budget 2022 so that they can run their businesses smoothly. While the Indian start-up system skyrocketed in 2021 there are two critical challenges to the industry which need to be addressed: (i) many start-ups in the country lack a compelling revenue base and require an infusion of cash flow for survival (ii) there is an immediate need to accelerate their digital transformation with technology. Thus, the government needs to look at helping startups through policies and support mechanisms towards domestic capital participation, create a favorable investment climate in tier 2 and tier 3 cities, provide incentives to set up incubators in every state, come up with tax exemptions in FDI, and focus on startup infrastructure development. Further, measures like streamlining approvals, quicker adoption of technology, and compliance for ease of doing business would also be immensely helpful.”
Health & Wellness
Vijender Reddy Muthyala, Co-Founder and CEO DrinkPrime
The Government through programs such as Jal Jeevan Mission-Har Ghar Jal has been focusing on the laudable initiative of giving people access to potable water. While we have made great strides in building out access especially in rural areas, accessibility to drinking water remains a challenge. The government needs to provide incentives to inspire startups to tackle this issue. Only through a cohesive public and private partnership will we be able to solve this basic human right. One area the Government should investigate is the GST and other taxes levied on providers of drinking water. Water is an essential basic human necessity and should be taxed accordingly. DrinkPrime would like to work with the government to make drinking water more accessible and affordable to all Indians.
Darpan Saini, CEO, Phyt.health
Medical expenses have increased over the past two years with Covid taking center stage. Many have lost jobs or have taken pay cuts, resulting in financial stress on families. To ease these problems, the government needs to make digital healthcare affordable.
A special focus on making health insurance affordable by reducing GST on premiums from 18% to 5% is a viable option. The government should make health insurance applicable for telehealth services such as doctor consultations or online physiotherapy to help patients recover from the comfort of their home. This is crucial for patients who can’t visit a doctor due to Covid restrictions. Moreover, the FM could also look to increase the limit of deduction under Section 80D from Rs. 50k to 1 Lakh – This could help the common man combat the rising healthcare costs.
Mr.Ashwini Jain, CEO & Co-founder, ForeignAdmits
With the idea of creating a huge impact of “Make in India”, it is important to understand the role of start-ups too. The start-ups and their new ideas to contribute to the economy and localization need proper funding and budget too. Many of the economy-related issues would be solved with better start-up conditions in the country. Not only would we be able to boost localization at its best, we would also be able to create jobs, more career opportunities, and customize the production according to the needs of our citizens. There are some important factors that the government needs to keep in mind during the upcoming fiscal year budget discussion. Some of them are reducing the GST, giving more funding to the start-ups, and making the public data accessible for us. Start-ups should also get equity and interest-free loans in the growth stage so that they can help in contributing to the country’s economy.
Mandar Marathe, CEO, Koppr
For the common man of India, medical expenses have increased over the past two years. Many have lost jobs or have taken pay cuts, resulting in additional financial stress. To alleviate these concerns, the government needs to make healthcare affordable & accessible.A special focus on making health insurance affordable by reducing GST on premiums from 18% to 5% is a viable option. The government could also look to increase the limit of deduction under Section 80D from Rs. 50k to 1 Lakh.
A significant allocation of the budget should be made towards bolstering the healthcare infrastructure of the nation. From the current 1.8% of GDP spends, the FM minister should further raise it to 3%.Apart from healthcare, the Modi government could do wonders to bring in more domestic equity investments by reducing the rate of capital gains tax from 10% to 5% or do away with LTCG tax altogether.