It has been a leap of faith for the media and entertainment industry, which is now transcending towards digital. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a host of initiatives under ‘New Economy’. Some of the steps include the creation of National Mission on Quantum Technologies and applications with an outlay of proposed Rs 8,000 crore proposed. Roll out of a policy to enable the private sector to build Data Centre parks throughout the country. “It will enable our firms to skilfully incorporate data in every step of their value chains,” FM said. Further, the government plans for Fibre to the Home (FTTH) connections through Bharatnet which will link 100,000-gram panchayats this year. It has proposed to provide Rs 6,000 crore to Bharatnet programme in 2020-21. A tax-relief was announced including simplified tax processes. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman slashed the personal income tax rate for individuals for fiscal year 2020-21. Under the new regime, taxpayers will pay 10 per cent for income between 5 to 7.5 lakh, 15per cent for income between 7.5 to 10 lakh , 20 per cent for income between 10 to 12.5 lakh and 25 per cent for incomes between 12.5 to 15 lakh. However, to avail this scheme, which is optional, therefore, taxpayers will have to let go of exemptions. A taxpayer charter was proposed as well. An International bullion exchange to be set up at the IFSC in GIFT was also announced. Apart from modifying the definition of an NRI, non taxpaying NRIs would be taxed in India if not paying taxes elsewhere. Here are the reactions from the industry people: “The 2020 Budget has been drafted around the key themes of talent, technology, entrepreneurship and sustainability and we applaud the centre’s efforts at boosting the economy. The finance minister has maintained focus on tourism by announcing that iconic destinations will be connected by ‘corporate’ trains like Tejas and with the plan to develop 5 archaeological sites into iconic sites. Five new smart cities have also been proposed and Barco looks forward to partnering with the Government in this direction,” says Barco India managing director Rajiv Bhalla. “Budget 2020 truly sharpens the country’s focus on becoming the next global hub for education. Significant announcements like the introduction of FDI in the education sector, launch of ‘Study in India’ programme, new apprenticeship programmes and online degree courses, besides the continued budget allocation for skill development, reiterate the government’s commitment towards the youth of our country. I am confident that these strategic initiatives will play a decisive role in the building of a New Digital India.” – World University of Design VC Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Qlik managing director, ASEAN, India and Korea Suganthi Shivkumar shares, “We appreciate the government’s decision in the 2020 Budget to dedicate the necessary funds and resources towards developing revolutionary and breakthrough technologies such as ML, robotics and AI to further the skills that will prepare us for the next wave and accelerate India’s journey towards becoming a digital giant. With data equated as the new oil, the government’s plan of building cutting-edge data parks across the country is equally important. With these parks, there will be alot of data available but the key difference for businesses will be the ability to harness the data near real time and obtain timely actionable insights from the data. Furthermore, the governments initiative of allocating Rs 6000 crores to enable unabridged digital connectivity in over 100,000 Gram Panchayats through the Fiber to Home BharatNet scheme holds brilliant potential in securing India’s passage towards achieving tech-empowerment for the remote sector.” Cyberbit managing director, India/South Asia and ASEAN, Rakesh Kharwal says “Great Opportunity to Setup Bridge Courses on Cybersecurity Skilling to Meet the 4 Million Global shortage of skilled cyber people under Skill India and Apprenticeship Courses in Financial Budget 2020: The government has highlighted the essence of skills sets for which various knowledge translation clusters for emerging technologies like Analytics, IoT, AI, and Cybersecurity will be setup. Now, since it has allocated Rs. 99,300 crores to the education sector and Rs. 3,000 crores for skill development itself, the government should look to adopt simulation technologies such as Cyber range to provide internships and better job opportunities for fresh engineers. The 150 higher educational institutes that the government is planning to set up could also latch on to this opportunity by parting world-class cybersecurity training as a part of their apprenticeship courses.” TCL regional director, Mike Chen says “At TCL, we believe that the finance minister has announced an encouraging Union Budget 2020. Proposing the scheme to encourage the manufacturing of mobile phones, semiconductor packaging and electronic equipment is a welcomed move and we look forward to a complete policy and leveraging the same to kickstart the domestic manufacturing through our panel factory in Tirupati. Furthermore, painting a futuristic picture in this year’s budget announcement, the FM also acknowledged advanced technologies like IoT, AI, and analytics changing the world. At TCL, we are forever committed to advancing our ‘AI x IoT’ ecosystem in India and will continue to invest in cutting-edge technologies to offer the best services to our customers in India.” LogMeIn MD-India Rahul Sharma shares, “Budget 2020 looks very promising. We are particularly enthused about the FM’s announcement of seamless delivery of digital services as part of the next wave of digital revolution. AI, ML, Analytics, IoT, Robotics are making giant inroads in India, as was observed in the budget. The policy being introduced to build data centre parks throughout the country will help enhance the digital infrastructure to a significant extent. We are looking forward to the next phase of Digital India which will be a big growth driver for businesses and individuals alike.” Rooter founder and CEO, Piyush Kumar shares, “It’s very encouraging to see that Indian Government regards entrepreneurship as ‘strength of India’. Start-ups can not only get a lot of foreign investment in India but also create thousands of jobs. The investment clearance and advisory cell for entrepreneurs is a great step to encourage new entrepreneurs and provide assistance. Moreover, the seed fund to support early-stage start-ups will help them to create quality market fit product before approaching VCs.” “ Two messages stand out from today’s Union Budget address for companies like us. One, the commitment being demonstrated by the Government to emerging technologies and initiatives being taken to improve the ecosystem – be it in terms of setting knowledge or technology clusters or announcing a National Mission on Quantum Technologies. Having relocated from US to start a company here, we are thrilled with the government’s resolve on this issue. Two, trying to do their bit in creating more stable start-ups – by resolving issues such as tax relaxation on ESOPs. Although much more is still to be done jumpstart the economy, but steps such as these will surely help stem the fall and lay new ground for growth.Government is walking the talk to make India a leading startup hub in the world. Government has announced numerous benefits for all the key stakeholders in the startup space – Employees, Investors & Promoters etc. This will go a long way to make India the preferred destination for start-ups,” says Zeux Innovation co-founder Hemal Gathani.