By Neelesh Talathi
According to economists, India’s growth trajectory in the coming decades will grow at an unparalleled speed. With this expedited growth, India has the potential of becoming a $10 Trillion economy even sooner than 2032. And this Union Budget 2021-22 should become the platform for our Honourable Finance Minister to unequivocally set the tone from the top; it’s all about growth.
Aatma Nirbhar Bharat: The pandemic and its impact played in our favour as it presented India with a here-and-now opportunity to make significant inroads in Global Supply Chain. This will enable India to secure a disproportionately large share of the $20 Trillion global trade of manufactured good.
As we continue on our journey to make India Aatma Nirbhar, this year the budget should encourage: (i) investment in skill development which will further aid the MSME sector (ii) ecological harvest of raw materials, and (iii) embedding Internet of Things (IoT) in products like sleep technology in mattresses.
Technology: Making India the Global Technology Leader should be a top priority on this budget. Factors which should be emphasized on are: fundamental research that leads to finding newer solutions and commercial development, which enables affordable deployment.
Additionally, in order to achieve the dream of being a Global Technology Leader, the budget should focus on: setting up Breakthrough Technology Funds to provide capital for novel ideas; allowing greater tax break on spending on AI/ML and similar initiatives; and resolve known anomalies on taxation for ESOP particularly for those in the Technology/Internet industries.
Simplifying Taxes: In order to boost the economy further, we will require a steady and sustained demand which can only be attained by restoring confidence. A framework which radically simplifies GST and reduces taxes is the need of the hour and should be proposed by the Finance Minister during the Union Budget discussion. This will also help in proactively addressing the emerging concerns around inflation.
Likewise, the budget forum should influence the RBI and other regulators to promote easier lending by banks / FinTech. A programme that our Finance Minister could consider is undertaking direct benefit transfer into bank account of every individual as they get inoculated. Let Co-Win translate into Go-Buy!
(The author is Chief Financial Officer, Pepperfry)