One for the wish list

Approaching budget

One for the wish list

Surprises are about to roll out. With the Union Budget just a few weeks away, the common man’s expectations are on the rise. And the startup city that Bengaluru is, it has its fingers crossed.

      Apart from homemakers, who make a huge contribution to the economy, other industries like food and beverage and travel and tourism are also hopeful of a few perks.

A reduction in the price of grocery items is what entrepreneur-homemaker Vidya Ramamurthy is looking forward to.

 “When it comes to domestic budget, the biggest expenditure is on pulses and cooking gas. Like many others, I wish there is some reduction in gas, oil and rice prices. During olden days, our moms and grandmoms used to cut corners and save money for the next month. It is sad that we can no longer do that because of the skyrocketing prices of groceries.”

“Speaking as a home entrepreneur, I would say that the market is favourable for us. The easy accessibility of social media through which we can do our business is one contributing factor. However, what we are looking for is a collective place to exhibit our products. Homemakers who run small businesses need such platforms to make money and be financially independent,” adds Vidya who has been empowering her community of small entrepreneurs.

There is a large chunk who believes that the budget is going to look completely different this time like Sachin Dev, founder and director, GPN Entertainment Private Limited. “We have lived up to the government’s expectations. Now it’s the government’s turn to do something for us. For example, there is a talk that service rates are to be increased, but there is no clarity on that. This budget, we are also looking for cut in taxable income, be it for the salaried class or the self-employed. It would benefit the middle class,” says Sachin.

He emphasises how healthcare needs a prominent place in the budget. “Where medical insurance is concerned,  there are good schemes. But what we need is quality health facilities. Medical insurance should be provided at a very minimal cost to the common man. This will automatically improve the medical facilities. Another factor is that the RBI needs to monitor payment gateways. Different charges are being levied by different merchant websites, so you don’t know whom to trust,” he adds.

Meanwhile, Bengalureans’ travel bucket list is growing by the day and they are looking for cheap deals. Travel is no longer the monopoly of a few. Shakeeb Ahmed, CEO of Sociotrips, elaborates, “As of now, travel industry is bleeding, and the recent proposal of increasing taxes would finish off many. Travel would become a huge burden to the common man and the only way to make it easily accessible is to reduce the service tax.” 

On the general well-being of startups like his, he says, “Hiccups faced by many startups today are getting funding at the right time and right amount, even though many manage to get funding, many a time, they aren’t sufficient to scale up in the long run and end up being short lived. For any venture to grow, it takes time. The best way for a startup or anyone planning to start one, it is important to first understand the business and then come up with an idea or concept, rather than the current trend which is the other way round,” he says.

Kiran Divakaran, former COO and founder, medidart.com, too lays out his wishlist which includes “Incentivising digital payments including waiver of all service taxes and cess on digital payments till 2020. Ensure venture capitalists are regulated to ensure startups don't run into unnecessary funding troubles,” he says.

From the common man's point of view, he adds, “there should be complete revisit of tax slabs and rates to compensate for current inflation levels; a scheme for social security for people trained through Skill India on the lines of rural employment guarantee scheme and a portal for people to monitor public spending.”

Meanwhile, food delivery service Chai Point’s success story has been encouraging. Amuleek Singh Bijral, CEO and Co-Founder, Chai Point, is vocal when he talks about what he is looking forward to. “At the moment, the service tax on food and beverage industry is very high. We are looking for a reduction on it. Also, we are one of the largest collectively organised employers in the country and we need appreciation for that. In the budget, there should be incentives for the organised sector,” he says.

He points out how the government has definitely been encouraging startups. “But tax benefits for a startup have very little meaning in the beginning. By the time the schemes come into place, the company is not a startup anymore. Moreover, employment generating companies should get a lot of credibility. They can help in solving major problems that the government is trying to solve. They should try to organise subsidy for the small and medium sectors, which will voluntarily create a lot of jobs,” he adds.  

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