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BW Businessworld

Startups Dissect The Union Budget 2017

In a post-budget round table organised by BW Businessworld in Bengaluru, startups from different sectors got together to discuss the Union Budget 2017

Photo Credit : Bivas Banerjee

Startups discussed and dissected the Union Budget 2017 in a post-budget roundtable organised by BW Businessworld in Bengaluru on Friday (February 3).

The panellists included Ajith Karimpana, founder & CEO at Furlenco; Verghese V Joseph, founder at Media Kindle; Subrata Ghosh, founder & CEO, Redstone Learning, Kunal Bhambhani, founder & CEO, Pinglearn; Deepesh Agarwal, co-founder & CEO, MoveInSync; and Shenaz Bapooji, CMO, Shopmatic.
The power panel was moderated by Ayushman Baruah, Associate Editor, BW Businessworld who set the stage by referring to the uniqueness of this budget.

“It was presented on February 1 instead of the customary February 28; and in the first time in history, the railway budget was integrated with the main one,” he said.

Panellists at the roundtable share their views on various aspects such as the finance minister’s announcement to reduce the income tax to 25 per cent income for all small companies with a turnover of up to Rs 50 crore. The budget stated that this move would positively impact 96 per cent of the MSMEs in the country and will free up 8 per cent of the MSME revenue for investments in growth.

While the panellists unanimously agreed that it is a move in the positive direction, they said it is essential to craft a clear definition of the word ‘startups’ and that it cannot be clubbed under MSMEs. “The way MSMEs and startups function are fundamentally different,” Subrata Ghosh of Redstone Learning said.
Ajith Karimpana of furniture-rental company Furlenco agreed and said, “This budget did not particularly give a booster to the new-world startups which are different from MSMEs. However, that said, the signals that the government is sending is very encouraging and most definitely positive and in the right direction.”

He added that the GST (goods and services tax) is a “quantum leap” and will help companies to be profitable in a much shorter time now.

The proposal to have startups avail of a 3-year tax holiday in a block of 7 years instead of 5 years earlier has also been welcomed by the panellists.

The panel also agreed that digitisation and innovation will be the key driver and focus for them this year. This is in line with the budget as moving towards a digital economy for speed, accountability and transparency was part of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s 10 distinct themes.

“Digitisation of an entire country rather than just a company or two is a huge step in the right direction and one that Shopmatic is welcoming with open arms. We already have people building their e-commerce stores with us from all parts of the country…” Shenaz Bapooji of Shopmatic said. “This year with the new government initiatives, we are looking forward to helping many more merchants and individuals take their businesses online by leveraging our product suite.”

The other panellists – Deepesh Agarwal of MoveInSync, Kunal Bhambhani of Pinglearn, and Verghese Joseph of Media Kindle also shared their views on how they plan to take advantage of the digital wave the country is witnessing.

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