Union Budget 2024: Wishes and Expectations

 Union Budget 2024: Wishes and Expectations

Team L&M

Waiting for the upcoming Union Budget with bated breath, various industry leaders share their expectations from it. Read on:

Shashank Avadhani Co-founder & CEO, Alyve Health
The Budget should focus on preventive healthcare initiatives to ease the burden on the healthcare system. While the health budget has increased 12 per cent to ₹86,175 crore in 2023-24, there is a significant disparity in healthcare services available in rural and urban India. Moreover, the rise in outpatient care costs, especially for lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, is straining the healthcare system. It makes a case for lifestyle management and preventive healthcare initiatives. Given India’s vast population, prioritising preventive healthcare is essential.

Dr Ishan Shivanand, Mental Health Researcher and Founder, Yoga of Immortals
The government must recognise the growing need for robust mental healthcare policies that integrate traditional Indian knowledge systems with scientifically validated methodologies. India’s mental health budget has stagnated at around 1 per cent of the total health budget, and most of these funds are centralised to a few premier institutes, limiting accessibility. There is a need to prioritize community-based mental healthcare services and ensure transparent financial monitoring to guarantee full utilization of funds. The government’s emphasis on digital mental health interventions is promising, yet, they must also address data privacy and accessibility issues. Additionally, substantial investments are needed for the effective implementation of the Mental Healthcare Act 2017 and the National Suicide Prevention Policy. To truly support mental health, we need a holistic approach that includes education, employment, and healthcare opportunities, making comprehensive mental health support a reality for all.

Abhay Agarwal, Founder and CEO, Clinics on Cloud
It is crucial to take a holistic approach to healthcare that encompasses prevention, diagnostics, treatment, and medical device manufacturing. Upgrading PHCs with Health ATMs, kiosks, and lounges will enhance last-mile connectivity and real-time disease surveillance, leading to better-informed budget allocations. Expanding free diagnostics nationwide and increasing insurance coverage under Ayushman Bharat can significantly reduce out-of-pocket expenses and improve access to care. Investing in medical device manufacturing will reduce our dependency on imports and lower treatment costs. Additionally, digitizing health records and expanding the reach of generic medicine stores will make healthcare more accessible and affordable. Embracing public-private partnerships will drive the next wave of transformation in our healthcare infrastructure.

Rohan Bhargava, Co-founder, CashKaro
The current tax rate for earnings above ₹15 lakh stands at 30 per cent which is quite steep. The significant jump in tax rates from ₹3 lakh to ₹15 lakh highlights the need for a more gradual increase. Raising the income threshold before any tax is levied from ₹3 lakh to ₹5 lakh would provide individuals, especially those in the lower earning bracket, with more disposable income. This change would boost consumption, increase savings for the middle class, and provide positive momentum for the e-commerce industry.
From an entrepreneurial perspective, the upcoming end of the Startup India Seed Fund scheme in 2025 highlights the need for a new initiative to continue supporting the growth of the startup sector. Startups are also calling for the complete removal of angel tax regulations to foster a more conducive investment environment. Furthermore, AI-related regulations should be addressed at the earliest to ensure that as a country, we don’t hit bottlenecks in innovation and growth. Startups prefer self-regulation over stringent guidelines, which can stifle creativity and rapid development in this crucial sector.
Pro-MSME policies are also vital. Simplifying the regulatory framework, providing tax benefits, and creating infrastructure for logistics and digital payments are necessary steps. Overall, keeping operational costs low for MSMEs through such measures will support their sustainability and growth.

Aditi Balbir, Co-founder, EcoRatings
The Union Budget 2024 should prioritise investments in sustainable infrastructure projects and clean energy solutions as 70 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions stem from energy, industry, and buildings . This will create a future-proof foundation for economic growth and help in achieving netzero targets. Infrastructure is crucial in addressing climate change and meeting diverse societal needs. A transformative overhaul of our current and future infrastructure assets is essential.
Globally, 85 per cent of institutional investors incorporate ESG factors into their investment decisions, making ESG investments the emerging norm. The Union Budget should extend industry recognition programs to companies excelling in sustainability. This will encourage wider adoption and foster a more responsible business landscape beyond the financial sector.
The budget should introduce financial incentives, such as lower interest rates on loans and dedicated grants, for companies committed to ESG compliance. This will create a clear link between sustainability efforts and economic benefits.
The implementation of mandatory BRSR (Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report) for all companies will ensure consistent reporting on sustainability initiatives, promoting transparency and accountability.

Anand Nichani, Managing Director, Magniflex India
India is the second most sleep-deprived country after Japan. Indian doctors and health practitioners are increasingly concerned about the implications of sleep deprivation, especially for the youth in our developing nation. To address this, we believe mattresses should be classified as medical products and included in the health and wellness sector. Providing subsidies and reducing the GST from 18% on sleep-essential products will enable many Indians to invest in quality mattresses, which have been proven by doctors to improve sleep and overall health. As the government begins its third consecutive term, we look forward to progressive, industry-centric schemes that will encourage the growth of small and mid-sized businesses in the healthcare and wellness segment.

Dr Harshit Jain, Founder & Global CEO, Doceree
Budget 2024 is a defining moment for the pharmaceutical sector in India. We look forward to robust support toward R&D and innovation through higher fiscal incentives and reduced GST on critical inputs to spur growth, foster technological advancement, and further fortify India’s leadership in global healthcare.

Kush Kappor, CEO , Roseate Hotels & Resorts
The forthcoming budget offers a vital chance for the hospitality sector as we believe this is the Golden period for Indian Tourism Industry in case we are able to make the Best use of this opportunity. We request the government to announce industry status for hotels and lower the GST rate from 18% to 12%, bringing it in line with international standards for the tourism industry. This combined advantage will stimulate investments, enhance tourism, and generate job opportunities. The much needed industry status will enable much easier access to cheaper loans for expansion and development. There should be a provision for single window clearance for approvals, a long standing demand from the hotel industry. Government can also lease old properties such as Havelis and hotels for long term, to benefit tourism industry through Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.  Given the industry’s substantial contribution to India’s GDP and foreign exchange earnings, we believe these steps will drive economic growth and position India as a more competitive tourism destination.

Krishna Veer Singh, Co-Founder & CEO, LISSUN
We expect a significant increase in budget allocation for mental health initiatives, particularly in awareness campaigns, accessibility improvements, and affordability measures. Our hopes include integrating mental health services into primary healthcare, substantial investments in digital mental health solutions, and incentives for startups innovating in this space. We advocate for measures addressing the shortage of mental health professionals through targeted skill development programs and promotion of tele-mental health services. Policies mandating mental health coverage in insurance plans, increased funding for mental health research, and the establishment of a national mental health database are also key expectations. There is a need to increase funding to support early diagnosis and intervention programs for children with autism and neurodevelopmental delays. Additionally, we hope the government will expand the number of seats and courses in universities, ensuring the generation of more high-quality therapists to meet the growing demand. We also anticipate initiatives to integrate mental health education into school curriculums and workplace wellness programs. Prioritizing these aspects in the budget will enable India to make notable strides in building a mentally healthier society, fostering innovation, and improving care delivery across the nation.

Dr Shrey Kumar Srivastav, General Physician, Sharda Hospital
The Budget should focus more on the healthcare ecosystem, emphasising key areas such as healthcare infrastructure development, telemedicine, government health insurance coverage, and the pharmaceutical industry. Healthcare infrastructure development is crucial, with a focus on constructing and modernising hospitals in underserved rural and remote areas. Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) can play a significant role in leveraging private sector expertise and resources to enhance these efforts.Additionally, a review of Goods and Services Tax (GST) rates on Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) is necessary to reduce production costs, making medications more affordable. Strengthening the regulatory environment by streamlining regulatory processes for drug development and approval, and promoting innovation while maintaining quality standards, is also important.
Rajendra Gandhi, MD, Stovekraft
As we approach the upcoming Budget announcement, I am optimistic about the new measures that will foster innovation, growth, and affordability in the kitchen appliances sector. We hope for policies that promote sustainable manufacturing, reduce import duties on essential raw materials, and support domestic production through favorable tax regimes. The Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme implemented in goods like LED lights has been instrumental in bolstering manufacturing capacities, and we look forward to its continued support.
Additionally, a rationalisation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rates on kitchen appliances could play a significant role in making high-quality, energy-efficient appliances more accessible to a broader consumer base. Such initiatives will enable us to offer advanced, environment-friendly products to our valued customers while contributing to the country’s economic development. We trust that the upcoming budget will empower both businesses and consumers, driving a prosperous future for the industry.

Sanjaya Mariwala, Executive Chairman & MD, OmniActive Health Technologies
India has registered impressive GDP growth of more than seven per cent, but employment generation still needs a boost. We urge the government to introduce job-creation incentives, strategically aligned with the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme. Additionally, crop diversification and improved irrigation are essential for enhancing rural incomes. A robust economic ecosystem also requires streamlined regulations. Despite recent improvements, the current compliance system remains an obstacle to the ease of doing business. Simplifying regulations with measures like single-window clearances will aid businesses and allow India to fully leverage its industrial potential. High-tech manufacturing should be a priority. The PLI scheme’s momentum must continue, especially in semiconductor and chip manufacturing, to safeguard against geopolitical disruptions. Lastly, a comprehensive approach necessitates rationalizing GST, implementing labour law reforms, and addressing climate change. These steps will bolster India’s resilience, ensuring economic robustness in a world fraught with uncertainties. What we need on priority is – ‘One Nation, One Policy’.

Sameer Gandotra, Founder & CEO, Frendy
The upcoming Budget is going to be crucial to brace the momentum of consumption, especially in rural areas. The government should certainly double down on their agricultural and rural development initiatives, which inevitably would boost income levels and consumer spending. I hope we get more clarity on the formulation of the National Retail Policy, which in my opinion would be a game-changer! Affordable and low interest credit, stability of tax rates (GST) for staples and push for digitisation, is what the Indian retail space needs to continue the consumption wave.

Vinod Sood, MD, Hughes Systique Corporation
The upcoming Budget 2024 holds immense promise for companies specialising in full-cycle engineering for products and R&D services, encompassing programming, testing, verification, technical support, design, and technology consultancy. The industry anticipates increased funding for R&D projects through larger grants and tax breaks, which could spur significant technical innovation. A reduction in the corporation tax rate would also be highly beneficial, fostering a more favorable environment for investment and expansion, particularly for startups and IT enterprises.
Industry leaders are enthusiastic about advancements in digital infrastructure, such as the introduction of 5G and enhanced internet connectivity. These improvements are expected to boost productivity and enable companies to offer cutting-edge solutions to their clients. Policies supporting collaboration between businesses and academia could further accelerate the development of new products and technologies.
In summary, the Budget for 2024 can significantly impact the product design and R&D sectors by providing financial incentives, enhancing infrastructure, and encouraging innovation. These measures will not only benefit tech businesses but also drive the overall growth of the Indian IT sector. Notably, the government has reiterated its commitment to launching the Rs 10,000 crore IndiaAI Mission within the next two to three months, laying a solid foundation for future technological advancements. The government’s active efforts to establish this mission underscore its dedication to positioning India as a global leader in AI and technology.


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