Interim Budget 2019: Corporates demand wavier in taxes; upskilling programs remain vital to accelerate employment growth in India

The Interim Budget 2019-20 will be significant in many ways. 2019 being the election year, Modi government is expected to present a rational budget that can woo the voters. Few months ahead of the general elections, the NDA government will present its interim budget on February 1. 

In the past few years, India has benefitted from technological advancements and created new jobs across various verticals. While IT, FMCG, retail and automobile sectors tapped new talent, demand for talent in agriculture, healthcare and BPO sectors has gone down. As per Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy Pvt. Ltd. (CMIE), India’s unemployment rate shot up to 7.4% in December 2018, which was the highest unemployment rate in the last 15 months. 

A sustained investment in upskilling programs holds the key to bridge the skills gap and accelerate economic growth in the country. TimesJobs spoke to industry experts on what they expect from this budget and here are some industry insights on the Interim Budget 2019-20: 

Rajesh Uttamchandani, Director, SYSKA Group said, “In the past year, we have seen tremendous growth in the Indian FMCG market as consumers are becoming more aware about environment sustainability. In this year’s Interim Budget, the Government of India could look at augmenting the manufacture of consumer durables through a further hike in import duty for this sector while reducing the tax rate for domestic manufacturing.” 

“2018 was a great year for the fintech industry in terms of new technologies and innovation. The continued focus from the Government for expanding digital penetration also saw a promising growth in the adoption of digital platforms across metro cities and tier-II markets. In the near future, digital guide the budget.

Any benefit to the leather industry will be indirect through benefits to the small scale industry (most of the leather goods industry in small scale), which is an unhappy large vote group. The long promised labour reforms will surely not be touched as it is a political minefield. The indirect effects of an election year increased spend should lift all of us, including the leather goods, but we don’t expect our major issues such as labor reform or reduction in GST to help compete against Chinese synthetic imports to happen.” 

Growing adoption of new age technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Augmented Reality, Data Science etc. have set the stage for new jobs which might not be very common today. To leverage this opportunity in the near future, government should prioritise re-skilling and up-skilling of not just the existing workforce but also the students in India’s schools and colleges,” said Anil Pant, MD & CEO, Aptech Limited. 

Harshil Mathur, CEO & Co-Founder, Razorpay said, “With the upcoming budget, I wish the government addresses problems being faced by startups over taxes levied on angel funds.Also, it’s important for the government to recognise the immense potential that fintech lenders hold in furthering financial inclusion and credit penetration and should encourage them with prudent policies to benefit the sector.” 

“With the government’s commitment towards skilling 10 million youth by 2020, the budget this year could focus on skill development. The number of under skilled resources is directly linked to the rate of unemployment in a country and it may prove to be a stumbling block for an economy aiming to boost overall growth. While the allocation to skill development has increased considerably in India in the past few years, the issue of optimal utilisation of resources needs to be addressed”, said Rachna Mukherjee, CHRO, Schneider Electric-India. 

Sampad Swain, Co-Founder & CEO, Instamojo said, “The much-awaited interim budget 2019 will determine the extent to which the Government will help MSMEs sector to expand. The past four years have witnessed the implementation of several measures to uplift the MSMEs sector. With digitisation disrupting the Indian ecosystem in multiple dimensions, one can expect a hike in the rate of digital adoption by MSMEs, when given the right amount of funds and focus to secure their transactions and businesses online.” 

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