How the industry leaders reacted to the Union Budget 2018:
“HMD Global continues its strong emphasis on PM Modi’s Make in India campaign. While the import duties for mobile phones increased to 20%, along with a 15% duty on key components, this will have a minimum impact on our business, as all of our current portfolio of Nokia phones are manufactured in India.” – Ajey Mehta, Vice President India, HMD Global
“The current move will provide stimulus to the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative and further enhance the manufacturing sector leading to job creation. Our journey of Make in India began three years ago and we have been manufacturing and assembling at our manufacturing unit through our global contract manufacturing partner Flextronics. We have doubled up our production capacity this financial year and will continue to scale up our manufacturing capacities to meet the growing customer demand.” –Sudhin Mathur, Managing Director, Motorola Mobility India
“Huawei Honor is with the law of the land and in line with the government’s vision of furthering local manufacturing. With our India first strategy, our aim is to build local capacity for indigenous production in India to meet the growing demand for the our smartphones in the market in the long run. Earlier this week, we have begun production of our latest bestseller the Honor 7x and will continue to add to our production portfolio.” – P Sanjeev, Vice President Sales Huawei India, Consumer Business Group
“With the increase in basic custom duty from 15 to 20 percent, the government has shown the encouragement to major smartphone players in setting up their manufacturing units in India. This step apart from supporting the Make in India movement, will also create job opportunities. The emergence of artificial intelligence will prepare the country for future and novel technologies. Providing optical fibre connectivity through Bharat Net Program to 2.5 Lakh villagers is a commendable addition to this year’s budget that will indeed make life easier for Indians.” – Sachin Batra, National Head of Marketing and Sales, ZTE Corporation
“Union Budget 2018 has given clear indications of a continued focus on the growth of new businesses in India. The announcement of increase in basic customs duty on mobile phones to 20% is a concrete step towards fostering local manufacturing in India which would further fuel indigenous innovation. This will allow us to build an innovation engine pipeline of several global brands in the country. As India’s first global OEM and IOT brand with a vision of putting India on the global innovation map, the Union Budget would prove to be the necessary catalyst for our continued growth towards becoming a multi-billion dollar company globally. India needs an investment (VC) ecosystem that can pump in US$15-US$20 billion every year to support and sustain a 5000+ startup ecosystem. Union Budget 2018 has taken the needs of the ecosystem into consideration by taking policy decisions to build a robust alternative investment regime in the country along-with a taxation model designed for the special nature of VC funds and angel investors. These policies and new taxation model would definitely help the start-ups to ensure survival and profitability over the years. As India’s first global OEM and IoT brand, Smartron believes in collective innovation and this year’s Union Budget would help us in our long term vision of bringing in the start-ups together on a single platform to innovate at the global level.” – Mahesh Lingareddy, Founder & Chairman of Smartron
“We welcome the Budget 2018 by the Honorable Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The Union Budget 2018 is a growth oriented budget with enormous push for health, agriculture, education and infrastructure, which we believe will usher in healthy economic growth in the years to come. Speaking specifically of mobile phone industry, we are glad that our demand of increasing customs duty on mobile phone CBU [completely built units] imports to 20 % from the existing 15 % has been met. This will prevent dumping of phones in the Indian market, boost domestic manufacturing and provide a level playing field to home grown brands. The announcement is in line with the objectives of the Make in India initiative.” – Vivek Agarwal, Co-founder, M-tech Informatics Ltd.
“The increase in the customs duty on imported mobile phones is a great move which will boost the ‘Make in India’ campaign by promoting local manufacturing. The government’s focus on the new digital technologies will help lead to an empowered digital society and a knowledge economy.” – Neeraj Sharma, Country Head, Spreadtrum India
“The Government has executed path-breaking reforms like GST and the bankruptcy bill in the recent years. The budget’s objective was to build on the evolving economic scenario with enablers for private sector investments. Announced MSME benefits augur well for the industry. Stated ESDM / electronics sector focus is good with various measures taken to make it easier to do business across sectors. With this, the industry hopes for appropriate kick-start packages to enable Make-in-India in this sector, we hope to see this in the fine print. Additionally, the provision for the development of 2 defence industrial production corridors in India, will boost indigenous manufacturing and make India more self-reliant for its defence needs. Welcome measures for regulating regimes for venture capital funds and angel investors will ensure a further boost, especially to the start-up sector. Increased scholarships for select 1000 BTech students for PHDs at IITs and IISCs will strengthen domain knowledge and drive the innovation ecosystem.
The budget has also laid a lot of stress on improving the education system and set aside funds for training of untrained teachers, and doubled allocation for skilling with a special focus on new technology areas. Additionally, the use of blockchain will be encouraged to provide further impetus to the digital economy and fast-track the Digital India vision of the government. There is also the most important announcement around revolutionising healthcare and universal access to it. This will bring in a lot of attention to telemedicine and impact it will have on the holistic healthcare needs of approximately 50 crore beneficiaries. Overall, this year’s budget has raised the bar for the expectations of making India a self-reliant economy with the best set of skilled workforce and taking a huge leap towards being a global technology and manufacturing hub.” – Ashwini Aggarwal, Chairman, India Electronics & Semiconductors Association
“The budget does not generate excitement to the extent that was anticipated. Though the extension of rural WiFi hotspots along with investments in telecom can enable rural economy and drive much better financial inclusion and drive technology enabled growth for the subset of our rural population, we need a better connect between strategy and execution especially in terms of digital India so that we are able to fully leverage the enhanced allocation. Looking at the overall picture, I feel that the approach is more fragmented at the moment and outcome and objectives of digital India needs to be better connected with the investments which are being made. Rather than restricting cryptocurrencies, they can be regulated to prevent any adverse impact and risks while exploring blockchain side by side and leverage opportunities which are available with new concepts and technologies that they bring to the table.” – D.D. Mishra, Research Director, Gartner
“Overall, budget is on the expected lines. The proposal to treat foreign exchange gains/losses other than purchase of capital assets from outside India, as a revenue item, should benefit the telecom operators since presently, any foreign exchange losses on domestic procurement including purchase of spectrum is not tax deductible. Increase in customs duty on handsets to 20 percent should give a fillip to domestic manufacturing though this may increase the cost of imported handsets.” – Vishal Malhotra, Tax Leader, Technology, Media & Entertainment and Telecommunications (TMT), EY