New Delhi, India–
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday started her pre-Budget consultations with different stakeholder groups, the first one being with those from the digital economy, fintech and start-ups.
She is likely to present her second Budget for the Modi 2.0 government in Parliament on February 1. The main areas of discussion during the meeting included data issues like the use of big data technology for small and medium enterprises and unleashing its power for public governance.
The other issues included digital infrastructure and role of government, regulation of digital economy especially in privacy, financial regulation, ease of doing business environment for start-ups, infrastructure gaps for Digital India and taxation issues. The meeting was attended by Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Anurag Thakur, Finance Secretary Rajeev Kumar, Secretary of Economic Affairs Atanu Chakraborty, Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Secretary at the Department of Electronics and Information Technology Ajay Prakash Sawhney, Secretary at the Department of Telecommunications Anshu Prakash, CBDT Chairman Pramod Chandra Mody, CBIC Chairman P K Das, Chief Economic Advisor K V Subramanian and other senior officials of the Ministry of Finance.
The representatives of digital economy, fintech and start-ups shared their views on big data, incentives for encouraging setting up of data centres, fiscal incentives for data localisation, incentives for pushing digital penetration in rural areas, corporate guarantee to start-ups for competing with other nations, rationalisation of minimum alternate tax rate and tax exemption for start-up units.
They also spoke about the creation of specific agency for looking after cross border financial crimes, increasing women employment (gender dividend in skill development), training youth in skill development along with international internships and incentivising research and development within India.
While industry experts suggested improvements in their respective fields, they also gave a variety of solutions to the sector-specific problems. Many speakers suggested giving tax sops to start-ups and nurture them in the country.
The participants included representatives from Electronic and Computer Software Export Promotion Council, IIM Rohtak, Indian School of Business, MAIT, Telecom Equipment Manufacturers Association of India, Indian Cellular and Electronics Association, NASSCOM, Chamber of Start-ups, Industries and Entrepreneur (India) Council, Vishwakarma Skill University, Indian School of Business, ELCINA, Wipro Ltd, Jio Mobiles, Lenskart, Uber India and South Asia, Velankani Electronics, Apple India, Lava International and Paytm.