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Budget 2024 Expectations: What fintech, food and edtech sectors expect from the budget


Updated on: 01 February,2024 08:30 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Ainie Rizvi |

As the presentation of the Interim Budget 2024 approaches on February 1, experts, industry bodies and analysts shared with us their expectations, offering an insight into healthcare and the anticipated financial landscape.

Budget 2024 Expectations: What fintech, food and edtech sectors expect from the budget

Image for representational purposes only. Photo Courtesy: iStock

The budget season is here so is the financial frenzy that surrounds it. Businesses, policymakers and economists are eyeing the briefcase as Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman gears up to reveal what’s in store.

As the presentation of the budget approaches on February 1, experts, industry bodies and analysts shared with us their expectations, offering an insight into the anticipated financial landscape.

“Over the past many years particularly post-Covid-19, it has been evident that although budget allocations are made for very valuable interventions, for a host of reasons a large number of them do not come to fruition,” opines Ratna Viswanathan, the CEO of Reach to Teach. 

In the interest of efficiency, there is probably a need to step back, look at all the schemes in play and consolidate them for the most efficient use of budgetary provisions. With so many moving pieces, there is a need to triangulate at the backend to identify duplication, overlaps and half-finished schemes. This will ensure prioritisation of budget 2024 allocations and the most valuable use of the education budget.

Harnessing India’s fintech growth
In the upcoming budget 2024, the fintech industry expects the Finance Minister to prioritise three major factors for the growth of our economy:

1. Incentivising digital payments by providing tax breaks in GST for merchants and offering tax benefits to organisations contributing to the vision of digital India. 
2. A strong focus on investment in technology, specifically enhancing data security measures for digital payment platforms. Strengthening the digital public infrastructure will foster innovation in fintech, promoting financial inclusion. 
3. Addressing liquidity concerns by considering partial guarantees on bank loans to smaller NBFCs. This will not only instill confidence in larger banks but also stimulate lending. 

“As our industry strives to recover from the pandemic's impact, well-planned and continuous support from the government is crucial. We anticipate increased stimulus, especially for sectors hit hard by the crisis and a strategic push towards a more digital-oriented banking system to propel India into a truly Digital Payments nation" remarks Rachit Chawla, Member, EO Gurgaon and Founder & CEO, Multyfi.

With the rapid urbanisation in India, the common goal for a 'One Health' approach becomes more evident than ever. Cross-sector collaboration and financing become imperative, particularly in the context of addressing climate and health. 

The 2024 budget offers an opportunity to prioritise a holistic perspective, with a strategic focus on enhanced collaboration and allocation for innovative systems, specifically addressing the rise of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) amid urban expansion, expresses LM Singh, Managing Director India and Global Head, Partnerships and Innovative Finance at Vital Strategies India. 

India's social entrepreneurship and culture of innovation are unique and can be harnessed to rapidly solve development issues in a sustainable and scalable manner. With limited financial resources, it is also necessary to ensure its efficient utilisation by promoting innovations, outcome-based financing models and embracing a holistic approach that promotes One Health, he added. 
Propelling healthcare in India
As India strives to enhance patient care and operational efficiency in the healthcare industry, it becomes essential to explore the unrecognised epidemic of sleep health and sleep disorders within the country. Considering the dynamic healthcare landscape, there is potential for medical equipment and home healthcare using telemonitoring to be covered under insurance, Sandeep Gulati, General Manager, South Asia, ResMed tells Midday.

Gulati also encourages the inclusion of sleep-related disorders such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) in the classification of Noncommunicable illnesses (NCDs). Additionally, there is a need to incorporate sleep testing in the category of diagnostics under the National Diagnostics Essential List.  This would not only be in keeping with the healthcare industry's forward-thinking trajectory, but it would also make these essential services increasingly accessible and available for Indians. 

It will be prudent to allocate more resources towards preventive and primary health, promote data-driven policies, champion research and embrace a strong sense of social responsibility, particularly for the well-being of underserved communities.

“At ResMed, we are encouraged to see how the government has been elevating the healthcare sector in India and we are looking forward to seeing what the budget holds for the industry. We are hopeful that the 2024 budget will accelerate the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) and focus on preventive healthcare would help reduce care gaps in India and lead to better health outcomes,” added Gulati.

Chawla holds a positive outlook on the forthcoming budget 2024-25, recognising the essential function of technology towards propelling healthcare in India. He also anticipates that the government will demonstrate its commitment to encouraging the adoption of digital health technologies such as remote healthcare and electronic health records, in line with the National Digital Health Mission's objectives.

With an alarming 80-85 per cent dependence on imports, resulting in a massive import bill of over ₹ 63,200 crore, the government must catalyse domestic manufacturing. This not only reduces the financial strain but also propels India towards self-reliance in medical technology remarks Chandra Ganjoo, Group Chief Executive Officer, Trivitron Healthcare. 

The industry advocates for a comprehensive strategy: incentivising R&D and indigenous production, streamlining regulatory processes for faster product approvals, and enhancing infrastructure and skills. Tax incentives for investment in advanced technology, streamlining bureaucratic procedures and fostering industry-academia collaboration can stimulate domestic manufacturing. This approach should align with global standards and ensure a stable regulatory environment to attract investments. 

The pre-budget expectations for the MedTech industry hinge on a balanced approach that nurtures innovation, reduces import dependency and maintains healthcare affordability, all while fostering a globally competitive and resilient healthcare ecosystem in India.

EdTech leaders: There is no better time than now to fulfill promises made at COP28 and G20 Summit
As the eagerly awaited budget for 2024 approaches, key players in the education technology sector express their expectations and aspirations for the upcoming fiscal year. 

Amit Kapoor, co-founder and CEO of Eupheus Learning, emphasises the pivotal role of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2023 in shaping the educational landscape. 

He asserts, "The transformative NEP 2020 and an elaborate NCF 2023 have mandated holistic and experiential learning for school students. It also involves intervention at the infrastructure level, digitalisation being the key." 

Kapoor anticipates that a thoughtful GST policy, coupled with incentives, will empower EdTech companies to innovate and create tools that align with these educational mandates.

Similarly, Gaurav Goel, co-founder and CEO of Toprankers, underscores the commitment to bridging social gaps and providing quality education. As he looks forward to the budget, Goel states, "With the upcoming budget, we eagerly anticipate allocations that boost the educational infrastructure, including cutting-edge technologies, enhanced accessibility across diverse regions and a conducive regulatory environment for education technology players." 

He expresses confidence that the budget will serve as a driving force, steering India towards a future where education becomes the cornerstone of progress and prosperity for all. Shifting the focus to the electronic goods sector, Sumit Mani, Member of EO Gurgaon and Managing Director at Westway Electronics Ltd., calls for pivotal changes in the tax structure for televisions. 

In his proposal, he advocates for a reduction in GST on LED TVs above 32 percent from 28 percent to 18 percent, stating, "To alleviate this burden on consumers, we strongly advocate reducing the GST on all LED TVs above 32 percent to 18 percent." Mani also emphasises the need to encourage domestic TV manufacturing by recommending a significant reduction in duty on open cells, crucial components for television manufacturing, from 5 percent to 0 percent.

Barun Aggarwal, Member of EO Gurgaon and CEO/Founder of BreatheEasy Consultants Pvt Ltd, highlights the importance of sustainability, decarbonisation, and carbon neutrality. He aligns his expectations with the Prime Minister's vision and proposes, "We need to energise this entire sector by giving easier access to loans for start-ups in this sector." 

Aggarwal further calls for a reduction in GST taxes for technologies supporting sustainability and urges the allocation of funds in the budget to develop technologies aligned with these critical issues.

As these industry leaders eagerly await the unveiling of the budget, their collective voice emphasises the role of policy and financial incentives in propelling India towards innovation, electronic affordability and sustainable development. More than these industries, the whole country and planet stand to benefit from the above. The promises made during COP28 and during the G20 summit need to be fulfilled and there is no better time to start than the present.

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