India budget gets thumbs-up from Silicon Valley


The best news for startups from India’s federal budget presented on Monday is that there is no bad news, felt venture capitalist Venktesh Shukla, who was last month nominated to the new National Startup Advisory Council of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.

Silicon Valley, industry advocates and venture capitalists mostly welcomed India’s Union Budget, which is technically an account of the government’s finances but which is seen as government policy statement.

Silicon Valley-based venture capitalist Venktesh Shukla

I don’t have much to say on the recent budget vis-à-vis the startups,” Shukla, a key figure in the conceptualization of the Modi government’s Startup India program, told indica News.

The best news is that there is no bad news — no new taxes, no new regulations.”

The other good news, he said, is that progressively over the last five years things are becoming easier for startups and this budget also makes steady progress in that direction.

A significant change is that now there can be a one-person company without the onerous compliance requirements of having a board, shareholder meetings and all the filings,” Shukla said. “Bigger changes have to wait for some time in the future.”

AGK Karunakaran, the new president of The IndUS Entrepreneurs (TiE) Silicon Valley

TiE Silicon Valley president AGK Karunakaran told indica News, “Allocating the right amount of money from this year’s education budget to the higher educational institutions for Research and Development is really important. R&D and the resulting technology transfer to startups will create more jobs and wealth.”

He cited an example from the United States: “In the USA, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are great examples of R&D, job and wealth creation.”

The SBIR and STTR programs encourage domestic small businesses to engage in federal research/research and development with the potential for commercialization.

Mukesh Aghi, president and CEO of the US India Strategic Partnership Forum, gave the budget a two-thumbs-up.

The Union Budget 2021-22 has taken into consideration the needs of all sectors of the economy, reflecting a robust growth plan for India to become a $5 trillion economy,” Aghi told indica News.

Mukesh Aghi, chairman of the US India Strategic and Partnership Forum

Increased government spending in critical areas of the economy such as agriculture, infrastructure, health care, education and defense have been much needed. We believe these measures along with an ambitious plan for divestment of public sector undertakings, further opening of sectors like insurance, and establishing an institutional framework for the corporate bond market will provide much needed capital to the economy.”

He added: “The Indian government’s commitment to growth is also reflected in the milestones and timelines that they have set forth. USISPF is confident that the global investment community will embrace the expansion of India’s economy over the next 12-24 months.

“The new Development Finance Institution will facilitate foreign investment in infrastructure while the consolidation of the Securities Market Code will make the investment climate more welcoming to foreign capital. Multiple measures to simplify India’s tax code and dispute resolution are concrete steps to bring further predictability in India’s tax regime and improving India’s business environment.”