afaqs! news bureau

Budget 2023: The experts weigh in

Company chiefs, agency leaders, and senior folks give their say.

Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the first budget under the Amrti Kaal and the last before the country goes to national polls.

Here is how business leaders feel about budget 2023.

Edited Excerpts


Harsha Vardhan Agarwal, Vice Chairman & MD, Emami Limited

With increased investments in the rural sector and reduction of personal income taxes, which the common man has been yearning for, the budget also bodes well for the FMCG industry.  It will have a cascading effect on driving consumption in India.

This budget goes to re-emphasize the government’s pro-industry and pro-people stand, which will further boost the economy. 

Krishnarao Buddha, Senior Category Head, Parle Products

The Union Budget seems to be populist. Firstly, the direct tax revised slabs would mean higher disposable income, which will be good for the FMCG industry. Doubling per capita income to almost Rs 2 lakh will again propel consumption and create increased demand. Focus on increasing farm income, and focus on 5G app development are all progressive steps for the nation. We can expect to grow the GDP at 7-8 %.

Siddharth Dabhade, Managing Director, MiQ India

Budget 2023 focuses on greater investments in digital infrastructure that will drive India’s economy in the fourth industrial revolution. The budget facilitates opportunities for India to tap into its demographic dividend and boost the employability of our youth through the Skill India Digital Platform and building 30 Skill India International Centres across states.

Initiatives under the revamped Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) 4.0 would catapult Indian talent with skills in emerging technologies such as AI, robotics, blockchain, IoT, 3D printing, Cloud computing, etc. We would also see skilling and capability buildout in AI with the three planned Centres of Excellence for AI to enable the vision of 'Make AI for India'.

I am confident that the government's focus on building out the 5G infrastructure with initiatives like setting up 100 labs for 5G service-based application development, will boost mobile penetration and drive the growth of the media and digital advertising industries".

Sukrit Singh, co-founder – XP&DLand

India has grown leaps and bounds in terms of its economy, and with the Budget 2023, it promises to push technological advancements to the next level! With the new emphasis on emerging technology like 5G and artificial intelligence, the encouragement to develop these technologies in India has skyrocketed. As these new changes take shape, we can anticipate a rapid shift in how we use the internet and new services involving both of these technologies propping up in every aspect of our daily lives.

Amit Relan, founder and CEO, mFilterIt

AI will change the face of India and enable the country to establish a stronger foundation of a "Digital India". It will increase efficiency, improve decision-making and accelerate economic growth bringing a significant change in sectors like healthcare, education, agriculture and finance through automation, data analysis and predictive modeling.  For a country to maximize the benefits of AI, it will be essential for the public and private sectors to work together to ensure that the use of AI will align with the country's values and priorities and to address the ethical, legal and social implications of AI.


Simi Sabhaney, chief growth officer, dentsu India

My first reaction after reading about the priorities drawn out in this year’s budget was, ‘This is a perfect example of firing on all cylinders. India is preparing itself on all fronts, to take centre stage.

This budget is most comprehensive and well-balanced because it has taken into account the key building blocks that are essential to get us future-ready and fuel our growth in the coming years.

Focus on infrastructure development, sustainability, MSME lending, honing the power of AI by setting up centres of excellence, boosting tourism and hospitality sectors, launching digital libraries to provide quality education, setting up Skill India International centres to promote entrepreneurship, agriculture accelerator funds to promote agri-startups in rural India, new tax regime, use of technology to enhance financial inclusion, all this and more showcases the audacious confidence that India has unleashed.

To my mind, this budget is growth-oriented, inclusive and responsible.

Ashish Bhasin, Co-Founder and Chairman, RD&X Network

Given the conditions, it’s as good a budget as we could have hoped for. The National Data Governance Policy,  the setting up of three centres of excellence in artificial intelligence (AI), the reduction of surcharges at the highest levels, as well as investment in employment guarantees and other schemes for the poor are all good initiatives. The minor tax relief through the tinkering of slabs will help put money in the common man’s pocket.

Kartik Sharma - Group CEO, Omnicom Media Group India

At a time when all eyes are on India - poised to grow and thrive despite the looming economic slowdown, the standout for me is the strong thrust on Capex. The massive increase on this front shows the government's commitment to boosting infrastructure, industry-agnostic productivity, and the overall economy.

In keeping with its focus on inclusive growth, it is welcoming to see the budget checking the box for people from many walks of society and offering a strong and stable macroeconomic environment for all. There is positive relief on the personal tax front - making it a friendly budget for the common man. And the increase in the taxation slabs itself is a well-concerted attempt to move people to the new tax regime, expected to benefit millions of middle-class citizens in good time.

Giving impetus to the digital economy and transformation continues to be a key focus, with new frontiers of innovation like Artificial intelligence propelled front and centre - to galvanize its application across sectors ranging from agriculture to learning and others. The narrative for accelerated transformation is also evident across the education sector, with a heightened focus on upskilling the nation's youth in new-age skills and courses like AI, Robotics, IoT, and more.

Furthermore, in addition to a lot of growth-focused benefits for rural, agriculture, and education, sectors like green energy, artisanal crafts, and even tourism - which have been impacted heavily over the past few years of Covid, have been given their due.

As companies earmark their Capex, advertisers will have their eyes set on these new policies and go forth with buoyancy in their minds. As a result, AdEx too is expected to do well for the year.

In conclusion, the overall budget is a progressive one to widen the country's horizons and further strengthen India’s economic order on the global stage.

Gaurav Arora, Co-Founder, Social Panga

It was a wholesome, Saptarishi budget presented by finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman addressing all the fundamental points and inclusive development model, necessary for overall economic growth. Enhancement in capital expenditure and improvisation of social-economic reforms of tribal communities are positive steps towards the upliftment of the economy.

Prioritizing green growth and digital libraries for children and adolescents brings in major shifts in outlook and focus towards a green economy and young India. The Union Budget 2023 was a fresh breeze ushering into futuristic developments.

Aftab Naqvi, Global CEO & Co-founder, GOZOOP Group

Make AI in India’, ‘Make AI work for India’, 100 labs for 5G application development and 30 Skill India international centres are fantastic initiatives in the right direction to spark innovation and entrepreneurship that will further fuel Bharat’s growth and Atmanirbharta.

Sangram Surve, managing director, Think WhyNot Group

We were encouraged by proposals in Budget 2023 which are preparing India for a digital future. Beyond setting up three centres of excellence for Artificial Intelligence and 100 labs for developing applications using 5G services, there was talk of skilling youth in new age courses for Industry 4.0 like coding, AI, robotics, mechatronics, IOT, 3D printing, drones, etc. All these proposals suggest that the government is encouraging acquaintance with and use of new-age technology.


Lokesh Suji, Director, Esports Federation of India & Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation (AESF)

As stated by finance minister Nirmala Sitaraman in the Budget, mobile phone production in India has seen a significant rise in the past few years and that has undoubtedly been a game-changer for the Esports industry in the country.

Contributing extensively to propelling the industry to unimaginable heights, the increasing availability of smartphones in India at affordable rates has not only expanded the player base by making gaming more accessible but has also attracted investment from companies, resulting in the development of existing as well as newer games.

With the numbers further upscaling and 5G acting as a catalyst that fuels the industry's flourishment, we are going to witness monumental growth within the Esports sector in the coming years. As we are still awaiting clarity on the taxability for Esports, we are hopeful that the decisions will be in favour of the community and impact it positively.

Rishabh Bhansali, Co-Founder, FanClash

The enormous upsurge in mobile phone production has been the impetus for the boom of the Esports industry in India. Pocket-friendly smartphones have taken gaming and fantasy Esports to every corner of the country and a further decrease in its prices as the government proposes to reduce customs duty on the import of certain inputs for mobile phone manufacturing will boost the sector's growth like never before.

We are extremely delighted with the propositions made in today's budget and looking forward to the golden days that are in store for fantasy Esports and gaming in the country.

Rahul Tewari, Chief Financial Officer, Games24x7

The announcement of removing the minimum threshold of INR 10,000 for TDS and clarifying taxability relating to online gaming is a progressive step as the government is creating a new section for the online gaming industry. It cements the recognition of online gaming as a distinct technology-driven entertainment sector. As mentioned, we will await to get more clarity from the department on the computation mechanism.

Gaurav Kapoor, Chief Finance Officer, Baazi Games

We welcome the Amrit Kaal Union Budget 2023 with an optimistic perspective. The new income tax regime will result in stimulating local demand and consumption in the economy. The rise of India’s position from an importer to an exporter of mobile phones in India augurs well for the online gaming sector.

Moreover, the announcement of setting up 100 labs for developing 5G services apps for smart classrooms, healthcare, and others will open up a new range of opportunities and potential employment. Simplifying the KYC system process will further help in realizing ‘Digital India’ and will enable a seamless experience for consumers.

Lastly, the ‘Make in India’ vision will further get a boost with a focus on “Make AI in India and Make AI work for India”, online gaming companies can develop new AI-based advancements that can provide a first-of-its-kind experience to users.”


Neeraj Roy, founder & MD, Hungama Digital Media

With Budget 2023, the Centre has given a boost to digital consumption with the National digital library and 100 labs for the development of 5G apps which is a welcome move. The customs duty cuts on TV parts and mobile phone components is a step in the positive direction with significant impact on the M&E industry in India. This will invariably lead to an increased degree of consumption for the television and OTT sector.

The three centres of excellence for Artificial Intelligence that will be set-up in top educational institutions will act as a catalyst to enhance the scope of new age technologies in India, and more particularly around the M&E sector.

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