Rajesh Nambiar, Chairman and Managing Director of Cognizant India shares his budget in a detailed manner with Thought Habitat. Here are the excerpts of his reaction.
Coming as it does during an unprecedented global crisis, the Union Budget for 2021 is justifiably focused on resetting the Indian economy and enabling it to emerge from the shadows of a prolonged and unforeseen disruption. The accent on improving healthcare, manufacturing and infrastructure as part of India’s mission to drive greater self-reliance will not only create more employment opportunities, but also accelerate the country’s shift towards digital modernisation and transformation that have become a key competitive differentiator in the new normal for businesses and governments alike.
Measures such as establishing a world-class fintech hub, and further incentivising start-ups will provide impetus to innovation, entrepreneurship and R&D in the country. Providing financial and tax audit incentives to promote digital transactions is a progressive step that will result in greater transparency and reduced compliance burden.
Consistent with India’s towering role in today’s knowledge economy, initiatives such as broadening foreign academic collaborations, leveraging synergies between various research institutions, universities, and colleges across India, amending the Apprenticeship Act to provide enhanced post-education apprenticeship and training opportunities to graduates, and moving towards implementing a Higher Education Commission of India will help enhance the quality of education as well as the vocational and industry skills available in the country. The proposed National Digital Educational Architecture is a welcome move to encourage a digital-first mind-set across the country’s education ecosystem for it to reinvent itself and rise to the learning and employability needs of the digital era.
Leaving the tax rates alone signals a stable tax environment. Reducing the time limit for re-opening of assessment to three years, setting up a faceless income tax appellate tribunal, and strengthening the NCLT with e-Courts and a conciliation mechanism for contractual disputes will increase corporate and investor confidence by paving the way to greater transparency and expeditious action.
There isn’t much in the budget for the IT industry, a sector that has done outstanding work to keep essential services rolling in various parts of the world through immensely difficult circumstances. We were hoping for an announcement related to the easing of SEZ rules for the IT industry.”