Union Budget 2017-2018 was presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The new budget brings a boost to government projects for Digital India – increasing incentives for digital payments in the country. Jaitley has announced that no service tax will be charged on e-tickets booking of rail tickets through IRCTC, in a bid to encourage e-ticketing.
The prices of mobile phones on the other hand are likely to go up during the next fiscal with the addition of a new Special Additional Duty (SAD) of two per cent on Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs), that are used in smartphones.
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Let’s have a look at how some of the top smartphone makers responded to the new budget:
Rajesh Agarwal, Co-Founder, Micromax Informatics said, “This budget was intended to bring in a lot of optimism and I think the government has clearly defined its intention to revive the rural economy with spending on key areas demarcated, including the skill based education, healthcare, housing and infrastructure development which will definitely generate income in the rural areas.”
“The focus on digitisation and reforms on restricting cash spending is an important step towards making India a digital economy. Smartphones play a very crucial role in enabling digital payments and Micromax feels this they will be able to facilitate and contribute to this strategic national initiative in a big way through their wide range of phones and the customer reach they enjoy through their distribution network. . Also we feel that there will be a specific focus on the low and mid-price smartphones capturing a fair share of the market,” he added.
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Peter Chang, Region Head – South Asia & Country Manager for ASUS India said, “The budget gave the smartphone industry a lot to look forward to in the coming year. Government’s thrust on digitization through its push on Aadhaar-enabled payments will provide impetus to the demand of mobile phones in the country. The BHIM app has already been adopted by 125 lakh people and government’s plans to introduce two new schemes to promote its use will make the concept of a cashless society and digital currency, a reality. In addition to this, proposed extension of the OFC network to 1,50,000 gram panchayats for high speed broadband connectivity and rollout of 4G in the country will create a more digitally inclusive society. The budget was also conducive to promoting domestic manufacturing of electronics.”
Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India said, “The Finance Minister has presented a balanced budget, underlined by the continued push to using technology to aid a digital economy. As India strengthens its position on the global map, the need for skilled youth is crucial. The budget’s focus on extending market relevant training for the youth and setting up 100 international skill centers across the country, is a positive move. The emphasis on science and technology for students, and launch of SWAYAM, will further empower India’s youth for the future. I am glad to witness the increasing focus on cybersecurity, which is critical to securing the economy’s digital transformation. The reduction of corporate tax for MSMEs is a welcome move and will boost the economic growth. The momentum in the implementation of GST is promising and I look forward to seeing it unfold in the coming months.”
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Vivek Zhang, CMO, Vivo India said, “The move by the government to impose 2% customs duty on import of printed circuit boards for manufacture of mobile phones might initially result in a hike in the cost of smartphones. However, in the long run it will give a boost to governments’ efforts in pushing the Make in India campaign. Over the course of time, we can expect complete manufacturing of smartphones in the country by major players in India. Vivo, a global brand has its own manufacturing plant in India and is already in line with PM Modi’s Make in India campaign.”
Arvind R Vohra, Country CEO & MD, Gionee India expressed “We are positive, that the Government’s increased allocation and incentives in schemes like M-SIPS and EDF will provide the necessary push to the mobile and internet manufacturing economy . Also the allocation of INR 10,000 crore in BharatNet provides the much needed boost for the penetration of Digital India into the rural segment, and for strengthening the consumptions of smartphones”
Manish Sharma, President & CEO, Panasonic India & South Asia, and Executive Officer, Panasonic Corporation said, “The budget allocated towards MSIPs and EPF looks progressive and will surely reduce dependency on imports in the industry. We look forward to the next draft of GST to come forward, however the government’s move on imposing a 2% special additional duty on populated printed circuit boards (PCB) used for mobile phones imported into the country, will provide adequate protection to the domestic industry and give the necessary impetus to Make-in-India under the GST regime.”