The Narendra Modi government has got back to power with a resounding mandate and enjoys a majority in the Lok Sabha. And it is about time for the NDA government’s union finance minister, who is also India’s first full-time woman finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman to present her first Union Budget for 2019-2020. Sitharaman’s focus on growth puts pressure on her to do a tough balancing act as agrarian and water crisis pose a huge barrier in the country’s development.

The fall in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to a five-year-low at 5.8% in the January-March quarter made India loose its tag as the world’s fastest-growing economy to China. Reports that have officially confirmed that unemployment has touched a 45-year high have created additional challenges for Sitharaman in tabling a safe budget for the country. The start-up ecosystem including women entrepreneurship—which was promoted in the first term of Modi government also have great expectations from the budget.

SheThePeople.TV reached out to a few entrepreneurs to know what they think that the Union Budget should definitely incorporate to improve the whole ecosystem and make it more inclusive at the same time.

Nandita Bhatt, Director, Martha Farrell Foundation

“There should be a strong emphasis on making an ecosystem that encourages and supports women. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 is landmark legislation. But no budget is allocated for its implementation. In the absence of a rigorous implementation and monitoring system, compliance has become merely a checkbox for private businesses. Local committees have not been formed in the majority of India’s districts hence women workers in the unorganised sector remain unprotected.”

Nmami Agarwal, Nutritionist, and Founder, Nmami Life

“Union Budget 2019-2020’s allocation will determine whether healthcare and health-tech start-up will work in sync with the government’s public healthcare policy and Digital India initiative. We believe that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s budget will incorporate and allocate resources for various initiatives announced in the Interim Budget presented earlier this year.”

ALSO READ: The Interim Budget 2019 Reinforces Gendered Norms

Geetika Dayal, Executive Director, TiE Delhi-NCR

“While there are many favourable policies currently in place, the government needs to make more revisions to existing start-up regulations to provide the entrepreneurial ecosystem with the support it needs to thrive and grow. To begin with, it needs to do away with out-dated taxes that are eating into their profitability and curtailing their growth potential. Indian entrepreneurs do not need hand-outs, but they do need incentives and provisions that can help them realise their business goals and drive accelerated scale for their business ventures.”

Saru Tumuluri, CEO, Khosla Labs—provider of Veri5Digital-Identity verification platform

“Innovation in fintech should be driven more aggressively by the regulators. The regulatory sandboxes initiative needs to go live as quickly as possible starting with all the financial regulators enabling all the fintech players to develop more products in an accelerated manner – this will be a big boost for the fintech landscape of India. A fintech innovation fund should be created to help boost start-ups in digital identity and fintech space.”

Cruise tourism pioneer Ratna Chadha, Co-founder & Chairperson, Tirun

“The government has recognised the potential of cruising as an economic multiplier and is catching up with the world in terms of policies and infrastructure. Cruise Lines are now looking at the government to create a relatable tax regime, which is at par with the rest of the world.”

Rupal Dalal, Executive Director, JD Institute of Fashion Technology

“Women graduates own half of the degrees from the total number of graduates in a year, but only a handful of them attain the highest ranking title in any respective field. Apparently, there is a scarcity of opportunities and policies that permit women to reach the altitude. The Union Budget shall hold accountability for the dreams and aspirations of women graduates. Also, in consideration of the Budget 2018, there should be an increase in the budget allocation for STEP (Support to Training and Employment Programme). Actions to terminate patriarchal enrolments, equal pay principles and staffing more women in the government sector will provide women a sense of accomplishment.”

Innovation in fintech should be driven more aggressively by the regulators. The regulatory sandboxes initiative needs to go live as quickly as possible starting with all the financial regulators enabling all the fintech players to develop more products in an accelerated manner – this will be a big boost for the fintech landscape of India.

Aditi Balbir, Founder and CEO, V Resorts

“Tourism plays a vital role in the growth of the economy of our nation contributing to a large proportion of GDP, leading to job creation. Considering the increased inbound travel, it has become one of the fastest growing service industries in the country with great potentials for its further expansion. Although last year’s Union Budget was a setback to India’s promising Hospitality and Tourism industry, this year we are expecting more attention on this sector, favourable policies, fund allotments for start-ups and better tax reforms. The most crucial concerns right now are water crisis, endless traffic jams, pollution control, waste management, etc.”

Nidhi Agarwal, Head – Times Points and Corporate Initiatives

“India Inc. has a lot of hope pinned on the upcoming budget. Simplifying GST, focussing on necessary infrastructure development and lowering corporate taxes will surely bolster the digital economy. Additionally, redrafting cumbersome regulation in governance, addressing skill development in the services sector, and enhancing ease-of-business would go a long way in boosting the entrepreneurial spirit of India’s burgeoning youth population.

More Stories by Poorvi Gupta

Get the best of SheThePeople delivered to your inbox - subscribe to Our Power Breakfast Newsletter. Follow us on Twitter , Instagram , Facebook and on YouTube, and stay in the know of women who are standing up, speaking out, and leading change.