Pradeep Tagare, investment director at Intel Capital India, says foreign direct investment in e-commerce will go a long way in providing an impetus to entrepreneurship.
Given the current challenges, what, in your opinion, would make for a good budget ? What measures or proposals would you like to see?
The budget needs to boost investor sentiment in order to restart and accelerate growth in the country. It needs to include measures that encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, as those are the engines of job creation. It needs to remove ambiguities so that companies and investors can invest for growth without having to worry about different interpretations of their actions.
Specific to your sector, what could the current budget do to improve conditions?
The budget needs to have more provisions to support and encourage entrepreneurship , which, globally, has proved to be the biggest job generator. To boost entrepreneurship and investments in India, it should enable Indian companies to list directly on international exchanges, encourage extensive reforms and provide ESOPs (employee stock ownership plan) in start-ups and provide tax benefits to angel investors. FDI (foreign direct investment) in e-commerce will go a long way in providing an impetus to entrepreneurship. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in the fledgling e-commerce eco-system over the past few years. There is tremendous global interest in investing or acquiring in this space. This is an opportunity for India to use these investment dollars to expand the entire eco-system, which will benefit all stakeholders in the value chain. There is an urgent need to remove ambiguities around FDI in e-commerce in order to capitalise on this opportunity. Not doing so will mean the (second) death of this industry, after the false start in the late 1990s.
If the budget does not meet expectations, do you fear that business sentiment would once again dip?
Absolutely, it will. Investor confidence is just beginning to improve, which bodes well for public markets, and hence for the start-up eco-system. Any measures that shake this confidence are going to be disastrous for India's economic recovery.