Budget 2018: What are key expectations for women?


As the announcement of the Union Budget 2018 is just around the corner, we can say that a lot of public and investor expectations are riding on it. Importantly, this happens to be the last budget of the 16th Lok Sabha led by PM Narendra Modi before the 2019 General Elections to Lok Sabha.

What are the key expectations that women are looking out for?

On January 28, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation for the 40th time via his popular radio show, Mann Ki Baat. (This was also the first Mann Ki Baat by PM Narendra Modi in 2018). Starting the talk by referring to the Republic Day celebrations, he lauded the efforts of women in the country.

He said, “This woman power binds closely together society as a whole, the family as a whole, on the axis of unity & oneness. Be it the erudition of the Vidushis of the Vedic Period. Lopamudra, Gargi, Maitreyee; be it the learning & devotion of Akka Mahadevi or Meerabai, be it the governance of Ahilyabai Holkar or the valour of Rani Lakshmibai, woman power has always inspired us. They have always brought glory to the nation”. He added, “Today women are not just advancing in myriad fields; they are leaders. Today there are many sectors where our woman power is playing a pioneering role, establishing milestones”. Agreeing that “woman power achieved extraordinary feats, breaking the age old shackles of social mores, creating new records”, he went on to say, that they have “proved that through perseverance, grit and a firm resolve, all kinds of obstacles and barriers can be broken & crossed, to chart out an all new path –  a path that could act as a beacon of inspiration not just to their contemporaries, but for generations to come. It will infuse afresh energy, newer enthusiasm into them”.

With this as a precursor, it sure looks like Budget 2018 will have good news for women. We can look forward to a positive Budget as far as women in business are concerned. Here are some pre-Budget quotes from some women entrepreneurs we spoke to:

  • Ruby Sinha, Founder, sheatwork:

An extended tax holiday for women entrepreneurs kicking off from the 1st year of profitability instead of the 1st year of incorporation would be more feasible, as very few start-ups have a tax liability in the initial 1-3 years. Also, GST is progressive in principle but for small businesses and freelancers, the problem is that they have to file GST within the stipulated time but client payments come much later, so they have to end up paying from their pockets which is an added burden. Some rebate in this, especially for women entrepreneurs running small businesses would be welcome.

Also, according to sheatwork’s research most women entrepreneurs are either not aware or are not availing the various government incentives. Some additional tax rebates for women entrepreneurs availing the various government schemes would help in creating various awareness of these initiatives of the government and promote the country’s start-up environment.

  • Vijaya Eastwood, Founder, CribLife:

 “With budget 2018 approaching, I believe that more relief to the middle class should be a priority with a revision in the taxation for this demographic. The government should take measures to curb the effects of the rising cost of living by taking measures to increase consumer purchasing power, thereby stimulating more demand in the economy. That way, we can also expect a rise in the growth of the luxury industry in India and continue our march to become a global competitor in this sector.

The outlook will be more favourable for India if we see the expected tax benefits for startups positively benefiting. Promoting entrepreneurship is crucial in an era when India is striving to become a world leader in business and trade.

There are precious few benefits to encourage women to become entrepreneurs, after all, they represent 45 of the population, much more should be done to empower and focus on creating a more favourable ecosystem for women entrepreneurs to grow.”

  • Mitali Sahani, Co Founder and Head Chef, BomBakery:

“Eagerly awaiting what the budget has in store this year- given the demonetization act and recent implementation of GST that has resulted in a higher number of tax payers – we surely hope this years budget brings about some relief to the regular tax-payers.

I surely hope that the multiple GST tax slabs across all goods and services are further smoothened/simplified and the compliance’s become easier and tech-friendly.

Personally – I would also like to see a huge reduction in GST for my favorite raw material and finished good – chocolate :)”

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