The interim Union Budget 2024 brings an announcement of a corpus of one lakh crore rupees that will be established with a 50-year interest-free loan. This corpus will provide long-term financing or refinancing with long tenors and low or nil interest rates which will encourage the private sector to scale up research and innovation significantly in sunrise domains.

FM Nirmala Sitharaman said, “For our tech-savvy youth, this will be a golden era.”

Nothing was mentioned in particular that would be beneficial for the AVGC sector. However, the government’s focus on technology, research, and youth has impressed industry insiders.

Here’s what they have to say about the interim Union Budget 2024:

Anibrain founder and CEO Jesh Krishna Murthy who is also a member of the AVGC task force was quite ecstatic about the announcement. “Research is the way forward for us. Research leads to innovation and the desire to innovate leads to research. For us in AVGC, as we climb the global ladder, research and innovation become key as we wish to go much higher than where we have come. To indicate that Research and Innovation are key factors being highlighted is a big hint for all of us to show our deep interest. And rightly mentioned that a key part of this research must be the youth, our environment and quality,” he said.

Echoing similar thoughts on this year’s budget, Graphiti Multimedia COO & co-founder Munjal Shroff said, “I believe the one lakh crores corpus is a fantastic initiative. It will fuel innovation and entrepreneurship in the M&E space as well. Also, the funds for promoting tourism will translate into more demand for travel and culture related content. Overall I think this is a very positive budget for M&E industry.”

“Building on the foundation laid out in previous budgets and demonstrating greater fiscal prudence, the Hon. FM has delivered a remarkable budget. Most notable would be the allocation of a substantial one lakh crore rupees corpus, offering interest-free or low interest loans for a remarkable 50-year period dedicated to fostering long-term technological research. This shows an ecosystem shift with the government also building innovative digital public infrastructure. From Startup India to Scale Up India to a Research First India, investing in research should become as cool as investing in startups as other stakeholders including family offices and businesses begin to support research and development,” said JetSynthesys founder and CEO, Jetline Group of Companies vice chairman cum MD and CII’s India@75 council chairman Rajan Navani.

He further mentioned, “The government’s continued emphasis on technology and innovation are positive developments which will propel multiple sectors forward strongly. In particular, the digital video gaming, entertainment and esports industry has witnessed unparalleled growth, becoming a significant contributor to the country’s economy. These new and burgeoning industries require the much-needed investments in terms of product building, emerging technology and Gen AI, IPs and R&D and it is positive to see the government supporting through investment in infrastructure, building new age skills and funding. 

Another noteworthy aspect of the budget that deserves applause is the continued emphasis on women and youth empowerment. I believe, for our tech savvy youth, this will be a golden era. The Prime Minister Mudra Yojana, for the youth exemplifies the government’s commitment to nurturing the entrepreneurial aspirations of our youth. By providing financial support, the government is not only fostering individual growth but also contributing to the overall economic prosperity of the nation. This budget strengthens the government’s continued focus on fostering an ecosystem where indigenous industries flourish, compete globally, and contribute significantly to the nation’s GDP.”

All India Gaming Federation CEO Roland Landers pointed out, “Today’s interim budget announcement may not have directly addressed the needs of the gaming industry, however the clear focus on technology and the youth is one that we deeply appreciate.  We believe that the announcement proposing long term financing for the sunrise sectors to scale up on research and innovation will be beneficial for the technology and startup sector as a whole including the gaming and game-development sub-sectors. We are hopeful for more concrete and decisive measures addressing the online gaming industry in the upcoming Union Budget.”

He further said, “We urge progressive budgeting to empower responsible online gaming, aligning with AVGC policies and fostering self-regulation, as recommended by the I&B Ministry’s AVGC Task Force. This will unlock industry potential and benefit the economy, players, and creators. As the apex industry body, we are committed to working with policymakers to create an enabling environment for the gaming sector’s growth and innovation. Our industry has immense potential, and we look forward to constructive policies that will drive its development in the union budget.”

IAMAI Digital Gaming Committee chair and Games24x7 co-founder & CEO Bhavin Pandya said, “The interim budget demonstrates a forward-looking approach, highlighting our nation’s robust entrepreneurial potential, which is a cornerstone for achieving inclusive and sustainable growth envisioned by Viksit Bharat. By prioritizing capacity building in new-age technologies, deeptech, and STEM, it sets the stage for India’s transformation into a global powerhouse of innovation. Additionally, the substantial economic support for sunrise sectors and tax incentives for startups will instill greater confidence within the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The focus on youth and technology lays the foundation for a resilient and self-sufficient India, charting our course towards Atma Nirbharta across all sectors.”

In continuation to the positive feedback on the FM’s announcement, Reboot Game Studios co-founder & CEO said, “It’s interesting to observe an array of initiatives and schemes unveiled for the Indian youth in the Interim Budget 2024. The budget demonstrated inclusivity, addressing various sectors, and focusing on the Indian economy. Although expectations were high for the gaming ecosystem, the absence in addressing AVGC sector was notable. That said, the gaming industry remains cautiously optimistic. As stakeholders analyze the fiscal landscape, the quest for a favorable environment for creativity and technological advancement continues.”

Yudiz Solutions director and chairman Bharat Patel also strongly agreed with Sitharaman that MSMEs have the potential to compete at global level. 

“Establishing training facilities to equip MSMEs with skill, knowledge, and resources will benefit the economy and themselves both. We are talking about job creation, export potential, and societal development. On the other hand, a corpus of one lakh crore rupees with a 50 years interest-free loan, it’s a huge move indeed to support the IT sector. It will empower companies like Yudiz to take long-term ambitious R&D projects in exploring cutting-edge technologies in the area of AI, AR/VR, Blockchain, Game and Web 3.0. It will strengthen the entire IT ecosystem and support the sector’s growth. The increased funding enables us to address challenges and progress without friction. I believe that the budget of 2024 is a strategic roadmap that will propel India towards sustainable development and the modern phase of digital transformation,” Patel said.

“We appreciate the Honourable Finance Minister’s strong commitment to developing skills and recognising the positive impact of the Skill India Mission. The commitment to train 14 million youth and enhance the skills of 5.4 million individuals resonates with India’s journey towards a developed nation, captured in the vision of ‘Viksit Bharath.’ Furthermore, the establishment of 3000 new ITIs marks a significant stride in nurturing a proficient workforce essential for national growth. The Skill India Mission is essential for the dynamic gaming landscape, where there is a shortage of qualified game developers in both the Indian and worldwide markets,” said Lakshya Digital CEO Manvendra Shukul. 

“These focused expenditures on education and skill enhancement are necessary to build a talented workforce capable of addressing the demands of the industrial revolution. With programs like the Skill India Mission, we hope to position India as a leader in the global gaming sector, which makes training and upskilling even more important. The alignment between the nation’s educational progress and the demands of the gaming industry will lead to a skilled workforce capable of excelling on the global stage,” he said.

However few leaders from the visual effects and animation fraternity whom Animation Xpress reached out to refrained from commenting on this year’s budget announcement as they felt that there is nothing specific mentioned for the sector. Openly sharing the sentiments of the VFX industry phantomFX founder / CEO / VFX supervisor Bejoy Arputharaj said, “There are so many sectors and I don’t think this will do any significant improvement to our industry, not many banks even recognise us as an industry in existence, we are just labeled as film industry and so deny loans, we need a AVGC sector fund allocation to taste the benefits first hand, otherwise it’s gonna be hard for many companies to directly benefit out of it.”