Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has initiated the pre-Budget consultations with different stakeholder groups. The first consultation was held with industry stakeholders from the digital economy, fintech and start-ups.

One of the key areas of discussion during the consultation was data issues like the use of big data technology for small and medium enterprises and leveraging of its power for public governance.

The other issues included digital infrastructure, role of government, regulation of digital economy especially in privacy, financial regulation, ease of doing business for start-ups, infrastructure gaps for Digital India and taxation issues.

The industry stakeholders suggested the creation of a special agency that could look into cross border financial crimes and work towards increasing women employment (gender dividend in skill development), training youth in skill development along with international internships and incentivising research and development within India.

During the consultation, mobile phone industry sought clarification on the recent reduction in export incentives and requested for rationalisation of tax structure, including GST on handsets. According to India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA), reduction in export incentives will lead to massive job losses.

The second Budget for the Modi 2.0 government is expected to be presented in the Parliament on February 1, 2019.