When you set-up the android phone it will ask for Google account. The question that comes to mind is whether a Google account needs to be linked to use an Android phone. A simple answer is NO, but this comes with its own limitations, as discussed below:
Basically you need Google account to download apps and games from Playstore and also to use the built-in mail client for Gmail. However, this can be managed even without linking your phone to a Google account. Each reputed brand phone comes with their own store for downloading Apps and games (for e.g. GetApps for Mi phones, Galaxy store for Samsung phones). Similarly, for accessing emails third-party email client apps are available for download from these stores.
Limitations: As mentioned earlier, there are some limitations in not linking the phone to Google account. Firstly, you will not get immediate updates for the apps and games downloaded from third-party stores, and you may not be even able to update them. Secondly, Play Store is more secured than the third-party stores. Therefore, by not downloading from Play Store you might be compromising on the security aspect. Thirdly, without Google account you will not be able to take back-ups or use Google Drive(cloud storage).
So for anyone who is using android phone for just calling and texting with limited time spent on games, linking the phone to Google account can be done away with.
More ideas welcome!