The IT industry is gungho about digital infrastructure, Wi-Fi hotspots in 250,000 gram panchayats and digital board announcement in schools by finance minister Arun Jaitley in Budget 2018 speech in Parliament.
The announcement of Ayushmann Bharat Program will need services of IT industry as the program plans to benefit 10 crore households and around 50 crore beneficiaries pan-India. The doubling of allocation on Digital India Program to Rs. 3,073 crore in 2018-19 and Rs. 10,000 crore have been provided for creation and augmentation of telecom infrastructure will all require a sizeable IT investment.
NASSCOM has welcomed the finance minister’s statement on increased investment for AI, comprehensive initiative on Cyberphysical systems and focus towards creating a 5G test bed.
Speaking on implications of Budget 2018, V Ramakrishnan, CFO, TCS said, “This is a forward looking, growth-oriented budget with a focus on the rural economy, healthcare for the poor, investments in infrastructure, digital skilling, education and jobs creation. Several programs announced in the budget represent big strides in building a Digital India: the outlay for the smart cities program; the plans to explore blockchain technology; the national program for adoption of artificial intelligence and for research, training and skilling in cyber-physical systems; the innovative use of technology to digitally reimagine agricultural markets to empower small and marginal farmers; and the extending of broadband access to 5 crore rural citizens to bridge the digital divide.
Lastly, having partnered the State Bank of India in their highly successful and seamless merger with six associate banks, we are excited about the planned merger of the three public sector insurance companies. I would rate this budget a score of 8 out of 10 added Ramakrishnan.
Commenting on Budget, Jatin Dalal, Chief Financial Officer, Wipro said, “The Budget has largely delivered on the socio-economic agenda of strengthening the agricultural and rural economy, healthcare, infrastructure and education in the country. On the tax front, while reduction in the corporate tax rate for companies with turnover less than Rs. 250 crores is a step in the right direction, it would need to be followed up with further rationalization in the form of broad based reduction of MAT and corporate tax rate.”
“We welcome the greater push for digitization and increased transparency in administration. The introduction of new scheme for e-assessments across the country would lead to reduced tax administration cost and increased tax payer satisfaction,” added Dalal.
Prakash Mallya, Managing Director, Sales & Marketing Group, Intel India said, “Today’s Budget clearly pivots on a digital-first India, and three recommendations made by the FM relate directly to the potential we see in the country. First, the NITI Aayog effort to institutionalize research and development in artificial intelligence reinforces the value that machine learning can bring to issues of national importance. Second, exploring the application of blockchain in governance is a strong indicator of the government’s intent to improve citizen services without compromising on security, especially as Aadhaar gets linked to citizen accounts. And finally, the DoT’s establishment of an indigenous 5G center is an encouraging sign of the government’s view of collaboration with the broader technology ecosystem.”
“The announcement of the Aysuhman Bharat program, envisaged as the world’s biggest healthcare scheme will be a key differentiator for the healthcare sector as it will benefit more than 10 crore families across the country. This will also create immense opportunities for the technology Industry and startups to build solutions that will enable the transformation,” added NASSCOM spokesperson.