India Budget 2018
Budget 2018 is overall positive and ‘common man centric’ with clear boost to rural, health and insurance sector. Measures like Minimum Support Price at 1.5X of the cost of produce and Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Bima Yojana extended to all poor families will be key drivers to this effect. The proposal to reduce corporate tax to 25% for MSMEs is also encouraging for the economy. The measure of standard deduction for salaried tax payers to INR 40000 would be overall positive, as long as deficit target of 3.3% for FY 2019 is met. While there is no direct benefit for larger corporations, robustness in the general economy will flow into the ecosystem.
Specific to the IT industry, the steps taken to strengthen the presence of Fintech in the MSME space and the plans for Smart Cities such as Smart City Command Centres, Smart Roads & Solar Power shows that we are on our way to achieving our goal of being a trillion dollar digital economy by 2025.
We welcome the government’s – NITI Aayog’s focus on e-governance via AI, blockchain, digital manufacturing, IoT, quantum computing, big data and the incremental focus on digital transformation. Policy’s drive on technology in order to usher in a digital economy definitely opens up great prospects across the sector as well as those allied such as education. Driving this will be the national program to direct efforts in AI, to help develop research in applications.
Specific measures such as the allocation of INR 10,000 crore to the Bharatnet project and establishment of 5 lakh Wifi hotspots in rural geographies will also provide much needed impetus to the rural digital economy.
Mr. C. P. Gurnani is the Managing Director & CEO of Tech Mahindra