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The Union Budget 2018, which was announced yesterday, is currently the talk of the town. As per IT industry's apex body Nasscom, the Union Budget 2018-19 manifests the government's commitment to digitalization for the country's development. "The Budget reflects the government's commitment to digitalization as a key force for the country's development strategy. The focus on 'ease of living' will spur greater use and deployment of technology across verticals", said a Nasscom statement.
The apex body also praised Arun Jaitly for allotting more funds for the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI), taking an initiative on cyber physical systems and also for focusing on creating a 5G test-bed for better mobile services. Nasscom thinks the steps will help India leapfrog into emerging technologies globally.
"The Budget proposal to review the outward direct investment will be relevant to the IT sector, as it charts its global growth trajectory," reads the statement from the National Association of Software and Services Companies.
On including additional criteria for taxing overseas firms, Nasscom thinks, in a growing digital economy, the proposal would be applicable to companies which may not have physical presence in the country. "The tax proposal could be relevant to the technology sector, as internet driven businesses and cloud-based platforms blur geographical boundaries," noted the statement.
On the National Health Protection Scheme (Aysuhman Bharat programme), imagined as the world's biggest healthcare initiative, Nasscom said the ambitious scheme would be would benefit 10 crore families or 50 crore people across the country.
"The ambitious scheme will create immense opportunities for the technology industry and start-ups to build solutions that enable the transformation," said the industry body.
The Budget has also clarified eligible businesses for a start-up with the modified definition by the Department of Industrial Policy and Production. "Extending the Start-up India scheme to March 2021 and rationalizing the condition of turnover will enable tens of thousands of start-ups to avail benefits under the Act," asserted the statement.
According to the apex body, the Budget policy for hybrid instruments, suitable to lure foreign investments in niche areas, will benefit the start-ups and venture capital firms.
"The Budget creates a right environment for Fintech firms to grow and has a commitment to adopt blockchain technology in government offices," said the statement.
The financial allocation to the Bharatnet project as well as setting up of Wi-Fi hotspots in rural areas will help grow the rural digital economy, eventually resulting in narrowing the digital divide. "The focus on raising farm and rural incomes will accelerate proliferation of the digital economy in rural India, with consequential benefits and multipliers accruing from it," further added the statement.
Written with IANS inputs