Interim Budget 2024-25: Expectations of tech czars from the Modi govt
Ahead of the Interim Budget 2024-25 that will be presented on February 1, tech czars have certain expectations from the Budget for the technology sector.
Interim Budget 2024-25: In recent years, technology has played a crucial role in uplifting India's economy, so much so that it has become a major focus point in the Union Budget. As digitalization and the concept of Digital India are on a rapid rise and artificial intelligence-enabled tools have increasingly grabbed the spotlight for both good and bad reasons, new and significant as well as lasting changes are expected. This year, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will be presenting the Interim Budget 2024-25 on February 1, while the full budget will be presented only after the general elections in the presence of the new government. Last year, technology was a key point in the Union Budget, with various announcements taking place. The announcements included setting up new Centers of Excellence for Artificial Intelligence (AI), Labs for 5G services, a national digital library for children and adolescents, and more.
While we are in as much darkness as you when it comes to knowing exactly what lies in store ahead of Interim Budget 2024-25, tech czars have certain expectations from the Budget for the technology sector.
Interim Budget 2024-25: What tech czars expect
1. “As India charges ahead on its digital transformation journey, the upcoming budget offers a timely window to cultivate a world-class data center ecosystem that steers this advancement. We are hopeful of incentives to spur domestic manufacturing and infrastructure builds specially tailored for data centers' massive scale and seamless connectivity needs. Attractive capital subsidies for setting up future-ready facilities and easy financing options to offset development costs will unleash growth. We also envision provisions that encourage the adoption of renewable energy to meet data centers' clean power appetites. Additionally, preferential procurement directives favoring home-grown data centers will provide an upside. With an emphasis on nurturing a cutting-edge domestic data center industry, India can swiftly go up the technology value chain and cement dominance in delivering digital services globally. Having granted an infrastructure tag has remarkably expedited logistics,” says Bimal Khandelwal, Chief Financial Officer, ST Telemedia Global Data Centres (India).
2. “A greater alignment between fintech companies and public institutions is crucial for the evolution of India's fintech ecosystem. Financial products built on top of India Stack have borne strong results in the world of digital payments. We expect the budget to provide incentives that encourage fintechs to drive further innovations for other aspects of banking like credit, investments, savings and advisory. We also expect digital lending, especially small ticket size loans, to grow significantly with the proper checks and balances in place to protect borrowers. We expect the budget to further scale centres of excellence for AI innovation as well as increase investments in supercomputing to drive the growth of home-grown AI solutions,” says Bipin Preet Singh, Co-founder and CEO, MobiKwik.
3. “As we anticipate the Interim Union Budget 2024, HMD Global holds optimistic expectations for the Indian smartphone market. Foreseeing an extension or enhancement to the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) policy, we aim to fortify local production and encourage an indigenous components supply chain. The budget's positive impact on operations, particularly in local manufacturing, is anticipated, though precise planning hinges on final announcements. Our wish-list emphasizes more incentives for local production, encouragement for components manufacturing within India, and support for exports. In the face of potential changes, we stand ready to make necessary adjustments, anticipating a budget that builds upon existing policies for stability and growth. HMD Global remains committed to contributing to India's self-reliance and the global success of its smartphone industry”, says Ravi Kunwar, Vice President- India & APAC, HMD Global.
4. “Amidst global anxieties, India shines as a potent growth engine. However, achieving our ambitious $30 trillion target by 2047 requires more than relying solely on domestic consumption. Throughout history, thriving economies have built their castles on a positive balance of payments and export prowess, with each key sector acting as a brick in the wall. Today, one such sector with undeniable potential is gaming. Consider the world's top four economies – their gaming industries stand tall, exporting innovation and creativity. As we approach the upcoming budget, there is a crucial need to prioritize and support this burgeoning sector. Duty Credit Scrips for export-oriented gaming companies will not merely be a handout; it will signify a strategic investment in high-skilled jobs, GDP growth, and building global influence”, says Gaurav Agarwal, Co-Founder, Gamezop.
5. “Our proposals, including reduced fees, levies, and GST exemption, aim to ignite rapid growth in Fixed Broadband, contributing significantly to India's digital infrastructure. We also advocate for the expansion of PM-WANI based Public Wi-Fi hotspots, urging duty and levy waivers. Budgetary assistance for the Satcom industry and incentives for local mobile handset components align with our vision for a digitally empowered India. We are hopeful that these measures, if incorporated, will accelerate the sector's growth, fully aligning with Government priorities and recent collaborations between India and the US in cutting-edge technologies”, says TV Ramachandran, President, Broadband India Forum (BIF).
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