Tech Budget 2024: Govt launches Rs. 1 lakh cr fund for tech-savvy youth - will offer 50-yr interest-free loans
Tech Budget 2024: FM Nirmala Sitharaman unveils a historic initiative, presenting a golden era for tech-savvy youth with a Rs. 1 lakh crore fund, offering 50-year interest-free loans to foster innovation.
Tech Budget 2024: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her interim Budget 2024 address to Parliament today, unveiled a significant development for the nation's youth. Emphasising the forthcoming golden era for technology-savvy individuals, Sitharaman announced the establishment of a corpus amounting to one lakh crore rupees, accompanied by 50-year interest-free loans. This corpus is designed to facilitate long-term financing or refinancing, offering extended tenors with low or negligible interest rates. The primary objective is to stimulate research and innovation within the private sector, particularly in emerging fields.
“We applaud the government's initiative to establish a ₹1 lakh crore fund to fuel technological innovation among our youth. This visionary step, offering long-term, interest-free financing, is a game-changer and the fintech sector alone can potentially get elevated to USD 1 trillion by 2030. For digital payments in particular, this will mean many more young entrepreneurs eager to innovate especially in the hardware terminal space will enter the industry and potentially transform payment solutions across India. This fund is not just an investment in technology; it's an investment in India's innovative spirit and global leadership in fintech.,” said Jose Thattil, CEO, PhiCommerce.
Historical Progression: From Slogans to Innovation
Highlighting the need for synergies between the nation's youth and technology, Sitharaman emphasised the importance of strategic programs. Referencing India's historical slogans, Sitharaman noted, "Prime Minister Shastri championed 'Jai Jawan Jai Kisan,' and Prime Minister Vajpayee expanded it to 'Jai Jawan Jai Kisan Jai Vigyan.' Prime Minister Modi has now extended it to 'Jai Jawan Jai Kisan Jai Vigyan and Jai Anusandhan,' recognizing that innovation is the bedrock of development."
“The Interim Budget, as expected, has been able to infuse confidence about the progress of the country and has set the tone for the Viksit Bharat roadmap. The policy intent has been made clear with emphasis on building robust ecosystems for inclusive growth of citizens. Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas continues to be the focal theme of the government and the announcements reflect its commitment towards that goal without compromising fiscal discipline. Focus on infrastructure and research highlight the intent of the government to foster a growth-oriented mindset” said Mr. Rahul Jain, Managing Partner, BCG India.
Acknowledging the transformative impact of new-age technologies and data on lives and businesses, Sitharaman asserted their role in creating economic opportunities and delivering high-quality services at affordable prices, even for those at the bottom of the socioeconomic pyramid. She emphasised that India is positioned to provide global solutions through the innovation and entrepreneurship of its citizens.
Green Energy Initiatives for a Sustainable Future
In a significant move towards green energy initiatives, the Finance Minister outlined measures to meet the commitment of achieving 'net-zero' by 2070. Viability gap funding will be extended for tapping into offshore wind energy potential, starting with an initial capacity of one gigawatt. Furthermore, plans include the establishment of coal gasification and liquefaction capacity reaching 100 million tonnes by 2030, aimed at reducing imports of natural gas, methanol, and ammonia. Additionally, a phased mandatory blending of compressed biogas (CBG) in compressed natural gas (CNG) for transport and piped natural gas (PNG) for domestic purposes is set to be mandated. Financial assistance will also be provided for the procurement of biomass aggregation machinery to support collection.
These strategic initiatives, as outlined by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, underscore the government's commitment to fostering technological innovation, sustainability, and economic growth.