Budget for this year is around the corner and everyone has already set their expectations from Modi’s government. It is believed that the new government is all set to usher a second wave of union budget around ‘Digital India’ to foster economic growth and smart governance.
Prime Minister Modi has been able to generate interest in India across the world, which has definitely augmented the image of India worldwide. ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ are two very strong chosen pillars on which India’s development will stand undoubtedly. “The Digital India program will touch millions of lives through its various aspects including better healthcare, financial inclusion, governance, and education. This, in turn, will create new jobs and exciting job opportunities in the software, hardware, and services industries,” added Anil Valluri, President, NetApp, India & Saarc.
To keep in-line with these aims, the budget probably will focus on providing a certain amount to develop robust network infrastructure across the country. “The mandate shows the government’s visionary approach to transform India into a connected knowledge economy whilst offering world-class services. This digital inclusion can be the foundation for financial well as socio-economic inclusion. Considering these positives it is bit natural for the government to allocate more funds for various initiatives under the program that offers a great scope for public private partnership,” says Sanjay Rohatgi, President Sales, India, Symantec.
“The IT hardware industry still needs friendly policies including tax holidays and interest subsidies to provide a fillip to it. Another major area where we can expect the government to act is on the tax structure and policies. The tax structure needs an overhaul to bring in more accountability and transparency while ensuring that the legal procedure does not act as a deterrent for companies doing business in India” says Deepak Ghodke, Country Manager, Tableau India.
“I expect the budget to be aligned with Make in India theme and focus on boosting infrastructure, manufacturing, education, research & development” says Kaustubh Nande, Country Marketing Leader at ANSYS
THE INDUSTRY EXPECTATIONS
E-Governance Plans Should be Executed Properly: E-governance is a key to India’s faster growth. Citizens should be empowered with the ability to access and disseminate information in electronic form. “There is a need to comprehensively digitize all the records but also to ensure massive reach at a country-level. A massive country-wide program needs to be put in place for this purpose,” adds Sunil Jose, Managing Director, Teradata India.
Driving IoT: As an IoT platform and solution providers are rooted in India and recently the Department of Telecom has drafted an IoT policy. “IoT ecosystem in India requires powerful co-ordination of government, solution providers, system integrators, and mobile operators to surge the adoption rate. One step closer, we expect the government to boost IoT by funding incubation and research centers,” says Prabhu Ramachandran, Director, WebNMS.
Change in Tax Policy and Attracting New Investments: There are two major problems not only facing the IT industry, but affecting corporate India as a whole. Firstly, there is a need to propagate a conducive tax environment and provide clarity in tax laws. This will provide a much required boost to existing businesses and at the same time, encourage new investments. Two, is to focus on bringing back investor confidence.
Set up Electronics Commission: According to Ashok Chandak, Chairman, India Electronics & Semiconductor Association and Sr Director, NXP Semiconductors, the absence of an Electronics Commission has been deeply affecting the ESDM players and the ecosystem. There is an immediate need of setting up Electronic Regulatory Commission (with industry representative) similar to the Telecom Regulatory Commission in India which will act as a one stop shop for implementation of policies, regulations, approvals, resolving issues, etc, for the electronics companies in India and to provide a fair and transparent policy environment which promotes a level playing field and facilitates fair competition.
Working on Skill Development: To be ahead of developing countries it is important to focus on skill development, including SOPS to encourage people to develop IT skills. “If India is to be a country of innovation, I believe we should focus on increasing the quality of resources coming out of our vocational courses so that they can be hired without the need for organizations to re-train them, “added Jagjit Singh Arora, Director, Regional Sales, Red Hat India. However, skills gap is a very critical issue in IT industry. With technology changing so fast, the knowledge acquired by a tech professional gets obsolete very fast. Employability is a greater concern than employment itself in India. Creating able headed talents in India for the world to look at and use would be a step ahead. Once we are able to resolve or reduce significantly this particular issue, most of other issues will start to fall in place.
Rise in Tech Education: The government should make platform where tech education providers can come together and resolve the critical skills gap issue prevalent in industries across. “The importance of online education should not only be limited to K12 and initial learners. Extending it to mid/senior level professionals and college fresher would be of benefit to the industry because they are the immediate talent pool that the industry has to absorb. We expect that the government to roll out considerable initiatives to be able to take step in this direction,” adds Lovleen Bhatia, CEO & Co-founder, Edureka.
While these are some of the critical concerns that are among the priority list of industry experts however, they are in the view that issues of simplifying the tax regulations, ease of doing business, and accelerate the speed of big ticket reforms on the anvil should also be addressed.
Moreover, there is also a pressing need to widen the vision that Modi government has for Digital India at the national level, reaching out to cities and villages. To be precise, the industry is expecting a budget, that will help convert the reforms to reality.