Indian IT Pins Its Hopes on Upcoming Budget to Tide Over Pandemic Blues

23rd January 2021 | By Mouseworld Now Correspondent |
FM-Nirmala-Sitharaman

Hon’ble Finance Minister, Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman

New Delhi, India, 23rd Jan, 2021: As the markets and businesses grapple to regain lost ground after being tossed by a pandemic whirlwind, Indian IT is pinning its hopes on the upcoming Union Budget 2021-2022. Lots of presumptions, expectations and suggestions from the captains of the Indian IT industry whisper around the corridors of IT industry.

Mouseworld Now Magazine attempts to record some of the voices that have a reason to be heard in the economic policy corridors before the first-ever paperless budget presented by the Hon’ble Finance Minister, Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman on 1st Feb, 2021.
Accord ‘Infrastructure Status’ to Private Clouds

“One of the critical resources during the pandemic has been the use of computing technologies to ensure continuity. From online schools to the use of High Performance Computing (HPC) for vaccine discovery – computing devices have proven how the disruption brought about by the pandemic can be bridged with the use of technology. AMD hopes the government accords higher spending to provide students with computers which have now become a critical learning resource,” says Arvind Chandrasekar, Director, Regulatory Affairs and Government Relations, AMD India.

In addition, the need to expand investments in private/captive HPC infrastructure came to light during the pandemic. From banking services to healthcare, from retail to weather prediction for agricultural productivity, large HPC cluster deployments ensured a smoother transition to digitisation during the pandemic.

“AMD believes efforts by the government to highlight the significance of HPC from a business need to a national asset, such as according ‘infrastructure status’ to private clouds will help Digital India percolate outside government services, ” suggests Chandrasekar.

Chandrasekar further says that a number of studies have demonstrated the multiplier effect on economic growth, unlocked by investments in HPC. “We at AMD believe, schemes to fund and facilitate affordable access to HPC resources for startups will rapidly accelerate India’s ability to scale innovations across agriculture, energy, electronics manufacturing, and pharmaceuticals. Additionally, tax incentives that reward substantial datacenter investments will spark a virtuous cycle across India’s IT demand and supply,” adds Chandrasekar.
Attention to Technologies to Upskill or Reskill MSME Workforce

Articulating the expectations from the MSME sector, Alok Bansal,
Managing Director and Country Head, India at Visionet says, “With technological disruption gradually becoming a catalyst for the rise of MSMEs and startups today, it is expected that the government will make the necessary investments in technology hubs, which in turn will help in strengthening emerging technologies like AI, machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT). As the country is amidst a boom in digital technology adoption, this year’s Union Budget needs to make way for relevant measures to ensure that the right amount of thrust is given to tech build-up, favorable tax policies, and other opportunities will spell progress for the MSMEs.”

Bansal, who is in charge of strategy, global operations and leads the growth of technology BPM verticals at Visionet suggests, “The government also needs to make substantial efforts to set up a robust digital ecosystem for encouraging budding entrepreneurs and introduce measures that make it even easier to conduct business in India. This will be highly beneficial for startups and SMEs. It will further attract more companies and organizations to set up their offices or invest in India.”

“The government should pay attention to employing technologies that can be used to upskill or reskill the workforce employed by India’s MSME sector. Specialized tech centers can be set up and operated by the government and industry groups to equip the workforce with the required skills and perform AI-empowered hybrid jobs. Such interventions by the government have numerous upsides to them, starting with increased earning potential that will pave the way towards the strong economic growth of the MSME sector,” hopes Bansal.

Fast-Approval Guarantee-free Loans & GST-free Spending for Marketing

The Covid pandemic dealt its most lethal and devastating blow on service sector SMEs who were locked out of work for several months and ensuing sharp decline in business even after the lockdowns were lifted.
“The Government of India, taking into consideration that the service sector SME has become the backbone of our economy, must provide relief to this sector in the form of fast-approval guarantee-free loans and allow them GST-free spending for their marketing to start building their business back up,” suggests Satya Prabhakar, CEO & Founder, Sulekha.com

Open Digital Ecosystem (ODE) in education, healthcare, agritech to Empowering Digital Ecosystem

Sharing her views on what she would expect from the upcoming budget for strengthening the digital infrastructure in India, Roopa Kudva, Managing Director at Omidyar Network India, says, “There is a need to pave the way for the Open Digital Ecosystem (ODE) in sectors such as education, healthcare, agritech, etc. for further empowering the Digital India ecosystem.”
“We hope to see the upcoming budget prioritize building robust and responsible digital infrastructure, especially in sectors like health and education, where physical systems have been under a lot of pressure during the pandemic. We have seen commendable efforts to create Open Digital Ecosystems (ODEs) in these sectors, through the National Digital Health Mission, and the DIKSHA platform. ODEs can improve service delivery by enabling transparency, interoperability, and spurring innovation. Similar to how UPI brought about a paradigm shift in the way financial services are delivered and facilitated financial inclusion, digital ecosystems for health and education can ensure that every Indian has access to affordable and quality healthcare and education opportunities. Using the ODE approach, the government can further strengthen digital benefit transfer mechanisms, as many more households are relying on these social safety nets in the wake of the economic shock caused by the pandemic. In particular, the budget should ensure that funding is allocated not only for building the technology infrastructure, but also the critical non-tech layers of these Open Digital Ecosystems, such as putting in place accountable institutions with the right capacity, governance frameworks to safeguard citizens’ rights, and community engagement,” adds Roopa.

 

 

 

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