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India announces budget for 2020 with a focus on strengthening the digital economy

The Drum 03 Feb 2020 04:12
India believes this will enable the private sector to build data centre parks throughout the country. Photo: Mint.

India announced its budget for 2020 that had a prominent focus on further strengthening the digital infrastructure of the country.

According to finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the country will allocate Rs 6,000 crore for Bharat Broadband Network Limited, a telecom infrastructure provider.

It also dedicated Rs 8,000 crore to the national mission on quantum technologies, to ensure the country fully leverages artificial intelligence and data.

India believes this will enable the private sector to build data centre parks throughout the country.

"Our vision is that all public institutions at the gram panchayat level such as anganwadis, health and wellness centres, government schools, PDS outlets, post offices and police stations -- all will be provided digital connectivity. The fibre to the home (FTTH) connection through BharatNet will link 100,000 gram panchayats this,” said Sitharaman.

Industry observers like Chetan Asher, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Tonic Worldwide said the budget makes him optimistic about the growth of digital ecosystem.

“Allowing private players to build data centers and encouraging production of mobile and network devices will all compliment each other in growing the ecosystem,” he added.

Ashish Bhasin, the chief executive for APAC and chairman for India at Dentsu Aegis Network, noted it was good to see efforts being made to encourage new-age skill development as well as helping the start-ups.

“This will prepare India for the economy of tomorrow. It is also good to see attempts at simplification of taxation through digitisation but the proof of the pudding will lie in seeing its implementation on the ground,” he explained.

Sanil Jain, the co-founder of CupShup, a Mumbai-based startup helps brands reach out to the audience by advertising on paper cups, pointed out that the start-up ecosystem in India is not more than a decade old and has come a long way to become the third-largest in the world after USA and China.

“While on the other hand, decreasing direct tax to a historic low of 22% will boost export opportunities and drive growth across various industries."

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