Special Feature

Budget 2020

On 1st February, Saturday 2020 the Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman delivered her second union budget speech. The budget is implicated around three prominent themes i.e. Aspirational India, Economic Development and Caring Society. The Union Budget 2020 is a critical affair for the Indian government, particularly with the Indian economy. Among other sectors, India’s Budget 2020 has created multiple remarks on the country’s technology sector– from the large IT services business to new and fledging sectors.

Here’s taking a look at what the Indian technology industry can expect from the Union Budget 2020

AI and Advanced Technology

Government proposed Rs 8,000 crore boost on quantum technologies, while emphasizing on the importance of leveraging artificial intelligence, data analytics, and internet of things for digital governance.

Data centre parks will be set up in India with the help of private sector, said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman . The budget also allocated Rs 6,000 crore for Bharat Net and said 1 lakh gram panchayats will get fibre to home connections under Bharat Net scheme in one year. Artificial intelligence and machine learning was featured extensively in the minister’s speech with proposal to use it in various existing and future projects such as the proposed national policy for statistics and the Ayushman Bharat scheme.

Startups

As part of the government’s efforts to boost the startup ecosystem in the country, Sitharaman, in her Budget speech, said a startup with an annual turnover of up to Rs 25 crore will be allowed a deduction of 100 percent of its profits. She added that in case a startup’s total turnover exceeds Rs 25 crore a year, the turnover limit will be increased from the existing Rs 25 crore to Rs 100 crore. The government will provide tax relief for employees eligible for Employee Stock Options (ESOPs). She also announced a Seed fund to support funding for early-stage startups.

5G and telecom industry

The 5G connectivity is the key aspect of Budget 2020. The government wants to take steps to support Telecom operators. The 5G spectrum will be crucial for India as the government aims to compete with China and join other early adopters of 5G. Making India the manufacturing hub will also help in creating opportunities for International brands to conduct R&D efforts in India.

Skill and teacher training initiatives

Budget 2020 allocates INR 99,300 crore for education sector and about Rs 3000 crore for skill development.. Top 100 educational institutions will start providing full-fledged degree courses online while the doors for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) were also opened as Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman made these announcements in the Union budget on Saturday.

India will also start conducting an Ind-SAT test to screen Asian and African students who will become eligible for scholarships. Sitharaman said,that students in the general stream, vis-a-vis services or technology streams, need their employability improved. About 150 higher educational institutions will start  traineeship embedded degree or diploma courses by March 2021. The government also proposes to start a programme whereby urban local bodies would provide internship opportunities to fresh engineers for a period up to one year.To provide quality education to students of deprived sections, it is proposed to start degree level full-fledged online education programme. This shall be offered only by institutions which are ranked within top 100 in the National Institutional Ranking framework. Initially, only a few such institutions would be asked to offer such programmes.

While some universities already provide online degree programmes, the announcement will boost digital learning which is key to enhancing India’s higher education reach. Sitharaman also pointed out that more girls were enrolled in higher education now than boys.

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