Some of the technology vendors and OEMs like Wipro, TCS, Mahindra, L&T and SAP, Huawei and Schneider are bullish on Digital India and Make in India as the technology sector has been given a huge leg-up in Union Budget 2018. During his speech, the Finance Minister Arun Jaitely made several references to Digital India, Make in India and some of the emerging technologies like AI and Blockchain. Overall, some of the top IT vendors and OEMs are betting big on this digital push. According to Sanjay Jalona, CEO & MD, L&T Infotech, “The emphasis on complementing existing digitisation efforts by connecting villages through high speed optic fibre networks and building Wi-Fi spots will give an impetus to upcoming digital sectors that rely heavily on connectivity like FinTech and Edtech.”
He said that government has given major emphasis to healthcare, agriculture, education and research, which steps in right direction. “Use of technology in delivering education and focused research in technologies like Blockchain, AI, Big Data, IoT & Robotic are great initiatives and will create opportunities for IT sector to contribute in making of tomorrow's India,” said Jalona.
Agreeing with Jalon, Mahesh Nayak, Chief Operating Officer, SAP Labs India said, “This budget is propelling India towards becoming a digital economy with a clear focus on education and infrastructure development.” He added “It is great to see the Government's continued efforts towards Digital India by increasing investment for digital initiatives and enabling the NITI Aayog to direct efforts towards Artificial Intelligence. Improving education is an admirable goal set by the government and technology will be the greatest enabler for enhancing the quality of education in our country. The government's initiative to identify B.Tech students and provide higher education opportunities in premier institutions will increase the number of unique ideas originating from India.”
According to Jatin Dalal, Chief Financial Officer, Wipro, the Budget 2018 has largely delivered on the socio-economic agenda of strengthening the agricultural and rural economy, health care, infrastructure and education in the country. He said, “We welcome the greater push for digitization and increased transparency in administration. The introduction of new scheme for e-assessments across the country would lead to reduced tax administration cost and increased tax payer satisfaction.”
V Ramakrishnan, CFO of TCS hailed the budget to be a forward looking, growth-oriented budget with a focus on the rural economy, healthcare for the poor, investments in infrastructure, Digital skilling, education and jobs creation. He said, “Several programs announced in the budget represent big strides in building a Digital India: the outlay for the smart cities program; the plans to explore blockchain technology; the national program for adoption of artificial intelligence and for research, training and skilling in cyber-physical systems; the innovative use of technology to digitally reimagine agricultural markets to empower small and marginal farmers; and the extending of broadband access to 5 crore rural citizens to bridge the digital divide.”
According to Ramesh Iyer, MD, Mahindra and Mahindra Financial Services, rural is clearly the focus for this budget. The announcements on helping double rural income by 2020, Rs 5,750 crore for the National Livelihood Mission in 2018-2019, Rs 2,600 crore for the Har Khet Ko Pani scheme in 2018-2019, measures like increase in MSP and the plan to build two crore toilets in the next fiscal year are all welcome moves. The budget aims to leave higher disposable income in the hands of the rural population and the focus on rural infrastructure will provide a further boost for the rural economy.”
Jay Chen, CEO, Huawei Telecommunications India said, “The Union Budget laid down plans to connect additional 1.5lakh gram panchayats with fibre optic networks under the BharatNet. This will create access and affordability and will help in bridging the digital divide even further.” He added that this will strengthen India's journey towards Digital Transformation.
On government announcement around energy sector, Anil Chaudhry, Country President & Managing Director, Schneider Electric India said, “The focus on improvement in quality of urban living was reiterated with the additional budget of 2.04 lakh crore for the Smart City Mission. This will add momentum to the transition of our cities into ultra-modern habitations made efficient with strong technology.”