The Union Budget 2016-17 has given a big boost to the Digital India vision of the Prime Minister. The announcements made by Finance Minister, which are expected to give a big boost to Digital India initiatives, Digital literacy, greater application of Cloud and above all big push to the Electronics Manufacturing are appreciable steps. The Finance Minister has also focused upon the larger involvement of post office platform for financial inclusion, including delivery of services.
Giving details of certain provisions made in the Budget relating to his ministry, the Minister for Communications and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad said that some profound changes, which happened in the last 20 months include:- .
1. IT / ITeS exports have crossed USD 100 billion.
2. India’s share in global IT services outsourcing presently is 56 %, is growing every year.
3. The total employment in IT / ITeS sector is 37 lakhs in this financial year, out of which the net addition is 2 lakhs.
4. Electronics Manufacturing has seen remarkable improvement, due to the initiatives of this government. When this government came to power, in June 2014, the proposals worth of only Rs. 11,800 crores were received. Now, it has risen to Rs.1,20,294 crores.
5. Due to the initiatives taken up in the last Budget, especially the duty rationalization, we have noticed remarkable acceleration in the field of Electronics manufacturing. In this connection, mobile manufacturing presents very encouraging area. In 2014-15, the mobile units manufactured in the country were Rs. 5.4 crores, which have more than doubled to Rs.11 crores in 2015-16. After the duty rationalization in the last Budget, 16 new mobile manufacturing units have been set up in this financial year.
FURTHER NEW INCENTIVES IN THIS BUDGET:
Efforts made in the previous Budgets of this government for promoting electronic manufacturing in India has also got encouraging boost during this budget by further rationalization of duty structure. As a result of this the domestic manufacturers of Routers, Broadband Modems, Set-Top Boxes, Digital Video Recorders, Network Video Recorders, CCTV Camera, Lithium- Ion Battery would enjoy duty advantage of 8.5% vis-a-vis imported goods. Domestic value addition in mobile phone phones, battery, wired headsets/speakers would enjoy a duty advantage of 10.5% vis-a-vis imported goods. This will also encourage domestic manufacturing of components. Domestic manufacturing of routers and broadband modems will further encourage manufacturing of telecom equipments.
In the IT/ITeS (IT Enabled Services) sector, sunset date for Section 10AAof the Income Tax Act allowing tax benefits for IT units in SEZs has been extended from 2017 till 2020. This will enable technology units to set up and commence operations in SEZs.
A very significant incentive is the extension of Section 80 JJAA to Income Tax Act for skill development to services companies as well. This will permit 30 % of additional wages paid to new workmen, deductible for 3 years. This will give a big boost to the BPO operations, which this government is pushing-in a big way.
Encouragement to Digital Literacy & Digital Lockers:
Shri Prasad said that he is happy to note that the Finance Minister has provided for creation of Digital depository of school leaving certificates, college degrees and mark-sheets. This would enhance the footprint of cloud technology in the Country. The IT department has already laid down the framework for cloud technology and will assist in the expansion.
The Budget has given extraordinary expansion to Digital Literacy in the country, consisting of imparting digital literacy to 6 crore households in next 3 years. The IT department was keenly pushing for this expansion. As of now, against the target of 52.5 lakhs, more than 40 lakhs have been trained.
Use of Aadhar platform for delivery of services
The Finance Minister himself, has announced in the budget, that government will now be moving a legislation to give a statutory backing to Aadhar, for delivery of services / subsidies / benefits, corning out of Consolidated Fund of India. This will prevent leakages by identifying the beneficiaries correctly and would encourage good governance.
The Minister is assured to note that in the budget speech, Finance Minister has laid great stress on the use of digital platform across various departments. This will further encourage consolidation of seminal programmed of Digital India
FDI equity inflow in telecom Sector has touched a new high during FY 2014-15, which is $2895 million which is 80% more than the FDI equity inflow received during 2012-13 ($304 million) and FY 2013-14 ($ 1307 million) put together.
STATUS OF NOFN (BharatNet) as on 29.02.2016
End June 2014-
- OFC pipe laid is 2292 kms
- Optical fibre laid is 358 kms
As on 29.02.16 -
- OFC pipe laid is 1,24,797 kms (51,616 GPs)
- Optical fibre laid is 96,597 kms (41,086 GPs)
Reforms in Postal department:
Efforts to leverage the vast network of India Post for implementing the mandate of financial inclusion has received a renewed momentum from the Budget announcements. In May 2014, India Post had only 230 Core Banking Branches offering anywhere Banking Services and only 4 ATMs. Today, it is a matter of great fulfillment that India Post has not only installed more than 576 ATMs but has overtaken the State Bank of India to become India's largest Core Banking Network having 18,231 branches. By March, 2016 all the 25,000 Departmental Post Offices would offer Anywhere Banking facilities using Core Banking Solutions. 1000 ATMs shall also be installed by 31st March 2016. This would imply that all Post Office Savings accounts/certificates in all 155,000 Post Offices of lndia will come under Core Banking Solutions. As on 29th February, 2016 India Post has issued 1,26,181 ATM/Debit Cards to its account holders. It is also expected that by 31st March, 2016 20,000 Micro ATMs shall be installed across the country. Further, India Post has achieved new heights in tapping the potential of ecommerce. Its parcel revenues have witnessed a growth of 110% and it has collected more than Rs.1200 Crores from Cash on Delivery mode of payment for e-Commerce services.