By: Bhaskar Pramanik
There was very high expectation from this Budget and I think the Finance Minister has done a good job of meeting many of those. There were five specific priorities that I was looking for to be addressed in this maiden Budget by the new government. These were around ubiquitous use of technology for inclusive growth, enhancing the education ecosystem, promoting a tax regime that is stable and growth-oriented, focus on the startup eco-system and greater impetus to the manufacturing sector. It is heartening to note that the budget has provided the right direction on these priorities.
India’s transformation has to be powered by technology. This is well recognised by the government and has been articulated in the various initiatives in the Budget. The government’s focus on digital connectivity as highlighted in initiatives, such as the National Rural Internet and Technology Mission and e-connecting all government departments, is evident. The allocation of Rs 7,060 crore for the development of 100 modern cities is an excellent opportunity for us to build cities of the future that have the best of physical and digital infrastructure. I believe the energy in the start-up ecosystem can make growth a reality in our country. The start-up fund of Rs 10,000 crore for new businesses is a good step, especially those in the software product startups who have been allocated Rs 500 crore.
Through the Budget I saw a huge focus on technology as the backbone for India’s future through an ecosystem of entrepreneurs and global startups. Further, the focus on MSME segment and technology use in SMB is a welcome step.
Overall, I think it is a good start. The government has clearly followed what they had promised in their election manifesto. I see this Budget setting the stage for higher GDP growth on the fundamentals of recovery in manufacturing and infrastructure sectors, built on the backbone of future-ready technology.
The writer is Chairman, Microsoft India