With Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announcing several sops — easing of “angel tax”, assurance on freeing entrepreneurs from the scrutiny of income tax authorities and mechanism for e-verification of angel investors and their source of funds, among others — Union Minister Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad tells The Indian Express that this is a “dream budget”, and the proposals would boost job-creating sectors:
Being the minister for IT and Electronics, how do you look at the Budget?
It’s a comprehensive and extraordinary Budget, designed to take India to a $5-trillion economy in five years. It addresses every sector and every section — from investment to infrastructure, from rural to urban, and farmers to young people. I am thrilled about this Budget because in a way it’s my dream budget for my departments. It has every support for pushing India to be an electronic hub.
Is the focus of the Budget on digitisation?
This is a Budget which has many proposals for pushing digital literacy, electronic manufacturing and common service centres in small towns of India, which we have been doing in the last five years. Now, we have to push them beyond that. Retaining those things, we have to make in India something like i-Way Grid, along the lines of Gas Grid and Digital Grid and Road Grid…When we came into power in 2014, there were only two mobile (phone) factories. Now there are 268. Learning from that experience, we want to make India a hub of electronic manufacturing and for exports. That requires bigger vision and bigger policies, which started getting reflected today in the Budget.
How do you think the Budget has addressed the issue of joblessness?
The more digitisation you do, the better it is. Let me put it on record here, as per the report of NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Services Companies), 6 lakh new jobs were created in the IT sector in the last five years. Twelve lakh people are working at common service centres. I met a senior executive of Zomato (online food aggregator). He said they employ 2 lakh people in the country. The more digitisation you create, the more India becomes digital-innovative, more jobs you are creating.