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Union Budget 2023: The wish list from the technology sector

The technology sector in India has been growing rapidly over the last few years, driven by a number of factors such as increasing digital adoption, the growth of e-commerce, launch of 5G services and the rising demand for cloud services. Ahead of Union Budget 2023, here’s what the technology sector expects:

“Despite recent global headwinds, we have seen consistent growth in the technology sector. With the rapid technology adoption across sectors, we are well poised to becoming a USD 5 trillion economy soon. With cloud and data technologies becoming the de-facto standard for businesses to operate, Gartner estimates that public cloud spending in India will grow 27% YoY in 2023. Amidst this, there is a need for the government to focus on incentivising the use of cloud services and deep tech like AI, blockchain etc., across industries.

In 2023 and beyond, upskilling of talent in an environment driven by technology will be mission critical. The government has made great strides towards this, through the Skill India program. In this year’s Union Budget, it would be good to see more investments and programs in upskilling, as this is an important factor towards achieving the collective Digital India dream of our nation.” Puneet Gupta, vice president & managing director, NetApp India/SAARC

With the rise of new-age technologies such as artificial intelligence and the proliferation of internet access all across India, it is an opportune time for India to invest in new-age digital technology. The best companies are leveraging technology to scale and grow. The budget must focus on investing in Tech R&D, product innovation, and technology solutions and services and ensuring 5G services all over the country. The budget must consider investments in state-of-the-art incubation centers which can digitally transform ideas from all over India into sustainable businesses of today and giant corporations of tomorrow. A simultaneous investment in skilling human capital to use these technologies is paramount. The budget must include measures that can help better industry-academia connect to make ‘India’ a hotbed of technology innovation and digital transformation services for the world. Kunal Nagarkatti, Chief Executive Officer, Clover Infotech

“At a recent event organized by FICCI, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari stated that India is the world’s fastest-growing major economy and is set to achieve its $5 trillion GDP goal by 2024–25. The IT sector will play a pivotal role in helping the country achieve this objective; given the rapid digital and emerging technology adoption we are seeing across sectors. Special Economic Zones (SEZs) have played an important part in the country’s rapid economic development over the last two decades. However, there are some changes to SEZ rules that could be looked at to ensure technology businesses can reap these benefits – including smoother processes for the movement of goods between two SEZ units, scrapping of old computers and laptops after paying the residual duties in the open market, and simplifying the permissions process to facilitate remote working. From a CSR standpoint, it would be welcome if the government relaxed the mandatory spend on CSR activities for companies with 5 crore net profit by increasing the threshold to companies with 50 crore net profit. Additionally, while calculating net profits, the remuneration paid to professional employees should not be added back. This would ease some of the burden on MSMEs. In terms of the personal income tax threshold, it would be beneficial for businesses if the ministry revised the existing limits. In order to do away with the numerous tax exemptions, an alternate method of income tax computation without exemptions could be looked at, but with lower rates and higher basic exemption limits.” S. Mukundhan, Group CFO, Fulcrum Digital.

“India has been leading the world in building its own technology industry as well as talent base. We are relentlessly marching towards being the de facto top choice for setting up scale technology and capability centres. I believe the Indian tech industry today stands on the cusp of the next leg of explosive growth and transformation from being a global IT service and outsourcing leader to becoming an IP-led software products and platforms powerhouse. In this year’s Union Budget, it would be a welcome step if the Hon’ble Finance Minister announces initiatives and incentives that will give an impetus to make-in-India software products and platforms, thus creating the next generation of global leaders. The game-changing success and global renown of the Indian stack and platforms such as Aadhaar and UPI should give us a lot of confidence in India’s ability to lead the world in creating IP-led, global-scale platforms. This will significantly enhance our economic growth and global influence.

From the standpoint of specific technology areas to focus on, if I had to pick one area where it is absolutely imperative for India to focus efforts, it has to be Artificial Intelligence (AI), where the difference between the AI-haves and have-nots will likely be stark. Considering India’s long-term progress and security, it is imperative that Indian industry and government institutions focus intensely on taking a leadership position in the building and deploying AI on a global scale. A well-thought-out initiative that provides an enabling policy framework, as well as industry incentives in this area, would be very welcome.” Ashish Rai, Vice Chairman and President, Aurionpro Solutions.

CT Bureau

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