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Budget 2018: Govt initiatives have potential but improved connectivity essential for digital transformation

As the nation awaits the announcement of the Union budget 2018-19, industry quarters are speculating the possible announcements and their implications. The Information Technology sector plays a vital role in the growth of the Indian economy. In the Financial Year 2016-17, the Indian IT-BPO sector contributed nearly 9.3 percent of India's GDP. It is India's largest and most diverse private sector employer, with a direct workforce nearing 3.7 million people.

There is a need to strengthen the backbone of the IT industry in India. The industry expects encouragement from the government. Initiatives such as 'Make in India' and 'Skill India' have the potential to help the workforce secure jobs domestically.

 Budget 2018: Govt initiatives have potential but improved connectivity essential for digital transformation

Representational image. Reuters

With cyber-attacks surging day by day, the government should emphasise upskilling the IT workforce to combat such situations. With the US and other countries erecting protectionist barriers, and given the many financial reforms underway, India should focus on resolution of issues under the GST regime and ensure a comprehensive review of the foreign tax credit provisions to maintain its global competitiveness. Thus, the government should ensure that upcoming IT companies and established players both have investments that are financially subsidised.

The government should also focus on the underlying problem of there not being enough employment opportunities that also offer skill development. The unavailability of skilled labour is often the main problem as far as employment opportunities go. The job market is full of opportunities, but graduates need to be upskilled to match the industry's requirements. The industry and the education system need to prioritise bridging the gap with the government on this. In the meantime, demonitisation has helped ensure digital literacy across India including in Tier-II and Tier-III cities. This has give rise to fintech companies which can drastically change India's job market. Digital literacy and skill development should go hand-in-hand.

Furthermore, initiatives like 'Digital India' and 'Make in India' rely immensely on the IT sector for their continued success. Enhancing digital literacy, improved connectivity and access to technology will enable citizens to experience digital transformation, thereby giving a boost to technology and fintech companies, thus creating jobs.

The Aadhar initiative, as a backbone of the Indian government, is going to hold the key for the growth of technology driven industry. Therefore, connectivity issues in India should be solved. India faces a massive bandwidth issue. Applications tend to be slow due to bandwidth issues, thus being a hinderance to the 'Digital India' dream. This further opens doors for the government to collaborate with private companies and providing the best of infrastructure to the citizens.

As the government introduces several economic programmes, there has to be parallel focus from the government to harness the development of IT sector in India and provide a platform to further strengthen it in view of global competition from developing countries.

For full coverage of Union Budget 2018, click here

The author is chief executive officer, Magna Infotech

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Updated Date: Feb 01, 2018 08:44:06 IST