Speaking at the Pre- Budget Consultative Meeting with stakeholders from IT (Software / Hardware) Sector, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the Software Development and Information Technology Enabled Services (ITeS, including BPO & KPO) industry had emerged as one of the most dynamic and vibrant sectors in India. He also said that the government recognises the potential of IT sector, hence Electronic Systems and IT & BPM (Business Process Management) are included among 25 sectors in ‘Make in India’ programme. “The electronic market in India is one of the largest in the world and is expected to reach US $400 billion in 2020,” he added. During the meeting, various suggestions were received from the participants for boosting the IT sector. We take a look at some suggestions that were given to FM Jaitley by the IT stakeholders for the upcoming Budget 2017.
1) Rapid changing nature of technology in IT field makes it imperative to focus on R&D in IT, hence, the government needs to promote R&D and innovation in IT sector in a big way.
2) It was also suggested that over-ground towers and underground fiber cable network need to be improved as number of Wi-Fi hotspots is very low in the country.
3) At the consumer end, smart phone prices need to be further brought down so that broadband is more accessible to masses.
4) To further boost electronic manufacturing in country, suggestions were made to extend the duty differential scheme to all ITA goods, specifically for personal computers (Desktop, Laptop). A proposal requested that list of CPE goods should be made comprehensive for Duty Differential Scheme to further promote and implement ‘Make in India’ initiative. Representatives sought that this scheme must continue to exist in GST regime.
5) To create an ecosystem for electronics and IT hardware manufacturing, proposal for a ‘Component Trading Hub’ was discussed. Participants also insisted on the need to encourage populated PCBs manufacturing in the country by restricting their direct imports.
6) Incentives to boost the robotics sector in country which is non-exist now.
7) Adoption of personal computer will be a catalyst for transformation of country to a digital economy and knowledge economy. To increase PC penetration, it was also proposed that easy loans (3-4% per annum ) should be provided by banks for the purchase of personal computers and cost of PC should be allowed for deduction under Section 80C of Income Tax Act.
8) Suggestions were also given to improve cyber security structure in India and establish a cyber test range. It was proposed that there should be a mechanism for reporting any vulnerability detected in a Government software System by any private person/agency.