The Union Budget 2017 is widely considered to be the most historic and unique budget in Indian history. One of the major reasons for saying so would be the close proximity of the presentation to the ban on Rs 500 and RS 1000 notes in an attempt to put a curb on the flow of black money. The unexpected announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi did cause quite a lot of inconvenience to the Indian people, despite the noble intentions behind the move. The government further went ahead and changed the narrative to the ambitious goal of a cashless economy in India. Hence, while the budget 2017 is expected to be populist, it is expected to have provisions to forward the dream of achieving a cashless economy. Furthermore, the budget does provide the government to provide an environment to push forward the dream. Although it would be quite brave to actually predict the outcomes of the budget, it could be easily said that the Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley would address the parameters to establish a strong ecosystem for digital payments in the country.
According to Pavan Duggal, Advocate, Supreme Court of India, and one of the leading experts Asia’s & India on Cyber Security Law & Mobile Law, the biggest problem the country faced in the post-demonetisation period was an increase in cyber security breaches. So one of the major areas the budget could focus on could be to allocate funds to protect and preserve the cyber security of important information in India. Another important sector the government could focus on in matters of digital transactions would be to implement certain measures and processes to help the encouragement to adopt and use cashless transactions. Digital and mobile payments could be given incentives to strengthen their networks for cashless transactions all over the country. Additional benefits could be given to those who come up with innovative ways to increase the rate of cashless transactions in India. According to reports, of the 1.25 billion people in India, only 430 million have access to mobile internet services. The government could provide incentives and pave pathways for cashless transactions through SMSs by a feature phone. The budget could further invest in providing better and faster internet services to those in remote areas for they consist a majority of Indian population.
With the provision of strict and vigilant cyber security measures and faster, consistent internet services, the government could further work to stop the flow of black money and eventually root out corruption in the country. The digital ecosystem leaves footprints which could be tracked down when required and bring the parallel economy into the mainstream ecosystem.