Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Union Budget for 2014 today in the parliament, which became an instant hit with the industry, given the reforms and allocations it talked about.
To begin with, the proposal to allocate about Rs 7,060 crore for setting up 100 smart cities has been well received and lauded by the industry. “We welcome government’s decisions of allocating Rs. 7,060 crore for development of 100 smart cities and modernisation of satellite towns in the country, and an additional allocation of Rs. 3000 crore towards modernisation of police departments. This will promote investments in use of modern technology, making our cities smarter and safer. The government’s intent on giving infrastructure a boost gives us an opportunity to work with various bodies and organisations to develop a safe and secure social infrastructure for the people of the country,” notes Koichiro Koide, MD, NEC India.
Further, the commitment to develop e-visa facilities at nine airports, and encouraging departments and ministries to be integrated through e-platform by the end of this year further indicates the government’s intent to adopt and promote new technology for better governance. “Moreover, resource allocation towards Technology Development Fund and plans to take broadband connectivity pan-India will benefit the sector tremendously,” adds Koide.
Reiterating the thought, Jaideep Mehta, VP and General Manager, IDC South Asia says, “The e-governance program to inter-link all ministries and departments is welcomed. India urgently needs to improve the efficiency of government functioning. While the details are yet to be made available, this initiative is likely to yield several hundred crores of revenue to the IT industry.”
Talking about investment in infrastructure, Sunil MK, Head – AEC, Autodesk, India & SAARC, notes, “We welcome the infrastructure investment trust being set up to finance infrastructure projects as we believe this will be crucial in terms of speeding up the completion of pending projects and make way for new ones. We were expecting ‘Smart Cities’ to be a crucial part of the new government’s development and nation building plans. The announcement of 100 smart cities is a bold and encouraging step by the government and we are excited with the huge market potential that will be opening up for builders, engineers, architects and companies like ours, who work closely with the building and infrastructure industry in India.”
Besides, these bold announcements, the government also announced liberalisation of FDI in the eCommerce sector. Lauding the proposal, Sandeep Ladda, India Technology leader, PwC India comments, “Liberalisation of FDI in eCommerce sector will provide much-needed certainty to foreign players and to a sector that has the promise to provide increased commerce and generate employment in the country. This will also provide boost to the sector and create healthy competition so as to benefit all the constituents in the ecosystem – consumers, government, eCommerce players, and retailers in general.”
Lastly, new employment and wealth creation opportunities too are expected to abound in the start up eco-system with the Rs. 10,000 crore fund created to boost start ups and SMEs.
Overall, the budget was a hit with the industry, clearly marking investment and business opportunities for all.
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