From technology prespective, emerging technologies like Internet of Things, digital manufacturing and quantum computing gets a positive sign. The emphasis on building a global digital economy was one of the key highlights of the budget. NITI Aayog will initiate a national program to direct efforts in the area of artificial intelligence, including research and development of its applications. Combining cyber and physical systems have great potential to transform not only innovation ecosystem but also our economies and the way we live. To invest in research, training and skilling in robotics,artificial intelligence, digital manufacturing, big data analysis, quantum communication and internet of things, Department of Science & Technology will launch a Mission on Cyber Physical Systems to support establishment of centres of excellence. Govt has doubled the allocation on Digital India programme to ` 3073 crore in 2018-19.
Commenting on the budget, Vishal Agrawal, Managing Director, India & SAARC, Avaya”The proposed national program to direct efforts in research, training and skilling around Artificial Intelligence by NITI Ayog is a clear sign of fuelling an innovation mind-set in the country. Blockchain is another significant area highlighted in the budget and the government is keen on using these technologies to propel a transparent and corrupt free economy. The government’s focus on further building Digital India by allocating Rs. 3073 crore showcases.
On the connectivity front, task of connecting one lakh gram panchayat through high speed optical fiber network has been completed under phase I of the Bharatnet project. This has enabled broadband access to over 20 crore rural Indians in about two lakh fifty thousand villages. The Government also proposes to setup five lakh wi-fi hotspots which will provide broadband access to five crore rural citizens.
Industry expert feels, It is encouraging to see the Government’s focus on promoting development and use of the cutting edge technologies which will not only impact the economy but facilitate everyday life for its citizens. At the same a faster pace need to be made to introduce or amend the laws to regulate the usage of these technologies. With this we expect the passage of Data Privacy Bill soon.
Speaking about the highlights related to Information Technology sector of the 2018 Union Budget, KK Mookhey, CEO & Founder of Network Intelligence, a global cybersecurity firm, said “The move to make cryptocurrencies illegal is a major announcement; it is likely to create a negative impact on the price of these currencies, especially Bitcoin. A better idea may have been to come out with some sort of a regulatory framework around cryptocurrencies. On the other hand, the point raised by the Finance Minister about exploring the usage of blockchain technology for payments is a very good initiative. It will support homegrown technologies who have already invested in the technology and will attract new investments in this technology. It is a positive sign to see that 5 lakh wifi-hotspots will be set up covering 5 crore rural citizens. This falls in place with the country’s Digital vision. We would have liked to see more substantial movement on setting up the CERT-Fin for the financial sector.”