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Budget 2023-24: Nirmala Sitharaman’s digital-ready proposals for a new Digital India

Opinion

Budget 2023-24: Nirmala Sitharaman’s digital-ready proposals for a new Digital India

Making strident inroads in multiple sectors, technology has catalysed an Industry 4.0 revolution, and the government noted this

Satyamohan Yanambaka Last Updated:February 09, 2023 15:14:45 IST Budget 2023-24: Nirmala Sitharaman’s digital-ready proposals for a new Digital India

Representational image. AP

After months of speculation and anticipation, the Union Budget 2023 proposals have paved the way for growth and prosperity. Striking the right chord, the Budget is forward-looking and echoes the government’s Digital India vision, providing impetus to the journey to India@100 for a more resilient and digital-ready country. The future looks promising, especially for the economy at large. The current year’s economic growth is estimated at 7 percent, and India Inc. is prepared to contribute to this upward trajectory.

The government indeed kept the momentum going on propelling its Digital India mission keeping in mind the plethora of opportunities that emerging technologies can provide to boost digitalisation. Making strident inroads in multiple sectors, technology has catalysed an Industry 4.0 revolution, and the government noted this.

Make AI work for India to push tech advancement

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Owing to increased internet penetration across the country’s length and breadth and rapid technological advancement, AI is increasingly used by companies to achieve greater efficiency. Blending their previous initiatives of Make in India and Atmanirbhar Bharat with now ‘Make AI in India’ and ‘Make AI work for India’, this push by the government will augur well Industry 4.0. The centres of excellence will help to build a robust research and development ecosystem and create scalable solutions across sectors.

We are pleased that the government has recognised technology and integrated it into the vision for Amrit Kaal. Before the Budget, we were hopeful that the government would introduce initiatives to foster a workforce required for a new Digital India by 2047 through investments and reforms in academic curriculums. The centres of excellence, along with the soon-to-be set up 30 Skill India International centres to teach coding, AI, IoT, robotics, 3D printing, and drones, will not only aid in galvanising a robust AI ecosystem but also nurture a large talent pool that can drive the Digital India mission.

Outlay for e-courts, a step in the right direction

The outlay of Rs 7,000 crore for e-courts is a great step. By obtaining physical records and digitising them, court record room management automation will aid in securing decades of data. Citizens will also be able to access case, order, and judgement information through centralised portals for Districts, Subordinate Courts, and High Courts. We have also aided the government in this initiative by digitising billions of pages of digital records through technology. Case Management Automation will allow the timely delivery of justice.

One-stop solution for updating identity

We are also pleased to see the government moving to establish regulators and regulated entities using DigiLocker service and Aadhaar as foundational identity. This will act as a one-stop solution for reconciliation and updating the identity and address of individuals. The Digital India mission has been propelled further with the government using private tech players to bring about digital transformation in operations. Initiatives like enabling more fintech through expanding the scope of documents available in digilockers and setting up 100 labs to develop apps using 5G services in the budget only boosts the age of “techade”.

The government’s stance around data accessibility and management is excellent. Starting with the redrafted version of the Data Protection Bill last year, which aims to safeguard personal data and prevent data breaches, to now the National Data Governance Policy, which will catalyse an era of Digital Government. With an aim for increased citizen awareness and engagement with open data, it will pave the way for better decision-making while adhering to data protection standards and privacy.

We were hopeful of some additional provisions. With data centres enjoying an infrastructure status, we expected Indian-owned data centres to receive additional support in the form of incentives or capital subsidy programs. We also wished that private players propelling the Digital India mission would be offered incentives. Nevertheless, we look forward to contributing towards building a nation that competes globally.

The writer is the CEO, Writer Information Management Services- a multi-services IT and ITeS setup. He tweets @Satyamohany @WI_Tweets. Views are personal.

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