The 2014 Union Budget saw a remarkable focus from the government to use technology as an enabler to drive initiatives like Digital India, Make in India and Smart Cities. The enhanced focus on these initiatives and increased public-private partnership is a testimony of the government's thrust on the technology ecosystem.
As we gear up for this year's Budget, we hope that the government will work towards making India an ideal business destination by increasing the ease of doing business with initiatives like the GST roll-out. We feel that the time is ripe to offer the best technology talent, business friendly policies and a vibrant financial ecosystem to realise the 'Make in India' and 'Digital India' vision.
Across sectors, we strongly feel that speedy implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST), amending the general finance rules to include exchange rate variation (ERV) clause, simplifying import-export transactions in view of bureaucratic and legal bottlenecks, and addressing infrastructural deficiencies will definitely simplify current operational difficulties and significantly reduce 'cost of doing business' and at the same time create 'ease of doing business' in India.
We also recommend the creation of a task force of government and local ICT hardware companies to draw a roadmap to achieve full capacity utilisation in existing manufacturing facilities and build a robust ecosystem to fulfil the 'Make in India' vision.
We hope that the Budget will focus on the scaling of critical infrastructure like the national optic fibre network that is needed for the build-out for Digital India. In the upcoming Budget, we also expect to see the government's continued focus on encouraging a culture of innovation in the country, which will nurture innovations originating from India for India. This will be critical if we want localised solutions for solving real problems.
It is important that as an industry we understand that the Union Budget is not the only opportunity to solve all our problems. It is important for the Budget to set us on the right path with respect to a few major initiatives that will help fulfil the Digital India vision. The industry's engagement with the government on policies and reforms must be an ongoing process.
The world is watching India with great interest. We believe that the government's Digital India vision is going to be imperative to propel the country into its next phase of growth and the industry has been asked to participate to realise the vision. It is now up to us to work jointly with the government to do the right thing for our country.
(The author is Director, Marketing & Market Development, Intel South Asia)