This Budget Brings Us One Click Closer to a Cashless, Digital India
FM bridges the gap between the working class and the well-heeled
its move towards digitisation.
As expected in several quarters, the Budget gave a push to the digital economy, helping to formalise several enabling aspects that could propel the economy to higher growth and reduce dependence on cash. In many ways, technology is the catalyst that can help that cause and the increased targets and allocations for rural internet penetration, BharatNet and Aadhaar app-based PoS terminals, are positive steps in that direction. Digital India should ultimately help narrow the economic imbalance between the working class and the well-heeled. Taken together with the impetus to affordable housing, which now enjoys infrastructure status and will benefit from lower funding costs, and increased allocations for social schemes, the Budget sought to apply some balm over the wounds of the poor and middle-class from the pangs of demonetisation.
For the startup world, there was some good news because the government is finally beginning to realise some of the challenges faced by these companies. When breaking into a traditional business space, it can sometimes take longer for these firms to turn profitable simply because their initial focus is on solving problems rather than generating profits. The proposal to extend the profit-linked tax break for startups to three years in seven years, from five years earlier, will go a long way in fostering the entrepreneurial spirit in the country.
Another positive takeaway from the Budget was the promise that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) would roll out on schedule. The country has waited for this reform for a long time and its swift rollout is essential if the economy is to realise its full potential. For all the moves in the right direction there were several areas that continued to remain out of focus, however, such as the lack of commitment to improve rural telecom infrastructure.
If our villages are to jump on the bandwagon of economic prosperity, a seamless data network is a must.Still, the Budget has moved in the right direction, even as there is a lot more to do.
If our villages are to jump on the bandwagon of economic prosperity, a seamless data network is a must