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Aashish Kalra

Aashish Kalra is Chairman of Cambridge Technology. He is a pioneering equity investor in technology, infrastructure, real estate, energy, logistics and hospitality. Aashish was one of the cofounders of Cambridge/Samsung Partners, one of the earliest independent venture capital firms in Boston in 1996 in partnership with Samsung of Korea.

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Budget Expectations for 2018 from AI Companies in India

AI can boost revenues by 38% and employment by 10%. Public spending on these disruptive technologies will make India more democratic and help the government eradicate corruption and tax evasion.

India should present a budget which will foster innovation to capitalize on the next trillion dollar opportunity provided by disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning. According to an Accenture Strategy report, artificial intelligence can boost revenues by 38 percent and employment by 10 percent. Public spending on these disruptive technologies will make India more democratic and help the government in eradicating corruption and tax evasion. For instance, providing government services on demand can be a ground breaking initiative in this direction.

Furthermore in the 2018 Budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley should consider reducing the corporate tax rate from the current 30 percent. This has become extremely important in the light of changing tax dynamics across the globe. The changes introduced in the US Tax Code including reduction in corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, abolition of alternate minimum tax and allowing carry forward of losses for an indefinite period are significant. Lowering of tax rates will help India Inc. to remain competitive. Additionally, it will also lead to an increase in entrepreneurship.

India has the potential to become the largest startup market in the world, provided the Government focuses on the contours of channels of growth, which will boost digital inclusion, innovation, and manufacturing to create multi fold employment opportunities. The upcoming Budget 2018 is yet another opportunity for India to decisively push its digitalization strategy.

The vision of Digital India requires considerable investment and a sustained push to create better infrastructure and development of talent to support this transformation. I expect this budget will also actively promote digital transactions in order to make India, a less-cash economy. A policy thrust will be given to increase digital footprint in the country by capping cash transactions.

The government initiative of JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and Mobile) i.e. one billion unique Aadhaar numbers linked to one billion bank accounts and one billion mobile phones is a game changer in this area.

If we can combine the efforts in government policy and innovation that young Indians are creating today, India will leapfrog the technologies of yesterday and emerge as the engine of global growth. 

I am confident of the Indian IT industry’s long term growth potential. The global resource shortage estimated in the global IT industry has opened a window of opportunity for the Indian IT outsourcing industry. To leverage this, the budget should focus on building the most innovative companies in India and bringing the best global innovators to India.

India is one of the most promising markets and holds the potential to become the largest market in the world. India could vault and become a 10 trillion dollars economy. To achieve this, India needs to be competitive - people should want to start businesses in India and move to India and not vice versa.

The world is transforming and we are in the middle of the single largest transformation the world has even seen since the industrial revolution nearly 250 years ago. Data is the next natural resource, like air, oil, water, and the convergence of big data and cloud powered by AI and ML is a potential multi-trillion dollar opportunity.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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