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More Technology, Give Me More: All Hail a Budget Promoting AI and Blockchain

Be it a political strategy that science and tech departments received only marginal allocation increases but that, one of PM larger campaigns, Digital India' allocation went 2x, the Government is speaking a lot about new, newer and the newest technologies.

Recognizing the strategic change in the technology world, Finance Minister in his budget emphasized promoting cutting edge technologies – machine learning, artificial intelligence, internet of things, 3D printing, and the like.

To settle the dust for once and for all regarding cryptocurrencies, particularly Bitcoin, the Finance Minister announced that the Government of India does not recognize the non-fiat crypto currencies as legal tender.

However, the Government will encourage the usage of distributed ledger system or the block chain technology which allows organization of any chain of records or transactions without the need of intermediaries and this would also include the possible introduction of fiat cryptocurrency by Reserve Bank of India.

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.” - Anand Bhushan, Partner at leading law firm Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas


“From doubling the outlay for promoting digital economy for the next year and plans to speed-up digitisation with initiatives such as implementing five lakh WI-FI hotspots to providing internet to rural citizens, connecting one lakh gram panchayats via internet cables, announcing a national program to direct efforts in artificial intelligence and increasing digital intensity in the education sector are welcome steps. However, as more technology use grows amongst people so would the need to become aware of cyber threats.” - Surendra Singh, Country Director, Forcepoint

“It is clear that in terms of vision of making India a digital economy, there is a sharp focus on encouraging new age technologies like blockchain, AI, ML and 3D printing. In the coming months, as a research team takes shape under the guidance of Niti Aayog, to develop applications, startups working in this segment will get a fillip. There may be an option of collaborating with the research team to explore joint avenues to use AI for serving citizens of this country. The Government plans to use the might of AI in many government’s online initiatives related taxation and other citizen-centric services to fulfill the vision of ‘ease of living’, this is likely to have a huge positive impact on the overall business sentiment.” - Ajay Ramasubramaniam, India Director, Zone Startups

We can certainly expect to see more excitement for investing in areas of artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, big data and quantum communication.

As Niti Aayog sets up a national program to conduct R&D on artificial intelligence and machine learning, more advanced forms of algorithms will come into existence and it will make the adoption of these technologies easier and more reliable. As an immediate effect, the insurance industry which has seen an umpteen number and varieties of chatbots, will become more user friendly and sound more and more like a human.”  - Pushan Mahapatra, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, SBI General

After all is said and done, the aim of promoting new technology is to make the lives of Indians better

“The Increase of allocation to Rs 3 lakh crores to Mudra Bank and the Health protection scheme- ‘Áyushman Bharat’ hold considerable promise for the micro enterprises. I am hopeful that Mudra Bank will explore direct lending as well as refinance of lending to micro enterprises – to improve the effective deployment of the budget allocation. Medical shocks is a significant reason for stress in micro enterprises and the health cover under ‘Áyushman Bharat’scheme’ will do considerable good to the families of micro enterprise owners and their employees.” - Sanjay Sharma, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Aye Finance

Digitisation and formalisation seems to be the mantra, with the Finance Minister stressing on the growing digital economy and increased allocation to aid digital transformation. The government initiating a new plan on NPAs also shows the importance of rising bad loans with India currently ranking fifth in the world. We hope that this plan would help shift focus on the importance of good credit as a countermeasure.” - Ranjit Punja, Chief Executive Officer and Cofounder, Creditmantri

Standard deduction has been reintroduced but at a cost, it takes away medical reimbursement and travel allowance. There were several demands to raise medical reimbursement from 15,000 and bring it up according to current prices (the amount has been same since more than a decade). However, now the clamour for raising this limit will die down. With this, for a salaried, the amount taxable under salary shall be reduced by Rs 5,800. While cess will go up by 1 percent. Senior citizens have much to rejoice and will face much lower burden of taxes, this is especially crucial in the falling interest rates from banks and deposits.” - Archit Gupta, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, ClearTax

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