The union budget 2022-23 presented by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman February focused more on investment in capital expenditure keeping in mind the future next 25 years (considered as Amrit Kal) in boosting up the economy and creating more jobs. Also the budget focused on delivering the basic amenities to the poorest of the poor what we call the antyodaya- like constructing 80 lakh houses which will be completed for the identified eligible beneficiaries under PM Awas Yojana, both rural and urban and Rs 48,000 crore is allocated for this purpose. Also Rs 60,000 crore to cover 3.8 crore households in 2022-23 for Har Ghar, Nal Se Jal – the Jal Jeevan mission is been allotted.
Presently 8.7 crore households have tap water access of this 5.5 crore households were provided tap water in the last 2 years itself. PM kisan Yojana designed to help the farmers, PM garib Kalyan yojana under which 80 crore people below proverty line were given free ration during the pandemic also helped the poor. Budget also focused on digitalization and plan to improve the technology sector, render better services to everyone from urban to rural, rich to poor. The steps taken for digitalizing India were discussed below sector wise:
- 5G network: Mobile network played a crucial role during the pandemic for education where students attended online classes. Finance minister had proposed that 5G network would be brought during this financial year. Present day nationwide around 50,000 villages don’t have mobile network. During the economic survey of Orissa in 2018-19 around 10,000 villages didn’t have mobile network. In India, people having internet connection to the mobile services stood at 38%. Even states with highest literature like Kerala, where people in Munnar need to move 6 kms to get internet connection to attend academic classes. Spectrum auction will also be conducted in this year to deliver better internet service even to these remote areas.
- Broadband connection: As per WHO survey, increase in broadband connection by 10% can increase GDP of a nation by 1.38 %. Under BHARAT net scheme, central government has planned to provide minimum 100mbits/second broadband connection to 2.5 lakh gram Panchayats covering 6.25 lakh villages spread around 6,600 blocks, 640 districts with 7,00,00 Wi-Fi hotspots. As per the economic survey, till date 5.46 lakh Kms optical fiber cable was laid, of which 1.73 lakh gram Panchayats have been connected by optical fiber cover and 1.59 lakh gram panchayats were ready for service by September 27,2021. The fund for this project will be 5% of annual collection under ‘Universal Service Obligation Fund’ .
- Increased production of Smart phones: India has emerged as second largest manufacturer of mobile hand sets up from 6 crore in 2014-15 to 30 crore mobile phones in 2020-21 and manufacturing units increased from 2 in 2014 to 200 units in 2020-21.Increase in smart phone production will make availability for even the poor by cost deduction.
- Digitalisation for education: During the covid pandemic, students all over the nation have attended the classes through online. During this budget, the plan is to increase “One class, One TV channel” from 12 to 200 channels in all states under PM e-Vidya. This will help in implementation of National education policy, improve the skills of teachers and students and can be accessed even in the rural areas. The budget allocated was increased to Rs 1.04 lakh crore from Rs 93,224 crore (Budget estimate) in 2021-22 under Samgra Siksha Abhiyan. Also, Digital Ecosystem for Skilling and Livelihood – DESH stack e-Portal to improve the skills of students has been implemented.
- Digital currency: After lifting ban on cryptocurrency on March 2020 by RBI, there were increased transactions of cryptocurrency in India. Worldwide around 2.23 lakh crore dollars was invested by people in cryptocurrency. In India alone 10 crore people have invested 75,000 crore dollars in cryptocurrency. With center government proposing 30% tax on cryptocurrency, India has put upon a view that it’s not going to ban cryptocurrency unlike China.
- Digital University: With a good demographic dividend, the median age in India being 28 years which is less than China and US with a median age of 37, it’s time for India to utilize the youth of the nation to build up economy. Also, the gross enrollment ration (GER) for higher education in India is 27.3% in prepandemic year 2018-19 compared to China which has GER of 51%. It also becomes important how many are able to get employment following higher education. Yearly 1.3crore join jobs in India, of which many are not skilled even after graduation. This brings focus to develop skills from childhood onwards for which the National education policy (NEP) has been brought and also it needs to be implemented at higher education level to develop an effective work force. Keeping in mind this a digital University has been brought into picture were in various central and international universities can be brought to the door step to get a powerful, unique skilled force and there by curtail the unemployment. India presently has 2 digital universities -Indian institute of information technology (IIITM-K )and the other one in Jodhpur. This new digital University will be developed in hub and spoke model were many public universities in collaboration with industries for courses will be as a hub and they can be used to skill, reskill, upskill professionals even to the remote areas .
- Digital Post offices to be brought to banking system: Though once an extensive network and it vital role was played by post offices for delivering messages in the form of letters , telegrams,etc, their role present day in performing these activities had dwindled down. To better utilize them, the government decided that 1.5 lakh post offices nationwide to be linked up with banking system to bring financial inclusion of persons and bring unbanked customers into the financial frame network. This will enhance digital banking system.
- Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comic (AVGS): As per a report given by Sequoia India and Boston collaboration group, the gaming industry in India with a revenue of $1.5 billion is expected to raise to $5billion by 2025. There are nearly 300 million gamers in India. When combined with the coming 5G spectrum services this would boost up the gaming sector further. The gaming sector would become in future ‘ create in India’ and ‘brand in India’. Also the tax extension for 4 years would boost up the gaming sector with new startups lining up and increasing the job opportunities to the youth.
- Nation digital health ecosystem: As per National digital health mission proposed by Prime minister Shri Narendra Modi on August 15, 2020 steps have been taken forward and an announcement of Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission with a budget outlay of Rs 64,180 crore over a period of 5 years was proposed. Last 2 years of pandemic had shown the weakness of healthcare in our country and time has come to invest more on health and research , upgrade existing institutions and digitalize health records of all people of the country. This year budget was prioritized on digitalization of healthcare services, Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission and focus on development of 23 tele mental health centers as a part of National Tele Mental Health Programme.
- Digital aid to farmers: The estimate of drone turnover in India is said to raise from Rs.8000 crore in 2021 to Rs. 12,000-15,000 crore by 2025-26 by a survey done by union civil aviation ministry. Presently 90% of drones are imported. Agriculture contributes to 18% of India’s GDP and 58% of population are dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. To support drone utilization in agriculture, central government will provide 100% funding (10 lakh) for Krishi Vignan Kendras, training institutes and 75% funding for drones purchased by Farmer producer organizations (FPOs). Drones can be used to monitor crops health, monitor irrigation, assess damage of crops and spray pesticides(especially recently where locust swarms had damaged the crops). To promote drone manufacturing in India, central government taken steps to promote domestic sector like
- Production linked incentive (PLI) scheme for a period of 3 years worth Rs. 120 crore. This would attract investments of Rs. 5000 crore over a period of 3 years
- Ban of completely built up, semi-knocked down or completely knocked down drones ( except for defense and security) to promote domestic sector. But drone components exempted from import
- No need of license to operate non commercial drones < 2 kg and pilots can get remote pilot certificates from any of the 12 directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) approved drone schools through single window Digital sky platform instead from the regulator.
- Data center, Energy storage system: Data centers ad energy storage system to be classified under infrastructure bring more investments in this field. Its expected for the data storage to double from 499 megawatts in the first half of 2021 to 1008 megawatts by next year.
- MSMEs: Udyam, e-Shram, National Career Service (NCS) and Atmanirbhar Skilled Employee-Employer Mapping (ASEEM) portals will be interlinked. Udyam is a government portal to register new MSMEs. e-Shram developed by government to have database of people working in all unorganized sectors. NCS shows all the available employment services, jobs available, job matching and information on skill development courses. ASSEM portal connects supply of skilled workers as per the market demand providing opportunities for the youth thereby fighting unemployment.
- E-Passport services: They are similar to normal passports with microchip and would have storage of the entire personal data and travel history.
- One nation -one registration system: The Digital India Land Records Modernization Programme (DILRMP), a Central Sector scheme was initiated long back and presently 90%of land properties were digitalized in India. National Generic Document Registration System (NGDRS) a one site linkage for uniform registration is been initiated to decrease the fraudulent transactions and to ease the process of registration.
From the beginning of Modi government formation, steps were taken to make digitalization drive forward like demonetization, JAM (Jan dhan, Aadhar, Mobile linking), promoting united payments interface (UPI) transactions. Steps taken in this way like increase in budget allocation by 67% for the digital india programme up from Rs. 6,388 crore in 2020-21 to Rs. 10,678 crore in 2021-22 is an illustration of Modi governments target. The aim is to bring socioeconomic and financial inclusion of every citizen of India. With these target, Modi government had set on in converting corporeal agrarian country to digital Bharat.