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Guest Column: Budget spurs a renewed hope and positivity among marketers

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Guest Column: Budget spurs a renewed hope and positivity among marketers

The digital revolution aided by technology advances came into prominence with the PC, continued with the Internet, and has now become an avalanche with mobility. The difference between the digital revolution and other revolutions (that came before) like Gutenberg printing revolution is the speed at which it has scaled up to sweep through our society across the world – while the latter took two centuries the former has taken only a few decades. The big contributing factor for this is the evolution of access devices and the decoupling of Internet from PC to less expensive mobile screen.

For this to be sustained there needs to be incentive for growth and support from Government via reduced taxes, duties and cost on equipment which will bring down the cost of access and more importantly cost of devices. Making the cost of access devices like PC and mobile cheaper in Budget 2014 has been a step in the right direction. The proposed National Rural Internet and Technology Mission and the pan India `Digital India’ programme for broadband connectivity and other IT facilities at village level will help bridge the digital divide between Bharat and India.

If the railway budget hinted at the new government’s digital leaning- the Union Budget has underlined it further. The proposed Rs 10,000 crore start-up fund; the entrepreneur-friendly legal bankruptcy framework; and the district level Incubation and Accelerator Programme will herald a new generation of digital start-ups and entrepreneurs in the coming years. E-commerce will receive a boost with manufacturing units being allowed to sell their products online. Finance Minster has also accepted the importance of digital/digital enabled learning by allocating Rs. 100 crore for setting up virtual classrooms (CLICK) and online courses; and the proposed National Centre for Excellence in Animation, Gaming and Special Effects.

There has been one dampener though. The Budget two years back which exempt advertising media from service tax had brought good cheer, particularly to growing sectors like digital and outdoor. This Budget has now reversed that with service tax being applicable on online and mobile advertising. This will be a setback for the growing digital media marketing industry in India and will adversely impact digital media adex. But above and beyond this, there is a renewed hope that the new government will take decisive steps to revive the economy, improve the market sentiment and increase the consumer spending fast –since, that is really when marketers come to the party!

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