Budget 2020: Rs 6,000 crore allocated for Bharat Net

A policy will be rolled out to enable private sector to build data centre parks throughout the country, the Finance Minister said in the Budget Speech

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Feb 1, 2020 6:12 PM
Union Budget 2020

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the first Union Budget of this decade made several announcements with the focus being on turning around the economic condition of the country.

Providing a further push to Digital India, Sitharaman said in her Budget speech: "Data is the new oil. We will soon roll out a policy to enable private sector to build data centre parks throughout the country.”

Fibre to Home connections under Bharat Net will be provided to 1 lakh gram panchayats this year itself with Rs 6,000 crore being kept aside for Bharat Net.

Manufacturing of smartphones and electronics will be more of ‘Made in India’ soon, she said.

On the announcements, this is what industry leaders had to say:

Ashish Bhasin, CEO, APAC & Chairman India, DAN
 I think this is a good budget in some ways because it has attempted to put money in the hands of the middle class through rationalisation of tax rates as well as has concentrated on looking after the agricultural sector, including introduction of best practices like storage for producers and other measures. However, I do feel that the expectations from the budget were much more and it does feel like a bit of a missed opportunity.

While it is good to see that the dividend distribution tax has been abolished, I expected more on the rationalisation of direct taxes, particularly the cess introduced over and above the tax rates.

It is good to see efforts being made to encourage new-age skill development as well as helping the start-ups and what's particularly interesting is the proposal to set up data centre farms all over the country. This will prepare India for the economy of tomorrow. It is also good to see attempts at simplification of taxation through digitisation but the proof of the pudding will lie in seeing its implementation on ground.

It would be fair to say that at best it is a mixed budget and while there are some encouraging decisions, enough does not seem to have been done for the situation the economy is in.

Anand Bhadkamkar, CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network
The budget has provided relief to middle class with lower tax rates which is a welcome move, as it will provide more liquidity. On direct taxes, abolition of DDT and also introduction of tax dispute resolution scheme is a welcome step alongside tax reliefs for start-ups. The budget is focusing on ease and simplification of compliance, with changes in corporate laws as well as in GST and direct taxes. However, I was expecting further simplification in cess and surcharges beyond tax rates across slabs etc. The proposals regarding development of road infrastructure, setting up data centre parks and skill development initiatives are welcome steps in addition to allocations for social welfare schemes.

However, the expectations from the budget were high on the background of current economic slowdown, and as such seems to be short on matching those expectations, with no specific industry sector focused sops providing the stimulus. While the budget is focusing on long-term growth and social development, overall in the current scenario it looks like a mixed budget, falling a bit short of market expectations and more corrective measures.

Chetan Asher, Co-founder & CEO, Tonic Worldwide
This budget makes me optimistic about the growth of digital ecosystem. Firstly the Rs 6,000-crore allocation towards BharatNet will give last mile connectivity the impetus that it needs and pave way for digital transformation at all levels. Allowing private players to build data centers and encouraging production of mobile and network devices will compliment each other in growing the ecosystem.

Nachiket Pantvaidya, CEO, ALTBalaji & Group COO, Balaji Telefilms
The overall budget has been exemplary with equal consideration given to entrepreneurship, job creation and youth of the nation. We appreciate the step to promote digital connectivity through its Bharat Net programme and connecting 100,000 gram panchayats through optical fibre network. This is one more important step in the direction of achieving the vision of a digital India where rural India gets placed on the digital map.

Apaksh Gupta, CEO, One Impression
We are absolutely thrilled that the government has recognized data as one of the driving forces of the economy. The digital industry thereby requires a solid approach towards data centres, allowing to create incredible content and streamline or automate processes. This policy will create tremendous benefit the digital growth of the nation.

Amit Doshi, Founder & CEO, IVM Podcasts 
For digital media to flourish in India it's important that there be minimal latency when people are trying to consume content. A strong policy promoting local data centre parks is one of the critical steps needed to move into an instant on demand world.

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