With the government’s push for digitisation across the board, the information & technology and telecom players are expecting a Union Budget that will try to strengthen cyber security and make broadband available to all that will in turn catalyse digital payments.
“As India digitalises rapidly, holistic approach to cyber security is a pre-requisite to foster and sustain trust of all the stakeholders — consumers, businesses as well as government,” said Sanjay Rohatgi, Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific and Japan, Symantec.
“The government should consider setting aside at least eight per cent of its overall IT budget specifically for cyber security starting with the upcoming budget,” Rohatgi said.
After the demonetisation in November 2016, the Indian government is trying hard to change over the country’s cash-based economy to a digital one.
To succeed in this mission, the country needs good broadband connectivity throughout the length and breadth of it.
“Given the government’s focus on increasing broadband connectivity, especially in the rural pockets and push towards making India a less cash-dependent society, some measures should be announced to boost the broadband penetration in the rural parts of the country,” the ICRA said.
“Infrastructure companies should be encouraged to install towers in rural areas and telecom operators should be incentivised to improve network connectivity in those areas.
“Steps like allocation of more finances in a centralised fund to boost infrastructure creation in rural areas or providing some tax waivers could be initiated,” the investment information and credit rating agency added.
“The smartphone sector is eagerly awaiting for a consumer friendly budget which will promote positive sentiment among the people and will help to further strengthen the economy,” said Akshay Dhoot, Head, Technology and Innovation, Videocon.
“We believe that upcoming budget should address and encourage alternative ways for payments, especially cashless transactions and offer additional benefits on digital payments,” Dhoot added.
“Further, we expect differential duty on mobiles to continue as it has helped the Make in India. Videocon believes that the government will announce a budget that will favour local manufacturing and support government’s Make in India and Start-up India campaigns,” he said.
“The telecom industry has always been pro-development and has favoured a streamlined taxation policy with no unwarranted tax litigation,” said Rajan S. Mathews, Director General, Cellular Operators’ Association of India.
“In order to ensure a uniform tax practice among taxpayers and eliminate unwarranted litigation, it is important for the Government to clarify that section 35ABA of the Income Tax Act, which is applicable from 2016-17, regulates spectrum allocated after April 1, 2016,” Mathews added.
“It is recommended that India Budget News depreciation on computers and computer software should be retained at the current rate of 60 per cent on computers,” said Hemant Joshi, Partner, Deloitte in India.
“Further, telecom hardware products have also same or shorter life as computers and therefore it is recommended that rate of depreciation in relation to computers, and IT and telecom hardware products should also be enhanced,” he added.
“In the Union Budget of 2017, we want to draw the government’s attention towards investment allowance being given under section 32 AC. At present this investment rebate is limited to companies that are in the business of manufacturing products,” said G.V. Kumar, founder, CEO and Managing Director, XIUS, the telecom subsidiary of Megasoft.
“Other sectors, for example developing and building an infrastructure facility, telecom infrastructure service providers, core telecom technology creators, creation of broadband facility etc, are equally important and the investment advantage should be extended to these companies,” he added.