Union Budget 2017: Telecoms Supports Government’s Digital Push

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With the announcement of India’s Union Budget 2017 – the government of India has further made clear its intentions on strengthening digital enablement infrastructure and telecom industry has express its support on this.

Jay Chen, CEO, Huawei India, commented, “We at Huawei Telecommunications India are pleased to note that the current budget strongly supports the progressive vision of a Digital India set by Hon’ble Government. The allocation of Rs 10,000 crore towards BharatNet will give an overall boost to broadband connectivity in the country. The success of the BHIM app and announcements related to its promotion, Aadhar based swipe machines, and tax exemption to those who use Aadhar based POS machines, will all help accelerate acceptance of digital payments. Furthermore, initiatives like ‘Digital Village’ and ‘Digi-Gaun’ will significantly extend the benefits of digitization to rural India and contribute to a Better Connected India”

Dr Anand Agarwal, CEO, Sterlite Technologies, said, “Overall, it’s a very positive and progressive budget. We welcome the Government’s move to initiate additional corpus and schemes to empower rural development, especially post demonetisation. The goal to create a smarter digital infrastructure pan India continues with the allocation of Rs 10,000 crore for BharatNet. This is a major step towards delivering high-speed, last-mile connectivity at the grass root level through optical fibre in 1,50,000 gram panchayats by the end of 2017-18.

With the FM focusing on mobile broadband, rural broadband and Digital India for the benefit of people living in rural, remote and urban areas, we anticipate a strong push to build broadband highways in the country. This is another step towards the realisation of the ‘Broadband for All’ vision, and will bring true broadband experience to the masses. With this, we look forward to exponential growth in smarter digital infrastructure through large-scale fibre network deployments in the country.”

G.V. Kumar, Founder, CEO & Managing Director, XIUS, explained, “Megasoft is extremely supportive of the 2017–18 Union Budget. The Government’s “Transform, Energize and Clean (TEC) India” agenda showcases their thrust in changing the face of India.

The announcement of an ambitious target of INR 2500 crore worth of digital transactions across payment platforms such as UPI, USSD, IMPS, Aadhaar Pay, tax exemptions on digital transaction equipment, referral bonus and cash-back for consumers and merchants to promote BHIM are all evident of the Government’s vision of a digitalized India.

The renewed focus on enhancing Optic Fibre Network and efficient spectrum management augur well for overall sentiments of the industry. Initiatives such as INR 10,000 crore for Bharatnet, Swayam platform for imparting rural education again complement the telecom industry. MVNOs will also likely benefit from the initiatives and measures laid out in the budget.

Besides, the 5% tax reduction for MSME units up to a turnover limit of Rs 50.00 crores is a welcome move. Megasoft is completely in sync and geared up to match the Government’s vision of India’s ICT-enabled transformation”.

“Overall a very positive budget. Reduction of corporate tax rates from 30% to 25% for MSME firms will definitely encourage investors and corporates. Some of the steps taken will definitely increase foreign direct investment and lead to employment generation which will be good for country”- Dr. Rishi Bhatnagar, President, Aeris.

Expressing his opinion on the budget announcements, Vishal Malhotra, Tax Telecom Leader, EY India, said, “The FM while acknowledging the importance of the telecom sector for the economy as also the digital initiative of the government, hasn’t proposed much for the telecom sector at least in his budget speech. Extension of the period for claiming MAT credit to 15 years from 10 year presently as well as extension of period for availing lower withholding rate of 5 percent on External Commercial Borrowings and Masala Bonds, is expected to benefit the industry. The relaxation in transfer pricing compliance on specified domestic transactions, should also assist in lowering the compliance burden of the telecom players other than those who continue to claim profit linked incentives.”