India’s Union Budget 2022-23 focusses on a technology driven economy

India’s Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2022-23 in Parliament today. In her Budget 2022-23 speech, she declared that India would report an economic growth of 9.5%, which would be the highest among all economies. This year’s budget is laying foundation for the beginning of 25 years to India’s 100 years of Independence in 2047, termed as Amritkaal.

The Union Budget 2022-23 presented the vision for new India in a progressive light with emphasis on technology for all round development and a smart way to drive the nation towards future. “Under sunrise opportunities, Artificial intelligence, geospatial systems and drones, semiconductor and its eco-system Space Economy, Genomics and Pharmaceuticals, Green Energy, and Clean Mobility Systems have immense potential to assist sustainable development at scale and modernize the country. They provide employment opportunities for youth, and make Indian industry more efficient and competitive,” said Sitharaman.

According to the “Artha” Report, India’s geospatial economy would reach INR. 63,100 crores by 2025.

Aligning geospatial technologies with modern needs

FM Sitharaman has announced government’s support to use Kisan drones for land assessment, digitization of land records, spraying insecticides and nutrients as well as to provide NABARD loans to agri-startups. She also stated that 163 lakh farmers have received INR 2.73 lakh crores in direct payments for the 2021-22 crop procurement by the Centre.

“Union Budget 2022 has announced the PM Gati Shakti program as one of the priority areas of the government. Seven engines of the PM Gati Shakti initiative are roads, railways, airports, ports, mass transport, waterways and logistics infra. As the Indian economy moves towards strengthening these initiatives, geospatial technology will gain more prominence in the process. As shared by the Hon’ble Finance Minister, the Gati Shakti program would involve huge investments in construction of about 25,000 Kms of highways, multimodal transport, and modernization of land records. These are welcome steps, and GIS and other geospatial technologies will facilitate efficient implementation of these schemes,” says Agendra Kumar, MD, Esri India. Geospatial data and technologies can help in more efficient execution, thus, it is important to expand the reach of GIS through sufficient funding support, he adds.

“To reap the full benefits of this policy shift, Digital India should prioritize the creation of 3D national digital twins of our environments (water, road, rail, cities & rural) to track and monitor ailing structures and utilities, transportation project planning and maintenance, 5G digital connectivity, disaster response and recovery, autonomous vehicle and intelligent transportation, land records management, ecology and biodiversity conservation, and sustainable resource management,” says  Dinesh Babu, VP- Presales and Technical, Geokno.

National Digital Twin ecosystem increases efficiency, generates high economic values, and facilitates better decision making for maintaining the social-economic-and environment continuum.

Efficient use of land resources

In her budget presentation Sitharaman emphasized on efficient use of land resources. She said, “States will be encouraged to adopt Unique Land Parcel Identification Number to facilitate IT-based management of records. The facility for transliteration of land records across any of the Schedule VIII languages will also be rolled out.”

She also focused on the adoption or linkage with National Generic Document Registration System (NGDRS) with the ‘One-Nation One-Registration Software’ will be promoted as an option for uniform process for registration and ‘anywhere registration’ of deeds and documents.

Department of Land Resources has been engaged in creating a pan-India platform of digitally integrated land records management and information system, with active support of all states and Union Territories. Land Records digitization and modernization under DILRMP is a monumental work for generations of people of India. All these initiatives like ULPIN, NGDRS and multilingual land records are citizen friendly initiatives to bring in more transparency, accessibility and accountability in governance and to achieve ease of living and ease of doing business for an Atma-nirbhar Bharat,” states Sonmoni Borah , IAS, Joint Secretary to Government of India, Department of Land Resources.

Making India digitally equipped

Sitharaman also confirmed that the Reserve Bank of India will issue a digital rupee soon. The digital currency by RBI will be based on blockchain technology, the tech behind Bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies.

She said, “Digital currency will also lead to a more efficient and cheaper currency management system. It is therefore proposed to introduce a digital rupee using blockchain and other technologies, to be issued by the Reserve Bank of India, starting 2022-23.”

She further added that a new crypto tax will be introduced under which virtual digital assets will be taxed at 30 percent. She clarified that no set off will be allowed in case of losses.

Covid 19 pandemic accelerated the process of digital transformation. It has pushed people and businesses to adopt new ways to do things and reorient their behaviors. The government’s announcing the Drone Rules 2021 and production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for the drone industry has given a push to drone industry. Many drone companies in India have signed new deals to start large-scale, commercial business-to-business (B2B) drone operations in 2022.

She also added that start-ups will be promoted to facilitate ‘drone shakti’ through varied applications and for drone-As-A-Service (DrAAS).

Neel Mehta, Co-Founder & Director, Asteria Aerospace (Jio Platform Company) states, “As announced by the Honorable Finance Minister in the Union Budget, the focus on using drones to drive sustainable development through Drone Shakti and Kisan Drones initiatives is a welcome move by the Indian government. This will kickstart the fourth industrial revolution by leveraging drone technology for digitization in agriculture, infrastructure and rural development and generate new-age employment opportunities for the youth of the country.”

He further adds, “Asteria Aerospace is proud to support the government’s mission by manufacturing best-in-class indigenous drones and providing end-to-end drone solutions for national security, infrastructure inspections, agriculture and land surveys.”

Vipul Singh, Founder & CEO, Aarav Unmanned Systems (AUS), says, “The Union Budget presented by the Hon’ble Finance Minister ensures supercharged growth for the drone industry in India in the years to come. The budget duly recognizes the key role drone technology is playing in solving some really tough to solve problems for sectors like land records, infrastructure, mining, disaster management, and agriculture. Furthermore, the announcement of Drone Rules 2021, the PLI scheme for the drone industry, and subsidies for drones to be used for agriculture applications have provided a fillip to the sector. In Budget 2022, the announcement of the ‘Drone Shakti’ program will continue to strengthen the sector further making it at least a $5B market in India available primarily for domestic companies. This will enable further innovation in the sector and fuel growth with further adoption of drone tech and ‘drone-as-a-service’. The opportunities, emphasis, and support being provided to this emerging sector will help drone start-ups extend their portfolio across agriculture, digitization of land records, railways, mining, renewable energy, telecom, etc., and will lead to a paradigm shift for a new Digital India.”

Sitharaman also said the Credit Guarantee trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) scheme will be revamped with required infusion of funds. This will facilitate additional credit of INR 2 lakh crore for MSE and expand employment opportunities.

“Department of space has been allocated approx. INR 1,000+cr more than last fiscal’s estimates which is a good sign for the growing space sector. This will be helpful in making sure Gaganyaan keeps on track and will translate into the stability and growth of the entire sector, with the sustenance of existing business and birth of new ones.

The attention in the budget on initiatives related to PLI schemes are positive markers for manufacturers and Make in India schemes,” says Awais Ahmed, CEO, Pixxel.

The FM announced that the government will hold spectrum auctions to facilitate launch of 5G in FY23.

  • 5G to enable growth and job opportunities
  • To set up panel to promote audio visual, gaming sector
  • To launch PLI scheme for 5G equipment
  • To complete laying optic fiber for all villages by 2025

The FM said, “for developing India specific knowledge in urban planning and design, and to deliver certified training in these areas, up to five existing academic institutions in different regions will be designated as centres of excellence. These centers will be provided endowment funds of INR 250 crore each. In addition, AICTE will take the lead to improve syllabi, quality and access of urban planning courses in other institutions.”

Encouraging circular economy action plans

The FM announced that India will issue sovereign bonds, which will be part of government’s borrowing programme in FY23, for funding green infrastructure. The funds will be used for projects that will help reduce carbon intensity of the economy.

Low carbon development will be the key to creating jobs. Solar power domestic manufacturing INR 19000 crore for production linked incentive. Circular economy action plans for 10 sectors are ready. Time for creating the infrastructure, said the finance minister

Usage of the electric vehicles (EV) ecosystem in India has shown a lot of intent & innovation, and now is at a tipping point. With the announcement of funding green infrastructure, the future of shared EV mobility looks promising.

Amit Gupta, Co-Founder, YULU Bikes, says “Union Budget 2022 has 3 key announcements related to the EV sector.

– Standards for battery interoperability and recognition of business models like Battery-as-a-Service are much needed reforms. Yulu, as India’s largest ‘swappable battery’ operator with the largest shared EV fleet, looks forward to working with the Government & other EV players to strengthen the ecosystem.

– Creation of special mobility zones for non-fossil fuel vehicles will help drive adoption of EVs in cities. Over the last 3 years Yulu has been working with several city authorities for the same, and we are glad that it has been formalized in this budget.

– Increased outlay for FAME will incentivize shift to EVs and we are hopeful that the Ministry of Heavy Industries will expand the scheme to include Low Speed EVs which account for 90% of EV sales.

Access to affordable finance continues to be a challenge for the industry and we hope that there are some provisions in the budget to make EVs a priority lending sector.”

Solutions like shared EV mobility make a lot of sense for a populous nation like India, because it gives an easy entry point into EV adoption while optimizing the use of vehicles and reducing carbon footprint.

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