Tech-Experts present a list of the key highlights for the budget for 2023

Tech-Experts present a list of the key highlights for the budget for 2023

For the last two decades, India has been on the path to establish tech supremacy. The country’s burgeoning digital economy is poised for expansion, and its contribution to the government’s aim of a $5 trillion GDP by 2025 is going to be undoubtedly crucial. With the announcement of the Union Budget 2023-24 by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman only a few days away, the industry is hopeful for a major boost from the government.

With India emerging as a global hub for digital capability and the roll out of 5G services in the country, the tech sector in the country is looking forward to a period of growth and stability propelled by fresh policies and other provisions from the upcoming budget announcement. The industry has been a propellant for positive change for years, as it braces itself up for new ones.

We have curated an interesting collection of budget expectations from renowned industry leaders. Please let me know if you are working on any story that would benefit from the expert commentary, or if you would like to explore it in the form of a guest article.

Appended below are the budget expectation quotes from tech leaders.

Vinod Nair, Global VP of Sales and General Manager Noventiq India, said, ''The 2023 budget will be crucial for the IT industry as many headwinds globally impact one of India’s largest employers. In the past decade, Indian IT startups have preferred to have their corporate headquarters in the US or Singapore due to those countries' favourable tax and compliance environments. If this year’s budget addresses this by providing more lenient and flexible compliance to startups, it will attract more investments and ensure that homegrown IT startups remain in India.

Additionally, the use of digital technology and the prevalent geo-political situation has created opportunities for cybercriminals waiting to exploit vulnerabilities. We have seen a significant rise in cyberattacks, resulting in the loss of confidential data and money for businesses.  Therefore, cybersecurity must be a top priority from the very beginning of digitisation to ensure digital transformation. The government should look at the loss of money to cybersecurity as a loss not just to businesses but to the government. 

The future belongs to Digital India, and we can secure it by investing in cybersecurity rather than doing damage control after a cyberattack. As India prepares to become more digitally literate, we must strengthen our defences against cyber-attacks by improving data protection and having a much-stronger policy in place for all sectors.

In summary, as the Prime Minister, in his last independence speech, spoke about the next decade for India being a “techade”, the complete IT industry, with its importance in this journey, will be expecting many policies favouring the IT industry.''

Jesal Doshi, Deputy CEO, B Medical Systems,  said, “Focusing on this year's significant stories is essential as we cautiously enter 2023. The widespread vaccination effort, which immunised over 100 crore people, was a significant victory for the Indian government. All throughout the world, nations praised this courageous deed. We anxiously await the government's announcement of funds for the initiatives we want it to prioritise this year. Spending more money on vaccinations is one of the goals, especially across the board in the healthcare system. India must have the right tools since the fight against COVID-19 is far from over.”

“Considering the drastically dropping immunisation rates, it also necessitates acting quickly. The government must enact stricter regulations for the storage and delivery of these life-saving vaccines to both the public and private sectors. Additionally, stress the significance of using certified, top-notch medical grade equipment. Once more, they must consider a more long-term framework to guarantee that immunisations are accessible in India's rural areas.”

“We believe that separating the medical cold chain from commercial refrigeration and establishing a specialised business could aid in expanding the sector. To make it simpler to create dependable medical cold chain chains, the government should reduce import fees on necessary components.”

Raj Sivaraju, President of APAC, Arete, said, India's economy is rapidly advancing and will play a significant role in boosting the global economy. The country's technology industry will attempt to identify the cybersecurity investment necessary for the tech sector as the government is scheduled to propose its budget for FY2023–24 in a few weeks. With the rapid implementation of technology initiatives and programs, the lowering of administrative backlog, and inclusive development in 2023, the cybersecurity industry is expected to generate US$2.37 billion in revenue. Security Services is the market's biggest category, with a US$1.19 billion market volume anticipated in 2023. By 2027, the market is projected to generate revenues with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.61%, amounting to US$4.09 billion. The country's IT industry will closely monitor the spending on requirements for digital public infrastructure, capability building, and incentives for enhancing cybersecurity services.

Priya Ranjan Panigrahy, CEO and Founder of CEPTES Software, said, Digital India Program is a great initiative for companies like start-ups, SaaS based and new-age companies. We are creating the SMB booster program in cloud space which enables small businesses to get into the digital transformation very quickly without much hassle, which can take care of sales, service, marketing automation and also connecting to finance operations like automatic e-invoice and automatic billing solutions can be done. We also do KYC solutions which can be so easy to adopt. The budget will be focusing on measures that support growth and innovation in the software and SaaS industry. Support for the development and adoption of new technologies such as cloud computing artificial intelligence, machine learning and the Internet of Things.

Technology Clusters in tier 1 cities in India; while there are IT talents every corner in India they are forced to move to tier 1 cities. As a result, big cities are enduring infrastructure issues. Govt. must come-up with a special budget for booming IT infrastructure in tier 2, or Tier 3 cities as well to take-off the load from big cities. Measures to address the skills gap in the IT industry and support for training and upskilling of workers. Tax incentives for companies that invest in research and development. This year's budget may also include measures to address concerns around data privacy and security, as well as efforts to increase the adoption of digital technologies in various sectors.

Sujit Patel, Founder and CEO, SCS Tech, said, With the world moving to digital products and services, cybersecurity becomes very important for individuals and companies to take care of their digital assets like sensitive data, PII (Personally Identifiable Information), PHI (Protected Health Information), intellectual property to name a few.

While speaking about cybersecurity threats as malware, spoofing, phishing or third-party data breaches one should implement the minimum cybersecurity requirement as per their scenario, corporates should pay enough attention to latest cyber security tools, security employees’ training and education, controlling physical access to their digital data, in-time updates for the software; making proper backups of the information, and securing the internet connection. Like they say, ‘Prevention is better than cure’.

Manoj Paul, Managing Director, Equinix India, said, “The data center market in India has seen substantial growth in the last few years. India's continued digital push and exponential data growth have resulted in strong demand for digital infrastructure. The recent report states that the Indian data center industry market size was valued at USD 4.35 billion in 2021 and is estimated to witness investments of USD 10.09 billion by 2027, with a CAGR growth of 15.07% during 2022-2027.
The Indian domestic market is huge and very exciting for players like Equinix,. and we hope for favorable policies that fuel growth and investment in the sector and help India emerge as a 'global data center hub’. In this context there are two areas of immediate attention:
India requires a strong ICT infrastructure, with investments in undersea fiber networks linking the country with other nations, between and within cities, and cable landing stations, all of which is crucial for a digital economy. In the last few years, India has improved significantly with existing and new carriers laying fiber and offering 100G/200G wavelengths and aims to scale up to 600G/800G. However, there is a demand for huge investments to place additional fiber within India specially connecting Datacenters  and Cable Landing stations within the same citiy and in different cities across the country for the demand for new age dark fiber to support surge in bandwidth and redundancy. To support 5G deployment, all base stations and mobile towers must be linked over fiber for improving bandwidth availability to customers, this is critical for the success of 5G and hence necessary for accelerating growth in data consumption. Additional investment in fiber is also required to decrease the bandwidth costs of connecting data centers across the country. The industry is looking forward to favorable changes in the policies which will encourage new investors like Datacenter service providers, new age telecom service providers supported by OTTs, cloud service providers and data center service providers among others to deploy new age  fiber networks within the country to meet the growing demand. Dark fiber policy has been the ask for data centers and OTTs and CSPs which if fulfilled will fuel the growth of data centers and align India with other countries which allow dark fiber and improve Ease of Doing Business index of India.
Data centers need big amount of power, in 10s of MWs going upto 100 MW. This would need significant investment from the power distribution companies to meet the deamding and we expect the government to make provision in the budget for this investment. Data centers consume uniform power across the day and night and also pay much higher tariff than domestic users and hence should be seen as profitable customers justifying the investment. Availability of sustainable power is another significant factor which impacts the growth of data centers. The government can increase focus on sustainable energy and make provisions in the budget  for green data centers and big investments for power generation and improvement in power distribution infrastructure so that the upcoming demand of power requirement  for the data centers  can be fulfilled efficiently. The industry has also pointed out the changes needed in power distribution policies to allow the data center industry to use "Green Power” more effectively and clear roadmap for data protection policy.”