Budget 2017: After DeMo, govt. announces sops for digital infra & economy


NEW DELHI: Stating that the budget for 2017-18 was on the agenda to “Transform, Energise and Clean India” in a RAPID (Revenue, Accountability, Probity, Information and Digitisation) way, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced various concessions for pushing ahead digital economy, which indirectly may benefit some segments of the media and entertainment sector.

Under the BharatNet Project, 1, 55,000 km optic fibre cable had been laid in the country. The allocation for BharatNet Project had been increased to Rs 10,000 crore in 2017-18. By the end of 2017-18, high speed broadband connectivity on optical fibre will be available in more than 1, 50,000 gram panchayats (village administrative offices), with wi-fi hot spots and access to digital services at low tariffs. A DigiGaon or digital village initiative will be launched to provide tele-medicine, education and skills through digital technology, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.

The allocation for OFC-based network for defence services had also been increased from Rs 2710 crore in the last budget to Rs 3000 crore in 2017-18.

Coupled with push towards digital payments for services, including in the broadcast and cable segments, investments in the internet infrastructure and telecom equipments will likely have cascading benefits for the media sector too, especially those offering video streaming services on phones and other hand-held devises.

The finance minister said a shift to digital payments has huge benefits for the common man. The earlier initiative to promote financial inclusion and the JAM trinity were important precursors to government’s current push for digital transactions.

In a budget, which for the first time since independence was presented on 1 February instead of the last day of the month, Jaitley said an eco-system was being created to make India a global hub for electronics manufacturing. Over 250 investment proposals for electronics manufacturing had been received in the last two years, totalling an investment of Rs 1.26 lakh crore. A number of global leaders and mobile manufacturers have set up production facilities in India. “I have therefore exponentially increased the allocation for incentive schemes like M-SIPS and EDF to Rs 745 crore in 2017-18. This is an all-time high,” he added.

A major announcement by Jaitley was the abolition of the Foreign Investments Promotion Board (FIPB) and further liberalisation of FDI policy for which necessary announcements will be made in due course.

Jaitley said: “Our government has already undertaken substantive reforms in FDI policy in the last two years. More than 90 per cent of the total FDI inflows are now through the automatic route. The FIPB has successfully implemented e-filing and online processing of FDI applications. We have now reached a stage where FIPB can be phased out”.

He said the telecom sector was an important component of Indian infrastructure eco-system. He claimed the recent spectrum auctions have removed spectrum scarcity in the country and this will give a major fillip to mobile broadband and Digital India for the benefit of people living in rural and remote areas.

In a boost to domestic industry, a special additional customs duty of 2 per cent is being levied on Populated Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) for use in the manufacture of mobile phones, subject to actual user condition.

Noting that India is on the cusp of a massive digital revolution, Jaitley said there was evidence of increased digital transactions. The BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) app would unleash the power of mobile phones for digital payments and financial inclusion. A total 12.5 million people had adopted the BHIM app so far, Jaitley said, adding that the government will launch two new schemes to promote the usage of BHIM: referral bonus scheme for individuals and a cash back scheme for merchants.

Aadhar Pay, a merchant version of Aadhar Enabled Payment System, was being launched shortly. This will be specifically beneficial for those who do not have debit cards, mobile wallets and mobile phones. A Mission will be set up with a target of 25,000 million crore digital transactions for 2017-18 through UPI, USSD, Aadhar Pay, IMPS and debit cards. Banks have targeted to introduce additional one million new PoS (point of sales) terminals by March 2017 and they will be encouraged to introduce two million Aadhar-based PoS by September 2017, the finance minister said.

Jaitley said the Government will consider and work with various stakeholders for early implementation of the interim recommendations of the Committee of Chief Ministers on digital transactions. The Committee on Digital Payments, constituted by Department of Economic Affairs, had recommended structural reforms in the payment eco system, including amendments to the Payment and Settlement Systems Act 2007.

In a boost for digitisation, the government has removed service tax on e-tickets booked through IRCTC (Indian Railways’ website).

According to a PTI report, after a flat day time trading Sensex zoomed 485.68 pts to close at 28,141.64.

Latest Reads

Govt extends support to M&E sector in fighting digital piracy

NEW DELHI: The government of India yesterday stressed that it stood alongside the media and entertainment (M&E) industry in fighting digital piracy to safeguard loss of revenue and ease norms for doing business, while CII entertainment committee head and Viacom18 group CEO Sudhanshu Vats.

Specials Event Coverage Occasions
M&E industry to hit Rs8 trillion revenue by 2022: report

According to a report published by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), India’s media and entertainment (M&E) industry is expected to reach revenue of Rs7.5-8 trillion by 2022 from an estimated Rs4.5 trillion in 2017. Over the next five years, the industry...

Specials Event Coverage Occasions
ATF’s first Animation Pitch announces winners

MUMBAI: As the Asia TV Forum (ATF) draws to a close today. The event saw several activities such as an exciting round of on-stage pitches where producers from all over Asia presented their ideas, the winners of the inaugural Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF) Animation Pitch and the unveiling of the...

Specials Event Coverage ASIA TV FORUM
Indian OTTs to be in focus on day 2 of ATF

MUMBAI: Singapore-based Reed Exhibitions’ Asia TV Forum (ATF) will commence today with 60 countries taking part. The first day will see sessions based on content, advertising and the evolution of storytelling and digital traditions and innovation Ninety thought leaders will deliver fresh insights...

Specials Event Coverage ASIA TV FORUM
'It is criminal for TV not to think of social change' - PMC's Kriss Barker

For most programming executives and managements in TV companies today, television is all about running on a treadmill chasing ratings, viewership, and the concomitant revenues, followed by the next bonus and promotion. Every trick in the creative book and outside it is resorted to keep the...

Specials Event Coverage Occasions
ATF 2017 attracts Indian content studios, both big and small

MUMBAI: Singapore-based Reed Exhibitions’ Asia TV Forum (ATF) is round the corner and the buzz around the event only seems to be ramping up. This year, the forum will see around 60 countries from all over the globe. From 28 November to 1 December 2017, more than 90 thought leaders will deliver...

Specials Event Coverage ASIA TV FORUM
Singapore's ATF 2017 promises more than ever

Reed Exhibitions’ Asia Television Forum (ATF) is back. And Asia’s leading content market cum conference which brings together Asia’s broadcasters, digital platforms, distributors, studios, content creators to strike deals amongst each other and other international buyers and sellers from ---...

Specials Event Coverage ASIA TV FORUM
MIPCOM 2017 - Content Really is King!

Eye-opening, international, new content for multi-platform that fully embraced digital and VR were my key takeaways from MIPCOM 2017. The world may be going digital but content will always be king!

Specials Event Coverage Mipcom
Chhota Bheem becomes Mighty with Netflix

CANNES: The studio behind the popular animated show Chhota Bheem, Green Gold Animation has been commissioned by Netflix to make an exclusive 13-episode series on its trademark show. Paradoxically titled Mighty Little Bheem, the series is set to be released in August 2018. Each episode of Mighty...

Specials Event Coverage Mipcom

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories