Union Budget for 2017-2018 was announced on 1st February 2017, where Finance Minister introduced the new initiatives and allocated funds, some of which may directly or indirectly impact the telecom sector. Mr. Arun Jaitley announced Rs 745 crore incentives for electronic manufacturing in the country which is expected to benefit the device makers and handset makers of the country. The Finance Minister said that the government has so far received over 250 investment proposals worth Rs 126,000 crore in the electronic manufacturing sector to make phones and television sets in India. The government has taken another important step where it will allocate Rs10,000 crore for expanding the BharatNet project in FY18. By 2017-18-end high speed broadband will reach more than 150,000 gram panchayats via Wifi hotspots.
Also, as part of a recent initiative called ‘Digital Village’, the government will be deploying free Wi-Fi in 1050 rural villages in the country. Tower-mounted Wi-Fi hotspots at remote locations in the country will be installed which will allow villagers to use the service on their cell phones. The project would go on for next six months. Mentioning last year’s spectrum auctions, Jaitley said that the auctions had helped the telecom industry move to a scenario of spectrum surplus from spectrum scarcity, and will further help in broadband connectivity.
As announced in the latest budget, the government will also launch two schemes to promote the use of BHIM app to encourage digital transactions. So far, 1.5 core people have adopted the BHIM app. Another initiative called ‘Digi Gaon; will be launched to promote tele-medicine and education. As part of a big move for the technology industry, the government has proposed to decrease tax rate of companies of Rs 50 crore turnover by 5%, which is a big boost for start-ups.
To promote cashless transactions and digitization, Aadhaar-enabled payment system is to be launched soon and banks will be encouraged to introduce 20 lakh Aadhaar-based POS. The government has proposed to rope in IT giants Infosys, TCS to provide core-banking support to cooperative banks. To promote online booking of train tickets, service charges on e-tickets on IRCTC will be withdrawn. Moreover, IRCTC will be listed on stock exchange.
Details of the Union Budget 2017-18 can be seen from the link :