Budget 2019: IT sector can benefit from focus on emerging technologies

The government's aim is to train 10 million people in emerging technologies

IT office rep Representational image

The focus on emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, IoT and robotics is expected to benefit the IT sector. Broadly, the budget's emphasis on improving skill sets in these technologies will further help meet the new age skill requirements of the sector. The government's aim to train 10 million people in emerging technologies is expected to expand this new segment.

“The government’s efforts to improve the skills of our youth in newer areas such as AI, big data and robotics will definitely help the Indian IT services sector ride the digital transformation wave. Such initiatives can ensure that the country achieves its target of becoming a $5 trillion economy by 2025,” said Somesh Misra, VP Operations, Deskera, a business management software provider.

Some experts such as Suman Reddy, MD of Pegasystems India, feel that the government has acted systematically, following up on its earlier technology-related announcements. “The government has put the first foot forward with skilling focus on emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics, which is a follow up from its earlier technology-related announcements during the interim budget, including a national AI centre and the Digital India vision. However, the government has not elaborated further to NASSCOM’s recommendations to show its commitment with an initial fund of Rs 500 crore, and incentivise corporates to impart skill training by promoting spending,” said Reddy.

Technology experts believe that the government's vision to train people in new emerging technologies will help in expanding the segment as there is immense demand. “Training support for advanced technical jobs in the space of AI, IoT is a welcome move. We welcome the government's vision to train 10 million in industry-relevant skills like AI, IoT, and Big Data because these industries will be much larger for India in the next 3-5 years as compared to what we have seen in IT over last two decades,” remarked Rashi Gupta, chief data scientist and co-founder of Rezo.AI.

Technical education experts are also confident that the government's strong focus towards new and emerging technologies will help create a data-enabled India. “With the evolution of exponential and disruptive technology for effective use of data in different types of the business ecosystem and for better decisions, the initiative of the government is highly commendable. This move will help catalyse career options for young professionals and create synergy with global trends,” observed Dr Abhijit Gangopadhyay, Dean, Aegis School of Data Science.

The IT industry's body NASSCOM also feels that government’s intent to enhance digital skills in emerging technologies is a positive step and the need of the hour. The industry body has expressed its desire to work with the government to understand the implementation process for the roll out.

However, the industry body feels that the one of the key exclusions in the budget was a conducive policy for Special Economic Zones, leaving it as a missed opportunity for India as other countries continue to provide benefits to enterprises.

“The SEZ benefits shall end in March 2020, but there is no clarity on the new SEZ policy or an indication of what is to come. The Economic Survey had clearly called out the need to focus on large companies to achieve the $5 trillion dream, and we believe that, on this count, the budget falls short. A consistent ask from the industry has been a forward-looking SEZ policy to strengthen India’s position as a global hub for IT Services. This sector contributes 7.9 per cent to the GDP and is one of its largest contributors, and creates around 4 million jobs, hence a lack of incentives will impact India’s image as a destination,” according to a NASSCOM statement.