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Budget 2023: IT Industry expects more funds for talent development, digital skilling

It is an opportune time for India to invest in new-age digital technology

Cognizant plans to hire more than 23,000 STEM graduates and post-graduates from technical institutions in India | Reuters (File) Representational image | Reuters

The technology sector in India expects more funds for talent development and digital skilling besides more investments in emerging technologies. Additional focus on upskilling professionals, and focus on emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Leraning (ML) are some of the main expectations that many stakeholders in the IT sector have from the government.

A few IT experts also hope that the budget includes measures that can help better industry-academia connect to make India a hotbed of technology innovation and digital transformation services for the world.

“Despite recent global headwinds, we have seen consistent growth in the technology sector. With the rapid technology adoption across sectors, we are well poised to become a $5 trillion economy soon. With cloud and data technologies becoming the de-facto standard for businesses to operate, Gartner estimates that public cloud spending in India will grow 27 per cent YoY in 2023. Amidst this, there is a need for the government to focus on incentivising the use of cloud services and deep tech like AI, blockchain etc., across industries,” pointed out Puneet Gupta, vice president & managing director, NetApp India and SAARC.

Gupta said upskilling talent in an environment driven by technology will be critical and the government has made great strides towards this, through the 'Skill India' programme. “In this year's Union budget, it would be good to see more investments and programmes in upskilling, as this is an important factor towards achieving the collective Digital India dream of our nation.”

Many representatives from the IT industry also feel that with the rise of new-age technologies such as AI and the proliferation of internet access all across India, it is an opportune time for India to invest in new-age digital technology.

“The budget must focus on investing in technology R&D, product innovation, technology solutions and services and ensuring 5G services all over the country. The budget must consider investments in state-of-the-art incubation centers which can digitally transform ideas from all over India into sustainable businesses of today and giant corporations of tomorrow. A simultaneous investment in skilling human capital to use these technologies is paramount,” remarked Kunal Nagarkatti, chief executive officer, Clover Infotech.

A few other stakeholders from the technology industry point out that cyberattacks are increasing in scale and complexity, making it one of the biggest threats enterprises face today and there is an urgent need to build a talent pool that is equipped to handle new-age sophisticated attacks.

“It would be welcome if the Union budget places a focus on bridging the cyber security skills gap and increasing awareness around the same. We are hopeful that the government will take cognizance of this, and increase spending on skilling and training initiatives. In the long run, this will help create employment opportunities, as well as build defenses against threat attackers,” said Sunil Sharma, managing director sales, Sophos India and SAARC.

Many IT industry experts also believe the Indian tech industry today stands on the cusp of the next leg of explosive growth and transformation from being a global IT service and outsourcing leader to becoming an IP-led software products and platforms powerhouse and it would be great if in this year’s Union budget initiatives and incentives are announced to give an impetus to make-in-India software products and platforms, thus creating the next generation of global leaders. “The game-changing success and global renown of the Indian stack and platforms such as Aadhaar and UPI should give us a lot of confidence in India’s ability to lead the world in creating IP-led, global-scale platforms. This will significantly enhance our economic growth and global influence. At the same time, it is imperative that Indian industry and government institutions focus intensely on taking a leadership position in building and deploying AI on a global scale. A well-thought-out initiative that provides an enabling policy framework, as well as industry incentives in this area, would be very welcome,” said Ashish Rai, vice chairman and president, Aurionpro Solutions.

Then there are a few representatives from the IT industry who want tax advantages and subsidies that will hasten the development of India's data centre hub as India in particular is quickly becoming one of the main nations for global data. “India needs to think about localising such data, hence expanding data centres is crucial. For India to become a centre for data centres, it must adhere to international norms. In order to secure consistent, inexpensive electricity and connectivity that meets international standards, data centres need more support and assistance. Additionally, cyber security is becoming complicated and calls for extensive discussion. Networking switches, a crucial component of any network, are among the foundations, in my opinion. From the standpoint of cyber security, a Make in India product in this market will help and defend us. They should focus on this key sector, it is thought, in order to prevent losing sight of it in favour of other cyber security issues,” pointed out Sanjay Lodha, CEO of Netweb Technologies. 

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