Though India has produced many giants in IT services sector, it is yet to see a tech firm of a global scale like Microsoft or Google or Facebook. The interim budget presented by FM Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday hints at the disappointment as well as scouting for global opportunities using the inherent strength of Indian entrepreneurs and companies--- which is in developing affordable technologies for mass outreach like UPI, Aadhar and 4G network and services.
Sitharaman said this would be a golden era for our tech-savvy youth and she announced a corpus of ₹1 lakh crore for providing fifty-year interest-free loans for innovation in sunrise sectors. “The corpus will provide long-term financing or refinancing with long tenors and low or nil interest rates. This will encourage the private sector to scale up research and innovation significantly in sunrise domains. We need to have programmes that combine the powers of our youth and technology,” she said in the budget speech.
The government wants startups and private sector firms to invest in emerging opportunities like AI, renewable energy, electric cars, defence and semiconductor manufacturing. Firms from the US, Europe and China have already taken the lead in these areas with advanced innovations.
The government has implemented large-scale digital infrastructures like UPI, Aadhaar and ONDC. In the private sector, telecom companies like Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel created large 4G networks and expanded their newly launched 5G services.
“New age technologies and data are changing the lives of people and businesses. They are also enabling new economic opportunities and facilitating the provision of high-quality services at affordable prices for all, including those at ‘bottom of the pyramid’,” FM said. She added that the opportunities for India at the global level are expanding. “India is showing solutions through innovation and entrepreneurship of its people,” she said.
“A new scheme will be launched for strengthening deep-tech technologies for defence purposes and expediting ‘amanirbharta’,” Sitharaman said.
Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also emphasised India's role as an incubator of innovation, mainly through the successful digital public infrastructure.