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Current status of some of the Indian government’s technology initiatives


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PRS Legislative has done an analysis of what the President of India said in his budget speech last year, in terms of the signals that he gave to the Government of India in his speech, and the current status of the projects he mentioned or the focus areas he talked about. View PRS’ pdf here. Some excerpts that are relevant for MediaNama readers are reproduced below, with permission from PRS. Do see the complete document, because it references information from across government portals, press releases and responses to parliamentary questions:

  1. Simplifying the tax regime
    • What the President said: “To put in place a simplified, progressive and non-adversarial tax regime”
    • Current Status:
      1. The Constitution (101st Amendment) Act, 2016 was enacted in September, 2016 to allow for the levy of a Goods and Services Tax (GST). (For more details on the Act, see here)
      2. Model Central and State Goods and Services Tax Bills, 2016 were introduced in November 2016. The Model Central/ State GST Bills provide for the levy of: (i) the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST), (ii) State Goods and Services Tax (SGST), (iii) levy of integrated Goods and Services Tax and (iv) compensation to states. (For more details on CGST, SGST and IGST, see here.)
  2. Jan Dhan Yojana
    • What the President said: “Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana has gone beyond opening of bank accounts, by offering basic financial services and security to the poor”
    • Current status:
      1. As of January 2017, around 27 crore accounts have been opened under the scheme.
      2. Out of these, 61% of the accounts are in rural areas. Presently, 25% of the total accounts are zero balance accounts.
  3. Post offices as payments banks
    • What the President said: “Proposed Postal Payment Bank of India to boost financial inclusion IT modernization project involving computerization and networking of 1,55,000 post offices in the country to be completed by 2017”
    • Current status:
      1. India Post Payments Bank received approval from the Union Cabinet in June 2016 and incorporated in August 2016. 650 branches are proposed to be opened by September 2017
      2. IT modernisation project includes core banking and insurance solutions. It was implemented in 23,054 post offices while 967 ATMs were installed, as of December 2016. As of 2014-15, 1,54,939 post offices were functional in the country. (Details)
  4. Ease of doing business
    • What the President said: “Efforts are made to enhance Ease of Doing Business by encouraging state governments and fostering competitive cooperation among them”
    • Current status:
      1. A 340-point Business Reform Action Plan for states/UTs was released in October, 2016. The average implementation of business reforms undertaken by the states/UTs increased to 49% when compared to the average of 32% in the previous year. More here.
      2. An Expert Committee on Prior Permissions and Regulatory Mechanism submitted its report to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion in February, 2016 (a copy of the report is here).The Committee made a number of recommendations related to multiple clearances, standardization of products, streamlining forest clearances, etc. (For more details on the report, see here)
      3. The Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was passed by Lok Sabha in August, 2016. The Bill raises the overtime work hours limit to 100 hours from 50 hours per quarter. It also permits state and central governments to make rules on issues such as double employment and periods of rest. (For more details on the Bill, see here)
  5. Startups
    • What the President said: “Start-Up India campaign has been launched to deepen, expand and support the innovation eco-system in the country”
    • Current status:
      1. Start-ups incorporated between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2019 are exempt from income tax for three years as per Finance Act, 2016.The status report is here.
      2. Out of 1,368 applications to be recognized, 502 have been recognized as start-ups. Among these, eight start-ups have been approved for availing tax benefit, as on January 4, 2017. Details here.
      3. Establishment of a fund of funds for start-ups has been approved in July, 2016. The corpus of the fund is Rs 10,000 crore over a period of four years. Details here.
  6. Online MSME registration
    • What the President said: “Udyog Aadhar Portal has been set up to facilitate online registration of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)”
    • Current status: As of November 2016, 19.6 lakh MSMEs out of 57.2 lakh MSMEs were registered on the portal. Details here
  7. Smart cities
    • What the president said: “Second and third stages of smart cities programme are on the anvil”
    • Current status
      1. In September 2016, 27 new smart cities were announced.78 Previously, 33 cities were selected under the programme. (For more details, see this and this).
      2. Budgetary support of Rs 48,000 crore is proposed under the scheme over five years (2015- 2020). During the years 2015-16 and 2016-17, Rs 4,572 crore was released to 98 cities. See this.
  8. Crime against women
    • What the President said: “Several measures to ensure safety and security of women have been launched: Emergency Response Systems, a Central Victim Compensation Fund, Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children, and Organized Crime Investigative Agency and an Integrated Emergency Response Management System for women’s safety on the railways”
    • Current status (from what is relevant from a tech perspective)
      1. Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children: The initiative was proposed with an estimated cost of Rs 244.32 crore
      2. Integrated Emergency Response Management System: It was proposed with a project cost of Rs 500 crore. 983 railways stations were nominated for installation of CCTV cameras under Nirbhaya Fund. See this.
  9. Online agriculture marketplace
    • What the President said: National Agriculture Market (NAM) is working towards setting up a common e-market platform to connect 585 wholesale markets across the country
    • Current status: As of December 2016, 250 mandis in 10 states have been integrated with e-NAM Portal. Rs 93 crore has been released to integrate 399 mandis with e-NAM. As on December 27, 2016, 35 lakh tonnes of agriculture produce worth Rs. 7,131 crore has been transacted on e-NAM platform. See this.
  10. Electronics Manufacturing:
    • What the President said: “Setting up world-class infrastructure for electronics manufacturing across the country.”
    • Current Status: Electronic Manufacturing Clusters (EMCs) scheme was launched to provide financial assistance for setting up electronic manufacturing units. As of December 2016, 13 EMCs have been approved in 10 states. See this.
  11. Spectrum
    • What the President said: Policies like spectrum trading and sharing have been finalized for optimum utilization of resources”
    • Current Status: Auction of 2354.75 MHz of spectrum in various ranges (700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz) was conducted in October 2016. Out of this, 964.8 MHz was sold in all ranges of except 700 MHz and 900 MHz. See this.
  12. BharatNet:
    • What the President said: Under BharatNet, Digital India, National Optical Fiber Network is being revamped to rapidly take broadband connectivity to villages
    • Current Status: As on February 29, 2016, more than 96 thousand KMs of optical fibre have been laid. See this.

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