The Bhartiya Janata Party today released its manifesto for the Elections 2019, in which it lays out 75 goals to be achieved by 2022; see other political parties tech manifestos here. The BJP is not specific about its gameplan, and does not elaborate on plans regarding Aadhaar, surveillance, Digital India, or Smart Cities. The BJP has not made one comment on demonetisation, although it said GST has reduced tax rates and increased compliance. The manifesto makes no mention of e-commerce, except for promising to develop such a platform for organic farming products.
The manifesto does advocate further development of the fintech industry in India seeing the “unprecedented success of Jan-Dhan”; it aims to increase financial inclusion via a by creating a new data-sharing framework “that builds on the success of Jan Dhan and Aadhaar platforms while ensuring data privacy and security.”
(The manifesto is appended at the bottom)
Tech Goals for 2022
Some technology related goals for 2022 are listed below, and other material from the manifesto is below that.
- Ensure adequate market avenues for the realisation of MSP through e-NAM, GrAMs and Pradhan Mantri AASHA Yojana.
- Work towards digitising land records.
Education and Health
- Aim to cover all the secondary schools under Operation Digital Board.
- Target provisioning of telemedicine and diagnostic laboratory facilities at all health and wellness centres to ensure quality primary medical care to the poor at their doorstep
- Start developing smart railway stations across India.
- Work towards equipping all main railway stations with Wi-Fi facility.
- Further improve India’s rank in ‘Ease of Doing Business’ ranking
- Strive to ensure reduced tax rates, higher tax collection and greater compliance.
- Work towards ensuring a stable taxation regime.
- Achieve complete digitisation and modernisation of courts.
- Promote and increase digital transactions.
- Ensure end-to-end digitisation of government processes.
- Enable digital delivery of government services.
- Work towards digitisation of collections in all national museums.
Other promises and comments:
- The BJP promises that every Gram Panchayat is connected through a high speed optical fiber network by 2022. Note that the BJP had promised in 2014 to set up a National Optical-Fibre Network down to the village level.
- Provision of services such as telemedicine, tele-education and agriculture related advisories via village level high speed broadband service
The BJP promises to improve the start-up ecosystem by:
- Creating 100 ‘Innovation Zones’ in Urban Local Bodies
- Easing regulatory requirement for startups
- Targeting time spent for tax compliance at 1 hour per month
- Facilitating establishment of 50,000 new Startups in the nation by 2024
- Setting up 500 new incubators and accelerators by 2024
- Initiating ranking of Central Ministries, departments, State Governments and CPSUs for their increased engagement with startups
- Promotion of startups via creation of a ‘Seed Startup Fund’ of Rs. 20,000 crore.
- Will support businesses started by individuals from Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Communities, or Economically Weaker Sections under the ‘Standup India’ initiative.
Youth and Startups
- New scheme to provide collateral-free credit up to Rs. 50 lakh for entrepreneurs
- Government will guarantee 50% of the loan amount for female entrepreneurs and 25% of the loan amount for male entrepreneurs.
- New ‘Entrepreneurial Northeast’ scheme to provide financial support to the micro, small and medium industries and for employment generation in the Northeastern state.
The BJP says that the Jan Dhan Yojana was an “unprecedented success” and has “dramatically improved financial inclusion in India.”
- The BJP will take further steps to ensure access to bank branches, payment banks and banking correspondents by creating a new data-sharing framework “that builds on the success of Jan Dhan and Aadhaar platforms while ensuring data privacy and security.”
- The scheme will provide access to banking facilities within a radius of 5 km.
- Will launch a tech-enabled program for broader financial literacy
- Will enact legislation to create an International Financial Services Centre Authority to put in place a robust regulatory framework
- Continue and increase the ongoing incentives to expand digital transactions.
Science and Technology
- Will define a new Science Mission for development of two specific technologies; artificial intelligence and robotic research
- Aim to spread science and technology investment from central to state institutions through a National Research Foundation in partnership with States.
- Launch of a Language Translation Mission to enabled ready translation of English text in Science & Technology and humanities in any of our languages. This will deliver texts bilingually
- “The supercomputer, artificial intelligence and quantum missions will make India not only Industry 5.0 ready but also a leader.”
- Digitization of Land Records – “On the lines of Aadhaar project, we will complete digitization of land records on a mission mode.”
- Interest-free Kisan Credit Card loans – Short-term new agriculture loans up to Rs. 1 lakh at a 0% interest rate for 1-5 years on the condition of prompt repayment of the principal amount.
- Launch a dedicated e-commerce portal to enhance the availability of organic produce to the doorsteps of consumers.
- Creation of a mobile app based system for promoting the availability of agri-implements on rental/custom hiring basis.
- Ensure adequate market avenues for the realisation of MSP through e-NAM, GrAMs, and Pradhan Mantri AASHA Yojana.
- Extensive use of technology to ensure better knowledge of the market prices of agroproducts
- Development of young agri-scientists to leverage artificial intelligence, Machine Learning, Blockchain technology, Big Data analytics etc. for more predictive and profitable precision agriculture.
- The BJP said it uses the PRAGATI (Pro-active Governance and Timely Implementation) platform to greenlight major projects via video conference with offcials across the country.
- Promises to set up a committee for Easing Citizens’ Interactions with Government (CECIG) to work with experts in reforming citizen’s interface with the government for taxes, business compliance, and other rules and regulations
- Will expand ‘Technology Centres’ for MSMEs to 150 centres by 2024, and will expose MSMEs to artificial intelligence, robotics, IoT, VR, blockChain and Zero Defect Zero Effect.
- The Technology Centres, along with other centres for MSMEs and NSICs incubation centres alone would provide skills to over 6 lakh people per year
- Promises to establish National Traders’ Welfare Board and create a National Policy for Retail Trade for the growth of retail businesses
Taxation and GST
- The BJP said its economic policy has been guided by lower tax rates and improving compliance; it will continue this policy lowering of tax rate “thereby rewarding honest tax payers and improving compliance”.
- Simplification of GST process engaging in dialogue with all stakeholders; claims that GST has lowered taxes and increased revenue collection, and increased revenue in the states by 50% in three years
Industry related laws
- Will amend the Companies Act to impose civil liability for technical and procedural defaults of a minor nature thus unclogging the majority of the cases from the courts
- Promises to announce a new industrial policy to improve competitiveness of manufacturing and services with “to gear up” for technologies like artificial intelligence and electric mobility.
- Will invest in creating clusters/networks to build competitiveness in cutting edge industries. Public procurement and government incentives will be used actively to build up these clusters and encourage job creation.
- Launch of a National Urban Mobility Mission to provide technology-based urban mobility solutions to all urban local bodies and increase the use of public transport, enhance walkability and cycle use.
- The mission will incentivize cities to use public transport systems including metro, trains and and private operators such as bus operator, private taxi operator, auto-rickshaw, e-rickshaw services, pedestrian and cycling infrastructure.
- The party will also promote a common mobility card/ ticketing across different modes of transport.
Road and Railways
- Wants to become a world leader in e-mobility; 10,000 crores have been allocated to launch promote clean energy and battery operated vehicles.
- Launch of program for railways station modernization
- Will provide all main railway stations with Wi-Fi by 2022.
- Ensure electrification of all railway tracks by 2022.
- Faster customs clearance of international cargo by relaxing clearance procedures, introducing self-declaration etc and adopting new scanning technology.
- Will provide adequate financial and institutional support for exporters and export organizations to build capacity and equip them with adequate information to ensure unhindered expo..s.
- Aim to cover all the secondary schools under Operation Digital Board.
- Will initiate smart classrooms starting with secondary classrooms
- Will incentivize industry to collaborate with our scientific labs and technological institutions