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Budget 2023: Top Tech Policy Takeaways from Nirmala Sitharaman’s Speech

From the Budget 2023 speech: key highlights of all that matters for tech policy

Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is all set to present the final Union Budget before the 2024 General Election. In this live blog, we bring to you all tech-policy updates from Sitharaman’s speech starting at 11 a.m. on February 1, 2023. Stay tuned.

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Tech policy updates from the India’s Budget 2023: 

  • Budget 2023 hopes to build on previous Budget, says Nirmala Sitharaman. For a quick round-up on the Budget 2022 session, visit here 
  • Finance Minister puts India’s rising ‘global profile’ down to to several accomplishments, including “unique world class digital public infrastructure” like Aadhar, Co-Win, and UPI.
  • Sitharaman says digital public infrastructure for agriculture will be built as an “open source and interoperable public good”. Outcomes include crop planning, credit, insurance, crop estimation, and helping agritech industries and start-ups
  • “The G20 presidency will give India a unique opportunity to help strengthen a new world order”. What opportunities does the summit provide to India to influence global internet and tech governance? Check out our two-part explainer here
  • 3 Centres of Excellence for Artificial Intelligence to be set up in top institutions, Sitharaman announces. Leading entities will partner in conducting disciplinary research in agriculture, health, and sustainable cities.
  • The National Data Governance policy will enable access to anonymised data. Know-Your-Customer process to be simplified, adopting a risk-based approach instead of one size fits all approach. Read what the IT Minister of State said about collection of anonymised data at G20 here

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  • The KYC process will be simplified, adopting a risk-based approach instead of ‘one size fits all’ approach, says Sitharaman
  • ‘One stop solution for identity and address’ maintained by various government agencies will be established using Digilocker service and Aadhaar as foundational identity
  • For business establishments that require a PAN, the document will be used as a common identifier for all digital systems of specified government agencies.
  • A national cooperative database is being prepared for country-wide mapping of cooperative societies.
  • A national digital library for children and adolescents will be set up with “device agnostic accessibility”. Will this translate as a step forward for narrowing the digital divide and improving access to the internet and education for children? 
  • To end the need for separate submission of same information to different government agencies, a system of Unified Filing Process will be set up on a common portal. The government has proposed similar “unified” systems like the Unified Health Interface, while Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is already in operation and popular. 
  • To enable more fintech services, scope of documents available in DigiLocker for individuals will be expanded. An ‘Entity DigiLocker’ will be set up for MSMEs large businesses and charitable trusts.
  • The government has launched an online training platform called iGOT, which provides training opportunities to government employees.
  • To promote ease of doing business, more than 39,000 compliance 3,400 legal provisions have been decriminalised, the Finance Minister said. However, compliance burdens has been a major concern for stakeholders with respect to social media and content regulation, or the CERT-In’s cybersecurity directives. 
  • Skill development program Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana to be launched, will provide training in Industry 4.0 skillsets like coding, AI, IoT, Drones, 3D printing, mechatronics and other soft skills. The timeline given is three years.
  • For international opportunities, 30 skill India international centres will be set up across different states. The Finance Minister also announced a ‘unified skill india digital platform’ for facilitating access to entrepreneurship, job opportunities, etc.

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