New Delhi, Feb 1 (PTI) The announcement of Rs 1 lakh crore corpus for research and innovation in the technology sector in the interim Budget is a "positive measure" that will spur growth, COAI said on Thursday.
The body also expressed hope that the industry's wishlist including plea for lower levies will be duly considered in full budget post-elections.
The interim Budget has reemphasised the government’s economic policies and the commitment to sustained growth, improving productivity and creating opportunities with a focus on skilling and reskilling, said the industry body whose members include Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and others.
"The announcement of a corpus of Rs 1 lakh crore for the technology sector is a positive measure as access to capital is a critical factor to support innovation and growth," S P Kochhar, Director General of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), said.
The long-term, interest-free or low interest rate loans and focus on deep tech will further encourage the private sector to scale up research and innovation, according to COAI.
"We are hopeful that in the post-election full budget, the industry’s suggestions to reduce regulatory levies like license fee, deferring USOF contribution till the existing funds are exhausted, exemption of Basic Customs Duty (BCD) on telecom equipment, waiving of GST on regulatory payments and refund of ITC, among others, will be considered and addressed by the Government during the course of the year," Kochhar said.
Presenting the interim Budget on Thursday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman promised "a golden era" for the tech-savvy youth.
"For our tech savvy youth, this will be a golden era. A corpus of rupees one lakh crore will be established with fifty-year interest free loan. The corpus will provide long-term financing or refinancing with long tenors and low or nil interest rates," she said.
Sitharaman further said the move 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 asserted.
The finance minister informed that a new scheme will be launched for strengthening deep-tech technologies for defence purposes and expediting ‘Atmanirbharta’.
It is pertinent to mention that the full Budget will be presented by the new government after the Lok Sabha elections.
COAI's Kochhar said that the industry is hopeful that their telecom sector-related wishlist will be considered in the full Budget.
TR Dua, Director-General, Digital Infrastructure Providers Association (DIPA) said the interim budget epitomises the government's unwavering commitment to path of progress, combining the need of modern infrastructure with a green revolution. PTI MBI MR