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Government Increases Digital India Funds by 23%

Increase in Digital India Funds
Image credit: digitalindia.gov.in

The government, in the budget for 2020, has increased funds for the Digital India initiative 23% to INR 3,958 crores (around US$5 54,905) compared to the actual allocation in the current fiscal.

The increase is mainly on account of incentives for electronics manufacturing, for research and development, the development of manpower for the segment, cybersecurity and the promotion of IT and IT-enabled services.

According to the budget document released earlier this week, the Finance Ministry had allocated INR 3,750 crores (around US$ 525,725) in the previous budget but it was revised downward to INR 3,212 crores (around US$ 450,301)

The document claimed the government has launched several initiatives that promote electronics manufacturing in the country to create an environment for the industry to compete globally.

Electronics manufacturing is an important pillar of the Digital India project and the target to achieve nett zero imports is a demonstration of intent, it said.

The government increased provision for the promotion of electronics and IT hardware manufacturing through the modified special incentive package scheme, the electronics development fund, and the electronics manufacturing cluster to INR 980 crores (about US$ 137 million) from INR 690 crores (about US $96 million) in the current fiscal.

The research and development programme under the Ministry of Electronics and IT will get 75% higher funding in 2020-21 compared to INR 435 crores (about US$ 60.9 million) in the current fiscal.

The fund will cover R&D activity in electronics, nano, and microelectronics including semiconductor integrated circuit layout design registry, medical electronics and health informatics, innovation promotion and start-ups, and high-performance computing including the national supercomputing mission.

The fund allocation for cybersecurity projects and promotion of IT and ITeS industries have been increased to INR 170 crores (about US$ 23 million) each from IN 102 crores (about US $14 million) and INR 90 crores (US$ 12 million) respectively.

The government has increased allocation for the National Knowledge Network to INR 400 crores (about US$ 56 million) from INR 274 crores (about US$ 38 million) in the current fiscal.

The government cut funds for the promotion of digital payments by more than half to INR 220 crores (about US $30 million) for 2020-21 from the INR 480 crores (about US$ 67 million) it allocated for the current fiscal.

OpenGov reported earlier that under this year’s budget, the government announced a national mission on quantum technologies and applications (NM-QTA).

The project will have a total budget outlay of INR 8,000 crores (around US$ 1.1 million) over five years and will be implemented by the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

The areas of focus for the mission will be in fundamental science, translation, technology development, human and infrastructural resource generation, and start-ups to address national issues.

The applications under the mission include aerospace engineering, numerical weather prediction, simulations, securing communications and financial transactions, cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, health, agriculture, and education.

It aims to create high-skilled jobs, develop human resources and start-ups, and promote technology-led economic growth.

The mission plans to draw upon the existing strengths within academic institutes across India to support interdisciplinary research projects in key verticals involving quantum technology. It will try to develop key foundational strengths in important core areas.

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