Budget 2021

Budget 2020 | Private players allowed to set up data parks

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday announced an allocation of ₹6,000 crore under the BharatNet programme to enhance broadband connectivity in rural areas, while also proposing a new policy to allow private players to set up data parks in the country.

“Our vision is that all ‘public institutions’ at the gram panchayat level, such as anganwadis, health and wellness centres, government schools, PDS (public distribution system) outlets, post offices and police stations will be provided with digital connectivity. So, Fibre to the Home (FTTH) connections through BharatNet will link 100,000 gram panchayats this year. It is proposed to provide ₹6,000 crore to the BharatNet programme in 2020-21,” the Minister said during her speech.

New technologies such as analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) found a lot of emphasis in Budget 2020. In fact, the Finance Minister stated at the start of her speech that she had been mindful of presenting the Budget against the backdrop of a proliferation of technologies, especially analytics, machine learning, robotics, bio-informatics and AI.

Watch | Highlights of Union Budget 2020-21

Stating that “data is the new oil” was now a cliché, the Minister said that to take advantage of the way new technologies were changing everyone’s lives, the government would “soon bring out a policy to enable the private sector to build Data Centre parks throughout the country”. “It will enable our firms to skilfully incorporate data in every step of their value chains,” she said.

The Minister also highlighted the growing need for the Indian statistical system to meet the challenges of real-time monitoring of our increasingly complex economy. “Data must have strong credibility. The proposed new National Policy on Official Statistics would use latest technology, including AI. It would lay down a road map towards modernised data collection, integrated information portal and timely dissemination of information,” she said.

New business models

The new economy, she said, was based on innovations that disrupt established business models. AI, the Internet of Things, 3D printing, drones, DNA data storage, quantum computing, etc., were re-writing the world economic order. “India has already embraced new paradigms such as the sharing economy with aggregator platforms displacing conventional businesses. The government has harnessed new technologies to enable direct benefit transfers and financial inclusion on a scale never imagined before,” Ms. Sitharaman said.

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Printable version | Apr 13, 2021 5:03:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/budget/budget-2020-private-players-allowed-to-set-up-data-parks/article30714618.ece

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