The upcoming Union Budget 2015 is less than 24 hours away and the IT industry, like all other verticals, is expecting the tide to turn in its favor. The buzz around Make in India, Digital India and Smart Cities will take center-stage in this year’s budget. A clear indication of that is an IDC report that claims that the government will be spending at least Rs 2,000 crore on digital initiatives. No wonder technology vendors are waiting to know how the budget is going to turn out for them. We spoke to some of India’s most respected IT solution providers to find out what they expect from the Union Budget 2015. Here’s what they had to say: Alok Ohrie, President & Managing Director, Dell India
Dell is very excited about the government’s ‘Make in India’ vision aimed at building the country’s manufacturing capabilities, fostering innovation, and creating the best-in-class infrastructure for manufacturing products. The impact of the inverted duty structure is such that it effectively makes direct import by end customers or trading of IT hardware and ITA goods far more advantageous in comparison to manufacturing of these products in India, thus making Indian manufactured goods non-competitive for the domestic market. Dell believes that there is great potential to develop India as an exports hub for the region. The extension of the Focus Product Scheme in the upcoming Foreign Trade Policy will provide the necessary impetus for exports. Ambarish Deshpande, Managing Director-India, Blue Coat Systems
The government should focus on the information security sector for long-term growth and development of organizations across the country. The rapid growth of cybercrime has created a dent in various companies due to their under-preparedness leading to growing demand of information security professionals across these organizations. Our workforce lacks information and specialized courses that can bridge this gap. I foresee this imminent need being addressed with the upcoming budget. Information security is a critical issue and an increased awareness about the same from an educational perspective is the need of the hour. Procurement of Internet security technology should be planned at initial stages of a project rather than setting up the complete infrastructure and then thinking of securing it later. This leads to gaps in completed projects and makes it vulnerable to use. Anil Valluri, President, NetApp India & SAARC
The government has charted out quite an ambitious list of plans including the creation of a digitally enabled India, smarter cities and Make in India. A substantial amount needs to be earmarked to develop a robust network infrastructure across the country, which will be the foundation on which India’s digital economy will be built. We expect reduction in taxation for IT players. While Make in India is a great initiative, the budget needs to address the issues of simplifying tax regulations, improve ease of doing business, and accelerate the speed of big ticket reforms on the anvil. Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, Microsoft India
Over the past nine months, the government has set the right context and articulated its vision for India’s economic development. We look forward to this vision being realized over the next year with key announcements in the budget. Programs such as Digital India, smart cities and Skill India require the creation of technological infrastructure that will need budgetary support. A policy framework for the IT industry and SMEs in particular that encourages innovation and adoption of technology can boost the Make in India initiative. We hope this year’s budget will create an enabling environment for the Indian IT industry to realize its growth potential.
Debjani Ghosh, VP- SMG & MD – South Asia, Intel
We expect the government to translate the intent of Digital India and Make in India into reality with the next level of details in terms of the resources and policies needed for speedy execution along with clear roadmaps and timelines. A key area that the government must address is increasing the ease of doing business in India. There are many challenges faced by the IT industry today from getting payment in time for large projects to the lack of simplified and standardized procurement processes to dealing with the bureaucracy and complicated tax structures. These issues need to be addressed to ensure full industry participation in light of the government’s ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’ philosophy to realize the Digital India vision.Dinesh Malkani, President, Cisco India and SAARC
We’re looking forward to a development-focused budget that targets a growth rate of 8 percent and positive measures to energize the economy. The government’s ‘Digital India’ initiative places technology at the core of its vision of achieving transformation. Cisco’s vision is to be India’s leading enabler of ICT, broadband, smart cities and skills development through its range of innovative, scalable, high-value technology offerings, solutions and services. We’re looking forward to playing the role of a partner and providing impetus to drive the Digital India initiative. Jagjit Singh Arora, Director-Regional Sales, Red Hat India
The government’s focus on leveraging IT to improve governance is visible. Several initiatives to digitize governance are in the works, with the idea of building and enabling a “smart city” receiving the most buzz. I would like to see a focus on skills development, including SOPS, to encourage people to develop IT skills. If India is to be a country of innovation, we should focus on increasing the quality of resources coming out of our vocational courses so that they can be hired without the need for organizations to re-train them. Rajesh Janey, President, India and SAARC EMC
The new government has initiated a renewed focus on utilizing technology for better governance, better citizen services and smarter cities through the Digital India and the Smart Cities initiatives. There is a need for a transformational budget to provide for extensive investments in enhancing the country’s existing IT infrastructure and provide adequate opportunities for public-private partnerships for the IT industry. We expect a slew of reforms in this budget which encourage investments, reduce taxation and encourages R&D especially with the advent of SMAC, which plays a central role in enabling a digitally empowered India. Ravi Swaminathan, MD, AMD India & Corporate VP, AMD South Asia
We are interested in a transparent, stable and sustainable roadmap for creating a vibrant domestic industry. In the interim budget last year, the government pledged to support the growth of domestic IT capabilities in both hardware and software, this year, we expect the budget to be aggressive, focusing on making India emerge in the top three hardware countries in terms of demand. With this budget, we look forward to India becoming a center of excellence for product development and design and also being integrated into the global supply chain with manufacture of key components for both domestic and international markets. Sanjay Rohatgi, President, Symantec India
The budget should focus on simplification, predictability and consistency in the overall tax regime even as it goes for fiscal consolidation and broadening the tax net. Technology has the potential to empower 1.3 billion Indians through visionary programs like Digital India, Smart Cities and Skill India. The budget should pave the way for expeditious implementation of e-governance projects, incentivising investments in world-class datacenters and cloud computing infrastructure besides a chance to be a pioneer in the realm of IoT. Sunil Jose, Managing Director, Teradata India
Optimism is high since the new government has come into power and I see that optimism translating to interactions which ideally should translate to a lot of business on the streets when the budget is announced. While the Modi government is doing a great job in projecting India as a capital inviting and business-friendly destination, we need to focus on bringing back investor confidence–this I believe is already in the process. I am quite hopeful that the budget will lay out a clear roadmap and it will be quite interesting to see how it plays out in the future.