digital payments
PTIPune: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in her Budget speech that the government would promote the use of artificial intelligence and drone technology in a big way to modernise and streamline processes across sectors such as education, banking, transport and infrastructure.
Through the ‘Drone Shakti’ project, the government will encourage startups to come up with varied applications for drones, including drones as a service. Sitharaman also said the government would encourage the use of drones by farmers for surveying land and spraying insecticides, apart from digitising land records.
The financial support for digital payments announced in the previous Budget would continue in FY23, Sitharaman said. “This will encourage further adoption of digital payments. There will also be a focus on promoting use of payment platforms that are economical and user-friendly, she added. The FM also proposed rolling out e-passports with embedded chips in FY23 for convenient overseas travel.
Recognising that the pandemic has had a huge impact on learning and education, the FM proposed the creation of high quality e-content in all languages. Teachers would be empowered to develop this content and a digital university would also be established, she said. She also said the government would launch the ‘Desh Stack’ ecosystem to skill, reskill and upskill citizens through online training.
Kazim Rizvi, founder of public policy think tank The Dialogue, said, “The Budget shows a lot of focus on the adoption of technology. We have seen the FM speak about the use of technology in a wide range of sectors such as agriculture, finance, commerce and education.”
“The linking of all MSME portals to function as live organic databases with services such as credit allocation, recruitment, skilling, and to enhance entrepreneurial opportunities for all, is a great use of technology,” he added.
The FM also said that artificial intelligence, geospatial systems and drones, semiconductors, space imaging, genomics, green energy and clean mobility systems had immense potential to create sustainable development at scale and modernise the country.
“They provide employment opportunities for our youth and make Indian industry more efficient and competitive. Supportive policies and light touch regulations will facilitate their growth further,” Sitharaman added.
She also proposed the creation of an open platform for India’s national digital health ecosystem. It will consist of digital registries of health providers and facilities, unique health identity, a consent framework and universal access to health facilities, she said.
Sitharaman also said that design-led manufacturing for 5G will be launched as a performance-linked incentive (PLI) scheme in FY23. The required spectrum auction for India’s 5G rollout will also be conducted in FY23, she said.
Defence R&D will be opened up for industry, startups and academia with 25% of defence R&D budget, the FM said. Private industry will be encouraged to take up the design and development of military platforms and equipment In collaboration with DRDO and other organisations through the special purpose vehicle (SPV) model.
To mark 75 years of Independence, the FM proposed establishing 75 digital banking centres in 75 districts by scheduled commercial banks. Further, all 1.5 lakh post offices would come under the core banking system, enabling financial inclusion and access to accounts through net banking, mobile banking and ATMs, and also allow online transfer of funds between post office accounts and bank accounts, she said.
To promote the use of technology in agriculture, the FM also proposed setting up a public-private partnership (PPP) scheme for delivery of digital and high-tech services to farmers in collaboration with public institutions.

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