Interim budget shines a bright light on AI according to Experts

Sneha Yadav
New Update
Interim Budget impact on AI

While PM Modi's vision for 'Digital India' is touted as a path-breaking one, Budget 2019 highlighted initiatives to drive the economy digitally with new-age technology to change the game. Experts share how the recently announced budget will materialize it's standing in the digital marketing industry.

While the ruling party helmed Union Budget 2019 has been hailed by the lots and #MiddleClassWithModi trends on Twitter for days, what grabbed eyeballs is also the prominent focus on digital economy and it’s growth back home. With an emphasis on ‘Digital India’ and technology-driven country, the budget highlighted the scope and promises to turn one lakh villages into ‘digital villages’ for citizen benefits.

Shrenik Gandhi, Co-Founder and CEO, White Rivers Media thinks that the interim budget, as expected was short yet powerful. He opined, “A lakh digital villages will not only strengthen the bottom of the pyramid but also empower them with the digital universe. Rebate in tax slabs is a great move for not only middle class, but also young self-made professionals. Not many budgets empower this section of voters and the same is an applaud worthy move.”

In a bid to push the digital generation further, Piyush Goyal also mentioned that the government will soon set up a national center for artificial intelligence (AI) with centers of excellence- the underlying theme being that of building a modern and digital India.  By 2020, India’s digital economy is expected to be one trillion US dollars, while the overall economy is poised to be $5 trillion in next 5 years owing to the positive growth of multiple sectors.  

Rohan Mehta, CEO, and Founder, Social Kinnect feels that the government’s plans to focus on artificial intelligence will lead to widespread use of newer technologies, creating a digital India that will be the backbone of seamless growth. “AI technology growth is going to be very critical in establishing us as a hub of innovation and technological development. In fact, I’m looking forward to the national AI portal and center since it will definitely improve the efficiency of the system,” he commented.

In the rapidly data-driven world of today, the budget aimed to boost digital transactions and communication while also pointing out the increased usage of mobile wallets which come at a lower cost and higher value. eMarketer statistics suggested that in 2018 73.9 million people in India were considered to use mobile payments, a dramatic increase of 39.7% compared to 2017. “The Finance Minister rightly pointed out that the cost of data and voice calls in India is probably the lowest in the world and mobile and mobile part manufacturing companies have increased from 2 to 268,” noted Bindu Balakrishnan, Country Head, DCMN India.

She also shared that mobile data consumption has increased 50-fold in the last 5 years. These measures are going to make the digital economy more inclusive and reduce the gap in the current disparity between the internet subscribers in the urban and rural areas, 366 Million vs 194 Million (2018 figures).

Echoing similar views as Balakrishnan, 

Also Read: Report: Value of Digital advertising market slated to reach $3.52 billion

Further highlighting how the real estate sector has significantly increased its focus on digital advertising and their approach towards digital spends, Patadia shared that during this tenure where the real estate industry is expected to surge again soon, the developers would be focusing on increasing their digital spends to increase their reach and capture the space as much as possible. “In fact, the real estate industry overall is going to turn heads towards technology and digital solutions in order to get a more holistic approach towards their marketing activities and be driven more by data.”

Roopak Saluja, Founder & CEO, 120 Media Collective too thinks that the Budget was high on election-focussed sops and optics to secure the farmer and middle class vote bank; there wasn't much in the way of impactful structural reform or pro-business and industry impetus. "That said, it was interesting to note the FM’s announcement on the focus on AI even if there were no real details provided to back it up. The biggest miss, that could have provided a serious fillip to entrepreneurship would have been a clean negation or a path to elimination of Angel tax. I’m seriously disappointed that didn’t happen. Additionally, a nationwide single-window policy for film shoots/production was announced but the FM's grandstanding announcement will need to be followed up by the I&B Ministry's policy clarification document and as is often the case with these things, the devil lies in the detail."

According to Analytics India Magazine, while last year, the Digital India initiative saw a doubling of its budget allocation to ₹307 billion, this year is being billed as a bigger move into AI by the second-biggest country in the world. Terming the budget as favourable for digital India, Mehta firmed that it will definitely encourage and upgrade digital infrastructure and digital literacy of our country. Their bid to harness new age-technologies for citizens’ benefit, will serve well in the shaping of the digital economy.

On the other hand, Sanjay Mehta, Joint CEO – Mirum India is not sure if Budget 2019 which happens to be interim has any significant impact in the digital advertising sector which is poised to grow at 32% CAGR to reach Rs 19,000 crore by 2020, according to the DAN report. Hence it stands as a wait and watch game with 2019 elections head on and marketers betting on IPL and World Cup.

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