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Incentivize nation-building technology

February 22, 2011 15:59 IST
The bedrock of UPA's policies in its previous term as well as the current one has been its agenda of driving transparency, accountability and inclusion.

Whether it is the Right to Information Act, the NREGA, the UID project or the Right to Education Act as several other such initiatives, all are meant to ensure achievement of these objectives.

It is my opinion that not just continuity but acceleration of this process is essential to ensure long-term peace and prosperity for India.

Rapid adoption of technology by the various government and private organisations that are the stakeholders in these initiatives can lead to acceleration of implementation of these initiatives, not just in letter but also in spirit.

If the forthcoming Budget can increase allocation for these schemes and create focused provisions to encourage greater adoption of technology by the stakeholders of these initiatives, it would be a very desirable step.

Such encouragement to the adoption of technology would also lead to substantial increase in employment opportunities in India, another imperative for the government.

On a separate note, the Budget should encourage removal of supply-side constraints on agriculture produce, which in my opinion is one of the key causes of inflation, especially food inflation in the country.

Supply-side constraints lead to wastage of close to 40 per cent of India's food production.

Ensuring better facilities for onsite processing, better storage and transportation of farm produce is likely to substantially ease inflationary pressures.

Again, technology can play a key role in this endeavour, right from better project management during construction of infrastructure to better management of these facilities, once they are constructed.

A visionary Budget would encourage greater adoption of technology in both building capacity as well as better management of the infrastructure necessary to ease the supply-side constraints.

This would also provide the technology industry a further opportunity to participate in nation building.

The government should also refocus on and accelerate overall policy reforms - whether they are labour laws or investment rules, to continue the great work happening earlier.

In my opinion, there is no reason why India cannot achieve sustained double-digit growth coupled with benign inflation if measures like these are encouraged or implemented.

Last, but not the least; the Finance Minister should consider extending the STPI benefits to the Indian IT industry for another year, pending the implementation of the Direct Tax Code.

This would provide the necessary succor to the Indian IT industry, which has, in the last three years, been buffeted by the global recession.

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Tags: NREGA, India, STPI, UID, UPA