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'A well-balanced and logical Budget'

Last updated on: February 28, 2013 19:42 IST

Sam PitrodaSam Pitroda is an internationally respected development thinker, telecom inventor and entrepreneur.

He has spent 48 years in information and communications technology and related human and national developments and is currently advisor to the prime minister of India on public information infrastructure and innovations.

Sam Pitroda, who holds close to 100 worldwide patents and has published and lectured widely in the US, Europe, Latin America and Asia, answered our readers' questions on the Union Budget on February 28.

Here is the transcript:

Sam Pitroda says, Hi, I am Sam Pitroda, I am here to answer your questions

Gora asked, Telecom revolution: To what extent it's real in India?
Sam Pitroda answers,  at 2013-02-28 18:03:05Telecom revolution is indeed real, the fact that we are a nation of a connected billion is a proof of telecom growth and prosperity

budg asked, Does not seem to be anything in the budget for the IT/telecom sector. Any comments?
Sam Pitroda answers, Telecom and IT sector has benefited a lot in the past and is already a fairly mature industry

Sam Pitroda says, The budget seems to be fairly well balanced and seems to respond to a variety of demands from various interest groups. The key, beyond budget, is to focus on execution, execution, execution.

Paresh asked, Hello Sam, there's nothing wrong with the budget
Sam Pitroda answers, I agree with Paresh, that there is nothing wrong with the Budget. The key now, is to implement with focus on productivity, efficiency, openness, transparency, and delivery. This will demand good governance, not only at the central, but also at state and district level, democratization of information to get the local community involved in execution, monitoring, and management, and innovation.

guest1 asked, Do you think market will go up in near future?
Sam Pitroda answers, I hope so.

Dinesh asked, How is the budget going to affect startups in India, other than having more funding for startups in college ?
Sam Pitroda answers, The Budget will hopefully encourage more entrepreneurs to create needed jobs for the young.

unni asked, What according to you is the most remarable thing about this budget?
Sam Pitroda answers, It is fairly well balanced. It is difficult to respond to everyone's demands and aspirations. The key is to keep the growth momentum going, because only through growth, India can address the challenges related to poverty and development. We need 8-10% growth as soon as possible.

rediff asked, sir, please tell did you really like this budget or not
Sam Pitroda answers, Yes.

sunil asked, Hello Mr. Pitroda, Why has markets reacted so strongly to the budget? Does this budget offer any good to the industry
Sam Pitroda answers, Let the market decide that. Market has more wisdom than many of us.

atul18 asked, What is your honet view about current economic situation in India and worldwide and can this budget be considered well placed to face both challenges?
Sam Pitroda answers, Yes, it is an honest effort on the part of the economic advisors to bring growth on track and respond to not just this year, but set a trend for continuing growth in the future.

md asked, what is future Telecom in India?
Sam Pitroda answers, The future of telecom in India depends on broadband and application of telecom and IT to improve governance, education, health, financial services, and delivery of public services. The future of telecom also depends on our ability to use new technology to innovate and create new jobs and improve productivity, efficiency, and access to global markets.

Kabeer asked, Dear Mr.Pitroda, I reckon that one need not worry about Fiscal Deficit as long as it matches with the Figure in REVENUE Foregone. When the Govt feels Fisc Deficit is going out of control, all they have to do is to reverse all those waivers given under Revenue Foregone. Your take on it
Sam Pitroda answers, There is always a need to balance between short term and long term, and we must rely on the wisdom of our economic advisors. They have the expertise to understand and balance short term versus long term tradeoffs.

vivek asked, Hi Sam , Will this budget trigger economic growth ?
Sam Pitroda answers, Yes. I think so.

MANOJ asked, Hello Sir, Inflation is high in this case tax limit is enough or not according to you
Sam Pitroda answers, According to me, we need to increase the tax base so more people begin to participate in nation building by paying their share of the contribution. I am personally for not increasing the limit

kamlesh asked, What is in this budget that we can say is game changer.
Sam Pitroda answers, I don't know.

Sam Pitroda says, What makes a game changer?

subrata asked, what the budget provides for innovations?
Sam Pitroda answers, I do not know the details yet, it will take some time to study and understand the various implications

DK asked, Hi Sam - In budget FM mentioned abt creating a Woman Bank. Does it mean only woman would be able to transact in day-to-day activities.
Sam Pitroda answers, No, but this will encourage women and empower them in economic decision making

Sam Pitroda answers, Yes, to a point. The budget is more of a direction for nation building and it does require a great deal of local initiative to implement plans as per overall government's allocation of funds and priorities

Kriti asked,  what makes you angry? why?
Sam Pitroda answers, Nothing.

Kriti asked, What's your mantra for India's future? Give us uncomplicated dos and don'ts
Sam Pitroda answers, Hard and honest work.

Sam Pitroda says, The discussion is on "Beyond the Budget," however I am surprised I don't see any questions related to the subject

Paresh asked, there are some great things in this budget in respect to many who are at the bottom of pyramid, job creation will be there, I think people in the SME sector should all focus on this items and surely it can be a bread winner for many
Sam Pitroda answers, I agree with Paresh.

Mahesh asked, Hi Sam, Why is our railway uses age old technology ? Why are we not focussing on improving railway instead of building long highways ?
Sam Pitroda answers, Please refer to our reports on modernization of railways during Mr Dinesh Trivedi's time. In my judgement, we need political will and support of the railway board to implement these two reports, however it will require a great deal of courage to bring about generational changes in organization, management, public private partnership, technology, and human resource. We know the answers, sometimes we lack courage to execute.

Ankit asked, I find you bit unconvincingly hopeful.Give us realistic account of India's future as you see.
Sam Pitroda answers, I am very high on India mainly because of 550 million young below age of 25 and potential that they offer as the workforce for the future, not only for India, but for the world. I also am very high on India, because of the technology potential, ICT, biotech, nano tech, materials, and alternate energy, etc. offer to solve problems in a different way today than ever before. However, I worry about resistance to change, and the fact that at times we have 19th century mindset 20th century processes and 21st century needs

Sam Pitroda answers, I believe we need more technology and innovations in agriculture today than ever before. we need agriculture to grow at a much higher rate. Agricultural needs focus on the total food chain with clarity on logistics, investments, and innovations. This is required to improve nutrition, and supply of better food stock for our growing population. We have on one hand surplus food, and on the other hand 200 million hungry. We cannot allow this to continue. We need well-nourished children for the effective workforce for the future. These are the issues we need to focus on, beyond the budget.

KLKala asked, Sir, the FM has asked National Innovation Council to create a scheme for commercializing technologies? How do you think this will benefit the nation
Sam Pitroda answers, It will create more jobs, income, opportunities, export potential, etc. and will benefit all the stakeholders in the process.

Sam Pitroda says, However, commercialization of technology will require government support, incentives, and access to local markets to build a local manufacturing base

pratik asked, Mr petroda will our education fulfilled new technologies come in market.How did rural children tackle this compitition
Sam Pitroda answers, Government's plan to connect 250,000 panchayats to optical fibre in the next 12-18 months is aimed at providing broadband access to rural communities to enhance not only local governance, democratized decision making, but also improve education, health, financial services, agriculture, and other sectors. Technology is offering great hope to create new paradigms with a focus on the Indian model of development.

Namaste asked, Why some questions are deleted???
Sam Pitroda answers, The questions are not deleted, however there are too many questions from too many people and it is physically not possible to respond to everyone in the time allocated. I am scanning the questions and responding to questions related to the subject of the day, "Beyond the Budget."

Sam Pitroda says, My request would be to focus for the next 15 minutes on questions and comments related to "Beyond the Budget," please

Shahnawaz asked, Mr PC said "By 2025, we could become a $5 trillion economy" Do you think it possible amidst continuous scams??
Sam Pitroda answers, Yes, provided we continue to grow, and this requires hard work at all levels.

eshwar asked, How can we achieve more decentralisation in India ? Has the government has taken any initiative towards it ?
Sam Pitroda answers, Yes, the Panchayat Raj is all about decentralization. We have the institutional framework, we have to make it work.

Namaste asked, We are talking about the optical fibre linkage to panchayats when there are no roads to these panchayats? your response please.
Sam Pitroda answers, It's ok. To provide fibre optic network you need no roads. However, we need fibre optics and we also need roads. People who build roads should build roads and people who build fibre should build fibre. We all have roles to play.

VB asked, Sir, Any plans on communicating the benefits of the Budget and the 12th Plan to the Youth?
Sam Pitroda answers, Yes. We need to reach out to our young in simple language and inform them of the developmental plans and the 12th plan. We look forward to using traditional, as well as new social media in a more effective way in the future. However, it is a challenge in a country with 1.3 billion people, and multiple languages.

Sam Pitroda says, Last few questions, please

hatecongress asked, What about black money?
Sam Pitroda answers, Black money is indeed a major concern. We hope that once we focus on electronic payment to bring about transparency and accountability, the circulation of black money will get affected. Black money is also a concern because they don't pay their due tax and deprive development

sunildatt asked, you have mentioned in one of the replies that we have a workforce for future do you feel this work force will be used for " sercices" or manufactutring ? i know power industry is going in automation where there is no use of workforce. how government plan to utilize the workforce in such case?
Sam Pitroda answers, Both. Every industry goes through automation, replaces old jobs, and creates new jobs and industries. The key is to focus on innovation and entrepreneurship to fill the jobs of today and create new jobs of tomorrow. The key is also to focus on vocational education where there are millions of available jobs, but not enough qualified, trained people. asked, Dear Sam, do you think that public-private partnerships is the key to 5 trillion economy, ultimately the execution capability of all government bodies is what is questionable ?
Sam Pitroda answers, This would be a good way to close our session. Yes, I believe public-private partnership of the right type is the key to development going forward. We need efficiency of the private sector and the scale of the public to come together in infrastructure, health, education, agriculture, and financial services, etc. to continue the needed growth for the next 25 years to meet the aspirations of our population. Only through innovation technology and a focus on the young, will we be able to find new ways to grow our economy and be globally competitive. However, we need an Indian model of development to create the jobs of the future.

Sam Pitroda says, Thanks for all your questions and participation. I look forward to more such conversations in the future. Thank you for all the help and support. Goodbye.

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