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Digital Transformation

Budget gives big push to digital economy, 1.5 lakh post offices to be on CBS

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has proposed specific provisions to promote the digital economy and fintech, as well as technology-enabled development. 

In her speech for Budget 2022-23, the FM stated that the country is marking Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, and has entered into Amrit Kaal. “The Prime Minister in his Independence Day address had set out the vision for India@100. By achieving certain goals during the Amrit Kaal of the next 25 years – from India at 75 to India at 100 — our government aims to attain the vision,” the FM said. 

The goals include: complementing the macro-economic level growth focus with a microeconomic level all-inclusive welfare focus; promoting digital economy and fintech, technology-enabled development, energy transition, and climate action; and relying on virtuous cycle starting from private investment with public capital investment helping to crowd-in private investment. 

1.5 lakh post offices on CBS 

In 2022, 100% of 1.5 lakh post offices will come on the core banking system enabling financial inclusion and access to accounts through 11 net banking, mobile banking, ATMs, and also provide online transfer of funds between post office accounts and bank accounts. This will be helpful, especially for farmers and senior citizens in rural areas, enabling interoperability and financial inclusion.  

Digital Banking  

In recent years, digital banking, digital payments and fintech innovations have grown at a rapid pace in the country. The government is continuously encouraging these sectors to ensure that the benefits of digital banking reach every nook and corner of the country in a consumer-friendly manner. Taking forward this agenda, and to mark 75 years of our independence, it is proposed to set up 75 Digital Banking Units (DBUs) in 75 districts of the country by Scheduled Commercial Banks.  

Digital Payments  

The financial support for the digital payment ecosystem announced in the previous Budget will continue in 2022-23. This will encourage further adoption of digital payments. There will also be a focus to promote the use of payment platforms that are economical and user friendly. 

Unified Logistics Interface Platform 

PM GatiShakti Master Plan for Expressways will be formulated in 2022-23 to facilitate faster movement of people and goods. The National Highways network will be expanded by 25,000 km in 2022-23. Rs 20,000 crore will be mobilized through innovative ways of financing to complement the public resources. Seamless multimodal movement of goods and people will be ensured. The data exchange among all mode operators will be brought on Unified Logistics Interface Platform (ULIP), designed for Application Programming Interface (API). This will provide for efficient movement of goods through different modes, reducing logistics cost and time, assisting just-in-time inventory management, and eliminating tedious documentation. Most importantly, this will provide real-time information to all stakeholders, and improve international competitiveness. 

An open-source mobility stack, for organizing seamless travel of passengers will also be facilitated. Multimodal Logistics Parks 20. Contracts for implementation of Multimodal Logistics Parks at four locations through PPP mode will be awarded in 2022-23.  

Integration of Postal and Railways Networks 

Railways will develop new products and efficient logistics services for small farmers and Small and Medium Enterprises, besides taking the lead in the integration of Postal and Railways networks to provide seamless solutions for the movement of parcels. 22. ‘One Station-One Product’ concept will be popularized to help local businesses & supply chains.  As a part of Atmanirbhar Bharat, 2,000-km of the network will be brought under Kavach, the indigenous world-class technology for safety and capacity augmentation in 2022-23. Four hundred new-generation Vande Bharat Trains with better energy efficiency and passenger riding experience will be developed and manufactured during the next three years. 

Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission  

An open platform, for the National Digital Health Ecosystem, will be rolled out. It will consist of digital registries of health providers and health facilities, unique health identity, consent framework, and universal access to health facilities.  

National Tele Mental Health Programme  

The pandemic has accentuated mental health problems in people of all ages. To better access quality mental health counselling and care services, a ‘National Tele Mental Health Programme’ will be launched. This will include a network of 23 tele-mental health centres of excellence, with NIMHANS being the nodal centre and the International Institute of Information Technology-Bangalore (IIITB) providing technical support. 

Hi-Tech Services to Farmers 

For delivery of digital and hi-tech services to farmers with the involvement of public sector research and extension institutions along with private agri-tech players and stakeholders of agri-value chain, a scheme in PPP mode will be launched. Use of ‘Kisan Drones’ will be promoted for crop assessment, digitization of land records, spraying of insecticides, and nutrients. 

Digital University  

A Digital University will be established to provide access to students across the country for world-class quality universal education with a personalised learning experience at their doorsteps. This will be made available in different Indian languages and ICT formats. The University will be built on a networked hub-spoke model, with the hub building cutting edge ICT expertise. The best public universities and institutions in the country will collaborate as a network of hub-spokes.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday announced that the Reserve Bank of India will issue a digital rupee soon. 

The digital currency by RBI will be based on blockchain technology.

Presenting Budget 2022, the FM stated that the introduction of Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) will give a big boost to the digital economy. “Digital currency will also lead to a more efficient and cheaper currency management system. It is, therefore, proposed to introduce digital rupee, using blockchain and other technologies, to be issued by the RBI starting 2022-23,” she said. 

Virtual digital assets to be taxed 

The FM noted that there has been a phenomenal increase in transactions in virtual digital assets. The magnitude and frequency of these transactions have made it imperative to provide for a specific tax regime. Accordingly, for the taxation of virtual digital assets, the Budget proposed to provide that any income from the transfer of any virtual digital asset shall be taxed at the rate of 30%.  

No deduction in respect of any expenditure or allowance shall be allowed while computing such income except the cost of acquisition.

Further, loss from the transfer of virtual digital assets cannot be set off against any other income. In order to capture the transaction details, the FM also proposed to provide for TDS on payment made in relation to the transfer of virtual digital assets at the rate of 1% of such consideration above a monetary threshold. The gift of the virtual digital assets will be taxed in the hands of the recipient.

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