Here's how Arun Jaitley's Union Budget 2017 would provide a big boost to broadband connectivity

Here's what Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's has in store for the IT sector and consumer electronics

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Union Budget 2017 – 2018 in the Parliament today. The Finance Minister while presenting the budget said that ‘demonetisation is a bold and decisive measure’ and it ‘seeks to create a new normal where in the GDP would be bigger, cleaner and real’.

Jaitley said that rural development, poverty alleviation and infrastructure have been kept in the centre stage while preparing the Union Budget 2017. He further added that ‘Transform, Energise and Clean India’ has been set as the theme for the coming year. This year’s budget focuses on digitising the country and strengthening the country’s digital infrastructure.

Here are the key takeaways for the electronics and IT sector that the FM announced today:

3.5 Crore youth will be trained under the government’s ‘Sankalp’ program to enhance skill acquisition and enhancement.

The Finance Ministry has allocated a sum of Rs 10,000 crore for strengthening the broadband connectivity in the country using Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) under the Bharat Net Initiative. Under this, over 150,000 gram-panchayats would be provided high-speed Internet connectivity.

Bharat Net Initiative: The National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN), which was renamed as the Bharat Net Project in April 2015, is a government of India that aims to provide broadband connectivity to over two lakh gram panchayats across the country using existing fibre optical network of BSNL, RailTel and Power Grid.

To promote cashless transactions, the government has exempted duty on POS Machine and iris readers.

Apart from these, the government has reduced the excise duty on parts and components for manufacturing routers, broadband modems, set-top boxes for gaining access to the Internet and TV, digital video recorder, CCTV cameras and lithium-ion battery (other than those for mobile handsets) from 12.5% to 0.

Also, exemption from special additional duty (SAD) on populated PCBs for manufacture of personal computers (laptop or desktop) has being withdrawn and a 4% tax has been levied.