Budget Expectations - Naresh Wadhwa, Cisco India and SAARC
Naresh Wadhwa, President & Country Manager, Cisco India and SAARC, shares his expectations from the Union Budget 2011 with CXOtoday.com.
“The budget should include a strategy for inclusive growth through measures that promote rural development and all round growth for segments of the community that can get marginalized while others are developing fast. For India to sustain its GDP at current levels, government initiatives need to focus on grassroot level development, especially in the fields of healthcare and education.
Technology-based infrastructure such as broadband through traditional wired modes, or leap-frog to wireless modes, would also ensure that inclusive growth involves every corner of the nation, and is not limited to urban India alone. Such investments in technology, whether through e-Governance, video-based solutions or broadband infrastructure will prove valuable for both rural education and healthcare initiatives.
In the Education sector, the focus should not only be on providing access to education, but also on improving the quality. This can be achieved through adequate budgetary allocation towards technology that makes distance learning initiatives, including vocational courses, viable in remote and rural areas. Additionally, government measures to help increase the pool of ‘employable’ population will greatly benefit the IT sector, which is one of the sunrise sectors in the Indian economy.
Similarly, in the healthcare sector, while investment in building additional primary health centers is absolutely necessary, the quality and effectiveness of healthcare infrastructure through the use of technology can be hugely enhanced.
Another important aspect of growth is facilitating financial inclusion of rural populations, to help bring them into the economic mainstream. While the government’s initiatives in areas such as UID will enhance rural banking penetration, additionally providing incentives to PSU and private sector banks will also be crucial for reaching out to the unbanked population.
On the industry front too, measures from the government to boost demand for investments in technology and e-governance - will be important. In addition, measures such as simplifying taxation and reducing red-tape for new projects will significantly bolster industry growth.”
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