Lack of Major Sops No Surprise for CXOs

by Manu Sharma    Feb 17, 2009

On the Information Technology (IT) front, the government has allocated to the Department of Information Technology an enhanced sum of Rs.2,652 crore in 2008-09 from Rs.1,500 crore in 2007-08 was welcomed by the CXOs. Two schemes for establishing 100,000 broadband internet-enabled Common Service Centres in rural areas and State Wide Area Networks (SWAN) with Central assistance under implementation were also welcomed by the industry.

Reacting to the interim budget announced today, Ramakrishna Voraganti, Managing Director of Barracuda Networks said, "The budget doesn’t seem to have done much for the banking and realty industry and the message is clear - it’s a mess they got into and they need to clean it up. Government can do little to help them."

Taking the cue from the FM, the IT industry needs to go rural. That’s where the focus of the infrastructure boost would be. Also, the public sector turnover has risen 84%. That’s where the money would come from and that would be driving the growth in the next few months. IT should shore up its public sector participation, said Voraganti.

Janakiraman S, President & CEO - R&D Services of MindTree Ltd. Said, "From what I could gather through my BlackBerry, I see no changes in direct or indirect taxes and no other major policy announcements. It is an interim budget. I feel the government would have had limitations to bring any drastic changes or newer policies. That is unfortunate considering the current economic environment. Hope to see some booster outside budget especially for export intensive industries that have borne the brunt of global slowdown.

Nagrendra Venkaswamy, Managing Director India and SAARC, Juniper Networks India Pvt Ltd said, "Since this interim budget is a vote-on-account budget, I did not see major announcements coming out of this budget. Two things that I am glad about in the interim budget are the governments’ increased focus on secondary & higher education and increased focus on improving rural infrastructure.

"UPA’s outlay on higher education has been increased 900% in the 11th Five-Year Plan. An ordinance to open 15 Central Universities has been promulgated, six new IITs have started functioning, two more IITs are expected to commence their academic sessions in 2009-10, five Indian Institutes of Science, Education and Research have become functional, teaching is expected to commence in four out of six new IIMs and two new schools of Planning and Architecture have started functioning. I strongly believe that an improvement in secondary & higher education in India will benefit Indian IT industry in having good talent."

"The  government has increased corpus of the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund from Rs 5,500 crore in 2003-04 to Rs 14,000 crore for the year 2008-09; this is to ensure greater availability of funds for developing rural infrastructure. This will definitely help in accelerating rural infrastructure improvement," added Venkaswamy.

"The interim budget presented today did not include any popular measures or concessions like what people or the industry had expected, and the same was reflected in the sensex as well. Maybe these will be released gradually once the polls are over and the new government takes charge," said Ajay K. Dhir, CIO of Jindal Steel.

"My first reaction on budget is that inspite of global slowdown, India is on right track doing well including public sectors, however speed needs to enhanced in coming years," said Shankar Gurkha, CIO of Gujarat Industries Power Company Limited.

(For more news, reactions, and views on the interim budget, please visit our special section.)