Sitharaman announces push for digital India

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presents the Union Budget 2019-20 in the Lok Sabha at Parliament (PTI Photo)

In a technological push, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced in her Union Budget 2019 speech that Indian Government will promote digital India. 

She has encouraged the training of Indian youth by upskilling their digital knowledge in areas like Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Big Data, 3D printing, robotics and virtual reality that will help them to get high-paying jobs. 

Sitharaman also announced that in order to digitalise rural India optical fibres should be expanded there for internet connectivity at high speeds. This will be done under the BharatNet Project.

“To bridge the rural-urban digital divide, BharatNet is targeting internet connectivity in local bodies in every panchayat in the country. This will be speeded up with the assistance of the universal service obligation fund (USOF) under the public-private partnership model.”

In her maiden budget, she highlighted some measures that will be taken to promote cashless economy. 

A TDS of 2 per cent will be levied on cash withdrawals exceeding Rs 1 crore in a year from accounts.

Sitharaman also encouraged the use of digital modes for transactions such as BHIM, UPI, Aadhaar Pay, NEFT etc. She referred to them as low-cost digital modes of payment.

She proposed that businesses with an annual turnover of more than Rs 50 crore shall offer low-cost digital modes of payment to their customers without the imposition of charges or Merchant Discount Rate on customers as well as merchants.

She said that RBI and banks can get money from the savings that they will gather by handling less cash as people will move to digital modes of payment. 

Also, Follow Budget 2019 for more updates

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