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A Sense Of Optimism And Continued Focus On Digital India 2.0

With startups budding more than ever before, announcing an extension for tax exemption for yet another year will help in encouraging the sector, giving more liquidity to grow.

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The past year has witnessed numerous changes in the education sector. As technology and digitisation integrate into the education sector more than ever before, it is imperative to see encouraging moves from the government to embrace this new normal of e-learning. The government’s support with complementing initiatives covering the education and financial sectors seen in this year’s Budget announcement is bound to accelerate growth across verticals. 

Today, technology helps in removing geographical barriers between learners and teachers and in the successful delivery of a personalised learning experience based on the needs, strengths, passions and students interests. However, lack of resources has left numerous learners at a loss. The introduction of digital universities and high-quality e-learning content platforms, in multiple languages now, is a good initiative by the government to make quality education accessible to all.  

Creating Right Collaborations 

The expansion of Swayam Prabha TV under the PM e-vidya scheme from 12 channels to 200 will further help with educating the masses. Moreover, the introduction of Desh Stack E-Portal is yet another great move to provide more skilling and upskilling opportunities to our youth, in turn helping them with better employment opportunities in the future. However, it must be ensured that the content and learning provided through these platforms are updated as per the growing and changing economy. 

The announcement of Gift city, allowing foreign universities to offer market-linked courses like financial management, fintech, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, without having to follow domestic rules is also an exciting measure taken by the government. This initiative will help foreign universities break free of rigid regulation by local watchdogs and they will be allowed to make and repatriate profit.   

Encouraging Exemptions 

India is a young country having produced 40 unicorns so far, home to a large youth population that has an entrepreneurial aptitude in this digital economy. With startups budding more than ever before, announcing an extension for tax exemption to them for yet another year will help in encouraging them further, giving them more liquidity to grow. 

With regards to the development of the financial services sector, we saw plenty of positive steps taken by the Government, which is reassuring for the overall outlook of the sector. Given that ‘inclusive development and ‘financing of investments’ were two of the seven pillars of the Budget, the ground is being prepared for faster financial inclusion and expansion of the credit ecosystem. 

Continuing to provide financial aid granted to the digital payments ecosystem in last year’s budget would help strengthen the digital infrastructure of the country, which is the need of the hour. Additionally, the promotion of thematic funds managed by private fund managers for blended finance, with the share of government limited to 20 per cent is highly encouraging for sunrise sectors like the digital economy. 

The Misses 

While the Budget 2022-23 did see a substantial boost given to the education sector both in terms of digitisation as well as inclusion, there was very little light shed on the lending front. Moves encouraging banks to explore co-lending opportunities to ease liquidity challenges for small and mid-size non-banking financial companies (NBFC) were expected.  

As the largest borrowers from the financial system as per the Reserve Bank of India, NBFCs play a crucial role in overall economic growth. Moreover, creating access to low-cost funds for NBFCs and other financing entities to put more money into the hands of the consumer, especially for those who don’t have formal access to credit from banks, did not see much impetus in this year’s budget. From an e-learning perspective, it would have been good to see some GST relief. 

The budget this year did address many pressing issues and we are confident that all sectors now have widened the scope to deliver more. The education sector in particular saw many positive changes. Proactive skilling and upskilling initiatives by the government will produce more skilled workers and provide increased employment opportunities for the youth.  

Overall, the government’s role in providing stronger digital infrastructure combined with financial as well as educational inclusion is bound to nurture growth in the economy.  

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Digital India 2.0 Magazine 22 Feb 2022

Varun Chopra

The author is Co-Founder & CEO, Eduvanz

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