In a landmark move aimed at fostering technological innovation and bolstering India’s defense capabilities, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Interim Budget 2024 in Parliament on Thursday. The budget announcement included the allocation of a substantial corpus of ₹1 lakh crore to finance research in technology, along with the introduction of a new scheme to strengthen deep tech technologies for defense purposes and self-reliance.

₹1 Trillion Corpus to Finance Research in Technology

Emphasizing the pivotal role of innovation in driving development, Sitharaman stated, “Innovation forms the foundation of our development endeavors.” The establishment of a ₹1 trillion corpus, facilitated by a 50-year interest-free loan, aims to provide long-term financing and refinancing opportunities with extended tenors and low or nil interest rates. This initiative is poised to catalyze significant research and innovation efforts, particularly in sunrise domains, by incentivizing the private sector to scale up their investments in technology and research.

Furthermore, the budget introduced a new scheme aimed at enhancing deep tech technologies for defense purposes and fostering self-reliance, aligning with the government’s commitment to expediting infrastructure development. Despite a modest increase of less than 0.1%, totaling ₹11 lakh crore, the upcoming fiscal year’s outlay reflects a strategic approach to sustain the momentum generated by previous capital expenditure and stimulate economic growth and employment creation.

The budget also underscores the government’s vision to harness the potential of India’s youth and technological prowess to secure a leadership position in the global innovation landscape. By envisioning programs that integrate cutting-edge research and entrepreneurial spirit, the budget sets the stage for a new era of economic dynamism and sustainable development.

Industry Reaction

Venkatraman GS, Chief Financial Officer, Maveric Systems:

The Interim Budget 2024 has provided a clear outline to drive economic growth and drive greater innovation within the country. We welcome the announcement of Rs.1 trillion corpus to help finance research in technology which is a clear indication that it will significantly amplify and help drive innovation and will also encourage private sectors to invest and scale up research and development. New and sunrise industries stand to significantly benefit from this. I am confident that the announcement of this corpus will emerge as a key growth driver for the economy in years to come. While we have made significant progress towards Digital Public Infrastructure, Indian tech companies providing services in the Digital Public Infrastructure space have huge opportunities to expand their offerings as the Indian Economy continues to grow among the fastest across the World. Lastly, we remain hopeful that this year’s full budget in July 2024, will focus on further enabling the technology sector that employs millions of Indians.

Abhishek Goel, Co-founder and CEO, Cactus Communications:

The progress of our nation is linked with the advancements in research and technology. The announcement of allocating ₹1 lakh crore for long-term, interest-free loans comes as a pivotal move in fostering innovation and boosting India’s research and technological strength to newer heights. It reflects the government’s dedication to involving private companies in groundbreaking research, especially in emerging sectors. As the Interim Budget 2024 underlines the Government’s commitment to sustainable economic growth and terms this as a golden era for innovation, we at Cactus Communications, a science communications and technology company, look forward to contributing to India’s ascent in becoming a global hub for research, technology and innovation.

In conclusion, the Interim Budget 2024 represents a strategic step towards leveraging technology and innovation to propel India’s economic growth, foster self-reliance, and address key challenges in the defense sector. As the nation embraces this transformative journey, the budget sets a precedent for sustainable development and global competitiveness in the digital age.

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