From cheaper smartphones to 100 5G labs, here are the top tech announcements in Budget 2023-24

From cheaper smartphones to 100 5G labs, here are the top tech announcements in Budget 2023-24
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  • FM made many tech-related announcements in the Budget 2023-24.
  • The government has reduced the customs duty on camera lenses for smartphones and open cells for TV panels.
  • The government also announced centers of excellence for artificial intelligence and 100 5G labs.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday presented the much-awaited Budget 2023-24 in the parliament. She made several announcements regarding changes in duties, new initiatives by the government and changes to the tax structure.

She also reduced custom duty for smartphone components such as camera lens and open cells of TV panels. The government also announced that it is setting up three new centers of excellence in artificial intelligence (AI), 100 5G labs and more.

If you are a tech enthusiast, here are the top tech related announcements from the Budget.

Smartphones may become cheaper

The government has reduced the customs duty on camera lenses used in smartphones from 2.5% to nil. This will reduce the cost incurred by the smartphone companies and may result in smartphones becoming cheaper for users.


We will have to wait and see if companies will pass on the benefit to customers and if so, how much.

“The move to reduce customs duty on certain input component parts for mobile phones will help drive the broadening and deepening of the local component ecosystem and increase domestic value addition. Very positive move,” said Muralikrishnan B, president, Xiaomi India.

Televisions may become cheaper

The FM also reduced customs duty on open cells of television panels from 5% to 2.5%. This will reduce the cost of manufacturing TVs and also boost domestic production.

“We welcome the move of the government to reduce the custom duty on open cells to 2.5 percent. This will really help the domestic TV manufacturing industry to scale up and compete with the global brands,” said Avneet Singh Marwah, chief executive officer, Super Plastronics, a licensee of Kodak.


Centers of excellence for AI

Sitharaman also announced that the government is setting up three centers of excellence in artificial intelligence (AI) as part of the government’s ‘Make AI for India’ and ‘Make AI work for India’ initiatives.

The centers will be set up in prominent educational institutions in the country and will see collaboration between these institutions and industries for research and development of practical AI applications in agriculture, health, and sustainable cities.

“Using data as an asset to drive insights requires two critical things — availability of reliable data and the ability to cross-reference data across multiple data sets, and the Union Budget has addressed both the issues effectively. On the back of the data governance policy, bringing the academia and corporates on a common platform will enable innovation across multiple use cases. This will boost India's AI leadership for solving grassroots problems,” said Sudipta Ghosh, Partner and Leader, Data & Analytics, PwC India.

100 5G labs

As telcos have been rolling out 5G services in full-swing across the country. FM announced that it is setting up 100 5G labs in the top engineering institutions across the country to develop applications and services for 5G.

“One hundred labs for developing applications using 5G services will be set up in engineering institutions to realise a new range of opportunities, business models, and employment potential. The labs will cover, among others, applications such as smart classrooms, precision farming, intelligent transport systems, and health care applications," Sitharaman said in her budget speech.

“By promoting an AI ecosystem, 5G labs and setting-up skill centres for emerging technologies, India will get the interdisciplinary R&D boost,” said Manpreet Singh Ahuja, Partner & Leader TMT, PwC India.

"We welcome the announcement on setting up of 3 centres of excellence for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and 100 labs in engineering colleges for development of 5G applications, which are progressive steps and would help fuel the proliferation of 5G and its ecosystem in the country," said Lt. Gen. Dr. S.P. Kochhar, Director General, COAI.

National Data Governance Policy

Sitharaman also announced that the government will come up with a National Data Governance Policy to help academia and start-ups with anonymized data.

"To unleash innovation and research by start-ups and academia, a data governance policy will be brought out. This will enable access to anonymised data,” the minister said.

National Digital Library

In another push for education, the government will set up the National Digital Library, offering youth access to quality books across subjects, languages and genres.

In addition to this, states will be encouraged to set up physical libraries at panchayat and ward levels and provide infrastructure for accessing the National Digital Library resources.

“Initiatives like National Digital Library and fostering a digital public infrastructure for agriculture will further push widespread penetration of smartphones that can further catalyze a stronger ‘Digital India’,” added Muralikrishnan B.


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