Union Budget 2024: DeepTech, Artificial Intelligence, R&D Boost to be in Focus

Regarding Research and Development (R&D), a key announcement in the interim budget was the Rs 1 trillion fund and 50-year interest free loans
Deeptech and AI
Deeptech and AI

In recent years, it has been very heartening to see ‘technology’ feature prominently in the Government’s nation building agenda. As an illustration, Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) has intersected with many other sectors and has transformed them like never before.

Finance (Unified Payment Interface), agriculture (Agri Stack), consumer (Open Network for Digital Commerce), public services (Aadhar, Co-Win, DigiLocker), talent (Skill India) are some significant success stories amongst many others.

The Government has kept an eagle eye on the big emerging technology themes and has proactively moved towards enabling these at scale in India. Two such topics might be in focus in the upcoming elections, i.e.; Deep Technology and AI.

Deep Technology

Similar to intersection of DPI with other sectors, deep technology involves intersection of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) faculties with design thinking resulting in path breaking innovations. Deep technology holds the promise to transform aero-space, defence, synthetic biology, robotic applications, quantum computing, future of mobility, agri-tech and many more.

This year’s interim budget gave a precursor around Government’s focus on deep technology. This has intensified formulation of the National Deep Tech Startup Policy (NDTSP). A key budget expectation will be to see this policy set-in motion. Incentives to motivate long term / patient capital, provide resources including infrastructure access and incubation support could really provide deep tech ecosystem the necessary impetus.

Regarding Research and Development (R&D), a key announcement in the interim budget was the Rs 1 trillion fund and 50-year interest free loans to scale research, development and innovation. Deep Tech industry will be watching this space quite closely to see some specificity around the qualification criteria and how usage of this will be orchestrated.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The Government has envisioned the IndiaAI Mission with the objective of ‘Making AI in India and Making AI Work for India’. To make AI adoption pervasive, we expect the Government to focus on several avenues like Public Private Partnerships (PPP) and infrastructure.

AI requires rarified skills and an ability to work with high velocity. As such, partnering with tech enterprises is a natural course. One may expect the budget to chalk out key benefits to promote PPP models

In the infrastructure space, Graphic Processing Units (GPUs) is the ‘highway’ of the AI world. The budget may see allocation towards building AI infrastructure including strategic partnerships with key global suppliers to enable access to India’s AI developer community.

Similar to some of the other nations who have been at the forefront of technology enabled innovation such as Israel, USA, China, Japan and Korea, we may see increased focus on building handshakes with academia to promote pioneering ideas from India. Budget earmarks towards supporting academic institutions and researchers could also be expected.

The Indian technology sector has made some great strides. Information Technology (IT) and Information Technology enabled Services (ITes) and Government’s push on DPI have scaled technology sector’s share of India’s GDP to a robust 7.5 per cent over the last 15 years. However to stay relevant and scale technology sector disruptively, India will need to successfully adopt emerging technology waves such as deep technology and AI alongside it’s technology services capabilities.

(The author is Partner & Technology sector Leader at Deloitte India.)

(The views belong solely to the author.)

Related Stories

No stories found.
Outlook Business & Money