By Anusha Ashwin
BENGALURU: The hero of the Union Budget 2017 is definitely the rural sector, with finance minister Arun Jaitley allocating Rs 1,87,223 crore for rural-agri development. Vishwavijay Singh, Co-Founder at SaleBhai.com says, “With rural areas, likely to witness greater digital penetration, the e-commerce sector is surely to benefit. As an e-commerce player, I see consumption in rural areas going up.” Jaitley painted a vision of doubling farmer income in five years, keeping agriculture credit at Rs 10 lakh crore, and increasing cultivation area for kharif and rabi crops among a slew of forward-looking measures. Another important feature of the Budget is the Government’s resolve to ramp up infrastructure, which should help in taking forward the government’s Digital India campaign to rural India.
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eGovernments Foundation, CEO, Viraj Tyagi, says, “The move to connect 1.5 Lakh gram panchayats on a fiber optic network coupled with the digital literacy scheme shows governments’ resolve to make Digital India inclusive. In addition, announcement of Aadhar Pay for merchants and focus on Aadhar for subsidy delivery are steps in the right direction.”
However, Indian agricultural industry needs a technology revolution to enhance lives of millions of Indians. “While provisions for insurance, corporate farming are a welcome, entrepreneurship in agriculture needs a substantial boost. The digital inclusion initiatives should reach the farming community in a way that benefits them. The budget didn’t mention all this directly but I am being optimistic about digital inclusion because of the Aadhar payment initiatives,” says Venu Dantuluri, Founder and CEO, Aqua App.
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