Budget Expectations for IT Industry_Mr. Pradipto Chakrabarty, Regional Director, CompTIA India

PRADIPTO CHAKRABARTY, Regional Director (India) CompTIA

Pradipto ChakrabartyPradipto Chakrabarty is the Regional Director for CompTIA Technology India Pvt. Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of CompTIA Inc. In this capacity, Pradipto leads the India operations for CompTIA. CompTIA (The Computing Technology Industry Association; www.CompTIA.org) is the world’s largest IT trade association representing more than 7,500 member companies spread across 102 countries. One of CompTIA’s leading initiatives lies in the filed of developing vendor neutral core competence certifications and assessments for individuals seeking career in ICT. His key responsibility is to promote the value of CompTIA certifications in large corporate organizations as well as create a requirement of CompTIA certified manpower pool ready to join the industry. He is also tasked to educate the benefits of CompTIA certifications among career seekers in India while partnering with leading commercial training and academic institutions. He is a regular speaker in various career awareness seminars organized for students, enterprise organization and job seekers across the country in association with IT training providers. He has participated and spoken in skill development forums organized by agencies such as NASSCOM, ICTACT and various leading educational institutes. Apart from covering topics on skill development, Pradipto is also a passionate follower of technology trends. Pradipto has 18+ years of industry experience. Before joining CompTIA, Pradipto served Prometric Testing Pvt ltd., one of the world’s largest online assessment delivery organization. Pradipto has also worked for NIIT Technologies Limited as a regional manager for their GIS division – NIIT GIS Limited. Pradipto is an M.Tech from IIT Roorkee. He has also done Masters in International Business from IIFT (Indian Institute of Foreign Trade), New Delhi.

Post demonetization in the country, what kind of expectations do you keep from the upcoming Budget, particularly for the IT industry?

While demonetization has been positively accepted by a large section of the society on the basis of projected benefits of the drive, it might have some short term economic downturn due to liquidity crunch, especially on cash dependent sectors such as FMCG and automobiles among others.

Since IT is a majorly a supporting sectors to others, we might experience a cut on IT budgets by consuming industries. This will in turn lead to IT organizations reducing overheads including salariesand benefits of employees. In such times, Government should step up and support the IT industry with the following suggestions:

• A reduction of tax rates as well as increment in tax exceptions slabs will benefit individual tax payers including the IT workforce, especially at the entry level.
• The IT sector has never been recipient of incentives on R&D expenditure unlike the life sciences industry. An extension of such incentive to IT sector will be highly motivating for companies to invest in technology R&D. The global IT Industry is going through a rapid transition towards automation which leads to reduction of workforce and investment in automation. This is a key threat to the Indian IT sectorwhich earns a major chunk of revenue through manpower heavy services to international clients. It is high time that we focus on research and development related tocreating patented and saleable IT products. The future performance of the India IT sector will lie in its ability to transition from a purely service oriented business model to product oriented revenue opportunities.
• Demonetization has seen a huge surge in cashless electronic transactions. With this, we might foresee cases cyber security threats. The Government should think about dedicated budget provisions for developing a stronger cyber security framework and infrastructure of the country, which should include skill development in this domain
• We see a widening skill gap in the IT industry. With technology growing in complexity this gap will keep increasing. Increment in allocations for IT skill development through educational institutes will be appreciated by the industry.

In order to promote a cashless economy and encourage digital payments, what kind of incentives should the Budget offer?

• The challenge of mass implementation of a truly cashless economy is to reach out to the small vendors, in semi-urban and rural settlements. There should be clear financial incentive in shape of cash rewards for small vendors for moving from away from cash based transactions to digital methods.
• There should be some incentives for the consumers as well, especially to attract first time users of digital payment methods such as senior citizens and marginalized segments. Some of these were visible during the early phase of demonetization, but they need to be structured through the budget process.
• Along with this there should be budget provision for strengthening pan India high speed network connectivity making digital transactions easier to operate.

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