Push for Digitization and Green Growth in Budget 2023

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Union Budget speech on Wednesday emphasised the government’s ongoing efforts to push for digitisation in the country. In addition, the Finance Minister named ‘Green Growth’ as one of her Budget’s seven priorities.

Push for digitisation in the country: key highlights

  • Agriculture Digital Public Infrastructure will be an open source, open standard, and interoperable public good. Through relevant information services for crop planning and health, improved access to farm inputs, credit, and insurance, crop estimation assistance, market intelligence, and support for the growth of the agri-tech industry and start-ups, the platform will provide inclusive, farmer-centric solutions.
  • National Children’s and Adolescent Digital Library: This will be established to facilitate the availability of high-quality books in a variety of languages, genres, and levels. The government will also try to instil a reading culture by collaborating with non-governmental organisations that will provide age-appropriate reading material to everyone.
  • Centres of Excellence for Artificial Intelligence: A proposal has been made to establish three centres of excellence for artificial intelligence in prestigious educational institutions. These centres will conduct interdisciplinary research and develop cutting-edge applications and scalable problem solutions in agriculture, health, and sustainable cities in collaboration with industry leaders.
  • National Data Governance Policy: The government will develop a data governance policy to allow start-ups and academia access to anonymized data for innovation and research.
  • 5G Services: A hundred labs will be established in engineering institutions to develop applications utilising 5G services in order to realise a new set of opportunities, business models, and employment opportunities.
  • E-Courts: To ensure the efficient administration of justice, the government will launch phase three of the E-Courts project.
  • Bharat SHRI (Bharat Shared Repository of Inscriptions): In the first stage, a digital epigraphy museum will be established, and one lakh ancient inscriptions will be digitised.
  • Skill India Digital Platform: The digital ecosystem for skilling will be expanded even further with the launch of a unified Skill India Digital platform for enabling demand-based formal skilling, connecting with employers including MSMEs, and facilitating access to entrepreneurship schemes.

Elements of the Budget’s Green Growth push

  • Green Hydrogen Mission: The recently launched National Green Hydrogen Mission, with an outlay of Rs 19,700 crores, will facilitate the economy’s transition to low carbon intensity, reduce reliance on fossil fuel imports, and position the country to assume technology and market leadership in this emerging sector. India aims to produce 5 million tonnes of green hydrogen per year by 2030.
  • Energy Transition: The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has allocated Rs 35,000 crore in the budget for priority capital investments in energy transition and net zero objectives, as well as energy security.
  • Energy Storage Projects: In order to steer the economy toward sustainable development, Viability Gap Funding will be provided for Battery Energy Storage Systems with a capacity of 4,000 MWH. A detailed framework for Pumped Storage Projects will be developed as well.
  • Renewable Energy Evacuation: An inter-state transmission system will be built to evacuate and integrate 13 GW of renewable energy from Ladakh.
  • Green Credit Programme: A Green Credit Programme will be notified under the Environment (Protection) Act to encourage behavioural change. This will encourage companies, individuals, and local governments to take environmentally sustainable and responsive actions, as well as help mobilise additional resources for such activities.
  • PM-PRANAM: A new PM Programme for Mother Earth Restoration, Awareness, Nourishment, and Amelioration will be launched to encourage states and union territories to promote alternative fertilisers and the balanced use of chemical fertilisers.
  • GOBARdhan (Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan) scheme: Under the GOBARdhan scheme, 500 new waste-to-wealth plants will be established to promote the circular economy.
  • Prakritik Kheti Bhartiya Resource Centers for Bio-Input: Proposal to assist 1 crore farmers in adopting natural farming over the next three years. 10,000 Bio-Input Resource Centres will be established for this purpose, resulting in a national-level distributed micro-fertilizer and pesticide manufacturing network.
  • MISHTI: Mangrove Initiative for Shoreline Habitats and Tangible Incomes, MISHTI, will be implemented for mangrove plantation along the coastline and on salt pan lands wherever possible, through collaboration between MGNREGS, CAMPA Fund, and other sources.
  • Amrit Dharohar: The government will promote their unique conservation values through Amrit Dharohar, a scheme that will be implemented over the next three years to encourage optimal use of wetlands, increase bio-diversity, carbon stock, eco-tourism opportunities, and generate income for local communities.
  • Coastal Shipping: Through the PPP mode with viability gap funding, coastal shipping will be promoted as an energy efficient and lower cost mode of transport for both passengers and freight.
  • Vehicle Replacement: Replacing old polluting vehicles is a critical component of greening our economy. States will be assisted in replacing old vehicles and ambulances as part of the vehicle scrapping policy.

@the end

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Union Budget outlines the government’s push for digitization and green growth in India. The budget’s key highlights suggest that it lays the groundwork for a more digitally connected and environmentally sustainable India.

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