The world has undergone a dramatic shift towards digitization in the past 2 decades, and governments are catching up on how to promote and benefit from this tech boom. The Union Budget 2022-23 was presented in the parliament last week with a vision for new India. With an emphasis on technology and all-around development to drive the nation to the future. “Under sunrise opportunities, Artificial intelligence, geospatial systems and drones, semiconductor and its eco-system Space Economy, Genomics and Pharmaceuticals, Green Energy, and Clean Mobility Systems have immense potential to assist sustainable development at scale and modernize the country. They provide employment opportunities for youth, and make Indian industry more efficient and competitive,” said Sitharaman.
Aligning geospatial technologies in the Union Budget
This year’s budget is laying the foundation for the beginning of 25 years to India’s 100 years of Independence in 2047, termed as Amritkaal.
Union Budget 2022 has included the PM Gati Shakti program as a priority, the seven engines of the PM Gati Shakti initiative are roads, railways, airports, ports, mass transport, waterways, and logistics infra. As the Indian economy strengthens these initiatives, geospatial technology will gain more prominence in the process. The Gati Shakti program will promote huge investments in almost 25,000 km stretches of highways, drone use for land assessment, digitization of land records, and multimodal means of transport. All of which would require geospatial technology for efficient implementation. Through this use, GIS should progressively become indispensable in our daily life.
GIS is already an important tool when creating digital twins of water, rail, roads, and rural territories to track and monitor utilities and transportation. Also, planning and maintenance, 5G digital connectivity, disaster response and recovery, autonomous vehicle and intelligent transportation, ecology, biodiversity conservation, and sustainable resource management.
The Gati Shakti program would involve huge investments in the construction of about 25,000 km of highways, multimodal transport, and modernization of land records. These are welcome steps, and GIS and other geospatial technologies will facilitate the efficient implementation of these schemes. According to the Artha report, India’s geospatial economy would reach 63,100 Cr by 2025.
Making India digitally equipped
Sitharaman has also confirmed that the Reserve Bank of India will issue a digital rupee soon. The digital currency by RBI will be based on blockchain technology, the tech behind Bitcoin, and other popular cryptocurrencies.
According to Sitharaman, “Digital currency will also lead to a more efficient and cheaper currency management system. It is therefore proposed to introduce a digital rupee using blockchain and other technologies, to be issued by the Reserve Bank of India, starting 2022-23.”
Reducing the carbon footprint and promoting the use of electric vehicles
The usage of electric vehicles looks promising in India. The Union Budget 2022 has 3 key announcements related to the EV sector –
- Standards for battery interoperability and recognition of businesses implementing battery enable operations as opposed to fossil fuels
- Creation of special mobility zones for non-fossil fuel vehicles will help drive adoption of EVs in cities.
- Incentivize shift to EVs and we are hopeful that the Ministry of Heavy Industries will expand the scheme to include Low Speed EVs which account for 90% of EV sales
There is still a question of access to affordable finance in the mobility industry, but hopefully, there will be provisions and additions to the budget to make EVs a priority sector. With a push towards adopting EVs in India, better navigation and maps also pose as a demand in the industry, this is where GIS comes in.
The Union Budget 2022-23 proposes promoting technology the likes of which we have never seen in a budget in the history of India. It puts a spotlight on every company in the industry hoping to make a difference and add value to the Indian business ecosystem. Working to bring geospatial transformation for adding value not profits is the foundation stone for GeoSpoc, and the opportunities presented in this budget must be taken up as the ultimate challenge. If Artha declares that India’s geospatial economy will reach 63,100 Cr in 2025, let us see how we can enable geospatial transformation to contribute to that effort.
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