Dr. Yubraj Khatiwada, The Finance Minister of Nepal, announced an annual budget of 14.74 Kharba for the fiscal year 2077/78 on Thursday. As the whole world is currently suffering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; the budget has put a focus on the health sector, providing aid, insurance to health workers, and the revival of the economy. The total budget allocated for the Health Sector is Rs 9.69 Arba, Education Sector 17.43 Arba, Youth and Sports 2.63 Arba, Women and Child 1.14 Arba, Drinking Water 43.1 Arba among others.
We’ll be highlighting the major announcements related to the Information and Technology sector from the announcement of the annual budget of Fiscal Year 2077/78.
Keeping in mind the rise of digital payment gateways in the past year and more; the government has insisted on promoting cashless transactions. The government is also planning to set up a National Payment Gateway system. It will act as a centralized server for all digital payments. Furthermore, in an attempt to encourage transparency in government transactions as well; the government payments and revenues will also be extended to the digital payment system.
Even if the lockdown loosens up gradually, educational institutions will be the last to open. Therefore, amidst these concerns and future possibilities of such situations the government has also put its focus on establishing a proper digital learning portfolio. It will focus on the use of online platforms as well as television and FM radio for the same purpose.
Broadband Internet and 4G Expansion
The Government has aimed to provide Fiber Internet service with reliable connections across the country within the next two years. Similarly, 4G connection shall be made available nationwide within the next FY. The government has also decided to waive off 50% of the maintenance charge of Telecom Service Charge for fixed broadband ISPs.
An App for Farmers
The Government plans on launching a proper mobile app for the aid of farmers. It will constitute information regarding the market price of agricultural products as well as info on seeds, weather, and technologies which might be helpful. Since over 70% of the population is involved in agriculture and post COVID-19 we can only expect the number to grow up; this is a thoughtful initiative put forth.
Online License and E-passport
The government is planning to provide vehicle licenses digitally and set up a proper system to ease the whole process. Also, Electronic passports are to be implemented within the next fiscal year and on-arrival visas will be managed provided online.
Security and Disaster Warning
Cybersecurity has become a major problem as of late with more and more attacks taking place. The government has tried to address this situation by announcing the establishment of a separate cybersecurity center and a forensic lab in an aim to strengthen the cybersecurity of the country.
Also, the government plans on developing its IT systems and equip them to be able to use them for disaster warning purposes.
Secondary share trading online
We’ve already been seeing efforts to move secondary share trading to an online platform. The government has further solidified these efforts by announcing a provision to fully digitalize the trading of secondary shares to an online platform.
Home Delivery Systems
Home Delivery Systems have been massively booming as of recent due to the circumstances present. Also, it has gradually picked up pace over the last couple of years and seems convenient. Hence, the government aims to promote home delivery systems by expanding the delivery of several items to people’s doorsteps.
- The government plans to broadcast Nepal Television internationally.
- Nepal’s very own satellite station will be in place in space.
- There will be a National Knowledge Park at Khumaltar, Lalitpur.
The announcements made in the budget for FY 2077/78 look quite promising. However, the government has a bad history of only making promising announcements and not putting them into action. Therefore, we have to wait and see if the government will be properly implemented it this time around.