Yesterday, the Nepalese government unveiled its budget allocation for the fiscal year 2078-79 with a total capital of NPR 1647.57 billion. In terms of the IT industry, the government has included programs such as broadband expansion, e-governance, startup loans, and many more. Furthermore, the 2078-79 budget for the ICT sector also focuses on youth empowerment.
2078-79 budget on ICT sector:
Laptop at 1% Interest
Let us begin by discussing the proposal for pupils and the educational system as a whole. The finance minister announced that the government has decided to provide loans of up to NPR 80,000 (at 1% interest) to students over the age of 16 for the purchase of a laptop. The loan must be returned within two years and is only available to students enrolled in government institutions.
University & portal for students
Moving forward, the government will enhance its dedicated portal named Sikai Chautari to expand the reach of education through the internet. Students from any school or location are welcome to participate and learn.
Finance minister Mr. Bishnu Prasad Paudel also announced that the Madan Bhandari Technical University in Kavre would open its doors in the coming fiscal year. Furthermore, the administration intends to establish technical schools at all local levels.
Loan to graduates
To encourage the nation’s young entrepreneurs, the government will grant loans of up to NPR 2.5 million to startups at 1% interest rates. To qualify for startup financing, graduates must provide an academic certificate as proof.
In addition, startups will also get an exemption on profit tax for five years from the date of their establishment.
Free internet & SIM
The government plans to provide free internet access to all community schools throughout the country. Within the next fiscal year, 60 percent of community schools will have a free broadband internet connection. In addition, students who are 16 years or more will be eligible to get a free SIM card.
The government of Nepal has put up a number of proposals to expedite the process of manual or time-consuming operations.
A while ago, we came to know about Mero Kitta and NeLIS, a digital initiative that provides land-related services like map print, plot register print, and fieldbook print. Now, it appears that the government is ready to take it to the next level.
In the coming fiscal year, the government plans to digitize the majority of its land-related processes. This eliminates the need to personally visit the Malpot office and complete the necessary paperwork.
The full version of the Nagarik app was launched on May 3 and the government has vowed to add numerous services to the platform. To that end, Mr. Paudel stated that major services (such as bill book renewal, Malpot, and so on) would be shifted to the Nagarik app.
A few years ago, the Nepal government introduced the notion of embossed number plates for automobiles. However, in practice, the implementation has been limited to a small number of vehicles.
Furthermore, the government has raised the same subject again and stated that radio frequency-equipped (RFID) embossed number plates will be provided for vehicles starting next fiscal year. In addition, the driver will get an electronic license which will help to track his/her movement or location.
Starting with the next fiscal year, you will receive a 10% VAT refund on products purchased and paid for with a QR code. The add-on incentive will encourage the digitization of the payment process. In addition, the government has also chosen to incorporate QR codes into passports.
Unified national payment
As per the plans of the government, a national payment switch will come into operation shortly, which will integrate various online payment gateways and provide a unified platform for online transactions. The project is currently being worked on by Nepal Clearing House Limited (NCHL).
NTV global version
NTV, Nepal’s first television station, will be adding a new channel to its lineup. The channel, dubbed “NTV World,” will be one-of-a-kind in order to expand Nepalese content beyond the country’s borders.
With this initiative, people living in rural places will be able to access healthcare services through electronic media. However, the service is not solely for the remote areas, but the government’s goals are primarily to focus on rural regions of the country.
The approach under this category involves the growth of 4G networks, the introduction of MDMS, fiber expansion, and other initiatives.
MDMS is a term that will directly affect the majority of Nepali smartphone consumers. Short for Mobile Device Management System, this system assures that the smartphone, feature phones, or tablets will only enter Nepal through official channels.
On the contrary, MDMS will block any and all such devices that arrive via unofficial channels like grey markets. As a result, they will be inaccessible to network connectivity throughout the country. The system will come into effect from the beginning of Shrawan. Find more about it here.
Nepal Telecom shares to the public
Another fascinating piece of news announced during the budget speech might be of interest to investors in the share market. The government-owned telecom company, Nepal Telecom has decided to distribute 22% of the company share to the general public who are using the NT’s mobile, landline, or internet services.
Last but not the least, the 2078-79 budget for the ICT sector has several proposals that aim to expand the country’s electric vehicle scenario. Through Sajha Yatayat, at least 100 electric buses will come into operation in Kathmandu Valley within the fiscal year.
Furthermore, the government plans to lure the top 10 EV companies in the world to manufacture/assemble their electric vehicles in Nepal. And the most exciting news of them all has to be the elimination of excise duty on the import of EVs—alongside reduced custom duty.
It will undoubtedly make things easier for local EV companies like Yatri to grow and establish themselves in Nepal.
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