IT sector offers mixed reaction

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Mumbai, Feb 29: The IT sector today welcomed Union finance Minister P Chidambaram's initatives in the 2008-09 budget for building knowledge society but expressed against the excise duty on packaged software and imposition of service tax on custom software.

''The emphasis on building India into a Knowledge Society through a series of proposals--setting up three new IITs, scholarships for Innovation, R &D and a National Knowledge Network to connect Universities--is very welcome'', said Mr Pradeep Gupta, Chairman of CyberMedia, specialty publishing house, and Past Chairman of Pan-IIT Alumni India.

''The significantly higher allocation for education and health sector and setting up of a new National Skill Development Mission offer a positive signal to the knowledge based industries to contribute to the economic development of the country'', according to Mr Kapil Dev Singh, Country Manager of IT intelligence and advisory firm IDC India.

Mr Singh, however, said the contribution of the Industry to the buoyant Indian economy did not deserve the excise duty hike on packaged software and service tax, imposed on custom software.

''While the 100,000 Internet-enabled Common Service Centres (CSC's) and State Wide Area Networks (SWAN) will play a major role in taking the benefit of IT to masses, the number is still insignificant for one billion technology deprived Indians'', said Mr. Pankaj Jain, President and COO of Webdunia.com, Indian's largest multi-lingual portal and email service in 11 Indian languages.

UNI

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