Budget 2013-14: What’s in stock for IP and innovation?

Yesterday, the Finance Minister P. Chidambaram presented the budget before the Lok Sabha for the eighth time, only two short of equaling Morarji Desai’s record for the highest number of Union Budgets presented till date. Although the budget speech isn’t something IP practitioners look forward to each year, it is still disappointing to see no reference to the Science Technology and Innovation Policy announced earlier this year which would require a great deal of funds for its successful implementation. Nonetheless, here are a few interesting aspects of the budget that could have long term implications on IP and innovation in India. 

(a) Financial Boost for Business Incubators: Henceforth, all donations made by big corporates to business incubators will be deemed as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). For those uninitiated, business incubators provide assistance to startups to tide over initial tough phase including office space, networking and other management assistance. The proposed Companies Bill imposes an obligation on companies (with more than Rs. 500 crores net worth or with an annual turnover of Rs. 1,000 crores or earning net profit of Rs. 5 crores) to spend 2% of their profits on CSR. This also gives an indication on how the government intends to promote development through CSR in the future. 

(b) Smaller Cities to get private FM radio services: To the much delight of radio broadcasters, the Finance Minister announced expansion of private FM radio services to cities with a population of more than 1 lakh. Pursuant to this I&B Ministry will auction 839 new FM radio channels this year.

(c) Proposals to attract investment in electronics: In a move to promote electronic gadgets and devices, the Government announced zero custom duty for chip manufactures willing to start operations in India. For the next two years, custom duty for plant and machinery for manufacturing of semiconductors has been waived. As an aside, the Cabinet last year approved the National Policy on Electronics of 2012 which aims to ‘to create an eco-system for a globally competitive ESDM (Electronic System and Design and Manufacturing) sector in the country to achieve a turnover of about USD 400 billion by 2020 involving investment of about USD 100 billion and employment to around 28 million people at various levels.’

(d) Boost for alternative healing methods: The budget speech placed heavy emphasis on healthcare and infrastructure in healthcare. Henceforth, all contributions towards government run health schemes will be eligible for tax benefits. Furthermore, the Department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) has been allocated Rs. 1,061 crores and the expenditure for National Health Mission (NHM) has been increased by 24%. Additionally, the Finance Minister has commissioned setting up of six AIIMS-like institutions with a budget of Rs. 1,650 and one Indian Institute of Biotechnology at Ranchi.   
(e) Apart from this, the budget allocation for the HRD Ministry, of which the Copyright Office falls under, has been increased by a tune of 17%.

P.S. Earlier draft of the post stated that P. Chidambaram with this year’s budget speech equaled Morarji Desai’s record number of Union Budgets presented till date. It is clarified that Desai presented the budget on ten occasions and Chidambaram is second with eight. I would like to thank one of our readers, Vibhooti Malhotra for pointing this out. 

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1 thought on “Budget 2013-14: What’s in stock for IP and innovation?”

  1. Sai

    You were technically right when you saide that, “…equaled Morarji Desai’s record number of Union Budgets presented till date..”, if you do not take into consideration the ‘interim budgets’ presented.

    As Hindu puts it rather elaboratly, “The budgets presented by Desai included five annual budgets and an interim budget during his first stint and one interim budget and three final budgets in the second tenure when he was both the Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister.

    He tabled annual budgets for the years from 1959-60 to 1963-64 and the interim budget for 1962-63. Again, in 1967 Morarji Desai presented the budget. He is the only finance minister who presented the Budget on his birthday, which fell on February 29, 1968.”

    You might wish to add this too…

    Best wishes

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