Bengaluru: Research firm Gartner Inc. expects the Indian government to increase its spending on information technology products and services by 5.2% to $6.88 billion this year as it steps up efforts to connect more people on Internet.

Spending on services, which includes consulting, IT outsourcing and back office-related work, is likely to grow 10% to $1.6 billion, data from Gartner showed.

The research firm expects investments in telecommunications services to grow 3% to $1.6 billion, driven by the rise in mobile network services. Mobile network services may account for half of the spending in telecommunications services, it said.

The government’s initiatives to create a digitally-connected India through greater access to government services on mobile devices, wider reach of broadband network and creating more smart cities will drive its spending on information and communication technology, said Anurag Gupta, a research vice-president at Gartner.

The government plans to spend $18 billion on a massive campaign called Digital India that aims to get people online faster and connect as many as 250,000 villages across the country using Internet by 2019.

The initiative is also aimed at providing electronic governance and universal phone connectivity across the country and bridging the gap between those who have and don’t have access to Internet.

Gartner also expects the government’s spending on software to rise nearly 11% to $869 million this year. The spending on salaries and benefits paid to information services providers, including those who plan, develop, implement and maintain IT systems, is likely to grow 8.8% to $1.6 billion, it said.