Article 112 of The Indian Constitution provides for an Annual Budget or an Annual Financial Statement which is presented each year on the first of February in the parliament by the Finance Minister, presently Ms Nirmala Sitharaman ji; with the aim of implementation in the upcoming fiscal year ( calculated from the month of April ).
Depending on the functioning and status of the economy after the last fiscal year and in accordance with the demands of society, the world economy and other financial aspects, each year’s budget is carefully designed by highly skilled professionals and economists.
As the years are passing the world economy at large is becoming more and more digital which has brought terms like digital money, cryptocurrencies etc. But with the introduction of anything new in the market economy there has to be a set of rules and regulations which have to be framed for its proper incorporation, ensure maximum benefit to the citizens and prevent misuse by some.
The Budget began with how India has been growing rapidly despite all challenges like pandemic, war etc and how the entire world recognizes India as a ‘Bright Star’ in its 75th year of independence.
A detailed economic survey is undertaken every time in order to get a better insight into the economy. The survey underlined the fact that “agencies worldwide continue to project India has the fastest growing major economy” despite the three shocks of Covid-19, the Russia – Ukraine war, and synchronised policy rate hikes by central banks across the world.
The budget highlighted on the importance of an ambitious, people-centric agenda to address global challenges, and to facilitate sustainable economic development. It highlighted how meticulously India can take advantage of its G20 presidency to strengthen India’s role in the world economic order, with the theme of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’.
After the Covid 19 pandemic which almost crippled the entire world economy, emphasis on health sector has increased. The health sector has been allocated Rs. 88,956 crores in the Budget estimate for 2023-24, as opposed to Rs. 77,351, the revised estimate for the year 2022-23. The major highlight herein was the announcement of a programme to be launched in collaboration with the Health Ministry, with the aim of eliminating Sickle Cell Anaemia, a genetic disease, widespread among the tribal population in India where, according to government
data, about 1 in 86 births among the Scheduled Tribes is affected by the disease. The health ministry will work with various stakeholders, including the ministry of tribal affairs, state governments, etc.
Besides, in a major boost to the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban), the Centre on Wednesday announced a 150-per cent hike in the outlay of its flagship scheme with an allocation of Rs. 5,000 crores in the Union Budget 2023-24.
Madam Sitharaman threw light on the Modi govt.’s vision of Amrit Kaal which includes a technology-driven and knowledge-based economy with strong public finances, and a robust financial sector. The economic agenda for achieving this vision focuses on three things:
- first, facilitating ample opportunities for citizens, especially the youth, to fulfil their aspirations;
- second, providing a strong impetus to growth and job creation;
- third, strengthening macroeconomic stability.
It praised the remarkable success of the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana National Rural Livelihood Mission by mobilizing rural women into 81 lakh Self Help Groups. The budget 2023 aims to enable these groups to reach the next stage of economic empowerment through the formation of large producer enterprises or collectives each having several thousand members and managed professionally. They will be helped with the supply of raw materials and for better
design, quality, branding and marketing of their products. Through supporting policies, they will be enabled to scale up their operations to serve the large consumer markets, as has been the case with several start-ups growing into ‘Unicorns’.
It is very well evident and known to all how India, a famous international tourist destination was affected due to the curbs laid down by the covid pandemic, keeping this in mind budget 2023 aims to promote tourism on mission mode, with the active participation of states, the convergence of government programmes and public-private partnerships.
The Budget adopted the following seven priorities. They complement each other and act as the ‘Saptarishi’ guiding us through the Amrit Kaal.
1) Inclusive Development – The Government’s philosophy of Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas has facilitated inclusive development covering in specific, farmers, women, youth, OBCs, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, divyangjan and economically weaker sections, and overall priority for the underprivileged (vanchiton ko variyata). There has also been a sustained focus on Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh and the North-East. This Budget has been built to further continue with these efforts. Besides, it emphasizes agricultural cooperation, fisheries, Atmanirbhar Horticulture Clean Plant Program, health, education, medical research etc.
2) Reaching the Last Mile
3) Infrastructure and Investment – Investments in Infrastructure and productive capacity have a large multiplier impact on growth and employment. After the subdued period of the pandemic, private investments are growing again. The Budget takes the lead once again to ramp up the virtuous cycle of investment and job creation.
4) Unleashing the Potential shall be done through some of these steps
- For realizing the vision of “Make AI in India and Make AI work for India”, three centres of excellence for Artificial Intelligence will be set up in top educational institutions. Leading industry players will partner in conducting interdisciplinary research, and develop cutting-edge applications and scalable problem solutions in the areas of agriculture, health, and sustainable cities. This will galvanize an effective AI ecosystem and nurture quality human resources in the field.
- The KYC process will be simplified by adopting a ‘risk-based’ instead of ‘one size fits all’ approach. The financial sector regulators will also be encouraged to have a KYC system fully amenable to meet the needs of Digital India.
- The State Support Mission of NITI Aayog will be continued for three years for our collective efforts towards national priorities.
- One hundred labs for developing applications using 5G services will be set up in engineering institutions to realise a new range of opportunities, business models, and employment potential. The labs will cover, among others, applications such as smart classrooms, precision farming, intelligent transport systems, and healthcare
5) Green Growth – Hon’ble Prime Minister has given a vision for “LiFE”, or Lifestyle for Environment, to spur a movement of an environmentally conscious lifestyle. India is moving forward firmly for the ‘panchamrit’ and net-zero carbon emission by 2070 to usher in a green industrial and economic transition. This Budget builds on our focus on green growth. This has to be done through the Green Hydrogen Mission and the Gobardhan Scheme.
6) Youth Power – To empower our youth and help the ‘Amrit Peedhi’ realize their dreams, the National Education Policy has been formulated, focused on skills, adopted economic policies that facilitate job creation at scale, and supported business opportunities.
7) Financial Sector – The Budget also focuses and lays amended guidelines for various types of taxes. In a major relief for Middle-Class Indians, the rebate limit in the new taxation policy has been raised to 7 lakhs ie people below an annual income of Rs 7 lakhs need not pay any taxes.
Overall the budget stands as a powerful symbol of India’s strong economic growth and dominance in the world economy in years ahead, built upon the vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat, with a focus on sustainable development, energy transition for a cleaner tomorrow, and inclusive growth through a tech-enabled economy.