The Budget has spelled out the contours and identified the opportunities to achieve the same including initiatives for enhancing women empowerment, tourism and green growth.
Given the global headwinds, ‘generating demand’ and ‘fiscal prudence’ seem to be the underlying guiding principles of the Budget.
In this sense, the government’s pragmatic approach of encouraging domestic demand through various means is welcomed. The propping up of capital investment outlay by 33 per cent to ₹10-lakh crore, very much in line with CII’s suggestions, will encourage crowding-in private investments and generating the much-needed jobs. Other Budget announcements like increasing personal disposable incomes, improving connectivity, expanding Direct Benefit Transfers, and skilling, among others, would only further this cause.
The government’s borrowing appears to be well-calibrated, underpinned by the fiscal deficit target of 5.9 per cent with the outlook of falling below 4.5 per cent by 2025-26.
The ‘growth push’ will help improve investors’ sentiments while keeping deficit under the watch would lessen the fear of government crowding out private investments. The reduction of more than 39,000 compliances and decriminalisation of 3,400 legal provisions only reiterates the focus on resolving EODB issues.
Measures like infusion of ₹9,000 crore in the credit guarantee scheme for MSMEs, rollover of the special treatments to start-ups for another year, impetus on FinTechs, boosting 5G infrastructure and setting up of 5G labs, specific measures to strengthen the digital infrastructure, among others, are welcomed indeed.
The Budget has aptly provisioned for providing on-the-job trainings, industry partnerships, tweaking of academic courses according to industry’s needs, setting up of more Skill India International Centres, etc. which would also help in intensifying R&D linkages across academia & industry, in addition to skilling the country’s youth.
The government announcements including the national e-library, Digital Skill Development programme through DBT, Digilocker, common and centralised agency for filing and sharing of information with other agencies, PAN becoming the common ID, would boost the digital penetration in the country to a great extent.
Overall, the Union Budget 2023-24 has really delivered much beyond expectations while keeping an eye on the much-warranted realism.
The writer is Director-General, CII
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