Job Creation and Youth Empowerment: What to Know About 2023 Union Budget
© AP Photo / Manish SwarupIndian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, poses for the media holding a pouch containing a digital tablet as she leaves her office along with her colleagues for President's house before presenting the federal budget for the financial year 2023-24 in the Parliament in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Feb. 1 2023.
© AP Photo / Manish Swarup
This was the last full budget of the Narendra Modi government, as the national election is due in April-May 2024.
Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday announced various measures to benefit the middle class, including a revision of income tax slabs, the reduction of particular customs duties, and agricultural subsidies in her annual budget presentation for 2023-24 in the nation's parliament.
The government is going to raise capital spending to $122.3 billion, which would be 3.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), in the next fiscal year starting on April 1. It will be the most significant jump after an increase of more than 37 percent between 2020-21 and 2021-22.
Earlier in the morning, the parliament's Budget Session was commenced by President Droupadi Murmu, before t he tabling of the budget by Finance Minister Sitharaman: it was for the first time in Indian history that a woman commenced the budget, and a woman presented it.
Economic Agenda to Underpin India's Vision
"Economic agenda for our vision focuses on: facilitating opportunities for citizens, providing strong impetus to growth and job creation, and strengthening macroeconomic stability," Sitharaman announced while presenting the Modi government's 5th annual budget.
"The economic empowerment of women is one opportunity that can be transformative in achieving our vision by focusing on the above areas," Sitharaman highlighted.
"G20 Presidency gives us a unique opportunity to strengthen our role in the world economic order. We are steering an ambitious people-centric agenda to address global challenges and facilitate sustainable economic development," Sitharaman added.
Key Points of Union Budget 2023
The government has outlined seven priority areas in the last complete budget before next year's general elections. The areas are "inclusive development, reaching the last mile, infrastructure and investment, unleashing the potential, green growth, youth power and the financial sector."
The defense budget saw a 12.95 percent hike for the 2023-24 financial year, with a total allocation of INR 5.9 trillion.
To go net zero by 2070 and switch to green fuel, the government is targeting 5 MT of Green Hydrogen production by 2030.
As per government estimates, the likely installed capacity from non-fossil fuels is expected to be more than 500 GW by 2030, translating to a fall in average emission rate of around 29% by 2029-30, in comparison to 2014-15.
The fiscal deficit target of 6.4 percent will be retained in the revised estimate for the current fiscal year. However, for fiscal 2023-2024, it will be cut to 5.9 percent of the GDP.
The Pradhan Mantri Primitive Vulnerable Tribal Groups Development Mission is being launched to improve the conditions of vulnerable tribal groups
To unleash innovation and research by startups and academia, a National Data Governance Policy will be brought up.
157 new nursing colleges will be established in co-location with the 157 medical colleges established since 2014.
A 2047 target date has been established for the elimination of sickle cell anemia
Three Centers of Excellence for Artificial Intelligence will be set up in top educational institutions for realizing the vision of Make AI in India and Make AI work for India.
What PM Modi Says About the New Budget
Appreciating the Finance Minister, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the last full-fledged union budget before the country holds its general election, saying it's one that will lay the foundation of a strong economy.
"This Budget will fulfill the dreams of the poor, villagers, farmers and middle class."
Apart from raising the rebate for individual taxpayers, the government said it would spend INR 150 billion on a mission for safe housing, sanitation, drinking water and electricity for tribal communities.
Other social welfare steps include assistance to 10 million farmers to convert to natural farming and increasing the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana's (PM Housing Scheme) share by 66 percent to INR 790 billion.
"This year's Budget infuses new energy to India's development trajectory," he said.