Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, flanked by Ministers of State Bhagwat Kishanrao Karad and Pankaj Chaudhary, shows a folder-case containing papers of her Union Budget 2023-24 speech as he arrives at Parliament, in New Delhi. (PTI Photo/Kamal Singh)
New Delhi: The government proposed a capital outlay of about Rs 2.40 lakh crore for railways, said Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday while presenting the Union Budget 2023-24 in Lok Sabha.
This budgeted outlay for the railways, Sitharaman told Parliament, is the highest ever and nine times of what it was in 2013.
Overall, the government proposed to increase capital expenditure outlay by 33 per cent to Rs 10 lakh crore in 2023-24, which would be 3.3 per cent of the GDP, said Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
"(This overall outlay) would be 3.3 per cent of GDP, almost three times the outlay made in 2019-20. With the substantial increase, it is central to government's efforts to enhance growth potential and job creation, the crowd in private investments and provides a cushion against global headwinds," Sitharaman said in her Budget speech.
Further, the government proposes to increase the agricultural credit target to Rs 20 lakh crore with a focus on animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries, Sitharaman told Parliament. The agriculture sector of the country has been growing at an average annual growth rate of 4.6 per cent in the last six years.
The government will also launch a sub-scheme of the existing PM Matsya scheme to improve value chain efficiencies, she said.
Sitharaman started her Budget speech at 11 am, the last full Budget of the Modi government in its second term. Like the previous two Union Budgets, Union Budget 2023-24 is also presented in paperless form.
This year's Budget holds much significance as the country is scheduled to have the next Lok Sabha election in April-May 2024.
As per established tradition, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman along with ministers of state Pankaj Chaudhary and Bhagwat Karad and Finance Secretary T V Somanathan called on President Droupadi Murmu.
This is the fifth budget presentation by Sitharaman.
The budget session of the Parliament began on Tuesday with President's address, subsequently tabling the Economic Survey for 2022-23. The formal exercise to prepare the annual Budget for the next financial year (2023-24) commenced on October 10.
The Economic Survey, tabled in the Parliament on Tuesday, noted India's GDP is expected to grow in the range of 6 to 6.8 per cent in the coming financial year 2023-24. This is in comparison to the estimated 7 per cent this fiscal and 8.7 per cent in 2021-22.