FM presents \'amrit kaal\' Budget; gives \'booster shot\' for growth, big digital push

35 per cent more money to create infra; greater focus on tech on road to India@100

New Delhi: The Union Budget 2022-23 of finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday was presented as a booster shot to push growth amid rising inflation and uncertainties due to the pandemic.

In order to create jobs, the government has taken a host of measures for a number of groups, especially in the social sector, including farmers, women, children, backward classes in the rural areas and capital expenditure spending for key sectors like defence, housing, railways, roadways and education.

The finance minister stated that the outlay for capital expenditure is being stepped up by 35.4 per cent from Rs 5.54 lakh crore in the current year to Rs 7.50 lakh crore in 2022-23, while the FY23 effective capex is seen at Rs 10.7 lakh crore.

Besides, the government has emphasised a digital push by rolling out digital currency.

Sitharaman said, “India's growth highest among all major economies; we are now in a strong position to withstand challenges. This Budget continues to provide the impetus for growth. It lays a parallel track of a blueprint for ‘amrit kaal’, which is futuristic and inclusive. Also it will directly benefit our youth, women, farmers, the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.”

“The big public investment for modern infrastructure (is for) readying for India at 100. This shall be guided by PM Gati Shakti and be benefited by the synergy of multi-modal approach.”

Welcoming the Budget which he said was “people-friendly and progressive”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that it had been welcomed by all sections of society. The reaction of common man has increased manifold our eagerness to serve people,” he said. “This Budget brings hopes and opportunities.”

The Budget “strengthens the economy; it's full of 'more infrastructure, more investment, more growth and more jobs'. There is also a new provision of green jobs; budget ensures a bright future for youth," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

The total expenditure for 2022-23 has been pegged at Rs 39.45 lakh crore, while total receipts other than borrowings are estimated at Rs 22.84 lakh crore.

"The budget laid great emphasis on providing big push to infrastructure spending with an aim to revive the pandemic-hit economy. Spending will be stepped up to Rs 39.45 lakh crore in the coming fiscal year, thereby pushing up fiscal deficit more than the target, Sitharaman said in her speech.

Trillions of rupees will be allocated to expressways, affordable housing and solar manufacturing to put growth on a firmer footing. “Total government spending is expected to be 4.6 per cent more than the current year. The increased expenditure, amid mounting government debt and subdued private investments, comes as economy looks to grow 8 per cent to 8.5 per cent in 2022-23," she said.

Answering a query in the press meet after the Budget announcement on why government did not consider a personal income-tax cut, Sitharaman said, “I have not hiked taxes. We followed PM Modi's vision that the people should not be burdened with the impact of taxation. They are already facing hardships due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I apologise for not being able to come out with any cut in tax slabs. But there are times when tax can be cut and there are times when the public will have to wait."

On rising inflation, she said that here is no “golmaal” in our view on inflation. "When prices of essential commodities increase, yes, the common man faces difficulties. But we acted immediately to counter the rise in edible oil prices and cut the import duties. The onus lies on government to curb inflation and we do step in when the need arises.

Since 2014 it has never been in double digits. "Technically, inflation has not exceeded the 6 percent target on a sustained basis," she said.
She said that due to the pandemic, jobs were lost across the world. “We are slowly helping those who have lost their jobs," she said.

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