The yearly financial report delivered to Parliament by India’s Finance Minister is known as the “Union Budget.” It gives a general picture of the financial situation of the nation and lists the government’s revenue and expenses for the forthcoming fiscal year. The Indian budget, which frequently contains significant policy pronouncements and tax plans, is closely observed by the general public, businesses, and investors. The Union Budget has a significant influence on the nation’s economic policy and is felt all around the nation. The Union Budget 2023–24 was presented in Parliament on February 1, 2023, by Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs. The budget for 2023–24 seems to be a sensible, well–balanced budget that builds on past budgets and offers a roadmap for India. This budget maintains the fiscal consolidation objective while striking an outstanding balance between growth and a greater emphasis on capital expenditure. We will take a look at the seven key areas that are emphasised in the Indian budget for 2023 in this article.
The government’s Sabka Saath ideology, Sabka Vikas, has facilitated inclusive development, giving the underprivileged overall priority as well as farmers, women, youth, OBCs, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, Divyangjan, and economically weaker sections (vanchiton ko variyata). The Northeast, Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir have also received consistent attention. This budget advances those initiatives.
Agriculture and Cooperation
The crucial actions in this regard are as follows:
For agriculture, a digital public infrastructure
Agriculture-related digital public infrastructure will be developed as a freely available, open-source, and interoperable public good. Through pertinent information services for crop planning and health, improved access to farm inputs, credit, and insurance, assistance for crop estimation, market intelligence, and support for the expansion of the agri-tech industry and start-ups, this will enable inclusive, farmer-centric solutions.
Agriculture Accelerator Fund
To support young entrepreneurs in rural areas who are starting agribusinesses, an agriculture accelerator fund will be created. The Fund’s objective is to offer farmers innovative, economical solutions to their issues. The introduction of contemporary technologies will also alter agricultural practices and improve productivity and profitability.
Improving Cotton Crop Productivity
Through public-private partnerships, we will use a cluster-based and value-chain approach to increase the productivity of extra-long staple cotton (PPP). This will require cooperation between farmers, the government, and businesses for the provision of inputs, extension services, and market connections.
Programme for clean plants in horticulture, ATMANIRBHAR. With an investment of 2,200 crores, we will start the Atmanirbhar Clean Plant Program to increase the supply of high-value horticultural crops grown with disease-free, high-quality planting material.
Global Hub for Millets: “Sree Anna”
The Hon. Prime Minister stated that India is leading the way in popularising millet, whose consumption promotes nutrition, food security, and farmer welfare.
We are the second-largest exporter after India of “Shree Anna” in the world. Many different varieties of “Shree Anna” are grown by us, including jowar, ragi, bajra, kuttu, ramdana, kangni, kutki, kodo, cheena, and sama. These have long been a staple of our diets and offer a number of health advantages. The Indian Institute of Millet Research, Hyderabad, will be supported as the Center of Excellence for Sharing Best Practices, Research, and Technologies at the International Level in order to make India a global hub for “Shree Anna.”
The goal for agricultural credit will rise to 20 lakh crore, with an emphasis on dairy, fisheries, and animal husbandry.
With a target investment of 6,000 crores, a new sub-scheme of the PM Matsya Sampada Yojana will be introduced in order to support the activities of fishers, fish vendors, and micro- and small businesses even more, increase the efficiency of the value chain and broaden the market.
Health, Education, and Skills
These are some of its different components.
Alongside the 157 medical colleges that have already been operating since 2014, 157 new nursing colleges will also be established.
Elimination Mission for Sickle Cell Anaemia
By 2047, a mission will be launched to end sickle cell anaemia. Through joint efforts of central ministries and state governments, it will involve raising awareness, universal screening of 7 crore people in the age range of 0–40 years in the affected tribal areas, and counselling.
Faculty from public and private medical colleges, as well as R&D teams from the private sector, will have access to facilities in a few ICMR labs to conduct research in an effort to promote collaborative research and innovation.
Research in Pharma
Through centres of excellence, a new programme to encourage pharmaceutical research and innovation will be implemented. We’ll also persuade businesses to spend money on R&D in certain high-priority areas. Multidisciplinary medical device courses.
Training for Teachers
Through creative pedagogy, curriculum change, ongoing professional development, dipstick surveys, and ICT implementation, teachers’ training will be reimagined. For this reason, the District Institutes of Education and Training will grow into thriving centres of excellence.
The National Digital Library for Children and Adolescents
It will be possible to access high-quality books across all levels, genres, and languages thanks to the creation of a national digital library for kids and teenagers. This library will be accessible on any device. States will be urged to establish physical libraries for them at the panchayat and ward levels and to provide the necessary infrastructure for them to access the National Digital Library’s resources.
The government has established the ministries of AYUSH, Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairy, Skill Development, Jal Shakti, and Cooperation to give the goal of “reaching the last mile” a clearer focus.
Programme for Aspirational Districts and Blocks
Building on the success of the Aspirational Districts Program, the government recently introduced the Aspirational Blocks Program, which will cover 500 blocks and ensure that all residents have access to basic infrastructure as well as health, nutrition, education, agriculture, and water resources.
The mission for Pradhan Mantri PVTG Development
The Pradhan Mantri PVTG Development Mission will be implemented to improve the socioeconomic circumstances of the particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs). By doing this, basic amenities like secure housing, access to clean water and sanitation, improved health and nutrition, road and telecommunication connectivity, and opportunities for sustainable livelihoods will be provided to PVTG families and habitations. Under the Development Action Plan for the Scheduled Tribes, a sum of Rs. 15,000 crores will be made available to carry out the mission over the course of the following three years.
Eklavya model residential schools
The centre will hire 38,800 teachers and support staff over the next three years to serve the 3.5 lakh tribal students who attend the 740 Eklavya Model Residential Schools.
Water for a region prone to drought
The Upper Bhadra Project will receive 5,300 crores in federal funding to provide sustainable micro irrigation and fill surface tanks with drinking water in the central region of Karnataka, which is prone to drought.
PM AWAAS YOJANA
The PM Awas Yojana budget has been increased by 66% to over ‘79,000 crores.
Bharat Shared Repository of Inscriptions (Bharat SHRI) The first stage of the digitization of one lakh ancient inscriptions will be used to establish the “Bharat Shared Repository of Inscriptions” in a digital epigraphy museum.
Support for poor prisoners
The necessary financial assistance will be given to imprisoned people who are unable to pay their fine or their bail.
Infrastructure and capacity investments have a significant multiplier effect on employment and economic growth. Private investments are expanding again after the pandemic’s lull. The budget assumes the initiative once more to accelerate the beneficial cycle of investment and job creation.
Development and jobs are driven by capital investment.
For the third year in a row, capital investment spending has increased by 33% to Rs 10 lakh crore or 3.3% of GDP. This will almost triple the budget for 2019–20. The government’s initiatives to boost growth potential and job creation, crowd out private investments, and provide a buffer against global headwinds are all heavily reliant on this significant increase in recent years.
Effective capital expenditure
The Center’s direct capital investment is supplemented by a grant-in-aid to states’ provisions that allow for the development of capital assets. The Center has budgeted 13.7 lakh crore for “Effective Capital Expenditure,” or 4.5 per cent of GDP.
Support for State Government Capital Investment
To encourage infrastructure investment and provide incentives for complementary policy actions, it has been decided to extend the 50-year interest-free loan to state governments for one more year with a significantly increased outlay of Rs 1.3 lakh crore.
Improving Opportunities for Private Investment in Infrastructure
More private investment in infrastructure, such as roads, railways, urban infrastructure, and power, which rely primarily on public resources, will be made possible with the help of the recently established Infrastructure Finance Secretariat, which will work with all stakeholders.
Harmonized Master List of the Infrastructure
An expert committee will review the Harmonized Master List of Infrastructure and make recommendations regarding Amrit Kaal’s appropriate classification and financing scheme.
This is the most money ever spent, roughly nine times what was spent in 2013.
A total of 100 critical transport infrastructure projects for last- and first-mile connectivity have been identified in the ports, coal, steel, fertiliser, and food grain sectors. With an investment of 75,000 crores, including 15,000 crores from private sources, they will be given priority.
To increase regional air connectivity, 50 additional airports, heliports, water aerodromes, and advanced landing fields will be revived.
Sustainable Cities of the Future
States and cities will be pushed to make urban planning changes and take other initiatives to make their cities the “sustainable cities of tomorrow.” This includes equitable access to and affordability of urban land, improved land use efficiency, adequate funding for urban infrastructure, transit-oriented development, and equal opportunity. Organise municipalities to issue municipal bonds.
By ring-fencing user charges on urban infrastructure and implementing property tax governance reforms, cities will be enticed to increase their creditworthiness for municipal bonds.
Fund for the development of urban infrastructure
An Urban Infrastructure Development Fund (UIDF), similar to the RIDF, will be created using the shortfall in lending to the priority sectors. Public agencies will use this to build urban infrastructure in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, and the National Housing Bank will manage it. States will be urged to use funding from the 15th Finance Commission’s grants and other programmes to adopt reasonable user fees when accessing the UIDF. The government plans to set aside 10,000 crores per year for this purpose.
All cities and towns’ septic tanks and sewers will be capable of 100% mechanical desludging in order to transition from manhole to machine-hole mode. The scientific management of dry and wet waste will receive increased attention.
“An effective government is essential for a country to advance. “Our government is dedicated to delivering an accountable, transparent administration that works for the welfare and betterment of the average citizen,” the honourable prime minister said.
Plans for civil servant capacity-building are being developed and put into action by the Center, States, and Union Territories as part of Mission Karmayogi. The government has also introduced iGOT Karmayogi, an integrated online training platform, to offer lakhs of government workers ongoing learning opportunities to improve their skills and support a people-centric approach.
Centers of Excellence for Artificial Intelligence
Three centres of excellence for artificial intelligence will be established in prestigious educational institutions to help realise the vision of “making AI in India and making AI work for India.” Leading business players will collaborate to conduct interdisciplinary research, and create innovative applications and scalable solutions to issues in sustainable cities, health care, and agriculture. As a result, an efficient AI ecosystem will be stimulated, and skilled workers will be developed.
National Data Governance Policy
A national data governance policy will be released in order to encourage research and innovation by startups and academic institutions. This will make anonymised data accessible.
Simplifying the “Know Your Customer” (KYC) Process
By switching from a “one size fits all” approach to one that is “risk-based,” the KYC process will be made simpler. The financial sector regulators will also be urged to have a KYC system that can fully accommodate Digital India’s requirements.
One-stop solution for updating identity and address
The DigiLocker service and Aadhaar as the underlying identity will be established as a one-stop solution for the reconciliation and updating of the identity and address of individuals maintained by various governmental agencies, regulators, and regulated entities.
Common Business Identifier
All digital systems of the designated government agencies will use the PAN as the common identifier for business establishments that are required to have one. This will make doing business simpler, and a legal requirement will make it possible.
Unified Filing Process
A “unified filing process” system will be established to do away with the need for separate submissions of the same information to various government agencies. According to the filer’s preferences, any information or returns submitted in a simplified form on a single portal may be shared with other agencies.
VIVAD SE VISHWAS I — RELIEF FOR MSMES
The government and government undertakings will return 95% of the forfeited amount related to bid or performance security to MSMEs in cases where they fail to execute contracts during the COVID period. MSMEs will benefit from this.
A VIVAD SE VISHWAS II RESOLVING CONTRACTUAL DISPUTES
A voluntary settlement scheme with standardised terms will be introduced to resolve contractual disputes involving the government and government undertakings where an arbitral award is being challenged in court. This will be accomplished by providing graduated settlement terms based on the dispute’s pendingness.
State Support Mission
For our combined efforts to advance national priorities, the State Support Mission of NITI Aayog will be extended for an additional three years.
The financing of a few schemes will be switched, on a pilot basis, from “input-based” to “result-based” to more effectively distribute limited resources for completing development needs.
Phase 3 of the E-Courts project will be launched with an investment of 7,000 crores for the effective administration of justice.
Services in Fintech
Fintech services are now more widely available in India thanks to our digital public infrastructure, which includes Aadhaar, Video KYC, the PM Jan Dhan Yojana, India Stack, and UPI. Private DigiLocker users will have access to a wider variety of documents in order to support more cutting-edge fintech services.
There will be an entity digital locker set up for use by MSMEs, big businesses, and charitable trusts. This will be done so that documents can be safely stored and exchanged with different government agencies, regulatory bodies, banks, and other commercial entities as needed.
In order to realise a new range of opportunities, business models, and employment potential, engineering institutions will set up 100 labs for developing applications using 5G services. The labs will cover a variety of topics, including applications for smart classrooms, precision agriculture, intelligent transportation systems, and health care.
LAB GROWN DIAMONDS
Lab-grown diamonds (LGD) is an emerging industry with significant employment potential that is driven by technology and innovation. The optical and chemical characteristics of these eco-friendly diamonds are identical to those of natural diamonds. An IIT will receive a five-year research and development grant to promote local production of LGD seeds and equipment and lessen reliance on imports. In Part B of the speech, a suggestion to review the custom duty rate on LGD seeds will be made in an effort to lower production costs.
The vision of the honourable prime minister for “LiFE,” or “Lifestyle for Environment,” aims to inspire people to live more sustainably. In order to usher in a transition to a green industrial and economic system, India is making strides toward the “panchamrit” and net-zero carbon emissions by 2070. With this budget, we continue to emphasise green growth.
Green Hydrogen Mission
The recently launched National Green Hydrogen Mission, with a budget of 19,700 crores, will help the economy shift to a low-carbon intensity, lessen reliance on fossil fuel imports, and establish the nation as the market and technological leader in this emerging industry.
By 2030, it is intended to produce 5 MMt annually.
The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas will have access to 35,000 crores in this budget for high-priority capital investments aimed at achieving net zero goals, energy security, and energy transition.
Projects for energy storage
Battery energy storage systems with a capacity of 4,000 MWH will be supported with viability gap funding in order to guide the economy toward sustainable development. Additionally, a thorough framework for the Pumped Storage Project will be developed.
Evacuation of renewable energy
The construction of the interstate transmission system for the removal and grid integration of 13 GW of renewable energy from Ladakh will cost $20,700 crores, including $8,300 crores in central support.
Green Credit Programme
A Green Credit Program will be announced in accordance with the Environment (Protection) Act in order to promote behavioural change. This will encourage environmentally responsible behaviour on the part of businesses, people, and local organisations while also assisting in the mobilisation of additional resources for such actions.
The PM-PRANAM programme, which stands for “PM Programme for Restoration, Awareness, Nourishment, and Amelioration of Mother Earth,” will be introduced to encourage states and union territories to support alternative fertilisers and responsible use of chemical fertilisers.
500 new “waste to wealth” facilities will be built as part of the GOBARdhan (Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan) programme to advance the circular economy. With a total investment of 10,000 crores, these will include 200 compressed biogas (CBG) plants, 75 plants in urban areas, and 300 community-based or cluster-based plants.
Bio-Input Resource Centers at Bhartiya Prakritik Kheti
The government will support 1 crore farmers in adopting natural farming over the next three years. 10,000 Bio-Input Resource Centers will be established for this, resulting in the development of a distributed national micro-fertilizer and pesticide manufacturing network.
By combining funding from MGNREGS, CAMPA Fund, and other sources, the “Mangrove Initiative for Shoreline Habitats and Tangible Incomes,” or MISHTI, will be implemented to plant mangroves wherever it is feasible along the coastline and on salt pan lands.
Wetlands are essential ecosystems that support biological diversity, according to Amrita Dharora. The Prime Minister stated in his most recent Mann Ki Baat, “Currently, there are 75 Ramsar sites in our nation as a whole.” Prior to 2014, there were only 26. Conservation efforts have always been led by local communities. Through Amrit Dharohar, a programme that will be implemented over the next three years to encourage optimal use of wetlands and enhance biodiversity, carbon stocks, eco-tourism opportunities, and income generation for local communities, the government will promote their distinctive conservation values.
Through the use of PPPs and viability gap funding, coastal shipping will be marketed as the more affordable and energy-efficient method of transport for both people and goods.
Our economy can become more environmentally friendly by replacing old, harmful vehicles. I’ve set aside enough money to scrap old Central Government vehicles in accordance with the Budget 2021–22 policy on vehicle scrapping. States will receive assistance in upgrading their ambulances and vehicles as well.
The government has developed the National Education Policy, placed emphasis on skills, adopted economic measures that facilitate mass job creation, and supported business opportunities in order to empower our youth and assist the “Amrit Peedhi” in realising their dreams.
Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana 4
In the next three years, the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana 4.0 will be introduced in an effort to train countless numbers of young people. Emphasis will be placed on on-the-job training, industry partnerships, and course alignment with industry requirements. The programme will also include cutting-edge courses for Industry 4.0 like soft skills, coding, AI, robotics, mechatronics, IOT, 3D printing, and drones. 30 Skill India International Centers will be built throughout various states to prepare young people for opportunities abroad. It is a platform for digital skills in India.
National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme
Through Direct Benefit Transfer and a national apprenticeship promotion, 47 lakh youth will receive stipend support over the course of three years.
The programme will be implemented.
Through the challenge mode, at least 50 locations will be chosen using an integrated and creative strategy. To improve the visitor experience, all pertinent information would be made available on an app, in addition to elements like connectivity—both physical and virtual—tourist guides, high standards for food streets, and visitor security. Each destination would receive a full development.
States will be urged to establish a Unity Mall in their state capital, most significant tourist destination, or financial centre for the promotion and sale of their own ODOPs (one district, one product), GI products, and other handicraft products, as well as to provide space for such products of all other states.
Our financial sector reforms and creative application of technology have facilitated widespread financial inclusion, better and quicker service delivery, simple access to credit, and involvement in financial markets. These policies are proposed to be advanced in this budget. Regulations in the Financial Sector for Credit Guarantees for MSMEs
Financial Sector Regulations
Public consultation will be incorporated into the process of creating regulations and issuing subsidiary directives as necessary and practical to meet the needs of Amrit Kaal and facilitate optimal regulation in the financial sector. Financial sector regulators will be asked to conduct a thorough review of current regulations in order to streamline them, make compliance easier, and lower the cost of compliance. They will take suggestions from the government and regulated organisations into account for this. There will also be established deadlines for deciding applications under various regulations.
We will make it easier for nations looking for digital continuity solutions to set up data embassies in GIFT IFSC. Enhancing investor protection and governance in the banking sector Certain changes to the Banking Regulation Act, the Banking Companies Act, and the Reserve Bank of India Act are proposed in order to improve bank governance and strengthen investor protection.
Capacity Building in the Securities Market
To improve the capabilities of functionaries and professionals in the securities market, SEBI will have the authority to establish, control, uphold, and enforce norms and standards for education in the National Institute of Securities Markets and recognise awards of degrees, diplomas, and certificates.
The Central Data Processing Center
A processing centre will be established to more efficiently process various forms submitted to field offices under the Companies Act.
Recovering Shares and Dividends
An integrated IT portal will be established to make it simple for investors to reclaim unclaimed shares and unpaid dividends from the Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority.
Digital payments are still widely accepted. They show a 76% increase in transactions and a 91% increase in value in 2022. In 2023–2024, financial support will still be provided for this digital public infrastructure.
AZADI KA AMRIT MAHOTSAV MAHILA SAMMAN BACHAT PATRA
Mahila Samman Savings Certificate, a one-time new small savings programme, will be made accessible for a two-year period up until March 2025 as a way to commemorate Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. This will provide a deposit option of up to two loads in the name of women or girls for a two-year term with a fixed interest rate of 7.5% and the option of a partial withdrawal.
The Senior Citizen Savings Scheme will increase its maximum deposit amount from Rs. 15 lakhs to Rs. 30 lakhs. The monthly income account scheme’s maximum deposit limit will rise from 4.5 lakh rupees to 9 lakh rupees for a single account and from 9 lakhs to 15 lakh rupees for a joint account.
State-level fiscal deficit
States will be permitted a fiscal deficit of 3.5% of the GSDP, of which 0.5% will be tied to reforms in the power sector. 2022–2023 Revised Estimates The total receipts other than borrowings are estimated to be 24.3 lakh crore in the revised estimate, of which 20.9 lakh crore are net tax receipts. The total expenditure, according to the revised estimate, is 41.9 lakh crore, of which 7.3 lakh crore is accounted for by capital expenditure. According to the budget estimate, the revised estimate for the fiscal deficit is 6.4% of GDP.