On Wednesday, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman delivered the Union Budget 2023, the fifth budget under Modi 2.0. Nirmala Sitharaman stated that the Indian economy is on the right track and headed for a prosperous future in her final full-fledged budget speech before the 2019 general elections. Sitharaman proposed significant improvements to tax slabs under the new tax regime and a substantial increase for railroads and capital investment as a boon to taxpayers and the economy.
The Budget for 2023-2024 maintained its emphasis on boosting capital expenditures, demonstrating that the Modi administration’s top priority is the construction of roads, motorways, and rail lines. Modifications to the new income tax system that benefit the middle class indicate unequivocally that the administration desires a shift from the previous regime to the new one. The finance minister adhered to the fiscal deficit path outlined in the Budget with a target of 5.9% in FY 24 and met the objective for the current fiscal year.
Also Read: Union Budget 2023 should contemplate e-health solutions as it efficiently outdistances challenges of treating progressive lifelong diseases
Key takeaways from the budget:
- Resilience in various calamities: The Finance Minister credited India’s rising global profile to its unique World Class Digital Public Infrastructure, such as Aadhaar, Co-Win, and UPI; its unprecedented COVID-19 vaccination drive; and its proactive role in frontier areas like climate change, mission LiFE, and National Hydrogen Mission.
She added the government provided free food grains to 80 crore people for 28 months during the COVID-19 epidemic. The Minister noted that under PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, every Antyodaya and priority household would receive free food grain for a year starting January 1, 2023. (PMGKAY). The Central Government will cover the Rs 2 lakh crore cost.
- G20 Presidency; navigating global issues: The Finance Minister noted that the G20 Presidency affords India a unique chance to deepen its participation in the global economic order in these challenging times. She said India’s ambitious, people-centred “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” strategy addresses global concerns and promotes sustainable economic growth.
- Successes since 2014:: Smt. Sitharaman said the government’s efforts since 2014 have improved residents’ quality of life and dignity, and per capita income has more than quadrupled to Rs 1.97 lakh. The Indian economy has grown from 10th to 5th in nine years, she remarked. The economy has gotten more structured, with EPFO membership increasing to 27 crores and 7,400 crore digital payments of Rs 126 lakh crore through UPI in 2022.The finance minister listed schemes like 11.7 crore household toilets under the Swachh Bharat Mission, 9.6 crore LPG connections under Ujjawala, 220 crore Covid vaccinations for 102 crore people, 47.8 crore PM Jan Dhan Bank Accounts, Insurance cover for 44.6 crore people under PM Suraksha Bima and PM Jeevan Jyoti, and 220 crore Covid vaccinations of 102 crore people.
- Vision for Amrit Kaal—empowered and inclusive economy: The Finance Minister stated Jan Bhagidari through Sabka Saath Sabka Prayas is necessary to realize our goal for the Amrit Kaal, which is a technology-driven and knowledge-based economy with solid public finances and a vibrant financial sector.
She noted that the economic plan for realizing this goal focuses on three things: giving abundant chances for individuals, especially the young, to achieve their dreams, boosting growth and job creation, and strengthening macroeconomic stability. She stated that the following four Amrit Kaal chances could transform these focal areas on our path to India@100.
- Economic Empowerment of Women: Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana National Rural Livelihood Mission has mobilized rural women into 81 lakh Self Help Groups. We will help these groups develop major producer firms or collectives with several thousand members and professional management.
- Vishwakarma PM VIKAS: Vishwakarma, or handcrafters, have made India famous for ages. Their art and crafts embody Atmanirbhar Bharat.
For the first time, the Finance Minister announced a package of assistance that would help them integrate into the MSME value chain and increase product quality, scalability, and reach. The initiative will provide financial support, advanced skill training, understanding new digital and green technologies, brand marketing, connectivity with local and worldwide markets, digital payments, and social security. This will tremendously assist Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, OBCs, women, and the weak.
- Tourism: The Finance Minister stated the country has great potential for local and foreign tourists. She stressed that tourist marketing would be a mission with solid state engagement, a convergence of government programs, and public-private partnerships.
- Green Growth: The FM said India is executing multiple programs for green fuel, energy, farming, mobility, buildings, equipment, and energy efficiency across many economic sectors. She emphasized that green growth reduces carbon intensity and creates large-scale green jobs.
Budget priorities: According to Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, the seven priorities of the Union Budget complement one another and serve as the ‘Saptarishi’ who guides us through the Amrit Kaal. They are listed below:
1) Inclusive Development
2) Reaching the Last Mile
3) Infrastructure and Investment
4) Unleashing the Potential
5) Green Growth
6) Youth Power
7) Financial Sector
> Budget 2023 objectives will include the following:
- Facilitating adequate possibilities for citizens, particularly youth
- Providing a strong push for growth and job creation
- Bolstering macroeconomic stability.
- To prioritize women’s empowerment in Budget 2023
- Enable women’s self-help groups to advance to the next level of economic empowerment.
- Assist self-help groups with raw material supply, product branding, and marketing.
>What will be less expensive?
Customs duty on components of open cells in TV panels will be decreased to 2.5%; customs duty on the import of certain inputs for mobile phone manufacturing will be reduced; basic customs tax on seeds used in lab-grown diamond manufacturing will be reduced; and customs duty on shrimp feed will be reduced.
>What will be more expensive?
The tax on cigarettes was raised by 16%; the basic import duty on compounded rubber was raised from 10% to 25%; the basic customs duty on products produced from gold bars was raised from 10% to 15%; and the customs duty on kitchen electric chimneys was doubled to 15%.
On income tax, the new tax regime has the following tax slabs: 0-3 lakh — zero; 3–6 lakh — 5%; 6–9 lakh — 10%; 9–12 lakh — 15%; 12–15 lakh — 20%; 15 lakh and over — 30%. In terms of income tax, the number of tax slabs has been lowered from six to five, and the tax exemption level has been raised to Rs 3 lakhs.