The sustained focus of this year’s Union Budget on supporting growth while also targeting all-inclusive welfare, through a variety of schemes, is welcome. It comes at a time when the pandemic has worsened inequality not only in the country but across the globe. In line with suggestions made by CII, the strategy laid out by the Budget is to spend on infrastructure projects to create jobs and enhance demand.
For enhancing productivity and investment, the government’s continued focus on public capital expenditure, especially the PM Gati Shakti scheme, is notable. The substantial increase in CapEx outlay of 35% to ₹7.5 lakh crore during FY2022-23 would help pump-prime the economy and demand not only in the said year but also in the years ahead.
This Budget’s reform-oriented approach of improving the business environment by introducing EODB 2.0 — which has its foundations in trust-based governance, and aims to digitalize manual processes while at the same time targeting integration of central and State-level compliances — will certainly help unlock the growth potential of the industry. Investments in the logistics infrastructure would lower the cost of doing business. Several measures have been announced to relieve the stress faced by the common man. The Budget has focused on inclusivity by targeting the bottom of the pyramid through welfare schemes. The increased allocation to the PM Awas Yojana to benefit the weaker section of the population and the launch of new schemes like PM-DevINE, Aspirational Blocks, and Vibrant Villages Programme are inspiring for achieving all-rounded, inclusive growth. The government’s initiatives for the agriculture sector, especially the announcement of assured income amounting to ₹2.37 lakh crore on account of direct payments for MSP of wheat and paddy, will help alleviate stress among farmers. The Budget’s priority areas — Gati Shakti, inclusive development, sunrise opportunities, energy and climate action, and financing of investment — set the vision for the country’s future. With all sectors contributing to growth, the Economic Survey growth target of 8.0-8.5% seems achievable in 2022-23, making India the fastest-growing major economy for two consecutive years.
T.V. Narendran, President, CII