Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman listed seven key priorities of the Union Budget 2023 on Wednesday and said they complement each other and act as the Saptarishi guiding the government through the Amrit Kaal.
Amrit Kaal is the term coined by the Modi government to mark the 25-year period till 2047, when India will celebrate a century of freedom. It is the government’s roadmap for the next 25 years.
The seven priorities are:
- Inclusive development
- Reaching the last mile
- Infrastructure and investment
- Unleashing the potential
- Green growth
- Youth power
- Financial sector
Some select measures
Highlighting the importance of inclusive development, Ms. Sitharaman said that the government’s policy of Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas has helped many sections including women, SCs, STs, OBCs and other underprivileged sections.
In the health sector, 157 new nursing colleges will be established, a new programme to promote research in pharmaceuticals will be launched and joint public and private medical research will be encouraged via select ICMR labs.
The government will also roll out a mission to eliminate Sickle Cell Anaemia (SCA) by 2047, Ms. Sitharaman said.
In the education sector, a National Digital Library will be set up for children and adolescents and States will be encouraged to set up physical libraries at panchayat and ward levels.
Financial assistance will be given for sustainable micro irrigation in drought-prone regions of Karnataka. Pradhan Mantri PVTG Development Mission will be launched, and more teachers will be recruited for 740 Eklavya Model Residential schools, in line with the second priority highlighted by Ms. Sitharaman.
She also said that green growth efforts would help in reducing the carbon intensity of the economy and present large green job opportunities
Ms. Sitharaman said that the government hopes to build on the foundation of the previous budget and offer a blueprint for India@100.
Dressed in a red saree with black and golden border, Ms. Sitharaman continued with a tradition she established in 2019, carrying the Budget speech in a ‘bahi-khata’, ditching the briefcase used by her predecessors. This time, she carried her speech on a a digital tablet in the red bahi khata-style pouch.
Earlier on Tuesday, Ms. Sitharaman tabled the Economic Survey for the Financial Year 2022-23 in the Lok Sabha, stating that the economic recovery of India from the Covid-19 pandemic is complete and the economy is expected to grow in the range of 6 to 6.8% in the coming financial year 2023-24. This is in comparison to the estimated 7% this fiscal and 8.7% in 2021-22.
Budget 2023 will be the last full Budget of the Modi government in its second term with the next Lok Sabha election due in April-May of 2024.
The Budget Session of the Parliament began on Tuesday with President Droupadi Murmu’s address to a joint session of Parliament— her maiden address after being elected to the country’s top position last year.