Stage set for sustainable growth

Sharp cut in compliance measures, and decriminalisation of 3,400 legal provisions will help bolster trust

Published - February 02, 2023 12:38 am IST

“A technology-driven and knowledge-based economy...” This was the curtain-raiser to the Budget 2023-24 by the Finance Minister. As the details unfolded, one witnessed several epoch-making statements around how India@100 will write its ‘Amrit Kaal’ chapter on the global stage.

Budget 2023 truly reflects India’s strong intent to lead the ‘Techade’ as a global innovation hub. Setting up the three Centres of Excellence for Artificial Intelligence (AI) to realise the vision of ‘Make AI in India and Make AI Work for India’ is a vital step in building a robust AI infrastructure. Digital and technology powerfully pervade every aspect of the Budget components, including research and innovation, platforms for women empowerment and artisan marketplaces. The influence also extends to building smart digital infrastructure, ensuring green growth, announcement of a national data governance policy, creating data embassies and digital public infrastructure for agriculture. It is a phenomenal canvas of inclusive growth that Budget 2023-24 has set out to achieve — with something substantive for everyone.

The significant reduction of more than 39,000 compliance measures and decriminalisation of 3,400 legal provisions to improve ease of doing business will certainly infuse trust in the business community. The creation of national data governance policies will lend greater force and credibility to our strong capabilities on the international stage. The 100 labs in engineering institutions to develop apps using 5G services will boost innovation in the areas of smart classrooms, precision farming, intelligent transport systems and healthcare.

On a socio-economic level, the setting up of national digital libraries will enhance access and propel educational programmes for children, especially in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities, thereby enabling a better and equitable future. Additionally, 5G initiatives will create better connectivity between urban and rural India, help realise a new range of opportunities and generate tremendous employment.

The monumental increase of 33% in capital and infrastructure outlay is a historic one, and this will be just the force multiplier of economic growth that India seeks. Commitment to developing indigenous capabilities under the ‘Make in India’ initiative continues on a stronger footing. The Budget has also placed its money on the government’s commitment to the environment. ‘Green growth,’ as the Finance Minister termed it, is backed by a handsome outlay of ₹35,000 crore towards achieving the net zero goal and energy transition. This will give an impetus to India Inc .’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives.

What excites me is the acknowledgment of and support to the youth dividend. Young minds will experience the benefits of skilling measures for domestic and global employment through Skill India and Skill India International centres, greater industry-academia alignment and strong policy support.

(Keshav R. Murugesh is Group CEO, WNS)

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