Union Budget 2023 Focuses on 7 Priorities: In FM Nirmala Sitharaman’s Budget address, she announced the “7 priorities of the government” for the upcoming year. These include inclusive development, reaching the last mile, infrastructure and investment, unleashing potential, green growth, youth power and financial sector. India can expect heavy emphasis on the above sectors for budget allocation. “All these priorities complement each other and act as ‘Saptrishi’”, said FM.
Talking about inclusive development, FM announced the launch of PMPVTG (PM Primitive Vulnerable Trible Groups) Development Mission to improve the socio-economic conditions of tribal groups, by providing them with basic livelihood facilities. “An amount of Rs 15,000 crores will be allocated to the Mission for the next 3 years under the Development Action Plan for the Scheduled Tribes,” noted Sitharaman. Assistance will also be provided to draught-prone sections of Karnataka and poor prisoners unable to afford penalties or bail, while allocation for PM Awas Yojana will increase by 66% to over Rs 79,000 crores.
“Despite a slowdown in investments due to the pandemic, we are seeing a growth in private investments,” underlined Sitharaman. The capital investment outlay increased for the third year in a row in an effort to crowd in private investments and assist in job creation, making it 3.3% of total GDP. “I have also decided to continue the 50 year interest-free loan to state governments for one more year to spur infrastructural investment,” she added. Moreover, Rs 2.04 lakh crores have been allocated to the Indian Railways, making it the highest ever allocation to the sector.
The Budget weighed in heavily on its fifth priority- ‘green growth’- as the Minister said, “India is moving swiftly towards its ‘Net Zero Emissions by 2070’ target. The Green Hydrogen Mission, with an outlay of Rs 19,700 crores intends to reach 5 million metric tonnes (MMT) by 2030.” The government allotted Rs 35,000 crores to priority capital investment for energy transition, net zero objectives and energy security by Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. In addition, a Green Credit Program will be notified under Environment Protection Act to encourage sustainable practices by companies and individuals, and help mobilise resources for such activities. Further, a 5% CBG mandate will be introduced for all organisations marketing natural and bio- gas, along with fiscal support to bio-mass and bio-manure distribution. “Over the next 3 years we will facilitate 1 crore farmers to adopt natural farming. For this, 10,000 bio input resource centers will be set up creating a national level distributed micro fertilizer and pesticide manufacturing network.”
‘Youth power’ will include the revised education policy as well as PMKVY 4.0 (PM Kaushal Vikas Yojana), which aims to skill the youth on “demand-based” topics such as coding, AI, robotics, 3D printing, etc. To facilitate this, the government plans to launch a unified Skill India digital platform that will enable access to employers, skill development and access to entrepreneurship schemes.
What’s more, the Budget underlined the importance of capacity building in the securities sector. “SEBI will be empowered to develop, maintain and enforce norms and standard for education in the National Insititue of Secruties Markets and recognised award of degrees, diplomas and certificates,” stated Sitharaman. Addressing digital transactions, she added, “Digital payments continue to find wide-spread acceptance. In 2022, they show an increase of 76% in transactions and 91% in value. Fiscal support for this digital public infrastructure will continue in 2023-24.”