Capex quality, digital push, transition to new energy positives of a growth-push Budget: ASSOCHAM

Along with several positive and innovative measures, the most defining feature  of the Finance Minister Mrs Nirmala Sitharaman’s Budget for 2022-23 is a phenomenal increase in the government’s capital expenditure which would effectively go up to Rs 10.68 lakh crore for the fiscal beginning April 1, ASSOCHAM has said.

“Government would be spending more than one-fourth of its total Budget on building capital assets across different sectors , be it roads, telecom, ports, airports, health and education infrastructure . The Centre’s own Budget on capital expenditure is being expanded by 35.4 per cent to Rs 7.50 lakh crore for the FY’23 – 2.2 times that of 2019-20 ”, said ASSOCHAM Secretary General Mr Deepak Sood.

He said under the guiding principle of Atmanirbhar Bharat of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the government has taken the lead in speeding up the economic recovery through the pandemic period, while ensuring that the private sector does the follow-up , enabled by further Ease of Doing Business, simpler tax administration and digital ecosystem.

”We are particularly pleased with the announcement of extension of the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme up to March 31,2023 and an increased outlay of Rs five lakh crore. ASSOCHAM has been engaged actively with the government on the issue. The measure would be of immense relief to the hospitality sectors and MSMEs hit hard by the Covid 19 pandemic”, Mr Sood said.

Several other notable features of the Budget included allocation of Rs one lakh crore to the states for catalysing investment in the economy, push to the digital economy, sovereign green bonds for attracting large scale global investors , focus on carbon neutral economy with major support to solar energy and electric vehicles and a major boost to domestic defence production.

Commitment to scale up rural broadband infrastructure along with the roll out of 5 G spectrum would help take the economy on a digital mode with a faster speed.

The Startup ecosystem has been well recognised with the government extending the date for incorporation by another year.  Announcement of an expert committee for a  holistic examination of regulatory and other frictions in the private equity space would ease the channels of financing the new entrepreneurs.

Introduction of Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) with the underlying blockchain technology  is a smart move to let the official system stay ahead of the disruptive and unregulated global systems. Digital Rupee riding on blockchain , along with the existing UPI gateways would take India’s fintech ecosystem to a new high

Allowing updated returns to the taxpayers and measures to avoid litigation between taxpayers and the tax authorities are welcome ease of living steps. Besides, rationalisation of surcharges on capital gains and easing of cross border insolvency proceedings would help India scale up on the global index of Ease of Doing Business. Likewise , tech-driven systems for voluntary exit by the corporates would contribute to an investor-friendly environment.

The Budget also provides incentives for Start Ups in agriculture where the use of technologies like drones are being encouraged. Anywhere banking in post offices would also help the rural landscape through further financial inclusion.

Overall, the Budget is  business-like, devoid of any populism but very pragmatic to deliver on lost ground in education because of the pandemic. It is also committed to leverage technology through initiatives like digital university; while staying on course of health infrastructure.

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