Poised for sustainable recovery and overall growth

The making of the Budget and making allocations with a balancing doctrine enveloping all sectors and ”satisfying” all sections may be easy to say than to do it practically under any given conditions. With the continuous strain still on account of recurrence of CORONA virus waves, as if the two ones earlier were in any way carrying any less impact , the thrust has got to be on overall growth so that the tree of economy has more branches and leaves to provide its cover and ”cool” shade to more and more needy , if not the aspirants. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, therefore, had not an easy task to shape the Budget in such a way that the economy while being firmly saddled on the path of recovery, at the same time to ensure how a fast growth could take place to boost production, create jobs and improve the money incomes. Undoubtedly , under the prevailing circumstances, , she has proved to be having the requisite dexterity in presenting her fourth consecutive Budget of Rs.39.45 lakh with focus on three prime factors , viz increased capital expenditure with a massive jump of 35 per cent , the highest in nearly two decades , overall growth and creating jobs with a fiscal deficit of an estimated 6.4 percent which could , perhaps, touch anyway up to 7 per cent in the opinion of some experts . She may not have straightaway been cent percent successful in the great endeavour to realise the big dream but under given conditions, she will prove to have presented one of the best possible Budgets though the middle income groups , more or less , nurse the feeling of having this time too been ”ignored” . How can, at the same time, it be ignored that free vaccination cost the economy enormously in which the middle income groups too were largely benefitted.
Just compare the growth estimates with the ”big ones” in the world, we are estimating it to be at 9.2 percent which is highest among large economies. That inflation may be increasingly contained in the very near future , at least, in the current fiscal , cannot be said for certain as where the push is for growth , there could be the associated offshoot of element of inflation as well. Inflation is feared to be felt through retail prices of commodities , in particular of fuel prices as those cannot be ”suppressed” any more from the impact of crude prices in global markets. Amidst the growing pitch and all over clamour for fighting unemployment , the current rate of which has shown an increase from 7% to nearly 7.9% as in December 2021, it is , therefore, decided to boost productivity linked incentive schemes in 14 sectors so that 60 lakh new jobs could be created. No doubt , creating of more employment opportunities on sustainable basis is imperative and each scheme and project should be pushed into the growth engine which must produce jobs. As many as 4 crore dwellings are proposed to be constructed for the rural and the urban poor which besides generating demand, especially in rural sector, was going o provide work to thousands of people directly and indirectly.
It has to be borne in mind that more wealth can be distributed among more people only when more wealth was produced . On the one hand, gross tax revenue could fetch anywhere an increase of just 9 percent or so, as compared to last year but expenditures and more spending by the Government to give an overall push to the economy is expected to be increased by 4.6 percent and avenues for providing massive capital expenditure have to be found out from increasing the taxes and from cutting on food subsidies and welfare measures even spending comparably less on MGNREGA, the move in respect of the latter evincing even criticism from the opposition parties.
The ambition of achieving more of the milestones in pursuit of self reliance or Atmanirbharta for which private investment is required in a major way as there is large scope for it ,the FM has offered a stability in the taxes system so as to encourage such investment. Defence sector, particularly , has embarked upon procuring weapons and military platforms from indigenous manufacturers as funds for allocation for it were increased to Rs.5.25 lakh crore as compared to Rs.4.78 lakh crore last year. Self reliance can be largely realised when public and private investments go side by side. In the area of allocations of funds, infrastructure, digital transactions , health, education, agriculture , power and drinking water projects with an ambition of piped water to additional 3.8 crore homes etc have been given preference with added budgetary allocations. Technological push to farm sector in the shape of delivery of hi-tech services in PPP mode and use of Kisan Drones for multiple agricultural activities and introduction of digitization of land records with an increased agricultural credit target of Rs.18 lakh crore for the current fiscal year are worth noting despite a slight decline in budgetary allocation. Extending tax holiday for eligible start-ups by one more year will help them for more consolidation and cause a spur in services sector.