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Amrit Kaal and Union Budget 2023-24: Push to consumption, increase in capital expenditure

By IMPRI Team 
The IMPRI Center for the Study of Finance and Economics (CSFE), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi hosted an interactive panel discussion on the topic “The Amrit Kaal and Union Budget 2023-24” on 2 February 2023, under the IMPRI 3rd Annual Series of Thematic Deliberations and Analysis of Union Budget 2023-24, as part of IMPRI #WebPolicyTalk. The session was chaired and moderated by Prof Nilanjan Banik who is currently serving as a professor at Mahindra University, Hyderabad, and is also a Visiting Consultant at IMPRI.
The session was inaugurated by Ms Tripta Behera, a researcher at IMPRI by welcoming and giving a brief introduction to the chair and panelists of the discussion. The Panelists for the discussion were Mr TK Arun, who is a Senior Journalist and Columnist based in Delhi, Dr. Rajesh Shukla who is currently serving as Managing Director and CEO of People Research on India’s Consumer Economy (PRICE) and Dr. S P Sharma, who is the Chief Economist at the PHD Chamber of Commerce and industry, New Delhi.
Commencing with the discussion, Prof Banik gave a very holistic view of the budget. The budget this year has seen an increase in capital expenditure, towards building roads, highways, buildings, railways and the like. From the perspective of an economist, such expenditure leads to better connectivity and generates more income as more people get employment.
He spoke about the importance of reducing inequality through the budget as well. India has a huge domestic market that constitutes the bottom 40-50% of the population that we must tap into, in order to increase consumption demand. He also initiated the discussion by talking about the non-utilization of funds allocated through the budget in the previous year which is also an important factor to keep in mind.
This discussion was taken forward by Mr TK Arun, who began the discussion by talking about Demonetisation in 2016 and the impact it had on the growth rate. Due to the demonetisation of high value currency notes, the growth in the following year dropped to 6.2%, further dropped to 5.8% and the decline continued to 3.8%. With this backdrop, the pandemic happened. So, we have a lot to recover from. He then spoke about the MGNREGA scheme. The demand for MGNREGA is on the rise due to rural distress. Thus, keeping this in mind, the budget for FY 2023-24 was set. This time, Rs 13.7 lakh Cr have been allocated to capital expenditure.
An important point raised by him was that not all capital expenditure leads to an increase in production capacity. To take an example, repaying back loans counts as capital expenditure but it isn’t capacity building in any way. He spoke about the role of demand as well. Between 2008 and 2014, rural demand increased rapidly but not because of rural prosperity, but rather due to a construction boom which raised their wages.
Talking about the fiscal deficit, Mr Arun said that we have been able to increase expenditure by increasing the fiscal deficit. He also mentioned that the worry for a fiscal deficit that is 5.9% of GDP is not a matter of concern as there is no problem of excess demand in the system, rather, there persists a problem of insufficient demand.
This was followed by opening remarks by Dr. Rajesh Shukla. He spoke about two main pillars, as mentioned by our finance minister- (i) Inclusive Development and (ii) Reaching the Last Mile. He says that India’s middle class is of utmost importance and quotes Aristotle when he says that ‘the best political community is formed by the middle class and those states are likely to be well administered in which the middle class is large’.
He says that this holds a lot of relevance in a country like India. The middle class is responsible for creating the much needed discourse in a country. But this class is often measured differently by different organizations. He calls the middle class the cementing agent, that make a society more inclusive. As of now 400 million people come under the middle class which is soon to be 700 million. If political and economic reform have the desired effect, we can make use of this massive middle class.
The next panelist, Dr. S P Sharma gave us an insight into the industry expectations and suggestions. These include- an adequate PLI fund, enhancement to consumption, more robust ease of doing business, rationalisation of taxes for middle income groups, reforms for MSMEs and more focus on Primary Health Centres (PHCS). According to him, most of his aspirations were met. In this budget, the government has provided a push to consumption and an increase in capital expenditure.
The main focus of the budget has been: (i) the economic environment for women, (ii) artisans, or Vishwakarmas, (iii) Tourism and (iv) Green Economy. He laid down the “Saptarishi” as mentioned in the budget speech i.e., Inclusive Development: Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas, Reaching the Last Mile, Infrastructure & Investment, Unleashing the Potential, Green Growth, Youth Power, and finally and most importantly boost to the Financial Sector. In terms of where the budget is lacking this time, Dr Sharma said that the relief to the middle class in terms of taxation has not been provided.
In addition to that, India’s agriculture market is a small proportion of the global market, despite being an agrarian economy. To sum up, he said that increasing consumption demand is vital. A shift from agriculture to manufacturing can only happen if there is a demand for manufactured goods. Thus, investment in agriculture is also crucial.
After a QnA session, the program was concluded with closing remarks by Prof Nilanjan Banik, who thanked and praised the team at the IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute for hosting a successful panel discussion and for ensuring the smooth functioning of the event. The event was concluded with a final vote of thanks by Ms Tripta Behera on behalf of IMPRI Center for the Study of Finance and Economics (CSFE).
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Acknowledge: Tripta Behera, research intern at IMPRI

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हिंदी आलोचना जैसे पिछड़ चुके अनुशासन की जगह हिंदी वैचारिकी का विकास जरूरी

- प्रमोद रंजन*   भारतीय राजनीति में सांप्रदायिक व प्रतिक्रियावादी ताकतों को सत्ता तक पहुंचाने में हिंदी पट्टी का सबसे बड़ा योगदान है। इसका मुख्य कारण हिंदी-पट्टी में कार्यरत समाजवादी व जनपक्षधर हिरावल दस्ते का विचारहीन, अनैतिक और  प्रतिक्रियावादी होते जाना है। अगर हम उपरोक्त बातों को स्वीकार करते हैं, तो कुछ रोचक निष्कर्ष निकलते हैं। हिंदी-जनता और उसके हिरावल दस्ते को विचारहीन और प्रतिक्रियावादी बनने से रोकने की मुख्य ज़िम्मेदारी किसकी थी?

ગુજરાતના સ્થાપના દિવસે યાદ કરીએ ભારતના વિશ્વપ્રસિદ્ધ ગુજરાતી પુરાતત્વવિદ્ ને

- ગૌરાંગ જાની*  આજે કોઈ ગુજરાતી એ કલ્પના પણ ન કરી શકે કે વર્ષ ૧૮૩૯ માં જૂનાગઢમાં જન્મેલા એક ગુજરાતી વિશ્વ પ્રસિદ્ધ બની શકે! પણ આપણે એ ગુજરાતીને કદાચ વિસરી ગયા છીએ જેમણે ગિરનારના અશોક શિલાલેખને દોઢસો વર્ષ પૂર્વે ઉકેલી આપ્યો.આ વિદ્વાન એટલે ભગવાનલાલ ઈન્દ્રજી. ૭ નવેમ્બર, ૧૮૩૯ ના દિવસે જૂનાગઢના પ્રશ્નોરા નાગર બ્રાહ્મણ પરિવારમાં તેમનો જન્મ થયો હતો. જૂનાગઢના એ સમયે અંગ્રેજી શિક્ષણની સગવડ ન હોવાને કારણે તેમને અંગ્રેજી ભાષાનું જ્ઞાન ન હતું પણ પાછળથી તેમણે ખપ પૂરતું અંગ્રેજી જાણી લીધું હતું.

नफरती बातें: मुसलमानों में असुरक्षा का भाव बढ़ रहा है, वे अपने मोहल्लों में सिमट रहे हैं

- राम पुनियानी*  भारत पर पिछले 10 सालों से हिन्दू राष्ट्रवादी भारतीय जनता पार्टी (भाजपा) राज कर रही है. भाजपा आरएसएस परिवार की सदस्य है और आरएसएस का लक्ष्य है हिन्दू राष्ट्र का निर्माण. आरएसएस से जुड़ी सैंकड़ों संस्थाएँ हैं. उसके लाखों, बल्कि शायद, करोड़ों स्वयंसेवक हैं. इसके अलावा कई हजार वरिष्ठ कार्यकर्ता हैं जिन्हें प्रचारक कहा जाता है. भाजपा के सत्ता में आने के बाद से आरएसएस दुगनी गति से हिन्दू राष्ट्र के निर्माण के अपने एजेण्डे को पूरा करने में जुट गया है. यदि भाजपा को चुनावों में लगातार सफलता हासिल हो रही है तो उसका कारण है देश में साम्प्रदायिकता और साम्प्रदायिक मुद्दों का बढ़ता बोलबाला. इनमें से कुछ हैं राम मंदिर, गौमांस और गोवध एवं लव जिहाद. 

Concerted, organised civil rights stir is lacking against Operation Kagar

By Harsh Thakor*  The entire country has been engulfed with barbaric oppression, with unparalleled destruction of constitutional organs for the past ten years. The emergency of 1975-77 has been more than ressurected by the present regime. and more repressive than the post-liberalisation period ushered in by PV Narasimha Rao. Neo-fascsim has been on ascendancy, as never before.

આપણા સમાજમાં દીકરીના માતપિતાનો દરજ્જો દીકરાના માતાપિતા કરતાં નિમ્ન કક્ષાનો કેમ?

- તૃપ્તિ શેઠ  થોડાંક દિવસ પહેલાં એક દુકાનમાં ખરીદી કરવાં ગઈ અને એ બહેન જે દુકાન પર બેઠાં હતાં એ ફોન પર વાતો જ કર્યા કરતાં હતાં . હું કંટાળીને આગળ જવા ગઈ તો એ મને કહે , "સોરી !  મારી મમ્મીને હું રોજ આ સમયે ફોન કરું છું કેમ કે એ મંદિરમાં રહે છે અને ત્યાં ઈલેક્ટ્રિસિટી નથી. એ પાંચ રૂપીઆમાં ફોન રોજ ચાર્જ કરાવે અને મારી સાથે વાત કરે." મે પૂછ્યું તારી મમ્મી કેમ એકલી રહે છે, તો એનો જવાબ હતો કે મારા બે ભાઈઓએ મારી મમ્મીને એના ઘરમાંથી કાઢી મૂકી છે એટલે એક ગામના છેવાડે આવેલાં મંદિરમાં રહે છે અને ત્યાં કામ કરે છે . મે કહ્યું ,” તું કેમ તારી મમ્મીની બોલાવી લેતી નથી ? “ તો મને કહે, મારી મા કહે છે કે છોકરીને ઘરે પાણી પણ પીએ તો  પાપ લાગે. 

Laxmanpur Bathe massacre: Perfect example of proto-fascist Brahmanical social order

By Harsh Thakor  The massacre at Laxmanpur-Bathe of Jehanabad in Bihar on the night of 1 December in 1997 was a landmark event with distinguishing features .The genocide rightly shook the conscience of the nation in the 50th year of Indian independence. The scale of the carnage was unparalleled in any caste massacre. It was a perfect manifestation of how in essence the so called neo-liberal state was in essence most autocratic. 

हीट-एक्शन नीति में अनौपचारिक व खुले-में-कार्यरत मजदूरों को शामिल नहीं करना निंदनीय

- नेशनल अलायन्स ऑफ़ पीपुल्स मूवमेंट्स  पूरे भारत में 'चुनावी गर्मी' ज़ोर पकड़ चुकी है, जो हम सभी को साफ़-साफ़ दिखाई भी दे रही है। हालाँकि, एक और गर्मी है जो नागरिकों, विशेष रूप से करोड़ों खुले में काम करने वाले श्रमिकों को प्रभावित करती है, यह न तो 'चुनावी मुद्दा' है और न ही इस पर सामाजिक रूप से पर्याप्त ध्यान दिया जाता है। भारत के ग्रामीण और शहरी दोनों हिस्सों में मेहनतकश लोग, जो चिलचिलाती धूप में भी हमारे गाँवों और शहरों के लिए अनाज पैदा करते हैं, हर तरह का निर्माण कार्य करते हैं, शहरों व गांवों को चलाते हैं, हमें विभिन्न प्रकार की सेवाएँ प्रदान करें, लेकिन इसी वर्ग का अभी तक 'मुख्यधारा' के जलवायु न्याय और नीतिगत विमर्श में पर्याप्त रूप से प्रतिनिधित्व नहीं किया गया है।