New Delhi: Budget 2023 has been hailed as one that pushes for economic growth without compromising on fiscal prudence. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had a tough task of meeting expectations from a wide swathe of stakeholders who were keenly watching as she presented the last full Budget of Modi government’s second term.
The FM ticked nearly all major boxes as she announced a mega capex programme of Rs 10 lakh crore and boosting consumption by offering relief on the income tax front under the new regime.
The Budget sent a signal that Modi government means business and is serious about improving the health of the economy. Cutting back on certain expenditure heads and utilising the space to increase allocation on capex shows intent of improving the quality of spending.
Key takeaways from FM Nirmala Sitharaman’s exclusive interview with Network18:
The numbers for growth mentioned are realistic despite global uncertainties. “I don’t think any one economy is so immune that the global volatilities don’t affect them.”
On Adani exposure of LIC, SBI
Exposure of big lenders such as LIC and State Bank of India (SBI) to the crisis-ridden Adani group is well within the permissible limits as stated by these lenders, said Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in an interview with Network18 Group Editor Rahul Joshi on February 3.
Message to global investors
The finance minister said that India remains a well governed and a very well regulated financial market. She said that the investor confidence will continue and that one instance, however much talked about, is not going to be indicative of how well Indian financial markets are governed.
The Finance Mister said that the disinvestment and asset monetisation is still a part of the Budget. “It may not be a part of the speech. We have to see when is the best time to monetise assets.”
Also Read: Indian markets are well regulated: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to Network18
Process of privatisation of PSU banks is on. The amendments will have to be made.
The FM said that inflation has come down with the combined efforts of the RBI and the government. She said that the inflation moderation is expected to sustain and that there shouldn’t be any pressure to keep raising rates. The twin deficits problem is also not as severe as before.
Income tax changes
Talking about the changes to the new tax regime, she said that the purpose is to make it more attractive in terms of compliance and tax rates.
“I am more looking at it to make sure every Indian citizen makes his own choice, her choice. You are the best judge of what you want to do with your money,” she said.
Health of Banking System
The FM said that the banking system is healthy as the bad debt situation has improved.
“Having gone through the twin balance sheet problem. Indian banking sector is at a comfortable level with NPAs coming down to absolute low levels and recovery happening,” the FM said.
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The FM said that higher focus on schemes like PM Awas Yojana and Jal Jeevan Mission will generate jobs in rural areas. MNREGA is a demand driven scheme and as and when more demand comes from states, we will go to the Parliament for supplementary demands.
The FM said that India Inc, both new and old, is looking forward to transitioning in energy-related matters and are now taking decisions to invest in new technologies that promote sustainability.
The Budget has made enough provisions in every sector that will benefit people in every walk of life both from the point of user and producer of renewable energy.
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