Exuding Confidence On Economy’s Forward March

Sidharth Mishra 2

The first Economic Survey brought out by Narendra Modi 2.0 government laid down the current dispensation's ambitious target to make India a $5 trillion economy by 2024-25. The Budget, which followed the survey, elaborates on the roadmap, allaying the rising curiosity in the Indian psyche over the government's reasonableness. Budget 2019 puts India on the developmental course to achieve target of a $3 trillion economy in the current year itself. In the past five years, the Indian economy has jumped from $1.87 trillion back in 2014 to $2.7 trillion in 2019.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented her maiden budget speech with a grand Indian vision laden with developmental aspirations and an investment-driven economy. The confidence for such a vision comes from the fact that its people have made it possible to add $1 trillion to the economy between 2014-2019 though it took 55 years for the Indian economy to reach $1 trillion.

Mega programmes and services which were initiated and delivered during those 5 years will now be further accelerated. The minister said the government would simplify procedures, incentivize performance, reduce red-tape and make the best use of technology just as it did earlier. She quoted Chankaya Niti Sutra saying: “Karya purusha karena lakshyam sampadyate.” Meaning “with determined human efforts, the task will surely be completed.”

Highlighting the vision for a decade presented in the interim budget, the FM expounded on the need to move forward. Infrastructure development is expectedly the prime agenda of the Modi government and the Budget makes provision for a a thrust to investment in this area. In addition to infrastructure, digital economy, and job creation, specifically in small and medium sector, this year's Budget has focused on.

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Poor, farmer and rural India continues to be lynchpin of the developmental vision of Narendra Modi government, which has been reflected in the Budget. With initiating work on phase three of Pradhan Mantri Sadak Yojna, the government has reiterated its commitment on transforming rural lives by providing last mile connectivity in addition to rural electrification, housing for all with amenities like toilets, electricity and LPG connections.

Renovation of traditional industries–Bamboo, Honey and Khadi–to have 75,000 skilled entrepreneurs in agro-rural industry sectors, internet connectivity in every Panchayat and piped water supply to all rural households are planned under the newly constituted Jal Shakti Ministry. With the immense success of Swachh Bharat Mission, the expansion of the same to be undertaken for catering to sustainable solid waste management in every village.

A scheme of faceless electronic assessment to be launched along with convenience for taxpayers by making Aadhaar and PAN interchangeable for filing returns. A custom duty hike on fuel by 1 rupee. No change in income tax slabs. Enhanced interest deduction up to Rs 3.5 lakh for purchasing an affordable house. 3 and 7 per cent surcharge to be levied on the income of Rs 2 crore and above and Rs 5 crore and above respectively.

For promoting a cashless economy, TDS of 2 per cent on cash withdrawal exceeding Rs 1 crore per annum from a bank account while no charges or MDR on the specified digital mode of payments with the compulsory provision of these modes by large businesses. With the further simplification of GST processes, a fully automated GST refund module to be implemented and the provision of filing quarterly returns for taxpayers having an annual turnover of less than Rs 5 crore.

Another recapitalization plan for PSBs amounting to Rs 70,000 crore to compliment the record recovery of Rs 4 lakh crore in the last four years due to IBC and other measures.

A good word is worth its value if it’s implemented in the same spirit. Having presented a valuable document as the first Budget of the Narendra Modi 2.0 government, the challenge is now to implement it and make India to become one of the largest and high-performing economies in the world.

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