Ground Report: On 1st February as the finance minister of India came with a tablet inside a red colour cover and presented it in the same manner as last year in the parliament. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed the union budget in Rajya Sabha but received a powerful backlash from the opposition for not presenting a budget inclusive of middle/common men’s needs amid the pandemic. So, what do we need from the budget of the fiscal year 2022-23?
Since the country has been in a pandemic the GDP contracted 6.6% as opposed to 7.3% which was estimated by the central government. Due to the pandemic, India and other countries globally suffered an economic downfall. As businesses suffered severe losses the RBI or the Reserve Bank of India called it a “historic technical recession”. The country is in dire need of an economically feasible and inclusive budget which could help inconclusively gain a strengthened economy from the suffered losses.
10 Thing India Need from the Budget 2022-23
- Rebuilding Economy: India currently needs to rebuild itself out of the contraction and downfall it faced due to the pandemic and especially what it faced at the time of the second wave. Although the estimates of the National Statistical Office suggest that GDP should grow at a rate of 9.2% but the experts suggest growth could just be somewhere between 8% to 8.5%.
- Supporting Households: The 2022-23 budget should focus on supporting households, especially those are below the poverty line by providing a set amount of money to their account and providing food security support. As the covid rose to its peak, the economically weaker section suffered the most and thus, the government should focus on taking further the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana and Jan Dhan, Aadhar and Mobile scheme.
- Focusing on Employment: The budget should also consider employment as the immediate need currently, as many lost their jobs or are to resume back at work or even start something of their own. Those affected belong largely to an unorganized sector or are semi-skilled or unskilled workers, thus, the employment can be done either by boosting the MNREGA scheme or investing in developing real estate. There is a section of the organized sector that lost their jobs due to the pandemic, therefore the government should take an initiative through the budget by proposing accessible employment.
- Investing in Capital Structure of Public Sector Banks: Government needs to invest in the capital structure of the public bank as private banks are not willing to take many risks due to the uncertainty the pandemic holds. Thus, by doing so the public sector banks will be able to increase their loans and keep the credit flowing in the economy.
- Providing Incentives to States to Increase Capital Expenditure: As per the economic times in 2020-21, under the scheme of Financial Assistance of States for Capital Expenditure, the government is assisting the states of 15000 crores of the loan without interest for 50 years to states. Subsequently, the state could increase the capital expenditure or CAPEX on the building of employable projects such as rural and urban infrastructure. This scheme should further be increased in the current budget of 2022-23.
- Budget Inclusive of Mental Health: The budget should focus on providing mental health assistance to those in need and who cannot afford it. Since the pandemic emerged as a shock wave for many of us, the quarantine and lockdown phase has left many people in an anxious or depressed mental state. Thus, the initiative of providing tele-counseling to people in need is quite a step on the center’s side.
- Increase in Village Road Construction: The Government should invest a higher amount in the construction of village roads to provide access to market, healthcare, educational institutions, and agricultural purposes and also to increase employment among the rural sector.
- The MSME Sector: The government should provide further assistance in the Micro, Small, and Medium enterprise sector. Although there are already relaxations provided under GST for MSMEs, the government should focus on increasing online distribution and accessibility to low-cost capital enterprises.
- Reducing GST on mass-consumed products: The GST should have much relaxation on products that are largely consumed by the masses, this will increase household consumption, thus resulting in fruitful income.
- Inclusive of the Needs of the Middle Class: The budget should be inclusive of the needs of common men or the middle class, for instance as stated in the above point relaxation on GST would result in lowering the cost of mass-consumed items. Thus, not only be fruitful for the government but also for once benefiting and inclusive of the needs of the middle class.
These few initiatives if taken under the budget 2022-23, will not only help in the betterment of the economy after a severe drawback but also will adhere to the needs of people who are often unbothered and not so thoughtful of in the budget. Some of the above initiatives are already in action and some are considered by the government but all it requires is reallocation and reformations in the already formed policies.
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