Presenting the first Budget of Amrit Kaal on February 1, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Union Budget 2023-24 speech said, the Indian economy is on the right track and heading towards a bright future. The budget was also the last full budget of the Modi government before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
This year’s Union Budget focuses on seven key areas: inclusive development, reaching the last mile, infrastructure and investment, unleashing the potential, green growth, youth power and financial sector.
The capital expenditure increased for infrastructure development to Rs 10 lakh crore with capital outlay of Rs 2 lakh crore for modernising, expanding Railways. The capital investment increased for the third year by 33%, which come to 3.3% of GDP.
The other major highlights are the new tax regime, with reduced number of slabs from 6 to 5 and increased tax exemption limit to Rs 3 lakh; setting up a subsidiary of EXIM Bank for trade re-financing, data embassies, a single window IT system for getting approvals from various regulators, 100 labs in engineering colleges for developing 5G apps; and three centres of excellence in artificial intelligence to be set up in leading educational institutions in the country.
In terms of conservation, a new scheme is to be launched to aid the optimal use of wetlands, mangrove plantation to be taken up along the coastline under the new MISHTI scheme, the new Gowardhan Scheme to promote a circular economy with a total investment of Rs 10,000 crore, and the Green credit programme to be notified under the Environment Protection Act to incentivise environmentally sustainable and responsible actions by companies.