Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday indicated that the forthcoming Union Budget will continue to push growth on the back of public spending, as she said it will “follow the spirit” of earlier Budgets.
Sitharaman, scheduled to present her fifth straight Union Budget on February 1 for the fiscal starting April, had unveiled a massive public spending programme to support the economy emerging out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the budget, the finance minister had raised capital expenditure by 35.4% for the financial year 2022-23 to Rs 7.5 lakh crore to boost demand, while the capex last year stood at Rs 5.5 lakh crore.
“It is very inspiring and motivating for me, especially at a time when we are readying the next budget for the country, a budget which will follow the spirit of the earlier Budgets. We are going to set the template, which was set to earlier, but follow it and take it further for India’s next 25 years…,” she said.
The GDP growth has slowed in recent months due to global headwinds and rising interest rates globally to control spiralling inflation. This has prompted some to seek a further government push to revive the growth rate.
Union Budget 2023-24 will be presented against the backdrop of many institutions, including the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) slashing India’s growth forecast to 6.8% or so for the current fiscal.
The RBI projected the real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth for 2022-23 at 6.8%, with the third quarter at 4.4% and the fourth at 4.2%.
The GDP growth is projected at 7.1% for the April-June period of 2023-24 and 5.9% for the following quarter.
The budget for the next year will have to address critical issues of elevated inflation levels, boosting demand, job creation, and putting the economy on a sustained 8% plus growth path.
It will be the fifth budget of the Modi 2.0 government and Sitharaman, and the last full budget before the general elections slated in April-May 2024.
(This story has been updated to correct a spelling error)
Edited by Suman Singh