Union Budget 2023 – Highlights and Key Takeaways
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2023 on Wednesday, the fifth and last full year Budget of the Modi 2.0 government. The Budget aims to boost growth amid concerns about the global slowdown.
“Saptrishi” – The Seven Priorities of the Budget
The finance minister outlined the seven priorities of the Budget – inclusive development, reaching the last mile, infrastructure development, potential, green growth, youth power, and the finance sector.
The government has increased the income tax exemption limit to Rs 7 lakh under the new tax regime and reduced the highest surcharge rate from 37% to 25%. Under the new I-T regime, there will be no tax for income up to Rs 3 lakh, 5% tax on Rs 3-6 lakh, and the highest tax rate of 30% on income above Rs 15 lakh. An individual with an annual income of Rs 9 lakh will have to pay only Rs 45,000.
Fiscal Deficit and Capital Expenditure
The fiscal deficit target for the upcoming financial year 2023-24 is set at 5.9% of GDP, while the current year’s target has been revised to 6.4% of GDP. The capital expenditure outlay has been increased by 33% to Rs 10 lakh crore, which is 3.3% of GDP – almost three times the outlay made in 2020. The outlay for the PM Awaz Yojana is also being increased by 66% to over Rs 79,000 crore.
Simplifying KYC and Supporting Education
The KYC process will be simplified through a risk-based system. In the next three years, the government will employ 38,800 teachers and support staff for 740 Eklavya model schools supporting tribal students. A new small savings scheme, the Mahila Savings Certificate, has been announced for women for two years up to March 2025.
Economic Growth and Reforms
The Indian economy is growing the fastest among major economies, with a target to grow by 7%. The economy has become a lot more formalized, as reflected by the doubling of EPFO membership to 27 crore and Rs 7,400 crore digital payments of Rs 126 lakh crore through UPI in 2022. The government will set up a digital library for children and adolescents and increase the agriculture credit target to Rs 20 lakh crore with a focus on animal husbandry, dairy, and fisheries.
The Union Budget 2023 focuses on facilitating opportunities, providing strong impetus to job creation, and strengthening macroeconomic stability. The government efforts since 2014 have ensured a better quality of life for citizens of the country, and the green growth efforts will help reduce carbon intensity and create green job opportunities. India’s mission for ‘Amrit Kaal’ includes a technology-driven and knowledge-based economy. The world has recognized India as a bright star in the 75th year of independence, according to the finance minister.
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