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Union Budget 2023: Infrastructure and ease of doing business

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The capital expenditure will hike by 33% to Rs 10 lakh crore for infrastructure development for 2023-24 and will be at 3.3 per cent of the GDP. PAN will be used as a common business identifier

New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1, 2023 announced plans to set up a digital public infrastructure for agriculture as an “open source, open standard, and interoperable public good”.

While delivering the Budget 2023-24 speech, Sitharaman said, “This will enable inclusive farmer-centric solutions through relevant information services, for crop planning and health, improved access to farm inputs, credit and insurance, help for crop estimation, market intelligence and support for the growth of Agri-tech industry and start-ups”.

She further added, “An agriculture accelerator fund will be set up to encourage Agri-startups by young entrepreneurs in rural areas. The fund will aim at bringing innovative and affordable solutions for challenges faced by farmers. It will also bring in modern technologies to transform agricultural practices and increase productivity and profitability.”

The capital expenditure will hike by 33% to Rs 10 lakh crore for infrastructure development for 2023-24 and will be at 3.3 per cent of the GDP. Presenting the Budget for 2023-24, Sitharaman said the newly established infrastructure finance secretariat will assist in attracting more private investment.

An expert committee will also be set up to make infrastructure classification and financing framework suitable for Amrit Kaal, she added.

All logistics and connectivity infrastructure projects, entailing an investment of over Rs 500 crore, are routed through the NPG, constituted under the PM Gati Shakti initiative. Sitharaman also informed that the PM Primitive Vulnerable Tribal Group scheme would benefit 3.5 lakh tribals.

Vikas Jain, Co-Founder, PLAY Design Labs said, “A very sensible budget presentation and the FM has been considerate to the common man and industry alike. There is massive commitment of job creation and infrastructure spending which is very well received for India. Modification to the income tax slabs is a delight for the citizens and should encourage more citizens to declare their income statement.”

He further added, “Most the industry is well taken care of and focus on strengthening manufacturing is evident. We hope to see some focus and action on the “cost of capital” in future budgets and themes. Backing manufacturing by incentivising R&D/Design could have been a great addition and we remain hopeful for outlay for design in the forthcoming edition.”

Ease of doing Business

Presenting the Union Budget for the fiscal year 2023– 24, Sitharaman announced that more than 39,000 compliances have been reduced while over 3,400 legal provisions have been decriminalised for enhancing the ease of doing business.

“If MSMEs fail to execute the contract, 95 per cent of performance security will be returned to the small businesses as part of Vivad Se Vishwas,” said Sitharaman.

The 10-digit Permanent Account N​umber, popularly known as PAN, will be used as a common business identifier, announced Finance Minister in the Budget speech in a big move for ease of doing business.

The Finance Minister also proposed to use the PAN card as a common identifier for all digital systems at government agencies. The move is expected to simplify the KYC process and make it simple for the Income Tax Department and other government agencies to manage documents of the PAN cardholders.

The Budget for 2023-24 aims to build on the foundation of the previous budget and a blue print for India at 100, said Sitharaman adding “The world has recognised India as a bright star, our growth for the current year is estimated at 7.0 per cent, this is the highest among all major economies.” said Sitharaman.

She further added, “India has made significant progress in many Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the per capita income has increased to Rs 1.97 lakhs. The Indian economy has increased in size from being the 10th largest to the fifth largest in the world in the last nine years.”

The government will bring a National Data Governance policy, which will simplify the KYC process while anonymising individual data, said the Minister.

Pallavi Singh Marwah, Co-founder, SPPL (Super Plastronic Pvt. Ltd.) commented, “With the government announcing a 10 lakh crore capex budget, which amounts to 3.3% of the country’s GDP and the highest ever outlay for railways and development of over 50 airports, helipads, aerodromes, etc,  it is evident that the government is focused on upgrading the country. This has been supported by the development of last-mile connectivity and a push to the tourism industry.”

She further added, “There have been multiple schemes and allotments of budget towards entrepreneurial ventures and to the youth of our country as well as collateral-free credit to MSME’s. However, no support has been extended towards the existing private sector setups in policy terms. The government’s initiative to Make AI for India is a welcome one and will help in achieving development in rural as well as urban areas. Policy support has been provided to all by reducing compliances and the suggestion to amend 42 central acts which will be a welcome change from an operational perspective.”

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