Updated: Aug 28, 2022
By Escandita Tewari
“Thoughtful policy agenda for India” were the words used by IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva while describing the 2022 Union Budget presented in the Parliament by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday last week. Of what is being described as a ‘pro-growth budget’, it was a pleasure hearing the finance minister talk about terms like blockchain, gaming, and upscaling, with a focus on a K-shaped economic recovery(GDP expected growth at 9.2%), with high expectations of India being the fastest growing economy among advanced economies and changing markets, and a particular focus on job creation and employment.
Let me take you through some of the aspects of the budget that might be of vital interest to the readers. The first is educational inclusion, especially under the PM E-Vidya scheme, which aims to provide supplementary education in regional languages for classes 1 to 12. There is also the idea of establishing a digital university via a hub and spoke model. This, along with the National Tele-Mental health program, comes in as a welcome move.
Secondly, the government aims to establish a system of Trust-based Governance, with a critical impetus on digitization. The budget lists numerous channels for the same such as simplification in taxation, usage of multifunctional drones, digitization of passports, digital rupee using a blockchain, National Generic Document Registration System, financial inclusion of post offices under a core banking system, to name a few.
The 5G rollout and the Spectrum Auction are other significant takeaways. Not to forget the 30% taxation on cryptocurrency, the LIC IPO and the much-awaited Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics (AVGC) sector task force, along with the opening up of private industries for R&D and Design in collaboration with DRDO.
But the one area where the current budget is being appreciated is the strong incentive towards sustainability and the environment, with a critical focus on Electric Vehicles, energy-efficient trains and a 2070 Net-zero emissions target at COP26.
During the hospitality and tourism sector might feel the budget does not have much to offer, the core idea of emphasizing inclusive development ushers some hope. What seems to be a very prospective offer on the table, it is only with the right course of implementation will the offerings in the budget seem viable to everyone.