(Written by Sandip Somany)
Presenting the last budget of the current government, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal has done a credible job by presenting a budget that is not only realistic and addresses the current challenges of the economy but is at the same time progressive, laying out the Vision for India at 2030.
The budget is positive for the farm community, middle class, senior citizens, small savers and workers in the unorganised sector. Unlike previous interim budgets, the government has announced some important direct tax proposals this year that will give a boost to the demand in the economy. This is critical to drive greater investments and thus accelerate growth and employment.
While the Finance Minister laid out the report card of the last five years, highlighting the key achievements across sectors, he also presented a vision for the country for the next decade.
With an aim of making India a five trillion-dollar economy in next five years and a ten trillion-dollar economy in next eight years thereafter, a roadmap in ten key dimensions has been highlighted namely infrastructure – physical as well as digital, green environment, rural industrialisation, water bodies, blue economy, space, agri and food, healthcare and governance.
The foundation pillars in all these areas have already been laid out over the last few years, and with further reforms and efforts, the vision of modern, technology-driven, high growth, equitable and transparent society is very much achievable.
If we take the case of Digital India, significant progress has been made in connectivity and data accessibility. Already there has been increase in monthly consumption of mobile data by over 50 times in the last five years, facilitated by increased affordability.
Digital infrastructure has also started reaching villages. It is expected that every individual will be technology driven in the next ten years and that will enable taking India to the next stage of digital revolution.
Climate change is a reality today and taking pro-active steps to ensure a clean environment for future has been a policy focus over the last few years. Having set-up the International Solar Alliance and taking steps to expand the renewable energy base, India has made significant progress in the area of Clean energy.
The Vision 2030 as laid out in this budget takes a step forward and aims to bring down import dependence on oil by accelerating towards renewable source of energy, especially through mainstreaming electric vehicles as the mode of transportation. The Vision also extends the Make-in-India approach to grass-root level clusters, encompassing MSMEs, village industries and start-ups across the country.
The rural industrialisation is aimed towards creating employment opportunities and bridging the urban-rural divide through effective use of modern digital technologies.
FICCI, too, recently came up with a report on Envisioning India 2030, highlighting the key reforms that need to be undertaken across various sectors and areas to enable meeting the goals of greater competitiveness and shared prosperity. We need to focus on reforms in the real economy, human capital and productivity, factor markets, competitiveness and ease of living and governance. Going forward, those reforms would become the key elements if Vision laid out by the government is to become a reality.
The author is the president of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.