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Sitharaman Presents Union Budget, Opposition Slams, Industry Lauds

"Government focus since 2014 has been on the poor and marginalised. The government strives to provide the necessary ecosystem to the middle class," said Sitharaman.

Photo Credit : Reuters


As the country is all set to move forward on the path of economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said that India's economic growth is expected at 9.2 per cent in the current financial year.

While presenting the Union Budget 2022-23, Sitharaman said that a boost in investment is likely to revive on account of capex (capital expenditure) and crowd in private investment.

"Government focus since 2014 has been on the poor and marginalised. The government strives to provide the necessary ecosystem to the middle class," said Sitharaman. 

Principal opposition Congress, however, slammed the Sitharaman and Prime Minister Modi for betraying the salaried and middle classes by not providing any relief measures. 

"India's salaried class and middle class were hoping for relief in times of pandemic, all-round pay cuts and back-breaking inflation. FM and PM have again deeply disappointed them in Direct Tax measures," said Congress general secretary and chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala on Twitter. 

The comments from the principal opposition came after Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget for 2022-23 in Parliament, amid the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. 

Now, let's see what industry leaders have to say about the Union Budget 2022. Edited excerpts:

"The Budget outturns are broadly in line with our expectations with the government has continued its focus on infrastructure and rural demand. Accordingly as expected the government has refrained from a sharp fiscal consolidation. While the fiscal expansion is expected to be pro-growth, the heavy supply is expected to worry the bond markets," said Senior Economist at Kotak Mahindra Bank, Upasna Bhardwaj.

“The 2022-23 budget finely balanced fiscal retreat with supporting economic recovery. The budget focussed on a familiar strategy of driving capital expenditure to drive growth, with the intention of crowding in private investment through higher public spending. Although markets could be disappointed with a higher fiscal deficit of 6.4 per cent of GDP for FY23 than expected, it is perhaps prudent to not undertake aggressive fiscal consolidation at this nascent stage of recovery," said Chief Economist at HDFC Bank, Abheek Barua. 

“The union budget underlined the government's focus on long term growth support. Focus on increasing capital expenditure as well as on future growth drivers such as clean energy are the key positives of the budget. The fiscal deficit targets, as well as the budgeted receipts and expenditures, are in line with our expectations," said Senior Economist at Kotak Institutional Equities, Suvodeep Rakshit. 

"Today, the Finance Minister clearly specified that the gains arising from the transfer of virtual digital assets (including all cryptocurrencies) will be taxed at 30 per cent, which is a welcome step to regularise the sector. Any losses incurred while transferring these assets can’t be set off against gains in other asset classes. Also, gifting of these assets will be taxed in the hands of the recipient. From now on, investors in digital assets will have to be mindful of compliance with the tax guidelines presented in the budget," said Founder and CEO at Nestegg, Vishal Vij.  

"The government’s dedicated focus to increasing investment in the agriculture and the agritech sector will allow for all-inclusive development that will benefit farmers as well as agribusinesses. The proposed PPP (Public Private Partnership) mode scheme to promote the delivery of digital and hi-tech services in the agriculture sector will lead to greater cooperation between the private agritech players and public research institutions," said CEO and Founder of AgNext Technologies, Taranjeet Singh Bhamra. 

“Budget has a strong focus on agriculture with a specific focus on the delivery of high tech services, funding of startups through NABARD, focus on “Drone Shakti” for farmers and climate action. There is a good balance of the short term and long term measures.  It’s very forward-looking with a long-reaching impact on how Agriculture will grow in India. These initiatives will solve the core problem of improvement of farm productivity and help improve farm incomes significantly," said the Co-founder of Unnati, Amit Sinha.

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