Being called a non-populist budget at a time when there are several upcoming state assembly elections, the Union Budget
for financial year 2022-23 aims at boosting the economic growth
, expecting its returns to percolate down to the bottom of the pyramid.
Setting the stage for what it calls ‘Amrit Kaal’ of 25 years (from 75 years of independence to 100 years of independence i.e 2047), Government has shaped the goal with three facets: 1) Focus on growth and all inclusive welfare, 2) Promoting technology enabled development, energy transition and climate action, and 3) Virtuous cycle starting from private investment, crowded in by public capital investment.
Finance minister Nirmala Sitaraman classified the government’s priorities in four categories: 1) PM GatiShakti, 2) Productivity Enhancement and Investment, Sunrise Opportunities, Energy Transition and Climate Action, 3) Inclusive Development and 4) Financing of Investments. For the PM GatiShakti scheme, she said, “Rs 20,000 crore will be mobilized through innovative ways of financing to complement the public resources.”
The plan consists of seven engines namely roads, railways, airports, ports, mass transport, waterways, and logistics infrastructure. When it comes to productivity enhancement, the budget has emphasized trust based governance and integration of central and state level systems through IT bridges, among several other initiatives.
Given the increased focus on infusing capital, the budget seems to be an attempt to induce growth by galvanizing economic activity. Let us look at some of the important propositions which the budget entails for the industry.
Modern infrastructure and logistics synergy
Through the master plan of PM GatiShakti, the union budget seeks to effectuate world class modern infrastructure and logistics synergy. It sets out to formulate a Master Plan for expressways with a goal of completing 25000 km national highways in 2022-23. The budget also makes way for a Unified Logistics Interface Platform allowing data exchange among all mode operators. It proposes Open Source Mobility Stack for seamless travel of passengers and four Multimodal Logistics parks through PPP.
To bring about logistics synergy, the government has decided to integrate Postal and Railways Network facilitating parcel movement. Moreover, ‘One Station One Product’ model has been announced through which railways will develop new products and efficient logistic services for small farmers and SMEs. The budget has also given consideration to multimodal connectivity between mass urban transport and railway stations along with capacity building for infrastructure projects.
Sustainable and technology driven agriculture
With the intent of moving towards a greener future, the union budget seeks to promote chemical free natural farming starting with farmers’ lands close to river Ganga.