Nirmala Sitharaman

The development management will be the main task

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that the Union Budget for 2023-24 will be carefully prepared, with a special focus on maintaining the growth momentum. At an event organized by the Brookings Institute in Washington, the Finance Minister, in conversation with Ishwar Prasad of Cornell University, said on Tuesday that the focus of the upcoming Union Budget will be on development. There are inflation concerns as well, but managing growth will be the main focus.

Asked about rising public debt and fiscal deficit, Sitharaman said that in the budgets for 2021-22 and 2022-23, the government focused on increasing capital expenditure to revive the economy after the pandemic.

The Finance Minister said that we have understood the merits of asset creation. We increased spending on infrastructure in the last two budgets but at the same time managed to maintain fiscal prudence.

Speaking about the immediate risks being faced by India, the Finance Minister said that energy and fertilizer needs are one of the most immediate challenges facing the country. Within a limit, renewable energy infrastructure can be scaled up, but it cannot meet all energy needs.

Due to the energy crisis, India has gone back to thermal energy for some time. Similarly, India is capable of producing fertilizers and is doing so, but its demand is increasing.

Sitharaman said that “there is a crisis due to rising international prices of fertilizers and this along with energy requirements an immediate challenge.”

Elaborating on managing the economy during the pandemic days, he further said, “Due to the digitization of the economy, which started in 2014, India has been able to provide food grains to the needy during the lockdown.”

He said that the government has already provided immediate relief to the people due to the infrastructure of financial inclusion. PLC/GT


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