The Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressed a Post Budget Webinar on the subject of ‘Enhancing Efficiency of the Financial Services for Creating Growth Opportunities’. It is the tenth of a series of 12 post-budget webinars organized by the government to seek ideas and suggestions for effectively implementing the initiatives announced in the Union Budget 2023.

Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister said that the government is paving the way for collective ownership and equal partnership in the implementation of the budget through these Post Budget Webinars where the views and suggestions of stakeholders hold utmost importance.

The Prime Minister remarked that the entire world is witnessing the impact of India’s fiscal and monetary policy during the Corona pandemic and credited the efforts of the government in strengthening the fundamentals of India’s economy in the last 9 years. Recalling the time when the world looked at India with suspicion, the Prime Minister pointed out that discussions on India’s economy, budget and goals would often begin and end with a question. He highlighted the changes in financial discipline, transparency and inclusive approach and noted that the question mark at the beginning and end of the discussion has been replaced by Vishwas (trust) and Apeksha (expectations). Throwing light on the recent achievements, the Prime Minister said, “Today India is being called the bright spot of the global economy.” He also highlighted that India is presiding over G-20 and also attracted the highest FDI in the country in the year 2021-22. The Prime Minister noted that a major part of this investment has taken place in the manufacturing sector. He emphasized that applications are continuously pouring in to avail of the PLI scheme which makes India an important part of the global supply chain. The Prime Minister urged everyone to take full advantage of this opportunity.

The Prime Minister emphasized that as today’s India is moving with new capabilities, the responsibility of those in the financial world of India has increased. He told them that they have a robust financial system of the world and a banking system that is in profit after being on the verge of collapse 8-10 years ago. Also, there is a government that is taking policy decisions with courage, clarity and confidence. “Today, the need of the hour is that the benefits of the strength in India’s banking system should reach the maximum number of people,” the Prime Minister exhorted the participants. Giving an example of the Government’s support to the MSME sector, the Prime Minister asked the banking system to reach out to the maximum number of sectors. “1 crore 20 lakh MSMEs have received huge help from the government during the pandemic. In this year’s budget, the MSME sector has also got additional collateral-free guaranteed credit of 2 lakh crores. Now it is very important that our banks reach out to them and provide them adequate finance”, he added.

The Prime Minister pointed out that the Government’s policies related to Financial Inclusion have made crores of people part of the formal financial system. The government has helped fulfill the dreams of crores of youth by giving Mudra loans of more than 20 lakh crore rupees without a bank guarantee. For the first time, more than 40 lakh street vendors and small shopkeepers received help from banks through PM Swanidhi Yojana. He called upon the stakeholders to re-engineer all the processes to reduce the cost and increase the speed of credit so that it reaches the small entrepreneurs quickly.

Touching upon the issue of ‘Vocal for Local’ the Prime Minister said that this is not a matter of choice but “Vocal for local and vision of self-reliance is a national responsibility.” Shri Modi noted the tremendous enthusiasm for Vocal for Local and aatmnirbharta in the country and talked about increased domestic production and record growth in exports. “Our exports have been at an all-time high, whether in goods or services. This indicates growing possibilities for India”, the Prime Minister said and asked the stakeholders like organizations and Chambers of Industry and commerce to take up the responsibility to promote local artisans and entrepreneurs up to the district level.

The Prime Minister once again clarified that Vocal for Local is bigger than just buying products from the Indian cottage industry. “We have to see which are the areas where we can save the country’s money by building capacity in India itself”, he said and gave examples of higher education and edible oil where a lot of money goes out.

Touching upon the massive increase in the Capital expenditure outlay in the Budget to the tune of Rs 10 lakh crore and dynamism induced by PM Gatishakti Masterpaln, the Prime Minister emphasized the need to support the private sector that is working for the progress of the different geographical areas and economic sectors. “Today, I would also call upon the private sector of the country to increase their investment just like the government so that the country gets maximum benefit from it”, he added.

Dwelling on the tax-related post Budget narrative, the Prime Minister said as opposed to the past, the tax burden has come down significantly in India due to GST, reduction in Income Tax and Corporate tax. This, the Prime Minister said, has resulted in better tax collection. In 2013-14 gross tax revenue was about 11 lakh crore rupees which can rise to 33 lakh crore in 2023-24, an increase of 200 percent. The number of individual tax returns filed increased from 3.5 crores to 6.5 crores from 2013-14 to 2020-21. “Paying tax is such a duty, which is directly related to nation building. The increase in the tax base is proof that people have faith in the government, and they believe that the tax paid is being spent for public good”, the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister said Indian talent, infrastructure and innovators can take the Indian financial system to the top. “In the era of ‘Industry 4.0’ platforms developed by India are becoming models for the world”, the Prime Minister said giving examples of GeM, Digital transactions. He exclaimed that in the 75th year of independence, 75 thousand crore transactions were done digitally which shows how wide the expansion of UPI has become. “RuPay and UPI are not just a low cost and highly secure technology, but it is our identity in the world. There is immense scope for innovation. UPI should become a means of financial inclusion and empowerment for the whole world, we have to collectively work for it. I suggest that our financial institutions should also have maximum partnership with fintechs to increase their reach”, the Prime Minister added.

The Prime Minister reiterated that sometimes, even a small step can make a huge difference in boosting and gave the example of buying goods without the bill. Pointing out that feeling that there is no harm done by this, the Prime Minister emphasized the need to increase awareness about getting a copy of the bill that will benefit the nation in return. “We just need to make people more and more aware”, he added.

Concluding the address, the Prime Minister stated that the benefits of India’s economic development should reach every class and person and urged all stakeholders to work with this vision. He also stressed creating a large pool of well-trained professionals. “I want all of you to discuss such futuristic ideas in detail”, he concluded.

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