Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Budget for Financial Year 2023-24 on Wednesday, February 1. In her fifth consecutive Budget speech, which was approximately 87 minutes long, Sitharaman mentioned the word 'global' 13 times. Did the Finance Minister just give a message on behalf of the government for the globe?
During her speech, Sitharaman highlighted how in the 75th year of India's independence, the world recognised the Indian economy as a ‘bright star’. Putting it loud and clear that the economic growth in the present year is estimated to be at 7 per cent, the Finance Minister added that it was the 'highest among all the major economies'.
"This is in spite of the massive slowdown globally caused by Covid-19 and a war. The Indian economy is therefore on the right track, and despite a time of challenges, heading towards a bright future, " Sitharaman said.
The Finance Minister added, "Today, as Indians stands with their head, held high, and the world appreciates India’s achievements and successes, we are sure that elders who fought for India’s independence, will with joy, bless us our endeavors going forward."
Stressing on 'India's rising global profile', Sitharaman said it was because of India's unique world-class digital public infrastructure, for example Aadhaar, Co-Win and UPI, the COVID vaccination drive at an unparalleled scale and speed; proactive roles in frontier areas such as achieving the climate-related goals, mission LiFE, and National Hydrogen Mission.
The Finance Minister also took a moment to remind that the G20 Presidency has come with a 'unique opportunity to strengthen India’s role in the world economic order'. With the theme of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, Sitharaman said, the country would be "steering an ambitious, people-centric agenda to address global challenges and to facilitate sustainable economic development".
In the Budget address, the Finance Minister also made it a point to underline that the Indian economy has increased in size from being 10th to fifth largest in the world.
"We have significantly improved our position as a well-governed and innovative country with a conducive environment for business as reflected in several global indices. We have made significant progress in many Sustainable Development Goals," she said.
Also, through the first Amrit Kaal Budget, the capital Investment outlay has been increased for the third year in a row by 33 per cent to Rs 10 lakh crore, which is 3.3 per cent of the GDP. This is almost three times the outlay in 2019-20.
Making the announcement, Sitharaman said, "This substantial increase in recent years is central to the government’s efforts to enhance growth potential and job creation, crowding private investments, and provide a cushion against global headwinds."