Presenting her sixth Budget since becoming the finance minister, Sitharaman primarily touched upon four focus areas of the government (women, poor, youth and farmers) and said that the Centre will bring a detailed roadmap for Viksit Bharat 2047 in the full Budget in July.
Since it was an Interim Budget, Sitharaman’s short speech was along expected lines as the government usually avoids announcing major policy decisions in the pre-election vote on account.
Here’s decoding the budget speech:
Development/viksit: Altogether, there were 42 references to terms “development” (34) or “viksit” (8). In the first part of her speech, Sitharaman listed various development initiatives undertaken in the last 10 years by the Modi government. Sitharaman said that the full Budget later this year will give a detailed roadmap for the country’s pursuit of ‘Viksit Bharat’.
Tax/taxation/taxes: There were at least 38 references to words related to taxes in Sitharaman’s budget speech. Though there was no major relief for salaried class since the government left tax slabs untouched, Sitharaman did announce crucial tax benefits for startups and sovereign wealth funds. She also scrapped certain categories of outstanding direct tax demands in a move that would benefit up to 1 crore taxpayers.
Growth: Like development, the speech was also peppered with the term “growth”, indicating the Centre’s focus on India’s upward momentum.
Farmers/Annadata/Kisan: With “Annadata” being one of the core focus areas of the government’s Budget, the associated terms found several mentions throughout Sitharaman’s speech. The government said that it’s planning to promote private and public investments in post-harvest activities, including modern storage and supply chains, in addition to boosting self reliance on oilseeds. It is also planning a comprehensive program for the development of dairy farmers and would also step up spending on fisheries to boost productivity of the sector.
Women/Nari/Mahilayen: The budget also listed several initiatives aimed at women empowerment, including the revision of “Lakhpati Didi” scheme targets and extension of healthcare cover to Asha and Anganwadi workers.
Employment: Sitharaman highlighted how several government schemes like Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada are aimed at generation of large-scale employment. She also announced a corpus of Rs 1 lakh crore for research & innovation and Rs 1,11,111 crore for infrastructure which would further spur job growth.