The much-awaited Union Budget 2023-24 was presented by the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. With raise in tax rebate limits to the national digital library for children and adolescents, new programme to promote R&D in pharma, 157 nursing colleges, recruitment of 38,800 teachers, and enhanced budget for PM Awas yojana, finance minister aimed to improve the lives of people across the country.
Industry people termed it a perfectly focused growth-oriented budget with massive capital investment outlays at 4.5% of GDP while staying on track with the fiscal deficit reduction plan
“What is remarkable is the holistic, sustainable and inclusive approach taken covering every element of infrastructure and capability building and making the best use of the world-class digital public infrastructure. The budget clearly reflects PM Narendra Modi’s long-term vision for India and it aims to engage with and carry every section of society towards the goal of a self-reliant and strong India,” said Gopichand P. Hinduja, Co-Chairman, Hinduja Group.
Infusion for affordable housing is a win-win
Girish Kousgi, MD & CEO, PNB Housing Finance, said that the intended infusion of Rs.79,000 crores towards affordable housing is a positive move. “It’s a win-win situation fortifying our nation’s rural infrastructure and adding power to lower and middle-income groups. The wheels are set in motion towards inclusive and sustainable economic growth and this 66% increased commitment will bolster higher rural participation”.
Focus on reskilling is a game-changer
According to Amit D Mishra, CEO and Founder, iMocha, the Union Budget 2023-24 has rightly identified the need to ramp up skill development and upskilling among youth to make them job ready for the future. “Announcements such as the setting up of 3 AI Centers of Excellence to train youth on AI skills, and the decision to set up a unified Skill India Digital platform with a focus on Coding, AI, IoT and Robotics related skills is going to be the game changer for Indian SaaS and technology industry. Further, 30 Skill India International Centers will also be setup across states, and that will ensure that there is a uniformity of quality talent in all the states.”
Budget to boost job creation
"The Union Budget 2023-24 has introduced optimistic reforms", said Rituparna Chakraborty, Co-founder & Executive Director, TeamLease Services.
She also said these are crucial to drive economic growth and boost job creation in the country. “The positive momentum in EPFO subscriptions and the effort to reduce 39000 compliances will push for better ease of doing business, thereby promoting employment generation. Now, with a focused push towards education and skilling through the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana 4.0 and the introduction of 30 Skill India centres, India’s youth employability will significantly improve.”
Experts want the government to facilitate seamless launch of the skill centers and effective integration of outcome-based learning for new-age courses on coding, AI, robotics, mechatronics IoT, 3D printing etc. Digitisation in skilling was an imperative requirement and the budget has addressed it through the launch of a Unified Skill India Digital Platform.
This will create more avenues for demand based formal skilling, encouraging more employers, especially MSMEs, to adopt apprenticeships and entrepreneurship schemes.
Skill initiative is laudable
The government’s several efforts towards skilling the youth of the nation drew appreciation. “Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana 4.0 which will be launched to skill lakhs of youth within the next three years will significantly benefit in the overall enhancement and development of the youth in the country. The launch of a unified skill India digital platform for enabling demand based formal skilling will help the country successfully progress towards becoming a digital savvy nation. Overall, the budget includes significant measures that will help in advancement of the youth of the country, help them become more competitive and secure positions on the global world map,” said Rahul Goyal, Managing Director (India & South East Asia), ADP.
“The government's focus on the skill development of potential youth talent through initiatives like NEP, PMKVY 4.0 for skilling in niche new-age technologies like 5G, AI, 3D printing, drones, coding, mechatronics, robotics, and IoT draws further impetus to the ongoing efforts,” said Arvind Bali, CEO, Telecom Sector Skill Council.
“We believe the initiatives will be beneficial to close country's growing demand supply gap of technical talent workforce. With the government's push to establish 30 Skill India international centres, 100 premier labs for developing applications to use 5G services, and centres of excellence for AI, India has the potential to deliver talent not only across domestic markets but also to the international market. The initiative like the Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) is also a progressive move by the government to uplift the tribal population and empower the students to take up new job opportunities,” added Bali.
Aditya Sesh, Founder and Managing Director of Basiz Fund Service Private Limited, thanked the government for introducing a proposal for MSME. “Those who take services and goods from an MSME unit will not be able to claim expenditure on such purchases of goods or services unless they pay the MSME.”
According to Aditya, this initiative will result in your faster payments to MSME thus improving their cash flows and therefore survival.
Another important proposal for the sector is the reduction in the number of compliances. For instance, the permanent account number of the Income Tax Department would be the unique identifier across all compliances for business and specific for the medium and small-scale industries. Digilockers will be promoted for the medium and small scale industry to store all important identification documents and documents stored in digital-lockers will be accepted as valid proof for various forms of applications and incentives.
Ganesh Nikam, Managing Director and CEO of Biojobz, thanked the government for incentivising and encouraging research and development investments.
“The new Centres of Excellence programme, aimed to promote pharmaceutical research and innovation, will encourage investment opportunities that will fuel the sector expansion and jobs. It will begin to unleash the high innovation potential of rich Indian scientific talent,” said Nikam.
Describing the budget as industry-specific along with some benefits to the middle class and MSME, Bhavana Udernani, owner, JobStrot , said that the job market will be positively affected in sectors like agriculture (semi-urban and rural), government projects (Railways and Airports), and Industries like Infrastructure, Energy, Automation & Tech.
“Reducing credit costs for MSME and increasing basic exemption tax limit will boost cash flows in the market which will positively affect the purchasing power of the middle class.”