On the first day of February 2023, Finance Minister (FM) Mrs Nirmala Sitharaman delivered her fifth Union Budget. During her speech, the FM gushed that since 2014, India's economy has grown from being the 10th to the fifth largest in the world, with a per capita income that has more than doubled to Rs 1.97 lakh.
She has outlined that despite the unfavourable global economic climate, India's growth for the current year would be quite healthy at 7%, the highest among the major economies. With more than double the number of Provident Fund members and a 76% increase in UPI transactions (with a 91% increase in value), the Indian economy has grown significantly more formalised.
The increase in the personal income tax rebate is the budget news that has received the greatest attention. Under the new tax system, those with annual incomes of Rs 7 lakh or less will not be required to pay any taxes. More taxpayer savings should increase consumer spending on goods and services, which will support further economic growth.
Another significant point is the budget's increase in capital spending by 30% to Rs 10 lakh crore. The country will create more jobs because of increased investment in infrastructure projects like roads and energy.
The FM recognised the need to promote reading among children and teenagers and thus announced the establishment of a national digital library to provide high-quality books in all languages with cross-platform accessibility. Additionally, states will be urged to establish physical libraries for them and to offer access points to the National Digital Library's resources. Further, organisations and authorities in the financial industry will support these libraries by providing age-appropriate resources to advance financial literacy.
Keeping youth empowerment as one of the seven focus areas of the budget, skilling programmes have been announced in both online and offline modes. Training on Industry 4.0 relevant skills such as coding, AI, robotics, mechatronics, IOT, 3D printing, drones, and soft skills will be offered. Additionally, FM stated that it would use Direct Benefit Transfer to give stipend support to 47 lakh youths over the course of three years.
To encourage entrepreneurship, a plethora of tax perks were offered for start-ups, partnerships, MSMEs, and professionals.
To sum up, Union Budget 2023 is seen as FM’s smartest to date, setting the stage for greater growth and inclusive development over the ensuing years in the face of a volatile international climate.
Here is however our take on how some, or all, of these initiatives, are going to result in spending on technology and skills development, in the various sectors by various agencies in the country. This spending will be independent of (and in some cases over and above) what programs and spending are currently happening.
Building Digital Public Infrastructure – building an accessible, inclusive and information solution for farmers
National Digital Library – for children and adolescents
Bharat (SHRI) - to be set up for the digitisation of ancient inscriptions
Make AI in India – AI-based solutions in agriculture, health and sustainable cities
Entity Digital Locker – Facilitating secure online storing and sharing of documents with the business ecosystem.
Setting up 100 labs for 5G services – to tap employment potential and business opportunities.
PMKVY 4.0 launched - to focus on courses like AI, Coding, Robotics, 3D printing etc.
Setting up of National Financial Information Registry - to enable efficient lending, promote financial inclusion and enable financial stability.
Setting-up of Central Data Centre – for the handling of admin work under the Companies Act
Create more trained professionals - in the securities market via the award of educational certificates
Tanay Patni, Grade IX Student (by invitation)