– Mansukh Mandaviya*
This budget was drawn keeping in mind the needs of the upcoming generations and not the upcoming elections. With its mantra being “transform, reform, and perform”, this budget signifies a well-intentioned departure from a “token approach” to a “total approach”.
The Union Budget 2019 focused on developing the ease of living for the common citizen of India, with developmental initiatives proposed for rural India, railways, connectivity, introducing unified digital payments, inland waterways, taxation, education, and financial sectors.
With its focus on strengthening “Gaon, Garib, aur Kisan”, the budget aspires to provide running water, electricity, gas connection, and clean toilets to every rural household by 2022 through initiatives like “Har Ghar Jal” and Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, with proposals for the latter to tackle solid waste management in cities too.
Instead of being written off as yet another woman-empowering budget, it focuses on developing a women-led economy through multiple initiatives. By chanting “Nari tu Narayani”, the FM introduced Rs 1 Lakh loan under mudra scheme for women entrepreneurs and Rs. 5,000 overdraft for every verified SHG member having a Jan Dhan account.
The budget also highlighted India’s aspiration to be a major space power through initiatives like the Gaganyaan, Chandrayaan and introduced New Space India Limited (NSIL), a new commercial arm for research and development carried out by ISRO.
Connectivity was another issue touched upon by the budget with the introduction of Sagar Mala and Bharat Mala, initiatives that will boost India’s infrastructure further. The budget also pushed for the concept of “One Nation One Grid”, and also introduced various incentives to boost sales of e-vehicles. The budget also proposed to increase the cargo carrying capacity of the Ganga by four times.
The budget called attention to the successful execution of PM Gram Sadak Yojna, which is just 3 per cent short of fulfilling its 2022 target. Also, it highlighted cost savings of around Rs. 18,341 crores through the distribution of 35 crores LED bulbs leading to an energy efficient new India.
The FM congratulated honest tax paying citizens of India for the increase of 78% in the direct tax revenue over the last five years. It also highlighted the reduction of NPAs in public sector banks by 1 lakh crore and recovery of over 4 lakh crores through stringent banking laws like IBC etc.
In 2013-14, India was the 11th largest economy in the world and today hold the spot of the 6th largest economy in the world. The vision of the union budget 2019 is to pave a pathway for India to become a $5 trillion dollar economy over the next few years.
*The author is Minister of State for Shipping (Independent Charge) and Chemical and Fertilizers