The Union budget 2022-23 focuses on job-oriented growth through enhanced outlay for capital expenditure, BJP’s Rajya Sabha member Sushil Kumar Modi said on Wednesday.
Lauding the Narendra Modi government for providing income support and helping people during COVID-19 pandemic, the BJP leader said employment can only be created through capital expenditure and giving impetus to the manufacturing sector.
In four years, including 2023, India will be spending Rs 20 lakh crore in capital expenditure, he said, claiming it to be the biggest in the history of independent India.
In this year's budget, the outlay for capital expenditure has been increased by 35 per cent, and if the capital assets through grant in aid to states is included, the effective capital expenditure is Rs 10.68 lakh crore, which is 4.1 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Sushil Modi said.
Arguing that capital expenditure has a multiplier effect, he said if revenue expenditure increases by Rs 100, then only Rs 98 is added to the economy, but if Rs 100 is spent as capital expenditure, Rs 245 is added to the economy in the first year and Rs 480 in the subsequent years.
The capital expenditure planned in the budget will create demand and take care of supply side, besides attracting private investment and these will lead to job creation in all sectors, the Rajya Sabha member said.
He said states have been provided with Rs 1 lakh crore for capital expenditure and 50-years interest free loans, and asked if the Congress ever took such a step when it was in power. Highlighting plans for the road sector, he said the Centre will be spending Rs 2.42 lakh crore which is the highest ever expenditure for the sector.
Sushil Modi also drew attention of the House to the fact that in this year's budget, there has been no borrowing to support road projects. "Earlier Rs 65,000 crore was borrowed for national highways and this year, we have supported the national highways with budgetary support. We will not be taking a single penny as borrowing," he said.
Listing out the capital expenditures planned for the defence sector (Rs 1.52 lakh crore), railways (Rs 1.37 lakh crore), telecom (Rs 54,150 crore), metro (Rs 19,130 crore) atomic energy (1.9 per cent of capital expenditure), he wondered, "If this does not create employment, what will create employment?”
He also cited outlays for programmes of the government such as the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) and Nal Jal Yojana to provide clean drinking household to 3.8 crore households, National Infrastructure Pipeline, PM Gati Shakti, which will lead to job creation.
Modi further said productivity-linked incentive schemes (PLI) for 14 sectors, including semiconductors, solar panels, automobiles and auto-components and pharmaceutical, have been introduced with a total outlay of Rs 3.46 lakh crore to be spent by the government for incentives so as to create jobs in the manufacturing sector.
On the government's move to introduce digital currency, Modi said only nine countries in the world have launched such a currency and India will be the 10th nation. This will lead to benefits like transparency in transaction, reduction in use of black money, cheaper currency management, more secure and risk free online payment without the need for interbank settlement, he asserted.
He also listed out the focus of budget on digitisation in various sectors in order to keep in pace with the technological advancement that the world is witnessing. Under the current government, start-ups have prospered in India, with the country in third position after the US and China in having the highest number of Unicorns globally, while in telecom sector, 5G will be launched this year and India is already preparing for 6G network, he said.
Taking part in the discussion, BJP MP Syed Zafar Islam said the Union budget should be seen in a context, background and in continuity, and not viewed in isolation or silo.
In the last seven years, Modi government has undertaken policy and structural reforms which have strengthened the economy. The reform measures undertaken over the last three years amid the pandemic, have steered the economy back on track, he said.
Be it exports or tax to GDP ratio, foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows and credit offtake, all underline the pace of economic activity, Islam said. "Economy is moving in the right direction and back in order," he said, adding that global investors too are looking to India as a bright spot.
Rejecting Opposition's claims of inadequate health infrastructure, Islam said those who refer to other nations may as well acknowledge that during their time, they themselves were sleeping as other countries built their health infrastructure.
"Now, this government is taking a lead and hence it is spending on health sector," he said, adding that the government is creating medical centres, hospitals and robust healthcare facilities in small towns and cities. He further argued that budgetary allocation on education has nearly doubled since 2014, and urged the opposition to do some self-introspection.
"Please see what your budgetary allocation on education was in 2014," he quipped.
With inputs from PTI.