Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will begin her customary post-budget interaction with stakeholders in Mumbai on Saturday. After that, in the first half of this month, she is expected to travel to Hyderabad, Imphal, Bhubaneswar and Jaipur to speak on what the budget contains for various stakeholders and interest groups.
In Mumbai, and in other cities, she is expected to meet representatives from India Inc, industry bodies, micro, small and medium enterprises’ (MSME) bodies, start-ups, chartered accountants and bankers among others, said an official aware of the Finance Minister’s outreach plans.
In her 2023-24 Union Budget on Wednesday, Sitharaman increased her year-on-year capex target by more than 30 percent for the third year in a row. The sense in the government is that though private sector investment is picking up, the global macro-economic situation is still uncertain enough for the centre to continue with an enhanced focus on public investment in infrastructure.
The budget had a modest relief for taxpayers, including in the highest tax brackets, and sops for MSMEs, entrepreneurs and cooperative bodies.
She stuck to the fiscal consolidation roadmap and announced a budget deficit target of 5.9 percent of GDP for FY24.
“The reason for our increase in capital expenditure is that the growth outlook for the world next year is not as promising as it was looking some months ago. So, if there is a decline in growth globally, then that will also have a knock on effect on India,” Finance Secretary TV Somanathan told ‘Business Standard’ a day after the budget.
“We would have increased capital expenditure anyway. But the magnitude of the increase also reflects a desire to sustain growth in India regardless of what is happening elsewhere in the world, perhaps to offset for any compression in export demand,” he said.
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