"Working To Viksit Bharat By 2047": Nirmala Sitharaman's Interim Budget

Rising to deliver the budget, Ms Sitharaman began by saying the Indian economy - expected to grow at over seven per cent this year - had witnessed "profound transformation" in the past decade.

New Delhi:

The Narendra Modi government is working towards making India a 'Viksit (Developed) Bharat' by 2047, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said Thursday as she read out the 2024 Interim Budget in a special session of Parliament. Presenting a sixth straight account of India's finances, she also underlined its resolve to work for "all round, all inclusive, and all pervasive" development.

"Our vision for Viksit Bharat is that of a prosperous Bharat... in harmony with nature and modern infrastructure, and providing opportunities for all to reach their potential. The next five years will see unprecedented development and golden moments to realise the goal of a developed India..."

Ms Sitharaman said the "trinity of democracy, demography and diversity", supported by the vision of 'Sab Ka Prayaas', had the potential to fulfil the aspirations of every Indian man and woman.

"Our young country has high aspirations, pride in the present, and hope and confidence in its bright future..." the Finance Minister said as she stood up to deliver her speech, adding, "For our government, social justice is an effective and necessary governance model... covering all eligible people is true social justice... secularism. It reduces corruption and prevents nepotism."

Ms Sitharaman underlined the need to focus on four categories of people - the poor, women, young people, and farmers - and said their needs and aspirations were the government's "highest priority".

"All four require and receive government support, their empowerment and well-being will drive the country forward. The earlier approach of tackling poverty resulted in very modest outcomes."

"But when the poor became empowered partners in the development process, the government's power to assist increases manifold," she said, pointing out 25 crore people had been freed from multidimensional poverty over the past 10 years of the Modi government.

The Finance Minister spoke about the global context of development, acknowledging that increasingly fragile geopolitical situations across the world had led to new challenges.

"Global affairs are becoming more complex, globalisation is being redefined with reshoring, disruption and fragmentation of supply chains and competition for critical minerals and technologies. A new world order is emerging..." she said.

Besides delivering on high growth, the government is equally focussed on a more comprehensive GDP - i.e., Governance, Development and Performance, Ms Sitharaman said.

"Our government has provided transparent, accountable and people-centric trust-based administration with citizen first and minimum government and maximum governance approach."

Overall, there are muted expectations from this budget since it comes less than three months before a general election in which Prime Minister Modi's BJP is expected to win a third consecutive term.

However, there is hope among the salaried middle class of a revision in income tax slabs and an overall anticipation the government will do something to boost job creation.