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The Union Budget 2022-23 will prove to be a strong impetus to job creation. The employment will be a by-product of 9.2% GDP growth projected by the government. It’s not jobless growth. It’s development along with employment. The capital expenditure push of 7.5 trillion or the PM Gati Shakti plan will create jobs. It will have a multiplier effect on the economy and the focus on capital expenditure is the apt way of achieving employment generation. 

If you invest 100 as capital expenditure 245 will be added to the economy. However, if you invest 100 as revenue expenditure, only 98 will come back in the economy. The capital expenditure allocation done for FY23 is the highest ever. It is 35% higher than last year. It must be noted that last year’s capital expenditure was also 35% higher than the previous year. So, the government is focusing primarily on infrastructure, through PM Gati Shakti’s seven engines of growth. It is crucial for the growth of the country. Be it Nal Jal Yogna or PM Awas Yojan, they will create jobs, be it at the lower level—all of them have a multiplier effect on the economy. 

The 1 trillion 50-year interest free loan given to the states for capital expenditure is another addition to the government’s plan to boost long term growth and job creation. Job creation is not done in silos. It is achieved by steps such as the ones outlined in the Budget. The PLI scheme alone will generate as many as 6 million jobs.

Second, on the taxation side, rationalisation of surcharge on long term capital gain from equity gains, enhancing the income of cooperative societies by reducing the surcharge levied on them to 7% from 12% and reducing the Alternate Minimum Tax from 18.5% to 15%  will benefit companies. Third, under income tax, filing of updated return till two years, will bring huge benefits to taxpayers. Under custom tariffs, duties have been increased on the products that can be manufactured in India and lowered on parts of these products, so that local manufacturing can be promoted, which will lead to job creation.

During the revenue shortfall in FY21, the government didn’t impose any additional tax even though it could have imposed a Covid tax or vaccination tax. This is in itself a big relief that tax has not been increased. 

What is the definition of middle class? The 6,000 crore which is given under the PM-KISAN—does that not benefit the middle class? Or if we talk about job creation of 6 lakh new jobs under PLI schemes, does that not benefit the middle class? The ECLGS benefits being given to MSMEs, are they not the middle class? 

Middle class does not mean only salaried class. There’s a fake hypothesis being created that they’re not being given anything; there are several advantages being given to them. 

The government has given income tax rebate three years ago, but during the Covid period it needs money for development because after two years we are trying to get to what got in FY19-20. 

We’re trying to reach the pre-pandemic level, since two years in a way has been wiped out of the economy, for the whole world. Despite that there’s no increase in taxation. 

We have brought the economy back on track, while other countries have taken huge loans, and still inflation is within the RBI band. Yes, revenue has grown during Covid period, but we still require loan and more money. 

On divestment, the LIC IPO should bring in 1 trillion, NINL disinvestment should get another 12,000 crore, and we still have two months to go. 

It’s natural that due to Covid the mood for divestment was not positive, but in the end we managed to conclude the divestment of Air India, which is a big achievement. We should keep in mind that we are in a pandemic year. The pandemic is not over yet. In spite of the pandemic we’ve been able to control our inflation within the band of 6%. 

Even the IMF has said that including FY21-22, in the next three years, India will be having the highest growth rate among the bigger economies. So, all this has been done amid the challenges, which I feel is a huge achievement. 

Sushil Kumar Modi, Rajya Sabha MP And Former Deputy CM,Bihar.

As told to Ravi Dutta Mishra

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