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Business News/ Budget / Opinion/  Budget 2024: A blueprint that’s more than just a financial document
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Budget 2024: A blueprint that’s more than just a financial document

The blueprint outlined in the interim budget signals a commitment to building a robust foundation for the future

Nirmala Sitharaman (centre) on her way to present the budget in Parliament on Thursday. (AFP)Premium
Nirmala Sitharaman (centre) on her way to present the budget in Parliament on Thursday. (AFP)

India is on the cusp of change, having transformed to become the fifth largest economy in the world and is gradually moving towards being in the top three. Our economy is uniquely diverse and rapidly growing; this is powered by infrastructure, manufacturing, information technology and services sectors. A key strength is our sizeable domestic market, a young and tech-savvy labour force, and a large middle class. India stands at a pivotal juncture, poised to embark on a journey of sustainable growth. The blueprint outlined in the interim budget signals a commitment to building a robust foundation for the future.

Infrastructure development is a cornerstone of economic growth and the statements made in the interim budget reaffirm the government’s commitment to this. It underscored the pivotal role of Digital Public Infrastructure as a catalyst to progress as it reiterated continued infrastructural development across the three domains of digital, social, and physical. We are hopeful that the 11.11 trillion capital expenditure outlay will pan out well and crowd-in private sector investment, as improved consumer sentiments drive demand.

Allocation for the renewable energy sector underscores the commitment to clean and sustainable power sources. Wind energy could gain from the viability gap funding for offshore wind energy. The roadmap for coal gasification and mandatory blending of biogas, aiming to reduce imports and promote eco-friendly practices may bring us closer to our Net Zero target.

The plan to incentivise adoption of e-buses is significant as they can make transport greener. FAME regulations will help clarify the way forward and ease its adoption. The government also plans to enable 1 crore households to obtain up to 300 units of free power every month through the rooftop solar programme. The budget sets the stage for India to be a leader in sustainable development, reducing our carbon footprint and ensuring a cleaner, healthier future.

A key enabler of predictable and sustainable growth is skilling. The Skill India Mission’s achievements in establishing 3,000 new ITIs, training 14 million and upskilling 5.4 million of our youth are commendable. The skill crisis, with a staggering demand-supply gap in manufacturing, needs addressing with scaled-up skilling to gainfully employ our youth.

India’s goal of becoming a manufacturing hub and providing jobs will be further realized by strengthening its MSMEs. The focus on innovation and technology, prioritizing finances, technologies and training of MSMEs will empower our economy.

As a company, we have always been aligned with this vision and have programmes to enable our MSME partners to be more competitive, while focussing on sustainability and providing a safe working environment. The budget highlighted the need for manufacturers to shift to a circular economy and encouraged companies like ours to develop eco-friendly alternatives such as biodegradable polymers, bioplastics and biopharmaceuticals.

As the chairman of a company that partners with various government institutions for infrastructure, I am heartened to witness this forward-looking approach that recognizes the symbiotic relationship between robust infrastructure and sustainable development. The blueprint set forth in the budget is not just a financial document; it is a promise of a brighter, more sustainable future for India and its citizens.

Jamshyd N. Godrej is chairman and managing director, Godrej & Boyce.

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Published: 02 Feb 2024, 12:48 AM IST
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