“Union Budget, a foundation for an inclusive India during its Amrit Kaal”: CUTS International

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New Delhi: “During its Amrit Kaal, the Union Budget for the fiscal year 2023–24 laid the foundation for an inclusive India. It has balanced the country’s growth objectives with those of equity and equality,” said Pradeep Mehta, Secretary General of CUTS International, a global public policy think-and-action tank based in Jaipur that focuses on trade, regulation, and governance.

According to Mehta, the union budget has balanced the imperative of capital expenditure with the necessity of fiscal consolidation without jeopardising the immediate needs of the poor and vulnerable, such as free food grain for all Antyodaya households and the construction of poor houses.

He added that “this budget is not just for the next fiscal year, but for our future,” citing a few proposals such as the creation of a national digital library for children and adolescents and the establishment of 157 new nursing colleges. “While new nursing colleges will address our future needs for paramedics, the National Digital Library will help our children better access knowledge, which is a critical component for skill development, particularly for jobs for the next generation.”

He emphasised the importance of transforming the Indian agricultural sector into entrepreneurship and job creation in rural areas, and urged the government to ensure its link with the Farmer-Producer Organizations, a flagship government programme in which 10,000 FPOs are being established.

While applauding the government’s efforts to improve critical transportation infrastructure and reduce business compliances, Mehta urged the government to implement next-generation reforms in factor markets, which would transform the Indian economy into one of high growth and high value, with more jobs.

He said, “A comprehensive National Competitiveness Act, which can serve as a catalyst for the creation of new jobs, skill development, and assisting our companies in establishing a strong presence across the entire spectrum of global value chains, is required for the betterment of India’s future.”

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