NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the union budget presented today by Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is “one of hope” and “it is a budget that will boost India’s development in the 21st Century”. “This budget is one that will make the nation prosperous and empower the people, it will give strength to the poor and a better tomorrow to the young people,” the Prime Minister said soon after the presentation of the budget in the Lok Sabha.
The budget – the first of the Modi 2.0 government – is also seen as the government’s first step to realise the Prime Minister’s goal of doubling the economy to 5 trillion dollars within the next five years.
Armed with a massive mandate, the government has imposed several tough measures, including a two rupee cess/duty on petrol, taxed the super-rich, proposed increasing Foreign Direct Investment in sensitive areas like the media, aviation, insurance and single brand retail.
The budget, PM Modi said, will strengthen enterprises, increase participation of women in the country, simplify the tax system and modernise infrastructure.
Ms Sitharaman has announced that the government will invest heavily in infrastructure and job creation.
The government, she said, will upgrade 1,25,000 kilometres of roads over the next five years at a cost of $11.6 billion. The finance minister emphasised the need to strengthen infrastructure in order to enhance connectivity.
India will also enter into aircraft financing and leasing activities, the finance minister said. The strategic disinvestment of the state-owned carrier Air India will also be reinitiated, she said.