The Indian Union Budget for the financial year 2023-24 has been hailed as a game-changer by the country’s top financial advisors and industry leaders. The budget is designed to propel economic growth by targeting crucial sectors such as manufacturing, commerce, and infrastructure. Most importantly, it stimulates job creation and fosters entrepreneurship, particularly in the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) sectors.
As per the estimates of the Economic Survey, India’s GDP growth is pegged to be in the 6-6.8% range for FY24. The latest budget aims to improve upon this – and accelerating job creation is a sure-shot way to achieve the same.
So, what do some of the best and most famous financial leaders in India think about Budget 23-24? Let us find out.
Budget 2023-24: Key Highlights to Note
Some key highlights of the latest union budget have become big talking points for the leaders across the BFSI sector. In a nutshell, what does the Budget 2023-24 promise?
- Increasing the capital investment outlay by 33% to Rs 10 lakh crore, i.e., 33% of the GDP
- Bringing down the fiscal deficit below 4.5% by 2025-26
- Ramping up the Indian economy in FY24 through record borrowings of Rs. 15.4 lakh crore from dated securities
- Proposals to change the Customs Duty regime for certain products to incentivise exports and ‘Make in India’ manufacturing
Overall, the BFSI (Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance) sector leaders are optimistic about the budget’s potential to fuel a new wave of growth in the country’s economy.
Optimism is High: What Top Financial Advisors in India Think of the Budget 2023-24
Lalit Kumar, Partner at JSA and a digital pioneer in finance, remarked that the budget focuses significantly on financial inclusion and infrastructure development, which is critical for generating employment and promoting sustainable growth.
“Big boost to MSMEs with credit guarantee revamp scheme from April 1, 2023, with the allocation of Rs. 9000 crores; resulting in the cost of the credit to reduce by 1%, a big relief in the current inflationary conditions.”
On the other hand, Sanjiv Bajaj, the Chairman and Managing Director of Bajaj Finserv and President of CII (2022-23), commended the budget for its forward-looking approach and focused on long-term growth. He stated that the proposed measures would strengthen the overall business environment and lead to greater economic prosperity.
One of the most famous finance personalities in India, Sanjiv Bajaj, says, “The government managed a tough balancing act of meeting the priorities of growth through capital spending while keeping a fiscal deficit under check; while at the same time very strong focus on inclusion to ensure prosperity for the masses.”
He specifically highlights the ‘multiplier effect’ of the capex of Rs 13.7 lakh crore on the economy. Sanjiv Bajaj states this step will stimulate job creation and facilitate private-sector investment.
Other top financial advisors from banks, NBFCs, fintechs, and financial entities have also chimed in with their support for the latest union budget.
Rajsri Rengan, Head of Banking and Payments, India and Philippines, FIS, has praised the government’s plans to boost the digital economy, driving financial inclusion and promoting entrepreneurship.
“The achievement of Rs 126 lakh crores of digital payments through UPI in 2022 from Rs 7400 crores is a big milestone for India. Moreover, the initiatives, including the extension of the Bharat Bill Payments System for NRIs, approval of a Rs 2,600 crore incentive scheme for FY24 for RuPay debit card and UPI transactions, and growing digital payment acceptance with digital infrastructure have given a big boost to digital payments via UPI in India as well as global level.”
Another established digital pioneer in finance, Hardika Shah, Founder & CEO Kinara Capital, commended the government’s focus on universalising PAN as a business identifier and digital system and creating a more robust Digi Locker.
“The plan to create a Digi locker, which is a secure mobile-friendly free service with the ability to store and share documents online securely to regulators, banks and other business entities, plus the move to set up a National Financial Information Registry, will remove the dependence on the paper trail and fasten timely access to credit,” the financial entrepreneur said.
Lastly, Abhishek Barua, Chief Economist, HDFC Bank, has recognised the government’s focus on driving economic investments, despite global risks and a slow recovering private capex cycle.
“The budget also pays heed to the need for fiscal consolidation reducing its fiscal deficit target to 5.9% of GDP in 2023-24 from 6.4% in 2022-23. The resultant lower-than-expected market borrowing number is likely to bring some relief to the bond market. We see the 10-year bond yield to moderate towards 7-7.1% in FY24,” he adds.
In conclusion, the Union Budget 2023-24 in India has been welcomed by the top financial advisors and industry leaders as a crucial step towards fostering growth, entrepreneurship, and job creation in the country. The bold step to increase capital outlay by a record number and the vision to reduce the fiscal deficit will strengthen the Indian MSME sector and enhance the digital economy.
Overall, the latest union budget is expected to impact employment, particularly for the youth, significantly. The budget is expected to reinforce India’s position as a digital pioneer in finance and accelerate the country’s journey towards becoming a developed economy.