Enabling growth, boosting consumption and realizing the dream of Digital India

Since 2020 there has been significant uncertainty around the world, from Covid-19 and its various variants, to the Russia-Ukraine war and the global cost of living crisis. In the face of these global challenges, India has shown strength. However, FY24 is shaping up to be a landmark year for the country’s economy as we move towards the next phase of growth. The Union budget therefore has the all-important task of fueling India’s growth story while making the country more resilient for years to come.

The question is, did this budget meet that requirement?

In my opinion, the Finance Minister’s Fifth Union Budget hits the mark perfectly by addressing some critical issues to boost credit growth, boost consumption and growth, focus on infrastructure development and advance the vision of a digital India, along with some important ones Incentives for agriculture and education. Overall, I believe the budget contains several inclusive policies and strategies that balance consumer needs.

Strengthening a consumer-oriented economy

Clearly, one of the biggest takeaways from the FY24 budget was the overhaul of flat-rate taxes in the new tax system. Extension of the tax exemption to persons whose annual income is less 7 lakh, puts more money in the hands of consumers, helping to stimulate consumer sentiment and fuel growth.

Higher consumer sentiment will in turn lead to increased spending behavior in urban and rural households. At the same time, revised tax rates will encourage Indians to move to the new regime as it will help them save more in the long run. I believe this will revitalize the economy and boost growth in the retail and fast moving consumer goods sectors.

A budget that supports India’s growing infrastructure

To paraphrase Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, this union budget is a blueprint for India@100. Infrastructure development and growth will be fundamental to this India @ 100 vision. I believe this budget has reflected that by focusing on the key areas that will support India’s growth. First, the impressive capital outlay of 2.40 trillion for the Indian Railways along with the additional investments in 100 critical infrastructure projects for key industries like transportation, steel and coal etc. will definitely help to strengthen the country’s infrastructure. In my opinion, this will help India become more future-oriented and create more jobs, especially when the significant increase in investment is almost 33%.

Dial digital and entrepreneurial spirit

What struck me is that with this budget, the Treasury Secretary has tackled areas like artificial intelligence and technology very broadly. This budget has placed an emphasis on developing India’s AI, technological and digital strengths, with an acute focus on fostering entrepreneurship in the country. This will help the next generation of Indians prepare for the future while also creating more jobs and further holistically propelling India on the global stage. This budget will also help to keep the momentum of Make in India, especially in the field of electronic devices and other related categories.

The additional benefits for startups operating in the agricultural sector was another important point. I see this as the beginning of the next phase of India’s agricultural journey – where youth will bring modern, sustainable and more profitable agricultural practices and technologies to the forefront of the industry.

In taking such important action, I believe this budget has accomplished the most important task of all – taking that crucial step forward to grow and strengthen the Indian economy. Union budget for FY24 can take India to great heights by boosting our infrastructure, boosting consumption and creating more jobs across all sectors. Overall, if executed properly, this budget has the potential to be a turning point for the Indian economy over the next 25 years.

Saugata Gupta is the Managing Director and CEO of Marico Limited

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