Budget consultations kick in; Modi govt braces for last full fiscal package in 2nd term

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, November 13: Finance Ministry is in advanced stage over secretarial consultations with various ministries as part of the preparations for the Union Budget 2023-24. The next year’s Budget would be the last full Budgetary proposals of Narendra Modi-led NDA government in the second term of the incumbent dispensation.

Sources said that some of the ministries have submitted their final proposals for the demands for grants to the Ministry of Finance after several rounds of discussions. It has been reliably learnt that the Finance Ministry has been taking ideas from the officials of the ministries on ways their current schemes and programmes be funded in addition to inclusion of new initiatives.

“The consultations began about two weeks ago, and our ministry has submitted the final proposal for the demands of grants in line with the projected estimates of the expenditures in the next financial year. We were also asked to offer ideas for inclusion in the Union Budget, which we have submitted to the Finance Ministry,” said a joint secretary in one of the Ministries of the Central government.

The officials who spoke to The Raisina Hills stated that the mood in the Ministry of Finance is buoyant for the last full Budget. “The tax buoyancy – Direct Tax collections and the Goods and Services Tax revenues – have set confident direction in the government. There appears suggestion that the government would scale up expenditure in some of the flagship infrastructure schemes, while also attempting inclusion of incremental push in welfarism given that the country will be in the election mode from next year,” said another senior official in the government.

It may be noted that the consultations in the Ministry of Finance are currently confined to the finalization of the demands for grants and also for the inter-ministerial ideation. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will soon initiate discussions with the stakeholders outside the government.

Besides the consultations with the stakeholders and industry bodies, Sitharaman had been regularly holding consultations with the economic cell of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which in turn also holds consultations with other interest groups.

The BJP will next year face a series of Assembly elections in Tripura, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, while heading into the Lok Sabha elections in early 2024. If Modi has to play to the Budgetary appeal for elections, it will be the next year’s Budget where he may pitch in with new initiatives or scale up existing programmes such as the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Nidhi Yojna, and also take a call on the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojna, which is seen to have paid rich electoral dividends to the BJP in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls.

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