The Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2023-24 in Parliament today. The highlights of the Budget are as follows:
· Centre to recruit 38,800 teachers and support staff for the 740 Eklavya Model Residential Schools, serving 3.5 lakh tribal students over the next three years.
· Outlay for PM Awas Yojana is being enhanced by 66% to over Rs. 79,000 crore.
· Capital outlay of Rs. 2.40 lakh crore has been provided for the Railways, which is the highest ever outlay and about nine times the outlay made in 2013-14.
· Urban Infrastructure Development Fund (UIDF) will be established through use of priority Sector Lending shortfall, which will be managed by the national Housing Bank, and will be used by public agencies to create urban infrastructure in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.
· 500 new ‘waste to wealth’ plants under GOBARdhan (Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan) scheme to be established for promoting circular economy at total investment of Rs 10,000 crore. 5 per cent compressed biogas mandate to be introduced for all organizations marketing natural and bio gas.
· Centre to facilitate one crore farmers to adopt natural farming over the next three years. For this, 10,000 Bio-Input Resource Centres to be set-up, creating a national-level distributed micro-fertilizer and pesticide manufacturing network.
· Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana 4.0, to be launched to skill lakhs of youth within the next three years covering new age courses for Industry 4.0 like coding, AI, robotics, mechatronics, IOT, 3D printing, drones, and soft skills.
· 30 Skill India International Centres to be set up across different States to skill youth for international opportunities.
· Revamped credit guarantee scheme for MSMEs to take effect from 1st April 2023 through infusion of Rs 9,000 crore in the corpus. This scheme would enable additional collateral-free guaranteed credit of Rs 2 lakh crore and also reduce the cost of the credit by about 1 per cent.
· Central Processing Centre to be setup for faster response to companies through centralized handling of various forms filed with field offices under the Companies Act.
· The maximum deposit limit for Senior Citizen Savings Scheme to be enhanced from Rs 15 lakh to Rs 30 lakh.
· Targeted Fiscal Deficit to be below 4.5% by 2025-26.
· Rs. 10 lakh crore capital investment, a steep increase of 33% for third year in a row, to enhance growth potential and job creation, crowd-in private investments, and provide a cushion against global headwinds.
· Aspirational Blocks Programme covering 500 blocks launched for saturation of essential government services across multiple domains such as health, nutrition, education, agriculture, water resources, financial inclusion, skill development, and basic infrastructure.
· Rs. 15,000 crore for implementation of Pradhan Mantri PVTG Development Mission over the next three years under the Development Action Plan for the Scheduled Tribes.
· Investment of Rs. 75,000 crore, including Rs. 15,000 crore from private sources, for one hundred critical transport infrastructure projects, for last and first mile connectivity for ports, coal, steel, fertilizer, and food grains sectors.
· New Infrastructure Finance Secretariat established to enhance opportunities for private investment in infrastructure.
· District Institutes of Education and Training to be developed as vibrant institutes of excellence for Teachers’ Training.
· A National Digital Library for Children and Adolescents to be set-up for facilitating availability of quality books across geographies, languages, genres and levels, and device agnostic accessibility.
· Rs. 5,300 crore to be given as central assistance to Upper Bhadra Project to provide sustainable micro irrigation and filling up of surface tanks for drinking water.
· ‘Bharat Shared Repository of Inscriptions’ to be set up in a digital epigraphy museum, with digitization of one lakh ancient inscriptions in the first stage.
· ‘Effective Capital Expenditure’ of Centre to be Rs. 13.7 lakh crore.
· Continuation of 50-year interest free loan to state governments for one more year to spur investment in infrastructure and to incentivize them for complementary policy actions.
· Encouragement to states and cities to undertake urban planning reforms and actions to transform our cities into ‘sustainable cities of tomorrow’.
· Transition from manhole to machine-hole mode by enabling all cities and towns to undertake 100 percent mechanical desludging of septic tanks and sewers.