Chandigarh, February 3: Eminent economists, Industry Experts and Professionals hailed the 2024 Interim Budget presented by the Union Government on Wednesday and termed it as a forward-looking budget which will ensure people-centric inclusive development, stimulate economic growth and maintain fiscal discipline with much-needed focus on investment and infrastructure for achieving the target of becoming a developed nation by 2047.

Participating in the Post Budget panel discussion tilted 'Two Decades of ModiNomics: The Journey of Economic & Inclusive Development from Gujarat to Bharat" organised by the New India Development (NID) Foundation at Chandigarh University's Gharuan Campus, experts said this futuristic budget has paid attention to every sector with a special focus on the poor, women, youth and farmers. They said the reform-oriented interim budget has hiked capital expenditure by 11 per cent for the next fiscal to sustain world-beating economic growth rate, trimmed the fiscal deficit from 5.8 % to 5.1 % in next fiscal and also given relief to common man from disputed small tax demands of up to Rs 25,000. PM Modi on Interim Budget 2024: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Calls Union Budget Inclusive and Innovative, Says 'It Gives Guarantee of Making India Developed Nation by 2047' (Watch Videos)

The distinguished panellists included former Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University Patiala, Dr BS Ghuman, author of the book ModiNomics & Chairman SKOCH Group Sameer Kochhar, Director Indian Institute of Management Amritsar Dr R Nagarajan; Chairman of PHDCCI-Punjab and MD Hitech Lights Ltd Rupinder Singh Sachdeva, Chief General Manager (Retd.) NABARD Dinesh Kumar Kapila; Professor-IIM Ahmedabad Dr Sukhpal, CEO and Managing Director - the Haryana State Co-operative Apex Bank Ltd. Chandigarh Dr Prafulla Ranjan, Director Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, Delhi Prof (Dr) Satinder Bhatia, Chairman Chandigarh Branch - the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) CA Vishal Puri, Chief Scientist, Centre of Excellence for Intelligent Sensors and Systems (ISenS) CSIR-CSIO Chandigarh Dr Satish Kumar, Director SPM Wealth Pvt Ltd Chandigarh Madhup Kumar; Senior Associate Director Indian School of Business (ISB) Col. Rajiv Bhargava; and Chairperson, CII IWN and Founder of Cognitive Dr Ruby Ahuja. The discussion was moderated by a renowned TV news journalist.

The key-note speaker Dr Ghuman said the Modi Government has given strength to the four pillars of Viksit Bharat which is poor section of the society, women, farmers and youth during the interim budget 2024. "These are the four strata of society which have huge potential for growth and development. Today the financial minister laid down a policy to harness the potential of these four drivers of development for the future. And I think with this, we will be the largest economy by 2047," he said.

"In the last ten years, we saw a huge transformation in physical, digital, social, economic infrastructure of India. With the help of growing infrastructure and fiscal prudence, India has seen the double digit growth rate. This government has given a push to capital expenditure very systematically. And capital expenditure is the most significant determinant of creating productive assets in the economy and building world class infrastructure," Dr Ghuman said adding about 25 crore people have been lifted above the poverty line. Union Budget 2024: PM Narendra Modi Urges All To Make Best Use of Upcoming Parliament Session, Says 'Budget Session An Opportunity of Disruptive MPs For Repentance and Leave Positive Footprints' (Watch Video)

"The vision and philosophy of Prime Minister Modi's Viksit Bharat is not far off. We will be the member of OECT club of nations very soon. India is on the right track with growth plus inclusive growth," he added. Renowned author and Chairman of SKOCH Group, Sameer Kochhar, during his analysis, underscored the 2024-25 budget's message that India is on the course becoming a developed nation by 2047 and a USD 30 trillion economy by the same year.

"The Finance Minister's address significantly emphasized on fostering inclusive growth and underscored the pivotal role of infrastructure as the foundation for India's progress towards becoming a developed nation. Aligned with the inclusivity theme, the budget focuses on four key sectors - the women, youth, farmers, and the poor. Reading between the lines, the government has notably avoided caste considerations and focused on addressing poverty, marginalized groups, gender disparities, and providing increased opportunities for youth and farmers, which is a positive move for bringing more people out of poverty trap and up the economic ladder.Additionally, the government will continue to ensure better delivery, including more housing for the poor, better healthcare services, higher infrastructure spending, and enhance the ease of doing business in the country," he said.

While complimenting PM Modi's economic approach as different from others, Kochhar said since 2014, there has been a massive growth in digital inclusion, social inclusion, and financial inclusion in the country. "The government has ensured transformation of every sector, which has laid a foundation for an Atma Nirbhar Bharat i.e. a Developed country by 2047," he added. The Director, Indian Institute of Management Amritsar Dr Nagarajan, said, "The current government desires to make India a developed country by 2047, and one of the biggest necessities of which is to invest in research and development. The government has taken a significant initiative of establishing a corpus of Rs 1 lakh crore with 50-year interest free loan. Moreover, the government is planning to decrease the fiscal deficit to 5.1% while also increasing the capex to 11.1 Lakh Crores, which has never happened before. Notably, this financial feat has been made possible through higher GST collections."

While rating the budget as a hit, Dr Nagarajan said, "In any economy, revenue is generated through both direct and indirect taxation. A progressive budget is the one in which the direct taxation input is more than that of indirect taxation. This is the economic strategy being implemented by the Modi Government to enhance the economic well-being of the common people." Increasing productivity and boosting the farmer's income through increased focus on Food Processing has been the thrust area on Modi's Economics

Former Chief General Manager, NABARD Dinesh Kumar Kapila complimented the farmer's empowerment policies adopted by the Modi Government during the last 10 years. As the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has given a major boost to agriculture sector by transferring direct cash to small farmers in addition to the fertilizers subsidies given to them.

Kapila further added that, "On one hand emphasis has been given to boost production through seed development while on the other hand it has been linked to social welfare schemes such as PM Graib Kalyan Anna Yojana in which 80 crore people are given free ration for 5 years. This has been the biggest social welfare scheme launched by any Government world over". He further added that focusing on Food Processing industry has helped the farmer community in increasing their income which has elevated their social and economic condition.

Chief Scientist, Centre of Excellence for Intelligent Sensors, and Systems (ISenS) CSIR-CSIO Chandigarh Dr Satish Kumar praised the budget for 2024-25, saying that it meets the needs of everyone, every sector from common man to industry professionals.

He said, "The capital expenditure of the country has gone up by 11.1% to Rs. 11.11 lakh crore, which is exceptionally well. While there has been a lot of growth in startups, industry, and science and technology sectors during the last few years, the government has also taken care of the poor by providing various facilities including housing, and two crore more houses are to be built in the next five years. Vaccination for the prevention of cervical cancer will now be provided to girls aged between 9 and 14 years through their schools. Additionally, the taxation slabs remain unchanged in the budget, considering that the anticipated growth is expected to come from it."

ICAI Chandigarh chairman CA Vishal Puri said, "If we compare the last 6 decades of previous governments and the last 1 decade of Modi Government, we find a huge difference in every sector of the country. Whether it be our GDP, foreign reserve, directs tax filers, revenue collection everything has been doubled. India is the only country in the world which has adopt the GST as one nation, one tax. Amendments in tax laws time by time is another appreciable step. Infrastructure is the greatest asset for a nation's growth and India is completing its every Infrastructure project on time. PM Modi is a kind of leader, who is being observed by the whole world for his policies and style. Everything he promises, he delivers,".

Senior Associate Director Indian School of Business (ISB), Colonel Rajiv Bhargava giving his insight on the budget said, "In the interim budget, there is something for every sector - infrastructure, logistics, aviation, railways, research and development, which is the future of the country in next 25 years, if we are to achieve the target of Viksit Bharat by 2047. There is a need for more startups and industrial developments in the country. In any developed economy, the development must be balanced, considering the requirements of every section of the society. The budget aims for higher infrastructure development, bring the logistics cost from 13% to a single digit number, 12 Lakh crore has been spent on food security program, which is the largest in the world."

Modi Government has set an ambitious target of bringing the fiscal deficit down to 4.5% by 2026 says Banking and Financial Experts CEO and Managing Director of the Haryana State Co-operative Apex Bank Ltd, Dr. Prafulla Ranjan praised the budget for its realism and enrichment and rated it with a perfect ten score."The budget focuses on decreasing the fiscal deficit from 5.8 this year to 5.1 in the coming financial year and further down to 4.5 by 2026. Besides this, it emphasized on the growth in technology through the creation of a corpus of 1 lakh crore for tech companies, which will enable our tech-savvy youth to access loans at nominal interest or free of cost, integrating them into the global landscape," he said.

Prof (Dr) Satinder Bhatia, Director Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, Delhi said the provision of Rs75,000 crore as a 50-year interest-free loan is proposed to support milestone-linked reforms to the state governments which would act as a catalyst in realizing the goal of Viksit Bharat BY 2047. "A special emphasis has been laid to development of infrastructure and logistics. The announcement of three major railway economic corridors including energy, mineral and cement corridor, a port connectivity corridor and a high traffic density corridor, is indeed a significant development. The announcement of establishing aqua parks and creation of a separate department reflects a strategic understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities in this sector, leading to tangible improvements in production and export figures," Prof Bhatia said adding the cervical cancer vaccine for girls is another great initiative for women's health.

About Chandigarh University

Chandigarh University is a NAAC A+ Grade University and QS World Ranked University. This autonomous educational institution is approved by UGC and is located near Chandigarh in the state of Punjab. It is the youngest university in India and the only private university in Punjab to be honoured with A+ Grade by NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council). CU offers more than 109 UG and PG programs in the field of engineering, management, pharmacy, law, architecture, journalism, animation, hotel management, commerce, and others. It has been awarded as The University with Best Placements by WCRC.

About NID Foundation

NID Foundation is a social, economic, and political outreach & engagement organization that works with the community, government, industry, and civil society stakeholders to generate reform-oriented intelligence in areas of domestic and international issues, governance, education, and environmental reforms, thereby supporting leaders and policymakers in making informed decisions. Our vision uses global challenges as props and set cutting-edge experiential learning tools to trigger this adaptive capacity.

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