1. Budget 2024 and the $5 Trillion Aspiration

Budget 2024 and the $5 Trillion Aspiration

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Upstox

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4 min read • Updated: January 31, 2024, 11:32 AM

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Summary

Budget represents an opportunity to translate the $5 trillion dream into tangible reality, laying the foundation for an equitable and prosperous nation.

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India is the sixth-largest economy in the world with a GDP nearing $3.5 trillion.

Key Takeaways

  • India's upcoming budget holds the potential to unlock the nation's $5 trillion economic ambition.
  • It's vital to envision a long-term growth model that fosters sustainability and inclusivity beyond the $5 trillion milestone.
  • Infrastructure development, MSME empowerment, technological leaps, and strategic social investments – will be the pillars upon which India's economic ascent will be built.

India stands at a critical juncture. As the world's sixth-largest economy with a GDP nearing $3.5 trillion, its growth trajectory has been remarkable. Projected to reach $4.5 trillion by 2025, the nation's future appears bright. Yet, beneath the impressive headline figures lie potential headwinds.

Global uncertainties, from rising inflation and geopolitical tensions to tightening monetary policies, threaten to impede India's momentum. Domestic concerns like unemployment, income inequality, and rural distress further necessitate a nuanced approach to economic progress.

It is against this backdrop that the ambitious aspiration of becoming a $5 trillion economy by 2025, articulated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, takes center stage. This bold dream transcends mere numerical achievement; it signifies India's potential to join the league of global economic powerhouses, securing its place on the world stage.

The upcoming budget must therefore be viewed as a pivotal moment, a transformative juncture where India charts its course towards economic growth. It needs to be a budget that not only addresses immediate challenges but also lays the foundation for a sustainable and inclusive long-term growth model. This model must go beyond the $5 trillion milestone, ensuring that the benefits of economic progress reach every corner of the nation and fuel a future of shared prosperity.

Infrastructure Development

India's infrastructure deficit, estimated at $1.7 trillion (WB, 2023), hampers trade, investment, and productivity. Budget 2024 will have to consider increasing the allocation of resources towards -

Modernizing railways Invest in dedicated freight corridors, high-speed rail networks, and station upgrades to increase efficiency and capacity (Indian Railways, 2023 Vision Document outlines potential projects).

Transforming ports Develop deep-draft ports along the coastline to handle larger vessels and boost maritime trade (the Sagar Mala project aims to invest $80 billion in port development by 2035).

Revitalizing airports Upgrade existing airports and build new ones, particularly in Tier-II and Tier-III cities, to cater to burgeoning air travel demand (AOCI's Vision 2040 plan targets 200 operational airports by 2040).

Empowering MSMEs

MSMEs contribute over 30% to India's GDP and employ over 110 million people. To achieve the mammoth $5 trillion objective, the budget will have to -

Facilitate easy credit access Implement schemes like the Pradhan Mantri Formalization of Micro & Small Enterprises (PMFME) to ease loan access for formal MSMEs (MSME Ministry reports a 60% increase in loan approvals under PMFME).

Simplify regulatory framework Reduce compliance burdens and introduce single-window clearances for approvals to boost ease of doing business (World Bank's Doing Business report ranks India 63rd, with potential for improvement in regulatory complexity).

Promote skill development Allocate funds for skill training programs aimed at equipping MSME workers with relevant skills for the digital age.

Fueling Innovation and Productivity

India's R&D spending stands at only 0.7% of GDP (EAC, 2023 data), significantly lower than global averages. Budget 2024 and those that will follow will have to pay careful consideration towards -

Increase R&D spending Achieve the target of 2% of GDP within the next five years to fuel innovation in critical sectors like AI, big data, and renewable energy (the government's National Science & Technology Policy 2023 proposes increasing R&D expenditure to 2%).

Foster startup ecosystems: Provide seed funding and incubation facilities for startups working on cutting-edge technologies, particularly in Tier-II and Tier-III cities (Start-up India initiative has provided support to over 80,000 startups since 2016).

Bridge the digital divide Allocate resources for rural broadband infrastructure development and digital literacy programs to ensure inclusive participation in the digital economy.

Conclusion

Budget 2024 is not merely a fiscal document; it is a roadmap to India's future. It represents an opportunity to translate the $5 trillion dream into tangible reality, laying the foundation for an equitable and prosperous nation. Navigating the complex economic landscape while addressing immediate challenges and envisioning a sustainable future – these are the challenges and opportunities that lie before India's policymakers. Budget 2024, and those to follow, can truly become the catalyst that propels India towards its rightful place as a global economic powerhouse.