NDA 3.0’s First Budget – Why the Country Expects Continuity in Policy and Strategic Initiatives
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NDA 3.0’s First Budget – Why the Country Expects Continuity in Policy and Strategic Initiatives

Every year, the monsoon months of July and August are times of new beginnings. Rain falls from the sky and green shoots appear on the earth. The presentation of the Union Budget every 5 years during the same period has similarities to the providence of nature.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is all set to present her seventh budget. It is a watershed moment because it signals a sense of continuity and empowerment. It symbolises India’s commitment to women in leadership positions at the highest decision-making levels.

Expectations for the upcoming EU budget

With the post-Covid recovery partially derailed by economic volatility brought on by global armed conflicts, the first budget under NDA 3.0 offers hope for policy continuity combined with serious course-correcting initiatives.

Expectations are high on the strategic initiatives that are likely to propel India towards the ambitious goal of becoming a Viksit Bharat by 2047. The interim budget of February 1, 2024, had emphasized on schemes for four key segments — Garib (poor), Yuva (youth), Annadata (farmers) and Nari (women). Strengthening these four pillars is crucial to achieving this national aspiration.

Recently, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) highlighted that the financial stability matrix is ​​currently strong, which means that it is the right time to not only maintain but also improve our economic framework. The banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) sector should focus on promoting digitization, increasing cybersecurity and accessibility for consumers.

India is one of the fastest growing fintech markets in the world, expected to reach $150 billion by 20251. Policies that support Fintech and Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) are essential to support financial inclusion and innovation. Implementing a more lenient tax regime and compliance policies will enable these entities to effectively support Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs).

Overall, micro, small and medium enterprises contribute almost 30% of India’s GDP2 and require targeted support to thrive. The budget should facilitate better access to institutional funding and simplify compliance processes.

Affordable housing remains a key area that requires intervention. Falling sales in this sector require tax incentives for both developers and buyers. Such measures can revive the market and ensure that housing remains within the reach of all segments of society. Similar attention should be paid to the insurance sector, especially in terms of increasing the availability of health insurance products and after-sales services.

The healthcare and pharmaceutical sector, which employs over 6 million people, has huge economic potential. Investments in expanding the hospital network in non-metropolitan cities, establishing more diagnostic and pathology centers, and focusing on domestic production of essential drugs are key to its growth.

Technological advances in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), wearable devices, mobile technologies and the Internet of Things (IoT) create promising opportunities for investment.

India can strengthen its healthcare infrastructure and ensure access to high-quality healthcare for all by investing in these segments. Active engagement of the private sector, particularly through PPP models, will play a key role in addressing healthcare challenges and driving improvements in the sector.

The upcoming budget provides a golden opportunity to lay the foundation for a Viksit Bharat. By focusing on these critical areas, India can achieve sustainable, inclusive growth, paving the way for a prosperous future for all its citizens.

—The author, Dr. Rashmi Saluja, is the Chairperson of Religare Enterprises and Chairperson of the Global Trade and Technology Council (India). The views expressed are personal.