General Studies Paper 3 (Indian Economy)
Question:- Critically examine the steps taken by government towards equity and sustainable development through Budget 2022-23. Answer in 250 words (15 marks)
Jun 20, 2022

This question can be asked as it is or a sub-part may be asked in finals. Also, the knowledge of policies of latest Budget and Economic Survey should be used in as many answers (conclusion+ intro) as possible.

Introduction: Give a brief overview of the constructive policies of the Budget

Body Paragraph: Divide your answer into sub-parts and write about the measures taken by government under each head in the Budget.

Conclusion: Sum up the answer by writing about how the measures would help in achieving SDGs, equity etc.

 

Answer:-

INTRODUCTION:

The Union budget 2022-23 strives to enact economic reforms for the country that is recovering from the pandemic and pave the pathway for its robust rise in the coming years. It speaks of an outlook for India@100 in preparation for a post- COVID world order.

 

LINKAGE POINT –The following are the few broad areas that this budget focuses upon to ensure equity and sustainable development in the country.

 

BODY PARAGRAPH:

A) Environment
1.The government will launch sovereign government bonds and increase the funding for solar equipment. But the budgetary allocations for the statutory body Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM), National Clean Air Programme, statutory and autonomous bodies under environment ministry have been reduced. The allocation for National Coastal Mission has been reduced and is very low for Climate Action Plan . This will leave people more
exposed to natural disasters.

2.Budget has also announced huge sum of allocation for the project connecting the Ken and Betwa rivers. Environmentalists are wary that it may damage the natural environment by increasing the incidence of
floods.

B) Education
1. The sector witnessed an 11.86% increase in allocations.

2.‘One class-One TV channel’ programme of PM e-VIDYA to be expanded to 200 TV channels.
3.Virtual labs and skilling e-labs to be set up to promote critical thinking skills and a simulated learning environment.
4. Digital University for world-class quality universal education with a personalized learning experience to be established.
5. Despite the push for digital education, last year’s revised allocation saw a reduction of 35%.

C) Healthcare
1.An increase in the allocation towards the National Health Mission, Pardhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana, PM Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission.
2.Because of rising mental health problems in people a ‘National Tele Mental Health Programme’ has been launched.
3.Women health- Budget allocation has been improved for Mission Shakti, Mission Vatsalya, And Saksham Anganwadi And Poshan 2.0
4.But there is no mention of vaccines, betterment of hospitals, improving public health facilities. Experts are also disappointed as there are no strategic stated measures to boost domestic manufacturing of medical devices. Presently, this industry is 80-85% import-dependent.

D) Infrastructure
1.A new scheme for design-led manufacturing will be launched to build a strong ecosystem for 5G. Apart from that, the budget also announced 5G auctions in FY23.
2.PM-Gati Shakti National Master Plan -encompassing the seven engines for economic transformation, seamless multimodal connectivity and logistics efficiency. The 7 engines include Roads, Railways, Airports, Ports, Mass Transport, Waterways and Logistics Infrastructure.
3. However, it gives a heavy impetus to the private sector and neglects the public and social sectors. The new infra projects might put the focus on environment conservation on backseat.

E) Employment Generation
1. Startups will be promoted to facilitate ‘Drone Shakti’ and for Drone-As-A-Service (DrAAS).
2. MSME Sector: Budget continues to provide much-needed relief to the COVID-hit MSME sector. The revival of MSMEs is critical both from growth and employment perspective, a) Emergency Credit Linked Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) to be extended up to March 2023. b) Raising and Accelerating MSME performance (RAMP) programme with an outlay of Rs 6000 Crore to be rolled out. However, the excessive protection and reservation given to MSMEs might prevent them from becoming bigger and more competitive to take advantage of the scale economy,

F) Miscellaneous
1. Digital Ecosystem for Skilling and Livelihood (DESH-Stack e-portal) will be launched to empower citizens to skill, reskill or upskill through on-line training.
2. Railways – One Station, One Product concept to help local businesses & supply chains. One station-one product as a concept aims to promote a local product from each stop of the Indian Railways by making the railway station of that area a promotional and sales hub for the product.

 

CONCLUSION
The 2022-23 Union Budget was presented in the backdrop of acute unemployment, growing poverty, burgeoning wealth and income inequalities, and accelerating inflation which affect the poor disproportionately. The budget, while walking a tightrope has tried to cater to all the sectors to put India back on the road to prosperity and sustainability.