’50-55% of taxpayers may shift to new regime’


A DAY AFTER presenting the Budget for 2023-24, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said growth was the pre- dominant focus from Day 1 when she and her team sat down to pre pare the last full-year Budget ahead of Lok Sabha elections.

To a question if the high gov- ernment capex outlay for yet another year meant the private sector was still averse to invest, she said: “We cannot sit back and watch. need to keep the growth momen- PAGE 4 So I’m not even getting into thatter-

“The Prime Minister was also on board with it. He said growth ka momentum rakhna chahiye (we tum). If anything, we need to speed it up, oil it better and run it better, and that is why this number of 10 trillion for capital expenditure came up,’Sitharaman said in an interview,

She said given that there was no let-up

in the pandemic, and the hit the private

remained consistent with its capex plan over the last three years. “We weren’t really looking if they were investing or not. We went about investing. Simultaneously, of course, the private sector has come out, the twin balance sheet problem has been addressed, they have deleveraged themselves considerably,” she said.

rain where you’re saying that it (private sector investment) may not happen this year also and, therefore, would you want to go on with the government expenditure…I’m single-mindedly going on this ground that this is a golden oppor- tunity for India. We should really not miss

which we later find is not achievable… At the same time, I don’t want to underestimate capabilities, because this is the

time when we are giving impetus for growth

Sitharaman also said the huge capex did not mean she had wielded the axe on welfare spending. Citing the 79,000 crore allocation for PM Awas Yojana and the higher outlay for Jal Jeevan Mission, which goes to states in the form of grants,

The Budget estimates on growth and revenue are realistic. I don’t By allowing standard deduction want to have a feel good number,

and restructuring the tax slabs, the finance minister said she expected about 50-55% of taxpayers to shift to the new exemption-free income tax regime.”Even for those utilising the maximum available exemption (in the old regime). the new regime without exemptions would be attractive,” she said.

India had 82 million taxpayers in 2019-20. Though the tax department could not immediately provide the num- ber of taxpayers who have moved to the new tax regime over the last two years, an official said, the number was small.

demand-driven programme, the govern- ment would keep adding to its allocation through extra grants during the year.