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Crowdsourcing of ideas for Budget 2023-24 to continue till December 10

Nov 29, 2022

All citizens can share their suggestions on the Union Budget 2023-24 through the MyGov platform till December 10, even as finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday concluded pre-budget consultations held virtually with over 110 representatives from sectors such as agriculture, rural development, health, education, water, sanitation, industry, infrastructure, trade unions and economists

Key pre-budget suggestions received during the virtual interactions included the launching of an urban employment guarantee programme, rationalisation of income tax, green certification for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), schemes for improving domestic supply chains, tax incentives for electric vehicles (EV), portable social benefit for children, and a regulatory authority for water and sanitation.

While Sitharaman heard stakeholders representing various key social and economic sectors between November 21 and 28, the MyGov platform is open for all citizens “without favouring or denying the opportunity to anyone” as the central government is committed to foster the spirit of Jan Bhagidari (people’s participation) in governance, two officials said, requesting not to be named.

“Even most of those experts, who interacted with the FM on this matter, have submitted their detailed written representations. The government will consider every suggestion before finalising the Budget proposals. Hence, any apprehension of missing opportunity to be heard is ill founded as MyGov is another means to participate in pre-budget consultations,” one of them said, reacting to complaints of some trade union leaders that they did not get adequate time to convey their views to Sitharaman.

“The issue raised by the trade unions is a mischievous, politically motivated and deliberate attempt to politicise the pre-budget consultations,” a second official said. Representatives of several labour organisations attended the virtual meeting with the finance minister on the first half of November 28, he added.

They were representing Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh, National Front of Indian Trade Unions, Trade Union Co-ordination Centre, ILO Decent Work Technical Support Team for South Asia, Federation of Association of Small Industries of India, and Federation of Indian Micro and Small & Medium Enterprises.

“Organisations having strong affiliation with the opposition parties stayed away citing the excuse of inadequate time,” the first official said. “In fact, participants were free to submit written submissions to the FM. And, if they could not do so, they have enough time to submit the same through MyGov, a platform that is backed by the Prime Minister.”

“Seven stakeholder groups participated in eight pre-budget meetings. Each group had been uniformly allotted 75 minutes without favour or preference to any group and each speaker has been given three minutes each to verbally explain the significant aspects of the suggestions,” he added. “Besides, a detailed written representation was sought from every participant who had adequate time to verbally put across critical points of their respective written representations.”

The interaction through virtual mode helped in providing ease to participants and saved collective time, he said, adding that some valuable suggestions were made by experts. “All suggestions made by them during the virtual interaction and through MyGov will be considered while preparing the Union Budget,” he said.

“The Finance Minister thanked the participants for sharing their valuable suggestions and assured that suggestions would be carefully considered while preparing the Budget 2023-24,” an official statement issued by the North Block said on Monday.

Participants made a number of suggestions for the forthcoming budget, it said, citing some key recommendations, such as a mechanism for green certification to help MSMEs, urban employment guarantee programme to boost employment generation in urban areas, rationalisation of income tax, creation of innovation clusters, schemes for improving domestic supply chains, reduction of taxes on electric vehicle, introduction of EV policy, measures to promote India as a hub for green hydrogen, social sector entrepreneurship fund for social impact companies, training and accreditation of care economy workers, portable social benefit for children, a national regulatory authority for water and sanitation, coverage of unorganized workers under ESIC, continuation of public capex, fiscal consolidation and lower customs duties, among other issues.

[The Hindustan Times]

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