It’s not a coincidence that after every crisis Bharat emerges stronger, powerful, and vibrant, and COVID-19 pandemic, which shook the entire world in quick time, was no exception. This has happened because the Modi government must have done something right on the economic front with a view to making India a strong nation that can withstand natural calamities of gigantic magnitude. It’s time that the people, especially the critics, recognise and appreciate the Government’s resolve to transform India into a developed nation and participate in this grand march to help the country to regain its past glory and achieve its rightful place in the comity of nations.
The first and the foremost task before the nation is to expeditiously move towards the goal of a USD 5 trillion economy. The journey, which started well, has witnessed roadblocks with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and now the Russian-Ukraine war impacting the global economy. However, the unstoppable journey is continuing and Bharat will achieve the milestone sooner than later. Bharat’s economy is currently estimated at USD 3.1 billion at market price and with the launch of a host of initiatives before and after the outbreak of the pandemic, the goal of USD 5 trillion will not be a distant dream. This would be a reflection on the growing economic prowess of India and its increasing clout on the global stage.
According to the latest annual review by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff, “India’s broad range of fiscal, monetary and health responses to the crisis supported its recovery and, along with economic reforms, are helping to mitigate a longer-lasting adverse impact of the crisis.”
Also taking note of the recent economic recovery, the IMF review said, “India is projected to be one of the fastest growing major economies for this year and beyond.”
Although one need not have to wait for the IMF assessment of the Indian economy to see the writing on the wall, it is always heartening to see such a review which only reaffirms that the country is moving on the right path with the right objective and right pace.
Like other developed nations, India too witnessed a sharp decline in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on account of the pandemic. But the story does not end there. The country’s economy witnessed a V-shape recovery as was anticipated and now all set to achieve sustained annual growth of 7-8 per cent or more, on back of labour reforms, infrastructure investment, liberalisation of trade and investment norms, and social sector initiatives.
As a result of these initiatives and a lot more, Bharat fought the coronavirus pandemic and its aftermath without raising taxes. No COVID-19 tax was imposed by the Modi Government as was widely anticipated in the media. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while replying to the debate on the Finance Bill in the Lok Sabha said that as many as 32 countries including developed economies like the UK, France and Germany raised taxes to fund economic recovery. India managed it without burdening its citizens.
On the other hand, what the Modi Government did? Provided free rations and vaccines to a large number of people, extended loans on extremely liberal terms to MSME and launched the path-breaking Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme to promote ‘Make In India’ drive and generate large scale employment opportunities. Unlike 32 developed countries, it took progressive decisions which will have positive implications in the years to come.
Is it not a reflection of the growing economic prowess of India and the positive thinking of the Modi regime which began in 2014?
Although the world and also India has not fully recovered from the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, the Modi Government through the budget for 2022-23 has laid down the roadmap for future to make the country strong, both economically and politically, and ‘aatmanirbhar’ in the true sense of the word.
Continuing the general direction of the policies being followed since 2014, the Finance Minister’s latest Budget has silenced the well-meaning critics, though not the political opponents. They believe that no tax relief was provided to the middle class in the budget. This is true. But it is also true that unlike other developed countries Bharat did not resort to additional taxation to fund the economic recovery. The Bharatiya economy on the strength of its fundamentals took care of itself, showing to the world that things can be managed even in the worst of times without raising taxes and burdening people.
What needs to be recognised and appreciated is that instead of giving tax relief, the budget of 2022-23 did something more which will yield rich dividends in the times to come. It will have far-reaching implications for the country’s economic health and the well-being of its citizens. Instead of indulging in gimmickry, scoring brownie points, and playing to galleries, the Finance Minister in her Budget focused on stepping up capital expenditure with a view to creating physical infrastructure which would cater to the needs of people for decades.
It is true that there is no magic wand to make India a developed country and remove poverty overnight. The task has to be accomplished with complete dedication, unwavering resolve, and strong and clear-headed leadership. As the Modi Government is moving on the right path with requisite dedication, it would not take decades for Bharat to get rid of the scourge of poverty and dilapidated infrastructure, and join the ranks of the developed economies.