Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman started the new tradition of reading the budget out of an iPad that has been ‘Made in India’. The iPad is placed inside a ”bahi khata”. These changes symbolized a modern India that’s also rooted in its tradition. Ahead of the budget presentation today, The New Indian’s Executive Editor Rohan Dua caught up with Union Minister of State for Finance, Dr Bhagwat Kishanrao Karad and learnt that this year too the budget will be readout of an iPad.
Excerpts from the interview
Rohan Dua: Will Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman read the budget from a red iPad for the third time now?
Dr Bhagwat Karad: After Covid, since last year, the budget is not printed but presented digitally. So, the Finance Minister will read the budget from the iPad only, with the government of India’s emblem in front. That is a good thing which we are doing, I think. Because digitalisation is very important nowadays. Because in our department we are trying to further digital transactions and we are getting success also. So tomorrow’s budget will be presented digitally.
Rohan Dua: With the Union Budget 2023 scheduled in the next one hour what are the budget expectations for the common man? Where do you think this budget will fit into the big scheme of things?
Dr Bhagwat Karad: Sitharaman has tabled an economic survey that shows the economy in India is growing and is normalizing after the Covid disaster and as compared to other countries we are doing very well. That is only because of PM Modi and the action taken by the Finance Minister.
So, this country, if you see, was on the 10th number in 2014 as an economy, and now we have gone up to 5th number. This is going on continuously and our economy is growing. Naturally, the budget that is going to come is going to be a good budget, that’s all I can say.
Rohan Dua: The economic survey shows that India’s GDP is hovering around 6.6-6.5% and may fall short of 7.5 % — the expected target but how satisfied do you feel with the GDP expectations?
Dr. Bhawat Karad: If we see the post-covid era our GDP is continuously increasing. For the last two years, GDP is increasing. And this year, it is a little bit less. That may be because of Russia-Ukraine war. But I am sure that the facilities being given by our government will definitely help in increasing the GDP. And if you compare to the other countries, especially neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, we are doing very well. Our exports are increasing. In all sectors, we are doing well.
RD: When concerns are raised regarding price rise and inflation, are these challenges for your government?
Dr Bhagwat Karad: Inflation is under control. Last month, the figure which has come is 5.72% and it is only because of the steps our government has taken. RBI is keeping a close watch on inflation. In the future also, all the steps and the thousands of reforms that are being taken will help the people. I am sure the Indian economy will be the biggest economy in the coming years.