March 30, 2023

It’s a conservative Budget, but estimates realistic: Finance minister – Times of India

F inance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said she has presented a “conservative but realistic assessment” and hopes to stay within the estimates that are part of her fourth Budget.
“The Budgets are being made with realistic numbers. In last year’s Budget, it was well-established we gave the numbers, followed it and achieved it… We have also brought on board certain expenditures that were kept out of the Budget. It is a speaking Budget… Estimates are not unrealistic,” she told reporters during a post-budget interaction.

The FM said the government has not raised taxes for anyone and several steps have been announced for the middle class. “We have given concessions to those who run start-ups… e-passport will be used by the middle class,” she said.
Sitharaman has budgeted for a decrease in disinvestment receipts and non-tax revenue during the next financial year. “Conservative is not being overtly and excessively optimistic. We are sure to achieve the numbers; if anything, we will probably better them,” she said.
The FM said the government was working towards privatisation of state-run banks that was announced in the last Budget.
Middle Class Benefits
While a large section was expecting tax benefits for the middle class, the FM said benefits need not be limited to I-T concessions. “If we give concessions to those earning up to a certain level, the benefit will also accrue to those in higher income brackets,” she said, adding taxes had not been raised for anyone.
“What is our understanding of middle class? Does middle class include members of a farmer’s family or those who run MSME units… We have given concessions to those who run startups, also e-passport will be used by middle class,” she said.

The minister also dismissed suggestions that subsidies had been reduced, pointing to some of the numbers presented in the Budget aligned to the Budget estimates for the current financial year, which have been revised upwards in the latest numbers. “We have not reduced anything. The subsidies continue, the welfare schemes continue, if anything, the allocations have increased,” she said.

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