Views & Reviews
Budget 2019-20: Promising Act East Vision Under the Leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi
“It is very Indian… It is easy to carry. And it is high time to overcome the British hangover,” remarked Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaking about her decision to do away with the ‘briefcase’ culture while bringing in the Budget papers to Parliament.
She made every Indian who take immense pride in Swadeshi spirit proud about it. Nirmala Sitharaman’s maiden Budget certainly highlighted various aspects of running of the Indian economy.
Many things are being said and written about the Budget 2019-20. What strikes me most is the courage and determination shown by the Finance Minister towards incentivising private investment. This is bound to have positive impact and will open doors for flow of foreign money. As a layman my understanding is such a mechanism will open opportunities to spur growth. The much talked about domestic fiscal constraint will be handled and eased and the government will be able to stimulate new economic activity.
In summing up these, one ought to understand that Finance Minister’s decision on these lines and also take other measures is guided and blessed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi — the captain of the ship.
The true test of a leader is in his or her ability to gauge the future trends. This is one test, Prime Minister Modiji has able to handle very well.
Prime Minister has already made his presence felt in the international realm and diplomacy and in months to come, India’s economy will be more guided by India’s engagement in global economic partnership with big players including the three giants Russia, China and the United States.
It will be certainly left to Narendra Modi to strike a right balance between justification of higher tariffs announced by the Commerce Ministry and also raising funds to push growth.
All eyes are on Modiji on how he steers Indian diplomacy and economic journey in his second tenure.
I must say from the Act East Policy of the Modi government — which has specific importance for us in the north eastern region — and other foreign policy efforts, an important underlining message we get is that Prime Minister has strong focus towards India’s domestic interest. This is all the more important for us the Nagas and other natives in the north east because our smaller states have so far not able to take any major step in augmenting funds from abroad. Though it is true some beginning has been made in recent past.
The push for FDI in major infrastructure including modernising the railways and building new highways also ought to be appreciated in that spirit.
The developments over last five years have demonstrated clearly that the foreign policy is being driven by PM Modi and rightly so.
My understanding is clear — economic prosperity of Indians is now linked to diplomacy and foreign policy, and the roadmap in international realm is guided by the footsteps Prime Minister has taken.
Mr Modi’s efforts have yielded positive results and in last few years countries like Japan have started taking immense interest in north east of India. These are all welcome developments.
Modi’s stewardship of foreign policy, his interactions with world leaders and the manner India is being given importance in the comity of nations suggest the world “wants India to do well”.
This is the New India vision — Prime Minister has been underlining.
I have said elsewhere that my knowledge about hardcore economics could be limited. But I have always appreciated one basic fact that the absence of quality infrastructure has more often hampered faster economic growth.
The Budget 2019 makes it clear that the government of Prime Minister Modi has sent a strong signal that infrastructure development will be a top priority in the second term.
The push for connectivity includes connecting all the habitations through all weather roads under PM Gram Sadak Yojana and building a network of industrial corridors. I am sure north eastern states and other smaller states will benefitting from these.
Before wrapping up, how does one look at a good Budget? In simpler sense, a good Budget is one that promotes investment, encourages consumption by making citizens happier — and in doing so we have to drive investment for creating jobs. The maiden Budget of Modi Goverment 2.0 —has the potential to achieve it.
In terms of policy, we have China and East Asian models driven by ‘exports’ that helped spur growth. India will have to focus on manufacturing and link agricultural produce to ‘export’.
The Modi government is now all set to push reforms, encourage corporatisation of units wherever necessary and will also undertake the necessary labour reforms to attract investment. There is no replacement to meticulous planning and that is what is my take away from Budget 2019-20.
Dr Sukhato Sema is Vice President of BJP Nagaland and the views expressed are personal