Washington: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has been able to once again come up with an impactful and visionary budget which is balanced, fiscally prudent and growth oriented in the midst of third wave of COVID-19, the USA India Chamber of Commerce said.

Opting to keep the fiscal deficit at 6.9 per cent and increase capital expenditure by 35 per cent is a masterstroke. The annual budget estimates the effective capital expenditure of Rs 10.68 lakh crore in 2022-23, making up about 4.1 per cent of the GDP.

A phenomenal increase in the government’s capital expenditure is likely to facilitate the expenditures on infrastructure and create jobs. It also paves the way for post-pandemic longer-term restructuring of the India economy, Karun Rishi, president of Boston-based USA India Chamber of Commerce (USAIC) said.

However, it is a matter of concern that the budget lacks tangible measures to increase revenue generation, he noted.

Stating that the finance minister has incorporated innovative measures in the budget, Rishi said the new battery swapping’ policy for electric vehicle sector can offer a practical alternative to increase the adoption of electric vehicles in India.

‘One Nation, One Registration’ will facilitate ease of living and doing business. Building up on the Technologies of the Future’ announced during the 2018 budget, digital rupee to be issued by the Reserve Bank of India using blockchain technology will give a big boost to the economy, he added.

The extension of Section 115BAB provision of 15 per cent for newly incorporated manufacturing companies is another excellent step to promote the much-needed investments in the manufacturing sector. The budget does give a blueprint of economy from India at 75 to India at 100′, the USAIC president said in a statement.

Noting that the pandemic has taught the world the importance of BioPharma Research and Development (R&D), Rishi said for over a decade, USAIC has been nudging India to create an ecosystem of academia, industry, venture capitalists and public institutions to foster innovation in BioPharma.

It is encouraging to see classification of genomics and pharmaceuticals as a sunrise sector. With this, India continues its thrust towards BioPharma R&D, he said.

Proactive focus on vaccination has today enabled India to emerge strong amid the pandemic outbreak. COVID-19 has caused a silent global mental health epidemic. Recognition of the pandemic-infused mental stress and the use of telemedicine to diagnose and treat such patients, with rollout of a National Tele Mental Health Programme’ reflects a progressive mindset of the government, Rishi said.

The roll out of an open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem consisting of digital registries of health providers and health facilities, unique health identity, consent framework, and universal access to health facilities will facilitate the digitalisation of the sector that is underway and boost the role of health-tech businesses, he added.

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