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Last full Budget before polls is expected to boost investments, create jobs

Advantage India: As companies look at China plus strategy, India could benefit

This year’s Union Budget to be presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in less than two weeks — the last full budget before the General Elections next year, is expected to carve out measures that will position India as the investment hub steering growth amid a global slowdown with headwinds hitting China despite its opening up. Also on the cards will be prescriptions that will prepare for the next 25 years with a sharp focus on making economic growth “a truly inclusive one” that will bridge social inequality.

In August last year, the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister released a competitiveness roadmap carving out strategies for social and economic development for India at 100.

“The Centre is aware of the problems, there is no state of denial and the government is determined to work towards bringing in social equality in a manner that economic growth and its benefits touch every Indian,” a person closely associated with the exercise told India Narrative.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has underlined the need to make India the global factory and an export hub, something that will create huge employment opportunities across the country.

“It is important to create meaningful jobs across the country to be able to reap the benefits of the demographic dividend,” the person said, adding that the Centre is focused on the issue.

Analysts said that India could significantly gain as global manufacturers are now aggressively chalking out a China plus policy. Even as tech giant Apple has been assembling smartphones, through its contract manufacturers, in India since 2017, until 2022, the manufacturing facilities was limited to entry-level or legacy handsets. Since last year, Apple started assembling the iPhone 14 models as well in India.

Between April and December, 2022, exports of the India-made iPhone stood at $2.5 billion about twice compared to the previous financial year’s total.

A Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) analysis showed that more than 72 per cent of the Japanese companies are willing to expand their operations in India. For China, the number is small at only 33.4 per cent.

“Japanese companies Panasonic, Toshiba, Hitachi — are also investing large chunks to develop their R&D (research and development). The idea is to make in India for the global markets. The companies are also looking at new sectors like e-commerce, healthcare, agro-tech, retail– other than automobiles or electronics,” Takashi Suzuki, Chief Director General (South Asia), JETRO told India Narrative.

According to Bloomberg, Modi is closer than any predecessor to being able to claim that the nation — which may have just passed China as the world’s most populous — is finally meeting its economic potential. “To get there, he’ll have to wrestle with the drawbacks of its exceptional scale: the remnants of the red tape and corruption that has slowed India’s rise, and the stark inequality that defines the democracy of 1.4 billion people,” it said.

Also read: Export of India-made Apple smartphones touches record $1bn during Dec

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