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India budget to raise capex by 33% as jobs, infrastructure take priority

2023-02-01T06:18:08Z

India’s government will raise its capital expenditure by 33% to 10 trillion rupees ($122.29 billion) in the next fiscal year, the finance minister said on Wednesday, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi tries to create jobs ahead of a general election.

Since taking office in 2014, Modi has ramped up capital spending including on roads and energy, while wooing investors through lower tax rates and labour reforms, and offering subsidies to poor households to clinch their political support.

“After a subdued period of the pandemic, private investments are growing again,” Nirmala Sitharaman said in parliament, referring to the COVID-19 crisis.

“The budget makes the need once again to ramp up the virtuous cycle of investment and job creation. Capital investment is being increased steeply for the third year in a row by 33% to 10 trillion rupees.”

After she revealed the big jump, ruling-party lawmakers thumped their desks as the camera moved to Modi.

India’s benchmark Nifty 50 stock index (.NSEI) added to its gains, rising 0.79% as Sitharaman delivered her speech.

Sitharaman said the aim was to have strong public finances and a robust financial sector for the benefit of all sections of the country.

She said that despite a global slowdown because of the pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war, the Indian economy was “on the right track”.

She is expected to announce a plan to lower the government’s fiscal deficit later in her speech.

($1 = 81.7725 Indian rupees)

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India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman holds up a folder with the Government of India’s logo as she leaves her office to present the federal budget in the parliament, in New Delhi, India, February 1, 2023. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman holds up a folder with the Government of India’s logo as she leaves her office to present the federal budget in the parliament, in New Delhi, India, February 1, 2023. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman holds up a folder with the Government of India’s logo as she leaves her office to present the federal budget in the parliament, in New Delhi, India, February 1, 2023. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaks during a side event on the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, 14 July 2022. Made Nagi/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
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