Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman introduced several new schemes in the Budget 2023-24.
Economic Empowerment of Women: Large producer enterprises or collectives of rural women will be formed, each one comprised of several thousand members. They will be managed professionally. They will be helped with the supply of raw materials and will be given support for better design, quality, branding, and marketing of their products. The government will enable them to scale up their operations to serve the large consumer markets. This initiative will add to the success of the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana National Rural Livelihood Mission, which has mobilized rural women into 81 lakh self-help Groups.
PM VIshwakarma KAushal Samman (PM VIKAS): This scheme has been created for traditional artisans and craftspeople, generally referred to as Vishwakarma, who work with their hands using tools. The scheme will enable them to improve the quality, scale, and reach of their products, integrating them with the MSME value chain. The scheme will include financial support, access to advanced skill training, knowledge of modern digital techniques and efficient green technologies, brand promotion, linkage with local and global markets, digital payments, and social security. This will greatly benefit the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, OBCs, women, and people belonging to the weaker sections.
Agriculture Accelerator Fund: This fund will be established to encourage agri start-ups by young entrepreneurs in rural areas. The goal is to come up with innovative and affordable solutions for challenges faced by farmers. It will also bring in modern technologies to transform agricultural practices and increase productivity and profitability.
Atmanirbhar Horticulture Clean Plant Program: With an outlay of Rs 2,200 crore, this program will boost the availability of disease-free, quality planting material for high-value horticultural crops.
Also read: Live | Highlights of Budget 2023: PAN to be used as common identifier
A new sub-scheme of PM Matsya Sampada Yojana: Rs 6,000 crore will be invested to further enable activities of fishermen, fish vendors, and micro and small enterprises, helping them to improve value chain efficiencies and expand the market.
Sickle Cell Anaemia Elimination Mission: The goal is to eliminate Sickle Cell Anaemia by 2047. It will entail awareness creation, universal screening of 7 crore people in the age group of 0-40 years in affected tribal areas, and counselling through collaborative efforts of central ministries and state governments.
Pradhan Mantri PVTG Development Mission: Rs.15,000 crore has been allocated for this mission to be implemented in the next three years under the Development Action Plan for the Scheduled Tribes. This scheme will improve the socio-economic conditions of the particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs). It will provide them with basic facilities such as safe housing, clean drinking water and sanitation, improved access to education, health and nutrition, road and telecom connectivity, and sustainable livelihood opportunities.
Also Read: Budget 2023: Railways allocated a record-high capital outlay of Rs 2.40 lakh crore
Vivad se Vishwas I – Relief for MSMEs: In cases of failure by MSMEs to execute contracts during the Covid period, 95 per cent of the forfeited amount relating to bid or performance security will be returned to them by government and government undertakings. This will provide relief to MSMEs.
Vivad se Vishwas II – Settling Contractual Disputes: To settle contractual disputes of government and government undertakings, wherein the arbitral award is under challenge in a court, a voluntary settlement scheme with standardized terms will be introduced. This will be done by offering graded settlement terms depending on the pendency level of the dispute.
Lab Grown Diamonds: A research and development grant will be provided to one of the IITs for five years to encourage indigenous production of LGD seeds and machines. Lab-grown diamonds are environment-friendly, and optically and chemically, have the same properties as natural diamonds. It is an emerging sector driven by technology and innovation, with high employment potential.
Green Credit Programme: This programme will be notified under the Environment (Protection) Act. It will incentivize environmentally-sustainable and responsive actions by companies, individuals, and local bodies, and help mobilize additional resources for such activities.
Also read: Budget 2023-24: Thrust on Ease of Doing Business, MSMEs; PAN common identifier
GOBARdhan scheme: 500 new ‘waste-to-wealth’ plants under GOBARdhan (Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan) scheme will be established at a total investment of Rs.10,000 crore to promote a circular economy. These will include 200 compressed biogas (CBG) plants, of which 75 would be in urban areas, and 300 community or cluster-based plants.
National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme: This pan-India scheme will provide stipend support to 47 lakh youth in three years through Direct Benefit Transfer.
Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav Mahila Samman Bachat Patra: A new one-time small savings scheme, Mahila Samman Savings Certificate, will be made available for a two-year period up to March 2025. This will offer a deposit facility of up to Rs 2 lakh in the name of women or girls for a tenure of 2 years at a fixed interest rate of 7.5 per cent with a partial withdrawal option.