India TV, the Hindi news channel, hosted “Samvad Budget Conclave 2023” on February 3 in New Delhi. The event brought together top ministers from the ruling party and leaders from the opposition to discuss and analyze the Union Budget 2023 presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1.
During the conclave, the Finance Minister appeared in a special episode of India TV’s “Aap Ki Adalat” where she replied to incisive questions by Rajat Sharma on the Adani controversy, ED raids, and responded to scathing comments made against the government by Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal, P. Chidambaram and other opposition leaders. Sitharaman decoded the budget and responded to opposition’s criticisms. Other prominent cabinet ministers, including Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, and Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, replied to questions relating to their ministries, and the Budget in general.
The Finance Minister in her first guarded response on the ongoing Adani controversy, stated that it was not a matter relating to government and that regulators were looking into it. In response to a report on foreign institutional investors withdrawing several billion dollars from the Indian market, she said she cannot comment without reviewing the data but that multiple factors, including the US Fed interest rates, could be the contributing reasons.
Opposition leaders expressed their concerns, with Congress leader Ajay Maken alleging that the budget was not meant for the middle class and it benefited only the top 1 percent of the population. Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal defended the budget, saying it was a bridge and foundation budget towards making India a developed nation by 2047.
Railway, IT and Communication Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw announced that India’s first bullet train will run in August 2026, while the first Hydrogen train will run for trails on Indian tracks by December this year. He also announced that Vande Metro trains will run on 100-km stretch between cities on a shuttle basis on the lines of similar inter-city trains in Europe.Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala criticized the government’s policies, alleging that the common people was facing problems relating to inflation and unemployment. Gourav Vallabh, Congress spokesperson hit out at the government over its policies and its silence on the Hindenburg report.
Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri described the budget as a bridge to move Indiatowards becoming the world’s second largest economy by 2040. The panel of speakers at the conclave included representatives from both the BJP and Congress.
India TV’s “Samvad Budget Conclave 2023” provided a vibrant platform for prominent leaders to engage in a lively and insightful discussion on the Union Budget 2023, to make the budget accessible and understandable to thegeneral public.