On February 3, India TV, the country’s leading Hindi news channel, hosted the ’Samvad Budget Conclave 2023’ in New Delhi.
The event brought together top ministers from the ruling party and opposition leaders to discuss and analyze the Union Budget 2023, which Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented on February 1.
During the conclave, the Finance Minister appeared on a special episode of India TV’s “Aap Ki Adalat,” where she responded to incisive questions by Rajat Sharma on the Adani controversy, ED raids, and scathing comments made by Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal, P. Chidambaram, and other opposition leaders. Sitharaman decoded the budget and responded to criticism from the opposition. Other prominent cabinet ministers responded to questions about their ministries and the Budget in general, including Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, and Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Hardeep Singh Puri.
In her first cautious response to the ongoing Adani controversy, the Finance Minister stated that it was not a government matter and that regulators were looking into it. In response to a report that foreign institutional investors were withdrawing billions of dollars from the Indian market, she said she couldn’t comment until she reviewed the data, but that multiple factors, including US Fed interest rates, could be factors.
As per a press release, the Opposition leaders expressed their displeasure, with Congress leader Ajay Maken claiming that the budget was not intended for the middle class and benefited only the top 1% of the population. Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal defended the budget, calling it a “bridge” and “foundation” budget aimed at transforming India into a developed country by 2047.
Ashwini Vaishnaw, Minister of Railways, Information Technology, and Communication, announced that India’s first bullet train will run in August 2026, and the first hydrogen train will run on Indian tracks by December this year. He also announced that Vande Metro trains will operate on a shuttle basis on a 100-kilometer stretch between cities, similar to similar inter-city trains in Europe. Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala slammed the government’s policies, claiming that the common man was suffering from inflation and unemployment. Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh slammed the government’s policies and silence on the Hindenburg report.
Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri called the budget a “bridge” to India’s goal of becoming the world’s second largest economy by 2040. Both the BJP and the Congress were represented on the conclave’s speaker panel.
The ‘Samvad Budget Conclave 2023’ on India TV provided a vibrant platform for prominent leaders to engage in a lively and insightful discussion on the Union Budget 2023, with the goal of making the budget accessible and understandable to the general public.