Union Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Interim Budget on 1st February, 2024. The Interim Budget talks about expenses and revenues of the Government for a short span in an election year until the formation of a new government through election. The Interim Budget for FY 2024-25 was presented on Thursday ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2024. This makes it the last budget during Narendra Modi’s second term as the Prime Minister. The comprehensive final budget for the said financial year is expected to be out in July this year after a new government will be formed post the elections.
A major feature of the Interim Budget is that there has been no change in the income tax slabs. Tax slab rates remain unchanged for both new and old income tax regimes.
It was announced that the Government will focus on uplifting the poor, empowering the women, youth and farmers. However, while the highest allocation of Rs 6.1 lakh crore has been made for the Defence Ministry, Ministry of agriculture and farmer’s welfare has received the least with Rs 1.27 lakh crore.
In the last 10 years, the Government has assisted 25 crore people out of multi-dimensional poverty, it was announced.
Interim Budget 2024 Key Highlights
Tax slabs remain unchanged. Same direct and indirect tax rates, including import duties to be retained.
India’s capital spending for 2024-25 has been raised 11 per cent to Rs 11.11 lakh crore, or 3.4 per cent of GDP Nirmala Sitharaman said on Thursday.
It was announced that despite challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the target of three crore houses under PM Awas Yojana (Grameen) will be achieved soon. Also, two crore more houses will be taken up in the next five years.
The FM also announced that the Government will start a scheme to support middle class people living in rented houses to buy their own houses.
The Pradhan Mantri Janjati Adivasi Nyaya Maha Abhiyan (PM-JANMAN) Scheme will aid the development of particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs).
One crore households will receive 300 units free electricity every month through rooftop solarization.
The Defence Ministry has been given the highest allocation of Rs 6.1 lakh crore.
A new scheme will be launched for strengthening deep-tech technologies for defence purposes it was announced on Thursday.
Research and Innovation
An amount of Rs.1 lakh crore will be established with 50-year interest free loan to provide long-term financing or refinancing for research and innovation with long tenors and low or nil interest rates.
Railways and Aviation
Three major economic railway corridor programmes for Energy, mineral and cement have been identified under the PM Gati Shakti to be implemented to improve logistics efficiency and reduce cost.
A total of 40,000 normal rail bogies will be converted to Vande Bharat standards for comfort and convenience of passengers while traveling.
Indian carriers have placed orders for over 1000 new aircrafts.
Healthcare cover under Ayushman Bharat scheme will be extended to all ASHA workers, Anganwadi Workers and Helpers.
The government will encourage the vaccination against cervical cancer of girls in the age group of 9-14 years for the prevention of the disease.
The government plans to set up more medical colleges by utilising the existing hospital infrastructure under various departments.
Education and Women Empowerment
Talking about women empowerment, the Finance Minister announced that 30 crore Mudra Yojana loans have been given to women entrepreneurs while over 70% houses under PM Awas Yojana have been given to women from rural areas.
Focusing on education of girls, she said that enrolment of girl students in higher education has gone up by 28%, while in STEM courses, girls and women constitute 43% of enrolment, which is one of the highest in the world.
PM Modi’s reaction on Interim Budget 2024
Reacting to the Interim Budget 2024 presented on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called it ‘inclusive’ and ‘innovative’.
He said, “Today’s Budget, though an Interim Budget, is an inclusive and innovative Budget. This Budget carries the confidence of continuity. This Budget will empower all four pillars of ‘Viksit Bharat’ — youth, the poor, women, and farmers. Two important decisions have been taken in the Budget. A fund of Rs. 1 lakh crore has been announced for research and innovation. There has also been an announcement in the Budget to expand the tax exemption for start-ups.”
“While keeping the fiscal deficit under control in this Budget, a historic high of Rs. 11 lakh 11 thousand 111 crore has been allocated for capital expenditure. This will not only lead to the construction of 21st-century modern infrastructure in Bharat, but also create countless new opportunities for employment for the youth. In the Budget, it has been announced to manufacture 40,000 modern coaches under the ‘Vande Bharat Standard’ and induct them in regular passenger trains. This will enhance the experience of comfortable travel for millions of passengers on different railway routes across the country,” he further said.