New Delhi, February 1, 2024 – Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Interim Budget for the fiscal year 2024-25, highlighting the profound transformation in the Indian economy over the past decade. In her comprehensive Budget 2024 speech, she underscored the government’s commitment to fiscal consolidation, unveiling key initiatives and outlining a vision for a developed India, termed ‘Viksit Bharat.’
Economic Transformation and Vision for Viksit Bharat: Sitharaman commenced her speech by acknowledging the significant economic turnaround witnessed in the last ten years. Drawing a stark contrast between the pre-2014 era and the present, she emphasized the successful navigation of global challenges and the achievement of high sustained growth. She pledged to present a detailed roadmap for ‘Viksit Bharat’ in the upcoming full Budget in July 2024.
Improving Taxpayer Services and Proposals: Addressing concerns over taxpayer services, Sitharaman proposed the withdrawal of outstanding direct tax demands up to Rs. 25,000 for years up to 2009-10 and Rs. 10,000 for the period from 2010 to 2015, benefiting approximately 1 crore taxpayers. In a move aimed at providing continuity in taxation, she announced the extension of certain tax exemptions for startups and IFSC units until March 31, 2025.
Key Budget Estimates for Interim Budget 2024
- Total receipts (excluding borrowings): Rs. 30.80 lakh crores
- Total expenditure: Rs. 47.66 lakh crores
- Tax receipts: Rs. 26.02 lakh crores
- Scheme of 50-year interest-free loans for capital expenditure continued with an outlay of Rs. 1.3 lakh crores
- Estimated fiscal deficit for 2024-25: 5.1% of GDP
Focus on Strategic Sectors: The Finance Minister unveiled several strategic initiatives, including a new scheme to strengthen deep tech for the defense sector. The government is set to launch a vaccination drive against cervical cancer for girls aged 9 to 14, demonstrating a commitment to healthcare.
Challenges and Societal Changes: Acknowledging the complexities in global affairs, Sitharaman emphasized India’s successful navigation of challenges, particularly in fuel and fertilizer price spikes in the interim budget 2024. She announced the formation of a high-powered committee to review challenges arising from fast population growth and demographic changes.
Green Initiatives and Infrastructure Development: Highlighting the commitment to sustainable growth, Sitharaman announced the expansion and strengthening of the e-vehicle sector and the launch of a new scheme for bio-manufacturing to encourage biodegradable materials. Several infrastructure projects, including three major railway corridor programs, were introduced to enhance logistics efficiency and reduce costs in the interim Budget 2024.
Conclusion: As Finance Minister Sitharaman concluded her Budget 2024 speech, she expressed confidence in achieving the goal of ‘Viksit Bharat’ through good intentions, true dedication, and hard work. The Interim Budget 2024 reflects the government’s commitment to fiscal responsibility, strategic reforms, and a vision for inclusive and sustainable development.