Interim Budget 2024: Unveiling a Vision for Inclusive Growth and Sustainability

Today, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the much-anticipated Interim Budget in the Lok Sabha. This crucial fiscal plan comes after a morning session where the Union Cabinet approved the budget, setting the stage for a comprehensive overview of the government’s economic vision for the coming years.

In her address, FM Sitharaman underscored the transformative journey of the Indian economy, emphasizing the implementation of crucial structural reforms. The overarching theme of the Budget focused on uplifting four pivotal sectors – women, youth, poor, and farmers, as she aptly declared, “The country progresses when they progress.”

Key Highlights:

  1. Poverty Alleviation: The Finance Minister proudly stated that the government successfully lifted 25 crore people out of poverty over the past decade. Moreover, free food has been provided to a staggering 80 crore individuals through various welfare schemes.
  2. Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT): The PM Jan Dhan Yojana has played a pivotal role in financial inclusion, with DBT amounting to a substantial Rs. 34 lakh crore, resulting in savings of ₹2.7 lakh crore.
  3. Empowering Artisans and Entrepreneurs: Schemes such as PM Vishwakarma Yojana, PM-SVANidhi, and Mudra Yojana have provided crucial financial support to artisans, street vendors, and women entrepreneurs. The ‘Lakhpati Didi’ scheme will be expanded to empower rural women further.
  4. Skill Development: Over 1.4 crore youth have been trained under the Skill India Mission, emphasizing the government’s commitment to upskilling and reskilling. PM Mudra Yojana sanctioned 43 crore loans to support small businesses.
  5. Economic Growth: Inflation is within the target band of 2%-6%, and economic growth has witnessed a positive uptick, leading to a 50% increase in the average real income of the people.
  6. Rural Housing and Healthcare: The government plans to subsidize the construction of 30 million affordable houses in rural areas and consolidate maternal and child health care schemes. Additionally, cervical cancer vaccination will be encouraged.
  7. Agricultural Reforms: The government will focus on promoting ‘Nano DAP’ for various crops, supporting dairy farmers, defeating Foot and Mouth Disease, and achieving self-reliance in oilseeds.
  8. Infrastructure and Connectivity: Initiatives include the establishment of the ‘Matsya Sampada’ department for fishermen, conversion of 40,000 rail bogeys to Vande Bharat standards, and a focus on transit-oriented development in metros.
  9. Sustainable Development: The government has set an ambitious target of achieving Net Zero by 2070. This involves funding offshore wind energy generation, procuring biomass aggregation machinery, and promoting the e-vehicle sector.
  10. Fiscal Prudence: Capital expenditure has been increased to ₹11.11 lakh crore for 2024-25. The government aims to continue the path of fiscal consolidation, targeting a reduction in the fiscal deficit to 4.5% in 2025-26. Tax rates for direct and indirect taxes, including import duties, will remain unchanged.
  11. Borrowing and Debt Management: The government announced lower gross and net borrowings for 2024-25, at Rs. 14.13 lakh crore and Rs. 11.75 lakh crore, respectively, compared to the previous fiscal year.

The Interim Budget 2024 outlines a comprehensive roadmap for inclusive growth, sustainability, and fiscal responsibility. As the nation looks ahead, the proposed measures seek to propel India towards a more equitable and resilient future.

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