New Delhi, February 1, 2024
Today, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented her sixth Union Budget. She is the second finance minister to do so for six straight years after Morarji Desai. This budget is crucial as it’s the last one for the Narendra Modi government’s second term, with elections coming up later this year.
An interim budget is a temporary financial plan covering government expenses until a new government takes over after elections. It seeks approval for funds to cover essential spending for the first four months of the new financial year.
Given the strong domestic economy, experts are closely watching this budget to see if it can maintain the current high growth rate. The decisions made today will shape India’s economic path in the coming months.
Stock markets started positively before the budget presentation, showing that investors are optimistic about the upcoming economic measures and policy announcements.
In her speech, Sitharaman talked about making India ‘Viksit Bharat’ (Developed India) by 2047, focusing on the principles of “sabka sath, sabka vikas” (Together with All, Development for All). She highlighted the government’s attention to the poor, women, youth, and farmers.
- Tribal Welfare: The PM Janman Yojana was discussed, aiming to uplift tribal groups left out of development.
- Poverty Reduction: Sitharaman said the government helped 25 crore people escape poverty in the last decade through economic growth and welfare initiatives.
- GST Impact: Tax reforms like the Goods and Services Tax (GST) contributed to a unified tax system, deepening and widening the tax base.
- Infrastructure and Defence: Funds were allocated for strengthening defense capabilities, and a ₹1 lakh crore corpus will provide long-term financing with low or no interest rates.
- Fiscal Outlook: The fiscal deficit for FY24 is estimated at 5.8% of GDP, aiming to reduce it to below 4.5% by FY26, with a 5.1% projection for FY25.
- Tax Slabs: No changes were announced in tax slabs for both old and new regimes.
PM Modi praised Sitharaman for presenting a balanced budget, saying it sets the foundation for ‘Viksit Bharat’ by 2047 and reflects the aspirations of India’s youth.
As experts analyze the budget details, its impact on different sectors and the overall economy will become clearer, shaping India’s economic future.