Interim Budget 2024: Key Highlights from Nirmala Sitharaman's Speech

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Budget 2024 Key Highlights

Nirmala Sitharaman delivered her 6th straight Budget in the Parliament, with her signature bahi-khata. The speech emphasized that over the past decade, the Indian economy has undergone a remarkable transformation. With the mantra of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' (Together with All, Development for All), the government undertook structural reforms, implemented pro-people programs, and created an environment conducive to employment and entrepreneurship. The results were profound, injecting new vigor into the economy and igniting a renewed sense of purpose and hope among the people.

The government's collective efforts, known as 'Sabka Prayas' (Collective Efforts of All), have not only helped India overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic but have also propelled the nation towards self-reliance ('Atmanirbhar Bharat') and laid the foundation for  'Amrit Kaal'. 

The Interim Budget for 2024 signifies the government's commitment to continued progress and development. Let us delve deeper into the highlights of the Interim Budget and its implications for India's path forward.

Key Highlights of the Interim Budget:

  • FM announced that there will be no changes in the income tax slabs, keeping in with the tradition.
  • The government working on making India a Vikasit Bharat by 2047.
  • Revised total expenditure for FY24 was pegged at ₹44.90-lakh crore, revised fiscal deficit estimated for FY24 has been pegged at 5.8% of GDP and the deficit for FY25 is pegged at 5.1%.
  • Govt proposes to withdraw tax demand of up to ₹25,000 up to 2009-10 and up to ₹10,000 for 2010-11 to 2014-15, which will benefit around ₹1 cr taxpayers. 
  • Capital expenditure will be hiked by 11% for the next fiscal to sustain world-beating economic growth rate.
  • Huge impetus in welfare schemes to champion social justice- rural housing, agro-financing, education & upskilling, rural housing and entrepreneurship.

Taxation Updates

The Government has undertaken a massive task to develop  India's tax policies to boost collections, simplify processes, and streamline trade, benefiting both taxpayers and the economy.

Direct Taxes

  • In the last decade, direct tax collections have tripled, and return filers have grown 2.4 times.
  • Government reduced and rationalized tax rates, offering no tax liability for incomes up to ₹7 lakh.
  • Simplified tax filing with Faceless Assessment, updated returns, and faster processing times.

Indirect Taxes and GST

  • GST unified India's indirect tax regime, reducing compliance burdens.
  • 94% of industry leaders view the GST transition positively.
  • GST doubled the tax base, increased average monthly collections to ₹1.66 lakh crore.
  • States benefited with SGST revenue buoyancy of 1.22 post-GST.

Customs Facilitation

  • Government efforts reduced import release times significantly.
  • Import release times declined by 47% at Inland Container Depots, 28% at air cargo complexes, and 27% at sea ports since 2019.

Interim Budget 2024 Tax Proposals

  • No changes in tax rates for both direct and indirect taxes, including import duties.
  • Extension of tax benefits for start-ups and investments by sovereign wealth or pension funds until 31.03.2025.
  • Focus on improving taxpayer services to enhance ease of living and ease of doing business.
  • Withdrawal of outstanding direct tax demands up to ₹25,000 for the period up to FY 2009-10 and up to ₹10,000 for FY 2010-11 to 2014-15, benefiting approximately one crore taxpayers.

Road to Viksit Bharat

  • A provision of ₹75,000 crore as a fifty-year interest-free loan to support growth-enabling reforms in the states for 'Viksit Bharat.'
  • Establishment of a high-powered committee to address challenges arising from fast population growth and demographic changes.
  • Commitment to strengthening and expanding the economy for high growth and fulfilling people's aspirations, known as 'Kartavya Kaal.'
  • Overcoming challenges through effective economic management and governance, leading to sustained high growth.
  • Upcoming full budget in July to present a detailed roadmap for 'Viksit Bharat.'

Technological Impetus:

  • Emphasis on new age technologies and data for economic opportunities and affordable services.
  • India showcasing solutions through innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Creation of a ₹1 lakh crore corpus for long-term financing of research and innovation.
  • Launching a new scheme for deep-tech technologies for defense and 'atmanirbharta.'

Infrastructure Development:

  • An 11.1% increase in capital expenditure outlay for infrastructure development.
  • Implementation of major economic railway corridor programs for multi-modal connectivity.
  • Expansion of metro rail and transit-oriented development in large cities.
  • Measures to promote green energy and achieve 'net-zero' by 2070.
  • Expansion and strengthening of the electric vehicle ecosystem.

Blue Economy 2.0:

  • Launching a scheme for climate-resilient activities in coastal aquaculture and mariculture.
  • Comprehensive development of iconic tourist centers and encouraging domestic tourism.
  • Focus on promoting investments, with significant growth in FDI inflow.

Economic Management:

  • Record-speed development of physical, digital, and social infrastructure.
  • Nationwide participation in economic growth.
  • Digital Public Infrastructure as a crucial factor in formalizing the economy.
  • Goods and Services Tax (GST) enabling 'One Nation, One Market, One Tax.'
  • Strengthening the financial sector for efficient savings, credit, and investments.
  • GIFT IFSC and IFSCA creating a gateway for global capital and financial services.
  • Proactive inflation management maintaining stability.

Global Context:

  • Complex geopolitical challenges with wars and conflicts.
  • Redefining globalization with supply chain disruptions and reshoring.
  • India's leadership during the G20 Presidency in a challenging global economic environment.
  • Successful navigation of global crises related to food, fertilizer, fuel, and finances.
  • Announcement of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor as a strategic game-changer with potential historical significance.

Social Schemes & Initiatives:

PM Awas Yojana (Grameen):

  • Close to achieving the target of three crore houses.
  • Two crore more houses to be built in the next five years.

Rooftop Solarization and Muft Bijli:

  • One crore households to receive up to 300 units of free electricity monthly.
  • Savings of up to ₹15,000-₹18,000 annually for households.
  • Opportunities for entrepreneurship and employment.

Housing for Middle Class:

  • Scheme to help middle-class individuals in rented houses, slums, chawls, and unauthorized colonies buy or build their homes.

Medical Colleges:

  • Plans to set up more medical colleges using existing hospital infrastructure.
  • Committee to examine and make relevant recommendations.

Cervical Cancer Vaccination:

  • Encouraging vaccination for girls aged 9 to 14 years for cervical cancer prevention.

Maternal and Child Healthcare:

  • Consolidation of various maternal and child care schemes into a comprehensive program.
  • Upgradation of anganwadi centers for improved nutrition and early childhood care.

Ayushman Bharat:

  • Expanding healthcare coverage under Ayushman Bharat to ASHA workers, Anganwadi Workers, and Helpers.

Agriculture and Food Processing:

  • Focus on value addition in agriculture to boost farmers' income.
  • Promotion of private and public investment in post-harvest activities.
  • Expansion of Nano DAP application on various crops.

Atmanirbhar Oil Seeds Abhiyan:

  • Strategy to achieve self-sufficiency in oil seeds through research, modern farming techniques, and more.

Dairy Development:

  • Comprehensive program to support dairy farmers, control diseases, and enhance productivity.

Matsya Sampada:

  • Stepping up implementation of Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana to increase aquaculture productivity, exports, and employment opportunities.

Lakhpati Didi:

  • Recognition and honor for SHGs and women's empowerment.
  • Target enhanced from 2 crore to 3 crore for Lakhpati Didi.
  • What is the significance of Nirmala Sitharaman's 2024 Interim Budget presentation?

  • What are the key highlights and tax updates of the Interim Budget for 2024?

  • How does the 2024 Interim Budget support India's journey towards 'Viksit Bharat'?

  • What initiatives does the Interim Budget propose for technological and infrastructure development?

  • What social schemes and initiatives are highlighted in the Interim Budget?