Key Highlights from the Interim Budget 2024

The Interim Budget was presented by FM Nirmala Sitharaman in the Lok Sabha on 1st February, 2024.
Ms. Sitharaman set the stage for a “Vikas Bharat by 2047” on the core principles of ‘Sabka Saath’, ‘Sabka Vikas’, ‘Sabka Vishwas’ and with ‘Sabka Prayas’ being added as a new theme in the Interim Budget.
The Budgets four core strategic areas came as GYAN
G: Garib Kalyan
Y: Youth empowerment
A: Anna-data or farmer welfare
N: Nari Utthan or support for women entrepreneurs.

Why was an Interim Budget filed in 2024?

An Interim Budget is presented by a government that is going through a transition period or is in its last year in office ahead of general elections.
Thus the purpose of the Interim Budget is to ensure continuity of government expenditure until the new government can present a full fledged budget after taking office.

Overview of the Interim Budget

The Interim Budget serves as a crucial financial roadmap, providing insights into the government's fiscal policies and priorities for the upcoming fiscal year. While it may not introduce new schemes or tax reforms, it outlines allocations and expenditures until a full budget is presented by the new government post-elections. The Interim Budget thus plays a pivotal role in maintaining financial stability and continuity until the new government assumes office.
The budget speech began with an overview of the current economic climate, highlighting recent achievements in GDP growth, inflation control, and fiscal deficit reduction. The Finance Minister emphasized the government's commitment to maintaining a stable economic environment, fostering investor confidence, and ensuring a positive outlook for the domestic and international business community.
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Here are the key highlights across various sectors:

Economic Growth and Fiscal Management

GDP Growth: India's real GDP is projected to grow at 7.3% in FY 2023-24, showcasing robust economic momentum​​.
Fiscal Deficit: The fiscal deficit for 2024-25 is estimated at 5.1% of GDP, indicating a planned approach towards fiscal consolidation​​.
Capital Expenditure: The government plans to increase the capital expenditure outlay by 11.1% to ₹11,11,111 crore, emphasizing infrastructure development as a key driver of economic growth​​.

Taxation and Financial Policies

Direct and Indirect Taxes: The budget proposes to retain the existing tax structures for both direct and indirect taxes, aiming for stability and continuity in the taxation framework.
Help for Startups: Tax benefits for startups and certain investments have been extended to March 2025 to encourage growth and innovation​​​​.

Social Welfare Initiatives

Empowerment of Vulnerable Sections: The budget highlights initiatives aimed at uplifting the poor, women, youth, and farmers, including the PM-KISAN SAMMAN Yojana, PM Awas Yojana, and PM-SVANidhi, reflecting the government's focus on inclusive development​​​​.
Education and Skill Development: The National Education Policy 2020 and the Skill India Mission are pivotal in transforming the educational landscape and enhancing the employability of Indian youth. The establishment of new institutions like IITs, IIMs, and AIIMS underscores the emphasis on high-quality education​​.
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Infrastructure Development

Railways and Aviation: Significant investments are planned in the railways and aviation sectors to boost connectivity and efficiency. The introduction of Vande Bharat standards for rail bogies and the expansion of airports are among the key initiatives​​​​
Green Energy: The budget promotes green energy through initiatives like rooftop solarization, aiming to provide free electricity to households and contribute to environmental sustainability​​.

Vision for Viksit Bharat and Future Strategies

Development Goals: The government's vision for a "Viksit Bharat" by 2047 encompasses a prosperous nation with modern infrastructure and opportunities for all citizens. A detailed roadmap for achieving this vision is anticipated in the full budget presentation in July​​​​.
Research and Innovation: A corpus of ₹1 lakh crore will be established to finance research and innovation, with a focus on deep-tech and defense technologies, signifying the importance of technological advancement in India's growth strategy​​.
Agriculture and Food Processing
Support for Farmers: The government continues to support the agricultural sector through schemes like the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana and the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, aiming to enhance farmers' incomes and ensure food security​​.
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The Interim Budget for 2024-25 lays down a multi-dimensional approach for India's growth, focusing on economic resilience, social justice, and infrastructure development. By retaining stable tax rates and emphasizing capital expenditure, the government aims to foster a conducive environment for growth and innovation. The focus on social welfare, education, and skill development reflects a commitment to inclusive development, while investments in infrastructure and green energy highlight the move towards a sustainable and modern India. The vision for "Viksit Bharat" encapsulates the long-term goals of prosperity, equality, and sustainability, setting the stage for detailed strategies in the upcoming full budget.

Smita Parekh
Ms. Smita Parekh is a seasoned expert in Technical Analysis and a trader in the cash and derivatives segments and a passionate mentor.