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Interim Budget 2024: Nirmala Sitharaman likely to focus on women, farmers ahead of Lok Sabha polls

Nirmala Sitharaman

Budget 2024: With the economy witnessing rapid expansion and the government reaping the benefits of a tax windfall, expectations are high for targeted measures that could bolster growth and appease voters.

All eyes are set on Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman as she will present the Interim Budget 2024-25 shortly, setting the stage for the government’s final push before the Lok Sabha elections later this year.

Although this is an interim budget, economists and experts view this as much more than just a financial statement, with Sitharaman expected to provide a detailed economic roadmap on how the government plans to transform India into a developed economy.

With the economy witnessing rapid expansion and the government reaping the benefits of a tax windfall, expectations are high for targeted measures that could bolster growth and appease voters.

It is widely expected that Finance Minister Sithraman’s budget presentation will focus on enhancing farmers’ income, empowering women, and creating jobs.

Here’s a list of what the nation anticipates from Nirmala Sitharaman’s interim budget speech

  • Support for farmers: Amidst last year’s export bans on essential crops and poor rainfall affecting harvests, there is a strong expectation for increased financial support for farmers. This could include enhanced allocations for farm sector schemes and subsidies on essentials like fertilizers and cooking gas.
  • Job creation in focus: With unemployment being a critical concern, the budget is expected to focus on job creation. This may involve investments in sectors that have the potential to generate substantial employment opportunities.
  • Infrastructure push: Consistent with the past emphasis on infrastructure, the government is likely to continue its spending spree on roads, railways, and digital initiatives, which are pivotal for economic growth.
  • Fiscal prudence: Despite the need for spending, maintaining fiscal discipline remains a priority. The government aims to reduce the fiscal deficit to 4.5 percent of GDP by FY26, indicating a careful balance between expenditure and revenue.
  • Income Tax Relief: While chances of major changes in personal taxation remain low, some experts have called for some additional benefits under the old and new income tax regimes to provide some relief to taxpayers for the impact of high inflation.
  • Social security boost: There might be an introduction of a social security fund for informal sector workers, including those in gig jobs, reflecting the government’s focus on inclusive growth.
  • Affordable housing: To address housing needs, the budget may see a significant increase in funding for low-cost housing projects, which would also stimulate the construction industry.
  • Divestment and asset monetization: To improve fiscal health without overburdening taxpayers, the government may continue its divestment drive, aiming to raise funds through strategic asset sales.
  • Women empowerment: Special measures to empower women, such as increased subsidies for cooking gas and loans, are anticipated, recognizing their crucial role in the electorate.
  • Green Energy investments: With a global shift towards sustainable energy, the budget could allocate funds for green hydrogen and electric vehicle initiatives, positioning India at the forefront of the green revolution.

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