Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled the Interim Budget for 2024-25 in Parliament on Thursday, February 1, following the start of the Budget Session the day prior.
Here are the Budget Highlights for 2024:
- Taxation Stability: The government has decided to maintain the current direct and indirect tax structures, ensuring stability and predictability for taxpayers and businesses alike.
- Economic Growth Forecast: The Budget projects an optimistic nominal GDP growth rate of 10.5% for FY25, reflecting confidence in the country’s economic resilience and potential for expansion.
- Divestment Goals: A significant divestment target of ₹50,000 crore is set for FY25, albeit with a reduction to ₹30,000 crore for FY24. This strategy underscores the government’s commitment to optimizing the utilization of public assets and encouraging private-sector participation.
- Fiscal Discipline: The fiscal deficit is carefully managed, with projections set at 5.1% of GDP for FY25 and 5.8% for FY24. Additionally, there’s a firm commitment to reducing the fiscal deficit to below 4.5% by FY26, indicating a strong focus on fiscal consolidation and sustainability.
- Capital Expenditure Increase: Demonstrating a clear emphasis on enhancing the country’s infrastructure, the Capex for FY25 is ambitiously budgeted at 3.4% of GDP. This investment is crucial for stimulating economic growth and improving public services.
- Market Borrowing: The gross market borrowing for FY24 is anticipated at ₹14.1 lakh crore, a move that aligns with the government’s funding requirements while managing debt levels effectively.
- Tax Demand Withdrawals: In a relief to taxpayers, the Budget announces the withdrawal of disputed tax demands up to ₹25,000 for periods predating FY10, simplifying the tax administration and reducing litigations.
- Housing Initiatives: Aiming to address housing needs, the government sets an ambitious goal to construct 2 crore houses over the next five years. Additionally, a new housing scheme targeted at the middle class promises to make home ownership more accessible.
- Infrastructure Development: The expansion of the Metro Rail and Namo Bharat networks to additional cities, along with the upgrade of approximately 40,000 rail carriages to the Vande Bharat standard, reflects the government’s commitment to enhancing public transportation infrastructure.
- Renewable Energy Push: The rooftop solar initiative, expected to benefit one crore households with free electricity, underscores the government’s focus on sustainable development and energy independence.
- Aviation Sector Growth: The continuation of airport expansions aligns with the broader objective of bolstering the country’s aviation infrastructure to support economic growth and improve connectivity.