Budget 2024 Key Highlights

Budget 2024 Key Highlights: Fiscal deficit target for 2024-25 at 5.1% of GDP; no changes to income tax slabs

Interim Budget 2024-25 Highlights: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget — the one for the forthcoming financial year (2024-25). Since it’s the last one before Lok Sabha elections, the Budget is an interim one.

No changes were introduced to tax slabs. Meanwhile, the fiscal deficit target — the gap between government’s revenue and expenses — for 2024-25 (FY25) was set at 5.1% of the gross domestic product (GDP).

Budget 2024: Top Highlights from Union Budget 2024-25 by FM Nirmala Sitharaman
🔴 The revised fiscal deficit — the gap between government’s revenue and expenses — is at 5.8% of the GDP for 2023-24 (FY24). Fiscal deficit in FY25 is expected to be 5.1% of GDP. The target is to reduce the fiscal deficit to below 4.5% of the GDP in 2025-26 (FY26).

🔴 No changes to income tax slabs.
🔴 In a major announcement, the government has decided to withdraw outstanding direct tax demands up to Rs 25,000 for the period up to financial year 2009-10 and up to Rs 10,000 for financial years 2010-11 to 2014-15.

🔴 The number of tax filers swelled by 2.4 times, Sitharaman said. The direct tax collection has trebled since 2014. In 2024-25, the tax receipts are projected at Rs 26.02 lakh crore.

🔴 Tax exemptions given to start-ups extended till March 31, 2025.
🔴 In a bid to improve operations of passenger trains, the Sitharaman announced three major economic railway corridor programmes — energy, mineral and cement corridors, port connectivity corridors, and high traffic density corridors. “They will improve logistics efficiency and reduce cost. The resultant decongestion of the high-traffic corridors will also help in improving operations of passenger trains, resulting in safety and higher travel speed for passengers,” Sitharaman said. This will also reduce logistics cost.

🔴 The Finance Minister also announced 2 crore more houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Gramin ( PMAY-G).
🔴 “For our tech-savvy youth, this will be a golden era. A corpus of Rs 1 lakh crore will be established with 50-year interest free loan provided. The corpus will provide long term financing and re-financing with long tenures at low or nil interest rates. This will encourage the private sector to scale up research and innovation significantly in sunrise domains.”

🔴 “We need to have programmes that combine the powers of our youth and technology. A new scheme will be launched for strengthening deep tech technology for defence purposes and expediting atma nirbharta,” Sithraman said.

🔴 Sitharaman also announced plans to set up more medical colleges through utilisation of the “existing hospital infrastructure under various departments”. “A committee for this purpose will be set up to examine the issues and make relevant recomendations,” she said.
🔴 “Making triple talaq illegal, reservation of 1/3rd seats for women in Lok Sabha and state assemblies, and giving over 70 per cent houses under the PM Awas Yoajana in rural areas to women have enhanced their dignity,” Sitharaman said.

🔴 “Through roof-top solarisation, 1 crore households will be enabled to obtain up to 300 units of free electricity every month. This scheme follows the resolve of the Prime Minister on the historic day of the consecration of Shri Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.” The government aims to achieve ‘net zero’ by 2070.

🔴 For boost to tourism, “long-term interest free loans to be provided to States to encourage development.”

🔴 Starting off her speech, Sitharaman noted that the Indian economy has witnessed positive transformation in the last 10 y ears.

🔴 “Poor, women, youth and farmers — their needs, their aspirations will guide country’s growth.”
🔴 “The government is working towards making India ‘Viksit Bharat’ by 2047…Our focus is sabka sath, sabka vikas,” Sitharaman said.

🔴 “The government is equally focused on GDP – Governance, Development and Performance.”
🔴 On social justice, Finance Minister said, “Our government is working with an approach to development that is all-round, all pervasive and all inclusive.”

The next ‘full budget’ will be presented in July, once a new government has been sworn in after the Lok Sabha elections.

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