Decoding the 2024 Interim Budget: Key Points & Impact Explained

  • 2024-02-02
  • Rohit Tikoo

Nirmala Sitharaman, India's Finance Minister, presented the Interim Budget on February 1, 2024, offering a strategic economic roadmap until a new government assumes charge post-election. This article meticulously examines crucial aspects, focusing on infrastructure development, digital public infrastructure, and key policy measures.

  • Promotion of "Nano DAP" fertilizer and policies to support dairy farmers and combat Foot and Mouth Disease.
  • Focus on rooftop solarization with free electricity incentives.
  • The government's commitment to making India a developed country by 2047

As we examine the details of the budget, several significant points become clear, offering an all-encompassing perspective on the government's economic policy. Among these crucial points are:

Railway and Infrastructure Allocations

  • Significant Funding for Railways: The budget allocates substantial funds for railways, emphasizing modernization, safety measures, and economic railway corridors.
  • Robust Commitment: An expected Rs 2.8-3 lakh crore allocation for railways signals a robust commitment to enhancing transportation infrastructure.

Digital Public Infrastructure Development

  • Technological Advancements: Anticipated measures include advancements in machine learning, IoT, and blockchain for streamlined operations.
  • Forward-looking Approach: Emphasis on eco-friendly practices and heightened cybersecurity measures reflects a forward-looking approach.

Strategic Policy Actions

  • Key Technological Integration: Integration of key technologies like AI and automation is highlighted, driving productivity and economic growth.
  • Focus on Education and Skill Development: Seamless integration of education and digital infrastructure, coupled with a focus on skill development, aims to enhance employability.

Rural Growth Initiatives

  • Increased Spending on Initiatives: Increased spending on initiatives like MGNREGA, PM KISAN, and PMAY emphasizes the government's commitment to rural development.
  • Boost for Infrastructure in Rural Areas: Drive for investment growth and increased capital expenditure bolsters infrastructure development in rural areas.

Tax Reforms and Incentives

  • Focus on Tax Certainty: The budget focuses on tax certainty, tech-enabled efficiency, and incentivizing domestic manufacturing and investments.
  • Conducive Environment for Growth: These reforms aim to create a conducive environment for economic growth.

Specific Announcements

  1. PM Garib Kalyan Yojna Extension: The extension of the PM Garib Kalyan Yojna for six months ensures continued support for the poor.
  2. PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Increase: The increase in the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme provides enhanced financial assistance to farmers.
  3. PM Ujjwala Yojana Expansion: The expansion of the PM Ujjwala Yojana covers more households, providing free LPG connections.
  4. Support for Start-ups: A Rs.1,000 crore corpus is announced to support start-ups, fostering entrepreneurship.
  5. Green Hydrogen Mission Launch: The Green Hydrogen Mission, with an investment of Rs.19,744 crore, signifies a commitment to sustainable energy.

The interim budget responds to a global economic slowdown and rising inflation. While the focus on social welfare and infrastructure development is commendable, concerns about the sustainability of these measures have been raised by experts.

The 2024 Interim Budget prioritizes infrastructure, rural development, and social welfare. While it has strengths like fiscal consolidation and women empowerment, its temporary nature and populist schemes pose weaknesses. Opportunities lie in capitalizing on infrastructure and skill development, while threats stem from global economic factors and political uncertainty. Overall, the budget aims to stimulate the economy and address key social issues, but its long-term impact depends on future policy decisions and broader economic trends.