Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman made history by presenting her sixth consecutive budget, matching the record set by former Prime Minister Morarji Desai, just ahead of the Parliamentary elections. She highlighted the profound positive transformation witnessed by the Indian economy in the last 10 years. Presenting the interim Budget 2024-25, she emphasized the government’s commitment to making India a developed country by 2047, with a focus on the poor, women, youth, and farmers.
India, touted as the fastest growing major economy globally, is poised to become the world’s third largest economy in the coming years, with a projected GDP of $5 trillion. FM Nirmala Sitharaman’s Budget 2024 Vote On Account is anticipated to pave the way toward achieving this milestone.
Sitharaman announced that 25 crore people have been lifted from multidimensional poverty over the last decade. She critiqued the previous approach of tackling poverty through entitlement, citing modest outcomes. The government now ensures transparency and assures that benefits reach all eligible citizens.
The government aims to make India a developed nation by 2047, with Sitharaman affirming periodic and appropriate increases in minimum support prices for farmers. She emphasized the government’s commitment to social justice as an effective and necessary model, focusing on outcomes rather than outlays.
Furthermore, the government extended healthcare coverage under Ayushman Bharat to all ASHA and anganwadi workers. Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri-Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) stands as the largest publicly funded health insurance scheme globally, providing coverage of Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.
What women entrepreneurs expect from Budget 2024?
- Radhika Dalmia, FICCI Ladies Organisation (Kolkata chapter) chairperson, emphasizes:
- Increasing Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana allowance.
- Enhancing education benefits for girls.
- Strengthening financial inclusion, healthcare infrastructure, and prioritizing education for girls.
- Saloni Verma, co-founder of Sunshine Corporate Creches, suggests:
- Providing financial incentives for smaller companies to afford maternity leave salaries and creche services.
- Addressing concerns about hiring married young women and skewed female ratios in companies.
- Jyoti Bhandari, Lovak Capital founder and CEO, advocates for:
- Prioritizing skill training for young women.
- Empowering women economically and evolving “Lakhpati Mahilas” from Women’s Self Help Groups.
- Supporting successful women entrepreneurs in larger value chain-focused producer organizations.
- Focusing on women’s roles in agriculture and non-farm sectors.
FM Nirmala Sitharaman’s Budget 2024 Highlights:
- Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announces the setup of three major economic railway corridors to reduce congestion and logistics costs.
- The budget allocates the biggest share for defense and the lowest for agriculture.
- The budget speech emphasizes “Viksit Bharat” by 2047, indicating a detailed roadmap for India’s development in the full budget in July.
- The ‘Lakhpati Didi’ scheme aims to enhance the income of self-help group workers to at least one lakh rupees a year.
Other Key Highlights:
- Support for farmers under PM-KISAN SAMMAN Yojana and PM Fasal Bima Yojana.
- Focus on empowering youth through National Education Policy 2020 and Skill India Mission.
- Momentum for women’s empowerment and development.
- Strategies for economic growth in a changing global context.
- Development plans for aspirational districts, the eastern region, and rural housing under PM Awas Yojana (Grameen).
- Initiatives in healthcare, agriculture, technology, research, and green energy.
Revised estimates for 2023-24 and budget estimates for 2024-25 highlight receipts, expenditures, tax revenues, and fiscal deficit projections.
Continuation of schemes like the fifty-year interest-free loan for capital expenditure to states with a total outlay of ₹1.3 lakh crore.