Recent in News: Interim Budget 2024
The 2024 Interim Budget focuses on reducing the fiscal deficit, aiming for 5.8% of GDP in FY24 and targeting 5.1% for FY25, with a further goal of bringing it below 4.5% by FY26. No changes were made to income tax slabs, but outstanding direct tax demands up to Rs 25,000 for up to FY 2009-10 and up to Rs 10,000 for FY 2010-11 to 2014-15 will be waived.
Highlights of the Union Budget for FY 2023-2024
- The Indian economy is projected to grow at 7% despite the current economic climate.
- The budget is aimed at creating a tech-driven, knowledge-based economy with strong public finances and a robust financial sector. The goals are to offer opportunities for citizens, drive growth and jobs, and maintain macroeconomic stability.
- The government is focused on advancing women’s economic empowerment, promoting green growth, honoring traditional artisans and craftspeople, and tapping into the potential of the tourism industry.
- Seven core priorities have been identified as the guiding stars: Inclusive Development, Green Growth, Empowering Youth, Strengthening the Financial Sector, Last Mile Connectivity, Unleashing Potential, and Investment & Infrastructure.
- The focus of inclusive development is on farmers, women, youth, OBCs, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, people with disabilities, and the economically weaker sections. The budget builds upon these efforts with programs such as the Agriculture Accelerator Fund, the Atmanirbhar Clean Plant Programme, and a global hub for millets.
- Connecting to the final destination involves programs such as the Programme for Aspirational Districts and Blocks, water for drought-prone regions, the Pradhan Mantri PVTG Development Mission, and the PM Awas Yojana.
- Investment and Infrastructure received a 33% increase in capital investment outlay to Rs 10 lakh crore for growth and employment. The budget also emphasized the development of physical and social infrastructure.
- Other initiatives include the creation of a National Recruitment Agency, the establishment of a National Technical Textiles Mission, and the launch of a National Health Stack.
Highlights of the Union Budget 2022-2023
The Union Budget 2022-2023 has a strong focus on boosting healthcare and infrastructure development. Additionally, it includes provisions to aid small businesses and farmers. The budget also proposes tax benefits for individuals and ways to attract foreign investments.
|The PM GatiShakti National Master Plan encompasses seven key areas for economic growth and seamless multimodal connectivity: roads, railways, airports, ports, mass transportation, waterways, and logistics infrastructure. These projects will be aligned with the PM GatiShakti framework and incorporated into the National Infrastructure Pipeline.
|The National Highways Network will expand by 25,000 km in 2022-23, with Rs 20,000 crore allocated. Contracts for four Multimodal Logistics Parks will be awarded through PPP in 2022-23.
|“Parvatmala” National Ropeways Development Program to be implemented through PPP mode, 8 ropeway projects each 60km length to be awarded in 2022-23.
|One Station One Product” to support local businesses, 2,000 km of the railway network to be upgraded with Kavach in 2022-23, 400 new generation Vande Bharat trains to be manufactured, 100 PM GatiShakti cargo terminals for multimodal logistics to be developed over the next 3 years.
|Farmers will receive direct payments of Rs 2.37 lakh crore for purchasing wheat and rice. The government will promote “Chemical-free Natural farming” starting with regions within 5 km of the Ganges River. NABARD will provide blended capital funding for agriculture and rural enterprise startups. “Kisan Drones” will be utilized to evaluate crops, digitize land records, and apply insecticides and nutrients.
|Ken Betwa project
|An allocation of 1400 crore has been made for the Ken-Betwa Link Project, which will bring irrigation benefits to over 9.08 lakh hectares of farmers’ lands.
|The Udyam, e-shram, NCS, and ASEEM portals will be interconnected. 130 lakh MSMEs will receive additional credit under the ECLGS, extended until March 2023. ECLGS guarantee coverage will increase by Rs 50,000 crore, totaling Rs 5 lakh crore. Additional Rs 2 lakh crore credit for Micro and Small Enterprises available through CGTMSE. RAMP program with a budget of Rs 6,000 crore to be launched.
|The PM eVIDYA program will expand to 200 channels, virtual labs and skilling e-labs will be established to promote critical thinking, high-quality e-content will be created for delivery through Digital Teachers and a Digital University will be established to provide world-class, personalized education.
|A National Digital Health Ecosystem platform will be rolled out, and a “National Tele Mental Health Programme” will be launched to offer quality mental health counselling and care services. A network of 23 tele-mental health centers of excellence will be established, with NIMHANS as the lead center and IIIT-Bangalore providing technology support.
|The DESH-Stack e-portal will offer online training for skill development and improvement, and encourage start-ups to offer drone-related services like Drone Shakti and DrAAS.
|Integrated benefits for women and children through various programs and upgrading of 200,000 anganwadis to Saksham Anganwadis.
|Har Ghar, Nal Se Jal
|Allocation of Rs.60,000 crore for Har Ghar, Nal se Jal program to provide clean drinking water to 3.8 crore households in 2022-23.
|Housing for all
|Allocation of Rs.48,000 crore for completion of 80 lakh houses in 2022-23 under the PM Awas Yojana program.
Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for North-East Region (PM-DevINE)
|PM-DevINE, a new scheme for infrastructure & social development projects in the North-East, with an initial allocation of Rs.1,500 crore for livelihood activities for youth and women.
|1.5 lakh post offices and 75 Digital Banking Units (DBUs) to be brought onto core banking system by Scheduled Commercial Banks in 75 districts.New e-passports with advanced technology and the embedded chip will be introduced.
|The Reserve Bank of India will begin introducing the Digital Rupee in 2022-23.
|Gems and Jewellery
|Customs duty on diamonds and gemstones reduced to 5%, no duty on the simply sawn diamond, streamlined framework for e-commerce exports, and higher duty on imitation jewellery imports to discourage undervalued imports.