Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will give the Interim Budget today, ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2024, which would be the final budget of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s second term. This is an interim budget, and the complete budget for fiscal year 2024-25 will not be issued until the next government is formed following the general elections.
The Interim Budget specifies expenditures and income until the formation of a new administration, assisting the government in managing its financial responsibilities.
Ahead of the Interim Budget, President Droupadi Murmu highlighted that India has maintained its position as the fastest-growing major economy, saying, “The year 2023 was a historic year for India when it grew the fastest among major economies despite the global crisis. India grew about 7.5 per cent for two consecutive quarters.”
It is anticipated that record capital expenditures on infrastructure, with a particular emphasis on roads, highways, and Indian Railways, would be announced in the 2024 budget. This will continue in line with the Modi administration’s plan to use infrastructure expenditure to propel economic growth in India. It is anticipated that Indian Railways would get a record-breaking allocation of about Rs 3 lakh crore for capital expenditures in the Budget. Since 2017, the railway budget has been included in the Union Budget address rather than being given out separately.
Expectations for the income tax in Budget 2024 are likewise high, particularly given the current relatively high rate of inflation. The average person, middle class, and salaried individuals are looking to Budget 2024 to offer some income tax relief. This could come in the form of changes to the income tax rate or slab, an increase in the standard deduction, an increase in the maximum amount that can be deducted from income, such as Section 80C, or a modification to the new income tax regime to make it more advantageous. Despite being an interim budget, analysts predict certain populist initiatives because this is an election year budget.