In what is perceived as more than a mere financial statement, Sitharaman’s sixth straight budget is anticipated to showcase the Modi government’s triumphs over the past decade and lay the groundwork for the looming Lok Sabha elections.
Amidst a rapidly expanding economy and a windfall from taxes, the public is keenly interested in the measures that could further stimulate growth and garner voter approval. Some of the nation’s expectations include affordable housing, addressing some of the pressing issues of the farmers, create more jobs, women empowerment and not to forget the much needed tax relief
With unemployment a pressing concern, the budget is expected to prioritise job creation. This could involve strategic investments in sectors with the potential to generate significant employment opportunities, addressing a critical issue facing the nation.
Continuing its emphasis on infrastructure development, the government is likely to allocate significant funds for roads, railways, and digital initiatives. These sectors are seen as pivotal for sustained economic growth and job creation.
Given the challenges posed by last year’s export bans on essential crops and erratic rainfall affecting harvests, a substantial increase in financial support for farmers is eagerly awaited. This might include enhanced allocations for farm sector schemes and subsidies on crucial inputs like fertilizers and cooking gas.
While major changes in personal taxation seem unlikely, experts suggest the possibility of additional benefits under both old and new income tax regimes. This move aims to provide relief to taxpayers grappling with the impact of high inflation, demonstrating the government’s responsiveness to economic challenges.
Balancing the need for spending with fiscal discipline remains a priority. The government aims to reduce the fiscal deficit to 4.5 per cent of GDP by FY26, showcasing a careful equilibrium between expenditure and revenue to ensure sustainable economic growth.
In a bid for inclusive growth, there might be an introduction of a social security fund tailored for informal sector workers, including those in gig jobs. This reflects the government’s commitment to providing a safety net for all, acknowledging the diverse nature of India’s workforce.
Addressing the critical need for housing, the budget is expected to witness a substantial increase in funding for low-cost housing projects. This move not only aims to fulfill the housing needs of citizens but also to stimulate the construction industry, fostering economic growth.
Anticipated are special measures to empower women, such as increased subsidies for cooking gas and loans. Recognising the crucial role women play in the electorate, these measures seek to support and uplift women across the nation.
To bolster fiscal health without overburdening taxpayers, the government may persist in its divestment drive, intending to raise funds through strategic asset sales. This approach aligns with the government’s commitment to fiscal responsibility.
In alignment with the global shift towards sustainable energy, the budget may allocate funds for green hydrogen and electric vehicle initiatives. This move positions India at the forefront of the green revolution, demonstrating a commitment to environmental sustainability.
As Nirmala Sitharaman takes the podium for the Interim Budget 2024-25, all eyes are on the Finance Minister to not just present a financial document but to articulate a vision for India’s continued economic transformation and prosperity.