Interim Budget - Manifesto Of Mandate For Growth

Interim Budget - Manifesto Of Mandate For Growth

The newly-added housing promises for middle class have scope for multiplier effect for the economy and employment.

FP News ServiceUpdated: Friday, February 02, 2024, 06:13 AM IST
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Dr. Neeta Tapan Chourey

The fourteenth Interim Budget of the nation for FY 2024-25 exuded unprecedented confidence without playing to the tune of populism despite general elections being in a very close offing. However, in about fifty seven minutes speech the Finance Minister very discretely delved upon the decadal achievements of the government with a direct statement of an expectation of a resounding mandate again. Many of the concerns of populist schemes and allocations were dispelled in the backdrop of not only strong political juggernaut status but also the promising economic growth trajectory.

The document was continuity on the path treaded upon in the last few budgets with focus on inclusivity, growth and fiscal consolidation only with a surprise of a daunting target of fiscal deficit estimated at 5.1 per cent of GDP in 2024-25. Increasing the Capital Expenditure to 3.4 per cent of GDP will spur economic growth further and probably the high performing tax revenue will more than suffice for it leading to reduction in government borrowing. The newly-added housing promises for middle class have scope for multiplier effect for the economy and employment. Agriculture and allied sector provisions cover the targets of growth, self-sufficiency, employment and exports. The health sector got a lift specifically from the angle of maternal and child care which will have clinical and economic outcome for the nation. Amidst all welfare schemes hovering in the recent announcements, it was heartening to note that women self-help groups (SHGs) got a significant boost looking at their high potential for ensuring women-led development. The corpus of Rs 1 lakh crore for very long tenure interest-free loans in the area of R&D is a welcome step. The economic railway corridors, Metro Rail projects, expansion of Vande Bharat as well as airports will enable connectivity, efficiency and comfort but the Capex figures for this area do not show an aligned increase. Green initiatives have been further intensified with Roof Top Solarisation as the major roll-out which will have several positive environmental and economic benefits. With no change in existing tax rates the withdrawal of pending tax demand of about one crore tax payers is also a subtle relief to one crore voters. Iconic tourist centres’ development by states, aspirational districts projects and provision of Rs 75k crore as fifty-year interest-free loan for Viksit Bharat milestones reaffirmed the importance of Double Engine government. The blame and the fame in the pre and post regimes were clearly underlined to set the roadmap for not just the full term Annual Budget but also for Viksit Bharat by 2047.

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