New Delhi, In a historic moment preceding the Lok Sabha elections, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Interim Budget 2024 in Parliament. Prime Minister Narendra Modi described it as “inclusive and innovative,” acknowledging the government’s commitment to navigating financial obligations until the formation of the new government post-election.
Understanding Interim Budget:
In an election year, the incumbent government refrains from presenting a full budget. The Interim Budget covers expenditures and revenues for a short period, offering insights into the financial landscape until the new government takes charge.
1. Technology Research Fund: A groundbreaking ₹1 trillion corpus has been allocated to finance research in technology. Sitharaman emphasized a new scheme strengthening deep tech technologies for defense purposes and self-reliance.
2. Railways Strategy: Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw highlighted the shift in the railways’ focus over the last decade, emphasizing investment for modernization. The allocated budget for Railways this year is ₹2.52 lakh crore.
3. Healthcare Emphasis: Dr. Naresh Trehan lauded the focus on women’s health, anganwadis, and vaccination for young girls against cervical cancer. Ayushman coverage for Anganwadi and ASHA workers was expanded, a move expected to boost morale among frontline health workers.
4. Population Growth Challenge:A high-powered committee will be formed to address challenges related to population growth, showcasing the government’s commitment to strategic planning.
5. Economic Corridors: Sitharaman announced the establishment of three major economic railway corridors to reduce congestion, contributing to improved passenger train operations and safety.
PM Modi’s Perspective:
PM Modi, while appreciating the Income-tax remission scheme’s relief for the middle class, also highlighted crucial decisions benefiting farmers. He expressed optimism about the country’s development foundation laid by the Viksit Bharat Budget.
This Interim Budget, deemed as the last of the Modi government’s second term, lays the groundwork for the financial year 2024-25. With a projected economic growth of close to 7%, optimism prevails for India’s economic trajectory.