1 Feb 2024

Anticipation Mounts for FM Sitharaman's Union Budget 2024 Today: Infrastructure, Income Tax, Agriculture and Economic Growth in Spotlight

On February 1, 2024, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is set to unveil Union Budget 2024, with heightened expectations spanning infrastructure development, healthcare, education, and income tax reforms. As the Narendra Modi government strives to maintain India's robust GDP growth, the Interim Budget gains significance, given India's position as the fastest-growing major economy and its trajectory toward becoming the world's third-largest economy with a $5 trillion GDP.

Landmark allocation for infrastructure expected

The forthcoming Budget is poised to feature a landmark allocation for infrastructure, particularly focusing on roadways, highways, and Indian Railways. This aligns with the Modi government's commitment to propel economic growth through substantial investments in infrastructure. The projected capital expenditure for Indian Railways is anticipated to reach a record high of nearly Rs 3 lakh crore, continuing the practice of presenting the Railway Budget as part of the Union Budget speech since 2017.

Expectations are also high for income tax reforms

Expectations are also high for income tax reforms in Budget 2024, given the prevailing high inflation. The common man, middle class, and salaried individuals are eagerly awaiting potential relief, whether through changes in income tax slabs, rates, an increase in standard deduction, adjustments in major deductions like Section 80C, or modifications to the new income tax regime to enhance its attractiveness. Despite being an Interim Budget in an election year, experts foresee the possibility of populist measures.

Agriculture remains a central focus

India Inc is keenly watching Budget 2024 for initiatives aimed at improving the ease of doing business, with a focus on stimulating the MSME and startup sectors. Agriculture remains a central focus, and there are speculations about doubling the payout to women farmers from Rs 6,000 to Rs 12,000.

Indian economy's resilience stands out

Finance Minister Sitharaman's Budget 2024 speech may touch upon various sectors, including healthcare, defence, education, manufacturing, services, and affordable housing through the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. Amid global economic uncertainties, the Indian economy's resilience stands out. While major announcements may be limited in the Interim Budget, the government is expected to convey its commitment to sustaining growth by injecting funds, while reassuring investors of credible efforts to control the fiscal deficit.

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