1 Feb 2024

Nirmala Sitharaman Presents Interim Budget, Disappointment for Middle Class No Relief in Income Tax, These Are Other Key Highlights

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled the final budget of the Narendra Modi government's second term, focusing on various aspects without altering the income tax slabs or introducing new exemptions for taxpayers.

While maintaining the existing income tax structure, Sitharaman extended the tax exemption for startups for an additional year. During her address, she highlighted the achievement of one crore women becoming Lakhpati Didis, expressing the goal of reaching three crore in the future.

Sitharaman emphasized the government's commitment to a duty-bound approach for the next 25 years. The budget speech, lasting approximately an hour, marked a contrast to her longest speech in 2020, which lasted two hours and 40 minutes.

The budget unveiled several key points, including:

Four crore farmers benefiting from crop insurance

A 50% increase in average real income

Achieving One Nation One Market One Tax through GST

India's leadership in the G-20 during challenging times

Plans for inclusive development, following the mantra of reform, perform, and transform

Additionally, the government outlined various initiatives and schemes, such as:

PM Swanidhi providing loan assistance to 78 lakh street vendors

Offering 300 units of free electricity to one crore families with solar systems

Introducing a scheme for the middle-income group to facilitate home buying and construction

Expansion of medical education with new medical colleges and enhanced hospital infrastructure

Vaccination for girls aged 9-14 years to prevent cervical cancer

Extending Ayushman Bharat benefits to Asha workers and Anganwadi workers

Development of high-traffic corridors in railways for increased speed and safety

Production of 40 thousand railway bogies in the Vande Bharat category

Doubling the number of airports in the last decade to 149

Sitharaman began her speech by acknowledging the unprecedented changes in the Indian economy over the past 10 years. Despite facing significant challenges in 2014, the government successfully implemented structural reforms, paving the way for a transformed economic landscape.

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