In her Budget 2024 speech, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman revealed the government's plans to amp up infrastructure spending by 11% in the upcoming fiscal year while also keeping a close eye on the fiscal deficit. The aim is to strike a balance between boosting development and managing finances responsibly.
Nirmala Sitharaman laid out a roadmap for the next five years, with a focus on key areas such as housing, electricity accessibility, and healthcare, particularly for women. Thanks to increasing tax revenue, the government intends to tighten the purse strings while aiming to reduce the budget deficit to 5.1% in the next financial year, down from the projected 5.8% for the current fiscal year ending in March.
In the interim budget, which comes before a new administration, Sitharaman allocated Rs 11.1 lakh crore to capital spending, marking an 11.1% increase from the previous year. She assured support for sectors prioritized by Prime Minister Modi, including farmers, youth, women, and the underprivileged, envisioning 'unprecedented development' over the next five years.
Here are some key highlights from Budget 2024:
- Introduction of the "Housing for Middle Class" scheme to encourage middle-class individuals to buy or build homes.
- Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Grameen) nearing its target of 3 crore houses, with an additional goal of 2 crore houses set for the next five years.
- Acceleration of Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0 programs to improve nutrition delivery and early childhood care.
- Promotion of cervical cancer vaccination for girls aged 9-14.
- Expansion of health coverage under the Ayushman Bharat scheme to include all ASHA, Anganwadi workers, and helpers.
- Relief for taxpayers with the withdrawal of outstanding direct tax demand, benefiting around 1 crore taxpayers.
- Facilitating rooftop solarization for 1 crore households, offering up to 300 units of free electricity per month.
- Fast-tracking Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0 for improved nutrition delivery and early childhood care and development.
- Expansion of existing airports and comprehensive development of new airports under the UDAN scheme.
- Implementation of three major railway corridor programs under PM Gati Shakti to enhance logistics efficiency and reduce costs.