Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman presents interim budget for 2024-25

New Delhi : Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Interim Budget 2024-25 at Parliament on Thursday, February 1, a day after the commencement of the Budget Session. While delivering the budget, She said India’s economy is going through a transformation, focusing on the poor, youth, women, and farmers. She said her government is working towards a new ‘ Vikshit Bharat’ by 2047.

On taxation, the Union Minister kept all tax rates-direct and indirect, including import duties unchanged. The minister announced plans to bolster the electric vehicle ecosystem, emphasising infrastructure expansion and support for manufacturing. The initiative aims to create jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities, with a focus on e-buses for public transport.

She said that the Indian government will borrow less money from the market and will keep more money in the bank to lend to private sector companies, however the lending rate will be checked. She adds the government plans to set up more medical colleges by utilising existing hospital infrastructure while presenting the interim Budget for 2024-2025 and a committee will be set up to examine the matter. The interim budget includes healthcare coverage under Ayushman Bharat which will be extended to all ASHA workers, Anganwadi workers, and helpers.

On the power sector, the Minister announced schemes and upcoming policies for various sources of power generation. The mix of announcements had almost equal attention to renewable and non-renewable sources as the country continues to witness increased demand for power while staying on track with its global green goals.

She emphasized on a roadmap for ensuring a green gas based economy in India. The policy mandating phased blending of CBG and for CNG and PNG will help in greening the gas supply chain and balancing the demand-supply for clean fuels.

FN Nirmala Sitharaman said the government would launch a housing scheme for the middle class, schemes to help slum dwellers as well as those living on rent. She also said the government will give 2 crore more houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna – Gramin in 5 years.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi  hailed the interim Budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman by calling it “inclusive and innovative”. He said the Budget has a “reflection of the young aspirations of a young India”. “This interim budget is inclusive and innovative. It has the confidence of continuity. It will empower all four pillars of Viksit Bharat- Yuva (youth), Garib (poor), Mahila (women) and Kisan (farmer). This Budget gives the guarantee of making India a developed nation by 2047,” Modi said.

Amit Shah says, “The Union Budget draws the roadmap to achieve PM Shri Narendra Modi Ji’s vision of a Developed Bharat by 2047.”

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi hit out at the Centre over the Budget presented on Wednesday, claiming that it was a ‘Mitr Kaal’ Budget which does not do anything to tackle unemployment, inflation or inequality.

“‘Mitr Kaal’ Budget has: No vision to create jobs; no plan to tackle mehngai; no intent to stem inequality. 1% richest own 40% wealth, 50% poorest pay 64% of GST, 42% youth are unemployed- yet, PM doesn’t care! This Budget proves government has no roadmap to build India’s future,” Rahul Gandhi tweeted.