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Interim Budget 2024 highlights: No populist measures, tax rates unchanged in general election year

Beginning her budget speech, Sitharaman emphasized the remarkable transformation witnessed by the Indian economy over the past decade. 

Interim Budget 2024: No tweaks to income tax; A look at key highlights AJR
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First Published Feb 1, 2024, 12:37 PM IST

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman delivered the Interim Budget 2024 against the backdrop of the impending Lok Sabha elections, marking her sixth consecutive budget presentation. This achievement puts her on par with former Finance Minister Morarji Desai. Despite expectations, the Finance Minister refrained from announcing any populist measures, maintaining the status quo on tax rates for both direct and indirect taxes. Sitharaman articulated a vision for the coming years, forecasting unprecedented growth over the next five years. The government has set an ambitious capital expenditure target of Rs 11.11 lakh crore. 

Beginning her budget speech, Sitharaman emphasized the remarkable transformation witnessed by the Indian economy over the past decade. 

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Here are the key highlights from Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's speech:

1. The revised fiscal deficit is at 5.8% of the GDP for 2023-24 (FY24). Fiscal deficit in FY25 is expected to be 5.1% of GDP. The target is to reduce the fiscal deficit to below 4.5% of the GDP in 2025-26 (FY26).

2. No changes to income tax slabs.

3. The number of tax filers swelled by 2.4 times, Sitharaman said. The direct tax collection has trebled since 2014. In 2024-25, the tax receipts are projected at Rs 26.02 lakh crore.

4.  The Finance Minister has announced 2 crore more houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Gramin ( PMAY-G).

5. For our tech-savvy youth, this will be a golden era. A corpus of Rs 1 lakh crore will be established with 50-year interest free loan provided. The corpus will provide long term financing and re-financing with long tenures at low or nil interest rates.

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6. We need to have programmes that combine the powers of our youth and technology. A new scheme will be launched for strengthening deep tech technology for defence purposes and expediting atma nirbharta.

7. Making triple talaq illegal, reservation of 1/3rd seats for women in Lok Sabha and state assemblies, and giving over 70 per cent houses under the PM Awas Yoajana in rural areas to women have enhanced their dignity.

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