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Budget 2024 Highlights: Defence Minister gets Budget hike, Nirmala Sitaraman presents a balanced budget

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman just presented her sixth Budget, and believe me, it was a speech to remember! It lasted just 56 minutes but was jam-packed with exciting news about Bharat’s development (Viksit). Sitharaman even followed the tradition of meeting President Murmu before presenting the Budget. Do you know what’s even more exciting? She carried a bright red ‘Bahi Khata’ and was dressed to impress in a stunning turquoise-colored embroidered Kantha silk saree.

Budget Session 2024

Are you excited about the Budget Day in India? It’s that time of the year when we eagerly wait to hear about the schemes and initiatives that could benefit us. Budget 2024 has been substituted with an Interim Budget with the upcoming elections this fiscal year. But guess what? The honourable Finance Minister, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman has announced some exciting new schemes and benefits that have satisfied the public!

This year’s Budget has a fantastic theme – “Viksit Bharat Budget 2024”. The FM highlighted the country’s aspirational goal of an Atmanirbhar Bharat (Independent India). At the same time, the Interim Budget 2024 will focus on the critical needs of low-income people, women, youth, and farmers. So, prepare to hear some exciting announcements that could positively impact your life!

What were the key highlights of Budget FY 2024-25?

The Unveiling of Budget 2024 Tax Slab

  • Sitharaman declared that the same tax rates will be maintained for direct taxes in FY 2024-25. Under the new tax regime, there will be no tax liability for taxpayers with an income of up to Rs.7 lakh.
  • The 22% tax rate for corporate taxes will be applied to existing domestic companies and 15% for certain new manufacturing companies.
  • The FM also informed that direct tax collections have more than tripled over the last ten years, with the number of return filers at 2.4 times.
  • The average processing time of tax returns has reduced from 93 days in 2013 to 14 to 10 days in 2023 to 24.
  • The FM has proposed exceeding the time limit for certain tax benefits for start-ups and investments made by sovereign wealth funds/pension funds and a tax exemption for some particular IFSC units that expire on 31st March 2024. The same has been expanded up to 31st March 2025.

GST (Goods and Services Tax)

  • The Finance Minister reported that the average monthly gross GST collection has doubled to Rs.1.66 lakh crore in FY24.
  • There has also been an increase in the tax buoyancy of state revenue from 0.72 in 2012-16 to 1.22 in the post-GST period of 2017-23.
  • Sitharaman announced that the same customs rates, including import duties, will be retained in FY 2024-25.

Viksit Bharat by 2047

This year’s Budget took on the Viksit Bharat theme, with the government visualizing a developed India by 2047. ‘Garib’ (Poor), ‘Mahilayen’ (Women), ‘Yuva’ (Youth), and ‘Annadata’ (Farmers) are the four pillars of the Viksit Bharat Budget 2024. In light of the people-centric inclusive development plan, the Finance Minister announced-

  • There will be substantive development of all forms of infrastructure – physical, digital and social.
  • Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) will promote formalization and financial inclusion.
  • The government plans to deepen and widen the tax base via GST.
  • Strengthened financial sector brought savings, credit and investment back on track.
  • A robust gateway will be set up called GIFT IFSC for global capital and financial services for the economy.
  • There will be proactive inflation management.

Garib Kalyan, Desh ka Kalyan

  • Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) has led to savings of Rs. 2.7 lakh crore.
  • Twenty-five crore people have moved out of multidimensional poverty.
  • Credit assistance has been given to 78 lakh street vendors under PM-SVANidhi.

Empowering the Youth

  • 4 crore youth have been trained under the Skill India Mission.
  • Fostering entrepreneurial aspirations of youth – 43 crore loans have been sanctioned under the PM Mudra Yojana.
  • A corpus of Rs.1 lakh crore to fund tech-savvy youth with a 50-year, interest-free loan at low or nil interest rates charged to provide financing/re-financing.

Welfare of Farmers (Annadata)

  • Immediate financial assistance has been provided to 11.8 crore farmers under PM-KISAN.
  • Crop Insurance has been provided to 4 crore farmers under PM Fasal Bima Yojana.
  • There has been an integration of 1,361 mandis under eNAM, funding a trading volume of Rs.3 lakh crore.

Nari Shakti

  • 30 crore Mudra Yojana loans have been provided to women entrepreneurs.
  • There has been an upsurge in female enrollment in higher education by 28 percent in the past 10 years.
  • There are 43% of females registered in STEM courses.
  • Eighty-three lakh SHGs aid one crore women in becoming Lakhpati Didis.

Interim Budget 2024: Strategy Shift for Amrit Kaal as Kartavya Kaal

Sustainable Development/Green Energy

The Finance Minister highlighted the need for sustainable development by committing to meet ‘Net Zero’ by 2070 under Amrit Kaal. In this regard, the FM proposed:

  • Viability gap funding is for harnessing offshore wind energy for an initial capacity of one gigawatt.
  • Setting up of coal gasification and liquefaction capacity of 100 MT by 2030
  • Phased mandatory blending of CNG, PNG, and compressed biogas for domestic purposes
  • Financial assistance for the procurement of biomass aggregation machinery
  • Further, there will be rooftop solarisation, with one crore households able to obtain up to 300 units of free electricity per month.
  • The government also plans to adopt e-buses for public transport and strengthen the e-vehicle ecosystem by supporting the manufacturing and charging of electric vehicles.
  • A new scheme of biomanufacturing and bio-foundry will be launched to support environment-friendly alternatives.
  • 3 crore LED streetlights will be installed under the SNLP scheme.
  • The Blue Economy 2.0 scheme will be launched to restore and adapt coastal aquaculture and mariculture.

Infrastructure and Investment

  • The government plans to implement three major railway corridor programs: the energy, minerals, and cement corridor, the port connectivity corridor, and the high traffic density corridor Gati Shakti. It will improve logistics efficiency and reduce costs.
  • Foreign investment will be promoted via bilateral investment treaties to be negotiated.
  • Expansion of existing airports and comprehensive development of new airports under the UDAN scheme.
  • The urban transformation will occur under the Metro Rail and NaMo Bharat projects.

Inclusive Development

The FM highlighted the need for inclusive development under Amrit Kaal, with an aspirational District Programme to assist states in faster development, including employment generation. In this regard,


  • The government is actively promoting cervical cancer vaccination for girls aged between 9-14 years.
  • The Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0 scheme would expedite the upgradation of Anganwadi centers to enhance nutrition delivery, early childhood care, and development.
  • A U-WIN platform is to be rolled out for the immunization efforts of Mission Indradhanush.
  • Health coverage under the Ayushman Bharat scheme will be extended for all ASHA and Anganwadi workers and helpers.
  • A committee will be created to study the issues faced in setting up more medical colleges in India.


  • The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Grameen) is close to achieving the target of 3 crore houses, with an additional 2 crore targeted for the next 5 years.
  • The housing for the middle-class scheme is to be launched to encourage the middle class to buy or build their own houses.


  • States will be enlightened to develop iconic tourist centers to attract business and encourage opportunities for local entrepreneurship.
  • Long-term interest-free loans are to be delivered to states to encourage development.
  • Projects for port connectivity, tourism infrastructure, and amenities will be taken up in islands, including Lakshadweep.

Agriculture and Food Processing

  • The government is set to promote private and public investment in post-harvest activities.
  • The application of Nano-DAP is to be expanded in all agro-climatic zones.
  • Atmanirbhar Oilseeds Abhiyan strategy to be formulated to achieve atma nirbharta for oilseeds.
  • A comprehensive program for dairy development is to be formulated.
  • The enactment of Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana will be stepped up to enhance aquaculture productivity, double exports, and generate more employment opportunities.

Further, five integrated aquaparks will be set up.

Interim Budget 2024: Allocations for Various Ministries and Schemes

The following allotments have been proposed for various ministries under the Interim Budget 2024:

The Ministry of Defence

6.2 INR (in lakh crore)

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways

2.78 INR (in lakh crore)

The Ministry of Railways

2.55 INR (in lakh crore)

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution

2.13 INR (in lakh crore)

The Ministry of Home Affairs

2.03 INR (in lakh crore)

The Ministry of Rural Development

1.77 INR (in lakh crore)

The Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers

1.68 INR (in lakh crore)

The Ministry of Communications

1.37 INR (in lakh crore)

The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare

1.27 INR (in lakh crore)

On the other hand, the following budgets have been proposed for significant schemes in force under the Interim Budget 2024:

  • The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme – Rs.86,000 crore
  • The Ayushman Bharat-PMJAY – Rs.7,500 crore
  • The Production Linked Incentive Scheme – Rs.6,200 crore
  • The Modified Programme for Development of Semiconductors and Display Manufacturing Ecosystem – Rs.6,903 crore
  • The Solar Power (Grid) – Rs.8,500 crore
  • The National Green Hydrogen Mission – Rs.600 crore

Major Announcements:

Income Tax:

  • The latest tax regime becomes the default, but the old regime is also available.
  • No tax will be implemented on income up to Rs 7.5 lakh in the new regime (Rebate + Standard Deduction)
  • The latest regime reduced the highest surcharge rate from 37% to 25%.
  • The New income tax slabs: 0-3 lakh (nil), 3-6 lakh (5%), 6-9 lakh (10%), 9-12 lakh (15%), 12-15 lakh (20%), 15 lakh+ (30%).


  • The Highest ever allocation: Rs 2.4 lakh crore.
  • 75 Vande Bharat trains are to be moved out by August 2023.

Capital Expenditure:

  • It has been increased by 33% to Rs 10 lakh crore.
  • To boost growth and job yield and attract private investment.


  • The Budget for defense increased by 13% to Rs 5.94 lakh crore.
  • It will focus on acquiring new weapons, aircraft, and warships.

Other Key Points:

  • The fiscal deficit target is below 4.5% by 2025-26.
  • Increased Budget for MSMEs, agriculture, education, healthcare, housing, and urban development.
  • Actions to promote ease of doing business and digital services.
  • The free food grain scheme is extended till 2024.

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