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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Interim Budget 2024, which focuses on four major castes ‘Garib’ (Poor), ‘Mahilayen’ (Women), ‘Yuva’ (Youth) and ‘Annadata’ (Farmer), while adhering to fiscal consolidation and sustained capital expenditure.

A full Union Budget cannot be presented in an election year due to potential leadership changes after the elections. Hence, an interim budget is necessary. Despite the absence of a constitutional provision for it, the government can seek approval for funds through the votes on account provision for the transition period (April – July) until the new government presents a complete Union Budget.

Sitharaman revised the fiscal deficit target for FY25 to 5.1% of the GDP, with no alterations to direct tax and indirect tax rates.

The Finance Minister highlighted the government’s commitment to inclusive and widespread development, aiming to make India a developed nation by 2047. The union budget prioritized fiscal consolidation, infrastructure, agriculture, green growth, and railways.

The 2024 interim union budget introduced transformative initiatives addressing economic sectors and societal challenges. It is guided by ‘Reform, Perform, and Transform’. Here are the key highlights of the Union Interim Budget 2024:

Rooftop Solarisation and Free Electricity

One crore households will have access to 300 units of free electricity monthly by adopting rooftop solarisation. Anticipated advantages include:

  • Households can save between fifteen and eighteen thousand rupees annually through free solar electricity and the potential sale of surplus power to distribution companies.
  • Charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.
  • Opening up entrepreneurship opportunities for a multitude of vendors involved in the supply and installation of solar systems.
  • Creating employment prospects for skilled youth engaged in solar technology manufacturing, installation, and maintenance.

Housing for Middle Class

Launching a scheme to assist deserving middle class sections in buying or building their own houses.

Medical Colleges

Set up more medical colleges using the existing hospital infrastructure under various departments.

Cervical Cancer Vaccination

Encouraging vaccination for girls aged 9-14 years to prevent cervical cancer.

Maternal and Child Health Care

Diverse maternal and childcare initiatives will be consolidated into a unified program to enhance coordination in implementation. The enhancement of Anganwadi centres under the “Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0” initiative will be accelerated, focusing on improved nutrition delivery and early childhood care and development.

The newly developed U-WIN platform, designed for efficient immunization management, and the intensified efforts of Mission Indradhanush will be rapidly implemented across the nation.

Ayushman Bharat

Healthcare coverage under the Ayushman Bharat scheme will be extended to all ASHA workers, Anganwadi Workers and Helpers.

Agriculture and food processing

Efforts to enhance value addition in agriculture and increase farmers’ income will intensify. To fast track sector growth, the government will further encourage private and public investment in post-harvest activities, including aggregation, modern storage, efficient supply chains, primary and secondary processing, as well as marketing and branding.

Nano DAP

Extending nano DAP application on various crops across all agroclimatic zones.

Atmanirbhar Oil Seeds Abhiyan

Expanding upon the 2022 initiative, a plan will be devised to attain self-reliance (‘atmanirbharta’) in oilseeds like mustard, groundnut, sesame, soybean, and sunflower. This strategy encompasses research on high-yielding varieties, the widespread adoption of modern farming techniques, the establishment of market linkages, procurement, value addition, and the implementation of crop insurance.

Dairy Development

More initiatives are to be undertaken to support dairy farmers. Ongoing efforts address the control of foot and mouth disease. Despite being the world’s largest milk producer, India faces low productivity in milch animals.

Matsya Sampada

Promoting investments in fisheries to generate employment opportunities with a separate department for fisheries.

Lakhpati Didi

Nearly one crore women have already achieved the status of “Lakhpati Didi.” Their success inspires them, and they will be honoured for their achievements. Encouraged by this success, the target for “Lakhpati Didi” has been increased from 2 crore to 3 crore.

Research and Innovation for Catalyzing Growth, Employment and Development

A one lakh crore rupees fund will be created through a fifty-year interest-free loan. This corpus aims to offer long-term financing or refinancing with extended tenors and minimal to no interest rates.

Additionally, a new initiative will be introduced to bolster deep-tech technologies for defence purposes, accelerating the path to self-reliance (‘atmanirbharta’).

Infrastructure Development


The following are major economic railway corridor programmes:

(1) energy, mineral and cement corridors,

(2) port connectivity corridors, and

(3) high traffic density corridors.

Forty thousand conventional rail bogies will undergo conversion to meet Vande Bharat standards, improving the safety, convenience, and comfort of passengers.


The rapid expansion of current airports and the construction of new airports will continue.

Metro and NaMo Bharat

Expansion of metro and NaMo Bharat systems will be supported in large cities, focusing on

transit-oriented development.

Green Energy

In pursuit of our ‘net-zero’ commitment by 2070, the following initiatives will be implemented:

  • Viability gap funding will be allocated to harness offshore wind energy potential, starting with an initial capacity of one gigawatt.
  • A 100 MT coal gasification and liquefaction capacity will be established by 2030 to reduce imports of natural gas, methanol, and ammonia.
  • The mandatory phased blending of compressed biogas (CBG) in compressed natural gas (CNG) for transportation and piped natural gas (PNG) for domestic use will be enforced.
  • Financial assistance will be provided for the procurement of biomass aggregation machinery.

Electric Vehicle Ecosystem

Promote manufacturing and charging infrastructure to enhance and fortify the electric vehicle ecosystem. Implement secure payment mechanisms to foster increased usage of e-buses in public transport networks.

Bio-manufacturing and Bio-foundry

An initiative in bio-manufacturing and bio-foundry is set to launch. This scheme will offer eco-friendly alternatives, including biodegradable polymers, bio-plastics, bio-pharmaceuticals, and bio-agri-inputs. Furthermore, it aims to shift the current consumptive manufacturing paradigm to one based on regenerative principles.

Blue Economy 2.0

To encourage climate resilient initiatives for Blue Economy 2.0, a program encompassing restoration and adaptation measures and an integrated and multi-sectoral approach to coastal aquaculture and mariculture will be introduced.

Comprehensive Development of Tourist Centres

States to develop iconic tourist centres, brand and market them globally, and establish a rating framework based on facility and service quality. Long-term interest-free loans, on a matching basis, will be offered to states for financing these developments.

Additionally, to boost domestic tourism and create employment, projects for port connectivity, tourism infrastructure, and amenities will be initiated on islands, including Lakshadweep.

Societal Changes

The government will establish a high-powered committee to thoroughly examine the challenges arising from rapid population growth and demographic changes. The committee will be tasked with providing comprehensive recommendations to address these challenges in alignment with the ‘Viksit Bharat’ goal.

Budget Estimates 2024-25

  • The total receipts other than borrowings and the total expenditure are estimated at INR 30.80 and INR 47.66 lakh crore, respectively.
  • The tax receipts are estimated at INR 26.02 lakh crore.
  • The scheme of a fifty-year interest-free loan for capital expenditure to states will be continued this year with a total outlay of INR 1.3 lakh crore.
  • The fiscal deficit in 2024-25 is estimated to be 5.1 per cent of GDP.
  • The revised estimates for 2023-24 include total receipts (excluding borrowings) of Rs. 27.56 lakh crores, tax receipts of Rs. 23.24 lakh crores, and a fiscal deficit of 5.8% of GDP.

Indirect and Direct Tax

No changes to taxation, retaining the same tax rates for direct and indirect taxes, including import duties.

Extend tax benefits for Start-Ups to March 31, 2025.

Union Budget Highlights 2023

Union Budget 2023 is the first budget of ‘Amrit Kaal’. The budget for 2023 takes a more people-centric agenda to take on global challenges.

The 7 Priorities for the Budget 2023

  • Inclusive Development
  • Reaching the Last Mile
  • Infra and Investment
  • Unleashing the Potential
  • Green Growth
  • Youth Power
  • Financial Sector

The 2023-24 Union Budget aims to spur growth despite worries about the global slowdown’s effects. The finance minister stated that despite the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict causing a significant slowdown globally, India’s economy is on a positive path towards a better future. India managed a 7% growth rate despite the global slump. 

The fiscal deficit is estimated to be 5.9% of GDP.

Union Budget Highlights 2023

1 – Inclusive Development

The government’s philosophy of “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas” has promoted inclusive development for specific groups such as farmers, women, youth, OBCs, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, the differently-abled, and economically weaker sections, with a focus on Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, and the North-East. This budget expands on these efforts.

Agriculture and Cooperation

  • Digital Public Infrastructure for Agriculture: To provide farmer-centred solutions for crop planning and health, access to farm inputs, credit, and insurance, crop estimation, market intelligence, and support for the agri-tech industry and startups.
  • Agriculture Accelerator Fund: To support agri-startups by young entrepreneurs in rural areas.
  • Improving Cotton Crop Productivity: A partnership between state, farmers, and industry for input supplies, extension services, and market linkages through public-private partnerships.
  • Atmanirbhar Horticulture Clean Plant Program: To increase the availability of quality planting material for high-value horticultural crops with an investment of 2,200 crores.
  • Global Millets Hub “Shree Anna”: Indian Institute of Millet Research in Hyderabad will be a centre of excellence for sharing research, best practices, and technology.
  • Agriculture Credit: The credit target will be increased to INR 20 lakh crore, focusing on dairy, animal husbandry, and fisheries.
  • Fisheries: Launching a new sub-scheme of PM Matsya Sampada Yojana with a target investment of 6,000 crores to improve the activities of fishermen, micro & small enterprises, and fish vendors, and improve value chain efficiency, and expand the market.
  • Cooperation: The government plans to set up decentralized storage capacity with the help of Primary Agricultural Credit Societies to help farmers store their produce and get better prices. The government also plans to set up cooperative societies – fishery and dairy in the next 5 years.

Health, Education, and Skilling

  • Nursing Colleges: To establish 157 new nursing colleges in conjunction with the existing 157 medical colleges.
  • Sickle Cell Anaemia Elimination Mission: Launching a mission to eliminate Sickle Cell Anaemia by 2047.
  • Medical Research: Select ICMR Labs will be available for research by private sector R&D teams and public and private medical college faculty to encourage collaboration and innovation.
  • Pharma Innovation: A new program will be taken up to promote research and innovation in pharmaceuticals through centres of excellence.
  • Medical Devices Courses: Dedicated medical device courses will be supported in existing institutions to ensure a skilled workforce for futuristic medical technologies, high-end manufacturing, and research.
  • Teacher Training: District Institutes of Education and Training will be developed as institutes to enhance teacher training.
  • National Digital Library for Children and Adolescents: A digital library for adolescents and children will be set up to provide quality books across geographies, languages, genres, and levels with device-agnostic accessibility.

2 – Reaching the Last Mile

  • Building on the success of Aspirational Districts and Blocks Programme
  • Pradhan Mantri PVTG Development Mission: Improve socio-economic conditions of the particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs).
  • Eklavya Model Residential Schools: Recruitment of 38,800 teachers and support staff for Eklavya Model Residential Schools.
  • Upper Bhadra Project: Water for Drought Prone Region with central assistance of INR 5,300 crore.
  • PM Awas Yojana: To be enhanced by 66%.
  • Bharat Shared Repository of Inscriptions (Bharat SHRI): Set up a digital epigraphy museum to digitize one lakh ancient inscriptions in phase 1.
  • Required financial support for poor prisoners for penalty amount or bail fees.

3 – Infrastructure & Investment

  • Capital Investment as a driver of growth and jobs: The government is increasing its capital investment by 33% to 10 lakh crore, which is 3.3% of GDP.
  • Effective Capital Expenditure: It is budgeted at 13.7 lakh crore or 4.5% of GDP.
  • Support to State Governments for Capital Investment: To spur investment in infrastructure and incentivize state governments, a 50-year interest-free loan will be continued for another year.
  • Enhancing opportunities for private investment in Infrastructure: The Infrastructure Finance Secretariat will help increase private investment in railways, roads, urban infrastructure, and power.
  • Railways: A capital outlay of INR 2.40 lakh crore has been provided for the Railways. The highest ever.
  • Logistics: 100 critical transport infrastructure projects will be taken up with an investment of 75,000 crores, including 15,000 crores from private sources.
  • Regional Connectivity: 50 additional airports and landing grounds will be revived for better regional air connectivity.
  • 13 Sustainable Cities of Tomorrow: Encourage states and cities to implement urban planning reforms to create a more sustainable future for our cities.
  • Making Cities ready for Municipal Bonds
  • Development of Urban Infrastructure Development Fund
  • Urban Sanitation: All towns and cities will be enabled for 100% mechanical desludging of septic tanks and sewers. The aim is to transition from manhole to machine-hole mode. Furthermore, the focus will be towards the scientific management of wet and dry waste.

4 – Unleashing the Potential

  • Mission Karmayogi:  Provide continuous learning opportunities for lakhs of government employees. Enhance the ease of doing business with lesser compliance.
  • Centres of Excellence for Artificial Intelligence: Set up three AI centres of excellence across top educational institutions to realize the vision of “Make AI in India and Make AI work for India”.
  • Development of National Data Governance Policy
  • Simplification of Know Your Customer (KYC) process.
  • One-stop solution for identifying and updating demographics using Aadhaar as foundational identity and DigiLocker service.
  • PAN will be the Common Business Identifier for all digital systems.
  • Unified Filing Process
  • Vivad se Vishwas I – Relief for MSMEs
  • Vivad se Vishwas II – Settling Contractual Disputes
  • State Support Mission: Continuation of NITI Aayog  for three years.
  • Result Based Financing: Better allocation of scarce resources for competing development needs. Financing will be changed, on a pilot basis, from ‘input-based’ to ‘result-based’.
  • E-Courts: Phase-3 of the outlay will launch E-Courts.
  • Fintech Services: The number of documents available in DigiLocker for individuals will be increased.
  • Entity DigiLocker: For MSMEs, large businesses & charitable trusts, entity Digi locker will be set up to access documents easily.
  • 5G Services: 100 new labs for developing apps using 5G services to be set up in engineering colleges to find a new range of opportunities.
  • Lab Grown Diamonds: Encourage the production of more Lab Grown Diamonds (LGD).

5 – Green Growth

  • Green Hydrogen Mission: Target is to reach an annual production of 5 MMT by 2030.
  • Energy Transition: This Budget provides INR 35,000 crore for priority capital investments. The focus is towards energy transition and net zero carbon objectives.
  • Energy Storage Projects: To drive sustainable economic growth, battery energy storage systems with a capacity of 4,000 Mega Watts will receive funding through the Viability Gap Program.
  • Renewable Energy Evacuation: The inter-state transmission system for the integration and evacuation of 13 GW of renewable energy from Ladakh will be built with an investment of 20,700 crores, including central support of 8,300 crores.
  • Green Credit Programme: The programme will be put into effect under the Environment (Protection) Act to encourage environmentally responsible actions from companies, individuals, and local bodies. This will provide incentives for sustainable behaviour and help gather additional resources for related activities.
  • Launch of PM-PRANAM: Programme for Restoration, Awareness, Nourishment and Amelioration of Mother Earth to incentivize States and UTs for balanced use of chemical fertilizers to promote alternative fertilizers.
  • GOBARdhan scheme: 500 new ‘waste to wealth’ plants under Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan scheme will be established to promote a circular economy.
  • Bhartiya Prakritik Kheti Bio-Input Resource Centres: The centre aims to support 1 crore farmers in transitioning to natural farming over the next three years. By establishing 10,000 Bio-Input Resource Centers, and building a nationwide network for micro-fertilizer and pesticide production.
  • MISHTI: ‘Mangrove Initiative for Shoreline Habitats & Tangible Incomes’, will be taken up for mangrove plantation along the coastline and on salt pan lands.
  • Amrit Dharohar: Optimize wetlands use and boost biodiversity, carbon stock, eco-tourism and income for local communities in the next 3 years.
  • Coastal Shipping: Promote it as cost-effective, energy-efficient transport via PPP with viability gap funding.
  • Vehicle Replacement: Replace old, polluting vehicles.

6 – Youth Power

  • Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana 4.0: Aim to skill lakhs of youth.
  • Skill India Digital Platform: Expand the digital skilling ecosystem with a unified platform for demand-based formal skilling, employer linkages, and entrepreneurship access.
  • National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme: Provide stipend support for 47 lakh youth.
  • Tourism: 50 destinations will be selected through a challenge mode with an integrated approach for enhancing the tourist experience. All relevant information will be available on an app, with a focus on both domestic and foreign tourists. “Dekho Apna Desh” initiative was launched to encourage the middle class to prefer domestic tourism.
  • Unity Mall: States will be encouraged to establish a Unity Mall to promote and sell their own ODOPs (one district, one product) and GI products, as well as handicraft products from other states. The mall will be located in a state capital or major tourism centre, or financial hub.

7 – Financial Sector

  • Credit Guarantee for MSMEs: The MSME Credit Guarantee scheme will begin on April 1, 2023, with a corpus infusion of 9,000 crores. 2 lakh crores of additional collateral-free guaranteed credit and a 1% reduction in credit cost.
  • National Financial Information Registry: A central repository of financial and ancillary information to be set up.
  • Financial Sector Regulations: To regulate the financial sector, public consultation will be incorporated into the regulation-making process, and existing regulations will be reviewed for simplification, ease and cost reduction. Regulated entities and the public will be asked for suggestions, and decision time limits will be set for applications under various regulations.
  • GIFT IFSC & Data Embassy
    • To enhance business activities in GIFT IFSC, the following measures will be taken:
    • Delegating powers under the SEZ Act to IFSCA to avoid dual regulation,
    • Setting up a single window IT system for registration and approval from IFSCA, SEZ authorities, GSTN, RBI, SEBI and IRDAI,
    • Permitting acquisition financing by IFSC Banking Units of foreign banks,
    • Establishing a subsidiary of EXIM Bank for trade re-financing,
    • Amending IFSCA Act for statutory provisions for arbitration, ancillary services, and avoiding dual regulation under SEZ Act, and
    • Recognizing offshore derivative instruments as valid contracts.
    • Setting up of Data Embassies in GIFT IFSC.
  • Improve Governance and Investor Protection in the Banking Sector
  • Capacity Building in the Securities Market: SEBI will regulate norms and standards for education at the National Institute of Securities Markets and have the power to recognize awarded degrees, diplomas and certificates to build capacity of securities market professionals.
  • Set up of Central Data Processing Centre
  • Integrated portal for reclaiming of shares and dividends
  • Continuous Fiscal support for Digital Payments infrastructure
  • Mahila Samman Bachat Patra: Launch of a new small savings scheme for 2 years up to March 2025, offering deposit facility up to INR 2 lakh in the name of women or girls, with a fixed interest rate of 7.5% and partial withdrawal option.
  • Senior Citizens:  Increase the deposit limit for Senior Citizen Savings Scheme to 30 lakhs and for Monthly Income Account Scheme to 9 lahks (single) and 15 lahks (joint).

Indirect Taxes

Simplification of Indirect taxes to promote higher exports, higher domestic manufacturing, more value addition to the economy and encourage green energy and mobility.

  • Green Mobility: Exempt excise duty on GST-paid compressed biogas contained in it. Customs duty exemption for import of machinery and capital goods for the manufacture of lithium-ion cells for batteries that are used in electric vehicles.
  • Electronics: Relief in customs duty on the import of certain mobile inputs and parts like a camera lens. A continued concessional duty on lithium-ion cells for batteries for another year. Reduction of the basic customs duty on TV  parts of open cells to 2.5%.
  • Electrical: The basic customs duty on the electric kitchen chimneys is being increased from 7.5% to 15%, and on heat coils, is reduced from 20% to 15%.
  • Chemicals and Petrochemicals: Exempt basic customs duty on it. The basic customs duty on acid-grade fluorspar will be reduced from 5% to 2.5% to improve the competitiveness of the domestic fluorochemicals industry. The customs duty on crude glycerin for use in epichlorohydrin manufacture will be reduced from 7.5% to 2.5%.
  • Marine products: Duty reduced on key inputs for domestic manufacture of shrimp feed.
  • Lab-Grown Diamonds: Reduce basic customs duty on LGD seeds used in their manufacture.
  • Precious Metals: Increase the import duty on bars, silver dore, and articles to align them with that on gold and platinum.
  • Metals: CRGO Steel raw materials, ferrous scrap, nickel cathode to continue being exempt from Basic Customs Duty. Copper scrap to have a 2.5% concessional BCD to ensure availability for MSME sector secondary copper producers.
  • Compounded Rubber: The customs duty on compounded rubber will be raised from 10% to 25% or 30/kg, whichever is lower, to prevent duty avoidance, matching the rate for natural rubber.
  • Cigarettes: National Calamity Contingent Duty (NCCD) is increased by about 16%.

Direct Taxes

  • MSME: Enhanced limits for micro-enterprises and professionals. They will avail benefits of presumptive taxation; 95% of receipts are non-cash. Deduction on payments is allowed only when the actual payment is made to  MSMEs.
  • Cooperatives: Extending 15% corporate tax benefits to new co-operatives, commencing manufacturing till 31st March 2024. The higher limit of 32 lahks per member for deposits & loans in cash by PACS and PCARDBs. The higher limit of INR 3 crore for TDS on cash withdrawal for co-operative societies
  • Start-ups: Extend date of incorporation for income tax benefits by 1 year, extend carry-forward of losses from 7 to 10 years on change of shareholding
  • Rationalization: Exempt certain statutory Union/State authorities, boards, commissions from income tax, extend tax benefits for funds relocating to IFSC, GIFT City till 2025-03-31.

Personal Income Tax

  • Increase in rebate limit to 7 lakh in the new tax regime. Thus, persons in the new tax regime with income up to 7 lakh will not have to pay any tax.
  • Change in Tax Slabs Under New Tax Regime
Annual Income SlabIncome Tax Rates
0 – 3 lakhs0%
3 lakhs – 6 lakhs5%
6 lakhs – 9 lakhs10%
9 lakhs – 12 lakhs15%
12 lakhs – 15 lakhs20%
More than 15 lakhs30%

A major relief to all taxpayers in the new regime. If your annual income is INR 9 lakh you will pay only INR 45,000. This is only 5% of your income. This is a reduction of 25% on what you pay now, i.e., INR 60,000.

Similarly, if your income is INR 15 lakh you will be paying only INR 1.5 lakh or 10% of your income. This is a reduction of 20% from the existing liability of INR 1,87,500.

  • For employees and pensioners, including family pensioners, enjoy the benefit of the standard deduction to the new tax regime. Each salaried person with an income of INR 15.5 lakh or more will stand to benefit by INR 52,500.
  • The highest personal tax rate is 42.74%. Reduction in the highest surcharge rate from 37% to 25 % in the new tax regime. As a result, the maximum tax rate is now 39%.
  • The higher limit on the tax exemption of leave encashment of INR 3 lakh on retirement for non-government salaried employees increased to INR 25 lakh.

Going forward, the new income tax regime is the default tax regime. However, the taxpayers will have the option to continue with the old income tax regime.

As a result of the above proposals, revenue of about INR 38,000 crore – INR 37,000 crore in direct taxes and INR 1,000 crore in indirect taxes will be forgone. At the same time, the revenue of about INR 3,000 crore will be additionally mobilized. Thus, the total revenue forgone is about INR 35,000 crore annually.