New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman decided to stick to the path of fiscal consolidation path as she pushed for economic growth and inclusive development in the interim Budget 2024-25 presented in Parliament on Thursday.
The Finance Minister has reduced the fiscal deficit target to 5.1 per cent of GDP for 2024-25 while increasing the government’s capital expenditure on big infrastructure projects to push the economic growth rate. This has been made possible due to the robust increase in tax collections in a fast-growing economy.
The allocation for big infrastructure projects to be taken up in 2024-25 has been raised to Rs 11.1 lakh crore which is an 11.1 per cent increase over the previous year.
The gross market borrowing of the government has been fixed at Rs 14.13 lakh crore while the net market borrowing is proposed at RS 1.75 lakh crore which is lower than the corresponding figure for 2023-24.
“Lower market borrowings by the government will leave more funds for private sector corporates to get loans for investment which will accelerate the country’s economic growth further,” the Finance Minister said in her Interim Budget speech.
The Interim Budget has also created a corpus of Rs 1 lakh crore for a 50-year interest-free loan for the farm sector.
The Finance Minister said that she was making any changes in the direct or indirect tax rates in the interim budget.
Sitharaman said that the Indian economy has witnessed a transformational change and fruits have development have started reaching people at a mass scale.
“The Modi government’s polcy of inclusive development and growth is a deliberate departure from the past governments. Housing water electricity, bank accounts cooking gas have been provided for all. Worries of food have been eliminated with free food for 83 crore people and real incomes have increased,” she said.
She said the government was committed to social justice with all-round development that would improve the capability of the people and empower them.
“Social justice is a necessary model and the government’s saturation approach reflects secularism in action that prevents corruption and nepotism. Opportunity for all. Systemic inequality is being addressed for social transformation,” she said.
Top priority is being given to empower four segments that include the poor, women, youth and farmers for the support of the government, she added.