The Union Budget 2023 and the Interim Budget 2024 are two significant financial events that have shaped the economic landscape in India. While the Union Budget 2023 focused on fiscal consolidation, infrastructure development, and green growth, the Interim Budget 2024 aimed at increasing capital expenditure and announcing projects for rail infrastructure and self-help groups.
Union Budget 2023: Fiscal Consolidation and Infrastructure Development
The Union Budget 2023, presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, had several key highlights and objectives. The government aimed to promote fiscal consolidation, stimulate economic growth, and prioritize infrastructure development. Here are some of the significant announcements from the budget:
Per Capita Income and Indian Economy Growth
One of the notable achievements highlighted in the Union Budget was the doubling of per capita income to ₹1.97 lakh in around nine years. This reflects the positive growth trajectory of the Indian economy, which has risen from the 10th to the 5th largest in the world during the same period.
Digital Payments and Swachh Bharat Mission
The budget emphasized the government's efforts to promote digital payments and enhance cleanliness through the Swachh Bharat Mission. It was revealed that 7,400 crore digital payments worth ₹126 lakh crore were conducted through UPI in 2022. Additionally, 11.7 crore household toilets were constructed under the Swachh Bharat Mission, contributing to improved sanitation facilities across the country.
Infrastructure and Railways
Infrastructure development, especially in the railway sector, received significant attention in the Union Budget. The government allocated a record-breaking capital outlay of ₹2.40 lakh crore for the Railways, which is about nine times the outlay made in 2013-14. This substantial investment aimed to enhance the efficiency and connectivity of India's rail network.
Tax Reforms and Personal Income Tax
The Union Budget proposed changes in the tax structure to provide relief to taxpayers. The rebate limit of Personal Income Tax was increased to Rs. 7 lakh from the existing Rs. 5 lakh in the new tax regime. This meant that individuals with income up to Rs. 7 lakh would not have to pay any tax. Furthermore, the number of income slabs was reduced from six to five, and the tax exemption limit was increased to Rs. 3 lakh, benefiting taxpayers in the new regime.
Also Read Union Budget 2023 Highlights
Interim Budget 2024: Increased Capital Expenditure and Project Announcements
The Interim Budget 2024, presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, focused on increasing capital expenditure and announcing projects for various sectors. Let's explore the key announcements made in the Interim Budget:
Tripling Capital Expenditure and Economic Growth
To fuel economic growth and employment creation, the Interim Budget emphasized the substantial increase in capital expenditure over the past four years. The outlay for the next year was increased by 11.1 percent to 11.11 lakh crore, which amounted to 3.4 percent of the GDP. This increased expenditure aimed to have a significant multiplier effect on economic growth.
Tax Collections and Processing Time
The Interim Budget highlighted the significant growth in tax collections over the past decade. The Finance Minister noted that tax collections have more than doubled in the last ten years, showcasing the government's efforts to enhance revenue generation. Additionally, the average processing time of tax returns was reduced to 10 days, providing a more efficient tax filing experience for individuals and businesses.
Rail Infrastructure and Self-Help Groups
The Interim Budget introduced several initiatives to strengthen rail infrastructure and empower self-help groups (SHGs). The government announced the conversion of 40,000 normal rail bogies into Vande Bharat, enhancing safety, convenience, and comfort for passengers. Moreover, the success of SHGs in transforming the rural socio-economic landscape led to an increase in the target for 'Lakhpati Didi' from 2 crore to 3 crore, further empowering women through self-reliance.
Renewable Energy and Electric Vehicles
In line with India's commitment to renewable energy, the Interim Budget focused on harnessing offshore wind energy potential and promoting electric vehicles (EVs). The government planned to provide viability gap funding for offshore wind energy projects and aimed to set up a coal gasification and liquefaction capacity of 100 MT by 2030. These initiatives aimed to reduce imports of natural gas, methanol, and ammonia while promoting sustainable energy sources.
Also Read Budget 2024 Highlights
The Union Budget 2024 and the Interim Budget 2024 played crucial roles in shaping India's economic landscape. While the Union Budget focused on fiscal consolidation, infrastructure development, and tax reforms, the Interim Budget emphasized increased capital expenditure and project announcements. Both budgets showcased the government's commitment to economic growth, job creation, and improving the standard of living for the citizens of India. By analyzing the key highlights and objectives of each budget, we gain valuable insights into the financial policies and priorities of the Indian government.