FM seeks to win the masses with pre-poll budget sops

The last full budget of the government before the 2024 general elections seeks to pack a strong dose of welfare measures aimed at different sections of the society, add jobs through capital spending and woo the middle class with income tax sops.

The Union budget for FY24 presented by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman emphasized building a “technology-driven and knowledge-based economy with strong public finances and a robust financial sector” as India aspires to become a developed economy in the next quarter of a century.

Sitharaman spoke about creating opportunities for the youth, economic empowerment of women, offering a strong impetus to growth and job creation, and strengthening macroeconomic stability. The priorities of the Modi administration cover inclusive development, reaching the last mile, infrastrucutre and investment, unleashing the potential, green growth and youth power.

Sitharaman scaled up the target for farm credit by 11% to 20 trillion for FY24 and raised the allocation for PM Awas Yojana, the housing scheme, by 66% to 79,000 crore in FY24.

With development as the key slogan, the Modi government is betting on a massive 33% increase in capital expenditure to 10 trillion in the next financial year to continue supporting economic activities and to crowd in private investments.

The budget also proposed to raise the limit of 3 lakh for tax exemption on leave encashment on retirement of non-government salaried employees to 25 lakh, a scheme meant to benefit the salaried class.

Also aimed at improving the lives of people and giving a helping hand to small firm are proposals to enhance urban infrastructure in smaller cities with an annual allocation of 10,000 crore, a revamped credit guarantee scheme for small businesses with an outlay of 9,000 crore, a new small savings scheme, Mahila Samman Savings Certificate for women and girls and a new scheme for development of primitive vulnerable tribal groups with a budget outlay of 15,000 crore over the next three years are.

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