Budget Highlights 2024: Rooftop solarisation, housing for middle class, charging of EVs

Confident Modi chooses prudence ahead of polls in no-surprise budget
Confident Modi chooses prudence ahead of polls in no-surprise budget

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the interim budget ahead of the conclusion of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, marking her sixth budget as the finance minister and the final one in the second term of the Modi government.

Sitharaman followed the customary protocol by meeting with President Droupadi Murmu before unveiling the pre-election budget for 2024-25. After meeting with the President at Rashtrapati Bhawan, she proceeded to Parliament.

The 2024 interim budget introduced a range of transformative initiatives aimed at strengthening various sectors of the economy and tackling pressing societal issues. From innovative schemes promoting the adoption of renewable energy to strategic investments in healthcare and agriculture, this budget outlines a vision for inclusive growth and sustainable development.

Here are the key highlights from the 2024 interim budget:

Rooftop solarisation and free electricity: Approximately 1 crore households will benefit from rooftop solarisation, receiving up to 300 units of free electricity monthly, leading to potential savings of Rs. 15,000 – Rs. 18,000 and opportunities to sell surplus electricity.

Electric vehicle charging: Entrepreneurship opportunities for vendors and employment prospects for youth skilled in manufacturing, installation, and maintenance of electric vehicles.

Promotion of post-harvest activities: Government support for private and public investment in post-harvest activities, including aggregation, modern storage, supply chains, processing, marketing, and branding.

Expansion of Nano DAP application: Following the success of nano urea, the application of Nano DAP on various crops will be expanded across all agroclimatic zones.

Housing for the middle class: Introduction of a scheme to assist deserving sections of the middle class residing in rented houses, slums, chawls, or unauthorized colonies to purchase or construct their own homes.

Expansion of medical colleges: Plans to establish more medical colleges by utilizing existing hospital infrastructure, with a committee to be formed for examination and recommendations.

Vaccination for girls: Encouragement of vaccination for girls aged 9 – 14 years to prevent cervical cancer.

Comprehensive maternal and child healthcare programme: Integration of various schemes under maternal and child healthcare into a single comprehensive programme for improved implementation synergy.

Extension of Ayushman Bharat coverage: Extension of healthcare coverage under Ayushman Bharat to all ASHA workers, Anganwadi workers, and helpers.

Agriculture and food processing: Increased efforts in value addition to enhance farmers’ income, with a focus on reducing post-harvest losses and improving productivity and incomes.

Aatma Nirbhar Oilseeds Abhiyan: Strategy formulation to achieve self-reliance in oilseeds through research, adoption of modern farming techniques, market linkages, and crop insurance.

Dairy development programme: Development of a comprehensive programme to support dairy farmers, leveraging existing schemes to boost productivity.

Matsya Sampada: Promotion of investments in fisheries to create employment opportunities, with a separate department established for fisheries under the government’s initiative.

Promoting investments: Measures to encourage sustained foreign investment, including negotiating bilateral investment treaties and providing Rs. 75,000 crores as interest-free loans to support milestone-linked reforms by state governments.

Societal changes: Establishment of a high-powered committee to comprehensively address challenges arising from population growth and demographic changes, providing recommendations for comprehensive solutions.

Revised estimates for 2023-24: Revised estimates indicate total receipts other than borrowings at Rs. 27.56 lakh crores, with tax receipts amounting to Rs. 23.24 lakh crores. The revised estimate of the fiscal deficit stands at 5.8% of GDP.

Tax proposals: Sitharaman proposed to maintain the same tax rates for direct and indirect taxes, including import duties, without making any changes relating to taxation.