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Union Budget 2024: When will it be presented, what time, where to watch and what are various sectors expecting?

Union Budget 2024: When will it be presented, what time, where to watch and what are various sectors expecting?
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is set to present the union budget on 23rd July, at 11 am. The budget session is scheduled to last between 22nd July and 12th August. This will be FM Sitharaman's seventh consecutive budget presentation under the third term of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). All budget-related documents will be available at indiabudget.gov.in. You can watch the presentation live on Doordarshan, Sansad TV, and also on various official government YouTube channels.

With this budget, Sitharaman will only precede former PM Morarji Desai, who has presented the highest number of budget (10) till date, followed by P. Chidambaram with 9 budgets, and Pranab Mukherjee, who has 8 budgets to his credit. In her recent address in parliament, Sitharaman noted that significant social and economic decisions will be a highlight of this budget. Notably, she concluded pre-budget consultations, which began on June 19th, on July 5th, where she met 20 invitees across 10 groups, including representatives from agriculture, skill development, finance and banking, energy, infrastructure sector and more.

Key expectations from Budget 2024

Experts note that this budget will mainly focus on improving consumption, and boosting infrastructure development. Per reports, the government is also mulling raising the threshold of standard deduction under income tax regimes from the present Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh. Additionally, to boost healthcare accessibility for the underserved in the country, the government is also contemplating to double the annual coverage offered under the Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme from the present Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh over the next 3 years, along with also covering individuals aged over 70.

Mr. Tashwinder Singh, CEO & MD, Niyogin Fintech Limited, which offers credit to MSMEs, noted that upcoming regulatory changes should focus on simplifying compliance, taxation policies that encourage entrepreneurship, and incentivise innovations that drive R&D investments.

"We hope that the government takes measures to support the lending industry through access to capital and affordable interest rates, enabling entrepreneurs to realize their vision. Furthermore, we look forward to relaxed norms for NBFCs, allowing them to contribute more substantially to the economy. These measures will collectively propel India's economic growth, boost job creation, and position the Indian fintech industry as a strong contender in innovation and entrepreneurship", he continues.

As for bolstering green infrastructure and clean energy production, Ms Aditi Balbir, Co-founder, EcoRatings notes that the 2024 union budget should prioritize investments in sustainable infrastructure projects and clean energy solutions, as 70% of greenhouse gas emissions stem from energy, industry, and buildings.

"This will create a future-proof foundation for economic growth and help in achieving net-zero targets. Infrastructure is crucial in addressing climate change and meeting diverse societal needs. A transformative overhaul of our current and future infrastructure assets is essential. The budget should introduce financial incentives, such as lower interest rates on loans and dedicated grants, for companies committed to ESG compliance. This will create a clear link between sustainability efforts and economic benefits", she continued.

Focus on Agri-credit, Real Estate in Budget 2024

The government could also raise the target for agricultural loans disbursed during the year by up to 25%, setting the target at Rs 25 lakh crore. The government will also have to revamp the MSP (minimum support price) system in this space, focusing on challenges such as narrow coverage, dipping export competitiveness, discouraging private investment in this space and more.

Another area that demands significant attention is real estate. Shubhi Jain, Principal Partner & Head of CRM, Square Yards anticipates significant reforms in the upcoming budget under the new government. Securing industry status will unlock a plethora of legal and administrative benefits, along with much-needed tax incentives.

"Also, while government’s focus on affordable housing under PMAY is commendable, recalibrating strategies in light of escalating construction costs is imperative for sustained inclusiveness and effectiveness. Moreover, enhanced tax reliefs and increased deductions on home loans, currently capped at INR 2 lakhs, are pivotal in stimulating demand and supporting prospective buyers", she says.

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Budget 2024: FM might delight India's senior citizens this time around
Budget 2024 to fuel stock markets: Bloomberg Survey

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