Interim Budget by Nirmala Sitharaman Imminent, with Emphasis on Elections

Interim Budget

Interim Budget 2024: Nirmala Sitharaman to unveil the budget amid upcoming Lok Sabha elections scheduled for April-May. All sectors, from corporate leaders to the general public, will keenly watch as the Union Finance Minister presents the Interim Budget in Parliament today. Salaried taxpayers are anticipating adjustments in income tax slabs and increased deductions.

Here are the key highlights of this significant development: Nirmala Sitharaman is set to present her sixth consecutive budget, matching the record held by former Prime Minister Morarji Desai. Morarji Desai, during his tenure as finance minister, delivered five annual budgets and one interim budget between 1959 and 1964.

The Finance Minister also achieved the milestone for the lengthiest Budget speech, delivering a speech that lasted 2 hours and 42 minutes in 2020.

Nirmala Sitharaman is slated to present the Interim Budget for 2024, with the Lok Sabha elections scheduled for April-May. The complete Budget will be unveiled by the newly elected government.

Before the commencement of the Budget Session of Parliament on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed optimism about securing a third consecutive victory. He stated that the complete budget would be presented by a government led by the BJP once it is formed following the Lok Sabha polls.

Analysts noted that Nirmala Sitharaman and the BJP must navigate carefully, balancing the need to appease diverse segments of the population in an election year while also maintaining fiscal discipline to control the fiscal deficit.

As an interim budget, substantial policy alterations or significant announcements might not be imminent, but the anticipation remains high.

Salaried taxpayers are optimistic about potential modifications in income tax slabs, an increased standard deduction limit, and raised exemptions under Sections 80C and 80D.

Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are anticipating government initiatives aimed at streamlining regulatory procedures, alleviating compliance burdens, and facilitating enhanced access to loans.

Speaking in a joint session of Parliament on Wednesday, President Droupadi Murmu emphasized the government’s commitment to realizing the aspirations of the 1.4 billion citizens.

Nevertheless, members of the opposition contended that the government had crafted an “election speech” for the President and argued that critical issues like income inequality, unemployment, and inflation were left unaddressed.

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