No changes in Income Tax rates

As expected, and in relief for the citizens, the central government neither tweaked nor put any additional tax burden on citizens, in the interim Budget for 2024-25 tabled by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

“Keeping with the convention, I do not propose to make any changes relating to taxation and propose to retain the same tax rates for direct taxes and indirect taxes including import duties,” Sitharaman said in her Budget speech on Thursday. However, certain tax benefits to start-ups and investments made by sovereign wealth or pension funds as well as tax exemption on certain income of some IFSC units are expiring in March 2024. To provide continuity in taxation, she proposed to extend the date by another year. Moreover, in line with the government’s vision to improve ease of living and ease of doing business, she announced to improve tax-payer services.

“There are a large number of petty, non-verified, non-reconciled or disputed direct tax demands, many of them dating as far back as the year 1962, which continue to remain on the books, causing anxiety to honest tax-payers and hindering refunds of subsequent years,” she said. She proposed to withdraw such outstanding direct tax demands up to Rs 25,000 for the period up to financial year 2009-10 and up to Rs 10,000 for financial years 2010-11 to 2014-15. “This is expected to benefit about a crore tax-payers,” she added.

Presenting the Union Budget 2023, Sitharaman on Thursday pegged the fiscal deficit target for 2024-25 at 5.1 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). In 2023-24, the government pegged the fiscal deficit target for 2023-24 at 5.9 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). Today, Sitharaman said that the fiscal deficit of 2023-24 was downwardly revised to 5.8 per cent. The difference between total revenue and total expenditure of the government is termed as fiscal deficit. It is an indication of the total borrowings that may be needed by the government. The government intends to bring the fiscal deficit below 4.5 per cent of GDP by the financial year 2025-26.

The government intends to bring the fiscal deficit below 4.5 per cent of GDP by the financial year 2025-26. A capital expenditure, or capex, is used to set up long-term physical or fixed assets. Last year, which was the last full Budget under the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government’s second term, the government proposed to increase capital expenditure outlay by 33 per cent to Rs 10 lakh crore in 2023-24, which was estimated to be 3.3 per cent of the GDP. With the substantial increase in capex, it is central to the government’s efforts to enhance growth potential and job creation, crowd in private investments and provide a cushion against global headwinds.

The interim budget, tabled today, will take care of the financial needs of the intervening period until a government is formed after the Lok Sabha polls after which a full budget will be presented by the new government in July. With this Budget Presentation, Sitharaman equalled the record set by former Prime Minister Morarji Desai, who as finance minister, presented five annual budgets and one interim budget between 1959 and 1964. The Budget Session of Parliament commenced on Wednesday with President Droupadi Murmu addressing a joint sitting of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. The Indian economy is projected to grow close to 7 per cent in the financial year 2024-25 which starts this April, said the Ministry of Finance in a review report. India’s economy grew 7.2 per cent in 2022-23 and 8.7 per cent in 2021-22. The Indian economy is expected to grow 7.3 per cent in the current financial year 2023-24, remaining the fastest-growing major economy.

Credit assistance to 78 lakh street vendors

Sitharaman on Thursday has announced that PM SVANIDHI, a flagship initiative focusing on street vendors has extended credit assistance to 78 lakh street vendors across the country. “PM SVANIDHI has provided credit assistance to 78 lakh street vendors, from that total, 2.3 lakh have received credit for the third time PM JANMAN Yojana reaches out Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups PM Vishakarma Yojana provides end to end support to artisans and craftspeople Scheme for empowerment of Divyang and transgender people reflects our resolve to leave no one behind,” the Finance Minister said while presenting the interim Budget 2024-25 Notably, out of this total, 2.3 lakh street vendors have received credit for the third time, showcasing the success and sustainability of the scheme, she said PM SVANIDHI, which stands for Prime Minister’s Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi, has been pivotal in providing financial support to the street vending community, enabling them to sustain and grow their businesses. In addition to PM SVANIDHI, Sitharaman shed light on the impact of PM JANMAN Yojana, which specifically targets Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs). The initiative aims to uplift these marginalized communities, offering them support and opportunities for socio-economic development. The Finance Minister also highlighted the PM Vishakarma Yojana, designed to provide end-to-end support to artisans and craftspeople. This initiative acknowledges the importance of preserving and promoting traditional crafts, contributing to the overall growth of the artisan community.

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