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Union Budget 2024-25 to be presented in Lok Sabha on July 23

Considering the fractured mandate in the recently held Lok Sabha elections and the upcoming Assembly elections, the Finance Minister will also be under pressure to boost spending on social welfare schemes like housing, food and fertiliser subsidies and doles to farmers.
Last Updated : 06 July 2024, 10:26 IST

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The Budget Session 2024 of the Parliament will run from July 22 to August 12 and the full budget for the financial year 2024-25 will be presented on July 23, Parliamentary Affairs minister Kiren Rijiju announced on Saturday.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who is the only woman to be a part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet since 2014, is set to present her seventh budget in a row, surpassing former Prime Minister Morarji Desai’s record of 6 consecutive budgets between 1959 and 1964.

The budget— the first major policy announcement under the third-term of the Modi government— is expected to lay the roadmap of the Modi 3.0 government, which is dependent on allies.

Two key allies N Chandrababu Naidu-led TDP and Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) have been pitching for enhanced financial support for their respective states.

Naidu on Friday met Sitharaman and presented detailed demands for enhanced allocation for Andhra Pradesh. JD(U) is also seeking special category status or a special package for Bihar.

Considering the fractured mandate in the recently held Lok Sabha elections and the upcoming Assembly elections, the Finance Minister will also be under pressure to boost spending on social welfare schemes like housing, food and fertiliser subsidies and doles to farmers.

A windfall dividend of Rs 2.1 lakh crore from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and surge in tax collections, especially goods and services tax (GST), provide room for enhanced spending on infrastructure development and social welfare while maintaining fiscal discipline.

In pre-budget consultation meetings, industry chambers and other stakeholders have suggested an increase in capital expenditure (capex) by at least 25 per cent over the previous year.

In the interim budget presented in February, the government proposed to bring down the fiscal deficit from 5.8 per cent of the GDP in 2023-24 to 5.1 per cent in 2024-25. The Finance Minister may use part of the RBI’s windfall dividend to further lower the fiscal deficit target, analysts said.

It will be interesting to see how the Modi government addresses the demands of allies, the TDP and the JD(U). Opposition-ruled states like Karnataka, Kerala and West Bengal have been consistently attacking the Modi government for discrimination in allocation and release of central funds.

Opposition parties are likely to further up the ante if special allocations are made to Andhra Pradesh and Bihar and their demands are ignored.

The Budget session is likely to be stormy if one goes by what happened during the first session of the new Lok Sabha, with the ruling and Opposition sides at loggerheads.

The Opposition I.N.D.I.A will be demanding election for the post of Deputy Speaker.

Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha floor leader Derek O'Brien set the tone for the Opposition saying, it is the government's duty to run Parliament smoothly in the Budget session.

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Published 06 July 2024, 10:26 IST

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