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Central Budget 2024

Central Budget 2024

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The country is waiting with bated breath for the Central Budget. Everybody hopes and wants to know if this time around, prices will come down, some tax exemption can happen, and relief to the middle class. Many are waiting for something sensational that might happen. President Droupadi Murmu has further enhanced the expectations of the people. What did she say regarding the budget? Let’s find out.

What did President Droupadi Murmu say?

President Droupadi Murmu said, “This first budget by the new government shall have far-reaching economic and social decisions. Some of these shall be historical.” Due to the reforms undertaken by the government, from being the 11th largest economy a decade ago, today India has grown to be the 5th. The aim now will be to become the 3rd largest economy. The words sound like certain sensational decisions will be made in the forthcoming budget. So, what are the common man’s expectations from the central government?

**Broad Expectations from the Budget:**

There are three major sectors that are building pressure on FM’s head: MSMEs, the agricultural sector, and exports.

**1. Agricultural Sector:** There is a demand for increasing budget allocations to the agricultural sector. This includes increasing funding for agricultural research, subsidies on fertilizers, and infrastructure building. The major demand is allocation of substantial funds to bring changes in agricultural sector so that it can sustain the change in climate. The finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, has already done insinuations for the same to the leaders of farmers’ associations and experts. The main demand is to enhance the budget for Indian Council of Agricultural Research from ₹9,000 crore to ₹20,000 crores. This is paramount considering the unpredictable weather patterns and hence the need to invent seeds that would survive through such changes. 2. MSME Sector:**

The MSME sector has urged the budget to facilitate an integrated package for them. They wanted that hurdles in accessing financial aid be removed, revision in the 45-day payment rule, set-up of international trade and disaster support mechanisms, and availability of sops.

**3. Exports:**

The exporters have also placed several demands before the central government. They are seeking financial support to increase exports to US$2 trillion by 2030. Moreover, the interest equalization scheme on pre and post-shipment credit needs to be extended.

It will also be seen how the central government will act on these demands and what provisions it has provided in the budget. The focus would be on allocations for health, defence and other sections. But the moot question is the relief it will provide to middle class, the nation’s backbone.

The tax-paying middle class eagerly awaits some relief. There may be some relief on this front, with the standard deduction limit likely to be increased in the new tax regime. It does not mean a change to the old regime, which is unlikely to be modified.

Prices of items are increasing, along with hospital expenses and children’s education costs, so the middle class is truly battered. Hence they are demanding exemption from taxes. In fact, the new tax regime, introduced in 2023’s budget, in which people earning up to ₹7 lakh need not pay anything as tax comes with a standard deduction of ₹50,000 that can be claimed without any proofs, and those earning an income of up to ₹7.5 lakh get some relief with this standard deduction.

In the old regime, though income beyond ₹3 lakh was to be taxed at 5%, it had many exemptions which would considerably reduce the overall tax burden. The removed those exemptions under the new regime. It was the demand from the middle class towards increasing either the limit from the new regime or standard deduction under it. They felt extra, continuous burden from the taxations on things like salt and lentils in everyday life and look forward to some reliefs.

Will Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman take these pleas into consideration? Will this NDA government, at long last, pamper the middle class? 

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