Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday, 1st February, presented the interim budget 2024. In her address, she said that the the Centre has worked with an approach to development that is “all-round, all-inclusive and all-pervasive” (‘sarvangin’, ‘sarvasparshi’ and ‘sarvasamaveshi’) and said that the trinity of “Democracy, Demography and Diversity” can help fulfil the aspirations of every Indian.
The finance minister said that the next five years will be the years of unprecedented development. The Indian economy has witnessed a profound positive transformation in the last 10 years and the people of India are looking ahead to the future with hope and optimism. Stating that her government’s vision of development covers all castes and people at all levels, the aim is to make India a ‘Viksit Bharat’ (Developed Bharat) by 2047.
Dr Vibha Dhawan, Director General, TERI, while expressing her views on the budget said that, with the slow pace of rooftop solarization in the country, the renewed thrust to accelerate the same with a host of incentives will add momentum and result in faster adoption of solar rooftops in the country. She further added, “The thrust to accelerate use of Nano DAP might be game changer in better crop growth and yield, reduced environmental burden and increased farmer profitability. This enhances the scope for similar thrust to other nano-fertilizers which have tremendous benefits for GHG emissions reduction.”
Ambassador Ajai Malhotra, Distinguished Fellow, Climate Change, TERI, said, “The Interim Budget 2024 reflects additional steps that India would be taking towards meeting its goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2070. A noteworthy new scheme of bio-manufacturing and bio-foundry would be launched shortly. The various measures would burnish India’s credentials as a country seriously pursuing green growth as it develops.”
The interim budget had mixed reactions from most of the opposition leaders.
AAP leader and Delhi Minister Atishi said that the budget proves that this is a ‘jumla’ government. PM Modi had said in 2014 that he would provide 2 crore jobs every year but not even one crore people got jobs. Today they have given a new ‘jumla’ that they will give 55 lakh jobs… No step has been taken to reduce the inflation.
Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Priyanka Chaturvedi says, “There is a huge difference between saying and doing, this is what we have been seeing for the last 10 years… There is nothing in it for the poor, women and youth. This budget has poured cold water on the expectations of the general public…”
The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) through a press release termed the budget as Modi `Development Model’ – Enriching the Rich by Squeezing the Poor. The statement further mentioned that despite the tall claims made by the Finance Minister about the state of India’s economy, the interim Union Budget for 2024-25 reveals the grim economic situation confronting India’s working people and the vicious face of the Modi government’s conception of ‘development’ which is designed to make the rich, richer and the poor, poorer. While the actual budget for 2024-25 will be the responsibility of the new Government and the Parliament to be formed after the 2024 elections, the revised figures for 2023-24 tell this story. This interim budget totally exposes the hollowness of the bombastic claims of the governmental machine of `real social justice’ incorporating working people as `partners in growth` etc. It also squeezes the livelihood of the vast majority of India’s working people to favour the maximization of profits for the few.
Commenting on the interim budget Congress MP Shashi Tharoor says, “It was one of the shortest speeches on record in the Budget. Not very much came out of it. As usual a lot of rhetorical language, very little concrete on implementation…She talked about foreign investment without acknowledging that that investment has come down significantly. She talked about a number of things which are couched in vague language like ‘confidence’ and ‘hope’ and so on. But when it comes to hard figures, very few figures available…This is going to be a very disappointing speech in terms of being couched entirely in generalities and without enough substance nor any willingness to address the specific problems of the economy…” Pic courtesy: Business Today