Interim Budget 2024-2025
The interim budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman last week was not the full budget for 2024-25. According to the political tradition, no new tax or new concessions should be announced. The government that wins the upcoming elections will submit the full budget for the year. Therefore, the Interim Budget will be an account of the past. The Interim Budget was not much of a news item until 2014, as it contained no new expenditure. It was only in 2014 that the Interim Budget became news. Why? In 2014-15, Interim Budget, which was presented by P. Chidambaram, broke the tradition and announced concessions and expenses, which made it into the news and debated. Similarly, the Modi government announced new expenditure in the 2019-20 budget and it was also discussed. Thus began the discussion of interim budgets.
The rationale behind the tradition of not announcing new taxes, concessional spending etc. in the interim budget is that the ruling government, before the election, should not impose any burden on the government elected by the people after the election. In 2014, the interim budget presented by P. Chidambaram, at the end of the Congress rule, broke the good tradition by announcing tax concessions keeping the elections in mind. J.Jayalalithaa, who was the then Chief Minister, condemned it as an act that violated the tradition. The Modi government, which presented the interim budget in 2019, also broke the tradition and announced subsidies to farmers. Both should be termed as a burden imposed by the ruling government on the post-election government. Congress, as it broke the tradition in 2014, could not object Modi’s government doing the same in 2019. Even the media did not criticize it. The Interim Budget 2024-25, has avoided tax concessions & spending as per conventions. But even in these interim budget criticisms, except for the usual comment that the government has submitted the budget responsibly by excluding expenditure and reducing the deficit, no one has pointed out that this interim budget is conventional. We are reminded of that good tradition by saying that this Interim Budget adheres to the traditions.
The Interim Budget 2024-25 has no new taxes, no new schemes, no concessions, and no expenditure. Under the ongoing Prime Minister’s Housing Scheme, 3 crore houses has been built. Saying that 2 crore more houses will be built in the next 5 years, Rs. 80,600 crores has been earmarked, which is Rs.1000 crores more when compared with current year. Rs 15 lakh crore – an increase of Rs 2.3 lakh crore – has been earmarked for investments. Political analysts say the fact that the Modi government did not make any concessions to farmers unlike 2019-20 budget reflects BJP’s confidence that Modi will win the next election.
Interim Budget 2024-25 turned out to be a rare opportunity for BJP to highlight it’s 10-year achievements to the people. BJP fully used this opportunity to capture and showcase the picture of how great the achievements of this government are, compared not only to the 10-year (2004-14) rule of the Congress, but also the entire 64-year rule of all parties since 1950.
For example, the IITs were established in the 64 years from 1950 to 2014 were 16, Modi’s regime established 7; 7 AIIMS Hospitals btween 1950-64, 15 under Modi regime; 723 universities established till 2014, 390 were established under Modi regime; 74 airports since 1950-2014, whopping new 74 more airports were established in Modi regime.
In other words, BJP has said that Modi has achieved more in 10 years than what all the governments had achieved in 64 years. Besides, compared to the 10-year Congress rule, government revenue has grown more or less 3 times under the Modi regime, the number of various poor sections has reduced from 29% in 2014 to 11.3% and 25 crore people have come out of vapoverty, the finance minister said.
Government investment as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) increased from 4% in 2014 to 18% in 2022-23; The number of women studying higher education increased by 28% and the number of women studying science and technology education increased by 43%; The number of women involved in work and business also increased by 50%; 43 crore people Rs. 22.5 Lakh Crore Mudra Loans – 30 Crores of which are Women; Housing for 3 crore homeless people – 70% of whom are women; Free cooking gas for 10 crore households; toilets for 11 crore households; Under the Ujala scheme, 38 crore LED bulbs for households, LED bulbs consume lesser electricity; 1.3 crore LED tubes for streets; Skill development training for 1.4 crore young men and women; 83 lakh loans to one crore women through SHGs; Credit to 78 lakh street traders; Rs. 2.81 lakh crore DBT to 11.8 crore farmers by opening bank accounts to 50 crore unbanked people; Rs. 2.7 lakh crore disbursement to other beneficiaries; Unemployment has come down from 6.1% to 3.2% post-corona – Nirmala listed the Modi government’s monumental achievements. Media Debate on Budget became a campaign about BJP’s achievement. India, which was ranked 10th in the world economy in 2014, has progressed past Brazil, Britain, France, Canada, and Italy in 10 years and has now reached the 5th position due to the country’s tremendous growth under the Modi regime. In annual growth numbers for 20 years, India has overtaken China as the world’s number one.
India has become a country respected by everyone in the world, to be celebrated as the engine of global development by organizations like the IMF and the World Bank, which once looked down on us.
The famous American Morning Consult research organization has been saying for past five years and also now that Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi is the most popular among the 22 most important world leaders. More the opposition parties vilify him, he is becoming most popular. They should realize that this is due to his tireless work and due to the great achievements of his government. It result in good for them and good for the country.
Note to the Reader: This article originally appeared in Thuglak Tamil Weekly Magazine. It was translated in English by Shri Venkateshwaran from Thuglak Digital for www.gurumurthy.net.