The Union Budget 2024 was presented by the Indian Finance Minister on 1 February. Since the full Budget will be presented by the Government after the general elections, only an interim budget was put before the Indian Parliament.
The Interim Budget 2024 outlines key priorities for the country’s development, highlighting key areas of focus for growth and development. Emphasising infrastructure, the government plans to implement major railway corridors, expand regional infrastructure and develop airports under various schemes. In agriculture, there's a push for private and public investment in post-harvest activities. The budget also earmarks a significant corpus for interest-free loans to tech start-ups, while prioritizing green energy with support for wind energy projects, biomass aggregation, and coal gasification. Additionally, measures to promote electric vehicles and rooftop solarization signal a commitment to sustainable development. The following initiatives, coupled with focus on attracting investment, reflect a forward-looking approach.
- The Government of India proposes to implement three major railway corridors under PM Gati Shakti programme to improve logistics sector.
- The Government of India proposes to undertake necessary measures to expand regional railway infrastructure including Metro and Regional Rapid Transit Services.
- The Government of India seeks to expand existing airports and develop new airports under UDAN scheme.
- The Government of India aims to encourage private and public investment in post‑harvest activities such as modern storage, efficient supply chains and marketing.
- A corpus of one lakh crore rupees to be established by the Government of India to grant 50-year interest free loans to tech start-ups and entities.
- The Government of India will provide financial support in the form of viability gap funding for offshore wind energy projects with initial capacity of 1 GW.
- The Government of India will also provide financial assistance for procurement of biomass aggregation machinery to support collection.
- The Government of India seeks to reduce import of natural gas, methanol and ammonia by establishing coal gasification and liquefaction capacity of 100 MT by 2030.
- The blending of compressed biogas in compressed natural gas for transport and piped natural gas for domestic purposes will become mandatory in a phased manner.
- The Government of India seeks to expand electric vehicle ecosystem by establishing necessary infrastructure and encouraging e-buses for public transport networks through payment security mechanism.
- The Government of India aims to achieve rooftop solarization of one crore households that will enable them to obtain up to 300 units of free electricity every month and generate employment opportunities.
In addition to the Government’s continued focus on infrastructure, announcements related to green energy, support for start-ups, measures for promoting agriculture, defence related deep technologies and EV ecosystem, etc. are indicators of areas which may drive policy changes. The measures also seem to be aimed at promoting inbound investment in India in line with the ‘Make in India’ initiative.