Budget 2024
Highlights for Social Sector

Budget day is no different than any other auspicious event held in India. Each year people across India, from all walks of life anticipate with bated breath for the finance minister to announce what’s in store for them and how it could affect their fortunes.

The interim budget declared this year, however, was a different beast. While the purpose of this announcement was to paint a rosy picture of India’s economy ahead of the general election, there were promises made that had us intrigued.

As a fundraising platform deeply connected to varying social causes, at Let It Count we were particularly looking forward to concessions focused on the impoverished and marginalized.

We were pleasantly curious when the finance minister herself stated that the focus of this interim budget would be the poor, farmers, women, and the youth.

The budget’s been out for a while now and the promises within are out in the open for everyone to deliberate on. In this article, we want to shed light on benefits that are meant to cause the most social impact, assess their effectiveness, and also address certain areas of disappointments and missed opportunities.

Key Highlights from the Interim Budget of 2024

As we mentioned before, this budget’s main focus lies in the welfare of the Poor, Youth, Women, and Farmers. Here are the concessions, which if implemented appropriately, could end up benefiting these sections of our country immensely.

1) Benefits for Women in Budget 2024

There were a lot of expectations for Women ahead of the interim budget’s release. We are thrilled to inform you that the budget did not disappoint in this department. Here are the few key announcements made for Women in Budget 2024:

  • 30 Crore mudra yojana loans will be given to Women entrepreneurs.
  • Under the PM Awas Yojana, it was promised that over 70 percent of houses in rural areas would be rewarded to women. They’ll be able to possess it as a sole or joint owner.
  • All schemes related to child and maternal healthcare will be brought under a single comprehensive program for seamless implementation.
  • The government seems committed to addressing cervical cancer by encouraging vaccination against it for all girls falling in the age group of 9-14.
  • The budget also promised schemes that could lead to the increase of women’s participation in the workforce.
  • The budget also promised more programs that will empower women through entrepreneurship.

2. Benefits for Farmers and Agriculture

It has long been the notion that India’s farmers are its backbone. So it was nice to see Budget 2024 add some weight to this sentiment by announcing several interesting concessions for farmers and the agriculture sector as a whole.

  • A budget of Rs. 1.27 lakh Cr. has been allocated to the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare.
  • The PM-Kisan Scheme is slated to provide financial aid to over 11.8 farmers across India.
  • Over 1361 mandis will be incorporated under eNAM, which will lend support to trading volumes amounting to Rs. 3 lakh Cr.
  • Allocations for PM formalization of the Micro Food Processing Enterprises Scheme will be raised by Rs. 880 Cr.
  • Public and private investment in post-harvest activities will be encouraged by the government.
  • Allocations to the Blue Revolution will be increased, totaling Rs. 2352 Cr.
  • Promises have been made to formulate a scheme that would focus on the development of India’s dairy sector.
  • Efforts to implement Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana, which intends to enhance aquaculture productivity, create job opportunities, and double exports, will be intensified.

3. Benefits for Youth

Besides women entrepreneurship, the government’s commitment to encouraging Youth entrepreneurship becomes abundantly clear in Budget 2024.

  • A new fund that guarantees interest-free 50-year loans exhibits immense promise in making the Youth of India self-reliant.
  • Promises have been made to bolster already active schemes like Fund of Funds, Start-Up Credit Guarantee, and Start-Up India to assist youth with aspirations to become entrepreneurs.

4. Announcements for Sustainable Development

The biggest challenge in front of India today is arguably the issue of environmental degradation. Rampant littering of garbage, the pollution of water and air, etc. are all challenges that India is struggling to deal with. These issues end up affecting the underprivileged in our country to a greater degree.

As such, we were glad to see certain concessions being made in Budget 2024 in pursuit of meeting “Net Zero” goals by 2070.

  • New scheme focusing on bio-foundry and bio-manufacturing will be launched soon.
  • Rooftop solarisation will be intensified with over one crore households possibly benefiting from this initiative.
  • Coal gasification and liquefaction capacity of 100 MT to be set up by 2030
  • Financial aid will be provided for the procurement of biomass aggregation machinery.
  • Over 1.3 Cr. LED streetlights will be installed.
  • There will be phased blending of CNG, PNG, and compressed biogas.
  • More support will be provided to promote the manufacturing of electric vehicles. The government promises to put more e-buses on the road for public transport.

What We Wish the Interim Budget of 2024 Included

There is a lot in the Interim Budget 2024 that makes us optimistic about the future we are heading in as a country. The spending plans on social causes are commendable. However, there are two areas where we feel the budget falls short.

Firstly, there is absolutely no announcement made regarding sustainability in agriculture. There is no mention whatsoever of natural farming or similar practices. This omission was really disheartening. We believe a focus on sustainability in agriculture could not only help farmers immensely but also bring India closer to achieving the sustainability development goals laid out in front of it.

Another area that truly baffles us is the complete ignorance of India’s budding gig economy. The recent pandemic forced a lot of people to embrace the gig economy. Many of India’s youth today, across its urban and rural regions, are now actively participating in this economy.

Yet, there was no mention of any concessions being made in favor of India’s growing gig workforce. The government needs to think ahead of its time and realize that the gig economy could very well be the answer to addressing India’s widespread unemployment problem.

With appropriate schemes to support this economy, the government could potentially pull a large section of India’s young population out of the clutches of poverty and despair.

The Bottom Line

It is important to understand that India is a massive country with diverse socio-economic issues. The government’s fiscal constraints make it difficult to meet the country’s vast social sector requirements. So we were anticipating some areas of disappointment in the budget well before it was announced.

That said, there are many promises in this interim budget that make the government’s commitment to social progress crystal clear. We are cautiously optimistic about how these promises will be implemented.

When it comes to politics in India, words have seldom translated into action. Here’s hoping that the actual spending does not fall short of the budgetary estimates and that these promises could lead to tangible social impact in the near future.