Union Budget 2024 set to outline five-year economic agenda of Modi govt

July 08,2024

The inaugural Union budget of the third Narendra Modi administration, set to be presented in Parliament by Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on July 23, is anticipated to outline a five-year action plan.

This plan aims to elevate India to the world’s third-largest economy, further solidify its fiscal position, sustain public expenditure to boost growth, enhance ease of living, and focus on farmers, women, youth, the middle class, and vulnerable populations, people aware of the matter said asking not to be named.

Sitharaman, presenting the Budget for the seventh consecutive time, is expected to maintain a policy of “continuity with improvements”. This approach aligns with the long-term goal of transforming India into a developed economy — or “Viksit Bharat” by 2047, according to the officials.

One of these officials pointed out that Prime Minister Modi, addressing the Rajya Sabha on July 3, emphasised that the government will accelerate and expand the pace of reforms undertaken in the last decade and take them to “new heights and depths” in terms of saturation during his third term.

The Budget will prioritise poverty eradication, as stressed by the Prime Minister in his Rajya Sabha speech. “That’s why the next five years will be decisive years for the fight against poverty... and this country will be victorious in this fight against poverty. I can say with confidence based on the experience of the last 10 years,” Modi had said.

The Budget is expected to provide a roadmap for elevating India’s economy from the fifth to the third position globally. A key strategy for achieving this ambitious medium-term target is “cooperative federalism”, where the Centre will encourage states to take the lead in attracting investments and implementing transformative reforms for ease of living in their respective provinces, the second official said.

One official noted that hints of this approach were evident in President Droupadi Murmu’s address to the joint session of Parliament on June 27. The President stated, “My government will present its first budget in the forthcoming session. This budget will be an effective document of the government’s far-reaching policies and futuristic vision. Along with major economic and social decisions, many historic steps will also be seen in this budget.”

The budget will be structured around several governance principles, with “nation first” at the forefront. Other guiding principles include “justice for all, appeasement of none”, “last mile delivery”, “saturation” of welfare programmes, and positioning India as a hub in the global supply chain with a robust manufacturing base.

Key highlights of the budget are expected to include providing houses to over 30 million poor, primarily in rural India, empowering rural women through the “Lakhpati Didi” programme, and maintaining focus on the Northeast region.

The Budget is also anticipated to emphasise attracting investments – both foreign direct investments (FDI) and domestic investments. Certain sectors such as semiconductor manufacturing, startups, and green hydrogen may receive special attention. Health, education, defence, public transport, and sports are likely to remain central themes.

The finance minister concluded her pre-budget consultations on Friday, covering various social and economic sectors. “Based on the inputs and feedback from experts and stakeholders, FM will prepare a practical, people-centric, growth-oriented annual budget while laying out a comprehensive mid-term development path,” the second official said.