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Highlights of the Union Budget 2023-24

The Union Budget 2023-24 focuses on infrastructure development with a substantial increase in capital expenditure and allocates significant funds for agriculture and rural development.

  • 9,701 Views | Updated on: Mar 20, 2024

The expected GDP growth for India in 2023–2024 is projected to range between 6.8% and 7.0%, contingent upon global economic and political developments. Presenting the annual financial report to the Parliament, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman introduced the “Union Budget of 2023–24, the first budget in Amrit Kaal,” describing the government’s revenue and expenditure plans for the upcoming fiscal year.

The Union Budget 2023-24 has been heralded as a pro-people and pro-market Budget. The Union Budget outlined the government’s plans and policies for the upcoming financial year. It endeavored to build on the foundation laid in the previous Budget.

The Union Budget 2023-24 emphasized a boost for technology, green growth, infrastructure, and macroeconomic stability & facilitated ample tax opportunities for citizens, especially youth, with a strong impetus to job creation. This important document acts as a road map for developing the country’s economy and outlines the government’s intentions for social welfare, public services, and economic growth.

The Theme of Indian Union Budget 2023

The theme of the Indian Union Budget 2023 is poised to address the nation’s multifaceted challenges and opportunities. As the government unveils its vision, the budget is expected to reflect a forward-looking approach, balancing short-term economic recovery with long-term sustainability and inclusive growth.

The Vision For Amrit Kaal

A technology-driven and knowledge-based economy with sound public finances and a thriving financial sector are all part of the government’s vision for Amrit Kaal. Jan Bhagidari through Sabka Saath Sabka Prayas is necessary to accomplish this. The three main objectives of the economic plan for realizing this goal are

  • Opportunities for citizens with a focus on the youth
  • Growth and job creation
  • Strong and stable macroeconomic environment

Saptarishi - 7 Priorities

The seven priorities included in the budget work well together and serve as our “Saptarishi” as they lead us through the Amrit Kaal.

1. Inclusive Development

  • Inclusive Development
  • Building an accessible, inclusive, and informative solution for farmers
  • Encouraging and innovative start-ups in rural areas
  • Boosting production of high-value horticultural crops
  • Enhancing farmer’s remuneration by enabling sales at appropriate times
  • Agricultural targeting of ₹20 lakh crore in Animal Husbandry, Dairy, and Fisheries sector
  • Making India a global hub for millets: ‘Sree Anna’
  • Health Sector
  • 157 new nursing colleges to be established
  • Sickle Cell Anaemia elimination mission to be launched
  • A new program to promote research in Pharmaceuticals is to be launched
  • Joint public and private medical research to be encouraged via select ICMR labs
  • Education and Skilling
  • Revamped teachers’ training via district institutes of education and training
  • A national digital library to be set up for children and adolescents
  • Stats will be encouraged to set up physical libraries at Panchayat and ward levels
  • Inclusive Developments Achievements

  • Cash transfer of ₹2.2 lakh crore to over 11.4 crore farmers under PM-KISAN
  • Insurance cover for 44.6 crore persons under PMSBY and PMJJBY
  • 47.8 crore PM Jan Dhan bank accounts
  • 220 crore Covid vaccinations of 102 crore persons
  • 9.6 crore LPG connections under Ujjawala
  • 11.7 crore household toilets constructed under SBM
  • 9 crore drinking water connections to rural houses

2. Reaching The Last Mile

  • Pradhan Mantri Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) Development Mission to be launched
  • Financial assistance to be given for sustainable micro irrigation in drought-prone regions of Karnataka
  • More teachers to be recruited for 740 Eklavya Model Residential Schools
  • Bharat (Shared Repository of Inscriptions) to be set up for digitization of ancient inscriptions

3. Youth Power - AMRIT PEEDHI

  • PMKVY 4.0 is to be launched, covering courses like coding, AI, robotics, and 3D printing
  • 50 destinations to be developed as a complete package for domestic and foreign tourists
  • States will be encouraged to set up Unity Malls for the promotion and sales of One District, One Product, GI, and handicraft products

4. Financial Sector

  • Setting up a national financial information registry
  • Setting up a central data processing center
  • Credit guaranteed scheme for MSMEs
  • Mahila Samman Bachat Patra
  • Benefits of Senior citizens

5. Fiscal Management

  • 50 years of interest-free loans to states
  • 3.5% of GSDP allowed for States
  • Target Fiscal deficit to be below 4.5 by 2025

6. Green Growth

  • 500 new waste-to-wealth plans to be established
  • PM Program for Restoration, Awareness, Nourishment, and Amelioration of Mother Earth (PM-PRANAM) to be established
  • Green Credit Program under EPA to incentivize sustainable actions
  • Mangrove Initiative for Shoreline Habitats and Tangible Incomes (MISHTI) to be taken up for sustainable ecosystem development

7. Unleashing The Potential - Trust-based Government

  • Three specialized AI centers are to be set up in educational institutes
  • National Data Governance Policy to be introduced3.E-courts to be launched
  • 100 labs for 5G services-based application development
  • R&D grant for Lab Grown Diamonds (LGD) sector

Highlights of the Union Budget 2023-24

The Union Budget 2023 presents a comprehensive approach to strengthening the country’s economy and promoting growth. The budget’s emphasis on agriculture, rural development, women empowerment, entrepreneurship, infrastructure, healthcare, and education is commendable. Some of the major highlights of Union Budget 2023 are as follows:

1. Updated Structure of Direct Taxes

A long-awaited revised tax slab has been introduced in the Union Budget, bringing about significant changes in the income tax slabs under the new tax regime. The salaried class in India had been anticipating a simplified and easily compliant direct tax structure. According to the revised regulations, individuals are exempted from paying income tax on earnings up to ₹7 lakh p.a. in the new tax regime, providing relief through rebates.

2. Surcharge Relief for High Net Worth Individuals (HNIs)

The surcharge imposed on income tax for high-net-worth individuals earning over ₹ 5 crore was previously set at a substantial 37%. Under the new tax regime, this surcharge has been reduced to 25%, resulting in an effective tax rate decrease of 39%, down from the previous 42.74%.

3. Concentrating on Infrastructure Advancement

Experiencing a substantial increase, the capital expenditure (capex) has reached ₹ 10 lakh crore, marking a 33% surge from the budget estimate of ₹ 7.5 lakh crore for 2022-23. The government’s ₹ 1.10 lakh crore allocation for infrastructure development encompasses roads, railways, airports, ports, and highways.

The Finance Minister emphasized that investments in infrastructure and productive capacity significantly affect growth and employment, fostering job creation and economic stimulation. The proposal includes establishing new medical colleges and hospitals to enhance healthcare facilities, while ₹10,000 crore annually is earmarked for urban infrastructure development. Moreover, the government plans to revive 50 additional airports, helipads, water aero drones, and advanced landing grounds to improve regional air connectivity.

4. Enhancing Agriculture and Rural Economy

The budget prioritizes agriculture with various initiatives to support farmers and rural areas, allocating ₹2.83 lakh crore for agriculture and rural development. Emphasizing the augmentation of farmers’ income and generating employment opportunities in rural regions, the government will spend ₹2 lakh crore on providing free food grains to all priority households under the PM scheme. The budget also proposes establishing a new agency for providing credit and support services to farmers, along with a scheme to offer insurance coverage for farmers, anticipating improvements in livelihoods and increased food production.

5. Women’s Empowerment

Recognizing the pivotal role of women in society, the budget allocates ₹28,600 crores for various women-centric schemes and programs. This includes support for initiatives like the Pradhan Mantri Mahila Shakti Kendra and the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao initiative, contributing to women’s empowerment across diverse sectors.

6. Encouraging Entrepreneurship

The government has proposed various measures to encourage entrepreneurship, including tax incentives for start-ups and increased access to financing. To facilitate ease of doing business, the government has declared PAN as a common identifier for all digital systems of Government agencies.

7. Boosting Healthcare

The budget has allocated ₹64,180 crores for healthcare, focusing on increasing the availability of affordable healthcare facilities, especially in rural areas. The government has the mission to eliminate sickle cell anemia by 2047.

8. Promoting Digitalization

The budget has allocated ₹3,000 crores for promoting digitalization, focusing on increasing access to digital infrastructure and services. The budget aims to promote digital transactions and boost the country’s digital infrastructure. The government has proposed to set up a new institution to provide digital infrastructure and services and increase the use of digital payments by incentivizing merchants.

9. Improving Education

The government has allocated ₹93,224 crores for education, focusing on improving the quality of education and increasing access to education for all. The Government has plans to set up a National Digital Library for children and adolescents to facilitate the availability of quality books across geographies, languages, genres, and levels.

10. Green Growth

The Union Budget focuses on a ‘green growth’ strategy; it prioritizes adopting green fuel, energy, and building practices to reduce carbon intensity and create new green job opportunities.

Tax Proposals Under 23-24

Simplification in Indirect Taxes to deliver:

  • Higher exports
  • Higher domestic manufacturing
  • More value addition in the economy
  • Green energy and mobility

Changes to Custom Duty on

Benefits

Import of capital goods for Li-ion battery manufacturing

For greener mobility

Import of mobile camera lens

Deepening value addition

Denatured ethyl alcohol

For chemical industry

Key inputs for producing shrimp feed

More marine exports

Seeds for manufacturing lab-grown diamonds

Export promotion

Continuing concessional basic customs duty on copper scrap

Augmenting raw material availability for MSMEs

Compounded rubber to bring it at par with natural rubber

To curb duty circumvention

Direct Tax Proposals

To Reduce The Compliance Burden, Promote Entrepreneurial Spirit And Provide Tax Relief To Citizens:

  • 45% of the returns on tax payers’ portals
  • The average processing period reduced from 93 to 16 days on 8 years
  • Processed more than ₹6.5 crore returns this year

Simplifying Personal Income Tax

  • Highest surcharge rate on income above ₹5 crore from 37% to 25%
  • Extending benefits of the standard deduction to the new tax regime for salaried class and pensioners
  • Increasing tax exemption limit to ₹25 lakh on leave encashment on retirement for non-government salaried employees
  • The income rebate limit for paying income taxes upped to ₹7 lakh/annum

Tax Benefits for Industry

MSME

  • Enhanced limits for micro-enterprises and professionals to avail benefits of taxation
  • Deduction on payment made to MSMEs is to be allowed only when payment is made

Cooperatives

  • Extending 15% corporate tax benefits to new operatives
  • Higher limit of ₹2 lakh per member for deposits and loans in cash by PACS and PCARDBs
  • Higher limit of ₹3 crore for TDS on cash withdrawal for co-operative societies

Startups

  • Extension of the date of incorporation by one year for income tax benefits to start-ups
  • Benefits of carrying forward losses on change of shareholding of start-ups from 7 years to 10 years

Rationalization

  • Income of authorities, boards, and commissions set up by statutes of the Union or State to be exempted from income tax in sectors
  • Extension of period of tax benefits to funds relocation to IFSC, GIFT city till 31st March 2025

Allocation for Specific Ministries

Sectors

₹ in Lakh Crore

Ministry of Defence

5.94

Ministry of Road Transport and Highways

2.70

Ministry of Railways

2.41

Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution

2.06

Ministry of Home Affairs

1.96

Ministry of Chemical and Fertilizers

1.78

Ministry of Rural Development

1.60

Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare

1.25

Ministry of Communications

1.23

There are a few other small alterations. The Explanatory Memorandum and other pertinent budget documents can be consulted for more information on the budget plans.

Final Thoughts

The Union Budget 2023-24 reflects a comprehensive and forward-looking approach, addressing immediate challenges while setting the stage for sustainable and inclusive growth. The highlights of the budget underscore the government’s commitment to economic recovery, technological advancement, social welfare, and environmental responsibility. As these strategies unfold, they are poised to shape India’s economic trajectory and position the nation for a resilient and prosperous future.

Key Takeaways

  • The budget allocates ₹2.83 lakh crore for agriculture and rural development, aiming to increase farmers’ income and generate employment opportunities in rural areas.
  • The budget introduced revised tax slabs and reduced surcharges for high-net-worth individuals, marked key tax reforms, and promoted simplicity.
  • The budget proposed measures to encourage entrepreneurship, including tax incentives for start-ups and increased access to financing.
  • The budget prioritized a ‘green growth’ strategy, promoting adopting green fuel, energy, and building practices to reduce carbon intensity.

- A Consumer Education Initiative series by Kotak Life

Amit Raje
Written By :
Amit Raje

Amit Raje is an experienced marketer who has worked in various Fintechs and leading Financial companies in India. With focused experience in Digital, Amit has pioneered multiple digital commerce in India. Now, close to two decades later, he is the vice president and head of the D2C business department. He masters the skill of strategic management, also being certified in it from IIMA. He has challenged his challenges and contributed his efforts in this journey of digital transformation.

Amit Raje
Reviewed By :
Prasad Pimple

Prasad Pimple has a decade-long experience in the Life insurance sector and as EVP, Kotak Life heads Digital Business. He is responsible for developing user friendly product journeys, creating consumer awareness and helping consumers in identifying need for life insurance solutions. He has 20+ years of experience in creating and building business verticals across Insurance, Telecom and Banking sectors

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