FM Nirmala Sitharaman's post-Budget press conference

5:35 pm On the recently announced India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says while there are disturbances in the Red Sea area and the Middle East but this is a project which has long-term implications for the entire region up to Europe. "We will be taking this project forward," the FM says.

5:30 pm In her Interim Budget speech, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said a corpus of ₹1 lakh crore will be established with fifty-year interest free loan. The corpus will provide long-term financing or refinancing with long tenors and low or nil interest rates. Sharing more details on the scheme, finance secretary TV Somanathan says ₹1 lakh crore is provisioned over a period of time as the need emerges. "This will be provided as a 50-year interest free loan to a financial institution which will be identified within the government’s ambit of financial institutions who will the finance and refinance projects at long tenors and at concessional rates of interest," says Somanathan.

5:13 pm The average real income of the people has increased by 50% from FY14 to FY23, says chief economic adviser V. Anantha Nageswaran.

4:45 pm Withdrawal of tax demands up to ₹25,000 pertaining to the period up to financial year 2009-10 and up to ₹10,000 for financial years 2010-11 to 2014-15 to cost the the exchequer ₹3,500 crore.

4:40 pm The government's rooftop solar scheme has an outlay of ₹10,000 crore.

4:20 pm "We have delivered on development, we have better managed the economy with correct intentions, correct policies and correct decisions," says the finance minister during her post Budget press conference.

Moody's on Budget 2024

Commenting of Budget 2024, Christian de Guzman, senior vice president of Moody's Investors Service, says the interim budget for 2024-25 firmly conveys the government's commitment to its fiscal consolidation goals, set against a backdrop of healthy economic growth. "Although political considerations likely influenced the lack of significant tax measures, the government demonstrated fiscal restraint in not resorting to large handouts or increasing discretionary spending ahead of this year's elections. Consequently, the government anticipates that reduced spending as a percentage of GDP will largely drive the reduction in the fiscal deficit, despite ongoing increases in planned infrastructure spending."

Given the challenging global environment and the potential for climate-related shocks, emerging spending needs not currently included in the budget could restrict the government's ability to meet its deficit target, says Moody's. "The envisaged fiscal consolidation will not alleviate pressures on debt affordability amidst high current interest rates, as the budget projects debt servicing costs to account for an increasingly large portion of revenue. We expect the final budget, to be released after the elections, to provide more definitive indications of India's fiscal consolidation trajectory over the medium term," the credit rating agency says.

Budget 2024 is 'inclusive and innovative': PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called today's Interim Budget as "inclusive and innovative". There is a confidence of continuity in Budget 2024 which empowers four pillars of developed India - youth, poor, women and farmers, the PM says adding that Budget 2024 lays a solid foundation to make India a developed economy by 2047.

1:20: pm Budget 2024 keeps fiscal deficit in check while increasing the government capex to ₹11,11,111 crore, says the prime minister. Budget 2024 hits a sweet spot and unleashes infinite employment opportunities for the youth, the PM says.

1:17 pm Tax sops for startups have been announced in the Interim Budget, says PM Narendra Modi.

Nirmala Sitharaman tables Interim Budget 2024-25

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tabled the Interim Budget 2024 today. The full-year budget will be presented in the first week of July once the general elections are over and a new government is in place.

1:10 pm Greater adoption of e-buses for public transport networks will encouraged through payment security mechanism, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in her Budget speech. Commenting on the Interim Budget 2024, Rajeev Singh, partner and consumer industry leader, Deloitte Asia Pacific, welcomes the government's reassurance and commitment to electric vehicles (EVs) which have seen a significant growth over the last couple of years. "Lack of charging Infrastructure has been perceived by many consumers who intend to buy EVs as a major hindrance. And hence focused steps to improve the charging infrastructure will aid in the driving consumption," says Singh.

12:40 pm This was not a pre-election budget, says Sonal Varma, managing director, chief economist - India and Asia ex-Japan, Nomura. While the budget speech talked a lot about the key voter constituents, it has chosen to prioritise fiscal consolidation, Varma says, adding that this bodes well for macro stability and will be seen as positive by the RBI as well. The pace of increase in capex will slow slightly in FY25, but that was expected, Varma says. "Capex to rise 16.9% y-o-y in FY25 versus 28.4% in FY24, which still shifts up capex-to-GDP ratio to 3.4% in FY25 from 3.2% in FY24. Over the last 2-3 years, private capex was weak, so public capex stepped in. Now with private capex likely to pick up, the government is slowly stepping back to prevent crowding out," Varma adds.

12:05 pm Commenting on the 'Atmanirbhar Oilseeds Abhiyan', CRISIL says India imports 55-60% of its edible oil consumption. "Geopolitical tensions over the past two years led to extreme volatility in oil prices. Investment in high-yielding varieties, better market linkages and insurance can promote lower dependence on imports," the rating agency says.

12:01 pm Rating agency CRISIL says the 11.1% higher capex budgeted for infrastructure is lower than what has been the run rate in the previous years. This implies the private sector will have to step in if the growth momentum has to be maintained, says CRISIL.

11:59 am FM Nirmala Sitharaman concludes her Interim Budget speech.

11:55 am Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says there is no change to the income tax rate and the indirect tax rates.

11:53 am 94% industry leaders view the transition to GST largely positive, says FM while citing a report.

11:50 am There is no tax liability for individuals with income up to ₹7 lakh under the new regime, says the finance minister.

11:49 am Revised estimate for fiscal deficit is 5.8% of GDP. FY25 fiscal deficit budgeted at 5.1% of GDP. "We continue on the path of fiscal consolidation, as announced in my Budget Speech for 2021-22, to reduce fiscal deficit below 4.5% by 2025-26. The fiscal deficit in 2024-25 is estimated to be 5.1% of GDP, adhering to that path," the finance minister emphasises.

11:47 am The gross and net market borrowings through dated securities during 2024-25 are estimated at ₹14.13 and ₹11.75 lakh crore respectively. Both will be less than that in 2023-24. "Now that the private investments are happening at scale, the lower borrowing by the central government will facilitate larger availability of credit to the private sector, says FM Nirmala Sitharaman.

11:44 am: Finance Minister calls 'FDI' as 'first develop India'. FDI from 2014-2023 stood at $596 billion, five times the amount received during 2005-14, she says.

11:40 am Government to support EV manufacturing and charging infrastructure development, says the finance minister.

11:38 am 42,000 normal rail bogies will be converted to 'Vande Bharat' coaches to enhance safety and comfort of passengers.

11:36 am Infrastructure outlay for the next year has been increased by 11.1% to ₹11.11 lakh crore, accounting for 3.4% of India's GDP.

11:30 am Finance Minister announced 'Atmanirbhar Oil Seeds Abhyan': The strategy will be formulated to achieve self dependence in oil seeds, she says.

11:28 am Ayushman Bharat will be extended to Asha workers and Anganwadi workers, says the finance minister.

11:27 am PM Awas Yojana aims to build 3 crore houses. "From living in rented house or slums or chawl or unauthorised colonies to buy or build their own houses," the finance minister quotes Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

11:26 am FM Nirmala Sitharaman announces 'Rooftop solarisation" scheme offering free electricity. Through rooftop solariation, one crore households will be enabled to obtain up to 300 units free electricity every month, says Sitharaman. The finance minister claims savings up to ₹15,000 to ₹18,000 annually for households from free solar electricity and selling the surplus to the distribution companies.

11:21 am The next five years will be years of unprecedented development which will help realise the goal of developed India by 2047, the finance minister assures.

11:20 am India-Europe-Middle East strategic corridor will become the basis of world trade for hundreds of years to come, says Nirmala Sitharaman.

11:19 am FM Sitharaman says the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has enabled 'one nation, one market and one tax'.

11:18 am Government is focused on GDP — Governance, Development and Performance, says the finance minister.

11:17 am About 75% houses under PM Away Yojana in rural areas are given to women which has enhanced their dignity.

11:16 am In STEM, girls and women constitute 43% enrolment in India, the highest in the world, says Nirmala Sitharaman.

11:09 am About 25 crore people have escaped multidimensional poverty in the past 10 years, says FM.

11:07 am "We need to focus on four major pillars — poor, women, youth and annadatas," says FM Nirmala Sitharaman.

11:02 am People of India are looking ahead with hope and optimism, says FM.

11:01 am Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman begins her Budget speech.

10:57 am Union Cabinet approves Interim Budget 2024.

10:30 am Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman arrives at the Parliament with the Budget tablet.

10:16 am Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman along with Ministers of State Bhagwat Kishanrao Karad and Pankaj Chaudhary and senior officials of the Ministry of Finance called on President Droupadi Murmu at Rashtrapati Bhavan before presenting the Union Budget. President Murmu extended her best wishes to the Union Finance Minister.

9:50 am Hard copies of the Interim Budget reach Parliament.

9:10 am Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman showing her 'Bahi Khata' a photo op outside the Ministry of Finance in North Block.

'Bahi Khata', which represents the traditional Indian way of account keeping, was first introduced in 2019 to break away from the colonial past.

Before 'Bahi Khata', it was a ritual for finance ministers to pose with a leather briefcase. The word 'Budget' comes from French 'bougette' which means a leather bag. In India, successive finance ministers have experimented with different colours but most of them have used a red bag.

Britain's chancellor of the exchequer, too, holds up a little suitcase to strike a pose in front of Number 11 Downing Street before they present the budget.

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