Budget 2024 Expectations: Hear the Finance & Social Development Perspective

Budget 2024 Expectations: Hear the Finance & Social Development Perspective

By: WE Staff

The much-awaited moment is almost here - the Interim Budget 2024 will be unveiled on February 1. The budget is highly anticipated by everyone across the country as it can shape India's economic trajectory and usher in a new era of growth and resilience. The budget is also an instrument that holds the potential to reignite industries, facilitate crucial policy reforms, and change India’s overall economic landscape.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will reveal this financial blueprint tomorrow morning.

Every Indian industry and sector waits with bated breath for the Union budget. This year too, various industry leaders are waiting to scrutinize the budget for targeted measures, strategic allocations, and visionary policies.

We spoke to women leaders from the financial, social development and logistics industry to gauge their thoughts and expectations from the interim budget which will impact their respective fields.

Hear what they had to say:

Sneha Jain, CEO & Partner, WealthTrust Capital Services: A Finance Perspective

1. Marginal Slowdown in Center's CAPEX: The budget is likely to witness a slight decline in the central government's capital expenditure (CAPEX), primarily attributable to concerns about the Fiscal Deficit. The current fiscal deficit stands between 5.9-6% of the GDP, and aim would be to bring it 5.6% resulting to moderation of spending in this area.

2. Incentivization of Private CAPEX: Private CAPEX is expected to receive incentives and experience positive outcomes. We could see some targeted subsidies to women led corporates/or aiming for women inclusion. With a majority of corporate balance sheets in a healthy state and companies focusing on de-leveraging, sectors such as infrastructure and Engineering, Procurement & Construction (EPC) may witness positive impacts.

3. Continued Emphasis on Infrastructure CAPEX: While there might be a slight deceleration in pace, the broader push for Infrastructure CAPEX is anticipated to persist. The government is likely to maintain its commitment to developing the nation's infrastructure, albeit with a potential moderation in the speed of implementation.

4. Focus on Rural and Bottom-of-the-Pyramid Consumption: A notable expectation is an increased emphasis on stimulating consumption among rural and lower-income groups. Consumption in these segments has been subdued throughout 2022 and CY2023. The budget is anticipated to revive demand in these sectors, resulting in positive impacts on companies and sectors associated with these groups. This includes FMCG, 2-Wheelers, and a potential marginal positive impact on discretionary spending.

In summary, the Interim Budget for 2024 is expected to reflect a cautious approach, considering the temporary nature of the financial plan. For markets, this will be the year for quality and large cap companies on account of attractive valuations.

Radhika Kalia, Managing Director, RLG Systems India: A Logistics Perspective

“Despite progress in gender equality, Indian women entrepreneurs still face many challenges. Women’s businesses are still largely limited to low-revenue sectors, restricting the nation’s growth.

I would expect the interim budget 2024 to incentivize women-friendly sectors such as apparel, consulting, beauty and well-being, education, processed foods, e-commerce, etc., and facilitate their entry into additional domains such as manufacturing and construction.

Further, women-led startups are able to receive very low amounts in venture capital funding, and there remains a lack of social support and proper mentorship. Gender-biased funding is also a reality in several areas and regions. Limited access to credit and restricted networking opportunities further impede women’s entrepreneurial progress. The forthcoming budget must provide for provisions that reinforce financial and institutional support for women entrepreneurs. This could include improving funding scenarios through gender-lens investing, increasing access to credit, and creating a dedicated, supportive network of mentors and business accelerators. Special funds and PLI schemes could assist women entrepreneurs.”

Prachi Kaushik, Founder & Director, VYOMINI: A Social Development Perspective

“As a social entrepreneur, I eagerly anticipate Budget 2024 to recognize our pivotal role in fostering positive change. A dedicated fund for impact investors, managed by experienced entities like SIDBI and NABARD, would be instrumental in providing vital financial support for our sustained growth and meaningful societal contribution.

This budget's support extends to micro-entrepreneurs, offering subsidies to empower them, fostering local production, and championing 'Make in India' efforts. Also, schemes like FPO, co-operative reforms are really helping farmers, and a budget allocation for the same would be recommended. Additionally, we expect measures in Budget 2024 to boost women-led innovation, including special funding, skill development, technology incentives, and targeted initiatives. Improved infrastructure, digital connectivity, networking platforms, and family-friendly tax benefits are essential elements for empowering women entrepreneurs in this comprehensive vision for positive economic transformation.