Interim Budget 2024-25 Brings Women Focused Changes

By: WE Staff

India's Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, presented the Interim Budget 2024-25, focusing on housing, green energy, trains, tourism, healthcare, technology, and aviation. It had a prominent focus on women's welfare and empowerment and several initiatives were proposed for them.

The Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman, presented the Interim Budget 2024-25 today, 1 February 2024. FM Nirmala has presented her fifth consecutive budget since 2019, marking a significant milestone in her financial history. The budget was presented as a vote-on-account allowing the ruling government to spend a certain amount of funds until a new government takes charge after the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections.

The budget sets a high priority on the empowerment of women and their quality of life, including:

In the past ten years, the number of women enrolling in higher education has increased by 28 per cent. Girls and women make up 43 per cent of students in STEM courses, which is among the highest rates in the world.

Women entrepreneurs have received loans under the Mudra Yojana worth Rs. 30 crores. The initiative aims to empower women through economic opportunities, promoting financial independence, and driving inclusive growth across various sectors. Over the past decade, there has been a significant increase in women's empowerment through entrepreneurship, enhancing their quality of life and preserving dignity, thereby promoting better growth of the nation. The Modi government introduced the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana in 2015, offering loans of up to Rs 10 lakh to non-corporate and non-farm small and micro-enterprises which has now been extended to 43 crore loans totaling Rs 22.5 lakh crore under the PM Mudra Yojana.

The National Institute for Women's Health Research is to be established, according to government proposals. The Indian government plans to include the Cervavac vaccine in its immunization program for girls aged 9-14, aiming to prevent cervical cancer. The indigenously developed vaccine, marketed by Serum Institute of India, is effective.

Under the PM Awas Yojana, women have been approved to own either as sole or joint owners of about 70 per cent of the housing in rural areas. The finance minister only used the term "free" about rooftop solarization and "muft bijli."

Along with the women's welfare schemes, the interim budget 2024-25 also put forward the respective initiatives:

The budget prioritizes increasing farm and rural incomes through several kinds of initiatives, such as a drive for affordable housing and an emphasis on increasing the production of high-yield variety crops.

It is expected that the Prime Minister will prioritize the advancement of the four main castes: "Annadata" (Farmer), "Mahilayen" (Women), "Yuva" (Youth), and "Garib" (Poor). Both "confidence of continuity" and "guaranty to strengthen the foundation of 2047" have been included in the budget. In the past ten years, the government has supported 25 crore people to escape complex poverty.

A fifty-year interest-free loan with a capital of Rs. 1 lakh crore is part of the budget, which aims to establish long-term financing or refinancing with extended tenors and low or no interest rates. The capital expenditure for infrastructure development and employment generation has been increased by 11.1% to Rs. 11,11,111 crore, constituting 3.4% of the GDP.