Budget 2024 expectations: Insights into key announcements and forecasts

As India gears up for Budget 2024, speculations are rife about the Modi government’s interim Budget, expected to be a crucial one as the nation approaches General Elections. Despite being a vote-on-account, analysts anticipate significant announcements shaping various sectors:

Inflation forecast:

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is anticipated to continue its battle against inflation, with some analysts predicting a possible rate cut in 2024. Concerns linger about consumer price inflation, which might dip below 4 percent in mid-2024, while food inflation remains a challenge.

Export-Import rules:

In a move to combat food inflation, the government has extended import duty exemptions on essential pulses like tur, urad, and masur dal until March 2025. Additionally, the Remission of Duties or Taxes on Export Products (RoDTEP) scheme is expected to be extended to benefit e-commerce exporters, as announced by Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal.

Fuel price hike:

Indians may witness relief in 2024 as fuel retailers contemplate reducing prices, unchanged since April 2022. The potential decline is attributed to lower international crude oil prices in 2023, providing an opportunity for oil marketing companies (OMCs) to pass on the benefits to consumers.

Railway capex:

Budget 2024 could witness increased capital allocation to the railway sector, focusing on infrastructure development and asset revamping. Despite a substantial allocation of Rs 2.4 lakh crore in the Union Budget 2023-24, challenges in safety and on-time arrivals persist, necessitating further attention.

GDP and Fiscal target:

Minister of State for Finance Bhagwat Karad expresses confidence in meeting the fiscal deficit target of 5.9 percent of GDP for the current year, citing robust tax collections as a significant contributing factor. The government’s commitment to fiscal responsibility remains a key aspect.

Agriculture:

Over the last decade, the government’s emphasis on doubling farmer incomes is evident in a fivefold increase in budget allocation for the agriculture sector. Budget 2024 is expected to continue this trend, with a focus on putting more money directly into the hands of farmers.

As the interim Budget unfolds, these insights offer a glimpse into the potential trajectory of key sectors and economic indicators for the upcoming fiscal year.