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Budget 2024-25: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman bets on social security schemes, no change in tax slabs

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With the Narendra Modi government’s second term coming to an end, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented her sixth budget, albeit an interim one at that. The government has focused on people’s welfare, extension of social security schemes for the poor, women, youth and farmers. She said she hoped the people of the country will vote the party back to power in the Lok Sabha polls.

The Finance Minister said the BJP-led government is working to make India ‘Viksit Bharat’. She said the government was keen on governance, development and performance, GDP. The government has raised 25 crore people from below the poverty line over the 10 years. As expected, there was no change in tax slabs, though the FM spoke of increasing tax exempt income from Rs 2.5 lakh in 2013-14 to Rs 7 lakh last year, though under the new tax regime.

Keeping rural India firmly in mind, she said 2 crore (20 million) houses will be built under the PM Awaas Yojana Grameen over the next five years. Analysts had expected a similar plan for urban areas. Similarly, the Ayushman Bharat scheme has been extended to all ASHA and Anganwadi workers which would enable them to avail free medical treatment at primary health centres and government facilities.

A long-term financing corpus will be set up with 50-year interest free loan for longer tenures for development of tech industries. The government will also launch schemes to strengthen deep tech for defence purposes.

The bigger announcement was on the plan to limit the fiscal deficit below 5% in 2026 despite the push for greater infrastructure thrust. The deficit for 2024-25 is expected to stay at 5.8% of the GDP.

The government has also cancelled direct tax demands for some 1 crore taxpayers. The greater push for increasing solarisation among households via rooftop solarisation targeting 300 free units per month is a hat-tip to the free power schemes introduced by the Aam Aadmi Party.

Finance Minister completes interim budget presentation

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman concluded her interim budget presentation.

Tax benefits extended to March 2025

The tax benefits for startups, investments made by sovereign wealth, pension funds are to be extended to March 2025

3 railway economic corridors programmes to be implemented

The railway economic corridor programmes for energy, minerals and cement as well as port connectivity and heavy will be put into effect. The Finance Minister stated that PM Gati Shakti has designated the projects that will enable multi-modal connectivity and will lower costs and increase the effectiveness of logistics

Nirmala Sitharaman push for enhancement in tech sector

During the budged presentation, the Finance Minister said that a corpus of Rs1 lakh crore will be established with 50-year interest free loan to provide long term financing with loang tenure with no or less interest rates. She added that a new technology will be launched to strengthen deeep tech for defence purpose.

FDI inflow during FY 14-25 was USD 596 bn

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman asserted that the Foreign Direct Investment during the financial year 14-20 was USD 596 billion.

Union Finance Minister Sitharaman on PM Modi’s roof-top solarisation scheme

According to Nirmala Sitharaman, rooftop solarisation will provide 300 units of free electricity per month to 1 crore families.

Ayushman Bharat cover to be extended

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said all Asha and Anganwadi workers will be included in the Ayushmann Bharat initiative.

FM announces 2 crore more houses under PMYA-G

Two crore more houses would be constructed under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Gramin, according to the Union Finance Minister.

Nirmala Sitharaman explains government focus for the interim budget

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated that the central government is focusing on four major groups namely poor, women, youth and the farmers.

Finance Minister begins interim budget presentation

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharam commences to present the interim budget 2024-25, setting the stage for Lok Sabha Election 2024. In this budget, the Finance Minister is likely to focus on social welfare schemes, farmers, women and job creation.

Growth rate to stay above 6%

Ahead of the budget, the Economic Review had pegged the growth rate at 7%, the IMF has forecast GDP growth rate for India at 6.5%

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Religious outfit vandalises The Blessed Mother Teresa High School in Telangana after teachers object to students wearing Hanuman Deeksha dress

The Religious group broke glass windows and flower pots and pelted stones on the statue of St. Mother Teresa at the school’s entrance. The religious outfit also attacked Father Jaimon Joseph, the school manager.

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A religious group shouting Jai Shri Ram has vandalised a Catholic school and assaulted a priest in Telangana’s Mancherial district on Tuesday. The saffron mob staged protest and vandalised The Blessed Mother Teresa High School in Kannepally village. They broke glass windows and flower pots and pelted stones on the statue of St. Mother Teresa at the school’s entrance. The religious outfit also attacked Father Jaimon Joseph, the school manager.

The priest who is a member of the Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament (MCBS) said some of members of the mob even slapped and threw punches at him while others attacked him from behind. The religious outfit accused the school management of not allowing Hindu students to wear their religious costumes. The school authorities said the allegation made by the mob is misleading and has no truth in it.

Earlier, the students who wore religious costumes had informed the school principal that it was part of a 21-day special religious practice. The principal said he had only asked the students to bring their parents to school after noticing that they are not wearing the school uniform.

Later, members of the religious outfit started protesting outside the school. They demanded action should be taken against the management for stopping the students from entering the school and appearing for their annual examinations as they were wearing the Hanuman deeksha dress.

The priest said soon after the video started circulating on social media and became viral with hate messages against Christians. After this incident many Hindus reached the school and vandalized it. A complaint has been lodged at the local police station by the school management, but no arrests have been made so far. Instead of taking action against the miscreants, the police have filed a case against the school management for hurting religious sentiments of the local people.

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Clashes erupt during Ram Navami procession in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district

BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari wrote a letter to the West Bengal Governor and sought a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) into clashes and violence during a Ram Navami procession in Murshidabad’s Rejinagar area.

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Clashes and violence erupted during the Ram Navami procession in the Shaktipur area of Rejinagar, Murshidabad district, West Bengal on Wednesday. According to reports, the stone-pelting started taking place when the Ram Navami parade was underway as people threw stones from their rooftops. The situation reached a point where the police had to resort to a lathi charge. Some individuals sustained injuries during the clashes and violence. The BJP alleged that Hindu devotees were targeted in Rejinagar.

BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari wrote a letter to the West Bengal Governor and sought a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) into clashes and violence during a Ram Navami procession in Murshidabad’s Rejinagar area. Around 20 people were injured after stones were thrown at the Ram Navami parade from rooftops. The police has imposed Section 144 in the area.

Another incident took place during the Ram Navami parade, as an explosion went off in Shaktipur, Murshidabad, which resulted in injuring a woman. The woman was taken to the Murshidabad Medical College and Hospital, and the police have started investigating the matter. But, it is still not clear whether the explosion was caused by a bomb or some other reason.

The BJP also alleged that another Ram Navami parade was attacked and pelted with stones in Medinipur’s Egra. BJP leader Amit Malviya said party workers would gherao the Egra police station to protest the brutal attack. Amit Malviya tweeted that Hindu devotees were singled out during the Ram Navami celebrations in Rejinagar, Murshidabad.  He further added Mamata Banerjee is a blot on West Bengal. 

Many videos are circulating on social media, which show people throwing stones at the procession from their rooftops. The police had to conduct a lathi charge and also fired tear gas shells to disperse the crowd. The police have said that the situation has been brought under control, and additional security forces have been stationed in the area.

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2024 Lok Sabha Elections

Election Commission advises Bengal Governor to not visit Cooch Behar on voting day

The Election Commission advised the Bengal Governor to call off his proposed visit to Cooch Behar on April 19.

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West Bengal governor CV Ananda Bose has been warned by the Election Commission of India (ECI) not to visit Cooch Behar on April 18 and 19, since the first phase of the Lok Sabha polls will begin with a silence period on Wednesday evening.

According to those familiar with the situation in the EC, the poll body informed the governor’s office that no local program could be planned for the governor on April 19 due to the Model Code of Conduct and the election day.

The poll body added that if they had to provide local security cover for this unexpected proposed visit without a imminently known requirement, the tour would be a diversion because the district administration and police force will be completely occupied with election management on April 18 and 19.

As a result, under Section 126 of the Representation of People Act, campaigning is prohibited in Cooch Behar starting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

In order to ensure a free and fair election process, the poll board has asked all district election officers and district police chiefs to make sure that all prominent individuals, campaigners, and political workers who are not local voters leave the polling area once the silence period begins.

The seven phases of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections will take place between April to June. Polls will be conducted in seven phases: the first on April 19 and the seventh on June 1. On June 4, the results will be announced.

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