Budget, though interim, has a long-term view. It is a forward-looking budget. It laid down the long-term vision of the government. Nirmala Seetharamn reemphasised the importance of innovation. She said innovation is the foundation of development. Accordingly, she provided provisions in the budget. For continuity, the FM extended tax exemptions to Startups working in the space of IFSC. Retained tax rates for direct and indirect taxes. The budget made provisions for the empowerment of Women, Children, Youth and Farmers, which is most welcome. The budget also gave a fillip to skill development, upskilling and reskilling. The Minister announced plans to take up projects for port connectivity in island territories.
On the Tourism front, setting up of development centres, encouragement to promote India as a MICE destination, boosting spiritual tourism, long-term interest-free loans to states to develop tourism centres and conversion of 40,000 rail bogies to Vande Bharat Standards are some of the laudable initiatives proposed in the budget.
Setting up a corpus of Rs 1 lakh crore with 50-year interest-free loans for sunrise domains is a step towards the future-oriented economic development of the country.
The budget was women-friendly budget. Extension of Ayushman Bharath to all Asha and Anganwadi workers, bringing maternal, and childcare health schemes under one plan, and plans to allocate 70% of houses to women in rural areas under the PM Awas Scheme are some of the steps towards women's welfare. It announced that it would launch a new housing scheme for the middle class. The Minister also stated the government will build 20 million rural houses in the next five years. It is a progressive step ensuring housing for all.
All in all, it is a forward-looking budget. Though it was anticipated that the finance minister would announce some soaps in income tax that has not happened. It has also a long time demand the GST Amnesty was expected, but that too has not been addressed. Hope these will be looked into as well as some measures to encourage schools and education when a full budget is proposed in July by a successive government.