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Budget: Confident BJP opts for no tax cuts, no big announcements

February 1, 2024
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New Delhi: The interim budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, lacking significant announcements or tax relief, underscores the ruling BJP’s confidence ahead of the upcoming national election. The detailed roadmap to pursue the goal of ‘Viksit Bharat’ will be unveiled in the full budget scheduled for July, according to the minister.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi set the tone earlier, stating, “Just before the election, we don’t submit a full budget; we will do this after a new government is elected. This interim budget is a guideline for us. I am hopeful that the country will touch new heights of prosperity. Development for everyone is taking place. This journey will continue with your blessings. Ram Ram.”

While taxpayers had hoped for relief in an election year, the budget focused on confidence-building rather than populist announcements. Finance Minister Sitharaman explained her decision to refrain from making taxation changes in line with the convention for interim budgets.

The BJP welcomed the budget, with Union Home Minister Amit Shah stating that it “draws the roadmap” to achieve Prime Minister Modi’s vision of a Developed Bharat by 2047. External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar described the budget as capturing a decade of transformation and laying out a vision for further development.

Opposition leaders, however, expressed disappointment, with Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav calling it the “farewell budget” of the BJP. Congress MP Shashi Tharoor criticized the lack of concrete implementation details and cited a decline in foreign investment.

The BJP’s confidence in a Lok Sabha poll victory, evident in the minister’s budget speech, is grounded in the struggles of the Opposition’s INDIA bloc to coordinate ahead of the elections. Seat-sharing talks face obstacles in Bengal and Punjab, and the exit of JDU from the Bihar coalition has dealt a significant blow to the Opposition. The lack of unity in Kerala further adds to the challenges faced by the Opposition.

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