The much-awaited moment for Various Experts and Industry people over when on 1 February 2024, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled the sixth Interim Budget 2024 in Parliament by break an old ritual of carrying heavy suitcase opting for a digital approach presenting it on a tablet enclosed in a red ‘bahi khata’ adorned with the national emblem. This was an interim budget ahead of the general elections later this year.
The government said that the Budget was presented with a focus on economic policies that foster growth, facilitate inclusive development, improve productivity, and create opportunities for various sections.
While industry insiders anticipated significant strides in artificial intelligence, the budget focused on other key tech-related announcements.
Here are some of the key Highlights of Budget 2024.
- Fiscal deficit revised to 5.8% of GDP, improving despite nominal growth moderation. The government targets to reduce fiscal deficit below 4.5% by 2025-26.
- FM Sitharaman on Thursday allocated ₹4,342.55 crore to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in the interim Budget for 2024-25, a slight decrease from the revised estimates of ₹4,449.79 in the previous fiscal.
- Nearly ₹2,000 crore hike in Department of Space. The Department of Space has received a hike of nearly ₹2,000 crore in the interim Budget 2024-25 as against 2023-24. The Department of Space has been allocated ₹13,042.75 crore.
- The electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem is set for expansion, with a focus on enhancing manufacturing and charging infrastructure.
- The Modi government proposed to allocate ₹1,300 crore to procure electric buses in the Interim Budget 2024.
- Highlighting the significance of technology for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Sitharaman emphasized the government’s priority in ensuring timely and sufficient financing.
- A new scheme will be introduced to bolster deep tech technologies under the ‘Aatm Nirbhar’ Bharat infrastructure. This move underscores the government’s commitment to fostering self-reliance and innovation.
- The budget did not unveil specific measures in the arena of artificial intelligence (AI), it outlined a comprehensive strategy to harness technology for socio-economic development.
- Skill India Mission trained, upskilled 1.4 crore youth, says FM Nirmala Sitharaman.
The Interim budget presented by FM Nirmala Sittharaman elicited mostly positive reactions from the technology industry with CEOs and executives welcoming the increased focus on digitalisation, although some also felt it fell short on addressing a few issues. Let we conclude in the words of Industry experts what they said about this budget.
Akarsh Hebbar, Global Managing Director of Vedanta’s Semiconductor and Display Businesses
“The Interim Budget 2024 reflected a forward-looking vision for India’s growth. Hebbar hailed a 130% increase in allocation for India’s hi-tech electronics manufacturing industry. “We applaud the government’s steadfast determination in further strengthening India’s position on the global map, by investing in an ecosystem for emerging technologies. Coupled with a strategic focus on modern infrastructure, deep-tech capacities, upskilling and reskilling our workforce, as well as innovation and entrepreneurship, the budget charts a confident path to India’s $5 trillion economy ambition as we stride towards Viksit Bharat,” Akarsh Hebbar said.
Mr Dushyant Chachra – CFO, SAEL
“In the recently announced budget, Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman stated in Budget 2024 that financial assistance would be provided to support the procurement of biomass aggregation, crucial for Bio-energy production. This move is highly encouraging for farmers to engage in the bioenergy supply chain, facilitating a sustainable and profitable model for agricultural waste management, creating a win-win situation for the biomass industry and farmers.
The extension of the time period for investments by SWFs in renewable energy, from March 31, 2024, to March 31, 2025, is expected to attract more global investment in the renewable space. This initiative could lead to numerous job opportunities, rapid sector expansion, and the growth of the sector and SAEL Group. Global SWFs, including Norfund (Norway) and DFC (USA), already having significant investments in SAEL renewable assets, will likely further boost the confidence of SWFs.
Through rooftop solarization, 1 crore households will have the opportunity to obtain up to 300 units of free electricity every month. New schemes/policies from the Government in the near future are anticipated in this context. This announcement is highly encouraging and is expected to expand the penetration of solar rooftop markets, resulting in efficient power supply for retail consumers in India.”
Mr. Ashish P. Dhakan, MD & CEO, Prama Hikvision India Pvt. Ltd.
A growth oriented budget for a new and empowered India
“We welcome the growth oriented interim budget 2024-2025 with a clear roadmap for a new and empowered India. This budget has the vision of ‘Jan Kalyan’ (Public Welfare) and Viksit Bharat (Developed India) with the idea of inclusive growth. It has a clear imprint of the government’s mantra ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, and Sabka Vishwas’. It is a visionary budget with special focus on infrastructure development, inclusive growth and skilling youth. The agenda of empowering Amrit Peedhi (the emerging generation) through multiple schemes and initiatives (Skill India Mission, PM Mudra Yojna and Start-Up India) is quite evident in the budget. These initiatives are assisting our youth and entrepreneurs while delivering amazing results.
The Indian Electronic Security Industry is hoping for more concessions and tax rebates for strengthening the manufacturing sector. This will help to enable the latest technologies and security products for the greater good. We sincerely hope that the Finance Minister would consider the key concerns of the key electronic security Industry stakeholders in the future policies and tax reforms. We are sure that the government will continue to support the Make-in-India 2.0 with a clear roadmap and policy structure. The Electronic Security Industry is expecting the continued government support to contribute significantly to the nation’s economic growth.”
FR Singhvi, President, Automotive Skill Development Council (ASDC)
“The comprehensive approach outlined in the interim budget towards the automotive sector aligns with the government’s objectives of promoting ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India) and moving decisively towards achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2070. Moreover, this strategic move is expected to generate employment opportunities for semi-skilled labour in the installation and maintenance of EV charging stations.
ASDC, in its role, has taken on the responsibility of providing skilled professionals to meet the industry’s growing demand. As ASDC – an institution steadfast in its commitment to skill enrichment; we embrace these forthcoming advancements with anticipated enthusiasm. Such strategic executive direction indicates amplified requirement for skilfully trained professionals within evolving EV sector – a demand growth we are equipped and eager to accommodate viably through enriched training programs constantly updated catering ever-evolving industry requisitions effectively.”
Vinkesh Gulati, Vice President, Automotive Skill Development Council (ASDC)
The recent budget revelation by our finance minister exhibited the government’s firm resolution towards strengthening and developing the electric vehicle (EV) industry. A comprehensive strategic direction was highlighted, encompassing enhancement of manufacturing base, fortifying charging infrastructural backbone for EVs and avid incorporation within public transportation.
Such a supportive thrust towards bolstering EV ecosystem is beyond doubt set to expedite utilitarian propagation evolving “Green Vehicles”, thereby promising manifold associated benefits like pollution control resource conservation contributing healthily affirms commitment sustainable development objectives.
Optimally harnessed, this can provide robust stimulus driving national economy at pace higher than customary growth rate benefitting large scale employment generation. Concurrently advances in such technology bound sectors will necessitate extensive skill upgradation -an aspect energetically endorsed zealously pursued across nations appreciating ceaseless evolution technological advancements their far-reaching potential impacts holistic inclusive societal betterment.
This advancement showcases India’s progressive, policy-driven approach towards clean mobility options while catering to global commitments of achieving lower emissions; thereby elevating national stature progressively positioning it as an attractive investment destination for advanced green technology frontiers welcomingly unfolding golden opportunities unfolding entrepreneurial ventures showcasing potential future-ready Indian auto-ancillary industries profitably join locomotive bandwagon reshaping tomorrow drawing ingenious minds innovative solutions shaping sustainable trajectory well-rounded eco-friendly socio-economic progression.
At ASDC, we consistently update our programs to meet evolving industry needs. Considering the government’s favourable EV initiatives, we are prepared for capacity building and nurturing skilled professional’s adept in various capacities of vast emerging EV sector. Our active engagement in developing comprehensive skill training modules signposts a holistic strategy aimed at projecting India on a global platform as producers of high-quality manpower vital driving force behind crafting nation’s sustainable mobility landscape. To address the growing demand for skilled individuals in the EV industry, ASDC offers comprehensive training programs covering various aspects such as manufacturing, maintenance, repair, and charging infrastructure. ASDC has taken proactive measures, including initiating programs and forming collaborations with industry manufacturers, training partners, and academic institutions, to enhance the skill set of the workforce. This focus on skill development is crucial in elevating the quality of produced EVs.
The right skill sets empower engineers and designers to create more efficient, durable, and safe EVs. Additionally, skilled technicians and maintenance workers play a vital role in ensuring the optimal functioning of these EVs, contributing to an enhanced overall customer experience.
Mr. Sanchit Sekhwal Goyal, Director, Su-Kam Power Systems Limited
“We are very pleased to find that renewable energy has been a focus area for government spending in the Interim Budget. The comprehensive plan aimed at achieving the nation’s ambitious Net Zero target by 2070 in the Interim Budget 2024 is encouraging and will steer the country towards a greener future. The honourable Finance Minister’s push for rooftop solar by providing assistance for the installation of rooftop solar systems for 1 crore households under the Pradhan Mantri Suryodaya Yojana will spur demand in the industry, and more and more people will be encouraged to opt for renewable energy.”
Mr. Saral Talwar, COO at BikeWo
“The 2024 budget turned out to be relatively uneven, considering it marked the final budget for this government. As anticipated, there were no significant surprises or substantial changes. However, there were notable positive initiatives, particularly for sunrise industries. The establishment of a 1 Lakh Crore Fund to provide interest-free loans of 50 lakhs could significantly benefit emerging sectors, such as the EV Industry – showcasing a forward-thinking perspective for the evolving landscape.
Moreover, the budget’s emphasis on expanding India’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure is poised to drive the adoption of EVs, instilling confidence in potential adopters. This move supports the EV ecosystem and opens up many entrepreneurship opportunities within the sector, further contributing to its growth. This strategic move extends the budget’s impact beyond immediate fiscal implications.”
Mr. Rajesh Gupta. Founder & Director, Recyclekaro
“The union budget’s “Panchamrit” targets, as highlighted by the finance minister, aim to support sustainable economic growth with a focus on using resources efficiently. This is expected to boost India’s raw material capacity, especially in the manufacturing of Li-ion batteries. The commitment to strengthen the e-vehicle ecosystem through support for manufacturing and charging infrastructure shows a proactive approach to environmentally-friendly growth. By embracing economic policies for ongoing growth, the government is setting a path for a circular economy, emphasizing environmental responsibility and smart use of resources. This approach not only tackles challenges in the lithium-ion battery industry but also contributes to building a resilient and sustainable future for our nation.”
Mr. Saurav Kumar, Founder & CEO, Euler Motors.
“The Interim Budget 2024 outlines India’s ambition to emerge as Viksit Bharat by 2047. The budget’s strategic focus on strengthening the EV ecosystem, particularly through support for charging infrastructure, underscores the nation’s dedication to sustainable transportation solutions. We applaud the government’s efforts towards making electric vehicles more accessible to the people of India. Along with the initiatives for skill-building and turbocharging research and development, India aims to catalyze innovative solutions, utilizing new technologies and data to fuel growth, particularly in emerging sectors and generate employment, expediting the EV transition. That being said, as EV manufacturers, we eagerly await further elaboration on the FAME subsidies, which have revolutionized EV adoption in India and may remain pivotal in reinforcing the industry, in the coming phase of expansion.”
Sridhar Dharmarajan, the EVP and MD India, Hexagon MI
“India’s 2024 budget announcement underscores a pivotal shift towards a digital and inclusive economy, focusing on technological advancements, investments on R&D, infrastructure building and emphasis of women & skilled workforce in nation building. This strategic direction is not just critical for a self-reliant nation but essential for continuous and sustainable growth in achieving the ambitious $8 trillion economy status in 2030. At Hexagon, we resonate with this vision, recognizing the immense potential in fostering innovation, digital autonomy & increasing sustainable footprints and our commitment to these principles is unwavering, as we align our efforts with India’s vision of 3rd largest economy, contributing to a future where technology, humanity and inclusivity drive progress and prosperity, together.”
Mr. Gautam Mohanka, CEO, Gautam Solar
“The 2024 budget is a highly forward looking budget with a huge emphasis on Renewable Energy in general and Solar Energy in particular. The Hon’ble Finance Minister has taken a huge step forward by budgeting for Rooftop Solar on 1 crore households, under which the HHs will get upto 300 units of free solar electricity. It will have a net positive effect on domestic solar module manufacturing as well, with the ALMM being reinstated from April. This will not only create a huge momentum in Indian Solar Industry but will also re-emphasis the importance of Solar energy in a commoner’s life and propel the country towards achieving Net Zero targets sooner than expected”.
Mr. Rohit Tikku, CEO of Bluebird Solar
“I commend the government’s proactive approach towards sustainable energy showcased through the roof-top solarisation scheme announced by Prime Minister Modi and highlighted by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. This visionary initiative is a testament to India’s commitment to harnessing clean energy for the masses. By enabling one crore households to receive up to 300 units of free electricity monthly, the government is not only uplifting lives but also steering the nation towards a greener and more sustainable future.
The alignment of this scheme with the Prime Minister’s resolve on the historic day of the consecration of Shri Ram Mandir in Ayodhya adds a profound cultural and symbolic dimension to the endeavor. Bluebird Solar, as a leading solar panel manufacturing company, is proud to contribute to the realization of this ambitious project. We look forward to playing a pivotal role in providing high-quality solar solutions that empower households and contribute to the collective goal of a cleaner and more energy-efficient India. Together, with such initiatives, we are lighting up not just homes, but also paving the way for a brighter and eco-friendly tomorrow. This will help Bharat become energy independent in coming years and every household atmanirbhar green energy producer”.
Dr. Darshan Rana, Chairman and Managing Director, Erisha E Mobility Private Limited
“We are optimistic about measures like the concerted focus of the honourable Finance Minister on promoting electric mobility through the announcement of greater adoption of e-buses, which is truly encouraging for the EV industry and will equally support sustainable transportation solutions. However, there are certain areas where we believe the budget could have been more encouraging. For instance, a more robust policy framework for the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) and announcements on the related infrastructure development would have been more beneficial for the industry. Additionally, greater incentives for EV manufacturing and research and development (R&D) activities would have further accelerated the growth of the EV industry. “
Sushil Virmani, Managing Director, Best Power Equipments (BPE)
“As we navigate the landscape of Union Budget 2024, it’s crucial for the government to accentuate and foster an environment for both local and global investments in semiconductor technology, AI, and digital platforms. This strategic focus aligns with our industry’s evolution. Simultaneously, we recognize the imperative to integrate these cutting-edge technologies into our educational curriculum, ensuring a skilled workforce. This synergy is pivotal for propelling our nation towards the coveted 7 trillion economy by 2030.”