Budget 2024 for ‘Viksit Bharat’, Sustainable Energy, Women Empowerment and Green Mobility Initiatives

February 2024, Renewable India,  Mr. Shriprakash R. Pandey, CMD, Commtel Networks:

In a landmark move towards fostering economic growth, environmental sustainability, and technological innovation, the Union Budget for the fiscal year 2024 unfolds a strategic roadmap for India’s transformation. 

This comprehensive plan encompasses financial support for state-level reforms, a thrust on sustainable energy initiatives, and a visionary push towards electric mobility and women empowerment.

Financial Support for Reforms and ‘Viksit Bharat’ Vision

The budget allocates a substantial seventy-five thousand crore rupees as a fifty-year interest-free loan, aiming to propel states towards development and growth. This financial infusion is earmarked to support milestone-linked reforms initiated by state governments. 

The visionary provision recognizes the diverse needs of states and establishes a long-term partnership between the central and state governments. This collaboration is crucial for sustained progress, catalyzing growth, infrastructure development, and socio-economic advancement at the grassroots level.

The Interim Budget 2024-25 outlines substantial capital expenditures on strategic infrastructure projects to spur economic growth, including major railway corridor development and aviation sector expansion. It also emphasizes environmental sustainability through promotion of green energy sources such as offshore wind and coal gasification, electric vehicles, and the establishment of a bio-manufacturing industry. Together, these measures further the overarching vision of a ‘Viksit Bharat’ by 2047 – laying the groundwork for a Developed India through investments in sustainable and inclusive national infrastructure across sectors. We are buoyed by the budget’s persistent focus on expanding infrastructure across key sectors.” – Mr. Shriprakash R. Pandey, CMD, Commtel Networks

Green Energy Initiatives Towards ‘Net-Zero’ by 2070

Aligned with the commitment to achieving ‘net-zero’ carbon emissions by 2070, the budget outlines pivotal measures to harness clean and sustainable energy sources. Two standout initiatives are:

a. Viability Gap Funding for Offshore Wind Energy

India’s potential in offshore wind energy is vast and untapped. The government’s commitment to providing viability gap funding for the initial capacity of one gigawatt signifies a strategic move to diversify the energy portfolio. This initiative positions India as a leader in renewable energy, contributing significantly to the country’s energy transition. Offshore wind energy, with its abundant resources, is poised to play a pivotal role in India’s journey towards a sustainable and green future.

b. Phased Mandatory Blending of Compressed Biogas (CBG)

Recognizing the importance of sustainable fuels, the budget introduces a phased mandatory blending of compressed biogas (CBG) in compressed natural gas (CNG) for transport and piped natural gas (PNG) for domestic purposes. This forward-thinking move supports the development of the biogas sector and actively contributes to reducing the carbon footprint in both transportation and households. The blending initiative aligns with global efforts to promote cleaner and greener energy alternatives, ensuring a more sustainable and eco-friendly future.

Electric Mobility for a Greener Tomorrow

The budget underscores a commitment to expanding and fortifying the electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem, recognizing the pivotal role EVs play in reducing carbon emissions and promoting sustainable transportation. Key measures include supporting manufacturing and charging infrastructure. This strategic approach positions India as a frontrunner in the global electric mobility sector, fostering innovation and sustainable development.

Sunrise Sectors and Startups Empowered in the Interim Budget

In the midst of the interim budget announcement, it became evident that a golden era awaited the tech-savvy youth of the nation. The unveiling of a corpus amounting to rupees one lakh crore, supported by a fifty-year interest-free loan, signaled a momentous opportunity for long-term financing or refinancing endeavors with extended tenors and minimal interest rates. 

This strategic initiative aimed to incentivize the private sector to escalate research and innovation efforts significantly, particularly in burgeoning domains. The government emphasized the necessity for programs that synergize the capabilities of the nation’s youth with cutting-edge technology, envisioning a landscape where collaborative endeavors propel India into a future marked by unprecedented advancements and inclusive growth.

According to Mr. Anil Joshi, Managing Partner, Unicorn India Ventures – “The interim budget was in line with the expectations. However, startups and sunrise sectors continue to find a special mention even in the interim Budget. The extension of tax exemption to Startups is a good gesture and provision for Rs 1 lakh crore toward sunrise segment at nominal or zero interest rate will certainly help small business. The focus on boosting EV charging station will drive sale of both vehicles and charging infrastructure. No change to direct and indirect tax was also expected, however we may see new rates in full budget to be proposed in July 2024.”

Furthermore, these initiatives not only foster innovation and research but also hold the potential to stimulate job creation, economic growth, and global competitiveness. By incentivizing private sector involvement in sunrise sectors and startups, the government is laying the foundation for a vibrant ecosystem where entrepreneurship thrives and new ideas flourish. 

This infusion of capital and support for research and innovation has the capacity to unlock untapped potential, driving India towards becoming a global hub for technological advancements and economic prosperity.

Encouraging E-Buses for Public Transport Networks

The promotion of greater adoption of electric buses for public transport networks is a noteworthy aspect of the budget. The introduction of a payment security mechanism addresses a critical concern in the adoption of e-buses, assuring both operators and consumers of a reliable and secure payment system. This move not only aligns with global trends but also addresses environmental challenges posed by traditional fossil fuel-based public transportation. Electric buses, with zero tailpipe emissions, offer a sustainable solution to urban mobility, contributing to cleaner and healthier cities.

Economic and Environmental Implications

The budget’s emphasis on energy diversification, electric mobility, and state-level reforms holds profound implications for both the economy and the environment. The development of coal gasification and liquefaction capabilities is expected to bolster domestic industries, create employment opportunities, and reduce the trade deficit by curbing imports of key energy commodities.

Simultaneously, the promotion of the electric vehicle ecosystem positions India as a global player in the green mobility sector. Investments in manufacturing and charging infrastructure lay the groundwork for a robust and sustainable transportation network, aligning with international environmental commitments.

Mr. Agendra Kumar, Managing Director , Esri India  – “The 2024 Interim Budget has placed a robust emphasis on fostering innovation and embracing cutting-edge technologies to realize the ambitious goal of ‘Viksit Bharat by 2047.’ It rightly underscores the pivotal role that technology plays in shaping our economic landscape. A notable strategic move is the allocation of a 1-lakh crore corpus through a 50-year interest-free loan, aimed at incentivizing the private sector to elevate their investments in Research and Development (R&D) and propel digital innovation. 

Financial backing provided to start-ups is also poised to make the ecosystem flourish and contribute significantly to the overall economic landscape. This forward-looking budget not only fuels the growth of the IT sector but also actively supports a comprehensive skills development ecosystem, ensuring the creation of a workforce that is geared for the future. As technology continues its rapid advancement, the 2024 interim budget emerges as a catalyst, steering the IT sector, including the robust geospatial sector toward sustainable excellence and global competitiveness. The visionary initiatives outlined in this budget position India on the trajectory of becoming a technological powerhouse, laying the foundation for a prosperous and globally influential nation.”

Women Empowerment

In line with the government’s steadfast commitment to women’s empowerment, Budget 2024 continues to prioritize initiatives aimed at uplifting women across India. Lakhpati Didi, symbolizing economic autonomy and self-reliance, stands as a beacon of success in rural communities. 

With eighty-three lakh self-help groups (SHGs) already transforming the socio-economic landscape, the government aims to expand the program’s reach, targeting the empowerment of three crore women. This expansion underscores the government’s recognition of the pivotal role women play in driving economic growth and community development.

Moreover, the budget reinforces its support for women entrepreneurs through schemes like the Mudra Yojana, which has disbursed thirty crore loans to women, fostering entrepreneurship and economic independence. 

Additionally, efforts to enhance female enrolment in higher education by twenty-eight percent signal a commitment to equipping women with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in today’s competitive landscape. These measures collectively reflect the government’s dedication to fostering gender equality and creating opportunities for women to flourish in all spheres of life.

Mr. Amitt Nenwani, Founder of Wahter – “At Wahter, we welcome the progressive and tech-savvy initiatives outlined in today’s interim Union Budget. The allocation of Rs 1 lakh crore and interest-free loans for our tech-savvy youth signals the dawn of a golden era, fostering innovation and private sector leadership in cutting-edge research. We commend the government’s focus on women’s empowerment through entrepreneurship and the impressive increase in female enrollment in higher education. These promising steps align with our commitment to progress. As we eagerly await further details in July, we look forward to witnessing the government’s vision unfold for a digitally advanced and inclusive India.”

The Union Budget for 2024 charts a transformative course for India’s future, emphasizing economic prosperity, environmental stewardship, and technological innovation. Through strategic financial support for state-level reforms and ambitious green energy initiatives, the government is laying the groundwork for a sustainable and prosperous nation. 

By prioritizing electric mobility and promoting clean energy solutions, India is poised to lead the way in addressing climate change and fostering inclusive growth. As we stride towards becoming a ‘Viksit Bharat’ (Developed India), this budget sets a precedent for collaborative efforts towards building a brighter, greener, and more resilient future for generations to come.

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