Finance Bill, Appropriation Bills Returned by Rajya Sabha

Rajya Sabha returns Finance Bill, appropriation bills after discussion

The Parliament on Thursday gave its nod to the Modi government’s interim Budget with Rajya Sabha returning the Finance Bill 2024 and related appropriation bills after discussion. The Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman assured that the government will honour the fiscal deficit glide path given in 2021 and that public investment in infrastructure gives greater returns.

Capital expenditure and infrastructure

Sitharaman said that the government has committed to spend about 17 per cent higher than RE of 2023-24 on capital expenditure, which is spent on creating assets that can be used by all citizens equally and improve the ‘ease of living’ for everybody . She said that for every rupee spent on revenue expenditure, the return is hardly 98 paisa, whereas for every rupee spent on capital expenditure, the return is Rs 1.46. She also said that public investment in infrastructure gives greater returns than private investment. She cited examples of various infrastructure projects such as roads, railways, ports, airports and power plants that have been undertaken by the government to boost the economy and generate employment.

Debt management and fiscal deficit

She also assured that the government has made sure that the debt management is done in such a way that it honours the glide path for fiscal deficit that was given in 2021 . She said that the government will fulfil whatever has been recommended by the Finance Commission on tax devolution to some states and there is no discrimination or favouritism involved. She said that the fiscal deficit for 2023-24 is estimated at 6.8 per cent of GDP, which will be brought down to below 4.5 per cent by 2025-26. She also said that the government has taken measures to increase the tax base and compliance, such as faceless assessment and appeal, simplification of GST and reduction of corporate tax.

Appropriation Bills passed and returned

The House passed and returned the Appropriation (Vote on Account) Bill, 2024, the Appropriation Bill, 2024, the Jammu and Kashmir Appropriation (No.2) Bill, 2024, the Jammu and Kashmir Appropriation Bill, 2024 and Finance Bill, 2024 . The bills were passed by Lok Sabha on Wednesday . The Finance Bill contains various tax proposals such as scrapping of income tax for senior citizens with only pension income, increasing the limit for tax audit for professionals and businesses, providing relief for affordable housing and rental housing, extending tax holiday for startups and affordable housing projects, and imposing agriculture infrastructure and development cess on some imported items .

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