Dissecting BJP’s 2024 Interim Budget: A Missed Opportunity for Common Citizens

As the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is in the final year of its term, high hopes were held for policies in the interim budget for 2024 that would give the welfare of regular people first priority. However, upon closer examination, it becomes evident that the budget falls short of addressing the pressing needs of the majority population. Many scholars have criticized the 2024-25 interim Budget for as an election manifesto for the BJP with the speaker’s address sounding like a well-planned list of praise for Prime Minister Narendra Modi itself. Many criticized the finance minister was not discussing the government’s future plans, instead focusing on her mentor’s excellence and attacking the opposition. This article examines the faults of the BJP’s policies as expressed in the interim budget, emphasizing how they fail to serve the interests of common Indians.

Neglecting Social Welfare Programs:

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman presented the new form of socialism in action in the interim budget 2024–25, but in practice, the budget’s allocation for social welfare programs is still insufficient, leaving vulnerable groups like laborers, farmers, and marginalized communities without enough support. Instead of outlining a strategy for the future, the Finance Minister’s address focused more on how past regimes failed to achieve social justice than it did. The BJP’s policies continued to ignore the demands of people at the grassroots level, sustaining socioeconomic gaps despite pledges of inclusive growth. Also, the budget makes scant mention of projects for the youth, women, unemployed, farmers and jawans. Although the Modi administration had pledged to double farmers’ income by 2022, not a single encouraging development has been highlighted that would help them. Additionally, the BJP has allowed the backdoor access for three black Farm Acts, which the Modi administration was compelled to repeal due to the impact of the farmers’ struggle.

Lack of Focus on Job Creation:

Once again, the interim Budget 2024–25 compared its achievement against the past government records, but what about the BJP’s 2014 and 2019 projections and vision? The BJP’s promises from 2014 and 2019, such as doubling farmer income, creating a $5 trillion GDP, housing for everyone by 2022, and creating 2 crore employment for everyone, should not be used as a benchmark for comparison? Every young person had high hopes that the finance minister will disclose the prime minister’s goal of creating 2 crore jobs annually and, in turn, whether or not the goal of creating 20 crore jobs in ten years had been met. As the failure in employment generation exacerbates the hardship of millions of people seeking to acquire livelihood possibilities, there is an urgent need for programs focused at job creation and skill development, as well as practical ideas to boost the broader economy. BJP’s fiscal allotments, however, don’t provide many practical solutions to this pressing problem.

Negligible Support for Small Businesses:

The Union budget was nothing more than the government’s self-praise, a practice that leaders of the BJP do on all platforms. The finance minister’s statement amounted to an election speech, during which she mentioned increased foreign investment but said nothing about the rupee’s decline against the US dollar. The foundation of the Indian economy is made up of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), yet the BJP’s budgetary provisions provide little assistance to this important industry. A difficult economic climate makes it much harder for struggling firms to survive and grow when there are no real incentives or relief programs in place.

Favoring Corporate Interests over Common Citizens:

The 2024 interim budget once again demonstrated how corporate interests and entrenched agendas have supplanted the interests of regular people. Most of the time, it appeared as though Sitharaman was giving a speech that addressed neither concerns like rising prices nor anything to help the average person. When it came to tax slabs, the middle class was hoping for assistance, but nothing changed. The unequal distribution of benefits, which is accentuated by the excessive allocation of resources to corporate organizations and rich elites, makes the divide between the haves and have-nots even more pronounced. The BJP’s intentions are made clearly visible by the interim budget’s concentration on serving corporate interests at the expense of regular people.

Ignoring Healthcare, Education, and Environment:

Increasing capital investment (Capex) is a major engine of economic development, and the Modi government has continuously emphasized this in interim budgets. But does its inability to reach its own goal indicate that it has selectively highlighted some aspects of its economic plan rather than providing a whole and accurate picture? Despite being the two main pillars of social development, healthcare and education are not given enough attention in the BJP’s interim budget. A lack of commitment to provide accessible and high-quality services for all residents is reflected in the inadequate funding for educational institutions and the infrastructure supporting healthcare. Additionally, there is a worrying lack of attention on sustainable growth and environmental protection in the financial allocations. The fact that the BJP has ignored environmental issues highlights its lack of vision in government, given that environmental deterioration is a major danger to India’s future.

The anti-people side of the Modi administration has been made clear by this interim budget 2024-25. The finance minister’s budget address sounded, predictably enough, like a political statement in an election year with little regard for truth and facts.  With the 2024 Lok Sabha elections in mind, it made some very broad statements about economic management along with a well-veiled plea for votes.