Union Budget 2024: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Emphasizes Women’s Empowerment, Inclusivity, and Youth Power

Union Budget 2024

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Interim Union Budget 2024 in Parliament today, just ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections. This marks Sitharaman’s sixth Union Budget, with the full-fledged budget expected to be presented by the new government following the elections.

The interim budget, a short-term financial plan, seeks Parliament’s approval for an advance grant to cover essential government expenditures for the first four months of the upcoming financial year. The Budget Session of Parliament commenced yesterday with President Droupadi Murmu addressing a joint meeting of both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha. The session is scheduled to conclude on February 9.

Women’s Empowerment in Focus

During her budget speech, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman highlighted the significant increase in women’s participation in the workforce over the past few years. She noted a 28% rise in female enrollment in STEM courses in the last decade. The Finance Minister attributed this progress to various government initiatives, including the criminalization of triple talaq, the reservation of one-third of seats for women in Parliament and state assemblies, and the allocation of over 70% of houses under the PM Awas Yojana to women, enhancing their dignity.

Priority on the Poor, Women, Farmers, and Youth

Sitharaman emphasized that the government’s top priorities are the poor, women, farmers, and youth. These four groups, referred to as gareeb, mahilaye, and annadatta (the poor, women, and farmers), are at the forefront of the government’s agenda.

Youth Power in Sports

The Finance Minister also praised the achievements of India’s youth in sports. She mentioned the remarkable performance of chess prodigy Praggnanandhaa, who put up a stiff fight against the reigning world champion Carlsen in 2023. Sitharaman proudly stated that India now boasts over 80 chess grandmasters, showcasing the nation’s prowess in the field of sports.

Inclusive Governance

Highlighting the government’s commitment to inclusivity, Sitharaman spoke extensively about the Modi government’s efforts in promoting “all aspects” of inclusivity. She expressed the government’s dedication to covering all sections of society in its policies and initiatives.

Vision for Viksit Bharat by 2047

In a forward-looking statement, Sitharaman revealed that the government is working towards making India ‘Viksit Bharat‘ by 2047. She reiterated the focus on ‘sabka sath, sabka vikas,’ emphasizing the inclusive development of all sections of society.

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