All set for the upcoming fiscal year’s interim budget in 2024–2025? Our Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is ready to present the interim budget to Parliament, on February 1, 2024. Will there be any ‘spectacular announcements’ from the government? Fact is – it’s still generating considerable buzz as it marks the final budget before the General Elections. The complete Union Budget, however, will be revealed post the General Elections, following the formation of the new government.
So, expectations are high, with all eyes on Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman – hoping she will unveil a series of populist measures.
What will define future landscapes of the business sectors? Be it agriculture, infrastructure, healthcare, education, finance, or manufacturing, each sector holds distinct expectations for allocations and reforms.
Here we have expectations expressed by some inspiring women entrepreneurs. They express their aspirations for a budget that will not only promote growth and innovation but also contribute to societal well-being.
> Neha Bagaria – Founder & CEO, HerKey (formerly JobsForHer)
“As India gears up for the annual budget, I advocate for a targeted strategy to upskill women returnees in future-ready skills. A joint effort by the government and corporate India can pave the way for incentives and tax breaks for companies investing in the training of these women. Aligning with the evolving landscape of future skills is essential for fostering a resilient and diverse workforce.
Let this budget signify a strategic commitment to inclusive growth, where the development of these skills becomes a cornerstone for a dynamic job market, creating opportunities for women on a career break.”
> Simran Sharma, Co-Founder and Lead Product Manager, Yodda – Elder Care
“As India experiences a vibrant wave of entrepreneurship and a growing startup ecosystem, we are eagerly approaching our goal of becoming a developed nation by 2047.
With this in mind, the upcoming 2024 budget presents a wonderful opportunity to enhance the financial participation of Indian women, a step that is essential for realizing our national ambitions. We would like to see the budget introduce empowering measures such as tax incentives for childcare, which would greatly support working mothers, and seed funding for women-led startups to ignite a passion for entrepreneurship among women.
These initiatives promise to not only elevate women’s roles in the economy but also to pave the way for income equality, household prosperity, and broader national development. By potentially narrowing the gender wealth gap, these measures could harness the untapped potential of women, significantly contributing to India’s growth story. We are hopeful and excited for a budget that recognizes and uplifts the invaluable contribution of women to India’s progress.”
> Debjani Mukherjee, Founder Director, Nani Ghar
“Will remain optimistic about the government’s commitment to fortifying India’s growing startup ecosystem. I would love to have more support system on angel investment and venture capital as in long run, this will elevate more number of startups in India.
I am also looking forward for a better tax saving, lowering tax rates, simplifying the processes associated with tax compliance.
Special attention might be given to sectors where SMEs are significantly active, like technology, healthcare, and renewable energy, through tailored incentives or support programs.”
> Neena Wagh, Founder, ALAP
“My wishlist for the Budget 2024 is – to increase the pension amount for the special need across the board.
I strongly feel that every ‘Special need’ person, if he or she is dependent solely on the parent for finances – should be entitled for pension, irrespective of the financial background of the parents.”
> Parbati Bhattacharya, Founder, Wanderers Footprints Travel Boutique
“As India’s travel industry soars, I think Budget 2024 presents an opportune moment to refine its trajectory towards sustainable growth. To that end, my wishlist includes – urging the government to prioritize harmonization of GST regulations across travel platforms, ensuring transparency and a level playing field for businesses.
Moreover, addressing airfare volatility during peak seasons, perhaps through targeted regulations or incentives, would promote domestic travel affordability and align with the government’s vision of a thriving domestic tourism sector. Beyond affordability, robust infrastructure development is crucial. Increased allocation for roads, sanitation facilities, and sustainable waste management systems in popular destinations is essential to ensure a seamless and responsible travel experience.
Finally, managing tourist influx in sensitive destinations during peak seasons is paramount. Implementing mechanisms like limiting hotel permits and tour operator licenses, encouraging responsible travel practices, and promoting alternative off-season travel periods can safeguard the ecological and cultural integrity of these vibrant locales.
By prioritizing these measures, Budget 2024 can set India’s travel industry on a path of sustainable and inclusive growth, benefitting businesses, travelers, and communities alike.”
> Vijaya Eastwood, Director, Henley Ventures Group Private Limited
“My wishlist for the budget is – focus on supporting entrepreneurship, the government should incentivize and support entrepreneurs by addressing gaps in funding and skill development. Policies recognizing the challenges startups face is crucial, and here the key is access to funding, which means significant strategic investments and initiatives towards better tax structures, customized support programmes, easy and simplified access to capital, and incentives.
I hope the 2024 budget addresses credit challenges faced by SMEs – by facilitating government-backed loans and encouraging NBFCs to increase lending to SMEs.”
> Usha Jha, Founder, Petal Craft
“Women-led businesses create employment opportunities not only for them, but also for others in their community. By increasing workforce participation, women entrepreneurs play an important role in reducing unemployment rates and strengthening the labor market.
There is a huge gender gap in the budget, women entrepreneurs get a lower percentage than men. So, I feel there should be a dedicated fund for women entrepreneurs and there should be a significant increase in health, safety and education.”
> Payel Mukherjee, Chief Executive, Justwords
These are my 3 main wishlist for the interim budget:
1. As part of the MSME sector, which plays a pivotal role in driving the Indian economy, we anticipate more government support towards MSMEs, in terms of easier access to credit with favourable interest rates.
2. In our sector, service exports play a crucial role, and we hope for increased government incentives. Simplifying the incentive payment process, while minimizing regulatory requirements, would further promote service exports.
3. As citizens, we share a common expectation from the government, to consider reducing income tax rates.