Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman last week presented the Interim Budget 2024-25. It is her sixth consecutive Budget which overall talks about India’s growth potential and the importance of policy continuity, with focus on areas like inclusive growth, modern infrastructure development, capital expenditures, etc. There are praises as well as criticism, and as far as the MSME sector is concerned, the reactions seem to be mixed.
The Budget allocates Rs 22,137 crore to the MSME ministry. Allocation for the ECLGS has been reduced to Rs 10,162.92 crore – by some 4000 crore – but an amount of Rs 450 crore has been allocated for establishing new technology centres, Rs 400 crore for development of Micro and Small Clusters and Rs 4,824 for the PM Vishwakarma scheme. However, some sections expected a lot more from the Budget, particularly some new schemes on credit and technology upgradation.
Similarly, the Budget offers certain tax benefits to the startup sector by way of extension of exemptions. No doubt, schemes like Fund of Fund, Startup India, and Startup Credit Guarantee, etc. are benefiting the sector immensely, but again, according to some, a lot more could have been done for fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in the sector. According to some experts, the Budget lacks concrete steps both for startups and MSMEs.