Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2023-24 in parliament on February 1, 2023. The budget allocated to the Women and Child Development Ministry (WCD) – the nodal department of the government for the welfare of women and children, stood at Rs 25,448.75 crore in 2023-24, an increase of Rs 267 crore from Rs 25,172.28 crore allotted in 2022-23. WCD came into existence as a separate Ministry with effect from 30th January 2006. The Ministry was constituted to address the gaps in state action for women and children. It aims to create a gender equitable and child-centered legislation, policies and programmes. Increasing the budget, even though it is a marginal rise seems to be a positive sign.
The most significant announcement for women in the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s budget speech was the proposal for the “Mahila Samman Saving Certificate” with a fixed interest rate of 7.5 per cent. The scheme will have tenure of two years. The deposit can be made in the name of a girl child or a woman. The maximum deposit is kept at Rs 2 lakh and the scheme will have a partial withdrawal facility as well.
“One-time new small saving under “Mahila Samman Saving Patra”. The deposit facility for the women and girls will be for a period of two years with a rate of interest of 7.5 per cent,” Nirmala Sitharaman announced. She also said that for the economic empowerment of women under the “Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana National Rural Livelihood Mission”, 81 lakh self-help groups have been created by mobilising rural women.”We will enable these groups to reach the next stage of economic empowerment through the formation of large producer enterprises or collectives with each having several thousand members,” she added.
Under the PM – Kisan Samman Nidhi’s Scheme small scale farmers were provided with a financial assistance of more than Rs 2.25 lakh crore. About three crore women farmers have been provided Rs 54,000 crore under this scheme.
Income Tax Slabs 2023: New income tax slabs under new tax regime
Nirmala Sitharaman announced several changes reducing the income tax burden. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced Tax for income of Rs 0-3 lakh is nil; income above Rs 3 lakh and up to Rs 5 lakh to be taxed at 5%; income of above Rs 6 lakh and up to Rs 9 lakh to be taxed at 10%; income above Rs 12 lakh and up to Rs 15 lakh to be taxed at 20%; and income above Rs 15 lakh to be taxed at Rs 30%.