As India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the Interim Budget 2024-25 on February 1st, stock market data research firm William O’Neil India has presented its views on some of the sectors that will be in focus in this year’s budget session.

According to William O’Neil, sectors like automobile, insurance, hospitality & tourism, real estate, pharma, infrastructure, energy, aviation, and agriculture will remain in focus.

In a report, the market data research firm said, “The Finance Minister will present a vote on account in this election year of 2024, signaling no major policy announcements. While the budget’s significance should not be underestimated, it offers the outgoing government a chance to highlight its economic achievements before the general elections.”

Here is a list of key sectors that will be focussed in the Union Budget 2024, according to William O’Neil:


Currently, various measures have been taken by the GOI, like the introduction of FAME subsidy, state policies, the setting up of EV charging ecosystems, and the rolling out of PLI schemes. For the Union Budget 2024, the industry expects long-term measures that promote EV adoption, such as reduced GST rates, extensions of FAME-II subsidies, and increased infrastructure spending for changing infrastructure.

Meanwhile, there has been a proposal to reduce the GST on lithium-ion batteries from 18% to 5%, which will help reduce the cost of acquiring EVs. Since batteries are a major cost component in EVs, the move will reduce the overall cost of batteries and make EVs more affordable for buyers. Also, a tailored PLI scheme for lithium-ion battery recycling will be a game changer, which will amplify the sector’s growth, while advancing India’s sustainability goals.


In the upcoming Union Budget, the industry is expecting a substantial increase of 15-20% in funds toward the sector, considering the government’s substantial increase in infrastructure initiatives. The sector is expecting the rationalization of duties on ATF and a sharp reduction in airport charges, including parking charges, landing, and navigation charges levied on them. The budget is also expected to accelerate the focus on setting up new airports and expanding capacities at key airports to avoid current capacity constraints.

Insurance Sector

Section 80C provides tax benefits of up to Rs 1.5 lakh to taxpayers for investing in various financial instruments like PPF, life insurance, ELSS, and the National Savings Certificate. Industry participants believe that there is an urgent need for a different tax exemption category for term insurance. They feel that the above category is already clustered and a separate category will incentivize taxpayers to opt for term plans with higher coverage.

They have also advocated for a reduction in GST imposed on certain types of insurance products to increase their reach among citizens. The GST rate of 18% needs to be reconsidered, so that there are pricing benefits of insurance products for end consumers, while encouraging investments in life insurance products.

Real Estate

Stakeholders in the real estate sector are anxiously anticipating the long-overdue granting of industry status, recognizing the sector’s crucial role in India’s economic growth. This status can act as a catalyst for increased investment and the streamlining of regulations, leading to robust development in the entire industry. Additionally, the upcoming budget is expected to focus on the affordable housing segment revive the sector and bridge the housing gap through policy impetus, tax breaks, and fiscal support.

They also believe that it is crucial to increase the Income Tax Section 24’s home loan interest rates rebate from Rs 2 lakh to at least Rs 5 lakh. This move is expected to attract genuine home buyers, along with other parameters such as reduction in interest rates and tax benefits to developers.


In the upcoming budget, the focus is expected to remain on the establishment of Centers of Excellence with a focus on developing research and innovation in the Pharma sector. The budget is also expected to focus on technological advancements such as Gen AI, where the government can boost investments in Artificial Intelligence.

The focus is also expected to remain on unveiling the roadmap for addressing long-term infrastructure financing, increasing the number of medical and nursing colleges, and implementing fiscal reforms in the health insurance sector. At present, APIs attract a higher GST rate of 18%, whereas formulations attract a lower GST rate of 12%, leading to the accumulation of credit for the Pharma industry. This is also expected to change.


The government is expected to maintain its focus on increasing capex, particularly in the infrastructure segment. The industry expects the government to allocate a capex of Rs 10.2 lakh crore in FY25. This implies growth of 10% y/y, which is expected to be lower than spending growth post the initial COVID-19 period. In the roads segment, the bulk of capital allocation is coming from the government schemes. The private sector investment has not been forthcoming. In the upcoming budget, changes to the direct tax regime are expected that will boost capital expenditure by private players in various road-related infrastructure projects.

Meanwhile, expectations for railway infrastructure include sustained capex by the Indian Railways, supported by the Indian Government, and an increase in orders for private sector players. The private sector also expects that the National Railways Network plan and the preservation of the 3000 MT mission are kept intact. The focus is anticipated to be on corridor infrastructure, investment in rolling stocks, and improving passenger safety and convenience.


The industry is demanding higher capex in renewable energy, particularly in bioenergy, solar, and wind projects. Investments in green hydrogen and battery storage are required and are crucial to meet the challenging targets. PLI schemes for renewable manufacturing and viability gap funding for battery storage are the need of the hour.

Meanwhile, the fact that India’s solar panel imports had reached $1.13B in the first half of the current financial year is a grave concern. Hence, the budget should incorporate measures to promote indigenous development, facilitate technology transfer, and promote localized manufacturing initiatives to reduce dependence on imports. To boost hydrogen competitiveness, addressing GST rates is imperative. Lowering the GST rate for hydrogen, for instance to 5%, will make it affordable and viable for many sectors.


In the upcoming interim Budget, according to consensus expects the government to announce a significant rise (15-20%) in the agricultural credit target to Rs 23-24 lakh crore for the next fiscal, aiming to ensure access to institutional credit for every eligible farmer. The current agricultural credit target is Rs 20 lakh crore, with an existing 2% interest subvention on short-term agricultural loans up to Rs 3 lakh.

The substantial increase in the agricultural credit target will emphasize a focus on campaigns to identify and include eligible farmers in the credit network. The agriculture ministry has established a dedicated ‘credit’ division for a more concentrated approach.

Hospitality and Tourism Sector

The travel and hospitality industry in India is a multibillion-dollar sector driven by factors such as disposable income, and it has attracted the attention of global investors. In 2023, the G20 Presidency and the Cricket World Cup have contributed to marketing India globally as a preferred destination for leisure and business alike.

A primary concern or expectation raised by the industry over the years has been the restriction of indirect taxes, particularly GST on hotel bookings and restaurant services within hotels. The current GST rate stands at 18%, and there is a suggestion to reduce it to a more globally competitive rate of 12%. This will increase India’s competitiveness at the global level, attracting approximately 100M foreign tourists to India.

In South East Asian countries such as Thailand and Singapore, hotel taxation ranges from 5-7%. Additionally, standardization of TCS at 5% on foreign travel packages is expected as against the current 5% and 20% slabs.

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