As government will be presenting the last full Budget before the 2024 general elections, on 1st of February, sources indicate that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is likely to unveil a slew of people centric announcements.
Some of the proposals which the government is actively considering and could be part of the budget announcements include: "expanding the base of 'Sukanya Samriddhi Scheme' by giving one time window to allow all those who could not enroll for the scheme and are still outside the ambit," sources shared with CNBC-TV18.
'Sukanya Samriddhi Yojna' is a small deposit scheme for girl child, launched in 2015 as a part of the 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao' campaign.
Also on the drawing board is the proposal to include the missing middle under the health insurance cover.
"Government could also announce a special inclusion of all those who are neither enrolled under Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme nor have a private health insurance. The proposal is to include these missing middle under health cover at subsidized or low cost health insurance cover, which could be a public-private partnership," sources added.
Niti Aayog had pitched this idea in October 2021 via a detailed report titled Health Insurance for India’s Missing Middle, bringing out the gaps in the health insurance coverage across the Indian population and offers solutions to address the situation.
The Ayushman Bharat - Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana—a flagship scheme towards Universal Health Coverage, and State Government extension schemes—provides comprehensive hospitalization cover to the bottom 50 percent of the population. Around 20 percent of the population is covered through social health insurance, and private voluntary health insurance primarily designed for high-income groups. The remaining 30 percent of the population, devoid of health insurance, is termed as the “missing middle”.
Sources added that the effort is to include these 30 percent also under an insurance cover.
Apart from this, another proposal which is under discussion is to give a relief to senior citizens on the interest income for their savings.
"The idea is that under section 80 TTB interest income from deposit is by senior citizens up to Rs 50,000 per annum is exempt from income tax, the proposal now is to see how this can be enhanced? Whether it can be pulled up to up to Rs 1 lakh per annum or so," sources added.
Now, to watch out for is whether any of these three proposals get accepted by the top leadership and get accommodated as part of the various announcements that the government will unveil in the Union Budget 2023.