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Union Budget 2024: Key Highlights

The Budget Day in India is filled with anticipation as businesses and the general public eagerly await insights into the potential schemes and initiatives that could impact them. This year, due to impending elections, Budget 2024 takes the form of an Interim Budget. Despite this, Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman has successfully presented schemes and benefits, satisfying the expectations of the public.

The Finance Minister unveiled the theme for Budget 2024 as “Viksit Bharat Budget 2024,” emphasizing the nation’s commitment to Atmanirbhar Bharat. The Interim Budget prioritizes the welfare and aspirations of the poor (Gareeb), women (Mahila), youth (Yuva), and farmers (Annadata).

Key Highlights of Interim Budget 2024:

Direct Tax Proposals

  • The Finance Minister announced the retention of current tax rates for direct taxes in FY 2024-25.
  • No tax liability for taxpayers with an income of up to Rs. 7 lakh under the new tax regime.
  • Corporate tax rates of 22% for existing domestic companies and 15% for specific new manufacturing companies.
  • Extension of time limits for tax benefits for startups and investments by sovereign wealth funds/pension funds until March 2025.

Goods and Services Tax (GST)

  • Average monthly gross GST collection doubled to Rs. 1.66 lakh crore in FY24.
  • Retention of customs rates, including import duties, in FY 2024-25.

Youth Empowerment

  • 1.4 crore youth trained under the Skill India Mission.
  • 43 crore loans sanctioned under the PM Mudra Yojana to foster entrepreneurial aspirations.

Welfare of Farmers (Annadata)

  • Direct financial assistance to 11.8 crore farmers under PM-KISAN.
  • Crop Insurance for 4 crore farmers under PM Fasal Bima Yojana.
  • Integration of 1,361 mandis under eNAM.

Garib Kalyan, Desh ka Kalyan

  • Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) leading to savings of Rs. 2.7 lakh crore.
  • 78 lakh street vendors assisted under PM Svanidhi.
  • Significant achievements in poverty reduction.

Roadmap for Viksit Bharat

  • Emphasis on the development of physical, digital, and social infrastructure.
  • Introduction of Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) to promote formalization and financial inclusion.
  • Extension and widening of the tax base through GST.
  • Establishment of GIFT IFSC as a robust gateway for global capital and financial services.

Nari Shakti

  • Emphasis on the development of physical, digital, and social infrastructure.
  • Introduction of Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) to promote formalization and financial inclusion.
  • Extension and widening of the tax base through GST.
  • Establishment of GIFT IFSC as a robust gateway for global capital and financial services.

Infrastructure and Investment

  • Implementation of major railway corridor programs and promotion of foreign investment.
  • Expansion of airports and comprehensive development of new airports under the UDAN scheme.
  • Urban transformation under Metro rail and NaMo Bharat projects.

Inclusive Development

During Amrit Kaal, the Finance Minister emphasized the imperative of inclusive development and introduced an aspirational District Programme to aid states in expediting development, including employment generation. In this context:

Healthcare

  • The government actively promotes cervical cancer vaccination for girls aged between 9-14 years.
  • The Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0 scheme will hasten the upgrade of Anganwadi centers, enhancing nutrition delivery, early childhood care, and development.
  • A U-WIN platform will be rolled out to support the immunization efforts of Mission Indradhanush.
  • Health coverage under the Ayushman Bharat scheme will be extended to include all ASHA, Anganwadi workers, and helpers.
  • A committee will be established to address issues related to the establishment of more medical colleges in India.

Housing

  • The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Grameen) is nearing the achievement of its target of 3 crore houses, with an additional 2 crore targeted for the next 5 years.
  • A housing scheme for the middle class will be launched to encourage them to purchase or construct their own houses.

Tourism

  • States will receive encouragement to develop iconic tourist centers, fostering business and creating opportunities for local entrepreneurship.
  • Long-term interest-free loans will be provided to states to stimulate development.
  • Projects for port connectivity, tourism infrastructure, and amenities will be undertaken in islands, including Lakshadweep.

Agriculture and Food Processing

  • The government aims to boost private and public investment in post-harvest activities.
  • The application of Nano-DAP will be expanded across all agro-climatic zones.
  • A strategy, Atmanirbhar Oilseeds Abhiyan, will be formulated to achieve self-sufficiency in oilseeds.
  • A comprehensive program for dairy development will be devised.
  • The implementation of Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana will be intensified to enhance aquaculture productivity, double exports, and generate more employment opportunities.
  • Additionally, five integrated aqua parks will be established.

Strategy Shift for Amrit Kaal as Kartavya Kaal - Sustainable Development/Green Energy:

  • Commitment to achieve ‘Net Zero’ by 2070.
  • Viability gap funding for offshore wind energy, coal gasification, and liquefaction capacity.
  • Phased mandatory blending of CNG, PNG, and compressed biogas.
  • Financial assistance for biomass aggregation machinery.
  • Rooftop solarisation and support for electric vehicles.

Download Interim Budget

Finance Bill 2024: Click here

Budget Speech: Click here

Budget 2024 Key Features: Click here

pre-employment-background-verification

The Crucial Role of Pre-Employment Background Verification Checks in Modern Hiring

In the ever-evolving landscape of the job market, employers face a daunting challenge:- choosing the right candidate for their organizations. To tackle this challenge, pre-employment background verification checks have become increasingly important. These checks encompass a meticulous examination of a candidate’s history, credentials, and suitability for a specific job role. In this comprehensive article, we delve into the significance of pre-employment checks, to shed light on their growing importance in the hiring process.

Understanding Pre-Employment Background Verification Checks

Pre-employment background verification checks are a multifaceted process that employers use to assess a candidate’s claims and gain a deeper understanding of their past behaviour and performance. These checks encompass a wide range of factors, such as criminal history, educational credentials, employment history, credit reports, reference checks, and more. The depth and scope of these checks can vary depending on the role and industry. The overarching goal is to mitigate risks, ensure workplace safety, and make informed hiring decisions.

The Importance of Pre-Employment Background Verification Checks

Conducting background checks empowers you to make intelligent, informed hiring choices that can result in long-term time and cost savings for your business. With a wide array of available services, acquiring the necessary information to make confident onboarding decisions is a straightforward process. In essence, background checks play a pivotal role in ensuring that the individuals you bring into your organization align seamlessly with your corporate culture.

#1. Ensuring Safety and Security

Statistics show that pre-employment background checks are essential for safeguarding the workplace and employees. According to a report by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 80% of organizations conduct criminal background checks as a part of their hiring process. In today’s world, where workplace safety is paramount, this is a crucial step in mitigating potential risks.

#2. Validating Qualifications and Experience

A study revealed that 85% of employers have uncovered discrepancies in candidates’ resumes, emphasizing the need for thorough checks on educational credentials and employment history. This ensures that candidates genuinely possess the qualifications and experience required for the role, which can save companies from costly hiring mistakes.

#3. Protecting the Company’s Reputation

The reputation of a company is invaluable, and hiring a candidate with a questionable history can be detrimental. A survey by CareerBuilder found that 58% of employers have seen a tarnished company reputation due to a poor hire. Pre-employment background checks help organizations maintain their image in the market.

#4. Reducing Liability

Employers have a legal obligation to provide a safe and harassment-free workplace. Background checks can be a proactive measure to reduce potential legal liabilities. According to the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), 85% of employers conduct background checks to protect against negligent hiring lawsuits.

#5. Ensuring Compliance

Certain industries, such as finance, healthcare, and real money gaming, have strict regulatory requirements that mandate background checks for specific roles. Non-compliance with these regulations can lead to severe penalties and legal consequences.

#6. Enhancing Hiring Quality

Background checks are a significant contributor to hiring quality candidates. A study by Glassdoor revealed that organizations with a strong commitment to background screening have, on average, a 15% higher quality of hire. This translates into better employee retention rates, job satisfaction, and overall company performance.

The Components of Pre-Employment Background Verification Checks

Now that we have addressed what is pre-employment screening and its importance, let us look at some of the background checks that are useful while conducting a pre-employment verification. The depth and breadth of these checks might vary based on the seniority of the role – Eg., Leadership/Executive Screening checks will be a lot more comprehensive compared to an entry-level employee.

A. Criminal Background Check

This check involves scrutinizing a candidate’s criminal history, including records of arrests, convictions, and pending criminal cases. It is essential for assessing potential safety risks in the workplace.

B. Employment History Verification

Contacting previous employers to verify a candidate’s work history, job titles, and performance helps establish the candidate’s suitability for the role. A recent report found that 85% of employers verify previous employment.

C. Education Verification

Verifying the educational qualifications listed on a candidate’s resume helps ensure they possess the necessary knowledge and skills for the job. The SHRM’s survey found that 76% of organizations verify education credentials.

D. Reference Check

A professional reference check is a process in which an individual’s work-related references are contacted to gather information about their qualifications, work history, work ethic, character, and past performance. It is commonly used by employers and organizations as part of the hiring process to assess a candidate’s suitability for a particular job or role. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reported that 87% of organizations conduct reference checks.

E. Credit Reports

In certain industries, employers may check a candidate’s credit history to assess financial responsibility and reliability, especially when the role involves handling finances or sensitive data. The most common ways to do that is via CIBIL score verification or fetching the Experian Credit Report. According to a survey by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), 47% of organizations conduct credit checks as part of their hiring process.

F. Professional License and Certification Check

A professional license check is a process that involves verifying the validity and status of a professional license held by an individual, typically in a regulated or licensed occupation or industry. Such as in case of insurance agent verification or when the job applicant is a doctor, nurse, chartered accountant, etc.

The background screening vendor needs to verify if they possess a valid license by contacting the state licensing board to verify the license hasn’t expired or lapsed and is in good standing. Thus, protecting the employer from negligent hiring claims.

G. Social Media Check

A social media check, often referred to as a “social media background check” or “online screening,” is a process in which an individual’s social media profiles and online presence are examined to provide insight into an individual’s character, behaviour, and suitability for a particular role or position.

The employer may review an individual’s public profiles on popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and others. The objective is to gain a better understanding of the candidate’s online interactions, posts, comments, and overall digital footprint.

H. Drug Test

A drug test is a screening procedure that checks a person’s biological samples (such as urine, blood, hair, or saliva) for the presence of drugs or their metabolites. The primary purpose of drug testing is to determine if an individual has recently used or is currently under the influence of certain substances, including prescription medications and illicit drugs. It is often conducted for safety-sensitive roles or positions that involve handling sensitive information or operating heavy machinery.

The employer may review an individual’s public profiles on popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and others. The objective is to gain a better understanding of the candidate’s online interactions, posts, comments, and overall digital footprint.

Conclusion

Pre-employment background verification checks are a cornerstone of the modern hiring process, offering numerous benefits to employers. The inclusion of statistics and data trends highlights their growing importance in ensuring workplace safety, protecting the company’s reputation, reducing legal liabilities, and enhancing the overall quality of hires. Employers must recognize that these checks are not just an optional step but a fundamental necessity to make well-informed and responsible choices when selecting new employees in today’s competitive job market.

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