Finance minister Piyush Goyal has presented the much awaited Interim budget. Goyal was appointed interim finance minister on January 23 since Arun Jaitely is undergoing treatment in the US. The interim Budget, also known as a vote on account, will seek the Parliament’s nod for meeting the expenditure for the first six months of new fiscal 2019-20. A full-fledged will be presented in Parliament once the new Central government is formed after the general elections, due in March-April.
Some of the highlights of the budget are:
- A full tax rebate for individuals with income up to Rs. 5 lakh. The income tax proposal will benefit three crore taxpayers.
- Individuals with gross income up to 6.5 lakh rupees a year won’t need to pay any tax if they make investments in provident funds and prescribed equities.
- The move to provide benefit worth Rs. 18,500 crore to 3 crore assesses. Standard deduction limit raised from Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 50,000.
- Direct tax collections from 6.38 lakh crore rupees in 2013-14 to almost 12 lakh crore rupees; tax base up from Rs 3.79 crore to Rs 6.85 crore. 99.54% returns have been accepted without any scrutiny.
- GST has been continuously reduced, resulting in relief of 80,000 crore rupees to consumers; most items of daily use for poor and middle class are now in the 0%-5% tax bracket.
- GST is the undoubtedly the biggest taxation reform implemented since Independence; through tax consolidation, India became one common market; inter-state movements became faster through e-way bills, improving Ease of Doing Business.
- Single window clearance for filmmaking to be made available to Indian filmmakers, anit-camcording provision to be introduced to Cinematography Act to combat film privacy.
- Allocation for North Eastern region proposed to be increased to Rs 58,166 crore in this year a rise of over 21% from the previous year.
- Increased allocation for Rashtriya Gokul Mission to 750 crore in current year.
- Two per cent interest subvention to farmers pursuing animal husbandry and fisheries.
- Committee under NITI Aayog to be set up to identify and denotify nomadic and semi-nomadic communities; Welfare Development Board to be set up under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for welfare of these hard-to-reach communities and for tailored strategic interventions.
- Mega Pension Yojana, namely Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan, to provide assured monthly pension of 3000 rupees per month, with contribution of 100 rupees per month, for workers in unorganised sector after 60 years of age. (This) will benefit 10 crore workers in unorganized sector, may become the world’s biggest pension scheme for unorganized sector in five years
- Under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, 6000 rupees per year for each farmer, in three installments, to be transferred directly to farmers’ bank accounts, for farmers with less than 2 hectares land holding. This initiative is likely to benefit 12 crore small and marginal farmers, at an estimated cost of Rs 75,000 crore.