Interim Budget 2019 highlights

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Today, Union Minister Piyush Goyal presented the last Interim Budget of the NDA government.  The next Lok Sabha elections is due in May, 2019.

Below are the highlights of the Budget 2019:

For Education:

  • Government allots Rs 38,572 crores for its National Education Mission. last year it was Rs 32,334 crore. This is for students from pre-primary to class 12.

(Although government know the importance of education for the country’s development, the allotment is less than 4% of the GDP. “In fact, education spending was 4.4 per cent in 1999 and it has now (2018) dropped to this value of 3.5 per cent which means a steady decline in a country that is supposed to be focusing on skilling its labourers to increase growth rate,” India Today.

  • Under Anganwadi and Asha Yojana honorarium has been enhanced by about 50% for all categories of workers.
  • Government announce setting up of new the 22nd AIIMS in Haryana.

For Middle -Class

  • Tax is exempted for people earning upto ₹5 lakh. However the income tax slabs remain the same.

(With government imposing Income tax, government also provides legal ways to save income tax, especially through savings. With exemption upto 5 lakhs, many will become spend thrift. They wont be compelled to save. Going ahead, are we heading to non-saving economy?)

  • Further people earning income of up to ₹6.5 lakh need not pay any tax if they make investments in provident funds and prescribed equities
  • Standard tax deduction for salaried persons raised from ₹40,000 to ₹50,000
  • TDS threshold on interest on bank and post office deposits raised from ₹10,000 to ₹40,000
  • TDS threshold on rental income increased from ₹1.8 lakh to ₹2.4 lakh
  • Benefits under Sec 80(i)BA being extended for one more year, for all housing projects approved till the end of 2019-2020
  • I-T processing of returns will be made easier and can be done in 24 hours
  • Within the next 2 years, all verification of tax returns will be done electronically without any interface with the tax payer
  • ESI cover limit has increased from 15,000 to 21,000.

For farmers:

  • Farmers who own 5 hectare of land get an income of Rs 6000 annually under the scheme Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi

(This does not apply to landless farmers or labourers. As per 2011 census landless agricultural labourers are 14.43 crore. (1) According to NDTV report, farmers opine that Rs 6000 for a year is of no use. We need better infrastructure and water facilities. This extra income may help those who have all the facilities.)

  • Special focus on Animal husbandry and fisheries. Separate department to be set up for fisheries, as India is the second largest fish producing nation in the world accounting for 6.3% of global production, registering an average annual growth of more than 7% in recent years. Further government announced 2% interest subvention for farmers taking up animal husbandry and fisheries.
  • All farmers affected by severe natural calamities will get 2% interest subvention and additional 3% interest subvention upon timely repayment
  • Increased allocation for Rashtriya Gokul Mission to 750 crore in the current year. Government will strive to protect cows and aims to increase the productivity of cows.
  • One lakh digital villages planned in the next five years.
  • Fixed the minimum support price (MSP) of all 22 crops at minimum 50% more than the cost.

Infrastructure:

  • Under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, construction of rural roads has been tripled. Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) is being allocated ` 19,000 crore in BE 2019-20 as against ` 15,500 crore in RE 2018-19.
  • Under ‘Saubhagya Yojna’, government provided free electricity connection to almost every household. By March, 2019, all willing  families will get electricity connection.
  •  The flagship programme of Sagarmala along the coastal areas of the country will develop ports for faster handling of import and export cargo. For the first time, container freight movement has started on inland waterways from Kolkata to Varanasi.
  • Introduction of the first indigenously developed and manufactured semi high-speed “Vande Bharat Express” will give the Indian passengers world class experience with speed, service and safety.

Women Development

  • More than 6 crore out of 8 crore connections have already been given and the remaining will get free gas connections by next year.
  • More than 70% of the beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana are women who are getting affordable and collateral-free loans to start their own businesses.

Youth and technology

  • Government announced a National Programme on ‘Artificial Intelligence’. This would be catalysed by the establishment of the National Centre on Artificial Intelligence as a hub along with Centres of Excellence. Nine priority areas have been identified. A National Artificial Intelligence portal will also be developed soon.

Click here to read the entire speech of the budget

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