Mr Piyush Goyal, the Interim Finance Minister has presented the Interim Budget 2019 in the Lok Sabha. This was the last chance for the BJP government to prepare base just before the general elections of 2019. It goes without saying that it will affect the political fortunes of the BJP in the impending elections.
Highlights of Interim Budget 2019
Middle class, low-income section as well as small farmers; all are smiling. Thanks to Modi government for ensuring for providing enough benefits for these section of society. The NDA Government did everything to woo voters ahead of the elections.
- As per Budget 2019, within 2 years, Tax assessment will be done electronically. IT returns processing will be done in just 24 hours. This will definitely help the entire income tax paying population.
- An exemption in income tax has been increased up to Rs 5 lakh annual income.
- If an individual is earning Rs 6.5 lakh per annum, he has not to pay any income tax. Provided he is making an investment in the provident fund and prescribed equities.
- For an individual standard deduction has been increased from Rs 40000 to Rs 50000 annually.
- TDS threshold on rental income raised from Rs 1.8 lakh to Rs 2.4 lakh.
- The gratuity increased from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh.
- TDS threshold on interest on bank and post office deposits has been raised from Rs 10000 to Rs 40000.
- A Bonus will be applicable to workers earning Rs 21000 monthly.
- 22nd AIIMS has to be opened in Haryana.
- Rs 6000 per annum has to be given to every farmer having up to 2-hectare land.
- 2% interest subvention for farmers pursuing animal husbandry and also create a separate department for fisheries.
- 2% interest subvention for farmers affected by natural calamities and additional 3% interest subvention for timely payment.
- The scheme, called Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan, will provide assured monthly pension of Rs. 3,000 with a contribution of Rs. 100 per month for workers in the unorganized sector after 60 years of age.
- 26 weeks of Maternity Leaves to empower the women
- The interim budget by Modi government has allocated a considerable amount of Rs 750 crore towards Rashtriya Gokul Mission. The allocation is for the purpose of increasing production and productivity of cows.
A budget for Elections
With import duty being reduced to boost domestic assembling of electric vehicles, sops being given to the fisheries and animal – husbandry sector, 26 weeks maternity leave, pension scheme for workers in unorganized sector, increased budget for defence sector, single window clearance for filmmakers, digitization of tax department and plethora of other allocations made; it can be well said that the government has very strategically formulated this “Election Budget”.
Questionable areas in Budget 2019
- No doubt, post-restructuring & consolidation of telecom structure many people have lost their jobs. There is an increase in unemployment. Recent controversy of government not making unemployment data public was a big humiliation. In the interim budget, the government failed to make any announcement regarding job creation. This will definitely be a target area for the opposition.
- The government tried to garner the support of the Hindu majority by allocating funds for cow protection. It gives the opposition a reason to accuse BJP of tampering with the religious fabric to garner votes.
- It will be an enormous task for allocating fund for the interim budget while ensuring the economy is growing at a right pace.
Modi government will always be known for demonetisation and overhauling of the taxation system by GST. It will be remembered for the increase in the fuel rate, depreciation in employment rate and slowing down of the economy. The interim budget can be a helping hand for the BJP in the upcoming general elections. It will be interesting to observe what strategies Congress and Mahagathbandhan are considering to tackle recent master stroke of the BJP.