Union Finance Minister Piyush Goyal, while presenting his maiden Budget, outlined the government's proposed vision for 2030, announced sops for the middle class taxpayers and an annual dole for small farmers.
Mr. Goyal also utilised the opportunity to take through the various schemes introduced by the National Democratic Alliance government in the past years.
Here are the live updates:
In a post budget press conference, Mr. Goyal says the government could have made more announcements, but couldn't do because it's an Interim Budget.
"Our government has initiated the world's largest behavioral change movement with the Swachh Bharat Mission. India has achieved 98% rural sanitation coverage and as many as 5.45 lack villages have been declared open defecation free. A holistic approach has been taken by the government for the welfare of all sections of citizenry. The government wants to take development to every individual," he states
When asked why income tax relief is proposed in an interim budget, he says the decision was taken keeping in mind the "neo-middle class," who will have to plan their investments by now.
Mr. Goyal tables the Interim Budget for the 2019-20 fiscal in the Rajya Sabha, following which the Upper House too is adjourned till Monday.
"This is not just an Interim Budget, but a medium for country development. The country is changing because of the 'josh' of the Indian citizens. Development has become a movement in our government," says Mr. Goyal.
He recites a poem in Marathi: "I keep one foot, thousands of paths open up. For new India, we have taken such empowering steps that endless possibilities have opened up."
"We have only created the foundation now, now with the people together we will make a huge building of this country. Our intent is clean, policy is clear and resolve is unshakeable. With this I commend the Budget to the House," he concludes.
The Lok Sabha is adjourned till Monday.
Mr. Goyal praises the taxpayers, saying: "your tax provides toilets, healthcare, education and many more. Thank you tax payers!"
Individual taxpayers with income up to Rs. 5 lakh taxable income will get full tax rebate, Mr. Goyal announces.
Opposition Benches raise opposition, but Treasury Bench members chant "Modi! Modi!"
Even those earning ₹6.5 lakh will not have to pay tax, if they invest in specified savings, Mr. Goyal adds.
The tax slabs, however, will remain unchanged. An estimated three-crore middle class taxpayers will be benefitted, he states.
TDS on fixed deposits and postal deposits will be exempted for interest earned upto Rs. 40,000 from Rs. 10,000 currently.
Exemption on TDS on rent has been increased to Rs. 2.4 lakh. The benefit of rollover on capital gains upto Rs. 2 crore will be increased to investment on two residential houses. This benefit can be availed only once in a lifetime.
Benefit under 80IBA of the I-T Act will be extended for one more year for affordable housing.
Fiscal deficit pegged at 3.4 per cent.
Capital expenditure is pegged at 3.36,292 lakh crore. Expenditure is expected to rise by 13% from revised estimate 2018-19 to budget estimate 2019-20, Mr. Goyal says.
The focus will be on debt consolidation, he adds.
''We are poised to become a $five trillion economy in the next five years. The government's vision is to make India a $10 trillion in next eight years," Mr. Goyal says.
10-point vision for 2030.
- a next-gen infrastructure
- a Digital India
- a pollution-free India that drives on electric vehicles.
- Expansion of rural industrialisation
- Clean rivers and safe drinking water
-development of the coastline and utilisation of the blue economy
-placing an Indian astronaut in space
-Self-sufficiency in food, export of food and organic farming
-Healthy India, a distress-free healthcare and comprehensive wellness system
Mr. Goyal says the government is committed to eliminating black money. Demonetisation and other schemes have brought Rs. 1,36,000 crore of cash to banks. More than one crore people had filed income tax returns post demonetisation.
In action against black money, as many as 338000 shell companies detected and directors disqualified.
Opposition members mention the names of fugitive economic offenders. Mr. Goyal continues his speech.
The direct tax collection has increased substantially. More than 99.5% returns accepted as is. All returns will be processed in 24 hours and refund will be initiated. Under a new technology, the entire process will be done in the back-end so that a taxpayer need not interact with an official.
GST has resulted in increased tax base, increased collection and made the country a one-market nation. Mr. Goyal lauds the functioning of the GST Council comprising all State Finance Ministers.
Over 90 per cent of GST filers will be allowed to file the returns on a quarterly basis. The GST collection for January is estimated at Rs 1.03 lakh crore.
Govt has abolished duties on 36 capital goods. The Customs is introducing full digitisation, Mr. Goyal says.
Nearly 45 crore Jan Dhan accounts opened in the last four years.
To promote the entertainment industry, single window clearance for Indian filmmakers will be introduced. In order to eliminate piracy, a new scheme will be introduced. Anti-camcord regulations will be introduced in the Indian Cinematograph Act to prevent piracy and contact theft of Bollywood films.
Mr. Goyal also mentions Hindi movie Uri in his speech.
''India is now leading the world in mobile data consumption. The cost of data and voice call is among the lowest in the world. More than three lakh people are digitally serving the people. Villages are being converted to digital villages. We will make eight lakh digital villages in the next five years,'' he says.
The country's installed solar capacity has grown 10 times in the last five years.
The people of the Northeast received significant infrastructure development. Allocation has been increased for the region.
All unmanned level crossing in broad gauge network has been eliminated, Mr. Goyal, who also holds the Railway portfolio, says. The Railways get Rs. 64580 crore in this Budget. The operating ratio is expected to be 98 per cent.
The country has more than 100 functional airports and the domestic air passenger traffic has doubled.
The Sagarmala, an initiative of the Government of India to enhance the performance of logistics sector, will develop ports. For the first time, container movements have been started in inland waterways. It will be extended to the Northeast through the Brahmaputra.
The Budget speech now turns to the welfare of soldiers. ''The OROP [One Rank One Pension] has been announced by our government. We have already disbursed Rs. 35000 crore under OROP. The Millitary Service Pay has also been hiked substantially, the Minister says.
The Defence Budget has crossed Rs. 3 lakh crore for the first time. Additional funds will be provided, if necessary, he adds.
A new Board will be created for nomadic and semi-nomadic community.
The BJP's manifesto promised clean fuel for cooking. The government has given six crore free cooking gas connection.
More than 70% of beneficiaries of PM Mudra Yojana are women, Mr. Goyal points out.
Loans totalling 16.53 crore have been disbursed under the Mudra Yojana. A sum of Rs 7.23 lakh crore has been disbursed through the scheme. A two per cent interest subvention for MSMEs (Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises) with loans upto Rs. 1 crore is announced.
Job seekers have become job givers, Mr. Goyal says. He lists out schemes such as Stand Up India and Start Up India.
An Artificial Intelligence portal will be developed soon.
Twenty-five per cent of sourcing for government projects will be from the MSMEs, of which three per cent will be from women entrepreneurs.
With such growth, obviously more jobs are created. The NSSO report on employment will be presented soon.
EPFO membership has gone up by 2 crore in five years, indicating the formalisation of the economy. In the last five years, all classes of workers saw a 42 per cent increase in wages which is highest so far, the Minister claims.
The Seventh Pay Commission recommendations were implemented swiftly.
The ESI cover limit has been increased to Rs. 21,000. The minimum pension was also increased to Rs. 1000.
Half of the GDP comes from the unorganised sector. A mega pension scheme will be launched for the organised sector workers with income of less than Rs, 15,000. They will be able to earn Rs. 3000 after the age of 60 years. The scheme will be called Pradhan Mantri Shramyogi Maan Dhan Yojana.
An unorganised sector worker will have to pay as little as Rs.100 a month. The government will match wirth an equal amount. This year, the government is ready to pay Rs. 500 crore for it and any more resources that may be needed, Mr. Goyal says.
Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog to be set up. "This government will never back off when it comes to protecting our mother cow," Mr. Goyal says.
India is the second largest dairy producing nation in the world. Two per cent interest subversion for farmers pursuing animal husbandry. An additional three per cent interest subversion will be given for those who repay the loan in time.
All farmers affected by severe natural calamities will be given interest subversion for the entire period of three per cent of loans. An additional three per cent subversion if the loan is paid on time, he declares.
''The farmers are not getting their due. We have ensured the MSP (minimum support price) is at least 50% per cent of the produce. We have procured agriculture produce in record quantities,'' Mr. Goyal says.
Bumper harvest and small land holdings are the reasons for low farm income. The government will provide Rs. 6000 per annum for small and marginal farmers having upto two hectares. The scheme has been named Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi. The money will be transferred directly to bank accounts in three instalments. The scheme is funded completely by the Central government.
As many as 12 crore farmers will be benifitted. The scheme is being retrospectively implemented from December 2018. It will pave the way for farmers to earn and live a repectable living. A sum of Rs. 20,000 crore is given in the current fiscal for this purpose, Mr. Goyal says.
''We launched the world's largest healthcare programme, Ayshman Bharat, to provide medical treatment for 50 crore people. As many as 10 lakh people have been benefitted so far,'' he claims.
Through Jan Aushadhi Kendras, many poor people are able to get affordable medicines.
Fourteen out of 21 AIIMS were set up under this government. The 22nd AIIMS will come up in Haryana.
Mr. Goyal now speaks on 10 per cent quota granted to the economically backward among the general category. He says seats will be increased in educational institutions to implement the scheme.
''We have managed to bridge the rural-urban divide in the country. The villages must also have the facilities of a city,'' he says and lists out various steps taken in this regard. Gram Sadak Yojana gets extra allocation.
Over 1,53,00,000 houses were constructed in the last five years. By March 2019, every household will have electricity.
''Defaulting managements are either paying or closing their businesses. Re-capitalisation of PSU banks were done. We have run a corruption-free government,'' the Minister declares. He lists out RERA and Fugitive Economic Offenders Act as measures to tackle corruption. Auctions were also transparent in this regime.
The Swacch Bharat Mission is a holistic programme and has succeeded in changing the mindset of people. People have converted it as a movement, he says and thanks the people for making it a success.
By 2024, India will have housing for all. It will also be free from corruption, communalism and nepotism. India is the fastest growing economy today.
Mr. Goyal likens inflation to a burden of tax. It has been brought down to 4.1 per cent. A family would have paid more than 40 per cent, had we not tamed inflation, he says.
The fiscal deficit has been brought down to 3.1%. The Current Account Deficit has also been brought down. India has attracted maximum foreign investments. This period also seen massive rapidisation of FDI.
Mr. Goyal terms Goods and Services Tax as a "path-breaking" reform. He also highlights the banking reforms taken up by the NDA government in the last four-and-a-half years.
As Mr. Goyal speaks on banking reforms, Opposition members remind him of high NPAs. However, Mr. Goyal is backed by thumping from the Treasury Benches.
The Lok Sabha assembles. Mr. Goyal rises to present the Interim Budget. "I rise to present the Interim Budget for 2019-20."
Mr. Goyal says he is missing Arun Jaitley today and joins the House in wishing him a speedy recovery. Mr. Jaitley is undergoing medical treatment in the United States.
"I can solidly say India is back on track," says Mr. Goyal.
Anything for Railways? This is another major question that lingers as Mr. Goyal is also in charge of the Railways portfolio.
The NDA government did away with the practice of a separate Railway Budget and merged it with the Union Budget. On February 2016, Suresh Prabhu became the last Railway Minister to present the Railway Budget. After three years, another Railway Minister, will be presenting a Budget, but in the capacity of Finance Minister.
The difference between the total revenue and the total expenditure, better known as fiscal deficit, is a major cause of concern. Last Budget, presented by Mr. Jaitley, pegged the fiscal deficit target at 3% of the GDP. However, it appears that the target has been exceeded.
There were rumours that the government is seeking Reserve Bank surplus to meet the fiscal deficit, a charge Mr. Jaitley had refuted.
Last year, the Union government launched the Ayushman Bharat scheme to provide affordable treatment to the poor. However, the medical expenditure in the country is high, according to experts.
The healthcare sector wants the government’s Interim Budget to include tax measures to help the middle class better mitigate health risks.
According to a Reuters report, the Union government is likely to step up rural welfare spending by 16 per cent for the fiscal year.
The States where the Congress recently formed the government have announced farm loan waivers. Congress president Rahul Gandhi recently announced a "minimum income guarantee" would be given if voted to power. The Telangana and Odisha governments have also implemented special schemes for farmers.
The outlook for the farm sector is an important area to watch out in the Budget.
Even though Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Thursday assured the Opposition that his government would be presenting an Interim Budget, expectations are high, as the Finance Minister's speech is likely to put forth the "vision" of the NDA government, which is set to seek a second term in the coming elections.
What is an Interim Budget?
Though the Constitution doesn't bar a government from presenting a regular Budget in its fifth year, as per the parliamentary convention governments in the past too have presented Interim Budgets. An Interim Budget usually doesn't list out new schemes or doesn't unveil any policy measures.
After presenting the Interim Budget today, the government will present the vote on account for the next four-to-five months. A full-fledged Budget will be presented after the House reassembles after the general election.