Budget 2019: 3 key takeaways
Interim finance minister Piyush Goyal ended up making several announcements for middle class, farmers and unorganised sector.
Interim finance minister Piyush Goyal presented the Union Budget for 2019 in Parliament on February 1. While an interim budget was expected with Lok Sabha polls only months away, Goyal ended up announcing several schemes and plans.
Here are the top three announcements made in the Budget.
Tax sops for middle class
With an eye on the 2019 general elections, Goyal raised the income tax exemption limit. In the earlier tax slab, income of up to Rs 2.5 lakh was exempt from any income tax. This has been revised to Rs five lakh in a bid to boost consumer spending. Additional deductions such as interest on home loans of up to Rs two lakh, interest on education loans, National Pension Scheme contributions, medical insurance and medical expenditure on senior citizens and so on has also been provisioned by the Budget.
The finance minister estimated that all these changes would allow consumers to save up to Rs 18,500 per annum additionally.
Moreover, for individuals with an income of up to Rs 6.5 lakhs, they no longer need to pay income tax, provided they make necessary investments in provident funds and other equities.
Direct cash transfer to farmers
Facing heat over agrarian distress, the government has announced direct cash transfers for small and marginal farmers. Titled Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme, it promises to give Rs 6,000 for farmers who own up to two hectares of land per year.
Under this scheme, Rs 2,000 each will be transferred to the bank accounts of around 12 crore small and marginal farmer families in three equal instalments. This programme would be made effective from December 1, 2018, and the first instalment for the period up to March 31, 2019, would be paid during this year itself, he said.
The government further added a subsidy of two per cent on interest for those farmers who are affected severely by natural calamities.
An additional three per cent interest subvention, as a way of incentive, was also announced by the government for those farmers who repay their loans in a timely fashion.
Union minister for agriculture Radha Mohan Singh told ANI that under the Modi government, all the previous budgets have been dedicated to the farmers. The present Budget is also for the farmers, and it will "empower them", he said.
Pension scheme for unorganised sector workers
In the Budget, the government announced an allocation of Rs 500 crore for a mega pension scheme, aimed at the unorganised sector workers earning Rs 15,000 per month. Under this scheme, a pension of Rs 3,000 would be paid to workers after retirement. The workers from the unorganised sector can avail of this scheme by simply contributing Rs 100 per month.
The finance minister, in his speech, added that the pension scheme, titled Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan, can benefit over “10 crore workers” and can, in a span of five years, become the world’s largest pension scheme.