Union Interim Budget 2019 - 20: Major Highlights
Finance Minister Piyush Goyal presented the Interim Budget 2019-20 on February 1, 2019. It was the last Budget of the Modi Government before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
This year, the government presented the Interim Budget, also known as ‘Vote on Account’ as it is close to the end of its term. An interim budget is usually passed by the Lok Sabha without discussion.
As per the Interim Budget or Vote on Account, the government seeks the approval of Parliament to meet its expenditure for the first four months (January-April) of the fiscal year with no changes in the taxation structure, until a new government takes over and presents a full Budget of the year in July 2019.
Note: India looks forward to become a USD 5 trillion economy in the next five years and a USD 10 trillion economy in next eight years.
India has become fastest growing economy
• By 2024, India will have housing for all, free from corruption, communalism and nepotism.
• India has now become the 6th largest economy in the world.
• Inflation has been brought down to 4.1 percent; average inflation stands at 4.6 percent
• The fiscal deficit has been brought down to 3.1 percent.
• The Current Account Deficit has also been brought down.
• India attracted maximum Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in 2018-19, amounting to USD 239 billion. This has been possible through rapid liberalisation of FDI policy.
• In last 5 years (2014-2018), India witnessed structural reforms by introducing Goods & Services Tax (GST) and other taxation reforms.
• A number of measures have been undertaken for clean banking in recent years such as through the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC)
• Re-capitalisation of PSU banks was done.
• Recently, the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) restrictuion was removed from three banks, namely - Bank of India, Maharashtra Bank, and Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC).
Steps against corruption
• India saw a corruption-free government in recent years through measures such as transparency in operations.
• Transparency was achieved through Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA), Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988 and Fugitive Economic Offenders Act.
• The government conducted the transparent auction of natural resources such as coal.
Swacch Bharat Mission
• As a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary in 2019, the NDA Government launched a holistic programme ‘Swacch Bharat Mission’ in 2014. The programme has been converted into a movement.
• Under the mission, 98 percent rural sanitation coverage has been achieved.
• 5.45 lakh villages have been declared Open Defecation Free (ODF).
• India will be celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi in October 2019.
Poor and backward classes
• Rs 60000 crore were allocated for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Act (MGNREGA)
• 10 percent reservation granted to the economically backward among the general category.
• Rs 19000 crore were allocated for Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana for construction of more rural roads.
• Over 1.53 crore houses were constructed in the last five years under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) .
• By March 2019, every household will have electricity under the Saubhagya yojana.
• The Aspirational Districts Programme is providing targeted development to the 115 most backward districts of the country.
• India launched the world's largest healthcare programme, Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana to provide medical treatment for 50 crore people. As many as 10 lakh people have been benefitted so far under the scheme.
• Many poor people are able to get affordable medicines through the Jan Aushadhi Kendra.
• There are 21 All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) functioning currently in India. Of these 21, 14 AIIMS were set up under the present government.
• The 22nd AIIMS will come up in Haryana.
• Government undertook various initiatives to boost farmers’ income. It ensured that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) is at least 50 percent percent of the produce and introduced pro-farmers policy.
• Rs 750 crore was allocated for the Rashtriya Gokul Mission.
• It announced to set up the ‘Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog’ for production and productivity of cows.
• A separate ‘Department of Fisheries’ will be created to boost the fisheries sector.
• Under the Kisan Credit Card scheme (KCC), 2 percent interest subversion will be given for farmers pursuing animal husbandry and an additional 3 percent interest subversion will be given for those who repay the loan in time.
• Farmers, affected by severe natural calamities, will be provided the benefit of interest subvention of 2 percent and prompt repayment incentive of 3 percent for the entire period on timely repayment of their loans.
Considering that the declining prices of agricultural commodities and food inflation led to reduced returns for farmers, the Government felt the need for structured income support for farmers to procure seeds and labour and introduced a new scheme was for farmers’ welfare.
The Scheme ‘Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi’ will provide assured income to small and marginal farmers. Vulnerable farmers with 2 hectares of land will be given Rs 6000 per year. The amount will be transferred directly into their account in 3 equal installments.
The complete expenditure of Rs 75000 crore for the scheme will borne by the Union Government. Over 12 crore farmer families will be benefitted under the scheme. It will implemented with effect from December 2018.
The budget allocated Rs 95000 crore for the agriculture sector (Rs 75000 for scheme + 20000 crore as per revised estimate of current year).
Wages, salaries and pensions
• The membership of Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has gone up by 2 crore in five years.
• In last five years, all classes of workers saw a 42 percent increase in wages.
• The Seventh Pay Commission recommendations were implemented swiftly.
• The New Pension Scheme (NPS) has been liberalised.
• Maximum ceiling of the bonus given to the labourers has been increased from Rs 3500 to Rs 7000 per month and the maximum ceiling of the pay has been increased from Rs 10,000 to Rs 21,000 per month.
• The ceiling of payment of gratuity has been enhanced from Rs 10 lakhs to Rs 20 lakhs.
• In the event of death of a labourer during service, the amount to be paid by EPFO has been increased from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 6 lakh.
• The Employee's State Insurance (ESI) cover limit has been increased to Rs 21000 from Rs 15000 per month.
• The minimum pension was also increased to Rs 1000.
'Pradhan Mantri Shram-Yogi Maandhan': Mega pension scheme for unorganised sector
• The government stood up to into manifesto and provided the promised clean fuel for cooking under the Ujjwala Yojana. The government has already given 6 crore free LPG connection.
• More than 70 percent of beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana are women.
• Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana for pregnant women has provided financial support to women while empowering them to participate in work.
• Various scheme of the government have led to the youth development in the country. These schemes are Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana, Startup India, and Stand Up India.
• The 16.53 crore loans have been disbursed under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana and Rs 7.23 lakh crore have been disbursed through the scheme.
• A scheme of sanctioning loans upto 'Rs 1 crore in 59 minutes' has been launched. GST-registered MSME units will get 2 percent interest rebate on incremental loan of Rs 1 Crore.
• Job seeker has become job giver.
• 25 percent of sourcing for government projects will be now from the MSME sector, of which three percent will be from women entrepreneurs.
• MSMEs can now sell their products on the Government eMarketplace (GeM), a one-stop-shop to facilitate online procurement of common use goods.
• A Welfare Development Board will be created for nomadic and semi-nomadic community. A Committee under NITI Aayog will be formed to identify these committees
• National artificial intelligence portal will be developed soon
• The government has already disbursed Rs. 35000 crore under One Rank One Pension (OROP).
• Military Service Pay has also been hiked substantially.
• The Defence Budget will cross Rs 3 lakh crore for the first time in 2019-20.
• India's aviation industry has seen a high in the past. India now has more than 100 operational airports with the inauguration of the Pakyong airport in Sikkim.
• Due to 'UDAAN Scheme', ordinary citizens are also travelling by air now.
• India has become the fastest highway developer in the whole world with almost 27 km of highway built everyday.
• Projects stuck for decades like the Eastern Peripheral Highway around Delhi or the Bogibeel rail-cum-road bridge in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh have been completed.
• The construction of rural roads has also tripled. Around 15.8 lakh out of a total 17.84 lakh habitations have been connected with pucca roads under PMGSY. PMGSY allocated Rs 19,000 crore in 2019-20
• 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.
• The Indian Railways has experienced the safest year in its history. All unmanned level crossings on broad gauge network have been completely eliminated.
• The introduction of the first indigenously developed "Vande Bharat Express" will give the Indian passengers world class experience with speed, service and safety.
• The capital support from the budget for railways is proposed at Rs 64,587 crore in 2019-20 (BE).
• The railways’ overall capital expenditure programme is of Rs 1,58, 658 crore.
• The people of North East have also received significant benefits of infrastructure development. Arunachal Pradesh came on the air map recently and Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram have come on India’s rail map for the first time.
• The allocation for the North Eastern Areas is being proposed to be increased by 21 percent to Rs 58,166 crore in 2019-20 over 2018-19.
• India is now leading the world in consumption of mobile data.
• The monthly consumption of mobile data increased by 50 percent in the last five years.
• The cost of data and calling in India is possibly the lowest in the world.
• More than 3 lakh service centres employ over 12 lakh people today under the Digital India push.
• The government now aims for 1,00,000 digital villages in the next five years.
• The number of mobile manufacturing companies increased from 2 to 268 in past five years, thereby generating more jobs in India.
• Single window clearance for film shootings is being extended to Indian film makers. Earlier, it was available only for foreign film makers only.
• Goyal also mentioned Hindi movie ‘Uri’ in the speech.
• Around 34 crore Jan Dhan accounts were opened during 2014-18.
• The Budget speech also mentioned the government's big financial decision of demonetisation. The move succeeded in eliminating the black money. Demonetisation and other moves were able to bring back Rs 1,36,000 crores of cash to banks.
• More than one crore people filed income tax returns post demonetisation.
• Over 338000 shell companies were detected and their directors were disqualified.
• The Interim Budget pegs the Fiscal Deficit at 3.4 percent.
• Total expenditure rises from revised estimates Rs 24,57,235 crore in 2018-19 to Rs 27,84,200 crore in 2019-20, a rise of Rs 3,26,965 crore.
• Capital Expenditure for 2019-20 is estimated to be Rs 3,36,292 crore.
• Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) are proposed were allocated with Rs 3,27,679 crore in 2019-20 as against Rs 3,04,849 crore in 2018-19 revised estimates.
• Allocation for National Education Mission is being increased from Rs 32,334 crore in 2018-19 revised estimates to Rs 38,572 crore in 2019-20.
• Allocation for Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) is being increased from Rs 23,357 crore in 2018-19 revised estimates to Rs 27,584 crore in 2019-20.
• The direct tax collection has been increased substantially. The number of returns filed have increased from 3.79 crore to 6.85 crore, showing 80 percent growth in tax base since four years. In 2018-19, 99.54 percent of the income-tax returns were accepted as they were filed.
• From now on, all returns will be processed in 24 hours and refund will be initiated at the earliest.
• The entire process will be done in the back-end so that a tax payer need not interact with an official, thus, reducing time.
• With the efforts of the GST Council, the Goods & Services Tax (GST) resulted in increased tax base and increased collection.
• Cinema goers who were subjected to multiple taxes up to 50 percent are mostly paying much lower tax at 12 percent now.
• Exemptions from GST for small businesses has been doubled from Rs 20 lakh to Rs 40 lakh.
• Businesses comprising over 90 percent of GST payers will be allowed to file quarterly return soon.
• The GST collection for January 2019 is estimated at Rs 1.03 lakh crore.
• The government abolished the duties on 36 capital goods. Indian Customs is introducing full digitization.
• Individual tax payers with taxable income of up to Rs 5 lakh will get full tax rebate from now on.
• Those earning Rs 6.5 lakh will not have to pay tax, if they invested in specified savings such as PF, PPF, etc.
• However, the tax slabs will remain unchanged.
• This move will benefit around 3 crore middle class tax payers.
• For salaried persons, Standard Deduction is being raised from the current Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000.
• The Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) on fixed deposits and postal deposits will be exempted for interest earned up to Rs 40,000 from Rs 10,000 currently.
• The rent up to Rs 2.4 lakh will be exempted from TDS.
• The benefit of capital gains of up to Rs 2 crore will be increased to investment on two residential houses. This benefit can be availed only once in a lifetime.
• The benefit of the section 80IBA of Income Tax Act will be extended for one more year for availing of the affordable housing.
Section 80IBA of Income Tax Act, 1961: Section 80IBA deals with 100 percent deductions for the builders promoting affordable housing schemes subject to fulfilment of a few conditions.