India’s Interim Budget 2019-20 was announced by Minister of Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways and Coal, Piyush Goyal on 1st February 2019. Highlights include an annual income scheme for small and marginal farmers, tax benefits for the middle-class, a “mega” pension scheme for workers in the unorganised sector, reforms in stamp duty and more. Here’s a summary of all the schemes announced under the Interim Budget 2019.
Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojna
Under this new scheme, a direct annual income of ₹ 6,000 would be provided to farmers owning up to 2 hectares of land. The money would be given directly to the farmers in their bank accounts, in 3 instalments of ₹ 2,000 each. The first instalment is to be paid by 31st March 2019, meaning the scheme is to come into effect almost immediately. The scheme is expected to benefit nearly 12 crore small and marginal farmers and their families. The government has set aside a budget of ₹ 75,000 crore for this.
Pradhan Mantri Shramyogi Maan-dhan Yojna
Reportedly one of the largest pension schemes in the world, this is an initiative to provide a pension of ₹ 3,000 per month to workers of the unorganised sector, with an income of up to ₹ 15,000. It will supposedly benefit nearly 10 crore workers throughout India. The workers would have to contribute a marginal amount towards the pension per month. The amount is ₹ 100 if they are applying at 29 years of age and only ₹ 55 if they register for the scheme when18 years old. The government has allocated a budget of ₹ 500 crore for this scheme.
Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog
The scheme has been set up to improve the sustainable genetic upgradation of cow resources and to enhance productivity of cows. A budget allocation of ₹ 750 crore has also been made towards the Rashtriya Gokul Mission.
Development of Fisheries
In order to give better attention to the development of fisheries in India, the government will create a Department of Fisheries. Through this initiative, the government wishes to promote the livelihood of around 1.45 crore people, who are dependant on this sector.
Moreover, as a part of the budget, Goyal announced a 2% interest subvention to people pursuing animal husbandry and fisheries who avail loans through the Kisan Credit Card. Further, a timely repayment of the loan would result in an additional subvention of 3%.
Taxpayers having an annual taxable income of up to ₹ 5 lakhs will be exempt from income tax, according to the interim budget of 2019-20. Moreover, individuals with an income of up to ₹ 6.5 lakhs will not need to pay income tax if they invest in provident funds and prescribed equities. Additional tax deductions such as interest on home loan up to ₹ 2 lakh, National Pension Scheme contributions, medical insurance, education loans, etc. have also been provided. The total tax benefit is reported to be nearly ₹ 18,500 crore, benefitting around 3 crore taxpayers belonging to the Indian middle-class. In addition to these tax benefits, standard deduction has been increased from ₹ 40,000 to ₹ 50,000 for salaried employees, providing an extra benefit of almost ₹ 4,700 crore to 3 crore taxpayers in India.
New tax exemptions have also been announced for homeowners. Where currently, income tax is expected to be paid on notional rent if an individual owns more than one house, the new budget gives an exemption for a second house as well. Also, the TDS threshold on home rent has been increased from ₹ 1.8 lakh to ₹ 2.4 lakh, and the threshold for interest income from banks and post offices has been increased from ₹ 10,000 to ₹ 40,000.
Other tax related reliefs, which are mostly procedural, have also been announced. Income Tax Returns will now be processed within 24 hours, and refunds are to be paid immediately. Within 2 years, almost all assessment and verification of Income Tax Returns will be electronic, done without any intervention by officials and completely anonymous.
Enhanced allocations have been made for rural schemes like MNREGA and the Gram Sadak Yojna. ₹ 60,000 crore has been allocated for the former whereas ₹ 19,000 crore has been allocated for the latter. The Finance Minister said that additional allocations could be made if needed. A promise was made to provide all households with electricity by the end of March 2019 with an announcement that 143 crore LED bulbs have already been provided. A healthcare program, Ayushman Bharat was reported to have benefited over 10 lakh patients already, giving free medical treatment to people and also medicines at affordable prices through the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Kendras.
The defence budget witnessed an increase this year to over 3 lakh crore rupees from last year’s 2.85 lakh crore rupees. The government also announced that it would provide additional funds for defence, if required.
In addition to all these, some other schemes have also been introduced. They include the scheme for a single window clearance which is to be made available to filmmakers and an anti-camcording provision in the Cinematography Act to fight piracy. Social schemes include the government’s plan to build 1 lakh digital villages, a program to give 8 crore free LPG connections to households, an increase in MSP by 1.5 times the production cost for all 22 crops, and a committee under NITI Aayog for notified and semi nomadic tribes.