New Delhi: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday termed Interim Budget 2019 as positive and said that it will strengthen the economic condition of rural areas. His reaction came in reference to Piyush Goyal’s announcement that farmers will be provided Rs 6,000 per year in three instalments under a scheme to be fully funded by the central government.

Talking to reporters, Kumar said, “I welcome the decision to transfer Rs6000 directly to farmers’ accounts every year. It will strengthen the economic conditions of rural areas. Also, I welcome the decision of tax rebate for taxpayers with annual income up to Rs 5 lakh. It’ll give relief to middle-class.”

While presenting the budget, Goyal had said that the government will provide Rs 6,000 per year to farmers “in three instalments” and it will be “fully funded by the central government”. The direct cash transfer scheme will be given to farmers who own land equal to less than 2 hectares.

The move will benefit 12 crore farmers at an estimated cost of Rs. 75,000 crore.

Allocation to MNREGA has been hiked to Rs 60,000 crore for 2019-20, said Goyal, who stepped in as interim finance minister after Arun Jaitley had to fly to New York for medical treatment.

Union minister also doled out tax sops to the middle class, including doubling of income tax exemption limit to Rs 5 lakh, raising standard deduction to Rs 50,000, and provided concessions on interest income from bank deposits and rent.

This means that anyone with net taxable income up to Rs 5 lakh will not be required to pay any taxes. However, anyone with a net taxable income above Rs 5 lakh will not be able to avail this tax benefit and only get standard deduction benefit.

Also, people with gross income up to 6.5 lakh rupees will not need to pay any tax if they make investments in provident funds and prescribed equities, said Goyal, presenting the Interim Budget 2019 in the Lok Sabha.