New Delhi: Living up to the expectations of some big-ticket announcements ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the Modi government on Friday announced a cash dole for small farmers, a mega pension scheme for the unorganised sector and doubled the threshold income tax exemption limit to Rs 5 lakh.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the interim budget has taken care of all sections of the society and termed it a “trailer” ahead of the “budget which, after elections, will take India on the path to development”.
“From middle class to labourers, from farmers’ growth to the development of businessmen, from manufacturing to MSME sector, from growth of the economy to development of New India, everyone has been taken care of in this interim budget,” he said.
Terming the budget as pro-poor and pro-farmer, the government took a dig at the Congress for criticising it as “BJP’s election manifesto” and said that “those sitting in AC rooms” cannot understand the plight of farmers.
“Those sitting in AC rooms cannot understand the plight of the small farmers. Keeping this in mind, we have introduced Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme. This is a historic decision,” said Finance Minister Piyush Goyal, addressing a press conference after presenting the Interim Budget.
BJP chief Amit Shah hailed the budget for “benefiting” all sections of society and said it has proved that the Modi government is dedicated to the aspirations of the country’s youths, farmers and poor.
Shah told reporters that the budget will spur growth, generate employment and also provide relief to the middle class, farmers and poor workers among others.
The BJP chief described the hike in income tax exemption announced by Finance Minister Piyush Goyal as “historic” and said it will not only provide tax relief to the middle class but also deepen their participation in the country’s development.
After the announcement of the budget in the Lok Sabha, Goyal said: “This is not just an Interim Budget, this is a vehicle for the developmental transformation of the nation.”
On the other hand, the Congress termed the budget as “BJP’s election manifesto” and said that it was not an interim budget, but a full-fledged one.
“The Interim Finance Minister tested our patience by the longest interim budget speech in the recent memory. It was not an interim budget, it was a full-fledged budget accompanied by an election campaign speech,” said Congress leader P Chidambaram.
“My one-line comment on the budget is that it is not a vote on account but an account for votes,” he added.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi termed the budget as “Akhiri Jumla Budget” and targeted the government over the announcement of direct cash transfer of Rs 6,000 per year for marginalised farmers.
“Dear NoMo, 5 years of your incompetence and arrogance has destroyed the lives of our farmers. Giving them Rs. 17 a day is an insult to everything they stand and work for. #AakhriJumlaBudget,” he tweeted.
Terming it an “election budget”, former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh said: “In these circumstances of the case, concessions to farmers and concessions to middle class will obviously have implications in the election.”
Presenting the interim 2019-20 union budget in Parliament, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said Rs 6,000 per year cash support will be given to small and marginal farmers that will cost the exchequer Rs 75,000 crore annually, in a bid to provide relief to distressed farm sector.
Under the scheme called ‘Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi’, Rs 6,000 will be transferred into bank accounts of farmers holding up to 2 hectares of land in three equal instalments.
Goyal said it will benefit 12 crore farmers and will be implemented from this fiscal itself.
Unveiling the mega pension yojna for the unorganised sector workers that will benefit 10 crore people, Goyal said they will get assured monthly pension of Rs 3,000 after reaching the age of 60 years.
In a major relief for the middle class, Goyal proposed to double the threshold income tax exemption limit to Rs 5 lakh and increased the standard deduction from the existing Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000.
Explaining the rebate in a press conference after presenting the Budget, Finance Minsiter Goel said, “Tax slabs are not raised. It is only a rebate that will benefit people having taxable income up to Rs 5 lakh.”
Goyal further said an individual having an income of Rs 6.5 lakh per annum will not be required to pay any tax provided he invests in the specified tax saving schemes of the government.