Interim Budget 2019: From Agriculture to health - here is what you can expect (File Photo)
Interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal is all set to unveil the Union Budget 2019 in Parliament on Friday, February 1, 2019. Goyal will present his budget speech at 11 am in the Parliament. The first phase of the Budget session that started on January 31, will continue till February 11. This is the last Parliament session of the Narendra Modi-led BJP government before the Lok Sabha Elections 2019 due by May. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley missed the session as he has been undergoing medical treatment for the past few weeks in the United States. The second session will take place after the General Elections 2019.
As the Annual Budget for 2019 is eagerly anticipated, investors are keeping their hopes high and expecting an increased investment in many areas with agriculture being in the main focus. With a view that India will go to poll in April-May, the Narendra Modi government is also aiming to woo rural and urban middle-class voters via farm relief measures and tax cuts. Besides, the government is likely to expand capital spending on railways, roads and ports by 7-8 per cent and may project economic growth of around 7.5 per cent for the financial year 2019-20. Budget 2019 is crucial for Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after its recent setbacks in three Hindi heartland states - Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Let's have a quick look at some of the items which are likely to dominate the Annual Budget for the year 2019.
- At least 1 trillion rupees ($14.04 billion) for farm relief package
- About 1.8 trillion rupees for food subsidies in the fiscal year
- Premium for taking insurance policy for food crops is expected to be waived off
- Proposal for waiving interest on crop loans for farmers who pay on time
- Target of about $11 billion from state asset sales in FY 2019-20
- Potential stake sales via IPOs include Telecommunications Consultants India, Indian Railways' subsidiaries IRCTC, RailTel Corp India and National Seeds Corp
- Gold - A duty cut is expected from this year onwards
- Expenditure for health is likely to increase by 5 percent from a year ago
- An anticipated corporate tax rate cut to 25 percent from 30 percent may be put on hold until after the elections
- Higher tax exemptions for the middle class and for small businesses anticipated
- Discount of 2 percentage points on loans for businesses with annual sales of less than 50 million rupees; government to compensate banks for the costs
- 40 billion-rupee capital infusion for public-sector general insurers
- Reduction of goods and services tax (GST) on electric vehicles and batteries
- Better digital infrastructure in rural areas
- Abolition of the angel tax to boost start-ups
- Exemption from GST for spectrum and licence fee payouts, reduction in spectrum fees and cuts in import duty on telecom equipment (currently at 20 pct).
For minitute-to-minute LIVE Updates on Budget 2019 click here: Interim Budget 2019 LIVE Updates: Will Modi government go for populist spending to woo voters?