Former prime minister Manmohan Singh reacting to the Interim Budget said on Friday said that “It's an election Budget". Speaking to NDTV, "In these circumstances of the case, concessions to farmers and concessions to middle class will obviously have implications in the election," said Singh when asked about the big income tax gift for the middle class and farmers. Acting Finance Minister Piyush Goyal presented the Interim Budget 2019 on Friday. In what seems to be a highly populist Budget ahead of the Lok Sabha elections due this year, there was something for everyone and the full tax rebate is a masterstroke. Many say that this is an attempt of the Modi government to counter Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s minimum income promise.
Amid growing concerns over farm stress, the Finance Minister announced the ‘Kisan Samman Nidhi’ under which Rs 6,000 will be credited to the accounts every year for the farmers holding 2 hectares of land. This initiative will benefit 12 crore small and marginal farmers, at an estimated cost of Rs 75,000 crore.
The Interim Budget is seen as the way to gain the decisive mandate in the Lok Sabha Elections so that the NDA government can continue structured reforms. Presenting the budget for 2019-20 in the Lok Sabha, Goyal said, "We are moving towards realising New India by 2022."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government's sixth and final Budget before the polls due by May is an interim budget or a 'Vote on Account'.
Goyal stepped in as interim finance minister after Arun Jaitley had to fly to New York for medical treatment. Goyal began the interim budget speech by wishing Union Minister Arun Jaitley speedy recovery and good health. Earlier, the Cabinet had approved the Interim Budget for 2019-20.