On Friday, when Acting Finance Minister Piyush Goyal presented the last Budget of the Narendra Modi government, all ears were waiting for the key announcement - the Income Tax slabs. Goyal didn't disappoint the masses with the unprecedented announcement of full tax rebate for individual taxpayers with income up to Rs 5 lakh. For full five minutes, Goyal had to wait to resume his speech as the Lok Sabha was reverberating with 'Modi, Modi' chants. Many experts are saying that though the Interim Budget was expected to be of populist nature, but this 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.
1: The mega tax announcement will benefit three crore middle-class taxpayers. "Individual taxpayers having annual income up to Rs 5 lakhs will get the full tax rebate. Individuals 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," Goyal said.
2: 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.
3: In the election year, Goyal's Interim Budget is billed as extremely populist in nature. Apart from the farmers, another major winner in the Interim Budget are the cows! Goyal announced 'Rashtriya Gokul Mission', with an increased allocation of Rs 750 crore in current year.
4: 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."
5: The Finance Minister announced 8 crore free LPG connections under the Ujjwala Yojana. "We have got decisive mandate to continue structured reforms. We have reversed policy paralysis," he added.
6: Another big announcement was the hike in the gratuity limit. The gratuity limit has been increased from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 30 lakh crore.
7: Goyal also announced Rs 500-crore mega pension plan. Under the scheme, a monthly pension of Rs 3,000 will be paid to those who earn less than Rs 15,000 per month after the retirement.
8: Allocation for Northeastern states has been increased by 21 per cent to Rs 58,166 crore in fiscal year 2020.
9: Indian filmmakers will get access to a single window clearance for ease of shooting films, regulatory norms will rely more on self-declaration.
10: 25 per cent additional seats in educational institutions has been announced to meet the 10 per cent reservation for the poor.
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.