Newdelhi:5/7/19:Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the first General Budget of Narendra Modi Government’s second term today.
Infrastructure development; the vision for making India a five-trillion-dollar economy; Farmers’ welfare and water security are some of the key features of Mrs. Sitharaman’s first budget as Finance Minister. She said that the NDA government had set the ball rolling for a new India and showed that the principle of Reform, Perform and Transform can succeed.
The Finance Minister exuded confidence that India will become a five-trillion-dollar economy in the next few years.
Mrs. Sitharaman put forth the government’s 10-point vision for the next decade to India to newer heights.
1. Building physical and social infrastructure.
2. Digital India reaching every sector of the economy
3. Pollution free India with green Mother Earth and Blue Skies
4. Make in India with particular emphasis on MSMEs, Start-Ups, defence manufacturing, automobiles, electronics and medical devices.
5. Water, water management, clean Rivers
6. Blue Economy
7. Space programmes, Gaganyan, Chandrayan and Satellite programmes
8. Self-sufficiency and export of food-grains, pulses, oilseeds, fruits and vegetables
9. Health society-Ayushman Bharat, Well-nourished women and children. Safety of citizens
10. Team India with Jan Bhagidari. Minimum Government Maximum Governance.
Asserting, that connectivity is the life-blood of an economy, the Finance Minister said the government has given a massive push to all forms of physical connectivity through Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, industrial corridors, dedicated freight corridors, Bharatmala and Sagarmala projects, Jal Marg Vikas and UDAN Schemes.
Mrs. Sitharaman said under the third phase of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, road length will be upgraded.
She said Bharatmala programme would help develop national road corridors and highways while Sagarmala would enhance port connectivity, modernization and industrialization.
Mrs Sitharaman said around two crore houses are proposed to be provided in the next three years to the eligible beneficiaries under the second phase of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Gramin.
The Finance Minister said the government keeps Antyodaya at the core of its efforts adding that in everything it does it keeps “Gaon, Garib Aur Kisan” in mind. The budget proposes to invest widely in agricultural infrastructure. With an aim to encourage Annadata to become Urjadata, the Finance Minister said the government will support private entrepreneurship in driving value addition to farmers’ produce and for those from allied activities.
With the focus on fishing and fishermen communities, the government has announced Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana. Under the scheme, the fisheries Department will establish a robust Fisheries Management framework. This will address critical gaps including infrastructure, modernization, productivity, post-harvest management and quality control.
The government has announced several incentives for startups. Carry forward and set off of losses for startups is proposed to be relaxed on certain conditions. The budget also proposes to start a television programme within the DD bouquet of channels exclusively for startups. It will serve as a platform for promoting startups and discussing issues affecting their growth.
There is no change in the personal income tax rates on an annual income below 2 crore rupees.
No change proposed for the personal income tax rate below 2 crores. However, Surcharge on individuals having taxable income from 2 crore – 5 crore and 5 crores and above to be enhanced, so that effective tax rate will increase by around 3% and 7% respectively.
Finance Minister proposed to increase the threshold for applicability of lower corporate tax rate of 25 per cent from 250 crores to 400 crore rupees.
It is also proposed to make return filing compulsory for persons who have deposited more than one crore rupees in a current account in a year, or who have expended more than two lakh rupees on foreign travels, or more than one lakh rupees on electricity consumption in a year.
The interest deduction is proposed to be enhanced up to 3.5 lakh rupees for the purchase of a house. Existing interest deduction is up to two lakh rupees.
Several electronic goods including Split air conditioners, digital video recorder, CCTV Camera and loudspeaker will now attract more duty ranging from 5 to 15 per cent. Custom duty on certain automobile parts is proposed to be increased ranging from 2.5 to 5 per cent. However, parts for the exclusive use of electric vehicles have been made duty free. Finance Minister also proposed to provide a deduction of up to one lakh 50 thousand rupees for interest paid on loan taken for the purchase of electric vehicles.
Duty on petroleum crude and specified electronic goods like switches, sockets and plugs has been rationalized.
Finance Minister said that as additional revenue measures, road and infrastructure cess on petrol and diesel is proposed to be increased to 9 rupees from 8 rupees per litre. Special additional excise duty on petrol and diesel has also been increased by one rupee per litre.
Custom duty on Gold and silver imported by a passenger as baggage will be increased from 10 to 12.5 per cent.
Cigarettes, tobacco, bidi and related products are now proposed to be brought under basic excise duty.
Export duty on hides, skins and all sorts of leather has been reduced to 40 per cent from 60 per cent.
To make the GST regime simple, taxpayers having an annual turnover of less than five crore rupees can now file quarterly returns. A fully automatic GST refund module is also proposed to be implemented.
Finance Minister said, a dispute resolution-cum-amnesty scheme called Sab Ka Vishwas Legacy Dispute Resolution Scheme is being introduced to resolve and settle legacy cases of central excise and service tax.
The Finance Minister said ensuring India’s water security and providing access to safe and adequate drinking water is NDA government’s commitment. She said the new Jal Shakti Ministry will look at the management of water resources and supply in a holistic manner.
It will ensure piped water supply to all rural households (Har Ghar Jal) in the next five years under the Jal Jeevan Mission.
Expanding the government’s Swachh Bharat Mission, the budget proposes to undertake sustainable solid waste management in every village. Ms.Sitharaman said the government will not only sustain the behavioural change seen in people but also harness latest technologies available to transform waste into energy.
On the 150th birth anniversary of Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi, the Rashtriya Swachhata Kendra will be inaugurated at Rajghat on 2nd October. A Gandhipedia is also being developed by the National Council for Science Museums to sensitize youth and society at large about Gandhian values.
The Finance Minister expressed hope that India will become Open Defection free on Gandhiji’s birth anniversary this year.
The budget also focuses on empowering the MSME sector and social enterprises. 350 crore rupees have been allocated for 2019-20 for the interest of subvention scheme for MSMEs. A Payment platform for bill filing for MSMEs will be created to address delays.
The budget proposes measures for boosting infrastructure financing. Credit guarantee enhancement corporation will be set up along with an action plan to deepen long term bonds market.
In a bid to further empower women and encourage women entrepreneurship, the Finance Minister proposed to expand the women Self Help Group (SHG) interest subvention programme in all districts. One woman in every SHG will be made eligible for a loan of up to one lakh rupees under the Mudra scheme.
It is also proposed to consider issuing Aadhaar card for Non-Resident Indians with Indian passports after arrival without waiting for 180 days.
The government will also launch a mission which will integrate traditional artisans and their creative products with global markets. Wherever necessary, patents and geographical integrators will be obtained for them.
The Finance Minister said the government will continue making concerted efforts to improve quality of education of the country. An amount of 400 crore rupees has been provided under World Class Institutions 2019-20 more than three times the Revised Estimates for the previous year. The budget proposes to start a programme Study in India that will focus on bringing foreign students to study in higher educational institutions.
To prepare youth to take jobs overseas the government has proposed to increase focus on skill sets needed abroad. The focus will also be made on new age skills like artificial intelligence, big data 3D printing, virtual reality and robotics.
Agro rural industries will get a boost through a cluster based development under SFURTI scheme focusing on bamboo, honey and khadi clusters. 100 new clusters are to be set up to enable 50 thousand artisans during 2019-20.
Finance Minister said, the government is moving from women’s development to women-led development. She informed that 70 percent of beneficiaries under MUDRA Scheme are women. Eight crore free LPG connections are to be given under Ujjwala Yojana. Seven crore such connections have already been given.
Referring to labour and youth welfare, Mrs. Sitharaman said, around three crore retail traders and small shopkeepers have been given pension benefits under Pradhan Mantri Karam Yogi Maandhan Yojana. Similarly, about 30 lakh workers have joined Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maandhan Yojana. To prepare youth for new age skills, National Sports Education Board is proposed to be set up under Khelo India.
To make railway travel a better experience, the government will launch a massive programme of railway station modernization this year with public-private partnership.