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Interim Budget 10 takeaways: Cash for farmers, tax break for middle class

Relief measures and schemes were announced for farmers, unorganised sector employees, small businesses, and the salaried middle class in Interim Budget 2019

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

Finance Minister Piyush Goyal
Finance Minister Piyush Goyal with MoS Finance ministers Shiv Pratap Shukla and P Radhakrishnan in the Parliament before presenting the interim Budget 2019-20, in New Delhi. Photo: PTI

The government poured extra money into support for farmers and a rural jobs programme, delivering on Friday its last budget before a general election due by May.

Here are key highlights from Finance Minister Piyush Goyal's interim budget speech.

1) Small and marginal farmers to get Rs 6,000 a year under a cash transfer scheme called the Pradhan Mantri Samman Nidhi. Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said it will benefit 120 million farmers and will be implemented from this financial year itself. He said Rs 20,000 crore has been provided for the current financial year and also announced an allocation of Rs 75,000 crore for the next financial year.

ALSO READ: Interim Budget: Rs 6,000 a year income support scheme for farmers announced

2) Farmers hit by natural calamities to get two per cent upfront interest subvention and three per cent subvention for timely loan payment.

ALSO READ: Budget 2019: 2% interest subvention for farmers hit by natural calamities

3) Threshold tax exemption limit doubled to Rs 5 lakh. Standard deduction increased to Rs 50,000 from Rs 40,000. Goyal said the proposal will benefit 30 million middle-class taxpayers. Doubling the threshold exemption limit will increase the burden on the exchequer by Rs 18,500 crore.

ALSO READ: Interim Budget 2019: No income tax on income of up to Rs 5 lakh a year

Interim Budget 2019

4) Unorganised sector workers to get assured monthly pension of Rs 3,000 after 60 years of age under Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan (PMSYM) scheme. Goyal said the scheme will attract matching contribution of Rs 100 per month from the government as well as from workers. The scheme is expected to benefit 100 million workers in the next five years. The minister also informed the Lok Sabha that the government is providing Rs 500 crore initially for the scheme in the Budget.

ALSO READ: Interim Budget: FM Goyal declares pension of Rs 3,000 for informal workers

5) Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that have taken a loan of Rs 1 crore to get two per cent interest subvention. Goyal said government projects will have to source 25 per cent of their requirements from SMEs.

ALSO READ: Interim Budget 2019: 2% interest subvention for MSMEs with Rs 1 crore loan

6) No income tax on the notional rent on the second self-occupied house. The Budget also proposed to exempt tax on notional rent for unsold housing units for two years. Goyal also proposed that benefit of rollover of capital tax gains be increased from investment in one residential house to that in two residential houses, for a taxpayer having capital gains of up to Rs 2 crore. However, it can be exercised once in a lifetime, he added.

7) Allocation to MNREGA has been hiked to Rs 60,000 crore for 2019-20. In January this year, the government had allocated an additional Rs 6,084 crore to the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). "This brings the total allocation to the scheme to Rs 61,084 crore in 2018-19, making it the highest ever allocation," the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation had said.

8) Defence Budget increased to over Rs 3 trillion in 2019-20. Goyal said that this was the first time ever that the defence budget had crossed Rs 3 trillion.

ALSO READ: Interim Budget 2019: In a first, defence allocation crosses Rs 3 trillion

9) Fiscal deficit for 2018-19 to be 3.4 per cent of GDP, as against the previous target of 3.3 per cent. Goyal said that the breach was primarily because of farm income support. Current account deficit for 2018-19 seen at 2.5 per cent of GDP.

ALSO READ: Interim Budget 2019: Govt misses fiscal deficit goal second year in a row

10) Capital expenditure allocation of Rs 1.58 trillion made for the Indian Railways, the highest ever for the national transporter, in an effort to put its flagging revenues back on track.

First Published: Fri, February 01 2019. 14:52 IST