Interim Budget 2019

Since it has to be criticised to the extent of opposing it, the well attempted a balanced Budget has been termed as populist while most of the policy planners and economists would call it pragmatic. Piyush Goyal , the acting Finance Minister stole the wind from the sails of the opposition parties in outwitting their enticing manoeuvring acts to paint the present dispensation as unconcerned towards the poor and the marginalised, hence staking claim to deliver better.
The team of the Finance Minister as also those in the Prime Minister’s office seem to have done a good spade work in not only shaping the Budget in the form it was presented but ensuring unprecedented mass welfare measures for those affected by farm distress by deciding to pay direct into the account of the marginal farmers with land holdings not exceeding 2 hectares an amount of Rs.6000 per annum wef December 2018 payable in three instalments . The scheme named as Prime Minister Kissan Samman Nidhi Scheme was the one guaranteeing direct income support for 12 crore farmers . Not only this, a monthly pension of Rs.3000 is proposed for workers in the unorganised sector too. An array of incentive for both middle – class and farmers who were feeling jittery to some extent from within, less than from made more conscious by the opposition parties led by Congress, which resulted in the ruling party lose three prestigious assembly elections ending last year.
To further elaborate the point , over 3 crore salaried class, pensioners , self employed and small businessmen with total income of up to Rs. 5 lakh will have to pay no tax now against their current liability of Rs.13000 in view of the relief this budget provides in the form of rebate . The exemption includes health and education cess too . It is noteworthy that individuals with gross income up to Rs.6.5 lacs will need not to pay any tax now provided they prefer tax savings investments of Rs.1.5 lacs under section 80C of the Income Tax Act. The other proposals include increase in the TDS exemption limit from Rs.10000 to Rs. 40000 for bank interest , on rental income from Rs. 1.8 lakh to Rs.2. 4 lac, extending housing income exemption from one to two self – occupied houses , capital gains from sale of house property being allowed to be invested in two properties instead of one. How the loss of revenue of Rs.18500 crore to the government would be made good, remains to be seen much more than that as to how poll indicators and considerations weigh high on decisions taken instead on pure economic considerations in a see saw or tug of war situation displayed by the combined opposition in dishing out electoral largesse wherever they could manage at state levels.
The BJP led NDA outsmarted floating of the ideas like Minimum Income Guarantee by directly tackling agrarian distress and everyone must give all credit to Modi government for the method and the way chosen as that would mean a clean transparent and hassles free cash transfer since liquidity of cash remains in eluding mode to farmers in most of the months of the year other than the one of harvesting. The farm income support scheme will result in the government breaching its 3.3 percent of fiscal deficit target from the current year and slipping on 3.1 per cent target for the next year. However, Fiscal deficit for both the years has been put at 3.4% of the GDP.
To icing the cake , the main tax proposals would be presented in the regular budget , small tax payers especially the middle class , salary earners, pensioners and senior citizens need , as per the Finance Minister , certainty in their minds at the beginning of the year about their taxes. It could therefore be inferred that proposals , particularly relating to such class of persons should not wait. The ones who know about the nitty – gritty of Budgeting and balancing it properly but keeping commitments to growth and welfare of the people paramount, would agree that the government has tried to push the growth agenda and development to a near satisfactory level and that speaks for Indian economy poised for a $ 5 trillion strong economy in the coming five years. 12 crore farmers, 10 crore labourers besides other sections to come under the umbrella of focussed attention is in no mean an ordinary step .