Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday July 5, presented the Union Budget – a statement of the estimated receipts and expenditure of the Government of India for the year 2019-20 – in the Lok Sabha.
While laying her statement on the Parliament table, Sitharama announced various reforms in railways, education, agriculture, infrastructure, transportation, taxation, woman welfare, and more.
Here are the major takeaways from the Budget 2019
1.Income Tax Nirmala Sitharaman thanked taxpayers who as responsible citizens for their valuable contribution through taxes for all-round development of the country. She said that due to slew of efforts taken by the government, the direct tax revenue has increased to Rs 11.37 lakh crore from 2013-14 to 2018-19.
“My tax proposals will aim to stimulate growth. I aim to simplify tax admin and bring greater transparency.” Nirmala Sitharaman said that those in the Rs 2-5 crore annual income bracket, and Rs 5 crore and above annual income tax bracket will pay 3% and 7% more income tax respectively. However, there have been no changes in taxes for the salaried class. In the interim budget, the government had announced a full tax rebate for those earning up to Rs 5 lakh per annum.
2. PAN and Aadhaar Card to be interchangeable: The government said that around 120 crore Indians now had Aadhaar cards and is planning to make it ‘interchangeable’ with permanent account number (PAN) cards. This means that any place where a citizen has to show their PAN card, can now use their Aadhaar card.
3. Women Welfare: While laying her statement in the Parliament, Nirmala Sitharaman said that contribution of women is significant in every sector. The government wishes to encourage and facilitate role of women.
“I propose a committee to evaluate and suggest measures to improve women’s welfare. “To encourage women entrepreneurship, Women SHG Interest Subvention Programme to be expanded to all districts in India. Every verified woman SHG member having a Jan Dhan account, an overdraft of Rs 5,000 will be allowed. One woman in every SHG shall be made eligible for a loan of Rs 1 lakh under MUDRA scheme. This will reinforce our approach of going beyond just women-centric policies to building women-led movements,” said Sitharaman.
4. Indian Railways: Nirmala Sitharaman pitched for PPP model to reform Indian Railways. She said that the Indian Railways will need an investment of at least Rs 50 lakh crore between 2018 and 2030 for modernisation and upkeep. She said that a PPP will make services better and faster. “A Public-Private partnership will usher the new dawn of Indian railway,” Sitharaman said.
5. Har Ghar Jal: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said making available safe drinking water to every citizen is a priority for the government which is working towards ‘Har Ghar Jal’ by 2024. While reiterating the newly formed Jal Shakti Ministry‘s aim of ‘Nal se Jal’, Nirmala Sitharaman in her speech said, “This new ministry will look at the management of our water resources and water supply in an integrated and holistic manner and will work with states to ensure ‘Har Ghar Jal’ [Water to each household], to all rural households by 2024 under ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’.”
6. Pension scheme for small retail traders: In an important announcement, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a new pension scheme for small retail traders. The pension benefits will be extended to to 3 crore retail traders and shopkeeper with annual turnover of less than Rs 1.5 crore under new scheme called Pradhan Mantri Man dhan Scheme.
7. Labour codes: The Centre said that multiple labour laws in the country would instead be replaced with four ‘labour codes’. “We will streamline multiple labour laws into a set of four labour codes to ensure that process of registration and filing of returns will get standardised and streamlined,” Nirmala Sitharaman said. With this, lesser disputes are expected, the government said.
8. Angel Tax: In a major announcement, the Finance Minister said that startups and their investors will not be subjected to any kind of Income Tax scrutiny for the value of their shares, if they file the requisite declaration. Provisions would also be made for complete e-verification so there is no person-to-person contact.
9. Education: While listing out her proposals for development in the field of education, Nirmala Sitharaman started of by iterating developments in education sector brought under Modi-led government. She then said that government will ‘Study in India’ programme to attract foreign students in higher education. She further announced to allocate Rs 400 crore for world-class higher education institutions in FY20 and to unveil new education policy. She also announced that National research foundation to fund, coordinate and to promote research in the country.
10. New Space India Limited: The government said that New Space India Limited (NSIL) has been incorporated as a new commercial arm so that the Department of Space can tap benefits of Research and Development (R&D) carried out by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The NSIL will also look into commercialisation of various products related to space, in line with the government’s push to emerge as a key player in space exploration.