Bangla Hunt/ Pallab Ghosh
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday presented the Union Budget that also happens to her first budget. Sitharaman as per protocol, on the budget day entered the Parliament House with the iconic red coloured briefcase in her hand.
The Finance Minister in her speech said Indian economy had reached from $1.85 trillion to $2.7 trillion. She said the government has the target of taking it to $5 trillion by FY25. She also announced sops for MSMEs, the FM said Rs 350 crore will be allocated for the sector. Sitharaman announced pension benefits would be extended to 3 crore retail traders under the Pardhan Mantri Karam Yogi Maan Dhan Yojana.
She said schemes like BharatMala, Sagarmala, and Udan were bridging the rural urban divide and improving transport infrastructure. For the power sector, the Finance Minister has proposed a new scheme ‘One Nation One Grid’. The finance minister has suggested more FDI in aviation and media, said Sitharaman. Establishment of NSIL, a new commercial arm in the Department of Space to increase India’s power in space and technology.
Some of the salient features of Budget 2019:
PAN cards and Aadhaar cards will be made interchangeable soon. Income returns filling by either Aadhaar card or PAN card to file their income tax returns (ITR).
Income Tax remains unchanged
An additional Rs 1.5 lakh tax-relief on home loan for purchase of a house up to Rs 45 lakh
Custom duty hike on fuel by Rs 1. Petrol, Diesel, Gold and precious items to cost more
National Transport Card which will be part of the national common mobility plan
The comprehensive national highway development project
The second phase of BharatMala project for the development of roadways in different states
Special mention for women empowerment:
Women SHG Interest Subvention Programme – Nari tu Narayani, to be expanded to all districts in India
Rs 1 lakh loan allocation to SHG women members.
SHG member with Jan Dhan account can avail Rs 5,000 rupees overdraft facility.
New PPP model will usher in the new dawn of Indian railways
Railways will invest in suburban railways network via SPVs
Railway infrastructure will investment of Rs 50 lakh crore between 2018 and 2030
Government to launch ‘Study in India’ programme to attract foreign students in higher education
New education policy
Rs 400 crore allocation for world-class higher education institutions in FY 20
New Higher Education Commission with a focus on higher autonomy.
17 iconic world-class tourist sites to be developed
There are plans to restructure highways and the movement of cargo through the River Ganga