Firing its last big salvo before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Narendra Modi government packed the Budget 2019 with goodies for farmers and middle class, leaving implementation of the latter to the next government.
From announcing Rs 6,000 annual direct income for marginal farmers holding less than two hectares of land, allocating Rs 3 lakh crores to defence, no TDS on house rent up to 2.5 lakh and proposing a cow commission, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal made the most of the pre-election budget.
However, the biggest surprise was saved for the last. Announcing the budget for middle and salaried classes, Goyal proposed increasing the limit of tax exemption for individual taxpayers from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.
The House erupted with ministers thumping their desks and chanting 'Modi Modi' as soon as Goyal proposed the change.
The proposal will benefit 2 crore middle-class taxpayers. Doubling the threshold exemption limit will increase the burden on the exchequer by Rs 18,500 crore. If an individual invests in the specified tax saving schemes of the government, the effective tax-free income limit will be Rs 6.5 lakh a year, while it may go further up with additional avenues like NPS, medical insurance and home loan interest payment.
Parliamentarians were not the only ones left beaming after the announcement. Social media was equally enthusiastic and cheered with full gusto.
Live Visual : Middle Class after @PiyushGoyal Statement .@muglikar_ @dhaval241086 #budget2019 pic.twitter.com/DJwqXICyV7 — যাযাবৰ Manas (@JajaborManas) February 1, 2019
How middle class is feeling rn #Budget2019 pic.twitter.com/DxFgCIuD02 — Chhote (@thuug_lyf) February 1, 2019
How much is the Tax Rebate? #Budget2019 pic.twitter.com/mUKIfA25FN — Trendulkar (@Trendulkar) February 1, 2019
Piyush Goyal’s Budget speech today was like Dhoni’s inning, Started slow and steady, then started rotating strike with relief to the farmers & finally ended it with a sixer which went out of the park. Huge Huge relief to the middle class today. #Budget2019 — Bhaiyyaji (@bhaiyyajispeaks) February 1, 2019
How’s the josh? #Budget2019 #BudgetForNewIndia pic.twitter.com/aRehbJhSdU — |चाणक्य|🇮🇳 (@avs_IND) February 1, 2019
Among the major sops, Goyal proposed to raise the standard deduction to Rs 50,000. The gratuity limit has also been increased to Rs 30 lakh.
The move to provide Rs 6000 per annum direct cash transfers to farmers months before general elections, is likely to benefit 12 crore farmers.
Rs 60,000 crore has also been set aside for MGNREGA, the rural employment scheme, with Piyush Goyal adding that the allocation can be increased further.
The Finance Minister says a national cow commission for the welfare of cows would also be set up.