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News18 Daybreak | What to Expect From Today's Budget Presentation and Other Stories You Need to Watch Out For

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Updated:February 1, 2019, 8:41 AM IST

What to Watch Out For

Budget 2019 to be presented in parliament today amid criticisms of Centre’s push for populist schemes

Budget 2019, which will be presented by interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday, is likely to surprise and shock. Coming a few months shy off the upcoming polls, budget 2019 is expected to be loaded with tax sops and pro-people schemes.

Although, this will be the last budget of the Modi government, sources have said that government officials were briefed to present a full union budget and not just an interim budget or a vote-on-account.

Follow the live updates here.

What can we expect: Everything from tax exemptions for the middle class to universal basic income scheme to liquidity corrections for the banking sector, here’s a list of things.

1) An increase of tax exemption limit from Rs 2.5 lakh a year to Rs 5 lakh a year. (The Centre is however no likely to make indirect tax policy changes and cut corporate tax rate for remaining 1% corporate taxpayers).
2) Provision for Rs 4,000 crore capital infusion for public sector general insurance companies to shore up their capital. (Three public insurance companies that the fund infusion is being sought for are - National Insurance Company, Oriental Insurance Company and United India Insurance Company).
3) Rural incentive schemes in the form of cash transfer models, similar to ‘Rythu Bandhu’ scheme in Telangana and the Odisha model.
4) Increased allocation towards micro, small and medium enterprises and other initiatives including Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban and Rural). (This might also include additional benefits for women entrepreneurs).

Populist and unconstitutional?: The main controversy brewing around the budget centers around the Modi government’s expected decision to make this a full budget and include several populist schemes.

“The larger interest of the economy always dictates what goes into the interim budget and that’s something which cannot be discussed or disclosed at this stage,” Jaitley had told CNBC-TV18 a few days ahead of the budget presentation.

Former finance minister Yashwant Sinha on Monday however, lashed out at the Centre and said that it would be "entirely improper and unconstitutional" if the Modi government presents a full budget ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, asking them to stick to the convention of outgoing dispensations presenting an interim budget.

However, Sindhu Bhattarcharya in her article argues that even the Congress with their electoral promise of a universal basic income scheme for the poor should not be left out of this criticism since populism seems to be a sure way to the voter’s heart.

Special Report: As the Modi government prepared to present its farmer friendly budget, farmers in Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli district are still burdened with debts to the tune of Rs 220 crore. Read Debayan Roy’s report on what Shamli’s sugarcane farmers are expecting from Budget 2019.

Opposition party meeting on EVM tampering to take place today, Congress will convene the meeting

Opposition party leaders will meet on Friday to discuss the alleged tampering of Electronic Voting Machines. The meeting comes days after a self-proclaimed cyber-expert - Syed Shuja, who claimed to have been a part of the team developing the machines for the 2014 general elections, in a press conference alleged that the EVMs used in the elections had been hacked. Following the press conference, which was also attended by Congress leader Kapil Sibal, many parties have pushed for a reversal to a ballot system.

Friday’s meeting will be convened by the Congress party leaders who, according to sources, have sent invitations to several other opposition leaders. A petition to the Election Commission to demand that some percentage of VVPAT (voter verifiable paper audit trail) be compulsorily counted to match the EVMs, is also expected.

File photo of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi. (PTI)

North East CMs to meet Home Minister and PM Modi over Citizenship Bill today

Several Chief Ministers of the North-East states will be meeting Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue of the Citizenship Amendment Bill. Friday’s meeting was called after 10 political parties from the region, mostly allies of the ruling BJP, met in Guwahati on Tuesday to oppose the bill. In the meeting which was also attended by Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma and Mizoram’s CM Zoramthanga, all sides decided to talk to President Ram Nath Kovind and PM Modi and convince them to scrap the bill.

Meanwhile, President Kovind in his budget commencement speech on Thursday hailed the bill and said that it would “help in the securing of Indian citizenship by those victims who were persecuted and were compelled to seek refuge in India”.

The controversial bill has provisions to accord Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis refugees from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

What You May Have Missed

BJP makes clean sweep in Jind, Digvijay Chautala in the second position

BJP made a clean sweep in the Jind bypolls with a margin of over 12,000 votes as Thursday's results revealed. The by-elections had been necessitated by the demise of Indian National Lok Dal leader, Hari Chand Midha whose son – Kishan Midha was the winning candidate. The results from the bypolls are being seen as an indicator for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, and have certainly cemented the saffron party’s hopes in the state.

Meanwhile, Digvijay Chautala, who was being backed by his brother Dushyant Chautala’s new formed party Jananayak Janata Party (JJP) also surprised everyone by clinching the second position in the tally. Digvijay and Dushyant belong to a family of political giants, the Chautala clan, which started the INLD. The Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) was formed after the brothers broke away from INLD following a family feud.

File photo of Digvijay Singh Chautala. (Image: Internet)

Former CBI director Alok Verma to be issued show-cause notice for refusing to join office for a day

After former CBI director Alok Verma gave the cold shoulder to the government’s order to join the DG Fire Service, Civil Defence and Home Guard for a day, top officials have said that he will be issued a show-cause notice for violation of conduct rules. On Wednesday, the MHA had sent a letter to Alok Verma asking him to take up his new assignment. The letter came two weeks after Verma was moved out of the CBI by the PM-led selection panel following months of feud with his deputy Rakesh Asthana over corruption charges.

NITI Aayog chairman dismisses leaked report findings which show unemployment at a four decade-long high

Only two days after the resignation of two National Statistical commission members over the withholding of data regarding employment by the government, National Sample Survey Office (NSSO)’s leaked report on the state of jobs in the country, revealed that unemployment had reached a four decade-long high. The report which had been leaked by The Business Standard showed that unemployment stood at 6.1% in the year 2017-2018. NITI Ayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar however dismissed the report findings and said in a hurried press conference,” “I want to state categorically that the report is not finalised yet. It is just a draft report. The data cited (in news reports) is not yet finalised and approved by the government”

TRS wins with thumping majority in panchayat elections, Congress, BJP in runners-up

Telangana Rastra Samiti continues its winning streak sweeping the gram panchayat elections. The party won 7731 out of 12751 gram panchayats, accounting for 61% of panchayats. Meanwhile, Congress candidates won in 2698 panchayats (22 %), Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) in 163, Telugu Desam Party(TDP) in 82, Communist Party India (Marxist) in 77, Communist Party of India in 50 and independents in 1825 gram panchayats. The voter turnout was more than 87 percent, in all the three phases of the panchayati polls. TRS had also won in the state in the recent Assembly elections.

On Reel

Reporter Debayan Roy traveled to Shamli, in Western Uttar Pradesh, to find out what its debt-ridden sugarcane farmers expect from Budget 2019.

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