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Finance Minister Piyush Goyal in his budget speech on Friday declared a complete tax rebate for those earning upto Rs 5 lakh per annum, leading to widespread cheer among the middle class. However, there is a catch. The operative word here is rebate. This is not an exemption limit that has been raised, and therefore, does not apply to everybody. It only applies to those earning upto Rs 5 lakh a year. Those making more than Rs 5 lakh a year will continue to pay taxes as they were earlier. Read more.
Want to know how much taxes you will be paying under the new budget? Calculate your income tax here.
Apart from relief for the middle classes, the budget also provided respite to farmers. Finance Minister Piyush Goyal announced the plan of the government to provide an assisted income support to small and marginal farmers under the scheme Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PMKISAN). Under the scheme a direct transfer of Rs 6,000 per year will be made to the bank accounts of farmers owning less than two hectares of land, Goyal told the parliament today. This translates to apprximately Rs 17 per day. Opposition chief Rahul Gandhi called the move an 'insult'. Read more.
A big takeaway of the interim Budget is the ambitious scheme, Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan), which aims to placate small farmers by offering Rs 6,000 per year. But it was on the cards. However, it is uncertain how would it help farmers, who are suffering because of low income, or the government, which has rolled out the scheme with an eye on the forthcoming general election. Reaa more on how PM-Kisan may end up as just a palliative and not the cure for the problems of farmers.
While many hailed the budget for having something for everyone, many were not happy with the budget. Lashing out at the Centre for “trying to cheat the people” of this country, Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee called the Union Budget 2019 an “act of desperation”. Banerjee said the proposals from the finance minister came from an “expired budget” because the tenure of the current government is no more than a month. Read more.
Ministry of Health and Family Affairs has been given a push in money allocation in the last five budgets that have been presented by the Narendra Modi government. With 63298.12 crore allocated to the sector this year, the government has once again hiked India’s health spending to win favour with the poor ahead of the crucial Lok Sabha elections less than 100 days away. Read more on how the Modi government's expenditure on health has been less that adequate in the last five years.
Even as interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal and the contents of his briefcase dominated social media trends for the larger part of the day, a young girl seems to have photobombed her way to becoming viral after the Budget 2019 session.
Agree or disagree?
The loud cheers over the Narendra Modi government’s bold income tax proposal, to exempt those earning up to Rs 5 lakh in annual taxable income from any tax, have already given way to cynical shakes of the head. Sindhu Bhattacharya explains why.
Can the government really be faulted for wanting to present a full budget on February 1? Why would it want to waste the last chance to please every voter, especially now as some opinion polls are saying that the BJP may not be in as strong a position in the 2019 Lok Sabha as it was in 2014? Populism has its uses, as has recently been proven in the three heartland states where a cocktail of promises about farm loan waivers and other measures brought the struggling Congress back to power. Sindhu Bhattacharya explains how budget 2019 was 'My Populism Vs Yours' but also asks an important question. Where's the money? Read more.
Art of the Day
Akhil Bharatiya Gau Seva Pramukh of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Ajit Mahapatra welcomed the government's announcement - Rashtriya Kamadhenu Ayog - Commission for the welfare of the cow and its progeny. In his opinion, if the Commission charts out a good plan it will help in curbing farmer’s suicide and spread right kind of energy by promoting desi cows.