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Budget 2019 LIVE: Piyush Goyal Announces Rs 6,000 Per Year Direct Cash Transfer to 12 Crore Farmers; National Cow Commission Coming Up

Budget 2019 LIVE: Among the first major announcements in budget speech 2019, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal has announced Rs 6,000 per annum direct cash transfer to farmers owning less than 2 hectares of land. The move, 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.
Expectations are running high across demographics from the Narendra Modi government’s Budget 2019, with the finance exercise expected to be a little more robust than the traditional election-year vote-on-account. For all the election action in this budget
11:43 (IST)

Free Cooking Gas Scheme a Success: Piyush Goyal |”We delivered 6 crore free cooking gas connection out of 8 crore poor. It will be completed by next year. Ujwala is a remarkable success story,” says the Finance Minister.

11:42 (IST)

Budget 2019 for Women and Nomadic Tribes | “A committee under NITI Aayog to complete the tasks of identifying nomadic and semi nomadic community not yet classified. Special strategies will be designed by the board to serve these communities. This time, we will move ahead from women development to women-led development,” says Piyush Goyal

11:39 (IST)

Stocks Increase With Budget 2019 | With the farmer support announcements, stock of Mahindra & Mahindra, the market leader in tractors, is up nearly 2% on the BSE while that of Hero Motocorp the market leader in two-wheelers, stock is up by 3.35%. FMCG stocks have also rallied as Marico, HUL, ITC are up 1-2%.

11:38 (IST)

“For workers who receive grevious injuries, they will now get Rs 6 lakh from Rs 2.5 lakh through EPFO,” says Piyush Goyal. “Pradhan Shram Yogi Mandhar pension will be for organised sectors. Workers earning Rs 15,000 will get pension of Rs 3,000 after he attains the age of 60,” he adds.7

11:37 (IST)

Gratuity Amount Increases from Rs 10 Lakh to 30 Lakh | For workers and labourers, Piyush Goyal says that a new pension scheme will come up to ensure an increase in centre’s contribution by four percent. “The pension has been increased from Rs 3,500 to Rs 7,000. Gratuity payment limit has been increased from 10 lakh to 20 lakh,” he says.

11:35 (IST)

Hitting out at Modi government over sops for farmers, Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha says, “After brutalizing the farmers for 5 years, a cosmetic support of just Rs 75,000 crores allocation for farmers. This is peanuts.”

11:33 (IST)

Govt to Set Up Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog for Welfare of Cows | The Modi government has decided to set up ‘Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog’ for implementation of policies and schemes for welfare of cows. “Increase in allocation for fisheries and husbandary sector for GOKUL scheme. Government has decided to create a separate department for fisheries. Two percent relaxation in credit for will be given to farmers who are in animal husbandary,” says Piyush Goyal.

11:31 (IST)

Piyush Goyal on Farmers | Adding on government’s relief for farmers ahead of Lok Sabha election, Piyush Goyal says, “The amount will be transferred directly to bank accounts of farmers in three equal installments. This programme will be funded 100 percent by the Central government. 12 crore farmer families will be directly impacted. Rs 75,000 crore will be borne by the Centre every year. The first installment will be issed soon after preparing a list. Rs 20,000 crore will be spent this financial year.

11:28 (IST)

Sops for 12 Crore Farmers in Budget 2019 | “Farmers earlier did not get full cost for their produce. Farmers income has reduced over the years. Income support to farmers small and marginal faers Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (KISAN) has been approved. Famers owning 2 hectares and less will be provided with Rs 6,000 per annum directly into their accounts. There are nearly 12 crore such farmers,’ says Piyush Goyal in a major incentive for farmers in Budget 2019.

11:26 (IST)

Now, AIIMS to be Set Up in Haryana | “Prices of medicines as well as other surgical equipment like stents etc have significantly been brought down. The prices reduced for medicines, stems used in cardiac operations and knee replacements have helped families avail more benefits. I’m happy to announce that 22nd AIIMS will come up in Haryana,” says FM Piyush Goyal.

11:25 (IST)

Piyush Goyal on Health Facilities | Speaking on health facilities in India, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal says, “In the last five years, w have seen massive improvement in healthcare services with the launch of world’s largest healthcare scheme Ayushman bharat for 50 crore people. Lakhs of poor and middle class have benefited from cheap medicines now available.

11:23 (IST)

Govt on Funds for Rural Roads, Electricity | “We are allocating Rs 19,000 crore for rural roads under Gram Sadak Yojana. Rs 1.53 crore houses have been constructed under PMAY. Approximately every household has been provided electricity. Electricity bulbs worth Rs 143 crore have been provided. Rs 50,000 crore to be saved by houses by use of LED bulbs,” says Piyush Goyal.

11:20 (IST)

Govt Allocates Rs 60,000 Cr for MGNREGA | “We ensured that everybody gets food and nobody sleeps with an empty stomach. We have worked to bridge urban-rural divide in the country. We are allocating Rs 60,000 crore for MGNREGA. Under PM gram sadak yojana, construction of roads have been tripled. If need be, more money will be given for MNREGA,” says Piyush Goyal.

11:18 (IST)

Speaking on upper caste poor quota, Piyush Goyal says, “10 percent reservation has been brought in for economically weaker sections. The poor have the first right on government policies.”11:17 (IST)

“As many as 5,85,000 villages have been declared open defecation-free. I want to thank the people of the country for the success of Swacch Bharat Abhiyan. Swachh Bharat has been transformed from a government project to a national mission,” says Piyush Goyal on government’s mission of defecation-free India.
 11:16 (IST)

Piyush Goyal on Corruption-free Govt | Adding to the claim of a corruption-free government, Piyush Goyal says, “It’s a new era of  graft-free regulation by bringing out RERA and many others. We conducted transparent transaction of natural resources, like coal. The fugitive economic offenders bill will prosecute economic offenders who have taken money and never returned them and fled the country.

11:13 (IST)

“Earlier, only smaller businessmen were worried about returning loans but now even bigger business are having to pay back loans. Not just banks. We have ushered in a new era of transparency. We are a corruption free government,” says Finance Minister Piyush Goyal.

11:13 (IST)

“We stopped activities that affected clean banking. We stopped malicious practices in loans being taken. Period of 2008 to 2014 was a period of aggressive credit growth,” says Finance Minister Piyush Goyal.

11:11 (IST)

As Piyush Goyal presents Budget 2019, Congress’ Divya Spandana takes a jibe at government over BJP’s website.

11:10 (IST)

“Fiscal deficit has been brought down to three percent from a high of 6 percent. We have reduced a family’s expenditure by 40-45 percent. 2018-19 revised fiscal deficit target at 3.4%. Due to a stable regulatory regime we have attracted foreign investments. This has also been an era of liberalisation, where we majorly relaxed FDI norms,” says FM Piyush Goyal.

11:08 (IST)

“Humari sarkar ne kamar tod mehengai ki kamar hi tod di. We brought down inflation 2.12 percent. When we took over it was as high as 10.1 percent. India will be a country where farmers’ income will double by 2022,” says Finance Minister Piyush Goyal.

11:06 (IST)

Moving Towards New India by 2022: Goyal | “We are moving to realising a new India by 2022. In the last 5 years India has emerged a major economy in the last year. Our GDP numbers are higher than any developing economy,” says Finance Minister Piyush Goyal.

11:05 (IST)

Piyush Goyal Presents Interim Budget | Finance Piyush Goyal takes stage amid ruckus as uses the term ‘Interim Budget’. “I am deeply conscious of the absence of Arun Jaitley today. I wish him speedy recovery. We have reversed policy paralysis and restored country’s image,” he says.

11:03 (IST)

Piyush Goyal Reads Out Budget Speech | Finance Minister Piyush Goyal begins to read out Budget 2019 speech. He wishes health for Union minister Arun Jaitley, who is in US for treatment as Modi government presents its last budget.

11:01 (IST)

Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan arrives in Parliament. Opposition members create ruckus as Finance Minister Piyush Goyal is set to read out Budget 2019 speech.

11:00 (IST)

CLICK TO READ | Budget 2019: Lower Duties, Electric Mobility, Road Safety – Here’s What the Auto Industry Expects

10:59 (IST)

Budget 2019 and Auto Industry | The BJP-led Government of India will present the final budget of its term in the Parliament on 1st February, 2019. Even though it is an interim budget, there are a lot of expectations from the Finance Ministry to woo every section of the society. The automobile industry has their own set of expectations from the budget and the focus is on three key areas -1) Electric Mobility 2) Stricter Emission Norms and 3) Emphasis on Road Safety.

10:58 (IST)

Experts on Budget 2019 | “I would hope the the government looks at dividend distribution tax in Budget 2019,” says Raamdeo Agrawal, joint managing director at Motilal Oswal Financial Services. Meanwhile, Manas Chakravarty, Group Consulting Editor, says that the government has a thing called the Budget and it “tries its best to fudge it”. “It hires some cooks to fiddle the books but the deficit — they can’t seem to budge it,” he says.

10:55 (IST)

Hope for Women in Budget 2019 | One would hope to see Budget 2019 focus on skill development programs for women, reduce or eliminate hiring biases, family leave policies that include both parents, diversity and inclusion initiatives, equal pay policies to close the gender pay gap, recruiting more senior women leaders and Board members and compulsory anti-harassment training to ensure safer working environments for all women. The only benefit Budget 2018 did to promote women’s employment was a change in the rate of EPF from 12 percent to 8 percent, which increased their effective take-home. But is this enough of an incentive for women leaving the workplace by the millions?10:52 (IST)

TDP MPs Protest Minutes Before Budget 2019 | Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MPs dress in black to protest against the central government ahead of the presentation of Budget 2019. They are protesting in Parliament premises demanding special category status for Andhra Pradesh.

10:50 (IST)

Ministers at Cabinet Meeting Ahead of Budget 2019 |Union Ministers Sushma Swaraj, Rajnath Singh, and Ravi Shankar Prasad arrive at Parliament. Following the Cabinet meeting, Piyush Goyal will present the interim Budget 2019-20 at 11 am.

Narendra Modi-led government’s sixth and final budget before the polls due by May is supposed to be an interim budget or a Vote on Account. But it is widely expected that Goyal may go beyond seeking Parliament nod for government expenditure for four months of next fiscal and announce sops to woo rural and urban middle-class voters, industry sources and experts said.

This may or may not replace subsidies that the farmer gets but will certainly be aimed at addressing rural distress, which was primarily blamed for BJP’s defeat in recent assembly elections in key states.

The farm relief package may cost anywhere between Rs 70,000 crore to Rs 1 lakh crore, according to sources.

Goyal, who stepped in as interim finance minister after Arun Jaitley had to fly to New York for medical treatment, is widely expected to raise income tax exemption thresholds.

Basic exemption limit may be raised from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 3 lakh for individuals of less than 60 years of age and from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 3.5 lakh for those aged 60 years or more but less than 80.

Women taxpayers may get higher basic exemption of Rs 3.25 lakh or even at par with senior citizens, as per sources.

An alternative to raising the exemption limit is to raise the 80C deduction to Rs 2 lakh from Rs 1.5 lakh to encourage taxpayers to save more for their future.

Considering delay in housing projects and also rising interest rates, deduction of interest amount on housing loan for a self-occupied house property may be enhanced to Rs 2.5 lakh from Rs 2 lakh.

The set off cap of adjusting loss from house property against other heads of income may also be accordingly raised to Rs 2.5 lakh from Rs 2 lakh, according to sources.

The increase in personal income tax exemption limit is unlikely to meaningfully reduce collections unless the successive tax slabs are also changed.

Also being speculated are cheap loans for small businesses and increased rural spending.

For the farm sector, the possible options include direct transfer of money to farmers like in the Telangana model of Rythu Bandhu, interest free crop loan for those farmers who pay on time and zero premium for insurance of food grain crops.

The measures, industry and informed sources say, could include those to create employment as the government faces a tag of giving a jobless high GDP growth.

For investors, these sops may translate into another breach in the budget deficit target of 3.3 per cent of GDP for the current fiscal and a possible record borrowing in the coming financial year.

In 2018-19, the largest downside to revenues has been from the GST collections with the shortfall likely at around Rs 1.4 lakh crore.

Goyal may also look at higher interim dividend from RBI and deferring subsidy payouts on fertiliser as well as LPG and kerosene to provide funds for the populist schemes.

Credit rating agencies have warned that without bringing down other spending, a higher farm subsidy bill will increase future fiscal deficits.

Fitch Ratings Thursday warned of a second consecutive year of fiscal slippage in the event of Goyal resorting to populist spending to win over lost vote base.

“Higher pre-election spending could risk a second consecutive year of fiscal slippage relative to the government’s targets and would further delay plans to reduce the high general government fiscal deficit and debt burden,” it said.

Sources said the interim budget would provide an opportunity for the government to outline its medium-term economic priorities, specifically with regards to improving farm/rural incomes.

It would be important to continue its focus on overall infrastructure expansion, especially as private sector investments remain tepid and a nascent recovery hinges on government spending.

There is also a talk of the government looking at the idea of a Quasi-Universal Basic Income Scheme (QUBI). The concept of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) in the context of India was outlined in the Economic Survey 2016-17.

However, a UBI for the entire population (and even for the BPL population) will entail a prohibitively high fiscal outgo. In fact, without a commensurate reduction in various transfers (subsidies and social programmes), it might not be feasible to implement a UBI for the entire population.

However, the government could target the poorest of the poor (possibly 40 per cent of the BPL population) based on the 2011 census. Some say a hypothetical Rs 700 to Rs 1,200 per month can be provided to the poorest of the population (around 12 crore people). This will entail an outgo of Rs 1 lakh crore or 0.5 per cent of the GDP

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