Union Minister Piyush Goyal announced a number of pro-people schemes in a combative interim budget speech on Friday.
Addressing the Lok Sabha, Goyal began by delivering a report card of the Modi government's achievements in the past five years, listing the following major points:
1. Massive announcement for farmers and for the agriculture sector:
Under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, 6000 rupees per year for each farmer, in three installments, to be transferred directly to farmers' bank accounts, for farmers with less than 2 hectares landholding. This initiative will benefit 12 crore small and marginal farmers, at an estimated cost of Rs. 75,000 crore, and is aimed at enabling farmers to earn a respectable living.
Two percent interest subvention has been afforded to farmers pursuing animal husbandry and fisheries.
For welfare of farmers and for doubling their income, a decision has been taken to increase MSP by 1.5 times the production cost for all 22 crops.
2. Huge Income Tax relief:
Individual taxpayers having annual income upto Rs 5 lakhs will get full tax rebate. Individuals with gross income up to 6.5 lakh rupees will not need to pay any tax if they make investments in provident funds and prescribed equities. Around 3 crore middle-class taxpayers will get tax exemption due to this measure.
Within almost two years, almost all assessment and verification of IT returns will be done electronically by an anonymized tax system without any intervention by tax officials.
Standard tax deduction for salaried persons raised from 40,000 rupees to 50,000 rupees. TDS threshold on interest on bank and post office deposits raised from 10,000 to 40,000 rupees.
3. Mega pension scheme for unorganised sector:
Mega Pension Yojana, namely Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan, to provide assured monthly pension of 3000 rupees per month, with contribution of 100 rupees per month, for workers in unorganized sector after 60 years of age. Will benefit 10 crore workers in unorganized sector, may become the world's biggest pension scheme for unorganized sector in five years.
4. Relief for home-owners and renters:
TDS threshold on rental income raised from 1.8 lakh to 2.4 lakh rupees.
Benefit of rollover of capital tax gains to be increased from investment in one residential house to that in two residential houses, for a taxpayer having capital gains up to 2 crore rupees; can be exercised once in a lifetime.
5. Allocation for the North-East:
Allocation for North-Eastern region proposed to be increased to Rs. 58,166 crore in this year - a 21% rise over previous year.
The Railways minister also spoke about the made-in-India Vande Bharat Express (Train-18) which he said would provide speed, service and safety to citizens and will give a boost to the Make in India initiative.
Piyush Goyal said that India's defence budget would be reaching its highest ever figure, crossing Rs 3,00,000 crore for the first time in 2019-20. Additional funds would be provided if necessary.
While he extolled the success of the Ayushman Bharat healthcare scheme that was the big gamechanger in the 2018 Budget, Piyush Goyal also announced that the 22nd AIIMS campus would be set up in the state of Haryana.
9. In the area of Artificial Intelligence:
Piyush Goyal said the government would soon develop a National Programme On Artificial Intelligence. Nine priority areas have been identified in this regard and a National Artificial Intelligence Portal would also soon be set up.
Single window clearance for filmmaking to be made available to Indian filmmakers, anti-camcording provision to be introduced to Cinematography Act to combat film piracy.