The run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections has well and truly begun. The Interim Budget 2019 was dotted with sops for the farm sector, small businesses, and the middle class. Here are some of the key proposals presented by the Interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal:-

1. Income Tax reliefs

The government broke convention and announced income tax proposals. The big relief here is for the middle class with no tax for individuals earning up to Rs 5 lakh. Even those earning up to Rs 6.5 lakh will not need to pay any tax if they make investments in provident fund and tax-saving schemes. Standard deduction has also been increased to Rs 50,000 from Rs 40,000. Further tax deduction threshold for house rents has been increased to Rs 2.4 lakh from Rs 1.8 lakh currently. Capital gains exemptions under Section 54 will be available up to Rs 2 crore. The exemptions will be available on two houses.

2. Bonanza for farmers

Small and marginal farmers with up to 2 hectares of lands will get Rs 6,000 per year in three equal installments via direct bank transfers. Besides the assured income, farmers affected by natural calamities will get 2% interest subvention and an additional 3% interest subvention on timely repayment. Interest subvention of 2% will also be extended to farmers pursuing animal husbandry and fisheries through Kisan credit card.

3. Sops for unorganised sector workers

A new scheme was announced for unorganised sector workers called the Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maandhan Yojana. Under the scheme, workers with income up to Rs 15,000 per month will get Rs 3,000 per month pension with a contribution of Rs 100 per month. The government allocated Rs 500 crore for the scheme. Gratuity limit has also been increased for such workers.

4. Cheer for small businesses

The Interim Budget 2019 also looked out for small businesses, a key vote bank for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. Businesses with less than Rs 5 crore of annual turnover, comprising over 90% Goods and Services Taxpayers, will be allowed to file quarterly returns boosting the ease of doing business for such firms. Micro, small and medium enterprises will also get a 2% relief on interest rates if they are registered as a GST taxpayer.

5. Defence Budget increased

The outlay on defence has been increased and for the first time, it has crossed Rs 3 lakh crore. Interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal promised more funds if required. Goyal also reiterated the government’s aim at rolling out the One Rank One Pension scheme fully. He said that the government has already disbursed Rs 35,000 crore under the scheme so far.

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