The Central government has presented an interim budget 2019-20 giving sops to farmers and middle class.
What is Interim Budget?
- An interim budget is presented when there is no time to present full budget.
- This year, as the national elections fall in the month of March-April, interim budget was presented by the government with the presentation of full budget left to the next government.
- Though this interim budget the government will get spending rights till March 31.
Highlights of the Budget
- Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Scheme – It is to provide input support to farmers to the tune of Rs. 6000/- per year. It is applicable to families with cultivable land up to 2 hectares. The amount would be directly transferred to the beneficiaries accounts.
- Standard deduction of tax is increased to Rs. 50000/- from Rs. 40000/-.
- People earning Rs. 6.5 lakh income per annum are exempted from tax if they make investments in specified savings, insurance and provident funds.
- The budget for the railways is the highest than any preceding years. It gets Rs. 1.58 lakh crore.
- 60000 crore was allotted to MGNREGA programme to boost rural employment.
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- Pradhan Mantri Shram-Yogi Maandhan (PMSYM) – A pension scheme for workers of unorganised sector earning less than Rs. 15000 per month. They are assured of Rs. 3000 per month after the age of 60 years. Beneficiaries need to pay only Rs. 100/- per month till 60 years of age. A person can join the scheme from the age of 18. An initial amount of Rs. 500 crore is outlawed by the government for the scheme.
- Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog – It is a commission for the welfare of cows. The centre would help improve “sustainable genetic upgrading of cow resources, and to enhance production and productivity of cows”. It will also look into the implementation of various schemes concerned with cows.
- Increase in the budget allocation for Rashtriya Gokul Mission.
- A 2% interest subvention to animal husbandry and fishery farmers.
Concerns With The Budget
- Economists say that the budget provisioning will hit the fiscal deficit targets of the government. This will affect the macroeconomic stability of the government.
- Also, this interim budget in a poll year appears to be a poll manifesto rather than seeking money for expenditure from the Parliament. This is a violation of the general convention.
- Schemes such as the farmer’s input support is mere an eyewash. It cannot really help solving distress among the farming community. Also, the stated scheme is a replica of Rythu Bandhu scheme of Telangana state. But, the Rythu Bandhu scheme provides Rs. 10000 per acre per annum for the farmer irrespective of the size of land holdings and whether the land is cultivated or not.
The government could have avoided launching many new schemes in the interim budget. These populists schemes may have been launched hoping to garner votes. But, it is only destroying the democratic convention that the next elected government is best suited to in deciding the schemes for the people. Also, the exercise is futile as the Indian voter are now mature enough to understand the difference between theatrics and intent.
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