**Bhubaneswar:** The final budget session of Modi Government began on Thursday with address by President Ram Nath Kovind to the joint sitting of the two Houses. With the general elections nearing, the session is expected to be stormy as the interim budget is presented today. Here are the live updates:
12:45 pm: Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourns house till Monday.
12:30 pm: “Thank you tax payers. Because of you the nation is growing, our jawans are getting paid.” Individual taxpayers having annual income upto 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 three crore middle class taxpayers will get tax exemption due to this measure. Standard deduction increased from Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000. TDS limit hiked from Rs 10,000 to Rs 40,000 on Post-Office savings.
12:20 pm: “Safe drinking water to all Indians, sustaining and nourishing life, using micro-irrigation techniques are our government’s priorities; a long coastline can be pivotal for the economy, using strength of blue economy and Sagar Mala,” Piyush Goyal said.
12:17 pm: The fiscal deficit in 2018-19 would be 3.4 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), slightly higher than the targeted 3.3 per cent, Piyush Goyal said as there is a need to provide for income support for farmers.
12:15 pm: We are poised to become a 5 trillion dollar economy in the next 5 years and we aspire to become a 10 trillion dollar economy in the next 8 years.
12:10 pm: 18% increase in direct tax collections in 2017-18, 1.06 crore people included in the tax base. Also, more than 1 crore people filed IT returns for the first time, after demonetization.
12:05 pm: GST collections in January 2019 has crossed Rs 1 lakh crore. This Govt is committed to eliminating the scourge of black money; anti-black money measures taken have brought an undisclosed income of about 1.30 lakh crore rupees to the fore; 3.38 lakh shell companies were deregistered.
12:00 pm: “GST is probably the biggest taxation reform implemented since Independence; with tax consolidation, India became one common market; inter-state movements became faster through e-way bills, improving Ease of Doing Business. GST has been continuously reduced resulting in relief of Rs 80,000 crore rupees to the consumers; Most items of daily use are now in the 0%-5% tax bracket,” says FM.
11:57 am: “Within nearly two years, almost all assessment and verification of IT returns will be done electronically by an anonymized tax system without any intervention by officials,” says FM. Direct tax collections increased from Rs 6.38 lakh crore in 2013-14 to almost Rs 12 lakh crore; The tax base is up from Rs 3.79 crore to 6.85 crore.
11:55 am: Mobile data usage in India has increased by a phenomenal 50 per cent within no time and the cost of data and voice calls in the country are now possibly the lowest in the world. “Mobile and its parts manufacturing companies have grown from 2 to 268 now, creating thousands of jobs in both urban and rural areas of the country,” said Goyal. We aim to have one lakh digital villages in the next five years,” he added.
11:53 am: A single window clearance for filmmaking to be made available to filmmakers, anti-camcording provision to also to be introduced to Cinematography Act to fight piracy.
11:50 am: “Today there is not a single unmanned railway crossing on the broad gauge in India. Indian Railways is introducing container cargo movement to the North East. Govt has allocated Rs 64,587 crore for railways in the budget. Operation ration of railways to come down to 95 per cent from 96.4 per cent in 2018-19,” says Goyal.
11:47 am: Allocation for the north eastern region has been proposed to be increased to Rs 58,166 crore in this year, it will be a 21% rise over the previous year.
11:46 am: Goyal said the government had also increased the share of government procurements from MSMEs through Government eMarketplace (GeM) to 25 per cent, including 3 per cent from MSMEs run by women. Till date, GeM has registered transactions of more than Rs 17,500 crore which has led to savings of 25-28 per cent.
11:45 am: The government announced 2 per cent interest subvention for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) for loans up to Rs 1 crore. “The government has taken many steps to support the MSME sector that provides jobs to crores of people in the country. We recently announced a facility to avail Rs 1 crore loan within 59 minutes.”
11:43 am: Goyal says, “The defence budget has enhanced beyond Rs 3 lakh crore. Our soldiers are our pride and honour; ‘One Rank One Pension’, which was pending for the last 40 years, has been implemented by us. We have already disbursed Rs 35,000 crore for our soldiers under ‘One Rank One Pension’, substantial hike in military service pay has been announced.”
11:40 am: “75% of woman beneficiaries under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana, 26 weeks of maternity leave and the Pradhan Mantri Matritva Yojana, are all empowering women in the country,” says FM.
11:37 am: 6 crore connections have been given already in Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana. To ensure cleaner fuel and health assurance the programme was started to give 8 crore free LPG connections to rural households.
11:35 am: “A pension scheme is being launched called Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan, to provide assured monthly pension of 3000 rupees per month for unorganized workers earning up to Rs 15,000” says FM.
11:33 am: FM announces Rashtirya Kamdhenu Aaayog for implementation of policies and schemes for welfare of cows. “Increase in allocation of fisheries and husbandry sector for GOKUL scheme. Govt has decided to create separated dept for fisheries and 2 per cent relaxation in credit for farmers who are in animal husbandry,” he said.
11:30 am: FM announces Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme. It has been approved to provide assured income support for small and marginal farmers. Rs 6000 per year will be directly transferred to bank accounts of farmers with 2 hectares landholding. This initiative will benefit 12 crore small and marginal farmers, at an estimated cost of Rs. 75,000 crore. This programme is to be funded 100 per cent by Central Government
11:27 am: Goyal announces that 10 per cent reservation has been brought in for economically weaker sections.
11:25 am: Ayushman Bharat, world’s largest healthcare programme was launched to provide medical care to almost 50 crore people, resulting in 3,000 crore savings by poor families, says FM. Piyush Goyal says 10 lakh beneficiaries so far under the scheme. 14 news AIIMS have been set up in 5 years and new AIIMS to come up in Haryana.
11:23 am: The poor have the first right on government policies. We are allocating Rs 19,000 crore in the Gram Sadak Yojana. Rs 1.53 crore houses have been constructed under PMAY. Electricity bulbs worths Rs 143 crore have been provided. Rs 50,000 crore to be used by houses by use of LED bulbs. “Rs 60,000 crore is being allocated for MGNREGA, if need be more money will be give,” says FM.
11:20 am: Swachh Bharat initiated largest behavioural change. More than 98% rural sanitation coverage has been achieved; more than 5.45 lakh villages declared ODF
11:15 am: Almost 3 lakh crore has already been recovered in favour of banks and creditors, big defaulters have also not been spared by our government, says FM.
11:10 am: Deficit for current fiscal pegged at 3.4%. Inflation down to average of 4.6%: Finance Minister. Indian farmers’ income will double by 2022: Finance Minister
11:00 am: Delhi: Piyush Goyal begins budget speech in the Parliament citing the absence of Arun Jaitley and wishing him speedy recovery. “I can confidently say, India is solidly back on track and marching towards growth and prosperity,” he says.
10:55 am: Union Cabinet has approved the interim Budget 2019-20.
10:30 am: Cabinet Meeting currently underway.
10:20 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives for Cabinet Meeting ahead of presentation of the Budget.
10:00 am: Finance Minister Piyush Goyal arrives at the Parliament with the Budget briefcase. He is set to present the interim Budget 2019-20 at 11 am following the Cabinet meeting.
9:30 am: Union Finance Minister Piyush Goyal called on President Ram Nath Kovind before presenting the interim Budget for 2019-20 on Friday. The Minister met Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhawan before heading to Parliament.