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No Vote on Account; Modi govt presents an election Budget ‘interim’ only in name

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal broke the proprietary norm and convention today (Friday, Feb 1) to make provisions for the whole year in what he had called an ‘Interim Budget’, and introducing a host of new schemes to woo various sections of the population.

(See provisions below)

The norm is that when the country is headed for a general election to elect the next government, the incumbent government presents an interim budget, which is essentially a vote-on-account to meet the government’s expenses and keep the ongoing schemes running till the next government assumes charge after the elections. Goyal has made provisions for the whole year.

Moreover, the ‘interim budget’ presented today probably has more new programmes than the regular, full-fledged budgets Modi government came up with in the previous years. The new provisions quite openly aim to woo various sections of the population: an ‘election budget’, if ever there was one. It is likely to leave for the next government the dual problem of a huge bill and depleted funds.

Former finance minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram‏ commented: “It was not a Vote on Account. It was an Account for Votes.”

In his reaction to the budget, Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said: “You have a mandate up to May and instead they have presented a full year’s budget and are trying to befool the people of the country, keeping elections in mind.”

“These are only election sops and ‘jumlas’, as they had been speaking about ‘jumlas’ in the past,” he said about the proposals.

Be that as it may, the Budget is sure to appeal to many – and win back some of the goodwill Modi government has lost, even though it does not address the problem of joblessness and job losses.

He announced a slew of measures, mainly to benefit the middle class, address the agrarian distress, and bolster industry.

For the common citizen, the government announced full tax rebate for individuals having annual income up to Rs 5 lakh, while people with gross income up to Rs 6.5 lakh will not need to pay any tax if they make investments in provident funds and prescribed equities.

Other key measures announced by the FM were an annual benefit transfer of Rs 6,000 to each marginal farmer — with a landholding of less than 2 hectares — at a total cost of Rs 75,000 crore to the exchequer. Under the scheme, fully funded by the central government and effective from December 2018, would involve three payment transfers of Rs 2,000 each to a farmer every year.

In another important announcement, the government announced a mega pension scheme, PM Shram Yogi Mandhan, for people in the unorganised sector. Under this scheme, the government to provide a pension of Rs 3,000 a month to people in the unorganised sector after they turn 60 years old.

FM Goyal also announced that the gratuity limit for the salaried class would be increased from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 30 lakh, and he hoped that India would become a $5-trillion economy in five years’ time.

 

FOR INDIVIDUALS

Individuals with income up to Rs 5 lakh will not have to pay any income tax

Individuals with income up to Rs 6.5 lakh will not need to pay any tax if they make investments in PFs, prescribed equities

Standard Deduction raised to Rs 50,000/yr from Rs 40,000/yr

No TDS on house rent up to Rs 2.4 lakh per year

No TDS on bank, post office interest up to Rs 40,000, up from Rs 10,000

Gratuity limit increased from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh

Income Tax returns to be processed within 24 hours and returns will be paid immediately

All assessment and verification of IT returns will be done electronically, without any intervention by officials

GoM to suggest ways to reduce GST for house buyers

Direct tax collections increased from Rs 6.38 trillion in 2013-14 to almost Rs 12 trillion

Tax base up from Rs 3.79 crore to 6.85 crore

 

 

FOR FARMERS

In a bid to woo the farming community ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal in his Budget speech on Friday announced a Rs 6,000 per annum direct cash transfer for farmers owning land less than two hectares.

Called Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, the much-anticipated move will benefit about 12 crore small and marginal farmers and will come into effect retrospectively from December 1, 2018, and the first instalment will be disbursed before the elections.

“The amount will be transferred directly to bank accounts of farmers in three equal installments. The programme will be funded 100 per cent by the Central government. Twelve crore farmer families will benefit. The first installment will be issued soon after preparing a list,” Goyal said.

The scheme will cost the government Rs 75,000 crore per year. Goyal said Rs 20,000 crore has been earmarked for this financial year. Besides the PMKSN scheme, Rs 60,000 crore has also been set aside for rural employment scheme MGNREGA.

There are 12.56 crore marginal and small farmers having less than 2 hectares (5 acre) holdings. If Rs 6,000 is paid to each farmer, the total outlay will be Rs 75,360 crore.

There were speculations that the government may announce a flat cash transfer to all identified beneficiaries similar to Odisha’s Kalia scheme or one based on a per-acre basis like Telangana’s Rythu Bandhu scheme.

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi is a modification of the Rythu Bandhu scheme of the Telangana government, which provides assistance on a per-acre basis (Rs 8,000 per acre per year) without any holding size limit.

The government also announced a financial package for farmers, the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme, under which each farmer will receive an amount Rs 6000 directly in their bank accounts every year. A sum of Rs 75,000 crore has been allocated for the scheme

 

Proposals for farmers in a nutshell

Rs 6,000 to be transferred into accounts of small farmers who have less than 2 hectares land

Farmers to be provided Rs 6,000 per year in three installments, to be fully funded by the central government

This will benefit 12 crore farmers, at an estimated cost of Rs 75,000 crore

MSP hike by 1.5 times the production cost for all 22 crops

2% interest subvention to farmers who pursue animal husbandry, fisheries jobs through Kisaan credit cards

Farmers to get 5% subvention on timely loan repayment[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

2024 Lok Sabha Elections

Mamata Banerjee accuses BJP of plotting riots on Ram Navami

The Bengal chief minister added at an election rally that the BJP will win the election by vote looting and rioting.

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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday alleged that there are plans being hatched to incite riots in West Bengal on the occasion of Ram Navami. Last year’s celebrations were marred by violence in the state, which lead to a massive confrontation between the Trinamool Congress and BJP.

She said the BJP will engage in rioting today. There is a prospect and possibility of rioting. The Bengal chief minister added at an election rally that the BJP will win the election by vote looting and rioting. Earlier Banerjee greeted the people of West Bengal and appealed to maintain peace during the celebrations. The BJP, however, condemned it and said that the West Bengal CM is humiliating the Indian and Sanatani culture.

BJP Rajya Sabha MP and spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi said West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee has made a post on social media appealing to maintain peace, this is demeaning the festival of Ramnavami as on the other religious occasions she has given the message of peace, but here she is asking to maintain peace instead of giving the message of peace and prosperity. He added by doing this she is trying to humiliate the Indian and Sanatani culture.

Both the BJP and Trinamool Congress held Ram Navami processions across West Bengal. Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari attended one such Ram Navami procession in the New Town area of the city, while Trinamool Congress minister Arup Roy and TMC’s Howrah Lok Sabha constituency candidate Prasun Banerjee walked with Ram Navami processions in Howrah town.

Many similar processions, small and big, with youths chanting Jai Shri Ram and holding saffron flags and replicas of swords amid frenzied beating of drums, took place across West Bengal. Police and security forces are staying vigilant and the situation has remained peaceful so far.

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2024 Lok Sabha Elections

MK Stalin says if Prime Minister Narendra Modi comes to power again, the country would go back by 200 years

MK Stalin said if PM Modi comes to power again, the country will be pushed back by 200 years and history will be rewritten.

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Tamil Nadu CM and DMK leader MK Stalin said on Tuesday that if Prime Minister Narendra Modi comes to power again, India would be pushed back by 200 years.  Stalin was addressing a rally in Sriperumbudur in the state in support of DMK candidate TR Baalu, he said, if PM Modi comes to power again, the country will be pushed back by 200 years and history will be rewritten.  He asserted that science will be pushed back, and superstitious stories will be given prominence. He added that Dr BR Ambedkar’s constitution will be replaced by the rules of the RSS.

The Tamil Nadu chief minister said a vote for the BJP is a vote for the enemy of state, a vote for the AIADMK is a vote for the betrayers of the state. Stalin hit out at the AIADMK and said that voting for the AIADMK was equivalent to voting for the BJP.

He added the AIADMK and the BJP were called natural allies, but they are now acting as if they are separated. The Tamil Nadu CM pointed out that when he was asked if the AIADMK would support the BJP in case they need majority, Edappadi K Palaniswami did not say that the AIADMK would not support the BJP. Stalin said everybody is waiting to see AIADMK’s answer.

The Tamil Nadu CM asserted that the AIADMK can never go against the BJP. He said a vote for the AIADMK is equivalent to a vote for the BJP. Stalin responded to former chief minister and AIADMK general secretary Palaniswami’s claim that he had got several awards from the centre and said that Palaniswami had got the awards for being the best of slaves. He said they are carefully implementing schemes for the development of Tamil Nadu and Palaniswami claims that he has got awards from the central government.

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2024 Lok Sabha Elections

Prime Minister Narendra Modi says RJD is responsible for destroying Bihar, slams Lalu’s party over various corruption cases

The prime minister made a scathing attack at the opposition and said Ghamandia Gathbandhan has no vision or trust. He said when INDIA bloc alliance goes out asking for votes, then they do so on the basis of the work done by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that India and Bihar are moving forward to return to their ancient glory and added the upcoming Lok Sabha elections is an election to take a resolve for developed India and developed Bihar. PM Modi was addressing an election rally in Bihar’s Gaya, where he said that the public support that has gathered on the land of Gaya clearly shows enthusiasm of the people once again for the Modi government.

The prime minister spoke on BJP’s manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and said that it is for the first time that a Sankalp Patra of any party is being called a guarantee card as in the last 10 years, people have seen Modi’s guarantee for fulfillment of a guarantee.

PM Modi said for the next five years, Modi’s guarantee card has been updated. He promised 3 crore houses will be made for the poor, the poor will get free ration for the next 5 years and those above 70 years of age will receive free treatment upto Rs 5 lakhs He said the PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi yojana will be continued and all of these are Modi’s guarantees.

The prime minister made a scathing attack at the opposition and said Ghamandia Gathbandhan has no vision or trust. He said when INDIA bloc alliance goes out asking for votes, then they do so on the basis of the work done by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. PM Modi said the people of Bihar know why they try and take credit for the work done by Nitish and the central government.

The prime minister said RJD is responsible for destroying Bihar and slammed Lalu’s party over various corruption cases including land for jobs scam, fodder scam. Speaking about BJP’s manifesto PM Modi said, there is a roadmap for every section and sector of the society.

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