Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the maiden budget of the re-elected Modi government in parliament today. In a bid to boost the economy, the budget focused on easing foreign investment and building infrastructure. Measures to transform the agriculture were also announced. There has been no change in personal income tax rates, with additional relief for home loan holders. A hike in the excise duty of fuel has been announced. For MSMEs the major highlight was the creation of a payments platform to minimise delay in payments.
Here are some highlights of the budget.
- PAN and Aadhaar will become interchangeable. You can soon use your Aadhaar number to file your I-T returns.
- No change in personal income tax rates
- Taxpayers with annual turnover of less than Rs 5 crore to have to file only quarterly
- Government hike custom duty on fuel by 1 rupee, gold and precious items; petrol and diesel to get costlier
- Increase in surcharge on super rich: 3% surcharge on Rs 2 crore income; 7% on Rs 5 crore and above
- Annual turnover limit for 25% Corporate tax raised to Rs 400 crore from Rs 250 crore
- Direct tax revenue has increased by 78%
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- New payment platform for MSMEs to be created to minimise delay in payments
- The Finance Minister stated, “Under the interest subvention scheme for MSMEs, ₹350 crores have been allocated in 2019-20 for 2% interest subvention for all GST registered MSMEs on fresh or on incremental loans.”
- Easing of angel tax for startups. Angel tax won’t require scrutiny from Income Tax department for startup
- ‘Stand Up India' Scheme to continue till 2025
- Commencement of television channel for startups
- Extension of pension benefit to retail traders with annual turnover less than Rs 1.5 crore
- The government to examine opening up Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in aviation, media, insurance and AVGC (animation, video, graphics, comics) industries.
- Local sourcing norms for FDI are to be eased for single-brand retail sector.
- Government to promote innovative zero budget farming.
- 10,000 new farmer producer organisations.
- 80 livelihood business incubators and 20 technology business incubators to be set up in 2019-20 under ASPIRE to develop 75,000 skilled entrepreneurs in agro-rural industries
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- Government to launch 'Study in India' programme to attract foreign students in higher education
- Allocate Rs 400 crore for world-class higher education institutions in financial year 2020.
- New education policy to be unveiled.
- The central government is preparing ‘Gandhipedia’ with an aim to sensitise the youth about the Gandhian values and principles, proposed Finance Minister Sitharaman.
- National research foundation to fund, coordinate and to promote research in the country.
- New Higher Education Commission with focus on higher autonomy
- Fiscal deficit in financial year 2019 at 3.3% of the GDP. Govt external debt to GDP is among the lowest in the world.
- Government will start raising part of borrowing in foreign currency
- INR 50 lakh crores proposed for Railway infrastructure.
- Global investors meet to happen in India
- INR 1.05 lakh crore disinvestment target for the year.
- Proposal to provide Aadhaar cards for NRIs with Indian passports, after their arrival in India, with no waiting period.
- A new series of coins for INR 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20 has been announced. These will be available to common man soon
- In a bid to boost tourism, 17 iconic world-class tourist sites are to be developed.
- INR 10,000 crore allocated to the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME II) scheme.
It was announced in the Budget that a ten-point vision for India has been laid out. The Finance Minister stated, “India will become $3 trillion economy this year. We need to continue to take many structural reforms to achieve $5 trillion economic goal.”
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