Budget 2019 Highlights: Top announcements made by FM Nirmala Sitharaman in her maiden budget

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has presented the Union Budget in the Parliament. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman became only the second woman in the history of independent India to present the Union Budget. Sitharaman, 59, presented Modi 2.0 government's maiden budget in the Lok Sabha. Prior to the presentation, the Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the Budget for 2019-20. She handed over a copy of the Union Budget to President Ram Nath Kovind before her maiden budget speech. Breaking away from the brown Budget briefcase, Sitharaman held a red parcel-like bag with a key hole on the emblem.

Here are some major announcements made by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Additional tax deduction of Rs 1.50 lakh on interest paid on home loans

Government proposes additional tax deduction of Rs 1.50 lakh on interest paid on home loans taken up to March 2020.

1.95 crore houses by 2021

1.95 crore houses proposed to be provided under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana Grameen by 2021,

New pension scheme for small retail traders

Rs 350 crore allocated for 2% interest subvention for all GST-registered MSMEs on fresh or incremental loans. Pension for shopkeepers and retailers with turnover less than Rs. 1.5 crore to be launched under Pradhan Mantri Karma Yogi Maan Dhan Scheme.

Har ghar jal by 2024

Lauding the government's step to form a separate Jal Shakti mantralaya, Sitharaman said that the government will look at the management of water resources and supply, work with states to ensure 'Har Ghar Jal' (water in every household) by 2024. "Ensuring India's water security & providing access to safe drinking water to all Indians is a priority. A major step in this direction has been the constitution of Jal Shakti Ministry. This new Ministry will look at the mgmt of our water resources & water supply in an integrated & holistic manner and will work with states to ensure 'Har Ghar Jal', to all rural households by 2024 under 'Jal Jeevan Mission'."

PAN card, Aadhaar card to be interchangeable

FM: More than 120 crore Indians now have Aadhaar card. Therefore for ease of tax payers I propose to make PAN card and Aadhar card interchangeable and allow those who don't have PAN to file returns by simply quoting Aadhar number and use it wherever they require to use PAN.

Companies with annual turnover of Rs 400 cr under 25% bracket

Nirmala Sitharaman said, "A lower rate of 25 percent is currently applicable to companies having an annual turover of upto Rs 250 crores. I propose to include all companies having an annual income of over Rs 400 crore." She added that this will bring in 99.3 percent of all companies into the tax net and leave out only 0.4 percent companies.

People with annual income under 5 lakh exempt from Income Tax

People with annual income under 5 lakh exempt from Income Tax, announced FM Nirmala Sitharaman. "As I stated earlier, we have taken a slew of measures to ease burden on small and medium earners. Those having annual income up to Rs 5 lakh are not required to pay any income tax. We are thankful to tax payers who play an important role in nation building."

FDI in focus, major change may be brewing for single-brand retail

Another big announcement was on local sourcing norms for single brand retail sector, which Sitharaman said will be eased with a view to attract more overseas investment

NRI portfolio investment route to be merged with foreign portfolio investment route

To provide Non-resident Indians (NRIs) seamless access to Indian equities, NRI portfolio investment route to be merged with foreign portfolio investment route.

Creation of 'social stock exchange'

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday announced the setting up of a social stock exchange under the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for listing of organisations which work for social welfare. Presenting her maiden Union Budget, the Minister said that the exchange would help social and voluntary organisations which work for social causes to raise capital as equity, debt or a unit of mutual fund.

PPP model to reform railways

Nirmala Sitharaman said that the Indian Railways will need an investment of at least Rs 50 lakh crore between 2018 and 2030 for modernisation and upkeep. She said that a PPP will make services better and faster. "A Public-Private partnership will usher the new dawn of Indian railway," Sitharaman said.

Rs 400 crore for world-class higher education institutions in FY20

FM Nirmala Sitharaman allocates Rs 400 crore for world-class higher education institutions in FY20.

House construction time under PMAY reduces from 314 to 114 days

It used to take more than 314 days on an average to build houses earlier. But under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aawas Yojna the time has come down to 114 days in 2017-18, enabling the scale of achievement the scheme managed to clock in the very short time, Sitharaman said.

Every village to get Internet connectivity under Bharat Net

Under Pradhan Mantri Grameen Digital Saksharata Abhiyan, Bharat Net is targeting internet connectivity in local bodies in every panchayat in the country; this will be speeded under Universal Service Obligation Fund: FM

Exclusive TV channel for start-ups

Government proposes setting up of exclusive TV channel for startups, said FM

'Gandhipedia' for Gandhian values

'Gandhipedia' is being developed to sensitise the youth about positive Gandhian values: FM revealed

More embassies to open

The govt intends to open another 4 embassies, new ones, in the year 2019-20. This will not only increase the footprint of India's overseas presence but also enable us to provide better and more accessible public services especially to the local Indian communities in these countries, explained Sitharaman.

New series of coins of Re 1, Rs 2, Rs 5, Rs 10, Rs 20

A new series of coins of Re 1, Rs 2, Rs 5, Rs 10, Rs 20 easily identifiable to the visually impaired were released by the PM on 7th March 2019. These coins will be made available for public use shortly.

Lowering GST rate on electric vehicles

Government has already moved GST council to lower the GST rate on electric vehicles (EV) from 12% to 5%.

Additional income tax rebate for purchasing electric vehicles

Finance minister said to make electric vehicles more affordable, additional income tax deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh will be available on instalment for loan taken to purchase these vehicles

Angel Tax issue

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman: To resolve the so-called Angel Tax issue, the start-ups and their investors who file requisite declarations and provide information in their returns will not be subjected to any kind of scrutiny in respect of valuations of share premiums.

TDS of 2% on cash withdrawal exceeding Rs 1 crore in a year

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman: To discourage the practice of making business payments in cash I propose to levy TDS of 2% on cash withdrawal exceeding Rs 1 crore in a year from a bank account.

Strategic disinvestment of Air India will re-initiate: Nirmala Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman: Strategic disinvestment of select Central Public Sector Enterprises will continue to be a priority; strategic disinvestment of Air India will re-initiate; Rs 1 lakh 5 thousand crore is disinvestment target for 2019-20.

(Inputs from Agencies)

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