Union Minister Piyush Goyal has begun his Interim Budget speech in Parliament. His address - given in a mix of Hindi and English - began with a list of fiscal and economic achievements of the Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the centre. Here are key updates.
Keeping with tradition, the Minister quote a couplet translated from Marathi poem: Ek paon rakhta hoon, hazaar rahein phoot padti hain. (Every step we take opens up a thousand new paths forward.)
Startups must have been disappointed as the Angel Tax remained unaddressed. The DIPP - which was renamed - is meeting today on the issue, so there might be an update later in the day.
The major announcements were in the areas of personal taxes, raising the standard deduction, completely doing away with taxes for individuals earning up to Rs 5 lakh per annum. With the additional exemptions announced, individuals earning Rs 6.5 lakh per annum or even more might not have to pay taxes, increasing the disposable income for a big chunk of the salaried middle class.
The Interim Budget also had major sops for farmers in the form of an assured income, interest rate subvention following natural disasters for farmers pursuing animal husbandry and fisheries. No loan waivers were announced. The Minister also announced a major scheme for workers in the unorganised sector.
TaxBreak: TDS exemption on interest earned from deposits held in banks and post offices to be raised to Rs 40,000 from the current Rs 10,000 - to benefit small depositor and non-working spouses.
TaxBreak: TDS threshold on rental income raised to Rs 2.4 lakh from the current Rs 1.8 lakh per annum.
TaxBreak: Standard deduction is being raised to Rs 50,000 from Rs 40,000 for salaried people. Nearly 3 crore salary earners and pensioners to benefit.
12.30: Existing rates of income-tax to continue. Individual taxpayers earning up to Rs 5 lakh per annum will get a full tax rebate. Those earning up to Rs 6.5 lakh may not have to make any tax payments if they use the available tax-saving investments. If you add all the available exemptions, individuals with even higher annual income may not have to pay any taxes. Tax benefit of Rs 18,500 crore to an estimated 3 crore middle-class tax payers.
12.30: Thanks taxpayers for their valuable contribution to nation-building and for providing a better quality of life to poor and marginalised. Says benefits of tax reforms must be passed on to the middle-class.
12.27: Announces a debt consolidation programme in addition to measures taken to curb the fiscal deficit.
The SkillIndia programme is training over 1 crore youth to earn a livelihood.
12.20 pm: India to send an astronaut into space by 2022. The first Indian astronaut in space was Captain Rakesh Sharma of the Indian Air Force, who flew aboard the Russian Soyuz T-11, launched on 2 April 1984, as part of the Interkosmos programme.
12.18 pm: Focus on clean and green India - one that drives electric vehicles, with renewables becoming a major source of energy, bringing down import dependence and increasing energy security for the country.
12.15 pm: Begins to outline the vision that will drive India to become a $5 trillion economy in the next 5 years and double that to $10 trillion in the next 10 years. Focus on infrastructure. Promises a roof over the head of every family and science-driven education. Digital India must impact the lives of all Indians.
12.12 pm: More than 1 crore people have filed income-tax returns for the first time since demonetisation.
12.05 pm: Credits GST as the biggest taxation reform implemented since Independence. Tax consolidation has seen India become one common market, making inter-state movements faster through e-way bills, and improving the ease of doing business. Says GST has been continuously scaled back, resulting in relief of Rs 80,000 crore to consumers. Daily use items for the poor and middle class are now in the 0-5 percent tax bracket.
11.58 am: Begins announcements on personal taxes by saying, "How's the Josh"! (The real announcements came much later in his speech.)
All returns will be processed in 24 hours and refunds issued simultaneously.
Assessment and verification of IT returns will be done electronically by an anonymised tax system without any intervention by tax officials.
11.56 am: 34 crore bank accounts have been opened under Jan Dhan scheme for direct benefits transfer.
11.55 am: Mobile data consumption has grown 50x in India. The cost of data and voice calls in India is now possibly the lowest in the world. Under Make in India, mobile and mobile part manufacturing companies have increased from 2 to 268.
The government agency overseeing the development of startups - the DIPP - has been renamed the Department of Promotion of Industries and Internal Trade.
Will set up a National Centre for Artificial Intelligence; nine priority areas will be identified for the AI hubs across India. A national AI portal coming soon.
11.50: India built 27 km of highways every day. Projects stuck for decades are being completed. Projects like SagarMala will help faster handling of import and export cars. Says the Vande Bharat Express will provide speed, service and safety to citizens and boost the Make in India initiative
11.45: Defence outlay increased to more than Rs 3 lakh crore (vs Rs 2.95 lakh crore in Budget 2018).
11.35: Announces the Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan scheme to provide an assured monthly pension of Rs 3000 rupees that workers in the unorganised sector can avail of by contributing just Rs 100 per month. Workers in the unorganised sector over the age of 60 are eligible for this pension scheme.
11.25 am: The major announcement so far has been the announcement that the Government has approved the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, a scheme that will provide assured income support for small and marginal farmers. The move is projected to benefit 12 crore farmers in the country. The scheme is effective from December 1, 2018, and will see the amounts transferred directly into the farmers' bank accounts.
The government expects to spend Rs 75,000 crore on this scheme. Farmers with land holdings under two hectares will receive Rs 6,000 per annum in three equal instalments.
Where farmers face losses due to natural disasters, interest rates will be subvented by 2 percent to farmers pursuing animal husbandry and fisheries.
Increases MSP by 1.5 times the production cost for all 22 crops to double farmers income.
11.22 am: Haryana to get 22nd AIIMS in India. Ayushman Bharat healthcare scheme will result in 3,000 crore savings by poor families.
11.20 am: Says the pace of construction of rural roads has been tripled under the NDA tenure.
11.10 am: We have ushered in a new era of transparency, says the Minister. Cites Opposition boos the announcement. Talks about how the banking sector is undergoing reform, ailing banks have come out of the PCA framework. Bigger businessmen too are worried about loans now. Rs 3 lakh crore recovered by banks through the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.
11.08 am: The fiscal deficit has been curbed to 3.4 percent in the revised estimate for FY 2018-19. and likely to be down to 2.5 percent over FY 2019-20.
11.05 am: India is the fastest growing major economy today- we are the sixth-largest economy in the world. We restored fiscal balance and curbed double-digit inflation over 2009-2014. Inflation in December 2018 was 2.19 percent.
11.00 am: Union Finance Minister Piyush Goyal begins Budget speech in the Lok Sabha amid a furore by the Opposition. Acknowledges the absence of former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and wishes him a speedy recovery.
(This article has been updated to feature the most relevant announcements from the Interim Budget 2019.)