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A Critical Analysis of Interim Budget, 2019 through the glasses of a Legal Apprentice

Anything which falls out of tune with the changing needs of the society, fails to co-exist for long. In this regard, the Union Budget of 2019 has attempted and brought about joy in the hearts of many. Especially, the marginalized sectors of the society. The Interim Union Budget of India for the year 2019 was presented by acting Finance Minister, Piyush Goyal on 1 February, 2019 where he correctly mentioned that the last five years have seen India being universally as a bright spot of the global economy. The current paper therefore, emphasizes on the recent development and changes brought down by the Union Budget, 2019 in various economic sectors. The paper would also stress upon the impact of the Interim Budget 2019-20 regarding the agricultural sectors and how it will be acting as a medium for a progressive approach for the entire nation. The paper would also attempt to reflect on the extents of exemption and benefits which would be derived by the assesses and how an enormous burden has been reduced apart from focusing on the various schemes and program launched by the Interim Budget, 2019 for primarily the welfare of the society instead of a mere vote handling policy.

India is a country which is diverse in nature. With deeply embedded cultures, staunch religious rules and economic diversity, a well-planned budget is of utmost importance for any government to ensure stability and growth. Therefore, when it comes to budgeting, it is important to identify areas of weakness which would help the government to allocate resources in a useful and sustainable manner. This is one of the most fundamental objectives behind framing a government budget. The general elections are due this year to constitute 17th Lok Sabha (House of People). The budget was the last budget of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Government before general elections. Thus, the thrust of this Budget is on social infrastructure, living conditions and governance aimed at an equitable growth. The Interim Budget 2019-20 has brought about a drastic change by introducing major schemes for the farmers, aided the middle class and have also provided for the income tax sops. The Union Minister, Shri Piyush Goyal has introduced some major highlights in the Parliament budget session with the startup of a new deal for 12 crore small and marginal farmers with direct income support, a path breaking pension initiative for 10 crore unorganized sector workers, free tax liability up to Rupees 5 lakh, highest ever budgetary allocation of Rupees 3 Lakh for defense and in many other areas. The Finance Minister offered his claims whilst announcing that the government has brought inflation down to 4.6%; however, the revised fiscal deficit estimates stand at 3.4% of GDP vs the target of 3.3%; and the current account deficit to 3.4% of the GDP.

Analysis of Interim budget 2019-20
The major backdrop of the budget was the national elections which are going to be over in the next few months. Few politicians are raising their voices against this interim budget with a plea that the government has played a genius trick of vote banking policies. However, the full budget will be announced shortly by the elected government later this year, following a victory.

Nevertheless, if we make a true analysis of this interim budget it will be crystal clear that the present government’s objective behind this interim is to drive India towards a higher economic development.

Reforms have been proposed with the motto of enhancing higher income specifically for the agricultural sectors and marginalized groups of the community. A scheme of financial support has also been introduced in this budget to provide minimum guaranteed income to small scale farmers. It has also been evidently revealed that this interim budget 2019-20 contained the elements which basically aimed at benefiting the three major sectors of population-
1. Farmers.
2. Informal sector workers.
3. The salaried tax payers.

The interim budget 2019-20 was articulated in such a befitting manner that the vulnerable land-holding farmer ultimately achieved a good platform and the more interesting part of the announcement was the allocation of 20,000 crore for the scheme for the current financial year. It was also clarified by the Union Minister that vulnerable land-holding farmer families who are having cultivating land up to 2 hectares, will be provided direct income support at rupees 6,000 a year and such direct income will be transformed directly into the bank accounts of beneficiary farmers in partly installment basis of rupees 2,000 each. Yet, in parallel cognizance of the issues held by the Union Minister, it was also seen that he kept silent on how this high expenditure schemes would be ultimately financed.

Although the income tax slabs remain unchanged, the Taxpayers earning up to Rs. 5 lakhs annually will get full tax rebate as also, the standard deduction on taxes will be raised from Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 50,000. Post-office deposits tax limit to be raised i.e. TDS threshold to be raised from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 40,000 on interest earned on bank/post office deposits. Ideally, more than Rs. 23,000 crore tax relief to be provided to approximately 3 crore middle class taxpayers. Such changes have worked above and beyond in helping the middle class, which forms majority of metropolitan Indian population, thrive and succeed. More than 7,000 beneficiaries of PM Mudra Yojana are women hence 15.56 crore loans of Rs 7.23 lakh crore shall be disbursed under MUDRA Yojana created especially for women. In furtherance of the efforts made towards women empowerment in rural areas, resources have been allocated for providing cleaner fuel for rural women – out of the 8 crores promised free LPG connections, 6 crores are already delivered under Ujjwala Yojana and remaining would supposedly be delivered in the coming year.

Major schemes
A heartfelt smile was reflected on the faces of the farmers of our country. Such ecstatic emotion was brought by the interim budget with the introduction of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) by extending a direct income support at the rate of rupees 6,000 per year having agricultural land up to 2 hectares as announced. Beside the agricultural sector, the government also focused their attention towards the improvement of fisheries by devising to create a separate department of fisheries. The government has also proposed to promote further development by means of improving the standard of living based on this sector. It coveted to promote over 7% growth in the livelihood of about 1.45 crore people dependent on the sector.

The budget even announced its investment and setting up of the 22nd AIIMS in Haryana. The budget has also highlighted allocation of more fund in Aspirational Districts Programme which has already achieved noteworthy results on all pointers such as health and nutrition, education, agriculture and water resources, financial inclusion and skill development.

The minister has also announced that the government shall contribute 2% interest subvention to the farmers specialized in the fields of animal husbandry fisheries, who avail loans through the measure of kisan credit card. It was also proclaimed by the finance minister that these individuals will also get a special benefit of additional 3% interest subvention, if they duly repaid the loan within time.

It was the first time that the centre has increased the allocated defence budget to Rs. 3 lakh crore, which is the highest so far. The government has already disbursed Rs. 35,000 crore under the One Rank, One Pension (OROP) scheme. It was also mentioned that additional funds will be provided to the defence for border security, if required.

Moving to the other schemes, the government has also announced about an allocation of rupees 750 crores for Rashtriya Gokul mission for the present year itself. However, for sustainable general upgradation of cow reserves the government has also proposed of setting up Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog and also to increase the production and productivity of cows. The scheme of Aayog will also take stringent attention towards the implementation of laws and welfare of cows.

A new scheme of Pradhan Mantri Scheme- Yogi Maandhan has also been announced for to provide pension benefits to at least 10 crore laborers and workers comprising in the unorganized sectors. The government itself declared that it will be indeed the largest pension schemes of the world and to that effect a scheme of Rupees 50 crore has also been allocated for the scheme which will be implemented from the current year itself.

Benefits to Tax payers

As a relief to the middle class tax payers, Interim-Budget, 2019 announced a drastic and beneficial scheme for the individual tax payers. It announced that individual assesses having taxable annual income up to Rs.5 lakh will not be required to pay any income tax. However, this led to a controversial change in the entire sectors of government and non-governmental employees. It has also been seen that the finance minister Piyush Goyal has also increased the rebate provision U/S 87 A of the income tax Act to Rs. 12,500 from 2,500 on a total income of Rs. 5,00,000, however this prove to be a lot of relief to the middle-class strata.

Housing industry sectors also derived a major benefit by this interim budget 2019-20 where the finance minister was pleased to announce the extension of section 80 1BA which proved to be a good move and more worth as more will be available in the affordable housing segment and helping in achieving the target of Housing for all by the year 2022.

In addition to this beneficial change, the government also announced that double benefits will now be derived by the home owners. Firstly, those who are earning and possessing two base properties, the notional rent on the second-self occupied has been proposed to be waived off. Secondly, from the perspective of longtime capital gains this benefit of roll over of capital gain up to Rs. Crore has been enhanced from one residential base to residential exits, by virtue of section 54 of the Income Tax Act. Thus far, this proposed move is expected to increase the demand in the housing industry.

The major highlights of budget 2019:
• Within 2 years, tax assessment will be done automatically.
• IT returns processing in just 24 hours.
• Minimum 14% revenue of GST to states by Central Government.
• Custom duty abolished from 36 capital goods.
• Recommendation to GST council for reducing GST rates for home buyers.
• Full tax rebate up to Rs. 5 Lakhs annual income after all deductions.
• Standard deduction under the head of salary has increased from 40,000 to 50,000.
• Exemption on tax on second self-occupied house.
• Ceiling limit of TDS u/s 194A has increased to 10,000 to 40,000.
• Capital tax benefit u/s 54 has increased from investment in one residential house in to two residential houses.
• Benefits u/s 80IB has increased to one more year to two years.
• Benefits given to unsold inventory has increased to one year to 2 years.
Other Areas
• State share has increased to 42%
• PCA restriction has abolished from 3 major banks.
• 2 lakhs seats will increase for the reservation of 10%
• 60,000 crores for Manresa.
• 1.7 lakhs crore to ensure food for all.
• 22nd AIIMS has to be opened in Haryana.
• Approval has to be given to PM Kisan Yojna.
• Rs.6000 per annum has to be given to every farmer having up to 2-hectare land which will be applicable from September 2018. Amount will be transferred in 3 installments.
• National Kamdhenu Aayog for cows, Rs 750 crores for National Gokul mission.
• 2% subvention for farmers affected by natural calamities and addition 3% subvention for timely payment.
• Tax-free Gratuity limit increase 20 Lakh from 10 Lakhs.
• Bonus will be applicable for workers earning 21,000 monthly.
• Scheme of Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan will provide assured monthly pension of Rs.3000 with contribution of Rs. 100 for workers in unorganized sector after 60 years of age.
• Government delivered 6 crores free LPG concessions under Ujjawala scheme.
• 2% interest relief for MSME GST registered pension.
• 26 weeks of maternity leaves to empower the women.
• More than 3 Lakhs crores for defense
• One lakh digital village in next 5 years
• Single window for approval of Indian film makers.

The First Union Budget was presented by R. K. Shanmukham Chetty on November 26, 1947 and this year’s budget was delivered by Piyush Goyal. From 1947 to 2019, the Interim Budget stands as one of the most important public financial documents. The fiscal deficit of the year 2019-20 is pegged at 3.4% of GDP. The main aim of the budget was laid down by the minister was to boost the economy and to provide tax reliefs to the common man. There lies some relief and exemption for the employees pertaining to the government and private sectors as well. He also happened to demarcate through his announcement that India is on a controlled pathway to become a $5 tn economy in 5 years and aspires to become a $10 tn economy in the next 8 years. Under the interim budget, major areas have seen drastic reformation under the heads such as labour, tax proposal, poor and backward class people, north east people, MSME traders and digital villages. The Interim Budget has taken a holistic approach towards every aspect of social, political and economic growth.

Written by: Subhajit Chakraborty
Assistant Professor of Law - Adamas University

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