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Special Content

volume-45, 9 - 15 February, 2019


Interim Budget - The Reiteration and Reflection of Inclusive Development


Shree Prakash Sharma

Amid a string of expectations from the common masses, the Union Finance Minister Piyush Goyal, presented the interim budget of 2019 in Parliament. This budget is a milestone in the journey of socio- economic development and growth.

The interim budget is significant in the sense that it has been presented in the Parliament when the country is poised to further its momentum of comprehensive growth and advancement in the 21st century.

Despite provisions of huge expenditure in all the segments the interim budget reiterates the government's commitment to inclusive develpoment. The pro-growth, pro-youth, pro-unorganized- sector - unskilled labourers, pro-farmers, pro-poor, pro-traders and poor-rural-and-urban-segments the interim budget  of the country is the reflection of the economy which is well-poised on the path of taking a radical launch of 10 trillion dollar economy of the world in the decades to come. 

The government has made major announcements in the budget which are set to significantly bring about the changes in the life style and the standard of living of the people of the lower strata of the society. Farmers, the bread winners of the country, have been offered with the financial support package of transfer of Rs 6000 per year in three instalments under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi. This direct financial support would help the families who depend upon the agriculture for their livelihood. Under this scheme, those farmers with less than 2 hectares of the land holding will be benefited. The ambitious and novel plan of the government is likely to give benefit to 12 crore small and marginal farmers and their families at the cost of Rs 75,000 crore to the exchequer. Under the scheme Rs 2000 each of three instalments will be transferred directly into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries.

The mega pension scheme for the benefit of the unorganized sector workers has been another historical step in the direction of reducing the economic inequality in the country and establishing an equitable social system. Under the Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan, the government will provide Rs 3000 to those who contribute Rs 100 per month before the retirement. Those workers who join at the age of 18 years will have to contribute only Rs 55 per month and the government will contribute equal share in this pension scheme which will cost Rs 500 crore to the government. This scheme will provide social security to the people who are on the verge of having no regular income and nor the regular employment.

The welfare move under the Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan, will benefit 10 crore unskilled workers in the unorganized sector and which is likely to make a historical record of becoming the world's largest pension scheme in the coming 5 years.

For the middle-income and salaried-class families the government's bonanza of income tax exemption is set to bring about much cheer and relief. Though the tax rates remain unchanged but the Individuals earning annual income of Rs 5 lakh will get the full tax rebate. Earlier this tax rebate limit was only Rs 2.5 lakh for individuals aged below 60 years. Moreover, one more good news is there for the tax payers. The individual with annual income of Rs 5 lakh is not required to pay any tax. Standard deduction too has been given a hike of Rs 10,000 and raising it to Rs 50,000 from Rs 40,000.

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee programme, the flagship programme for the Below Poverty Line families in the rural areas of the country, gets an increase in the fund allocation to the tune of Rs 5000 crore and bringing it to the figure of Rs 60,000 crore for the financial year 2019-20.

The setting up of Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog for the enhancement of the productivity of cows is full of the potential of laying out the foundation stone of generating more employment opportunities in the rural areas. Opening of 22nd All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Haryana shows the government's concern about the health care of the common masses. Hike of 21 per cent in the allocation in the fund for the infrastructure facilities in the North-East states will surely accelerate the tempo of development and bring about substantial increase in the employment opportunities and the per capita income of the people.

In the wake of looming threats from the neighbouring nations, the interim budget has huge fund allocation for the defence which crosses Rs three lakh crore. The digital India takes a upward growth trajectory in the interim budget and one lakh more villages are to get digital connectivity .The Make in India scheme of the government too has been given a boost in the interim budget in the form of plan to indigenously develop semi-speed Vande Bharat Express train.

Checking the Fiscal deficit of a country is reckoned as the parameter of development of a nation. Because it measures among other things the dependence of a country on the external debts. The interim budget proposes to keep the fiscal deficit at 3.4 per cent of the GDP.

The budget of a country lays the agenda of comprehensive development of a country and from this perspective the major announcements in the interim budget are sure to help realize the dreams of the common masses.

E-mail: spsharma.rishu@gmail. com)

Views expressed are personal.