News18 Daybreak | What to Expect From Today's Budget Presentation and Other Stories You Need to Watch Out For

Feb 01, 03:04 AM

What to Watch Out For

Budget 2019 to be presented in parliament today amid criticisms of Centre’s push for populist schemes

This year’s budget, which will be presented today, is likely to surprise and shock. Coming a few months shy of the upcoming polls, the budget 2019, which the interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal will present, is expected to be loaded with tax sops and pro-people schemes.

Although, this will be the last budget of the Modi government, CNBC sources have said that government officials were briefed to present full union budget and not just an interim budget or a vote-on-account.

What can we expect: Everything from tax exemptions for the middle class to universal basic income scheme to liquidity corrections for the banking sector, here’s a list of what everything expected in today’s budget.

1) An increase of tax exemption limit from Rs 2.5 lakh a year to Rs 5 lakh a year. The Centre is however no likely to make indirect tax policy changes and cut corporate tax rate for remaining 1% corporate taxpayers.

2) Provision for Rs 4,000 crore capital infusion for public sector general insurance companies to shore up their capital. Three public incurance companies that the fund infusion is being sought for are - National Insurance Company, Oriental Insurance Company and United India Insurance Company.

3) Rural incentive schemes in the form of cash transfer models, similar to ‘Rythu Bandhu’ scheme in Telangana and the Odisha model.

4) Increased allocation towards micro, small and medium enterprises and other initiatives including Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban and Rural). This might include more benefits for women entrepreneurs.

Interim, populist and unconstitutional?: The main controversy brewing around the budget is about the expected decision of the Modi government to treat the way of a populist budget instead of a vote-on-account.

“The larger interest of the economy always dictates what goes into the interim budget and that’s something which cannot be discussed or disclosed at this stage,” Jaitley had told CNBC-TV18 hinting that this would not just be an interim budget.

Former finance minister Yashwant Sinha on Monday however, lashed out at the Centre and said that it would be "entirely improper and unconstitutional" if the Modi government presents a full budget ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, asking them to stick to the convention of outgoing dispensations presenting an interim budget.

However, Sindhu Bhattarcharya in her article argues that even the Congress with their electoral promise of a universal basic income scheme for the poor should not be left out of this criticism since populism seems to be a sure way to the voter’s heart.

Special Report: As the Modi government prepared to present it’s farmer friendly budget, farmer’s in Uttar Pradesh Shamli district are still burdened with debts to the tune of Rs 220 crore. Read Debayan Roy’s special report on what Shamli’s sugarcane farmers are expecting from Budget 2019.

Opposition party meeting on EVM tampering to take place today, Congress will convene the meeting 

Opposition party leaders will meet on Friday to discuss the alleged tampering of Electronic Voting Machines. The meeting comes days after a self-proclaimed cyber-expert - Syed Shuja, who claimed to have been a part of the team developing the machines for the 2014 general elections, in a press conference alleged that the EVMs used in the elections had been hacked. Following the press conference, which was also attended by Congress leader Kapil Sibal, many parties have pushed for a reversal to a ballot system.

Friday’s meeting will be convened by the Congress party leaders who, according to sources, have sent invitation to several other opposition leaders. A petition to the Election Commission to demand that some percentage of VVPAT (voter verifiable paper audit trail) be compulsorily counted to match the EVMs, is also expected.

**North East CMs to meet Home Minister and PM...