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Budget stresses on investment in infrastructure & job creation

Newdelhi-Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the first General Budget of Narendra Modi Government’s second term today. Infrastructure development; vision for making India a five trillion-dollar economy; Farmers’ welfare and water security are some of the key features of Mrs. Sitharaman’s first budget as Finance Minister.

She said that the NDA government had set the ball rolling for a new India and showed that the principle of Reform, Perform and Transform can succeed. The Finance Minister exuded confidence that India will become a five-trillion-dollar economy in the next few years.

Asserting, that connectivity is the life-blood of an economy, the Finance Minister said the government has given a massive push to all forms of physical connectivity through Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, industrial corridors, dedicated freight corridors, Bharatmala and Sagarmala projects, Jal Marg Vikas and UDAN Schemes.

Mrs Sitharaman said under the third phase of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, road length will be upgraded.

Mrs Sitharaman said around two crore houses are proposed to be provided in the next three years to the eligible beneficiaries under the second phase of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Gramin.

Minister said that New National Educational Policy will be brought in to transform Indian educational system and major changes in higher as well as school system will be brought in. She said, Budget 2019 proposes to establish a National Research Foundation to fund, to coordinate and to promote research in the country.

The Finance Minister said, Public sector banks will be provided with 70 thousand crore rupees to boost capital and improve credit. She said, for purchase of high-rated pooled assets of financially sound Non Banking Finance Companies amounting to 1 lakh crore rupees during 2019-20, one-time six-month partial credit guarantee will be given to Public Sector Banks. She proposed strengthening of regulatory authority of RBI over NBFCs.

There is no change proposed for personal income tax rate below 2 crores. However, Surcharge on individuals having taxable income from 2 crore – 5 crore and 5 crore and above to be enhanced, so that effective tax rate will increase by around 3% and 7% respectively.

Finance Minister proposed to increase the threshold for applicability of lower corporate tax rate of 25 percent from 250 crores to 400 crore rupees.

It is also proposed to make return filing compulsory for persons who have deposited more than one crore rupees in a current account in a year, or who have expended more than two lakh rupees on foreign travels, or more than one lakh rupees on electricity consumption in a year.

Interest deduction is proposed to be enhanced upto 3.5 lakh rupees for purchase of a house. Existing interest deduction is upto two lakh rupees.

Under indirect taxes, Finance Minister proposed several changes as an incentive for domestic value addition and Make in India. Custom duty on capital goods used for manufacturing of certain electronic items including set top box, compact camera module, mobile phone charger, Lithium Ion Cell has been withdrawn.

Ms Sitharaman said, multiple labour laws will be streamlined to into a set of four Labour Codes, to standardize registration and filing of returns and reduce disputes.

She said, to further encourage women entrepreneurship, Women SHG Interest Subvention Programme to be expanded to all districts in India.

Duty on petroleum crude and specified electronic goods like switches, sockets and plugs has been rationalized.

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