Finance minister Piyush Goyal presented an interim budget stuffed with largesse targeted at the salaried middle class and rural poor, in what is being seen as an exercise clearly aimed at wooing these sections ahead of the general elections due in May.
The income tax exemption limit for the salaried middle class has been raised to Rs 5 lakh for 2019-20. The government will launch a social security coverage for workers in the unorganised sector and - vulnerable farmers will receive Rs 6,000 rupees a year from December 2018 under a new scheme titled PM Kisaan Samman Nidhi.
A direct consequence of this spending spree coming against insufficient tax collections is that the fiscal deficit will be breached. The government has set a fiscal deficit target of 3.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) for 2019-20.
Amithabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog; AN Jha, finance secretary; Subhash Chandra Garg, economic affairs secretary; Ajay Bhushan Pandey, revenue secretary; PK Das, chairman of CBIC; Krishnamurthy Subramanian, chief economic advisor and Ramesh Abhishek, DPIIT secretary, shared their views and readings on the interim budget at the CNBC-TV18’s Budget Towhall.