The provisional budget presented by (acting) FM Piyush Goyal on February 1, 2019, can be termed as a “BBB”! I mean “BUDGET BEFORE BALLOT”!
As we do in the “fifth year of any ruling government”, we did expect a budget of reliefs and sans taxes and burdens, this time too, especially, when the mega general elections are due very soon.
However, all said and done, Modi government’s Budget this year is a “pro-poor, pro-rural, pro-farmer and pro-common man” one. With one stone, he has hit a four – taking care of all sections of the people in the nation.
It must be stressed that farmers certainly deserved a better lot always. In this respect, the provision for assured minimum income and other reliefs must be welcomed. Income support for farmers to be transferred directly – thereby eliminating several middlemen who in fact, literally loot the farmers of their rightful dues.
Pension scheme for labourers of organised sector and Rs 60K crore for Aayushman Bharat is also a positive measure, as the last five years witnessed good growth in the health care sector and over 50 crore people benefitted by the Aayushman Bharat medical scheme.
Defence allocation has also been increased. This time, it’s the highest ever defence budget. We hope all the needs of the jawans and the security forces and their families will be duly taken care of. Our soldiers deserve to be treated well; their families assured of good and stable financial support. Above all, our arms, ammunition, and artilleries need to be upgraded.
Infrastructure sector has also been doing very well over the last few years. Hence, the construction of rural roads tripled to enable our villages and rural areas to have good infrastructure amenities.
No budget is complete without talking about the “Middle class and the salaried people” who are, in fact, the honest taxpayers in India – even if they constitute say, around 3 per cent of the population. As per Piyush Goyal, the IT collections increased immensely. Hence, he has generously given full tax rebate up to Rs 5 lakhs annual income (after deductions), has increased the standard deduction by Rs 10,000, has exempted tax on the second self-occupied house, ceiling limit of TDS us/ 194A and 194I, appropriately increased. There are other relief measures too. Like, the FM has asked the GST Council for reducing the GST rates for home buyers and, gratuity income up to Rs 20 lakhs has been exempted.
As far as indirect taxes are concerned, corporate tax rates remain untouched. However, customs duty on 36 capital goods has been abolished.
Now my strong suggestions to the PM, FM, and the government:
- It’s high time agricultural income is brought into the income tax net. Many politicians and others under the guise of being “agriculturists /farmers” have been evading Income Tax for decades even if they earn in crores! No FM has ever dared to bring the agri-income for Income tax. In fact today one can see many rich farmers leading a lavish style (most of the political leaders and so on…) and yet not paying the income tax as they say it’s “agricultural income”!!
- The FM should catch hold of all those utter and core corrupt officials, bureaucrats, ministers too and attach all their wealth and assets. I am not talking about the huge money stashed away in Swiss banks. We have been hearing very many cases of ministers and bureaucrats and officials being involved in large scale scams and corrupt deals. They have amassed wealth and properties to the tune of hundreds of crores. Some former ministers have been found to be having many properties, farms, flats, lands, and so on. But nothing has happened so far to them, except that raids by IT, ED, CBI, are being conducted with no end results or the ‘scamsters’ getting punished!!
- More importantly, as per the disclosure made by the FM(last year) that the number of bank loan defaulters has risen to an alarming extent, the government must take stern actions against this defaulters-come what may. It’s a known case that on the one hand some industrialists happily default loan repayments etc. and on the other hand lead a lavish style by owning luxury yachts, limousines and so on. These defaulters must not be spared at all. Bring back the culprits and lodge them all in jails.
- The government must grab and attach all the properties of such corrupt people and defaulters and recover all the monies due.
Let the FM recover all those unaccounted wealth, assets and cash from the most corrupt people, he can certainly get huge revenue to wipe off the deficit in the budget. He even didn’t think of imposing and taxing the common man anymore. Maybe he can even do away with the Income tax on the salaries. Will the PM and the FM take some bold measures — it’s now or never — considering the general elections due just next year? However, it is established that “Achche Din” is indeed here for the common man and honest taxpayers and the poor people and farmers of India
Conclusively, the budget this day (Feb 1) was like a “sixer needed on the last ball of the match, to win – I mean hit a sixer to win massive votes of the people in the coming general elections!