New Delhi: The 75th General Budget of the country was tabled in Parliament the day before yesterday. This is the last complete budget of the second regime led by Prime Minister Modi.
The budget has been presented keeping in mind the 9 state elections this year and the Lok Sabha elections next year. In this, various welfare announcements have been released for the poor and middle class families. These are thought to be positioned to weather the expected economic downturn again across the globe.
The hike in income tax ceiling, expected since the last regime of Prime Minister Modi, has been announced this time. This ceiling has been increased from Rs.5 lakhs to Rs.7 lakhs and 100% tax relief has been given. The ceiling for taxation up to Rs 2.5 lakh has been raised to Rs 3 lakh. This is likely to benefit the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections.
The next major announcement is in the housing scheme for the poor. The allocation for this project, which was Rs 48,000 crore last year, has been increased by about 66 percent.
As per this scheme, distribution of free ration material has been extended keeping the poor in mind. About Rs.2 lakh crore has been allocated for it.
To deal with farmers. A target of Rs 20 lakh crore has been set this year through credit cards. A ‘Farmers Digital Information Platform’ is being developed to share all information for farmers.
Rs 6,000 crore has been earmarked in this budget for government schemes for farmers. All these are expected to satisfy most farmers.
A strategy has also been formulated to overcome unemployment which is threatening to be a major problem of the country. It is designed to encourage foreign employment and self-employment. 30 National Skill Training Centers will be set up to impart international training to the youth. Self-employment is also likely to increase due to the small, micro and medium enterprises sector that provides this training. Along with this, it has also been decided to provide scholarships for another three years in the National Apprenticeship Scheme for about 47 lakh youth.
Around Rs.750 crore has been earmarked for the Ayushman National Health Insurance Scheme. Keeping in mind the elections in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, a new welfare scheme has been announced for the majority of tribals there. As such, it is a very carefully scrutinized and presented budget to include various other announcements.
For example, the budget also includes a scheme to provide financial assistance to poor prisoners who are unable to pay bail after getting bail. Concession for women, 100 percent increase in old age deposit fund ceiling and development of co-operative sector and environmental protection are ensured.
However, the sector’s allocation for minorities, caught up in the BJP’s Hindutva policy, has been drastically reduced. As a result, Maulana Azad Educational Institution, which provides scholarships to minorities, has been forced to close down. Scholarship for civil service examination for minorities has also been stopped. Similarly, the funding for the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Scheme has been reduced to Rs 60 thousand crore. However, the party believes that this budget will overcome the losses suffered by the BJP in some of the last assembly elections.
It is expected that this budget will provide the BJP with an unprecedented advantage in the Lok Sabha elections.