The Union Minister for Finance Piyush Goyal has said that the Interim Budget 2019 has been the culmination of a journey; there are at least a hundred more things on the table, though the Government could lay out what it did in four years and what it envisioned for the next ten years, being an Interim Budget, there was very little headroom available for what could be announced in the Budget. Despite this, there were certain urgent issues which the Government believed could not wait. The Minister was holding his first post-budget industry interaction, at BSE International Convention Centre, in Mumbai today.
Referring to Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, the Finance Minister said that the farmer support announced in the Interim Budget has been the outcome of the large amount of taxes which the Government has been able to collect post demonetization, after GST and the after the collective effort made by the nation for formalization of the economy, for widening the tax base and for improving both direct and indirect tax collections. The farmers have played an important role in this, giving us food security like never before. Hence it was only fitting that particularly the small and marginal farmers were given this support, said Goyal. He added that the nation is doing nothing but its duty by extending this support for the farmers. Announcing that the scheme becomes effective from December 1 of the current year, the Minister said that the first installment will be given soon.
Noting that almost 42 crore people are engaged in the unorganized sector, the Minister said that the government is working towards bringing more of them into the fold of Provident Fund and to provide free health care to them through Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY). While the PMJAY will cover 50 crore people in the country, a need was felt that a method should be devised to give some compensation to people post retirement, to enable them to lead a life of self-respect. The scheme announced, Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maandhan, to provide an assured monthly pension of Rs. 3,000 to from the age of 60 years on a monthly contribution of a small affordable amount during their working age, is a very significant step, stated the Minister.
The Minister said that the budget has adopted a holistic approach, for the welfare of all sections of the citizenry. The Government is working towards ensuring 100% sanitation, 100% electricity coverage, health care for all, housing for all and for transforming India’s villages while retaining their soul.
Goyal said that the Interim Budget reflects the nation’s support for the programmes and policies of the Government. He thanked the industry and the financial sector for their contribution which has helped the Government bring about a foundational change in the way the country thinks and works. He said that it is only fitting that the Government and the industry together celebrate what the nation has achieved in the last five years and chart out the vision for the future.
Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis said that the tough decision taken by the Government of India has brought India on the growth path. He said that while various governments talked about poverty alleviation, their approach was based on expenditure; he said that the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has adopted an approach which is based on investment and not expenditure alone. He added that the Interim Budget 2019 has charted out a clear vision make India a trillion dollar economy by 2020.
Secretary, Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, Rajeev Kumar said that India continues to be the fastest growing major economy in the world for the last few years, and is now the world’s sixth largest economy. This represents growing and robust demand for economic opportunity for industry and businesses. RBI’s assessment that inflation will be contained has opened up space for policy action; it is an indicator for industry to focus on growth. Various steps have been taken to enable financial institutions to support credit growth.
He said that the broad objectives of the Government in the last four years have been fiscal prudence and fiscal discipline, inflationary control, growth orientation and enhancing public expenditure, transparent allocation of natural resources, unprecedented push to formalization and digitization and structural reforms to achieve all of these. Fiscal deficit is down from 4.5% to 3.4%. The size of the Union Budget has gone up from 15.59 lakh to 24.59 lakh crores today; this will further increase to 27.84 lakh crores next year, representing an increase of 58% over a period of five years. This has enabled the government to make capital expenditure. Inflation is down from close to 9% to around 4%; current account deficit is at around 2.8%. The country has moved up in Ease of Doing Business Ranking by close to 50 places. The Secretary said that this been made possible due to a slew of reforms undertaken by the Government.