7.30 pm: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar also welcomes the farmers’ scheme and tax rebates for middle income groups.

7 pm: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Pattnaik welcomed tax benefits for middle and lower income groups announced in Friday’s Budget. He also welcomed the direct benefit transfer to farmers, though he added that the amount of money given would have been more beneficial if it was on par with his state’s KALIA scheme. The KALIA scheme provides Rs 12,500 for landless farmers in Odisha in three installments.

6.45 pm: BJP leaders have praised the Budget, saying the tax rebate will help the middle class and that “it showed the Modi government’s dedication to the aspirations of the country’s youth, farmers and the poor.”

6.34 pm: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is not happy with the Budget. “I want to know what have they done for the problems of the farmers who are in debt about whom every minister including the PM talks about,” he tells ANI. “What have they done for unemployed youth? They’re our future. The government should have thought about them.”

6.14 pm: NITI Aayog chief Amitabh Kant calls the Budget pathbreaking, and says it has “provided a narrative of India’s continued development growth”, reports ANI.

6.02 pm: Congress President Rahul Gandhi criticises the assured income support for farmers with small landholdings in the interim budget.

“You can waive Rs 3.5 lakh crore loan of 15 people but give only Rs 17 per day to farmers!” Gandhi asks, according to ANI. “What else is this, if not an insult? Election will be fought keeping in mind issue of farmers, unemployment [and] attacks on institutions, it’ll also be on the issue of Rafale.”

5.55 pm: Shah says the number of tax payers have increased which led a jump in revenue from Rs 3.68 lakh crore to almost Rs 12 lakh crore.Shah says this was because of the Narendra Modi government’s “progressive policies”.

He says the increase in revenue has helped the government increase welfare programmes ‘without jeopardising the economy”.

5.53 pm: BJP President Amit Shah says the budget “strikes a fine balance” between financial prudence and citizens’ welfare.

“Budget has provisioned a Rs 75,000 crore outlay for farmers while holding the fiscal deficit at just 3.4%, which had ballooned to 6% during UPA era,” he says.

5.50 pm: Goyal says the Goods and Services Tax has prepared the country for rapid development, reports ANI. “If the tax collection is so good, it shows that GST is a successful measure,” he says. “It is not a poor implementation, there is no country which dared to make such a large scale change.”

5.46 pm: Goyal, who spoke to ANI after presenting the interim budget on Friday, says development has reached all corners of the country over the past five years of the BJP government.

“An honest economy, a clean India, connected to digital world with financial inclusion and one which need not suffer lack of basic amenities...”he says. “[The] PM [prime minister] worked for all sections of society. I’m confident people will identify his work.”

5.43 pm: Finance Minister Piyush Goyal says the government has succeeded on all levels. “Inflation is down to 4.5% from 10%,” he says, according to ANI. “If inflation had continued like times of Congress then your household budget would have been 35%-40% higher.”

4.45 pm: Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi says the Budget had left the Opposition “stunned and speechless”.

4.25 pm: Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy asks if the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh was involved in the preparation of the Budget, according to ANI.

“I want to ask if this Budget was prepared by officials of the Finance Department or the RSS? In this Budget, Narendra Modi has given cotton candy for farmers,” he says. “When I announced loan waiver scheme, PM mocked it as lollipop. Friends of the BJP have prepared this budget.”

4.15 pm: While talking about the entertainment industry in the Budget speech, Piyush Goyal referenced Uri: The Surgical Strike, a movie that revisits the Indian Army’s 2016 “surgical strike” across the Line of Control with Pakistan. The film has received support from several BJP leaders, including PM Modi, and was also exempted from the state GST in Uttar Pradesh.

For many Twitter users, Goyal’s praise of the film in Parliament was final proof that the movie is actually a piece of government propaganda in an election year.

The main beneficiaries of the interim Budget, then, were farmers, the middle class, cows (via a national commission for cows) and Uri, concluded some Twitter users.

4.12 pm: Domestic benchmark indices lost some gains in late afternoon trade, hours after Goyal presented the Interim Budget.

The BSE Sensex, which rose nearly 521 points at the day’s high, closed 212 points higher at 36,469. The National Stock Exchange Nifty closed 62 points higher, at 10,893, after touching the day’s high at 10,983.

Stockbrokers keep a watch on share prices while trading at a brokerage house in Mumbai on February 1. (Credit: Indranil AFP)
Stockbrokers keep a watch on share prices while trading at a brokerage house in Mumbai on February 1. (Credit: Indranil AFP)

4.08 pm: The NDA’s Interim Budget is “a copy of the Congress’ ideas for the poor”, alleges the opposition party. Several Congress leaders have reacted to the Budget, describing it as “a damp squib” and as “an election manifesto”.

4.04 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says the Interim Budget for 2019-20 has no value as the NDA government’s term would soon end, according to PTI.

“Who will implement this [Interim Budget]? Will the new government that will come into being implement this budget?” she asks. “Before election, a vote on account is placed.”

Referring to the farmers’ welfare scheme, the Trinamool Congress chief inquires why the BJP government had not announced a single proposal to benefit the farm sector during the last four years in power. “The government does not have any moral right to place such an announcement,” she adds.

3.52 pm: Aam Aadmi Party national convener Arvind Kejriwal describes the Budget as “the final ‘jumla’ [gimmick] of the Modi government”.

The Centre has allocated Rs 1,112 crore for Delhi in the Budget, while keeping its share in central taxes and duties unchanged, according to PTI. The Delhi government was given Rs 472 crore as central assistance in the Interim Budget.

In the previous Budget, the Centre had allotted Rs 790 crore.

3.47 pm: On other announcements in the Budget, KT Rama Rao says people of the country understand both politics and economics.

“When political parties think that some gestures right on the anvil of elections are going to swing votes for them, I think the people of this country have in the past surprised you [the parties] and they might surprise you again,” he adds.

3.43 pm: Telangana Rashtra Samiti working president KT Rama Rao says the Centre’s farmers’ welfare programme is an “imitation” of his state’s Rythu Bandhu scheme, albeit with slight modifications, according to PTI.

“As they say, imitation is the best form of flattery,” says Rao.

In Telangana’s Rythu Bandhu scheme or Farmers’ Investment Support Scheme, Rs 8,000 per acre is paid to farmers in two installments per crop season. The scheme was launched in May 2018.

3.36 pm: Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan says the Budget is the government’s “second surgical strike”, according to PTI.

“The first [surgical strike] used bullets to neutralise the country’s external enemies,” said the Lok Janshakti Party chief. “The second surgical strike will use ballots to decimate our rivals.”

Paswan added that the Budget would leave government’s rivals “speechless”. The Lok Janshakti Party will fight the Lok Sabha elections in Bihar in an alliance with the BJP and Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United).

3.33 pm: “From middle class to labourers, from farmers’ growth to the development of businessmen, from manufacturing to the MSME sector, from growth of the economy to development of New India, everyone has been taken care of in this Interim Budget,” says PM Modi in his post-budget address.

3.30 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was seen thumping the desk several times during Goyal’s budget speech in Parliament today, says, “This is an Interim Budget. This is just a trailer of the budget which, after the elections, will take India on the path to development.”

3.26 pm: “I think it is a fantastic budget for a seemingly large number of people – the middle class, the lower middle class,” Tourism Minister KJ Alphons says. “I think this government has delivered more for the poor of this country than in the past 65 years.”

Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also congratulates the government .

3.24 pm: What is the government’s ‘Vision 2030’ for India? A 10-dimensional plan, ranging from improved infrastructure to cleaner air, responsible bureaucracy and taking India to the “outer skies”.

“With this comprehensive 10-dimensional vision, we will create an India where poverty, malnutrition, littering and illiteracy would be a matter of the past,” Goyal said in Parliament. “India would be a modern, technology-driven, high growth, equitable and transparent society.”

3.19 pm: Another Opposition party slams the government and Finance Minister Piyush Goyal over the Budget. The Trinamool Congress, led by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, alleges that democracy in India is under threat due to destabilisation.

3.17 pm: Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan says the Budget is “a good one and is for everyone”. “Work will go on like this,” she tells ANI.

3.08 pm: Congress chief Rahul Gandhi calls the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, or the scheme to benefit small and marginal farmers, an “insult to farmers”.

3.06 pm: Union minister Nitin Gadkari says the budget is aimed towards the welfare of every section of the society as per the NDA government’s mission of ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’.

3.02 pm: Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju says the Budget would lay down a strong foundation for a “New India”. “Thanks to PM Narendra Modi ji for such huge historic benefits and reliefs for the farmers, salaried class, middle class, SC/ST categories, old age, women, labourers and people of Northeast India,” he tweets.

3 pm: Goyal says workers in the unorganised sector will be given an honorarium for their hard work for the country’s development – this is a part of the new Mega Pension Yojana. “Workers can join this scheme in the 18-40 age group by contributing a nominal amount,” he says.

The Mega Pension Yojana is expected to benefit 10 crore workers and will be implemented from the current year. The scheme will cover workers with monthly income up to Rs 15,000.

2.58 pm: The government has revised the fiscal deficit for the current year to 3.4% of the GDP from the previous target of 3.3%. “From the high of almost 6% seven years ago, the fiscal deficit has been brought down to 3.4% in 2018-’19 RE,” Goyal said earlier.

Reason for the higher fiscal deficit? The minister said the rise is due to the “need for income support for farmers”.

Fiscal deficit represents how much more the government spends than it earns.

2.53 pm: Piyush Goyal requests the state governments to provide lists of those farmers holding less than two hectares of land, “so that small and marginal farmers can enjoy these benefits”.

The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, which aims to provide an assured income support, is likely to benefit 12 crore farmers. Scroll.in’s Mridula Chari provides a reading list to explain how thinking around the scheme has evolved.

2.48 pm: Pradhan says the Opposition is scared of Modi’s welfare schemes, according to ANI. “We don’t do votebank politics, we do development politics,” he says. “We are dedicated to take Indian farmers to new heights.”

2.45 pm: Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan compliments both Piyush Goyal and Arun Jaitley on “a pro-poor, pro-farmer, pro-middle class and a pro-development budget:”

“The Budget gives unprecedented attention to the aspirations of a New India and further strengthens the Modi government’s resolve to bridge the urban-rural divide,” he says.

2.42 pm: The Budget promises a capital expenditure allocation of Rs 1.58 lakh crore for the Railways, which is the highest ever allocated for the national transporter, PTI reports. No fare hike was announced in the Railway Budget.

Last year, then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had allocated Rs 1.48 lakh crore for the Railways.

Goyal says the indigenously-manufactured semi-high speed train, Vande Bharat Express, will give passengers a world-class experience. “This major leap in wholly developed technology by our engineers will give an impetus to the Make In India programme and create jobs,” he adds.

The Vande Bharat Express is set to run between New Delhi and Varanasi at a maximum speed of 160 km per hour and is regarded as a successor to the Shatabdi Express. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to flag off the train soon.

2.35 pm: “Our government has initiated the world’s largest behavioural change movement with the Swachh Bharat Mission. India has achieved 98% rural sanitation coverage and as many as 5.45 lakh villages have been declared open-defecation free,” says Goyal.

2.33 pm: “Being an Interim Budget, there were several things we wanted to do that we couldn’t. But the idea was to take development to every individual,” adds Goyal. “This budget has many measures for the middle class.”

2.30 pm: At his post-Budget press conference, Piyush Goyal describes the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme as “a historic decision”.

“Those sitting in AC rooms cannot understand the plight of the small farmers,” he says.

2.26 pm: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says the Interim Budget will have implications on the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, according to NDTV.

“It’s an election budget,” says Singh. “In these circumstances of the case, concessions to farmers and concessions to middle class will obviously have implications on the election.”

2.18 pm: A summary of announcements made in the Budget speech:

  • Full tax rebate for those with an annual taxable income of Rs 5 lakh.
  • Goyal announced a new annual scheme to provide structured support to small and marginal farmers.
  • The government declared a mega monthly pension plan to benefit the unorganised labour force.
  • Goyal proposed an increase in the defence budget, which will surpass Rs 3 lakh crore.
  • The government proposed a “friendlier” taxation process that will benefit assesses, with all returns to be processed in 24 hours and refunds to be processed immediately. 
  • The government also announced a vision for India 2030, including schemes aimed at improving digital connectivity, air quality, self-sufficiency in food, health care, among others.

2.08 pm: The Rajya Sabha has been adjourned till February 4 after Piyush Goyal laid down the Interim Budget in the Upper House, according to PTI.

The Lok Sabha has also been adjourned till Monday.

The Parliament’s Budget Session, which started on Thursday, will continue till February 13. This is the last session of Parliament before the Lok Sabha elections.

1.53 pm: Continuing his attack, Congress Mallikarjun Kharge says the government is “doling out money” in the form of schemes keeping the Lok Sabha elections in mind, according to PTI.

“I say directly that they are paying bribe to voters,” claims Kharge.

1.47 pm: Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani says the Budget was only aimed at voter appeasement. He also accuses the NDA government of focusing on cow welfare instead of looking into issues such as One Rank, One Pension (OROP) scheme.

1.43 pm: Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Radha Mohan Singh says the government has issued guidelines for the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme, which aims to help small and marginal farmers.

“In 2018-’19 financial year, for months before March, Rs 2,000 will be transferred to farmers’ accounts, and in the financial year 2019-’20 farmers will get Rs 6,000,” he says.

Piyush Goyal had said the scheme would come into effect retrospectively from December 1, 2018.

1.42 pm: “A historic budget,” Home Minister Rajnath Singh tells ANI. “All sections of the society will benefit from it,” he adds.

1.35 pm: Activist and Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav says the Budget “rubs salt in the wounds of farmers”.

“The ‘historic’ Rs 6,000 a year for a family of five translates to Rs 3.3 a day. This is even lower than MNREGA or old-age pension!” he tweets.

As per the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, farmers with land up to two hectares will be provided Rs 6,000 annually in direct support.

1.33 pm: “It was an election manifesto read in Parliament today,” Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge tells News18.

1.30 pm: Shah applauds the proposed mega pension plan for workers in the unorganised sector and says it indicates the NDA government’s sensitivities towards the poor labour of the country.

1.25 pm: BJP chief Amit Shah says the Modi government has proved again it is dedicated to the dreams and aspirations of the poor, the farmers and the youth. He also describes the NDA government’s scheme for the small and marginal farmers as “a historic first”.

1.23 pm: Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha says Opposition criticism about the Budget is “baseless”, according to News18. “Will give 10 on 10 to this Budget since it will ensure we get 400 seats,” he says.

1.15 pm: Congress MP Shashi Tharoor says the entire Budget exercise turned out to be “a damp squib”, adding that tax exemption for the middle class is the one good thing, according to ANI.

“Rs 6,000 in income support for farmers boils down to Rs 500 per month. Is that supposed to enable them to live with the honour and dignity?” says Tharoor, criticising the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme.

1.11 pm: Arun Jaitley, in whose absence Piyush Goyal presented the Budget, says it was “unquestionably pro-growth, fiscally prudent, pro-farmer, pro-poor and strengthens the purchasing power of the Indian middle class”.

Jaitley is currently undergoing medical treatment in the United States.

1.06 pm: Taking a jibe at Piyush Goyal, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram thanks him for “copying the Congress’ declaration that the poor have the first right to the resources of the country”.

1.04 pm: The opposition Congress attacks the Narendra Modi government’s scheme announcing relief for small and marginal farmers. “PM Modi can make all the grand announcements he wants but his history of lies has already lost him the trust of farmers,” says the party.

1 pm: The domestic benchmark indices continue to rise. The BSE Sensex is now at 36,626.90, up by 370.21 points, and the National Stock Exchange Nifty 50 is at 10,959.35, up by over 128 points.

12.58 pm: Minister Piyush Goyal is scheduled to address a post-Budget press conference from 1.30 pm.

12.56 pm: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath says the Budget has kept in mind all sections of the society, including farmers, middle class, poor and women, according to ANI. “This budget will help achieve the dream of a ‘New India’,” he says.

12.52 pm: Minister of Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu describes it as “a budget for the people, of the people, focusing on people, progress and prosperity”.

“This budget will move us towards New India by 2022. We shall celebrate 75 years of our Independence with our heads held high,” tweets Prabhu.

12.46 pm: The BSE Sensex continues to rise, it is now up 305.43 points at 36,562.12, while the National Stock Exchange Nifty 50 is at 10,912.95, higher by 82 points.

The rupee is now at 71.02 against the dollar, up six paise since Thursday’s close.

12.43 pm: Piyush Goyal concludes his Budget speech.

12.42 pm: “Development has become a ‘Jan Andolan’ [people’s movement] under the present government.”

12.40 pm: “This is not just a Budget, this is a vehicle for the country’s development,” Goyal says in his concluding remarks.

12.37 pm: “The benefits of rollover of capital gains under Section 54 of Income Tax Act will be increased from investment in one residential house to two for those with capital gains up to Rs 2 crore.”

12.35 pm: “Standard tax deduction for salaried persons has been raised from Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000.”

12.32 pm: “Individuals with gross income up to Rs 6.5 lakh will not need to pay any tax if they make investments in provident funds and prescribed equities,” adds Goyal.

12.31 pm: “Individuals with taxable income of Rs 5 lakh annually will get full tax rebate.”

12.30 pm: “On behalf of all the people of India and our government, I thank all our taxpayers for their valuable contribution to nation-building and for providing a better quality of life to the poor and marginalised.”

12.29 pm: The BSE Sensex has jumped 275.01 points to 36,531.70, while the National Stock Exchange Nifty 50 is at 10,904.80, higher by 73.85 points.

The rupee is now trading at 71.07 against the dollar, up one paise since Thursday’s close.

12.27 pm: Goyal announces a fiscal deficit target of 3.4% of GDP for 2019-’20.

12.26 pm: Goyal clarifies on the government being unable to contain fiscal deficit within the target set for 2018-’19.

“Farmer support cost us Rs 20,000 crore this year and will cost Rs 75,000 crore next year,” he says. “If we exclude this, fiscal deficit would have been less than 3.3% of GDP for this year and less than 3.1% for next year.”

12.25 pm: “A healthy India, with a distress-free and comprehensive wellness system for all, is the ninth dimension of our vision for 2030.”

“Minimum government and maximum governance, with proactive, responsible and friendly bureaucracy, and electronic governance is the 10th dimension of our vision for India for 2030.”

12.24 pm: “India becoming the launchpad of the world, placing an Indian astronaut in space by 2022, is the seventh dimension.”

“Eighth, self-sufficiency in food and improving agricultural productivity, with an emphasis on organic food.”

12.23 pm: “The fifth dimesion includes clean rivers – with safe drinking water to all Indians, sustaining and nourishing life, using micro-irrigation techniques. A long coastline can be pivotal for the economy, using strength of the blue economy and SagarMala.”

“Oceans and coastlines is the sixth dimension of our vision for 2030.”

12.22 pm: “Fourth, expanding rural industrialisation using modern industrial technologies, based on the Make In India approach, using grassroots MSMEs and startups across the country.”

12.21 pm: The second dimension is to build a Digital India that reaches every citizen, our youth will lead us in this, by creating innumerable startups and jobs.”

“The third: Clean and Green India – an India that drives electric vehicles, with renewables becoming the major source of energy, bringing down import dependence and increasing energy security for our people.”

12.20 pm: The first dimension is to build next-generation infrastructure – physical as well as social – for a $10 trillion economy and to provide ease of living.”

12.19 pm: Goyal underlines 10 most important dimensions that will guide the government in its Vision 2030.

12.16 pm: “India is poised to become a $5 trillion-economy in the next five years, and aims at becoming a $10 trillion-economy in the eight years thereafter.”

12.15 pm: “There has been an 18% increase in direct tax collections in 2017-’18, 1.06 crore people have been included in the tax base. More than 1 crore citizens filed IT returns for the first time, after demonetisation.”

12.14 pm: “We are committed to eliminating the ills of black money. Anti-black money measures taken have brought undisclosed income of about Rs 1.30 lakh crore to the surface, 3.38 lakh shell companies have been deregistered.”

12.12 pm: “A Group of Ministers is examining how prospective house-buyers can benefit under GST.”

12.11 pm: “14% growth in state tax collections was guaranteed and underwritten by the government of India.”

12.10 pm: “Businesses with less than Rs 5 crore annual turnover, comprising over 90% of GST payers, will be allowed to return quarterly returns.”

12.09 pm: Goyal refers to GST collections having surpassed Rs 1 lakh crore in January. The Union Finance Ministry had made this announcement on Thursday.

12.08 pm: “GST has been continuously reduced, resulting in relief of Rs 80,000 crore to consumers. Most items of daily use for poor and middle class are now in the 0%-5% tax bracket.”

12.07 pm: “GST is undoubtedly the biggest taxation reform implemented since Independence. Through tax consolidation, India became one common market, inter-state movements became faster through e-way bills, improving the ease of doing business.”

12.06 pm: “One million villages to get internet connectivity soon.”

12.05 pm: “Within nearly two years, almost all assessment and verification of IT returns will be done electronically by an anonymized tax system without any intervention by officials.”

12.03 pm: “Impactful steps have been taken in reducing tax, bringing benefits for middle class citizens.”

12.01 pm: “The taxation process will become more assessee-friendly. All returns will be processed in 24 hours and refunds processed immediately.”

12 pm: “Tax collections increased from Rs 6.38 lakh crore in 2013-14 to almost Rs 12 lakh crore this year. Tax base went up from 3.79 crore to 6.85 crore.”

11.58 am: “Single-window clearance for filmmaking to be made available to Indian filmmakers, anti-camcording provision to be introduced to Cinematography Act to combat film privacy,” says the minister.

11.58 am: The government proposes to allocate Rs 64,587 crore for capital expenditure of Railways in 2019-’20, says Goyal.

11.57 am: “The cost of data and voice calls in India is now possibly the lowest in the world; mobile and mobile part manufacturing companies have increased from two to 268.”

11.56 am: “We will make 1 lakh digital villages in the next five years.”

11.55 am: “Allocation for Northeastern region proposed to be increased to Rs 58,166 crore in this year, a 21% rise over the previous year.”

11.52 am: “To ensure cleaner fuel and health assurance, we embarked upon Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, a programme to give eight crore free LPG connections to rural households. Six crore connections have been given already.”

11.51 am: “All unmanned level crossings on broad gauge rail network have been completely eliminated.”

11.51 am: “India is the fastest highway developer in the world, with 27 km of roads laid each day, projects stuck for decades have been completed.”

11.50 am: “The country now has 100 operational airports.”

11.49 am: “National Artificial Intelligence Portal to be developed soon,” says Goyal.

11.49 am: “Rs 35,000 crore disbursed under One Rank, One Pension [OROP] scheme in the current NDA term.”

11.48 am: “India’s youth have turned job creators from job seekers, India has become the second largest hub for start-ups.”

11.43 am: “Committee under NITI Aayog to be set up to identify and denotify nomadic and semi-nomadic communities; Welfare Development Board to be set up under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for welfare of these hard-to-reach communities and for tailored strategic interventions.”

11.41 am: “One crore youth are being trained under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Scheme to enable them to get employment,” says Goyal.

11.39 am: Goyal announces a Mega Pension Yojana, called the Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan. It will provide an assured monthly pension of Rs 3,000, with a monthly contribution of Rs 100, for workers over the age of 60 in the unorganised sector. These would include unorganised workers like domestic helps, rag-pickers, rickshaw-pullers, among others.

11.39 am: The BSE Sensex is now up 162.77 points at 36,419.46, while the National Stock Exchange Nifty 50 is at 10,873.50, higher by 42.55 points.

The rupee is now trading at 71.06 against the dollar, up two paise since Thursday’s close.

11.37 am: Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha criticises the government’s new scheme for small and marginal farmers. “After brutalising the farmers for five years, a cosmetic support of just Rs 75,000 crore allocation for farmers. This is peanuts,” he has tweeted.

11.35 am: “Rashtriya Kamdhenu Ayog will look after the effective implementation of policies and schemes for welfare of cows.”

11.33 am: “All farmers in animal husbandry and fisheries, who have been affected by severe natural calamities, will get interest subvention of 2%.”

If they repay loans on time, an additional 3% interest subvention will be given, says Goyal.

11.28 am: The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi resembles Telangana’s Rythu Bandhu scheme or Farmers’ Investment Support Scheme, where Rs 8,000 per acre is paid to farmers in two installments per crop season. The scheme was launched in May 2018.

There had been speculation that the Centre would announce such a scheme.

11.26 am: On structured income support for farmers’ family, Goyal says it will help avoid indebtedness and dependence on moneylenders. Called the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, the scheme will provide farmers with land up to two hectares Rs 6,000 annually in direct support.

The government will spend Rs 75,000 crore annually on the scheme, which will come into effect retrospectively from December 1, 2018. It is set to benefit 12 crore small and marginal farmers.

11.25 am: “During 2014-’18, 1.53 crore houses have been constructed under the PM Awas Yojana.”

11.24 am: “115 of the most backward districts have seen improved development indices through the Aspirational Districts Programme.”

11.23 am: Goyal says Haryana will get the 22nd campus of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. He also mentions the BJP’s victory in the Jind Assembly bye-election on Thursday.

11.22 am: “The pace of construction of rural roads has been tripled under our tenure.”

11.21 am: “Rs 19,000 crore has been set aside for Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana.”

11.19 am: “As a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, the world’s largest behavioural change movement, Swachh Bharat, has been initiated,” says Piyush Goyal. “More than 98% rural sanitation coverage has been achieved, more than 5.45 lakh villages have been declared open defecation-free.”

11.17 am: Piyush Goyal proposes budget allocation of Rs 60,000 crore for National Rural Employment Guarantee Act in 2019-’20.

11.15 am: “We have ushered in a new era of transparency,” says Goyal. The Real Estate Regulation Act and Benami Transactions Prohibition Act have helped bring down corruption in the real estate market, he adds.

11.12 am: The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, has helped bring down non-performing assets, says Goyal.

11.11 am: “We had the courage to ask the RBI to look at bad loans,” says Goyal.

11.08 am: Goyal says the fiscal deficit is set to be 3.4% of GDP in 2018-’19. The government had earlier budgeted it at 3.3% of GDP.

The current account deficit, meanwhile, is likely to drop to 2.5% of GDP this year, he adds.

11.07 am: “We broke the back of back-breaking inflation,” says Piyush Goyal, adding the NDA government has brought down the rate of inflation during its tenure. “We brought down inflation to 4.6%.”

Inflation in December 2018 was just 2.1%, says Goyal.

11.05 am: “We got India back on track, we are now marching towards prosperity,” says Piyush Goyal.

11.01 am: Piyush Goyal starts the Budget presentation in Parliament.

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10.56 am: Congress leader Manish Tewari claims the BJP-led NDA government has “leaked” parts of the Interim Budget ahead of its presentation, according to ANI.

“Since the morning, government sources have been sending budget pointers to media houses, now if these pointers are there in the finance minister’s speech, then it [is] tantamount to a leak,” says Tewari. “It would be a serious issue of breach of secrecy.”

10.55 am: The BSE Sensex is up 138.11 points at 36,394.80, while the National Stock Exchange Nifty 50 is at 10,871.90, higher by 40.95 points. The rupee is now trading at 71.20 against the dollar, 12 paise lower than Thursday’s close.

10.47 am: The Union Cabinet, led by PM Narendra Modi, has approved the Interim Budget, according to The Economic Times.

10.38 am: Telugu Desam Party MPs dressed in black are protesting in the Parliament complex against the central government ahead of the presentation of the Interim Budget, according to ANI. During the Parliament’s Winter Session, the protests demanding special category status for Andhra Pradesh had resulted in several adjournments.

10.21 am: Union Minister of Agriculture Radha Mohan Singh tells ANI that the last five budgets have been dedicated to the farmers. “The government’s sixth budget will also be for the farmers, it will empower them,” he says.

10.16 am: Another Opposition leader takes a dig at the government and the Budget ahead of its presentation.

“All the budgets presented by them in the past has only been ‘jumle’ [gimmicks], today’s will be the same,” Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge tells Times Now.

10.10 am: Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha says the government will look to increase investment in the network. “The way the government has increased the investment in railways, from installing CCTV cameras to Wi-Fi, I believe further investment in railways will certainly be increased,” he tells ANI.

The Railway Budget merged with the Union Budget in 2017 after being presented separately for 92 years.

10.05 am: Did you know that Piyush Goyal, set to present his first Budget, is a chartered accountant? He is an all-India second-rank holder chartered accountant and second-rank holder in law from the Mumbai University, according to his website.

In the run-up to the 2014 General Elections, Goyal also headed the BJP’s Information Communication Campaign Committee and oversaw its publicity and advertising campaign, including social media outreach.

10.01 am: As BJP leaders express confidence about a “popular” Budget, Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav takes a jibe at the government.

“When the nation’s performance has gone down/declined in every department, what will you do by presenting the Budget?” he tweets in Hindi.

9.50 am: The Income Tax Department has tweeted a photo of its officials, who were involved with the Budget preparation, with Finance Minister Piyush Goyal and Ministers of State for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla and Pon Radhakrishnan. The team includes Central Board of Direct Taxes Chairman Sushil Chandra, Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey, and other officers.

9.44 am: Ahead of the Budget, the Shiv Sena demanded that the central government exempt those earning up to Rs 8 lakh per annum from paying income tax. Party leader Sanjay Raut told ANI that the government has decided to provide 10% reservation to the economically weaker sections, and those earning less than or equal to Rs 8 lakh per annum can apply for this.

“So, we feel people who earn Rs 8,00,000 per annum are poor,” says Raut. “Therefore, the limit of income tax should be Rs 8 lakh. Those who earn up to Rs 8 lakh per annum should be refrained [removed] from paying tax.”

On January 9, the Parliament had passed a bill that provides 10% reservation for the economically weak among upper castes.

9.41 am: Minister Piyush Goyal calls on President Ram Nath Kovind ahead of the Budget presentation.

9.39 am: The rupee, meanwhile, opened at 71.10 against the dollar. The Indian currency was the worst performer among Asian currencies in January as fiscal concerns weighed ahead of the Budget, according to Bloomberg.

On Thursday, the rupee had settled four paise higher, at 71.08 against the dollar.

Finance Minister Piyush Goyal with the briefcase containing the Budget documents ahead of the presentation at 11 am on Friday. (Credit: Prakash Singh/AFP)
Finance Minister Piyush Goyal with the briefcase containing the Budget documents ahead of the presentation at 11 am on Friday. (Credit: Prakash Singh/AFP)

9.31 am: BJP national spokersperson Gopal Krishna Agarwal sends his best wishes to Piyush Goyal, who will present his first Budget.

9.27 am: The BJP is reportedly in favour of an expansionary economic policy and does not consider the government’s plan to limit the fiscal deficit to 3.3% of the GDP as “sacrosanct”, the party’s Economic Affairs Spokesperson Gopal Krishna Agarwal tells Reuters.

“There’s a demand, there’s a debate – all my colleagues are saying what’s the need of keeping the fiscal deficit in check when there is distress in a particular sector,” says Agarwal, referring to the farm sector.

The government had earlier said it would cut the fiscal deficit to 3.3% of GDP in the 2018-’19 financial year, compared to the 3.53% in 2017-’18.

9.21 am: BJP leaders have exuded confidence before the Budget presentation. Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Narendra Singh Tomar says the NDA government’s mantra of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas” will reflect in the Budget.

The budget is likely to focus on immediate relief measures, particularly for the agricultural sector in distress and for small businesses.

In November last year, protests by more than 200 farmer groups had demanded better prices for produce and loan waivers.

9.18 am: Both the domestic benchmark indices have opened higher ahead of the Budget, with the BSE Sensex at 36,311.74 and the National Stock Exchange Nifty at 10,851.35.

9.15 am: Here’s some trivia: Indira Gandhi, the country’s only woman Prime Minister so far, was also the first woman finance minister to have presented the Budget. She had taken over after Morarji Desai resigned as the finance minister in 1969.

9.12 am: Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha says the government is committed to fiscal prudence and consolidation, according to The Economic Times. “Expect a vigorous and effective policy response to the farm distress issue,” he says.

9.09 am: The Parliament’s Budget Session, meanwhile, started on Thursday and will continue till February 13. This is the last session of Parliament before the Lok Sabha elections later this year.

9.05 am: Copies of the Budget have been brought to the Parliament, with Piyush Goyal set to present them at 11 am.

9 am: A favourable revision in the current tax exemption limits, less taxing fixed deposits and easing education loans are a few of the things that common citizens will seek from the Budget.

8.56 am: During the all-party meeting on Thursday, PM Narendra Modi informed opposition parties that the government will present an interim Budget. Earlier, media reports suggesting that the Centre intends to present a full budget had sparked condemnation by the Opposition.

8.55 am: The Union Cabinet, headed by PM Narendra Modi, is scheduled to meet at 10 am ahead of the Budget presentation in the Parliament.

8.50 am: Minister of State in the Finance Ministry, Shiv Pratap Shukla, expresses confidence that the popular Modi government will take care of everything in the Budget.

“We will do whatever is possible for the people,” ANI quotes him as saying. “We have always presented a good budget.”

8.40 am: Indian benchmark indices closed almost unchanged over a month-long period ending Thursday before the Budget is set to be presented, LiveMint reported.

8.35 am: A few important aspects to look out for in the Budget are the BJP-led government’s latest response to the jobs problem and farm distress, which have been critical issues for far too long and are starting to hurt the ruling party electorally.

Doubling farm incomes and giving houses to all by 2022 have been among the government’s top aims Budget after Budget, and may see new announcements this time too.

One of the government’s weak points has been its ability to contain its fiscal deficit – which represents how much more the government spends than it earns – within its targeted limit. Read our Budget preview to get a glimpse into the major issues that need to be tackled.

8.30 am: This is the last Budget of the Narendra Modi government’s current term, which ends in May. By convention, outgoing governments present an interim Budget of expenditure and receipts instead of a full one. Through an interim Budget, the government seeks the Parliament’s approval to spend money for a few weeks until its term lasts.

8.15 am: What is an interim Budget?

In a year when general elections are scheduled, the outgoing government presents the interim Budget. It is similar to the regular budget as the central government presents a full financial statement – its expenditure, receipts and projections for the fiscal year.

Here’s what you need to know about the timings and details of today’s interim Budget.

8 am: Interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal will present the Budget at 11 am today. An interim budget is usually passed by the Lok Sabha without discussion.

The Finance Ministry on January 30 announced that it will be the interim Budget. “The Budget will be called Interim Budget 2019-’20,” Ministry of Finance Official Spokesperson DK Joshi said. “We do not have any confusion on the matter.”

This Budget is Piyush Goyal’s first as finance minister. Arun Jaitley, who presented the previous four Budgets of the Narendra Modi government, is away for medical treatment in the United States.