Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the new Narendra Modi-led government’s first Budget on Friday.
Sitharaman said that India will become a $3-trillion economy in the current financial year, though she said structural reforms were needed to achieve its target of becoming a $5-trillion economy in the next few years.
Petrol and diesel prices will rise by Rs 2 per litre as the government proposed to increase both the Special Additional Excise Duty and Road and the Infrastructure Cess by Re 1 per litre on the two fuels.
Sitharaman proposed to make it possible to quote an Aadhaar number instead of a Permanent Account Number, or PAN, in cases such as filing income tax returns.
The minister announced a social stock exchange for social enterprises and voluntary organisations working for social welfare.
She proposed introducing Aadhaar identification for non-resident Indians on their arrival to India, instead of waiting for the required 180 days. Sitharaman also proposed providing Rs 70,000 crore capital in public sector banks to boost credit growth.
Regarding non-performing assets, Sitharaman said they have reduced by Rs 1 lakh crore in the last one year and that NPAs worth Rs 4 lakh crore were recovered in the last four years.
Here are the updates from the Budget speech:
3.22 pm: Sitharaman says she met former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh before the Budget, but that was only to seek blessings, and there was no discussion to seek any advice.
3.17 pm: Sitharaman says she did not use a leather bag to carry Budget documents because “it is high time we move on from the British hangover, to do something on our own”. “And well, easier for me to carry too,” she says.
3.08 pm: Sitharaman says that the government wanted to encourage electric vehicles in a significant way, and so the sops are meant to create jobs and promote investment in sunrise industries.
3.05 pm: “By bringing more industries into the lower tax bracket, we are sending a clear message that we are not being rigid as regards corporate tax rates,” Sitharaman says.
2.42 pm: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is addressing a press conference. She says the Budget’s emphasis was on the overall development of the economy, both rural and urban.
2.33 pm: Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala says the Budget is “utterly lacklustre, nondescript, uninspiring and directionless”.
“Can a mundane jugglery of ‘acronyms’ pass off for vision for a ‘New India’?” he asks.
Surjewala also says that the Budget does not have a roadmap to double farmers’ incomes, or any promise of a minimum support price, or any ways to tackle droughts or improve rural economy.
2.16 pm: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis says the Budget is visionary, and a manifestation of the PM’s dream to make India a $5-trillion economy.
2.11 pm: Home Minister Amit Shah says the Budget “lays the foundation of an inclusive and progressive nation”. The Budget “gives wings to India’s farmers, youngsters, women and poor to fulfil their dreams”, he tweets.
Shah says the Budget is futuristic, and provides a “coherent roadmap for sectors that will drive growth and innovation”.
2 pm: Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari says that the finance minister has given utmost priority to infrastructure in the making of “New India”.
1.55 pm: Narendra Modi says the Budget has a roadmap to transform the agriculture sector.
1.50 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says the Budget assures the nation that India is on the right course to reach its destination. He says the Budget is citizen-friendly, development-friendly and is a “green Budget”.
1.35 pm: The Sensex is down nearly 400 points after the speech. The Nifty 50 is down 120.65 points at 11,825.25.
1.10 pm: Nirmala Sitharaman concludes her Budget speech.
1.09 pm: The new target for fiscal deficit for 2019-’20 is 3.3%, instead of 3.4% earlier.
1.08 pm: Sitharaman proposes special additional excise duty of Re 1 per litre on petrol and diesel.
12.58 pm: Sitharaman announces increase in surcharge on individuals having taxable income above Rs 2 crore.
12.56 pm: To discourage the practice of making cash payments for business, the government will tax cash withdrawals of more than Rs 1 crore from one bank account within a year at 2% TDS.
12.53 pm: Sitharaman announces 5% duty on imported books.
12.51 pm: Sitharaman proposes to make PAN and Aadhaar “interchangeable”. This will allow those who do not have a PAN card to give their Aadhaar number whenever needed, including to file tax returns.
12.48 pm: Extra deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh for interest paid on loans taken up to March 31, 2020 for purchase of affordable housing of value of up to Rs 45 lakh, Sitharaman says. A deduction of Rs 2 lakh is already given.
12.45 pm: No scrutiny with respect to valuation of securities of start-ups, Sitharaman says.
12.44 pm: Sitharaman announces an additional income tax deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh on interest paid on loan taken to buy electric vehicles. Customs duty on certain parts of electric vehicles removed.
12.39 pm: Sitharaman proposes to extend the tax rate of 25% to companies with annual turnover of up to Rs 400 crore. It is currently applicable to companies with up to Rs 250 crore annual turnover. This will cover 99.3% of all the companies.
12.34 pm: Public sector banks will use technology, to enable customers of one bank to access service across all others as well, Sitharaman says.
12.33 pm: New coins, including a Rs 20 coin, will be brought to public use shortly, Sitharaman says. Coins of Re 1, Rs 2, Rs 5 and Rs 10 denominations will also be launched for public use.
12.33 pm: India’s sovereign external debt-to-GDP ratio is lowest globally at less than 5%, Sitharaman says.
12.29 pm: The government targets Rs 1.05 lakh crore disinvestment receipts for 2019-’20.
Strategic disinvestment of select Central Public Sector Enterprises will continue to be a priority, and strategic disinvestment of Air India will re-initiated, the minister says.
12.27 pm: Recovery of non-performing assets worth Rs 4 lakh crore made over the last four years, Sitharaman says. She adds NPAs have reduced by Rs 1 lakh crore in the last one year.
12.26 pm: Rs 100 lakh crore to be allocated for infrastructure over the next five years, says the finance minister.
12.20 pm: Sitharaman proposes providing public sector banks Rs 70,000 crore capital to boost credit for strong impetus to the economy.
12.16 pm: The government plans to enhance 17 iconic tourism sites into world-class tourist destinations, says the finance minister.
12.14 pm: Sitharaman proposes issuing Aadhaar for non-resident Indians with an Indian passport on their arrival to India, instead of waiting for the required 180 days.
12.13 pm: Sitharaman proposes to expand interest subvention programme for women’s self-help groups to all districts in India. Every verified woman SHG member with a Jan Dhan account, overdraft of Rs 5,000 will be allowed. One woman in every SHG will be eligible for a loan of Rs 1 lakh under Mudra scheme, the minister says.
12.09 pm: Stand Up India scheme to continue till 2025, Sitharaman says.
12.07 pm: LED bulbs have helped save Rs 18,341 crore annually, Sitharaman says.
12.04 pm: “We propose to start a TV programme on Doordarshan exclusively for start-ups...to promote them, discussing their growth issues, matchmaking with venture capitalists and for funding and tax planning,” Sitharaman says. “The channel will be designed and executed by start-ups themselves.”
12.03 pm: The government wants to streamline multiple labour laws into a set of four labour codes, says the finance minister.
12.02 pm: Study in India programme to bring foreign students to India in higher education, Sitharaman says.
12.01 pm: National Sports Education Board will be set up under Khelo India scheme, according to the finance minister.
12 pm: Draft law for setting up a Higher Education Commission of India will be brought in this year, says the minister.
11.58 am: Three institutions – two IITs and IISc Bengaluru – are now in top 200 in the world, from none five years back, Sitharaman says.
11.57 am: Funds available in all ministries will be integrated in National Research Foundation, Sitharaman says.
11.55 am: New national education policy will transform higher education system, says Sitharaman. She proposes to establish National Research Foundation to promote research and assimilate various research grants given by ministries.
11.54 am: Railways will be encouraged to invest more in suburban services, Sitharaman says.
11.53 am: Under urban housing scheme, Rs 4.83 lakh crore has been sanctioned for building 81 lakh houses, Sitharaman says.
11.51 am: In second phase of the rural housing scheme, 1.95 crore houses to be provided to eligible beneficiaries between 2019-’20 and 2021-’22, and they will all have amenities such as LPG, electricity and toilets, Sitharaman says.
11.50 am: Sitharaman says 9.6 crore toilets have been built since October 2, 2014. More than 5.6 lakh villages have become open defecation free. She proposes to expand Swachh Bharat Mission to undertake solid waste management in every village.
“Happy and satisfied to report that India will be made Open Defecation Free on October 2, 2019, as per the dream of PM,” says Sitharaman.
11.47 am: On drinking water security, Sitharaman says the Jan Shakti Ministry will work with states to ensure “har ghar jal” [each house has water] to all rural households by 2024 under Jal Jeevan Mission. The Jal Jeevan Mission will work on creation of local infrastructure for sustainability.
“We have identified 1,592 blocks which are critical and over-exploited in 256 districts for the Jal Shakti Abhiyaan,” says the minister.
11.46 am: “We will go back to basics, to zero-budget farming. Steps like these will help double farmers’ income by 2022,” Sitharaman says.
11.45 am: Ease of doing business and ease of living should apply to farmers too, Sitharaman says.
11.43 am: Sitharaman proposes 80 livelihood business incubators and 20 technology business incubators to produce 75,000 skilled entrepreneurs in the agro-rural industry.
A mission to integrate traditional artisans and their creative products with global markets to be launched.
11.42 am: “Everything we do, we keep gaon [village], gareeb [poor], kisan [farmer] as the central point of all our efforts,” says Sitharaman.
11.40 am: Under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, 1.25 lakh km of road length will be upgraded at a cost of Rs 80,250 crore, says Sitharaman.
11.39 am: The government will examine opening up FDI further in aviation and media,” Sitharaman says. “Local sourcing norms to be eased for single-brand retail FDI.”
11.37 am: “Average time to complete houses reduced to 314 days in 2015-’16 to 114 days now,” says Sitharaman on the rural housing scheme.
11.36 am: “By 2022, I’d like to assure the nation that every single rural family, except those unwilling to take the connection, will have electricity and clean cooking facility,” Sitharaman says.
11.35 am: “Credit Guarantee Enhancement Corporation will be set up in 2019-’20, and an action plan will be put in place to deepen markets for long-term bonds with specific focus on infrastructure sector,” Sitharaman says.
11.34 am: New Space India Limited has been incorporated as a commercial arm of Department of Space, says Sitharaman.
11.33 am: The finance minister says the government will create a blueprint for gas grids, water grids and regional airports.
11.32 am: Sitharaman proposes to extend pension benefits to around 3 crore retail traders and shopkeepers with an annual turnover less than Rs 1.5 crore under Pradhan Mantri Karam Yogi Man Dhan Scheme.
11.31 am: Several reforms to be undertaken to promote rental housing, Sitharaman says. “Current rental laws are archaic as they do not address lessor-lessee relationships fairly,” she adds.
11.30 am: The finance minister proposes a budget of Rs 350 crore in 2019-’10 for 2% interest subvention for all GST-registered entities on fresh or incremental loans.
11.29 am: Sitharaman says 100% FDI will be allowed for insurance intermediaries.
11.28 am: PPP to be used to unleash faster development and delivery of passenger freight services in Railways, says Sitharaman.
11.27 am: Sitharaman proposes Electronic Fundraising Platform, a “social stock exchange”, for social enterprises and voluntary organisations working for social welfare so that they can raise capital through debt, equity or mutual funds.
11.27 am: Sitharaman proposes measures for hassle-free investment experience for foreign portfolio investors.
11.26 am: Sitharaman says the government envisions using rivers for cargo transportation, which will also decongest roads and railways.
11.25 am: FAME II scheme aims to encourage faster adoption of electric vehicles by right incentives and charging infrastructure, Sitharaman says.
11.20 am: Sitharaman says Railways will require investment of Rs 50 lakh crore during 2018-’30.
11.19 am: Amount spent on food security doubled during 2014-’19 from previous five years, says Nirmala Sitharaman.
11.18 am: “Schemes such as Bharatmala, Sagarmala and UDAN are bridging rural-urban divide and improving our transport infrastructure,” says Sitharaman.
11.15 am: “It took us over 55 years to become a $1-trillion economy,” Sitharaman says. “But when the hearts are filled with hope, trust and aspiration, we in just five years, added $1 trillion.”
11.12 am: The Indian economy will grow to become a $3-trillion economy this year itself, says Sitharaman.
11.11 am: “India Inc – India’s job creators – are also India’s wealth creators,” the minister says. She adds she will announce a framework to “kickstart a virtuous cycle for investment”.
11.10 am: “The goal of $5-trillion economy is eminently achievable with citizens’ purusharth [human goals] and the leadership present in the House,” Sitharaman says.
11.09 am: “We need to invest infrastructure in digital economy and jobs in smaller firms,” Sitharaman says.
11.08 am: In terms of purchasing power parity, India is the third largest economy already, the minister says.
11.06 am: Sitharaman says that the Modi government provided “rejuvenated Centre-state federalism” in its first five years.
11.05 am: “The people of India have validated their two goals for our country’s future: national security and economic growth,” Sitharaman says.
11.03 am: Through their “unambiguous and firm mandate”, voters have “reaffirmed putting the nation first”, Sitharaman says.
11 am: Proceedings in Parliament begin. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will begin her speech shortly.
10.53 am: The Cabinet approves the Union Budget, ANI reports.
10.34 am: The Union Cabinet is meeting before the Budget is presented.
10.32 am: Copies of the Budget documents have been brought to the Parliament, reports ANI.
10.05 am: Sitharaman reaches Parliament for the Budget presentation.
9.52 am: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman meets President Ramnath Kovind before presenting the Union Budget, reports ANI.
9.50 am: The Sensex is up by 119.15 points at 40,027.21.
9.46 am: Chief Economic Adviser KV Subramanian says the Budget documents have been kept in a red cloth this time instead of the customary briefcase. “It is in Indian tradition,” he says, according to ANI. “It symbolises our departure from slavery of Western thought. It is not a budget but a ‘bahi khata’ [ledger].”
9.30 am: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur, Finance Secretary SC Garg, Chief Economic Adviser KV Subramanian and other officials are at the Finance Ministry, reports ANI.
9.20 am: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman arrives at the Finance Ministry at North Block, reports DD News.
9.15 am: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman arrives at the Finance Ministry at North Block, reports DD News.