Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday lauded the Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for having “vision and action”.
“The new reforms announced in the budget will work to accelerate the economy, financially empower every citizen of the country and strengthen the foundation of the economy in this decade,” the prime minister said in his address to the nation. “The government has announced many steps to push up employment in the country.”
Modi said the budget’s main focus was on sectors such as agriculture, infrastructure, textiles, and technology in order to increase employment opportunities. Under Blue Economy, the youth would also be provided new opportunities in fields such as fish processing and marketing, he added.
The prime minister said 16 action points were created to achieve the target of doubling farmers’ income by 2020, and increase employment in rural areas. The budget proposed to set up Kisan Rail through public-private partnership model so that perishable farm products are swiftly transported across India.
The taxpayer charter announced in the Budget would clarify their rights, Modi said. Nirmala Sitharaman announced significant cuts for individual taxpayers who choose to let go of exemptions and deductions. However, taxpayers who want to avail of the deductions may continue to pay taxes at existing rates.
Under the optional new tax regime, people earning between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 7.5 lakh annually will be taxed 10%, down from the existing rate of 20%. Taxpayers in the Rs 7.5 lakh-Rs 10 lakh bracket will be charged 15% instead of the current 20%, and those earning between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 12.5 lakh will have to pay 20% income tax – down from the existing 30% rate.
Taxpayers earning between Rs 12.5 lakh and Rs 15 lakh will be charged 25%, down from the current tax rate of 30%. However, those earning more than Rs 15 lakh will continue to pay 30% tax.
The prime minister said the budget would boost exports, and added that every district would be transformed into “an export hub”. The prime minister claimed that the proposal to build 100 airports would benefit every citizen, and said this infrastructure was significant for Indian tourism.
The prime minister said investment was the biggest driving force behind employment, and steps had been initiated to strengthen the bond market and finance for infrastructure. “The removal of DDT [dividend distribution tax] will provide companies with Rs 25,000 crore that will be further invested by them,” he added. “We believe in the citizen of India and there will be no need to audit firms with a turnover upto Rs 5 crore,” he said. “No CA certification would be needed. The limit was previously at Rs 1 crore.”