NEW DELHI :
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented her first Union Budget and also the first of Narendra Modi 2.0 governnment. She continued with the tradition of using poetry and couplets while presenting the budget. She began her Budget presentation by reciting a few lines of an Urdu poem written by the late Manzoor Hashmi. "yakeen ho to koi raasta nikalta hai, hawa ki ot bhi le kar charagh jalta hai," the finance minister said before reading out the speech.
Here are 10 takeaways from Nirmala Sitharaman's Budget 2019 speech:
1) PAN card, Aadhaar interchangeable for filing income tax returns (ITR)
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the decision to make PAN and Aadhaar cards interchangeable soon. PAN and Aadhaar have been made interchangeable, allowing those who do not have PAN to file income tax returns (ITR) . This means that taxpayers will need either Aadhaar card or PAN card to file their ITR.
2) Measures to make India a more attractive FDI destination
FDI in sectors like aviation, media (animation, AVGC) and insurance sectors can be opened further after multi-stakeholder examination. Nirmala Sitharaman said the government will likely permit 100% FDI for insurance intermediaries. She also said the government will look at local sourcing norms for FDI in single-brand retail.
3) Towards a $5 trillion economy
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman opened her speech with a target of making India a 5-trillion-dollar economy. She said that the goal was “imminently achievable" in the next few years. She said India took 50 years to become a $1 trillion economy. The Indian economy was at $1.85 trillion five years back, she added. "We have now reached the $2.7-trillion-mark and would become a $3 trillion economy in the current year," she said.
4) ‘Har Ghar Jal’
Announcing the Jal Jeevan Mission to provide potable water to every rural household by 2024, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget speech said providing safe drinking water to all parts of the country remains a priority. The government has formed a new ministry, Jal Shakti, to address water issues which will look at the management of water resources and drinking water supply in a holistic manner, Sitharaman said.
5) Digital push
The focus on digital payments will be done through multiple means of incentivizing digital transactions as well as penalizing use of cash beyond a limit, according to the first budget speech of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. To discourage the practice of making business payments in cash, the government has proposed to levy a 2% tax at source on cash withdrawals exceeding ₹1 crore in a year from a bank account. Moreover, business establishments with annual turnover of more than ₹50 crore will need to offer low cost digital modes of payments like BHIM UPI, UPI-QR Code, Aadhaar Pay, debit cards, NEFT and RTGS to their customers.
6) Petrol, diesel
Petrol and diesel would be dearer by about ₹2 per litre, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced in her budget speech. She said crude prices have softened from their highs and it gives her room to review excise duty and cess on petrol and diesel. Nirmala Sitharaman has also hiked the customs duty on gold and other precious metal from existing 10 per cent to 12.5 per cent.
7) Corporate tax
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed to raise the annual turnover limit from ₹250 crore to ₹400 crore for availing a lower corporate tax rate of 25%. The proposal would cover 99.3 per cent of the companies operating in the country, she said while presenting Union Budget 2019-20 in the Lok Sabha. She further said only 0.7 per cent of the companies will now remain outside the 25 per cent corporate tax bracket.
8) Boost to Electronic Vehicles
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced tax sops for loans taken to buy electric vehicles in the union budget. This is to make electric vehicles affordable to consumers. The government has proposed additional income tax benefit of ₹1.5 lakh on interest on loan taken for electric vehicle purchase.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her maiden Budget speech on Friday proposed many changes in income tax provisions for this year but kept income tax slab rates unchanged. The government also announced 2% TDS on cash withdrawal on amount exceeding ₹1 crore in a year. Annual cash withdrawals over ₹1 crore to be taxed at 2 per cent.
10) Budget for women
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said that to encourage further participation of women, entrepreneurs interest subvention scheme will be extended to every district. The government has also proposed to focus on skilling youth on skill sets including foreign languages, 3D printing to make them eligible for jobs abroad.
Watch | Budget 2019-20: Income tax proposals and how they impact you