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Budget 2019: Modi govt may have big surprises for middle class, startups, farmers

BusinessToday.In     February 1, 2019

Budget 2019: Union Finance Minister Piyush Goyal is about to present Budget 2019 in an hour. Speculations are rife that the government will make numerous announcements in its outgoing Budget. According to government sources, the Budget is expected to be more or less for the middle class, farmers, startups, and the poor.

1. Firstly, the income tax exemption limit is expected to be enhanced from the existing Rs 2.5 lakh from Rs 3 lakh, say sources. Given the rise in the cost of borrowing of property and surge in property prices, the current deduction limit of interest paid on the home loan by home buyers (i.e. Rs 2 lakh a year) is too low to cover the amount of interest paid. Hence, the government is about to increase this limit from Rs 2 lakh to at least Rs 2.5 lakh, the government source added. This will see the taxable income of home buyers coming down.

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2. The government is also likely to increase the limit on standard reduction to Rs 50,000 from the current Rs 40,000. Considering the agri distress in the country, and displeasure among farmers, there will be several announcements for farmers. The first among them is likely to be the interest rate exemption of Rs 2 lakh for the farmers who are able to repay loan in time.

3. As for the Prime Minister's Crop Insurance Scheme, the government is likely to bear the burden of the premium on the crop insurance. In light of Congress President Rahul Gandhi promising minimum income guarantee (MIG) for every household, the BJP is under pressure to offer something substantial. Sources say the BJP government is expected to announce a roadmap for a universal basic income scheme under which every individual in the country will be entitled to a certain amount of financial help.

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4. Besides, the start-up sector has long been demanding the slashing of Angel Tax. Their demand is going to be fulfilled. Several startups have raised concerns over levying taxes on angel funds under Section 56 and 68 of the Income Tax Act, which provides for taxation of such money received by an entity. The government is planning to do away with the Angel Tax on start-ups.

5. The Budget allocation for the government's ambitious Ayushman Bharat Yojana is likely to be increased to Rs 7,400 crore in FY20 from Rs 2,400 crore allocated in FY19. Dubbed as ModiCare, the central government scheme provides free healthcare insurance of Rs 5 lakh for the poor.

6. The government may also announce Rs 53,000 crore for the healthcare sector. It will announce the opening of 10,000 new wellness centres, say sources. Besides, Union Finance Minister Piyush Goyal could also increase the Budget allocation for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) to Rs 60,000 crore from Rs 55,000 crore last year.

Edited by Manoj Sharma

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