Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will be presenting an interim budget on February 1, 2019, ahead of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019. It is a conventional practice for the government to table an interim budget in the general election year. The interim budget 2019 is not likely to include the entire policy making for the upcoming fiscal year, however, it would envelop the government’s expenditure plan for the year.
It may be noted that in February 2014, former finance minister P.Chidambaram presented the interim budget on behalf of the UPA government. After the NDA formed the government, Arun Jaitley presented the Union budget on behalf of the NDA government.
Relief for tax payers
A. Income Tax Benefits: According to ET Now exclusive report, the government might announce income tax benefit for pensioners. The channel learned from its sources that FM Jaitley is still in conversation regarding income tax concession for the middle class and pensioners with the tax department. If announced, the decision will help the salaried and the middle-class population to save more money.
B. Housing loan interest concession: ET Now also learned from one of its sources who did not want to be named that the Finance Ministry is considering concessions on housing loan interest as well. This will prove to be a major relief for the middle class in the country who are repaying their home loans.
C. Savings limit hike: The sources further told ET Now that the government is also considering increasing the savings limit which is definitely going to benefit the middle class. The discussions are at an advanced stage reportedly but there is no confirmation yet. Savings limit hike along with Income tax benefits and concession on home loan interest will put more money in the hands of the salaried people and middle class for sure.
Aside from the above-mentioned agendas, job creation, incentives for MSMEs, farmer loan waiver are some other agendas that might be discussed. This budget session will likely to be the last budget session of the present Lok Sabha before general elections that are due in April-May. Worth mentioning here is that the interim budget will be highly critical for the Narendra Modi-led government as this would be the one-last opportunity with the government to introduce some populist measures before the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections.