Giving away to decades-old practice of presenting Interim Budget and Vote on Account, ahead of polls, Narendra Modi government is said to be preparing to present three key policy decision in the budget, keeping in view of forthcoming polls. The cabinet meeting today is likely to take a formal decision on these issues.
Normally, the Government seeks permission for expenditure for the months from April to July and doesn’t make any announcement over policy related matters. But this time, it is likely that the tradition will be broken as the Government has given many indications in this direction.
Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh has asked the farmers’ associations to wait, adding that this time, the Government will announce something big in the Budget. There is speculation that the Government might give direct benefit of subsidy per acre of land and up to Rs 2 lakh interest free loans to farmers. The Government is also mulling over the demand of pension for farmers.
The Government has also hinted that tax relaxation could be announced in the Interim Budget itself. At present, the tax relaxation limit is up to Rs 2.5 lakh; the Government might increase it. It is noteworthy that the Government has recently made a law to ensure 10 per cent reservation for the poor among forward classes.
To benefit from this reservation, one’s income should not be more than Rs 8 lakh per annum. That means if your income is up to Rs 8 lakh per annum and you are from a forward caste, you and your family can avail the benefits of reservation. But you will have to pay tax if your income is Rs 2.5 lakh, and at the same time, you will be considered poor if your income is Rs 8 lakh.
The third big decision might be over the minimum income. The Government is gearing up to execute the policy of universal basic income. Under this policy, the Government will transfer some amount to the accounts of the poor.
So, the Budget may be interim, wherein permission will be taken for the expenses of three months, but three big policy related announcements for farmers, middle class, and the poor might be made. The Opposition will certainly create ruckus, but it’s highly unlikely the Government will stop.