The Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the budget for 2019-20 which was then presented by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for the Modi 2.0 government. The primary focus of the budget is the growth of women, youth and rural areas.

The finance minister said, “From 1.85 trillion dollars in 2014, the economy has reached 2.7 trillion US dollars; we can very well reach 5 trillion dollars in the next few years.”

Let’s take a look at some of the most crucial takeaways from the Budget 2019-2020:

  1. Affordable housing: Relief to those seeking affordable housing options. An additional income tax deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh on home loans for affordable houses (costing below Rs 45 lakh) to be implemented.
  2. PMAY: 1.95 crore homes to be constructed under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna (rural scheme).
  3. Taxing the rich: Individuals belonging to the highest income brackets will continue contributing to the national development. 3% surcharge on individuals with Rs 2 crore income; 7% on Rs 5 crore income and above.
  4. Gold and Fuel to get dearer: Custom duty on Gold and other precious metals to be increased from 10 to 12.5%. An additional cess of Rs 1 to be levied on Diesel and Petrol.
  5. Women empowerment: Nari tu Narayani, Women SHG Interest Subvention Programme to be expanded to all the districts in India. Every verified female SHG member with a Jan Dhan account can avail Rs.5000 overdraft facility.
  6. Personal income tax rates remain unchanged.
  7. Corporate tax: Companies having turnover up to Rs 400 crore will have 25% corporate tax applied to them; covering 99.3% of the corporate India.
  8. Electric Vehicles to get cheaper: The government has proposed lowering the GST on EVs from 12% to 5%.
  9. Change in education: ‘Study in India will help attract foreign students to the country’ stated the Finance Minister. National Sports Education Board will set up the Khelo India Scheme and Rs 400 crore will be invested in world-class higher education institutions in FY 2020.
  10. A salute to Mahatma: Gandhipedia is being developed to educate & sensitise the youth about Mahatma Gandhi’s ideas.
  11. Special focus on sanitation: The minister proudly stated that India will be 100% open defecation free by Oct 2nd 2019. A Rashtriya Swachhata Kendra will be inaugurated in Raj Ghat.
  12. PAN and AADHAR now interchangeable: Those without PAN cards can use AADHAR for ITR filing. Wait time on issue of AADHAR cards will be reduced for NRIs from the current 180 days period.

The budget has set the ball rolling for India’s growth as a 5 Trillion dollar economy in the next few years. The budget has also touched upon important areas of growth such as improved infrastructure, connectivity, electricity connections, affordable housing, women empowerment, education and sanitation.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was seen with her red ‘Bahi Khata’ for the first time instead of a briefcase which is an image that one will remember! With the proposed changes in affordable housing, tenancy and rental housing, the demand for affordable projects is sure to get a new impetus.

How does the budget affect you?