The interim budget of NDA government will outline the agenda of the ruling dispensation which has decided to bet big on farmers, women, middle class and youth in next Lok Sabha polls.
The government is preparing to announce a slew of other benefits especially for women and salaried tax payers, who are sizeable voters in the upcoming elections, besides some amelioration measures for the farm sector, sources in the finance ministry said.
For women, the major announcement is expected to be on maternity leave side, Government may announce a 100% tax cut on salary availed during maternity leave spanning six months, according to sources.
There are also indications that government will take care that message goes loud and clear that it has taken into account the demands of aspirational class while securing the rights of poor.
This year, there will be no Economic Survey, which comes out only in case of a full Budget. There will be no Finance Bill either, to give effect to the financial proposals of the government for the following financial year.
“The government will come out with a status report on the economy comprising three to four pages. It will be attached to the interim budget, which will also be a short and crisp document,” sources close to the preparation of this year’s exercise told DH, amid speculation that the government may choose to present a full Budget even if it is going to elections soon after.
However, the finance ministry has sought the full year central assistance requirement from various ministries, which will be presented to parliament saying if the government comes to power after elections, it will allocate this much money.
Sources said that the demand has come from Railways for about Rs 70,000 crore for 2019-20. Similarly, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has sought Rs 50,000 crore and the Rural Development Ministry has put forward a demand for Rs 5,000 crore towards MNREGA.
Parliament approves the interim budget and gives the government the right to spend till the full budget is passed by a new government in case of elections.
Investors, bond and equity markets, however, are keenly watching whether the government maintains the fiscal discipline and sticks to its fiscal deficit target. To take care of their worries, interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal may announce that his popularity measures will be funded through Centre’s asset monetisation and strategic disinvestment, which allows private sector to take part in government’s share sale of big companies.