This year’s Union Budget with its sincerity towards income tax sops, although gender-neutral, is optimistic. However, comparing to the Arun Jaitley’s Budget last February, has it given women quite a bit to cheer? Let’s have a look.

Piyush Goyal on Friday, presented his maiden Budget in the Lok Sabha and opened the doors for a tax relieved India. In the “Interim Budget”, he outlined the government’s proposed design for 2030, promising a lot for citizens particularly with extensions of some schemes and tax benefits. The announcements also came in with a slightly impactful vision for women across income classes. Needless to say, women had expected more gender-sensitive measures.

Key Takeaways from the Budget:

  • Farmers to receive Rs 6000/year under PM Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme
  • Full tax rebate for income up to Rs 5 lakh
  • At least eight crore free LPG connections under Ujjwala scheme
  • Budget announces mega pension scheme for unorganised sector
  • Expanding rural industrialisation
  • Around 15.56 lakh loans sanctioned under Mudra Yojna. 75% of beneficiaries under PM Mudra Yojana are women.
  • The 16.53 crore loans have been disbursed under Mudra Yojana, and that Rs 7.23 lakh crore have been disbursed through the scheme. A two per cent interest subvention for MSMEs with loans up to Rs 1 crore is announced.
  • Job seekers have become job giver, Goyal said listing out schemes such as Stand Up India and Start Up India.
  • An AI portal will be developed soon.
  • 25 per cent of sourcing for government projects will be from MSME, of which three per cent will be from women entrepreneurs.

TAX

Individual taxpayers with income up to Rs 5 lakh taxable income will get a full tax rebate, Mr Goyal announced.

The announcement of the tax slabs is a relief to the middle-class taxpayers. Working women would have an increase in disposable income and hence discretionary consumption.

According to last year’s ‘Monster Salary Index’ (MSI), Indian women earned a median gross hourly salary of only Rs 184.8, 20% less than men.

So now plenty of women stand to benefit since the income tax exemption limit went up from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.

“The daycare facilities are also expensive. To ensure that the working/salaried couples can easily depend on daycare facilities and the expenses are not burdensome to them, deduction of the actual expenditure incurred by the individual or if the expenses are borne fully/partly by the employer, then the same should not be treated as perquisite in the hands of employees,” said Homi Mistry is Partner, Deloitte India to Business Today.

Digitized Rural India

Taking forward the Digital India programme, now villages are being converted to Digital Villages. We will make one lakh digital villages in the next five years, the Minister said.

Jan Dhan Aadhar Mobile Scheme announced. Under this Jan Dhan accounts, Mobile numbers and Aadhar cards will be linked.

GAS

The government has given six crore free cooking gas connection. By the end of the next year, eight crore households will be given cooking gas connections.

Unemployment Issues

The minister also talked about the unemployment issue raised by the recent  NSSO data stating that the unemployment rate in India for the year 2017-18 is at a 45-year high, at 6.1%, according to a report by Business Standard. Explaining further on the surveys, Goyal said:

  • More jobs are created. The NSSO report on employment will be presented soon.
  • EPFO membership has gone up by two crore in five years, indicating formalisation of the economy. In the last five years, all classes of workers saw a 42 per cent increase in wages which is highest so far, he added.

See the Highlights here

Piyush Goyal said by 2024 India will have housing for all, will be free from corruption, communalism and nepotism.

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