The Interim Budget presented earlier this month by Union Minister Piyush Goyal was passed in the Lok Sabha today amid a walkout by the Congress and the Left parties. The Budget that announced a massive direct cash transfer scheme worth Rs 75,000 for farmers was criticised by the Congress as having no real substance.
Among other announcements, the government also gave 100 per cent rebate for small taxpayers whose yearly earnings are up to Rs 5 lakh.
Finance Minister Piyush Goyal introduced the Appropriation Bill and the Finance Bill today amid protests by opposition members in the house by a voice vote.
The Bills were passed by voice vote after the Finance Minister's reply.
Mr Goyal said the government has worked for all sections of the society and has taken care of them in this Budget.
"The poor, farmers and the middle-class are the government's priorities. Our government was the first to increase minimum support price (MSP) for farmers," Mr Goyal said as his speech was interrupted by slogans from the opposition benches.
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said he was given only two minutes to speak.
The LS Speaker at first disallowed @INCIndia a second speaker on the Budget, but allowed @bjd_odisha one. He got five minutes. I was then grudgingly given two(2 minutes to debate the longest Interim Budget speech in history!)&my mike was cut off when I began. That's our democracy- Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) February 11, 2019
In the Interim Budget, the cash transfer benefit for farmers drew the most criticism - the Congress said Rs 6,000 a year was a tiny amount and an insult to farmers. Not much, however, has been said about the alterations in taxes for the salaried class, which include a complete exemption for people who earn less than Rs 5 lakh a year.
Another big announcement in the Interim Budget was for a "mega" pension programme for informal sector workers with income below Rs 15,000. The vast majority of the country's workers are employed in small enterprises, often with little job security and no social security benefits. This plan, the government said, will help them become financially stable.
"Congress-led UPA committed a breach of trust with the people of India. They did nothing for the poor," said Mr Goyal, adding that there is no accounting jugglery in the Budget for 2019-20 under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The overall expenditures in the Budget are at Rs 27.84 lakh crore, 13 per cent larger than the last year's figure. The expenditure for defence has been increased to Rs 3.05 lakh crore from Rs 2.85 lakh crore in 2018-19.