Budget as poll slogan: Jai kisan, jai gareeb insaan, jai taxpayer

The BJP defeat in key state polls recently has more or less decided that the government would use the interim Budget as a vehicle to launch welfare schemes and sops.

BCCL
The BJP defeat in key state polls recently has more or less decided that the government would use the interim Budget as a vehicle to launch welfare schemes and sops.
An interim pre-poll Budget lived up to expectations and showered sops on various population segments which are going to matter for the ruling NDA in the next general elections. Interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal offered sops to farmers, the poor and the middle class in Interim Budget 2018, making it clear that his party is trying to please these significant voter groups in an election in which the party faces tough competition from regional parties.

The BJP defeat in key state polls recently has more or less decided that the government would use the interim Budget as a vehicle to launch welfare schemes and sops.

The first big-bang announcement is an income support scheme for poor farmers. Goyal announced a scheme called PM Kisan Samman Nidhi under which farmers owning up to two hectares will get Rs 6,000 per year.


The money will be transferred directly to accounts in three tranches. The scheme also counters Congress president Rahul Gandhi's promise of a universal basic income for the poor which he made just a few days before the Budget, trying to preempt the government which was expected to announce such a scheme.

The second big-bang announcement was a pension for the poor in the unorganised sector. The scheme targets a vast chunk of poor voters in urban as well as rural areas.

Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan will provide assured monthly pension of Rs 3,000, with contribution of Rs 100 per month, for workers in unorganized sector after 60 years of age.
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The third big-bang announcement targeted an entirely different voter group, the middle class. Goyal announced in his speech that there would be no tax till Rs 5 lakh income for individuals taxpayers. Since the middle class is traditionally seen as a dedicated supporter of the BJP, it was expecting a big relief from the government. A significant number of NOTA votes in some of the recent state polls indicated that this voter group could be alienting from the party. Doubling the tax exemption limit was a big sop the middle class was expecting to get.

With his Budget 2019, Goyal clearly highlighted the difference between a vote-on-account, which is just a permission to spend money for a few months, and an interim budget which stops short of all the accounting of a full Budget yet has enough scope for launching new schemes.

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