Union Budget 2019: Government's Last Chance To Score Before Polls

Union Budget 2019: Government

Union Budget 2019: Government's Last Chance To Score Before Polls 

New Delhi: The interim budget will be presented by Union Minister Piyush Goyal, today.  The interim budget comes before the National elections, due by May and is widely expected to replicate a full budget with big announcements to win over the masses. After facing defeat in the heartland states, it is the last chance for the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party to cover its bases. It has been anticipated that the government might consider a cash handout and a monthly income programme for farmers even though it will cost the exchequer amid slowing growth and shrinking revenue collections. Tax relief proposals may also be announced. The government, on Thursday, went into damage control mode as a yet-to-be-released report said unemployment was at a four-decade high in 2017-18.

Here's 10 Points:

1. It has been anticipated that to ease the fiscal deficit target from 3.3 per cent of GDP for 2018-19. The government is likely to miss its target for fiscal deficit - which occurs when government revenue falls short of its expenditure - for the current financial year. Any upwards revision would mark the third consecutive deviation from the fiscal consolidation roadmap. 

2. The economists will closely observe the government's GDP growth projections for the coming years. On Thursday, the government evening revised upwards its growth estimates for the two years since demonetisation -- 2017-18 and 2016-17 -- to 7.2 per cent and 8.2 per cent.

3. Its target for Goods and Services Tax collections will also be monitored. The government, which aimed to achieve GST collections worth Rs. 12.9 lakh crore in 2018-19, might have to lower its GST revenue target for the coming year.

4. It has also been expected by the government to announce a further increase of about 10 per cent in the farm credit target. The target for 2019-20 is expected to be a record Rs. 12 lakh crore. The government had increased the farm credit target by 10 per cent, to Rs. 11 lakh crore from Rs. 10 lakh crore, in the last Budget.

Union Budget 2019: Government

5. The Centre is also anticipated to allocate about Rs. 1.8 lakh crore for food subsidies in 2019-20.

6. According to news agency Reuters, cash relief package for the farmer - announced by the government earlier - could run to at least Rs. 1 lakh crore.

7. Other than the farming sector, any announcement by the finance minister about the struggling banking sector will be watched closely. The government expects commercial banks to recover Rs. 70,000 crore in bad loans by the end of March.

8. The government is also notable announcements can be expected on availability of credit to the MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) sector.

9. State-run banks - struggling with stressed assets worth Rs. 11 lakh crore - have agreed to step up their efforts to finance the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, aimed at securing housing for all by 2022.

10. Another report from Reuters state that, a capital infusion worth Rs. 4,000 crore is expected for public sector general insurers.