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Naveen Patnaik, Nitish Kumar welcome Budget, Punjab CM asks what about ‘unemployed youth'

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New Delhi, Feb 01: Reactions on the interim Budget presented by the Modi government are pouring in from all quarters. While many have praised the budget, the opposition leaders have stuck to criticism. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar welcomed direct income support of Rs 6,000 per annum to farmers announced in the Budget, while Punjab CM Amarinder Singh asked what about the unemployed youth.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik

While proposing the Interim Budget in Parliament on earlier in the day, Interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal rolled out the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme which would give direct income support of Rs 6,000 per annum to farmers who own less than two hectares of land.

"I welcome tax benefits for middle and lower income groups. I welcome direct benefit transfer to both small and marginal farmers on lines of our KALIA Scheme. However, it would have benefitted farmers more if the quantum of assistance is equal or more than KALIA Scheme," ANI quoted Patnaik as saying.

[Ghatabadhan leaders mock Interim Budget 2019]

"I welcome the decision to transfer Rs 6000 directly to farmers' accounts every year. It will strengthen the economic conditions of rural areas. Also, I welcome decision of tax rebate for taxpayers with annual income up to Rs 5 lakh. It will give relief to middle-class," said Nitish Kumar.

[Goyal hits back at Chidambaram, says most of the schemes were conceived way before elections]

Amarinder Singh slammed the Budget asking what has been done about the farmers who are in debt.

"I want to know what have they done for the problems of the farmers who are in debt about whom every minister including PM talks about. What have they done for unemployed youth? They are our future. The government should have thought about them," Singh told ANI.

Highlights of Budget 2019:

  • The government proposes to raise the income tax exemption limit to Rs 5 lakh. Individuals with gross income up to Rs. 6.5 lakh will not need to pay any tax if they make investments in provident funds and prescribed equities.
  • Piyush Goyal has announced Rs 6,000 per annum direct cash transfer to farmers owning less than 2 hectares of land. This initiative will benefit 12 crore small and marginal farmers to earn a respectable living.
  • Rs 60,000 crore has also been set aside for MGNREGA, the rural employment scheme.
  • Direct tax collections up from 6.38 lakh crore in 2013-14 to almost 12 lakh crore; tax base up from 3.79 crore to 6.85 crore. All income tax returns to be processed within 24 hours.
  • The gratuity limit has been increased from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 30 lakh crore.
  • Tax collection increased to Rs 12 lakh crore this year, returns filed to 6.85 crore.
  • Goyal also announced Rs 500-crore mega pension plan. Under the scheme, monthly pension of Rs 3,000 will be paid to after retirement.
  • The Finance Minister announced 8 crore free LPG connections under the Ujjwala Yojana.
  • Goyal announced 'Rashtriya Gokul Mission', with an increased allocation of Rs 750 crore in current year.
  • Defence budget for the first time has increased to Rs 3 lakh crore and additional funds will be provided. Over 100 operation airports in the country and domestic passenger traffic has doubled in last five years.
  • Pension scheme for unorganised sector workers with monthly income up to Rs. 15,000 will be given. Assured monthly pension of Rs. 3,000 after they retire on reaching 60.
  • Goyal announced a 10-year roadmap to improve ease of living and make India a pollution-free country by leading the world in transport and energy storage devices, bringing down dependency on imports for energy needs.

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