Highlights of Indian Union Budget 2019

India’s first Full time Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman began the Big Day (Budget Presentation) by breaking the Colonial ritual of carrying sophisticated briefcase for presenting budgets. Instead, she preferred a very traditional Indian version of book keeping by carrying Bahi-Khata (Ledger Book) wrapped in red colored four fold cloth with Indian National Emblem. In Modi led BJP government 2.0, the budget was starting with Chanakya’s quote – “Kaarya purusha kare na lakshyam sampa dayate” (If we have determined efforts, the task will surely be completed).

Union Budget 2019 in Bahi Katha format, an Indian traditional format

Finance Minister Mrs Nirmala Sitharaman proudly announced India has grown from US$ 1.85 Trillion Economy in 2014 to US$ 2.7 trillion Economy and on verge of finishing FY20 at US$ 3 trillion Economy. While speaking about India’s vision of becoming US$ 5 Trillion economy as many people are wondering and doubting if this can be achieved, she said “but if we trust the purusharth [hard work] of Indians and leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, this is easily achievable.” Finance Minister further said that the Narendra Modi government was able to add 1 trillion dollars to the Indian economy in the past five years.

Vision for next decade
Picture Courtesy: Kiran Salgaonkar

We will like to keep it crisp by focusing on key Union budget 2019 highlights in general and highlights for Non-Residential Indian (NRIs) in particular.

Key Budget Highlights for 2019-20

  • Vision to become ‘5 trillion’ Economy driven by ‘virtuous cycle’ of Investment
  • Focusing on rural India and thereby transforming rural lives through several measures
  • New Yojana announced – “Jal Shakti Mantralaya” (Water Ministry) to ensure water for every house
  • Enhancing the ease for taxpayers through reforms in direct taxes and also in Indirect Taxes.  Increase in tax collection by 78% from ₹6.4 lakh crore in 2013-14 to ₹11.4 lakh crore in 2018-19.
  • Harnessing India’s Space abilities.
  • Major focus on strengthening Infrastructure. Rs. 100 lac core invest in infrastructure in next 5 years
  • Custom duty on gold and other precious metals from 10% to 12.5% has been proposed
  • To discourage business payments in cash, Tax Deduction at Source of 2% to be levied on cash withdrawal exceeding Rs 1 crore in a year from a bank account.
  • Aadhar and PAN Card to be Interchangeable and one can file returns with just Aadhar card as well.

Budget Highlights (For NRI’s) –

  • Proposed Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) with Indian passports will get Aadhaar cards on their arrival in India. Earlier it used to take 180 days for NRI to get Aadhaar card.
    • However, as per the Aadhaar Act, NRIs are fully exempted to produce Aadhaar for any verification. NRIs were not eligible for Aadhaar card if they had not stayed for 182 days or more in the last 12 months, preceding the date of application, as per previous rule.
  • The Finance Minister has proposed to merge the NRI portfolio investment scheme route with FPI (Foreign Portfolio Investment) route.
  • Finance Minister has stated that annual global investors’ meet would be organised in India, using NIIF as the anchor to get key sets of global players to come and invest in India.
  • New Programme – “Study in India” will focus on bringing Foreign students to study in India’s Higher Educational Institutions.

Disclaimer: The data and details are sourced from Ministry of Finance. For more details, please visit, Ministry of Finance Website

Author: Riddhi Kothari Mehta, MSc Finance & Investment from Exeter University, UK, she has worked with Indian Domestic brokerage house as Equity Research Associate. Currently, Riddhi works Mehta Investment that offers one-stop solution for financial and Investment in digital mode.

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