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Modi government presents a budget with votes in mind

Published Wed, Feb 6, 2019 · 09:50 PM

THE annual Budget presentation in India is an eagerly awaited event. There is much speculation in advance about what its contents would be. Then there are the usual photo opportunities on the day of the Budget and numerous panel discussions on television channels after it is presented.

This year's Budget had the same build-up around it. However, it was different, as Budgets presented months before a particular government is to demit office are conventionally only "vote on account" and not a full Budget proposal for the whole year. This is the tradition as it is felt that the incumbent government should not tie down an incoming government with its taxation and other proposals over the year.

The 2019 Budget was presented on Feb 1. It is certainly not the conventional "vote on account". It has all the elements of a regular budget. It provides a full tax rebate scheme for earnings up to 500,000 rupees (S$10,000) annually. It also provides a tax saving to the salaried class through an increase in the standard deduction. This will cover about 30 million small taxpayers.

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