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Budget 2020 LIVE: Wanted to place money in hands of middle & lower middle classes, says Nirmala Sitharaman

This will be one of the most challenging budgets for the government as it comes at a time India's growth is expected to plunge to a 11-year low of 5 per cent in 2019-20. Follow the live updates here.

Budget 2020 LIVE: Wanted to place money in hands of middle & lower middle classes, says Nirmala Sitharaman
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addressing the post-budget press conference in New Delhi | Twitter: @DG_PIB

New Delhi: Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman is presenting her second budget and Narendra Modi government’s seventh full budget this morning.

This will be one of the most challenging budgets for the government as it comes at a time India’s growth is expected to plunge to a 11-year low of 5 per cent in 2019-20, led by a slump in consumption and investment.

Follow the live updates here:

03:31pm: We wanted to place money in the hands of the people, particularly the middle and lower middle classes. Also wanted to simplify income tax process, increase compliance, says Nirmala Sitharaman, addressing the media.

03:16pm: Home Minister Amit Shah says Budget will “further Modi govt’s resolve to make India a 5 trillion-dollar economy”.

03:01pm: Defence budget without pensions sees an abysmal rise of just 1.82 per cent in comparison to revised estimate for last year.

02:46pm: ThePrint’s Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta takes questions on the Budget speech by Nirmala Sitharaman.

02:41pm: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal said Delhi does not figure in BJP’s priorities.

02:39pm: TMC leader Derek O’Brien slammed the Union Budget over removal of tax exemptions and questioned the move.

02:37pm: Proposed new income tax slabs may not be popular. Tax payers will have to forego Rs 1.5 lakh savings deduction under section 80 (C), Rs 2 lakh interest deduction on home loans, and deductions from house rent allowance and leave travel allowance if they opt for the new tax slabs.

02:23pm: “The main issue facing is unemployment. I didn’t see any strategic idea that would help our youth get jobs,” said Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to news agency ANI.

02:17pm: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Saturday announced a task force to provide recommendations on the appropriate age for women to become mothers. Read more:

In Budget 2020, govt sets agenda to revise motherhood age to curb maternal mortality

01:51pm: Stay tuned for our live Q&A on the Budget speech with economist Ila Patnaik and ThePrint’s managing editor Y.P. Rajesh.

01:50pm: Sensex and Nifty are both down by 1.6% as Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman ends Budget speech. Stock markets are obviously disappointed by the budget.

01:48pm: Sitharaman speech skips defence sector.

01:44pm: Union Budget 2020 passed. Speaker adjourns House.

01:43pm: Sitharaman introduces Finance Bill.

01:42pm: Sitharaman tells the Speaker to consider the remaining pages read.

01:41pm: Sitharaman proposes health cess to achieve twin objectives of boosting industry and creating infrastructure for health services.

01:40pm: Sitharaman pauses for a few seconds to drink water. Jokes she has only two more pages to go.


ThePrint Illustration by Soham Sen

01:34pm: Aadhaar-based verification of tax payers is being introduced.

01:32pm: Direct taxes are at the lowest and simplest, says Sitharaman.

01:31pm: New system will make registration of PAN easier.

01:30pm: Proposes to amend Income Tax Act to mandate CBDT to adopt a Tax payers Charter. Details of the charters will be notified soon.

01:27pm: Sensex and Nifty both fall sharply, down by more than 1% as FM Sitharaman’s budget speech extends to almost 2.5 hours.

01:24pm: Income generated by charities will be fully exempted and donations will avail deductions.


01:18pm: Tax holiday for developers of affordable housing projects.

01:15pm: The lower corporate tax rate of 15% for manufacturing companies extended to companies in electricity generation business.

01:12pm: Sitharaman says the govt has removed 70 exemptions and deductions with a view to further simplify tax regime.

01:10pm: A person earning Rs 15 lakh per annum and not availing any deductions will pay Rs 1.95 lakh tax in place of Rs 2.73 lakh deductions under the proposed new income tax system.

01:09pm: The new proposed tax slabs will be voluntary for taxpayers who forego any deductions.

01:08pm: Under the new tax slabs, the rates are as follows:
Rs 0 – upto Rs 2.5 lakh: Tax exempted
Rs 2.5 lakh – Rs 5 lakh: Remains at 5%
Rs 5 lakh – Rs 7.5 lakh: Currently 20%, will reduce to 10%
Rs 7.5 lakh – Rs 10 lakh: Currently 20%, will reduce to 15%
Rs 10 lakh – Rs 12.5 lakh: Currently 30%, will reduce to 20%
Rs 12.5 lakh – Rs 15 lakh: Currently 30%, will reduce to 25%
Above Rs 15 lakh: Remains at 30%

01:07pm: Government introduces new personal income tax slabs but subject to foregoing certain exemptions.

01:06pm: Sitharaman recites a verse by Kalidasa to says collection of tax is done in trickles from the people but multiplies manifold.

01:03pm: Corporate tax at 15% is the lowest in the world, says Sitharaman


12:59pm: Fiscal deficit estimated at 3.8 per cent in 2019-20 and 3.5 per cent in 2020-21.

12:58pm: Sitharaman says govt estimates GDP growth at 10%. Sparks another ruckus in Parliament.

12:57pm: Life insurance corporation will be listed, says Sitharaman.

12:55pm: Govt also proposes amendments to facilitate separation of govt pension trust from PFRDA.

12:53pm: Scheme to provide subordinate debt for entrepreneurs of MSMEs to be introduced.

12:52pm: Govt has asked RBI to extend debt restructuring window for MSMEs by a year to 31 March 2021, says Sitharaman.

12:50pm: Sitharaman says a robust mechanism is in place to monitor health of banks, and assured depositors’ money is absolutely safe.


ThePrint Graphic by Soham Sen

12:47pm: On the financial sector, Sitharaman says a clean and robust sector is critical. Says the financial architecture should keep evolving.

12:44pm: Growing need for an Indian statistical system to meet the challenges of real time monitoring of our complex economy, says Sitharaman.

12:42pm: Government to sell off its remaining 49% stake in IDBI Bank to retail and institutional investors. Comes at a time IDBI bank has become a cash guzzler due to rising NPAs.

12:39pm: Sitharaman says a tax payers charter will be instituted this year to reassure citizens that they will be free of tax harassment.

12:35pm: 90 minutes into the budget speech and and nothing to cheer them yet, stock markets remain flat.

12:30pm: Opposition creates a ruckus as Sitharaman says PM Modi has addressed the 5 jewels. An MP yells ‘Shaheen Bagh’ as Sitharaman talks about aspirational India and good governance under Modi.

12:27pm: Sitharaman cites Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar on the ‘5 jewels’ that make a good country — no epidemics, wealth, good crop produce, happiness and national security.


12:23pm: Govt to develop 5 archaeological sites with on-site museums. These include Hastinapur in UP, Rakhigarhi in Haryana, and Shiv Sagar in Assam.

12:21pm: The maritime museum will be set up by the ministry of shipping. Govt sets aside Rs 3150 crore for the ministry of culture.

12:20pm: Sitharaman says Budget 2020 will provide Rs 53,700 crore for Scheduled Tribes in 2021, and Rs 85,000 crore for Scheduled Castes and other backward classes.

12:19pm: Govt earmarks Rs 28,600 crore for women specific programmes and Rs 35,600 crore for nutrition schemes

12:18pm: Speaker interrupts Sitharaman to address the MPs disrupting the finance minister’s speech, and says they will get time later to speak.

12:16pm: Girls are benefiting under the Beti Padhao scheme, says Sitharaman. Sparks an uproar from the Opposition.

12:13pm: Sitharaman says gross enrollment of girls across all levels of education has been higher than boys.

12:12pm: Sitharaman begins speaking about Beti Padhao Beti Bachao, says the scheme has produced tremendous results. Opposition kicks up a fuss.”Sir, if you hear the data, I think it’s important not politicise issues related to women,” says Sitharaman.

12:11pm: BharatNet, the govt’s flagship scheme to provide internet in villages, will connect 1 lakh gram panchayat this year.

12:10pm: Objective is to incorporate use of data in every step of value chain. Public institutions and gram panchayats along with police stations, government schools and post offices will be provided with digital connections.

12:09pm: Govt proposes policy to enable private sector to build data centre parks across India.


12:03pm: Sitharaman says govt planning more high speed Tejas-type trains to connect tourist spots.

12:02pm: Noting that the Indian Railways provides a service to the coutry, Sitharaman says govt has decided on 5 measures to boost its operations.

11:58am: Within 100 days, the govt has commissioned 550 WiFi facilities at railway stations and aims to achieve electrification of 27,000 kms of railway tracks.

11:57am: Steps for encouraging exports announced by FM Sitharaman. The scheme will provide higher export credit, better insurance cover and will be launched this year.

11:56am: In order to provide quality education, govt proposes to start degree level online education programme by institutions ranked within top 100.

11:55am: Steps will be taken for FDI in education soon, says Sitharaman.

11:53am: Govt proposes a National Technical Textile Mission with an estimated outlay of Rs 1,480 crore.

11:50am: FM Sitharaman begins speaking on economic development. She will address issues like industry, commerce and private investment.


ThePrint Graphic by Soham Sen

11:48am: SItharaman says govt proposes a national Police University and national forensic science university

11:47am: To tap into the huge demand for teachers, nurses, paramedical staff and caregivers abroad, the government proposes a bridge course to improve skills.

11:46am: Sitharaman talks about the health sector now. Says Rs 69,000 crore has been allocated, inclusive of the Rs 6,400 crore for the govt’s flagship scheme, Ayushman Bharat.

11:45am: Govt proposes to start a programme through which urban local bodies will provide internships for young engineers.

11:44am: Govt allocates Rs 12,300 crores for Swachh Bharat this year.

11:43am: By 2030, India is set to have the largest working-age population in the world. A New Education Policy (NEP) will be announced soon, she says.

11:37am: Rural Development & Panchayati Raj together get a budgetary allocation of Rs 1.23 lakh crore.

11:36am: NABARD refinance scheme will be expanded, announces Sitharaman.

11:35am: FM Nirmala Sitharaman talks of multiple steps to address farm distress. Rural & agrarian crisis has been a cause of concern for the Modi govt, both politically & electorally.

11:34am: Half an hour into the budget speech and Sensex and Nifty recover, return to the green by 0.08 per cent.

11:32am: Krishi Udaan will be launched by the Civil aviation, says Sitharaman.

11:31am: Sitharaman says PM Kisan Urja Suraksha Utthaan Mahaabhiyan (PM-KUSUM) will expand to 20 lakh farmers for setting up solar pumps. Farmers with barren land will get help to set up solar plants from which electricity can be sold to the grid.

11:30am: Zero budget natural farming to be strengthened says FM Sitharaman

11:27am: Sitharaman’s budget speech has so far been focused on alleviating rural distress. This will be key to revive rural demand and help arrest decelerating economic growth.

11:23am: Of the 16 action points, Sitharaman says the govt is proposing measures for 100 water-stressed districts.

11:21am: Sitharaman says the government has come up with 16 action points.

11:20am: Sitharaman begins elaborating on the three themes of the Budget. Says under Aspirational India, the Budget will cover rural, water and sanitation, and education.

11:19am: Reciting a poem in Kashmiri, Sitharaman says India is like the blooming lotus in the Dal lake. She adds the Budget and everything the government does, under PM Modi’s leadership, is for this “” (beloved country).

11:16am: Sitharaman says Budget is woven around three themes ⁠— aspirations, economic development and a caring society.

11:15am: The Indian spirit of entrepreneurship has inspired us, says Sitharaman.

11:05am: “Only through higher growth can we achieve the aspirations of people,” says Sitharaman, adding that this budget is for youth, SC/ST and women.

11:04am: Sitharaman says fundamentals of the economy are strong and inflation has been well contained.

11:03am: Nirmala Sitharaman begins presenting Budget 2020.

11am: Parliament session begins. Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla welcomes Nirmala Sitharaman to speak.

10:51am: Budget presentation is set to begin at 11am.

10:45am: Chief Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala hopes the Union Budget will provide relief to the salaried class through tax cuts and invest in rural India.

10:35am: When Sitharaman presents the Union Budget 2020, she will outline fiscal steps that may include higher spending in rural areas and possible tax cuts. The government is expected to widen its budget deficit target for the year through March to 3.8% of gross domestic product from a planned 3.3%.

10:17am: Broader NSE Nifty shed 73.70 points, or 0.61 per cent, to finish at 11,962.10.

10:15am: Sensex tumbles over 200 points in opening session ahead of the release of the Union Budget. After shedding 279 points in early trade, the 30-share BSE index was trading 124.96 points or 0.31 per cent lower at 40,598.53, and the broader NSE slipped 23.10 points, or 0.19 per cent, to 11,939, PTI reported.

09:30am: Nirmala Sitharaman stands for photos with her team from the finance ministry with her red Sitharaman broke from tradition last year, replacing the briefcase her predecessors used with the four-fold cloth folder.

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