In what was her maiden Budget presentation, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2019 in the Parliament today.
This Budget, which is also the first budget of the Modi 2.0 government, comes at a worrying time for the economy of the country.
With unemployment in the country at a 45-year high and the growth at a 5-year low, this year’s budget is an important step in rebuilding the economy after a slump in recent years.
In a speech that lasted over two hours, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman made several key announcements that are all aimed to reach the target of making India a $5 trillion economy, a target set by PM Modi after coming to power for his second term as the Prime Minister.
In order to reach this target, infrastructure growth is key and FM Nirmala Sitharaman recognized the same by focusing on the development of highways, waterways, and ports.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the Budget 2019 as one for the poor and the youth of India. He said, “Ye desh ko samridh aur jan-jan ko samarth banane wala Budget hai. Iss Budget se gareeb ko bal milega. Yuva ko behtar kal milega.”
Some of the major announcements were making PAN and Aadhaar interchangeable for filing income-tax returns, the introduction of One Nation One Card that can also serve as an ATM card and an additional tax deduction of Rs. 1.5 lakhs for interest payments on affordable housing loans.
Besides, there were several announcements in Budget 2019 that are sure to catch the attention of students and millennials. We bring to you some of the major ones –
- World-class higher educational institutes – With a focus on infrastructure being a common theme in this year’s budget, FM Nirmala Sitharaman proposed to allocate Rs. 400 crore for developing world-class higher educational institutes in the country. This is aimed at enabling more Indian institutes to feature in on international rankings.
- ‘Study In India’ – In order to make India a desirable place for education for international students, ‘Study In India’ scheme has been introduced. This will boost the number of international students in higher education institutes in India.
- Formation of ‘National Research Foundation’ (NRF) – To boost research and innovation in the country, Nirmala Sitharaman announced the formation of National Research Foundation to fund, coordinate and promote research.
- New Higher Education Commission – In order to monitor and regulate the higher educational institutes in the country, a new Higher Education Commission will be set up.
- Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana – To enable the youth to take up jobs overseas, focus on developing new age skills among the youth in fields such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and robotics is key and this led to the announcement of the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana.
- Gandhipedia – To sensitize the youth about positive Gandhian values, FM Nirmala Sitharaman announced that a ‘Gandhipedia’ is being developed.
- National Sports Education Board – A National Sports Education Board will be set up for the development of sportspersons under the Khelo India scheme. This will also help to popularize sports at all levels.
While there are plenty of reforms in the educational sector in the Budget, those looking for a job creation plan were left disappointed.
A detailed plan on creating jobs was anticipated, given the current state of unemployment in the country. This had led the Opposition to call the budget as ‘Maximum Intent, Minimum Content’.
What do you think of the budget as a student? Let us know in the comments below.
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Find the blogger at @manas_ED
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