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Union Budget 2020 Live Updates: India to sell stake in the state-owned insurance giant Life Insurance Corporation of India

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has met the president and will now meet the cabinet before presenting the budget. She's accompanied by the Minister of State (finance), Anurag Thakur. She went to the Finance Ministry in the morning and was seen carrying the "traditional" but not unusual "Bahi Khata" which is a ledger, a record of all financial transactions.
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12:35 PM
National Security is country's top priority, says finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman
12:12 PM
₹1.7 lakh crore allocated for transport infrastructure
Setting up a large solar power capacity alongside the rail tracks on the land owned by the railways, is a proposal under consideration. 150 trains under the PPP mode. More Tejas type trains will connect iconic tourist destinations. Central government will give 20% of the funds needed for a suburaban rail transport system in Bengaluru. 100 more airports will be set up in the next five years.
12:08 PM
Big reform to benefit power consumers
Propose to replace traditional meters with digital meters in the next three years. This will allow consumers to port out of a service provider (selling power) just like they port out of mobile service provider. Competitive pressure to increase on companies like Tata Power and Adani Power.
12:04 PM
Total allocation for agriculture Rs.2.8 lakh crore
Encourage state governments that will implement the following model laws that have already enacted by the centre. Propose comprehensive measures for 100 water-stressed districts. Expand outlay for solar pumps to 20 lakh farmers, another 15 lakh farmers to pumpsets to solar grid. Farmers if they have barren lands, they can set up solar power plants and sell it to the grid.
11:58 AM
Boost for exporters
A new scheme Nirvik, for higher insurance cover, reduction in premium for small exporters, and simplified claim process, including digital refund process to help exporters.
11:47 AM
India to start IND-SAT exam for Asian and African students
11:47 AM
India's education sector has been allowed to borrow money abroad -- stocks like MT Educare and Career Point surge over 3.5%
By 2030, India is set to have the world's largest working-age population. They need education, skills, and employment opportunities. Our education system needs more money to attract better teachers and to set up better labs. Open the education sector to external commercial borrowing. In order to provide quality education to the under privileged, a full-fledged online courses will be launched from the top 100 institutions in India. Under 'Study In India' programme, a new INSAT exam to be launched for foreign students to enrol into Indian universities.
11:47 AM
Government to promote "Study In India"
11:23 AM
Committed to double farmer income by 2022
11:23 AM
6.11 cr farmers enrolled under "PM Fasal Bima Yojana"
11:18 AM
Reforms aimed at yielding more space for the private sector
11:16 AM
Three Prominent budget themes, Aspirational India, Economic Development and a caring society
11:16 AM
We have added 60 lakh new taxpayers via GST introduction
11:15 AM
We are introducing a new simplified system of GST starting April 1, 2020
11:15 AM
India is the fifth largest in the economy, says Finance Minister
During 2014-19, Indian economy grew at an average of 7.4% with low inflation. India's foreign direct investment was $284 billion between 2014 an 2019 compared to $190 billion in the preceding five-year period. India's government debt fell to 48.7% of GDP as of March 2019 compared to 52.3% as of March 2014.
11:14 AM
Sensex up 134 points as Nirmala Sitharaman starts presenting budget 2020
11:13 AM
We are now the 5th largest economy of the world, claims Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
11:11 AM
Scaled up implementation of Pro-poor schemes
11:10 AM
16 lakh new taxpayers added, says Nirmala Sitharaman
11:09 AM
An average household saves around 4% of their monthly spends on account of reduced GST, saysFinance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
11:07 AM
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman begins her budget speech
The first statements allude to a focus on boosting economic growth to increase employment and a push for new technology among companies. "Fundamentals of the economy are strong, inflation has been contained, banks have been cleaning up the accumulated loans of the past decade," she said.
10:44 AM
Income Tax slabs 2020: Here are the current income tax slabs
There's no tax for income up to Rs. 5 lakh. For Income greater than 5 lakh, standard tax slabs are applicable. 5% tax is levied on income between 2.5 lakh - 5 lakh, 20% tax is levied on income between 5 lakh - 10 lakh and 30% tax is applicable on income range of 10 lakh - 20 lakh.
10:41 AM
Union Cabinet Meet is underway
The union cabinet meet started at 10:15 am and is underway at the moment.
10:24 AM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reached the Parliament
PM Narendra Modi has reached the Parliament and will be attending the Finance Minister's Budget speech.
10:22 AM
Here's why Hindustan Unilever (HUL), India's largest FMCG company, is up over a percent today
HUL, as one of India'a largest companies selling fast-moving consumer goods like soaps, detergents, beauty products, and other items of daily use, will be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the economic stimulus in Budget 2020, if there is one. Over the last one year, there has been a sharp slump in demand even for essential items like biscuits, electricity etc. People have been so penny-wise that a company like HUL has seen its volume growth frozen at 5% for three straight quarters now. Read the full earnings report on HUL here : https://www.businessinsider.in/business/news/hul-q3-net-profit-up-12-95-pc-to-rs-1631-cr/articleshow/73803246.cms
10:16 AM
Printed copies of the Budget arrive at the parliament
Printed budget copies have arrived at the parliament and are undergoing the usual security scan.
10:08 AM
The Union Canibet meeting is set to begin shortly, Cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba arrives at Parliament
The Finance Minister will meet the union cabinet in some time from now. She's being accompanied by the Minister of State (finance), Anurag Thakur. The meeting is set to being at 10:15 am.
10:03 AM
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to meet the Cabinet before presenting the budget
Nirmala Sitharaman has arrived at the Parliament with Bahikhata. She will meet the Cabinet before presenting her budget. In an hour from now, the finance minister will be presenting her second budget.
09:36 AM
Here's how much the Indian government spends on welfare schemes
Nearly 45% of India's total budget, about ₹27 lakh crore, are spent on schemes for the welfare of the people. This includes both central sector schemes ⁠— the ones that are fully implemented by the government in New Delhi ⁠— as well as centrally-sponsored schemes, where the government in New Delhi contributes a certain portion of the money along but the programmes are implemented by the state governments). For instance, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGREGA) is a Centrally Sponsored scheme while National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) is fully implemented by the central government.
09:32 AM
India's stock markets open for a special trading session on budget⁠— both Sensex and Nifty are off to a cautious start
Three key benchmark indices ⁠— Sensex, Nifty & Nifty Bank ⁠— ended January 2020 at a lower level compared to December 2019. This is the first monthly loss since August 2019. On February 1, the markets opened for a special session on budget day and both Sensex and Nifty started the session about a third of a percentage point down. Consumer-focussed firms like Hindustan Unilever (HUL), Asian Paints, and Bajaj Finance were the top three gainers on the Sensex as investors hoped that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will announce a stimulus to boost consumption demand in the country. Power Grid, Tech Mahindra, and NTPC were the top losers at 9:32 am.
09:24 AM
India's fiscal deficit at the December is already 34% more than the target for the full year ending March 2020
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman pegged the full year budget deficit ⁠— the amount of money that the government spends over and above its income ⁠— at ₹7.03 lakh crore but at the end of the December 2019, the deficit had already crossed ₹9.3 lakh crore. The Modi government may argue that the expenses were front-loaded and the excess money spent can be recovered through an excess of revenue in the remaining 4 months of the year. In the first nine months of the year, the government's total tax revenue has fallen short by at least ₹3.7 billion, according to rating agency ICRA.
09:23 AM
Investment limits under section 80C could be relaxed to boost savings
The government can relax investment limits under 80C to help the middle class save more and ultimately seek more relief in income tax. According to current rules, one can invest up to Rs.180,000 tax-free. Any investment beyond that is taxable.
09:16 AM
This is the most important cue India's stock markets are looking for in Sitharaman's budget 2020
A cut in long-term capital gains tax (LTCG) on equity shares — currently at 10% for LTCG more than ₹1 lakh. Companies want the government to abolish the tax on dividends in the hands of individuals — currently 10% on dividend income above ₹10 lakh. However, the government only imposed the LTCG a year earlier and it is unlikely to cut it or roll it back so soon.
09:09 AM
India's industrial slowdown is conspicuous in the fall in demand for electricity
India’s Index of Industrial Production (IIP) growth — a gauge of the country's factory output — is expected to more than halve to 2% in the current financial year ending March 2020, according to industry lobby FICCI's latest Economic Outlook Survey. When factories cut down operations, they consume less power, and when demand falls, companies will produce less electricity. The generation of electricity has contracted four months in a row until December 2019.
09:02 AM
Economic Survey 2019-20 has pushed for "Assemble in India" which can help revive the economy
The Economic Survey 2019-20 has advocated for a stronger push to China like Model of Assemble in India where India can become an effective link in the global value chain and according to the estimates, it is expected to generate 80 million jobs by 2030
09:00 AM
Income tax cuts and new tax slabs ⁠— here’s how Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman wants to make people shop more
To boost private sector investment the government cut corporate tax by ₹1.45 lakh crore. However, businesses are still moving slow because despite an increase in production — demand is still lagging behind. During the Union Budget 2020, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman is expected to cut income tax for certain sections. She also plans to introduce more tax brackets for richer taxpayers. Individuals earning over ₹ 50 lakh may have to pay an additional surcharge anywhere between 10% to 37%. The proposed slabs will vary with income. The underlying aim to restructuring the tax slabs is to put more money in the hands of the consumers. If they have more money to spend, it should boost demand. More demand for products will soak up the excess supply, push production and hopefully lead to more jobs. Coming full circle, jobs will again boost demand by transferring more money into the hands of consumers.
08:56 AM
This Budget might help you save for your retirement
Salaried taxpayers may be in line for more tax benefits with the upcoming Budget. The Finance Ministry is looking to double the limit of tax free contributions to the National Pension Scheme (NPS) from ₹50,000 to ₹1 lakh per annum. The suggestion comes from the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) to encourage people to save more and plan for their retirement. In addition to forming the backbone of social security after retirement, it will also be a boost for public savings. Currently, an individual can save up to ₹ 1.5 lakh per annum under Section 80 C of the Income Tax Act by making investments insurance plans and few other specified instruments including buying a pension plan run under the NPS. An additional self contribution of up to ₹ 50,000 is available as the NPS tax benefit under section 80CCD (1B). This is set to be doubled to ₹ 1 lakh, which will increase the overall tax savings amount to ₹ 2.5 lakh per annum. Finance Ministry is actively looking into these suggestions to help mobilize larger pension related savings, according to sources.
08:54 AM
India's forex reserves are at a lifetime high of $466.69 billion
The forex reserves hit a record high of $466.69 bn in the week of December 27, according to RBI data. During this week, the gold reserves also rose by $260 million. The foreign currency assets, which form the major component of the reserves rose by $2.203 billion and were majorly responsible for the overall surge.
08:52 AM
Health Budget 2020: After 963 children died in one hospital in the last year, Indians will be watching the Centre’s allocation to upgrade public healthcare
A series of deaths shook up the entire country in 2019. As many as 963 infants admitted to Kota’s JK Lon hospital succumbed to the bad hygiene and inferior healthcare last year. However, that’s not unusual. The hospital reportedly records at least three to four deaths on a daily basis. As finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman takes the stand in Parliament today, citizens will look to her for remedies to improve hospital facilities. The government might increase the health budget by 34.8%.
08:49 AM
Anurag Thakur, Minister of State (finance) seen praying before the budget presentation
Minister of State (finance), Anurag Thakur prays before the budget presentation in the parliament today. He was barred from campaigning for BJP after the election commission found his speech to be violative of the model code of conduct
08:46 AM
Nirmala Sitharaman has reached the finance ministry, she'll be presenting her 2nd budget shortly
The finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has reached the finance ministry and will be presenting her 2nd budget shortly. Given the economic condition, it's said to be a do or die budget for the government
08:44 AM
The rise in budget allocation for education is just not enough
India’s allocation to the education sector is nearly 4.6% of GDP as of now. It should increase its education expenditure to nearly 6% of the GDP over the next three years, according to the government think tank Niti Aayog. In the union budget 2019, Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman allocated ₹94,800 crore towards the education fund — focusing on improving schools and higher education programmes. This was an increase of ₹9.8 crore compared to that of the previous year. The budget is also expected to invest in reskilling programmes and higher education funds. However, it is to be seen if the education budget is indeed high on the agenda of this budget session.
08:40 AM
New income tax proposed by a government panel wants a 35% slab, says a report
If the government takes a taskforce report on direct taxes into account, the personal taxes payers could see some big changes. The committee headed by Akhilesh Ranjan, a member of the Central Board of Direct Taxes, submitted a report to the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman late last year, which sought to increase the tax on the highest income slab to 35%. A report in Bloomberg Quint citing sources said that the government has given no indication on whether they have taken these recommendations into consideration ahead of the Union Budget 2020.
08:36 AM
‘Increase tax break on home loans,’ ⁠— that and other demands from one of India’s top realtors Hiranandani
In order to attract the potential buyers to buy homes, along with the existing subsidies on affordable housing, there is a need for subtraction in personal taxation. This step can go a long way in boosting overall consumer demand and help in steering the economy. An increase in the existing ₹2-lakh tax rebate on home loan interest rates will once again be a good move. This could result in higher demand for housing especially in the affordable and mid-segment categories. Interest rates on home loans need to be reduced. Reduction in stamp duty to at least an extent of 50% can also help raise demand. While these are the demands that need to be resolved on a priority basis, the following are some demands that have been pending for some time, and , if cleared, it can help in reviving the sector considerably.
08:32 AM
What to expect from the Finance Minister for the education sector…
“Interim Budget 2019 announced an increase of 10 per cent in the education budget, a total amount of Rs 93,847.64 crore, for nationwide academic development. This year, it is expected that more financial support will be promised for education. Vivid introduction of technology in the classroom environment and knitting artificial intelligence with mainstream education is the way forward,” Mr. Beas Dev Ralhan, Co-Founder and CEO, Next Education Indian economy.
08:27 AM
Budget 2020 | Here are some important budget announcements that changed India’s economy
08:27 AM
Let’s look at some of the iconic budgets that changed the course of India’s economic history
The Union Budget 2020 might be the toughest one that the Modi government has yet to face. Not only the BJP government will have to revive a slowing economy with job losses and high inflation; it will also have to figure out ways to fill its down slipping fiscal deficit. But this will not be the first time that an Indian budget changed the face of the country. Here’s a look at all the past budgets that shaped the Indian economy.
08:20 AM
Budget 2020 | India’s ‘make or break’ budget 2020 | Business Insider India
08:18 AM
India’s ‘make or break’ budget 2020⁠— once-in-a-career crisis offers Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman a fertile ground for creativity
India has been through the transition of being the world’s fastest-growing economy to the fastest-slowing economy in just a matter of months. With the upcoming Budget 2020 on February 1, Nirmala Sitharaman, the Finance Minister may not be able to revive economic growth in one stroke, but she can definitely restore confidence among all stakeholders — the consumers, the businesses, and therefore, the investors.
08:11 AM
Boost home sales to save banks, says Economic Survey
The Economic Survey also called attention to the clutter in Indian real estate. In Spite of the demand for new homes being sliding, the builders are striving to repay loans, the prices of homes have barely seen a downfall. A push to expedite repayment of mortgage may be bad news for builders but a great move for potential buyers who are sitting on the fence. "Existing unsold housing inventory can be cleared and the balance sheets of both bank/ non-bank lenders cleaned if the real estate developers are willing to take a ‘hair-cut’ by allowing the house-prices to drop," the Economic Survey said.
08:04 AM
India’s latest economic survey wants government to keep control of state-owned banks
The government believes the nationalisation of banks in 1969 by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was a successful endeavour. According to the Economic Survey 2019-20, "In 2019, India completed the 50th anniversary of bank nationalization. It is, therefore, apt to celebrate the accomplishments of the 3,89,956 officers, 2,95,380 clerks, and 1,21,647 sub-staff who work in Public Sector Banks (PSBs)." While commendable, it’s a u-turn from current Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stance on the issue. As recently at 2017, Modi claimed that government ownership of banks was a part of ‘Indira Gandhi’s drama’. In fact, he asserted that position finally allowed him the chance to undo those measures. If the Economic Survey is any indication, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman might announce additional capital for public sector banks instead of selling stake.
07:57 AM
The auto industry awaits a GST cuts and more tax benefits for EV purchases
The auto sector in India has been affected by economic slowdown over the last year. Hence, this budget becomes important for the auto manufactures who are seeking a push from the Modi government. Among many other expectations, they hope to get a GST cut.
07:51 AM
The Indian government may bring changes to the Direct Tax Code
The government has gathered a task force to analyse the new Direct Tax Code. According to the report, only those people who haven’t been living in India for seven of the last 10 years will be considered as non-tax resident. The rest of super rich class trying to escape the tax by buying yacht in international places will not be able to escape.
07:44 AM
The government may hike custom duty levied on footwear, toys, furniture and other 300 items
The Modi government is likely to increase the custom duty levied on 300 items including toys, furniture, footwear, coated paper, rubber items etc. The government has suggested increasing 35% custom duty on footwear and 25% on new pneumatic tyres of rubber.
07:37 AM
'Budget 2020 must make way for socially-responsible investing in India'
According to Dr Mukund Rajan and Shahan Sud as much as $5.2 billion were invested in order to create change. Hence, the budget should encourage the efforts of those looking to pump money for social change and not profit.
07:30 AM
Environment budget may get only a slight boost in this year’s budget
Even after affecting millions of lives in India with extreme weather conditions, the Indian government may not give a significant boost to the environment budget. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman may infuse ₹3038.2 crore to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, according to the medium term expenditure projection statement presented in Parliament in 2018. This is just 458 crore more than what was allocated last year.
07:24 AM
Airports and liquor makers hope duty free shopping goes on
The reports of possible curtailing of extent of duty free liquor shopping left airports and producers worried. If commerce ministry insiders are to be believed, only one bottle per person would be allowed at duty free. Cigarette purchases would be prohibited altogether. This might leave airports poorer by ₹650 crore.
07:17 AM
PM’s closed door meetings might translate into Make in India boost for mobiles
When Narendra Modi held closed door meetings with industry leaders representing India's digital economy, he was told that handset exports hold great potential. As per sources, a special incentive scheme for handset manufacturers might be in the works that boost the sector.
07:11 AM
More startups want to benefit from Budget 2019’s Angel tax relief
Last Budget provided a relief to Indian startup founders by doing away with the angel tax. But few have gained from it, ever since as this relief is also only available to those registered with Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). But the process is not easy and a time limit for the registrations was set.
07:02 AM
Simpler direct tax laws can leave more income on the table
One of Sitharaman’s aim is to boost the economy which can be done by tinkering with the taxes. In fact, the FM has been discussing multiple ways in which personal income tax (PIT) can be cut. One of them is to act on suggestions from a task force on direct tax simplification, that has been pending with the government.
07:02 AM
ISRO which has ambitious projects like Gaganyaan wants a spike in space budget
ISRO is attempting to reach the Moon and it might need a lot more than last year’s allocation of ₹12,000 crores to be able to pull it off. It also has a manned mission in the works - Gaganyaan, which will take a large bite out of its own budget, along with Chandrayaan 3.
07:02 AM
Hospitality industry needs an incentive before they develop new tourist spots
The Indian government wants to boost tourism by exploring unidentified spots with potential. Before the captains of the hospitality industry go ahead and invest in building new infrastructure, they want the government to provide single-window clearances. They also seek GST relief.
07:01 AM
TCS CEO shares hopes a Budget stimulus does not affect forex prices
The CEO of TCS Rajesh Gopinathan has a unique request from the Budget. While he is comfortable with the policymaking of the government, he hopes that a stimulus to the economy does not spike the foreign exchange prices. The company which earns in dollars hopes that forex remains stable for them to be able to report better earnings.
07:01 AM
Armed forces might need more from the Budget to fund expensive imports
A lot of government’s defence budget goes into paying pensions and costs. A lion’s share also goes to the Army leaving less for Navy and the Airforce - who are finding it hard to make payments for the equipment that they have already started purchasing. Adding to that, all the forces depend on imports which are driving up their own budgets.