India PM Modi Looks To Budget On Friday To Shore Up Political Base | 1/31/2019 | Staff
abbycraig (Posted by) Level 3
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is expected to try and shore up its political support with big ticket farm giveaways and tax cuts for the middle class in its final federal budget on Friday, months before elections.

Modi is facing growing discontent over depressed farm incomes and doubts over whether his policies are creating enough jobs. A local media report on Thursday quoted a government survey as saying the jobless rate was the highest in at least 45 years, putting further pressure on the government.

Piyush - Goyal - Finance - Minister - Budget

Piyush Goyal, the interim finance minister, will present the 2019-20 budget to parliament, in the absence of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is currently in the United States for medical treatment.

The government is set to step up rural welfare spending by 16 percent for the fiscal year beginning April to 1.3 trillion rupees ($18.25 billion), two government sources said, aiming to boost support in the countryside where more than two-thirds of India’s 1.3 billion people live.

Budget - One - July - Growth - Percent

The budget, which is interim and is likely to be followed by a full one in July, is expected to project economic growth of around 7.5 percent for the next financial year, while expanding capital spending on railways, roads, ports by 7-8 percent, and estimating an increase in revenue of about 15 percent, officials said.

Stung by opposition parties’ victories in three state polls in December and needing to call a national election by May, Modi has already exempted many small businesses from paying taxes under a unified goods and services tax (GST).


The government is now considering raising...
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