A AKHTER / NEW DELHI
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today presented the General Budget 2018-19 in the Lok Sabha focussing on agriculture, rural economy and healthcare for common man. In his speech Jaitely said besides ‘ease of doing business’, the government is also focusing on ‘ease of living’ now.
Mr Jaitley announced that Agri-Market Development Fund with a corpus of 2000 crore rupees will be set up for developing agricultural markets. A Restructured National Bamboo Mission will be launched with an allocation of 1290 crore rupees to promote the bamboo sector in a holistic manner.
The government will also set up fishery and aquaculture infrastructure fund and an animal husbandry infrastructure fund with a total corpus of 10,000 crore rupees.
Mr Jaitley said the government has successfully implemented series of structural reforms as a result of which India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. He said FDI has gone up and Indian economy is now a 2.5 trillion economy.
The Finance Minister said that by 2022, every block with more than 50 percent ST population will have Ekalvya schools at par with Navodaya Vidyalayas.
On healthcare, Mr Jaitley said that 10 cr families will be provided Rs 5 lakh cover per family per year for treatment and added that Govt to allocate Rs 600 crore towards the nutritional support of tuberculosis patients.
Mr Jaitley said Govt is to set up 24 new medical colleges and hospitals by upgrading district level ones. He said, Rs 1,200 crore to be allocated for Ayushman Bharat programme in 2018-19.
The Finance Minister expressed hope that economy will grow at 7.2 percent to 7.5 percent in the second half of 2017-18. He exuded confidence that India is on track to grow at 8 percent.
‘National Health Protection Scheme’ will cover 10 crore poor and vulnerable families by providing upto Rs 5 lakh per family per year. The government will launch ‘Revitalising of Infrastructure and Systems in Education’ by 2022 with a total investment of Rs 1 lakh crore in next 4 years.
The focus is on low-cost farming, higher Minimum Support Price of all crops shall be increased to at least 1.5 times that of the production cost.
Hardwork of farmers resulted in a record production of more than 275 million tonnes of food grain and about 300 million tonnes of horticultural produce, FM said.
He proposed to raise institutional credit for agriculture to Rs 11 lakh crore for 2018-19. National Livelihood Mission allocated Rs. 5,750 cr in 2018-19.
Bamboo is green gold and restructured National Bamboo Mission will be launched with an allocation of Rs 1,290 crore to promote bamboo sector in a holistic manner, Jaitley said.
Air Pollution in Delhi NCR is a cause for concern, special scheme will be implemented to support Govts of Haryana, Punjab, UP and Delhi NCT to address it and subsidize machinery for management of crop residue, FM said.
HIGHLIGHTS OF BUDGET
- Personal Income Tax rates unchanged; Rs. 40k standard deduction in lieu of present exemption: FM
- Senior citizens can claim benefit of reduction Rs. 50,000/ year w.r.t any general health expenditure and health insurance premium: FM
- Rs 40,000 standard deduction to salaried people: FM
- Companies with turnover of upto Rs. 250 cr to be taxed at 25%: FM
- Made many positive changes in personal income tax rates in the past years; no change in Income Tax slabs this year : FM
- Arun Jaitley 100% tax deduction for first five years to companies registered as farmer producer companies with a turnover of Rs. 100 crore and above: FM
- 12.6% growth in direct taxes in 2017-18; 18.7% growth in indirect taxes in 2017-18: Finance Minister
- Revised fiscal deficit estimate for 2017-18 is 3.5% of GDP, fiscal deficit of 3.3% expected for 2018-19: FM
- MP salaries to be revised with effect from 1 April, 2018. It will increase every 5 years indexed to inflation: FM
- Emoluments of President to be revised to Rs 5 lakh per month and emoluments of Vice-president to be revised to Rs 4 lakh per month: FM
- Rs 80,000 crore disinvestment target for 2018-19; target for 2017-18 exceeded and will reach Rs 1 lakh crore: FM