As FM Arun Jaitley delivers the Union Budget for India; Here are the key highlights

As Finance Minister opens his magic briefcase in the parliament to present the Union Budget of 2018-2019, table banging in appreciation were heard during the FM’s 1 hour and 45 mins long speech. The Union Budget of 2018-2019 focuses mainly on farming and health sector. The sweep takes from the FM’s speech was the mention of Delhi’s increasing air-pollution and announcing the ways to control the air-pollution. If you have missed the Jaitley’s speech, here are the top sweep takes from the budget.

Highlights of the budget:

Farming Sector:

1. The government will increase the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of all crops to at least 1.5 times that of the production cost.
2. We’re focusing on doubling the income of the farmers till 2022.
3. Agri-Market Development Fund with a corpus of 2,000 crores to be set-up for developing agricultural markets.
4. Allocation to food processing ministry is being doubled from Rs 715 crore to Rs 1400 crore.
5. Rs 500 crore announced for Operation Green.
6. Grameen Agricultural Market (GRAM) will provide farmers with a means to sell directly to buyers.
7. Restructured National Bamboo Mission to be launched with an allocation of Rs 1290 crore to promote the bamboo sector in a holistic manner.
8. Credit for agricultural activities is up from Rs 10 lakh crore to Rs 11 lakh crore.

Air-Pollution and Infrastructure:

1. Special scheme to address air pollution in Delhi-NCR region.
2. Ujwala will give 8 crore women new LPG connections.
3. Removal of crop residue to be subsidised in order to tackle the problem of pollution due to burning of crop residue
4. In the next financial year, we target the construction of two crore toilets.
5. We aim that by 2022, all poor people have a house to live in.
6. Rs 14.34 lakh crore to be spent for providing livelihood to rural India through infrastructure building.
7. Rs 5.97 lakh crore allocated for infrastructure spending in India.

Education and Healthcare:

1. Integrated B.Ed programme to be initiated for teachers, to improve quality of teachers.
2. Eklavya schools to be started for Scheduled Tribe population… Scheme for revitalizing school infrastructure, with an allocation of 1 lakh crore rupees over four years. Called RISE – Revitalizing Infrastructure in School Education.
3. Eighteen new schools of planning and architecture will be set up… I propose railway university in Vodadara.
4. Rs 1200 crore for the flagship programme in health wellness centres.
5. Government launches flagship National Health protection Scheme to that will cover 10 crore poor and vulnerable families that will benefit approximately 50 crores. Providing Rs 5 lakh per family per year for medical reimbursement, under National Health Protection Scheme.
6. One medical college per every three constituencies.
7. Rs 600 crore for nutritional support to TB patients.
8. 24 new government medical colleges and hospitals to be set up by upgrading existing district hospitals.

Tourism and connectivity:

1. Proposal to develop 10 prominent tourist destinations as Iconic tourism destinations.
2. Bharatmala project approved for better road connectivity at Rs 5.35 lakh crore.
3. Rs 1,48,528 crore is the capital expenditure for the Indian Railways for 2018-19… All trains to be progressively provided with WiFi, CCTV and other state-of-the-art amenities.
4. An institute is coming up at Vadodara to train people for the bullet train programme.
5. UDAN will connect 56 unserved airports in India.
6. Redevelopment of 600 major railway stations has been taken up; Mumbai transport system is being expanded; a suburban network of 160 km planned for Bengaluru.

Banking and Investment:

1. The government will take all steps to eliminate the use of cryptocurrencies which are being used to fund illegitimate transactions.
2. The government has identified 372 basic business reform actions. Each state will take up these reforms.
3. The government insurance companies to be merged into a single entity, and subsequently listed in the stock exchange, as part of the disinvestment programme.
4. Recapitalisation to enable PSU banks to lend Rs 5 lakh crore.
5. Revised fiscal deficit estimate for 2017-18 is 3.5% of GDP, the fiscal deficit of 3.3% expected for 2018-19.
6. 100% tax exemption for the first five years to companies registered as farmer producer companies with a turnover of Rs. 100 crore and above.

For tax-payers and senior citizens:

1. No changes in the structure of income tax for individuals.
2. A standard deduction of additional Rs 40,000 for salaried employees. This move will benefit 2.5 crore taxpayers.
3. Rs 50,000 additional benefit to senior citizens for investment in mediclaim.
4. FM proposes to tax long-term capital gains exceeding Rs 1 lakh in listed stock at 10%.
5. FM proposes to increase the health and education cess to 4%.
6. Sensex at 35,526.23, down by 438.79 points.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley concludes his Budget speech.

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