Budget 2018 key highlights: Jaitley speech focuses on populism

New Delhi :Finance minister Arun Jaitley, who unveiled his last full Budget on Thursday, said India is poised to become $5 trillion economy soon from its current size of $2.5 trillion. The seventh fastest growing economy, India is all set to be the 5th fastest, soon, promised Jaitley.
Agriculture and health dominated Jaitley’s two-hour Budget speech. Employment and education were also focus areas. MSMEs found special mention in the Budget, with measures ranging from tax sops to easier access to loan.
Here are the highlights of Arun Jaitley’s speech:
Startups
* VCFs, angel investors to get new measures for growth and new tax rules to increase funding of startups.
Custom duty/Cess
* Imported electronics, including phones and TVs, will now get more expensive as government proposes to increase custom duty on mobiles from 15% to 20% and on some other mobile parts to 15%, and some parts of TVs to 15%.
* Propose to increase the health and education cess to 4%
Personal/Corporate Tax
* Personal Income Tax: No change
* Relief to salaried tax: Standard deduction increased for transport and medical reimbursement to Rs 40,000 from Rs 15,000
* Rs 50,000 additional benefit to senior citizens for investment in mediclaim.
* Propose to tax long term capital gains exceeding Rs 1 lakh in listed stock at 10%.
* 100% tax exemption for the first five years to companies registered as farmer producer companies with a turnover of Rs. 100 crore and above.
* 41% more returns were filed this year, which shows that more people have joined the tax net.
* Tax payer base has risen from 6.47 crore in 2014-15 to 8.27 crore in 2016-17. More payers joining tax net but turnover not encouraging, says Jaitley.
* Demonetisation was received by honest taxpayers as ‘Imaandaari ka utsav’.
Fiscal deficit
Revised fiscal deficit estimate for 2017-18 is 3.5% of GDP, fiscal deficit of 3.3% expected for 2018-19.
Telecom
* Government proposes to set up 5 lakh wifi-hotspots that will provide internet to five crore rural citizens in 2018-19.
* Government provided Rs10,000 crore for creation and augmentation of telecom infrastructure in 2018-19.
* Department of Telecom will support the setting up of indigenous 5G centre at IIT Madras.
* Government doesn’t consider cryptocurrencies as legal tender or coins. Will take all measures to prevent use of crypto-assets to finance illegitimate activities.
Rail budget
* 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.
* All railways stations with more than 25,000 footfall to have escalators.
* 12,000 wagons, 5160 coaches and 700 locomotives being procured. There is significant achievements of physical targets by Railways : Arun Jaitley
* Focus will be on safety, maintenance of railway tracks, increase in use of technology and fog safety devices: FM Jaitley
* Redevelopment of 600 major railway stations has been taken up; Mumbai transport system is being expanded; suburban network of 160 km planned for Bengaluru: FM
* Foundation stone of the bullet train was laid in September 2017. An institute is coming up in Vadodara to train the manpower required for the high speed railway projects: FM Jaitley
* 36,000-km of rail track renewal targeted in coming year: FM Arun Jaitley
Agriculture/Farm
* Agri-Market Development Fund with a corpus of Rs 2000 crore to be set up for developing agricultural markets.
* Grameen Agricultural Market (GRAM) will provide farmers a means to sell directly to buyers.
* The focus is on low-cost farming, higher MSP. Emphasis is on generating farm and non-farm employment for farmers.
* I am very happy to announce that minimum support price has been set at 1.5 times the production cost for kharif crops: Jaitley
* The government will ensure payment of full MSP even if farmers sell below MSP.
* The Minimum Support Price of all crops shall be increased to at least 1.5 times that of the production cost.
Health
* About 10 crore poor and vulnerable families will be targeted under healthcare protection scheme, which will offer up to Rs 5 lakh per family. This will be the world largest government-aided programme.
* As per the national health policy 2017, health and wellness centres will be launched. Around 1.5 lakh centres will provide free essential drugs, maternal and child services. The finance ministry allocated Rs1200 crore for this flagship programme.
* TB patients will get Rs 500 per month for nutritional support.
* At least 24 new government medical colleges and hospitals will be set up by upgrading existing district hospitals.
* Rs 1,200 crore for the flagship programme in health wellness centres.
Women
* Contribution of 8.33% to EPF for new employees by the govt for three years and 12% govt contribution to EPF in sectors employing large number of people: Arun Jaitley
* 76% of MUDRA loans for women.
*Government proposes to increase the target of providing free LPG connections to 8 crore to poor women: FM Jaitley
Education
* 4 new government medical colleges and hospitals to be set up by upgrading existing district hospitals.
* One medical college per every three Parliamentary constituencies.
* 1,000 best BTech students to be made PM research fellows — to do PhDs in IITs and IISc. They will spend few hours every week teaching in technical institutions.
* Eighteen new schools of planning and architecure will be set up… I propose railway university in Vodadara.
* Government to launch ‘Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education by 2022: FM Jaitley
* Integrated B.Ed programme to be initiated for teachers, to improve quality of teachers.
* Technology will be the biggest driver in improving education.
* Budget 2018 will work with states to provide more resources to improve quality of education, says Jaitley.
India growth
* Indian economy is on course to achieve high growth of 8%. Economy to grow at 7.2-7.5% in second half of 2018-19: FM Jaitley.
* India grew at an average of 7.5% in the first three years since 2014. It is now a $2.5 trillion economy: Jaitley.
* Indian economy has performed very well since our government took over in may 2014. It is now the seventh largest in the world, says finance minister Arun Jaitley.
* Government moves to remove stamp duty from financial transactions.
Infrastructure
* To spend 14.34 trillion Indian rupees ($225.50 billion) on rural infrastructure
* NHAI would transfer the road projects into special purpose vehicles to use innovative structures such as infrastructure trusts for fund mobilisation
* Government to use select InvITs for infrastructure funding.
For poor, backward and vulnerable
*By 2022, every block with more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal people will have ‘Ekalavya’ school at par with Navodaya Vidayalas: FM Jaitley.
* Allocation of Rs. 56,619 crore for SC welfare and Rs. 39,135 crore for ST welfare: FM Jaitley
Connecting India
* Bharatmala project approved for better road connectivity at Rs 5.35 lakh crore.
* UDAN will connect 56 unserved airports in India.
* Airports Authority of India now has 124 airports, this will be expanded by 5 times. Aim of 1 billion trips a year: Arun Jaitley.
Other proposals
* Total 187 projects sanctioned under the Namami Gange programme.
* We aim that by 2022, all poor people have a house to live in.
* Government plans to construct 2 crore more toilets under Swachh Bharat Mission: Arun Jaitley
* Air Pollution in Delhi-NCR is a cause for concern, special scheme will be implemented to support governments of Haryana, Punjab,Uttar Pradesh and Delhi-NCT to address it and subsidise machinery for management of crop residue: FM Jaitley
* Proposal to develop 10 prominent tourist destinations as Iconic tourism destinations.
* AMRUT programme will focus on water supply to all households in 500 cities. Water supply contracts for 494 projects worth 19,428 core awarded.
* Emoluments of the President to be revised to Rs 5 lakh per month & emoluments of the Vice-president to be revised to Rs 4 lakh per month: Arun Jaitley
* Government is proposing changes in refixing salaries of MPs. Law will provide automatic revision of emoluments of the MPs every 5 years indexed to inflation: FM Jaitley

 
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