Union Budget 2018: Key points from Finance Minister’s speech

RSTV Bureau
New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presents the Union Budget at Parliament, Feb 1, 2018.  PTI

New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presents the Union Budget at Parliament, Feb 1, 2018.
PTI

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is presenting Union Budget in Lok Sabha. In his opening remarks, the Finance Minister lauded the current regime under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi which has taken several structural reforms.

Earleir this morning the cabinet met at the Parliament House, where they approved the Union Budget 2018-19. The Budget in Rajya Sabha was presented at 1:30 PM post which the house was adjourned to meet on Friday.

Here are the brief points from Finance Minister’s Budget Speech:

New scheme for providing electronic assessment to eliminate person-to-person contact.

Central Board of Excise and Customs renamed as Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs.

Education cess increased to 4 pc from 3 pc to collect additional Rs 11,000 cr.

Cash payments exceeding Rs 10,000 by trusts and institutions will be disallowed in a bid to curb cash economy.

Rs 7.5 lakh per senior citizen limit for investment in interest-bearing LIC schemes doubled to Rs 15 lakh. Senior citizens allowed Rs 50,000 deduction on health insurance premium paid in a year from earlier Rs 30,000.

Standard deduction of Rs 40,000 allowed for transport, medical reimbursement for salaried tax payers.

Rs 7,000 cr revenue forgone on account of lower corporate tax for Rs 250 cr turnover companies. Reduced corporate tax by 25 pc extended to companies with turnover of Rs 250 cr to benefit small, micro and medium enterprises.

Expenditure for 2017-18 pegged at Rs 21.57 lakh crore, as against Rs 21.8 lakh cr previously estimated.

Fiscal deficit for 2017-18 raised to 3.5 pc of GDP as against 3.2 pc previously estimated; for FY 19 deficit pegged at 3.3 pc as against 3 pc targeted previously.

Huge increase in tax returns filed, 85.51 lakh people filed returns in 2017-18, as against 66.26 lakh in 2016-17. Rs 90,000 cr additional income tax collection in 2016-17 and 2017-18 due to measures against tax avoidance. 12.6 pc growth rate in direct taxes in FY18.

Govt earmarks Rs 150 cr to commemorate 150 years of birth of Mahatma Gandhi.

National Insurance Co, Oriental Insurance Co and United Assurance Co to be merged into one entity and subsequently listed.

New law to provide automatic revision of emoluments indexed to inflation for MPs. President’s emolument raised to Rs 5 lakh, Vice President’s to Rs 4 lakh and Governors’ to Rs 3.5 lakh per month.

Rs 80,000 cr disinvestment target for 2018-19; Rs 1 lakh cr receipt expected in current year. Govt has initiated strategic disinvestment in 24 PSUs, including Air India.

Government does not consider crypto-currency as legal, will take all measures against its illegal use.

NITI Aayog to establish a national programme for artificial intelligence. SEBI may consider mandating large corporates to use bond market to finance one-fourth of their fund needs.

Over Rs 1.48 lakh crore to be allocated for railways in next fiscal. Wifi, CCTVs to be progressively provided at all trains, escalators at stations with 25,000-plus footfall. 4,267 unmanned railway crossings on broad gauge routes to be eliminated in next two years. 36,000-km of rail track renewal targeted in coming year,

Govt to expand capacity of airports by five times to cater to one billion trips a year. Regional air connectivity scheme shall connect 56 unserved airports and 31 unserved helipads.

Govt to allocate Rs 7,140 crore for textiles sector in 2018-19. National Highways exceeding 9,000-km will be completed in 2018-19. 10 prominent tourist sites to be developed as iconic tourist spots.

99 cities selected for smart cities project with an outlay of Rs 2.04 lakh crore.

Employees PF Act to be amended to reduce contribution of women to 8 pc from 12 pc with no change in employer’s contribution.

Government to soon announce scheme to address the issue of Non-Performing Assets. Additional measures to strengthen environment for venture capitalists and angel investors.

Rs 4.6 lakh cr sanctioned under MUDRA Scheme. Target for loan disbursement set at Rs 3 lakh crore for next fiscal. Mass formalisation of MSME sector is happening after demonetization and GST.

Government is slowly but steadily progressing towards universal health coverage. Govt’s budget for health, education and social security increased to Rs 1.38 lakh crore for 2018-19 from Rs 1.22 lakh
crore in current fiscal.

Government to launch flagship National Health Protection scheme to cover 10 crore poor and vulnerable people. Those will be provided Rs 5 lakh cover per family per year for treatment.

Govt to set up 24 new medical colleges and hospitals by upgrading district level ones. Government to allocate Rs 600 crore towards nutritional support of tuberculosis patients.

Rs 1,200 crore to be allocated for Ayushman Bharat programme in 2018-19. Two new Schools of Planning and Architecture to be set up, 18 more in IITs and NIITs. Government to launch Prime Minister’s Research Fellow Scheme, which will identify 1000 B.Tech students to do Ph.D at IITs.

By 2022, every block with more than 50 per cent ST population will have Ekalvya schools at par with Navodaya Vidyalayas.

Government proposes to establish a dedicated affordable housing fund under National Housing Bank for priority sector lending.

Over six crore toilets built under Swachh Bharat Mission. Government to build another two crore toilets.

Special scheme to support efforts of Haryana, Punjab, UP and Delhi to tackle air pollution through use of in-situ machinery for disposing crop residue.

Rs 16,000 crores to be spent on providing electricity connection to 4 crore poor households. 1 cr houses to be built under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana in rural areas. Govt to provide free LPG connection to 8 crore women under Ujjwala scheme, up from earlier target of 5 crore.

Govt to restructure national bamboo mission with an outlay of Rs 1,290 crores. Institutional credit to agriculture to be raised to Rs 11 lakh cr in 2018-19.

Kisan credit card facility extended to fisheries and animal husbandry sectors. Government to set up fisheries and aqua culture infra fund and animal husbandry infra fund with an outlay of Rs 10,000 crores.

Food processing sector growing at 8%, allocation for food processing ministry being doubled to Rs 1400 crore.

India produced over 275 million tonnes of foodgrains and 300 million tonnes of fruits and vegetables in 2016-17. Government proposes to allocate Rs 500 crore for ‘operation green’ to promote FPOs, agri logistics and processing.

Government to set MSP at one-and-half times the cost of production for Kharif crops. Crop production at record high, government is committed to giving 50% more than cost of crop production to farmers.

Rs 2,000 crore fund to be set up for upgrading rural agriculture markets. Government will ensure farmers get MSP if prices fall. NITI Aayog will discuss with state governments for mechanism to ensure farmers get better prices.

Our emphasis is on generating higher income for farmers. We will help farmers produce more and realise higher prices. Agriculture ministry will reorient ongoing programmes to promote cluster-based horticulture production.

Govt has promoted organic farmers in a big way. We will also encourage several women self-help groups to take up organic farming.

Cooking gas being given free to poor under PMUY, 4 Crores unconnected being provided electricity connection, stent prices slashed.

Economy to grow by 7.2-7.5 per cent in second half of current fiscal. We are firmly on path to achieve 8% growth.

PM has articulated the vision of minimum government, maximum governance. Modi government’s initiative Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) is a global success story.

When our government took over, India was considered one of the fragile five economies of the world. Today we have reversed it. India is now fastest growing economy.

Introduction of GST has made indirect tax system simpler. Demonetisation reduced cash in economy, and promoted digital transactions.

India is today a USD 2.5 trillion economy and will become fifth largest economy in the world from the present seventh largest.

Exports are expected to grow by 17% in 2017-18.