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Union Budget 2018 highlights: Live updates

Budget 2018 highlights: Live update

ViewsHeadlines Desk,

It is Narendra Modi government’s last full budget before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Everyone is wondering if it is going to be a populist budget or will the FM try to fix the economy with long term goals.

There is no denying that Modi government doesn’t have much cushion to be populist at this juncture given the fact that rising petrol prices have already threatened it rather seriously. Nevertheless, as most budgets tend to be populist, especially close to general elections, as has been the national trend for decades, Arun Jaitley is expected to stick to the tradition.

No one will like him to destroy the apple-cart by making any mistake at the moment.

Nonetheless there are some basic questions that the Finance Minister will try to asnwer in his budget today. The biggest question is whether BJP will contain the fiscal deficit

If it has to keep investors’ confidence, Finance Minister will have to contain the fisical deficit. But is it really possible at the moment. “Markets will be focused on how much the country widens its fiscal deficit beyond the 3 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) projected for 2018/19…A Reuters poll showed most economists expect a 3.2 per cent deficit as the government looks to increase investments in key areas such as agriculture to bolster its re-election prospects in elections due by 2019…A modest widening of that nature would calm investors worried that the government may slip away from its judicious spending. Traders say bond yields could fall 10 to 15 basis points, while shares could hit new record highs. Gains could be more pronounced if the government sticks to its 3.0 per cent target” says a Reuters report.

Key highlights

* For senior citizens, exemption of interest income on bank deposits raised to Rs 50,000: FM Jaitley
* FM Jaitley proposes to introduce tax on distributed income by equity oriented mutual funds at 10 per cent.
* Standard deduction of Rs 40,000 for salaried employees in lieu of transport and medical expenses: FM Jaitley
* Companies with turnover of up to Rs 250 crore to be taxed at 25 per cent: FM
* Arun Jaitley says that the government does not propose any changes in tax slabs for the salaried class this year.
* FM proposes a fiscal deficit of 3.3% of GDP for 2018-19.
* Finance Minister Arun Jaitley proposes revising emoluments as per the following structure:
— Rs 5 lakh for the President of India
— Rs 4 lakh for the Vice President
— Rs 3.5 lakh for the Governors
* Jaitley also proposes automatic revision of emoluments of Parliamentarians every five years, indexed to inflation.
* We have already exceeded our disinvestment target, announces Arun Jaitley.
Disinvestment target for 2017-18 has been exceeded and will reach Rs 1 lakh crore. Target for 2018-19 is Rs 80,000 crore.
* 5 lakh WiFi hotspots will be set up in rural areas to provide easy internet access.
* Government will take all steps to eliminate use of cryptocurrencies which are funding illegitimate transactions.
* Govt announces Amrut program to focus on water supply to all households in 500 cities. Water supply contracts for 494 projects worth Rs 19,428 core will be awarded: FM
* NITI Aayog will establish a national programme to direct our efforts in the area of Artificial Intelligence towards national development: FM
* Airport capacity to be hiked to handle 1 billion trips every year.
* Arun Jaitley says that 4,000 km of new railway track will be laid down by 2019.
* All railways stations with footfall more than 25,000 to have escalators, says the Finance Minister.
* The government will undertake redevelopment of 600 major railway stations across the country.
* Arun Jaitley announces capital expenditure of Rs 1,48,528 crore for Indian Railways in 2018-19.
* National Heritage City Development Augmentation Scheme has been undertaken to preserve and protect heritage cities in the country, announces the Finance Minister.
* Government to contribute 12 per cent of EPF contribution for new employees in all sectors: FM
* Infrastructure is the growth driver of economy: Jaitley
* Target of 3 lakh crore for lending under PM Mudra Yojana: FM
* MSME enterprises are a major element for growth, says Jaitley. He also added that mass formalisation of MSME sector is happening after demonetisation and GST.
* Govt will launch health scheme to cover 10 crore poor families, Arun Jaitley says.
* The Government is slowly but steadily progressing towards universal health coverage: FM
* Government aims to bring 60 crore bank accounts under the Jan Dhan Yojana.
* Eklavya schools to be started for Scheduled Tribe populations: Finance Minister
* Rs 600 crore allocated to Tuberculosis patients undergoing treatment.
* Govt will set up two new Schools of Planning and Architecture, says Finance Minister Jaitley.
* To tackle brain drain, Jaitley announces scheme to identify bright students pursuing B Tech in premiere engineering institutes, and providing them higher-education opportunities in the IITs and IISc. These students will receive handsome fellowships, and will be expected to dedicate a few hours to teach in higher education institutions weekly.
* Specialised railway university to be set up at Vadodara.
* Jaitley proposed integrated BEd programme for teachers: “training of teachers during service is essential.” Technology will be the biggest driver in improving the quality of education.
* Budget allocates money for social security and protection programme for all widows and orphaned children.
* We have a target to provide all Indians with their own homes by 2022, says Jaitley.
* Ujjwala scheme to amplify targets, will now provide 8 crore rural women free LPG connections.
* Air pollution in Delhi-NCR has been a cause of concern, govt has proposed subsidised machinery for in-situ management of crop residue in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT Delhi.
* Govt of India will take necessary measures to put in place measures for the state government to purchase surplus solar power produced by local farmers at sutiable prices.
* Arun Jaitley proposes a sum of Rs 500 crore for ‘Operation Green’ on the lines of ‘Operation Flood’.
* Food processing sector is going at an average of 8 per cent per annum.
* We have been saying it for years that India is primarily an agricultural country: Jaitley
* Arun Jaitley on Minimum Support Price of agricultural products: Only increasing the MSP is not enough, the government will fix the MSP of agricultural products at 1.5 times the market rate.
* Our emphasis is on generating higher benefits and productive employment for the farmers: Jaitley while addressing the agricultural sector in his Budget speech 2018.
* Our government has worked sincerely, and without weighing the political costs, hoping that benefits are delivered to people at their doorsteps. The Direct Benefit Transfer system of India is a success story that is reiterated across the world: Jaitley.
* This year’s Budget will particularly focus on agriculture, says Jaitley.
* The finance minister also pointed out that India is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.
* Indian economy has performed very well since our government took over in May 2014, says Arun Jaitley.


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