The Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, announced the Budget for 2017-2018 today in Parliament. For the first time, the Union Budget was announced along with the Railway Budget.
Agriculture and rural development.
- Our approach in preparing the Budget is to spend more on rural areas, infrastructure and poverty alleviation with fiscal prudence.
- Agriculture sector is expected to grow at 4.6%, agriculture expenditure targeted at Rs 10 lakh crore.
- Allocation under MNREGA increased to 48,000 crore from Rs 38,500 crore. This is highest ever allocation
- Total allocation for rural, agricultural and allied sectors for 2017-18 is Rs 187223 crore, which is 24% higher than last year.
- One crore houses for poor by 2019.
- Safe drinking water to cover 28,000 arsenic and Fluoride-affected habitations in the next four years.
- 133-km road per day constructed under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana as against 73-km in 2011-14.
- Stepped up allocation to Rs. 1.84 lakh crore for women and children. Affordable housing will be given infrastructure status. The National Housing Bank will refinance Rs. 20,000 crore.
- Sanitation coverage up from 42% to 60 per cent now in rural areas.
- Sanitation coverage in rural areas has gone up from 42 per cent in October 2013 to 60 per cent. ODF-free villages are now being given priority for piped water supply.
- Sowing farmers should feel secure against natural calamities. “Fasal Bima Yojana” proposed.
- Government will provide a long term irrigation fund with a corpus of Rs. 40,000 crore.
- Target 100% village electrification by May 1, 2018.
- Defence expenditure excluding pension at Rs 2.74 lakh crore.
- Centralised defence travel system for soldiers & defence personnel. Web-based pension distribution system announced for defence pensioners.
- For senior citizens, Aadhar cards giving their health condition will be introduced.
- Govt has prepared an action plan for poor health. We have targeted the elimination of tuberculosis by 2025. 1.5 lakh health sub-centres will be transformed into health and wellness centres.
Education & research.
- Focus will be on energising youth to reap benefits of growth and employment.
- Two new All India Institute of Medical Sciences(AIIMS) to be set up in Jharkhand and Gujarat.
- Proposed to introduce annual learning measurements in schools. Emphasis on science education and flexible curriculum to be a focus in education section. Propose to introduce measuring annual learning outcome in schools in 3,479 edu backward blocks. ICT enabled classrooms in 3,479 educationally backward blocks. Swayam platform to offer 350 online courses.
- Increased allocation for scientific ministry to Rs 37,435 cr in 2017-18.
- For youth, proposed to introduce a system of measuring annual learning; Science to be given focus.
- Demonetisation is a bold and decisive measure, for many decades tax evasion was a way of life for many.
- The pace of re-monetisation has picked up.
- Effects of demonetisation not expected to spill over to next year.
- Drop in economic activity is only a transient impact. Demonetisation seeks to bring new normal, where GDP is bigger and cleaner.
- Government to set up strategic crude oil reserves in Odisha and Rajasthan.
- Corporate tax cut for MSMEs, no cash transactions above Rs. 3 lakh.
- MSMEs with annual turnover upto Rs. 50 crore will have to pay only 25% tax.
- 36% increase in FDI flow; forex reserves at $361 billion in January, which is enough to cover 12 months needs.
- Fiscal deficit for 2017-18 pegged at 3.2 percent of GDP.
- Fiscal deficit target for next three years pegged at 3 percent.
- Tax rate for those with income of Rs 2.5-5 lakh slashed to 5% from 10%.
- Plan to create integrated oil company.
- Government is considering introduction of new law to confiscate assets of offenders who escape the country.
- No transaction above Rs 3 lakh can be made in cash.
- Political parties to receive a maximum of Rs 2000 funding from any source.
- Oil prices, rising dollar, and volatile commodity prices seen as risks to Indian economy.
- India is seen as engine of global growth, have witnessed historic reform in last one year.
Railway & infrastructure.
- 3500-km railway lines to be put up.
- Service charge on rail tickets booked through IRCTC to be withdrawn.
- Rail safety fund with corpus of Rs 100,000 crore will be created over a period of five years.
- 500 rail stations to be made differently abled-friendly by providing lifts and escalators.
- A new metro rail policy will be announced, this will open up new jobs for our youth.
- Optical Fibre laid in 150,000 kms. Rs. 10K crore allocated for next fiscal. “By 2017, high-speed broadband at 1.5 lakh panchayats.”
- Allocation for National Highways up from Rs. 57,676 cr in last year BE to 64,000 cr
- Selected airports in tier 2 cities to be developed in PPP mode. Railways to partner with logistics players for frontend and backend solutions for select commodities. New metro rail policy to be announced with new modes of financing.
- 1,50,000 gram panchayats to have high-speed broadband service by end of 2017-18
- Rs. 131,000 cr for Railways Capex in 2017-18. Now in position to synergise investments in railways, roads, ports and civil aviaiton. Rlys to focus on passenger safety. Rail raksha kosh. Fund for safety to be created. Railway lines of 3,500 km to be commissioned as against 2,800 km this fiscal. Dedicated trains for tourism and pilgrimage.
- Railway safety fund to be created.
- Affordable housing to get infrastructure status. Interest rates to be brought down for rural housing.
- 133 km roads made per day under PMGSY. Rs. 19,000 crore for PMGSY. One crore houses for houseless by 2019.