The Union Budget 2016 was presented by the finance minister Arun Jaitley today. While the primary focus of the budget was to encourage entrepreneurship, he also ensured that the rural development was not neglected.
Considerable funds were diverted to irrigation, agriculture and farming and care was taken to pull out farmers from debt in drought-ridden areas. Jaitley divided the budget into various sectors, the highlights of which are as follows:
Agriculture and farmer welfare: Ensuring double income of farmers, which would include Rs 35,984 crores investment, new infrastructure for agriculture, manure, animal husbandry and irrigation. 25.8 lakh hectare to be brought under irrigation. 23 projects under the scheme to be accomplished before 31st march 2017.
14 crore farm holding under fertilizers scheme. E-market for 585 pre-regulated retailers for easy and transparent accessibility to farm products. Rs 38,500 crore to be assigned to MNREGA.
Rural employment and social sector: Funds allocation to Panchayats to develop block. Roads and infrastructure to be the prime focus of block development. Drought help, increase in self-help groups. Electrification of 5,584 village, which is more than 3 years combined. Digital literacy for rural India to cover 6 lakh househld. Overall investment of Rs 87,765 crores for rural India. Investments also in skill development programs and jobs.
The ministry will invest 2,000 crore to meet initial costs of LPG connection for BPL families. This scheme to cover 5 crore households. This will also increase the youth employment in supply chains in rural India.
Healthcare: Govt launches health protection scheme, with a coverage of 1 lakh per family. Senior citizens to have a coverage of 130, 000. 3,000 government medical stores to be established for cheap medicines. National dialysis service for renal diseases to be established and subsequent benefits to be provided. 500 crore to be invested in entrepreneurship for SC/ST women, 2.5 lakh centres to be benifitted under this scheme.
Education: Forms the key element of the budget, however, the focus now is on quality education. World class teaching in higher education. Higher education financing agency to be established. Rs 1700 crore to be invested for skill development. This would benefit 1 cr youth over 3 years.
Infrastructure and lifestyle: 85% of the 70 projects that lay unattended in the beginning of year are back on track. Rs 55,000 crore to be spent on roads and highways. Total allocation 97,000 crore including the rural infra. 10,000 kms of highway to be built this year. 50,000 highway in state for upgradation.
Road transport sector opened up in passenger segments. Road access to be amended. Underserved airpots to get development package. Oil and gas self-sufficiency to be promoted, incentivisation of production in deep sea. New discoveries of oil in new areas. Will get market freedom. Coal production highest in 2 decades. Rs 3000 crore per annum to be given to to nuclear power generation.
Finance reforms and financial sector: Built cushion for bankrupcy in banks. Rs 25,000 crores for recapitalisation of public sector banks. Aadhar for social security to target beneficieries in the bpl sector. To improve environment of start-ups. Debt recovery tribunals to be strengthened. Governance to make people to realise their full potential.
Delivery to needy: 15,000 fair price shops
Tax reliance: Relief to small tax payer Rs 2000 to Rs 5000. Tax benefit increased in HRA from Rs 24,000 to Rs 60,000 relief for rented people. For small and medium enterprises, tax exemption on turn over limit to 2 crores. Overall, taxation for professionals eased.
Pradhanmantri Aawas Yojana enables 100% rebate for 30 square meter to 60 square meter. Rs 35,000 increased on tax benefit on housing loans. Withdrawal of 40% from NPs to be tax exempted. No change in tax slab. excise duty increased on tobacco products, except Bidi. Rationalisation of excise and duty to boost Make in India.
Service tax exemption under rural electrification plans. penalty in cases on concealement. Abolition of cesses levied by 13 industries to ease taxes.