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Here are the sectoral highlights of Budget 2018-19

By Deepika
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    Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday presented the National Democratic Alliance government's last Budget, which is the last before the General Elections.

    Arun Jaitley

    Here are the sectoral highlights of Budget 2018-19

    Fiscal situation

    • In Budget 2018-19, the government has pegged fiscal deficit at 3.3 per cent of GDP for the fiscal year starting April 1, 2018. Though the fiscal deficit target is higher than the 3 per cent as projected earlier in the fiscal consolidation roadmap, markets had expected the government to go for a higher fiscal deficit target.
    • Government aims for 2018-19's fiscal deficit target of 3.3 per cent of GDP. Revised fiscal deficit for 2017-18 was Rs 5.95 lakh crore or 3.5 per cent of GDP.

    Agriculture

    • Minimum support price (MSP) for all upcoming Kharif crops to 1.5 times the cost of production.
    • The government will ensure farmers get MSP even if prices fall, for which Niti Aayog will discuss with state governments the putting in place of an institutional mechanism to ensure that farmers get better prices for their produce.
    • 470 APMCs have been connected to eNAM network, the rest to be connected by March 2018
    • Agri-Market Development Fund with a corpus of Rs 2000 crore to be set up for developing agricultural markets
    • Cluster-model approach to be adopted for agricultural production
    • Allocation in Ministry of Food Processing is being doubled to boost Food Processing; specialized agro-processing and financial institutions to be promoted by Government
    • Rs 500 crore for Operation Green
    • Restructured National Bamboo Mission to be launched with an allocation of Rs 1290 crore rupees to promote bamboo sector in a holistic manner
    • Fishery and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund and Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Fund to be set up - total corpus Rs 10,000 crore rupees
    • Credit for agricultural activities rose from Rs 10 lakh crore to Rs 11 lakh crore
    • Removal of crop residue to be subsidized in order to tackle the problem of pollution due to burning of crop residue
    • The budget proposed to increase the target of providing free LPG connections to 8 crore women living below the poverty line.

    Swacch Bharat and Housing

    • Rs 16,000 crore for PM Saubhagya Yojana that is connecting 4 crore households with free electricity.
    • Aim to create at least 2 crore toilets under Swachh Bharat Mission.
    • Housing for All by 2022 and PM Awas Yojana (rural)-51 lakh houses for 2018-19, dedicated affordable housing fund.
    • Loans to self help group for women to increase to Rs 75,000 crore.
    • Allocation to National Livelihood Mission of Rs 5,750 crore.
    • Rs 14.34 lakh crore from extra and non-budgetary resources for housing and infrastructure in rural area.

    Health

    • Jaitley declared two major new health initiatives under the government's Ayushman Bharat Program.
    • One of the initiatives is the Flagship National Health Protection Scheme, which seeks to provide health insurance cover worth Rs 5 lakh per family to over 10 crore economically vulnerable families. Approximately 50 crore beneficiaries are expected to avail of this scheme.
    • The second major initiative, which is reminiscent of the Delhi government's Mohalla Clinics, is the creation of 1.5 lakh Health and Wellness centres, which will "bring healthcare closer to home."

    Education

    • The government plans "to treat education holistically with integration of class 2 to class 12"
    • An 'Integrated BEd' program will be started soon, with teachers training as the main focus
    • Tech to be biggest driver in education sector with increased digital intensity and a mission to move from Black board to digital boards
    • Rs. 1 lakh crore to be invested over the next 4 years for a new drive to boost Research and Development Government to set up special Railway University at Vadodara, Gujarat
    • By 2022, every block with over 20,000 tribals and over 50 per cent STs will have a special Eklavya school.
    • Government to establish two new Schools of Planning and Infrastructure.
    • To address brain drain issue in country, a new scheme to identify bright students studying B Tech in top engineering schools and allow them opportunity to study and do research in IITs and Indian Institute of Science.
    • Selected students to get special fellowships and will be expected to teach in institutes of higher education, particularly in rural areas.

    Social protection

    • Mudra Yojana lending target of Rs 3 lakh crore.
    • Aim to bring 60 crore bank accounts under Jan Dhan Yojana.
    • Integrated BEd programme for teachers proposed to train quality of teachers and education.
    • Fund for social security and protection of widows and orphaned children.

    Industry

    Government reduced the income tax to 25% for small companies with annual turnover of up to Rs 250 crore.

    Railways

    • Total capital expenditure for Indian Railways set at Rs 1,48,528 crore
    • Special railway university to be set up in Vadodara, Gujarat.
    • Focus will be on safety, maintenance of railway tracks, increase in use of technology and fog safety devices.

    Taxation

    • The government proposes no change in personal income tax rates for salaried class.
    • There's been a 12.6% growth in direct taxes in 2017-18; 18.7% growth in indirect taxes in 2017-18
    • 85.51 lakh new taxpayers filed returns in 2017-18, as against 66.26 lakhs in 2016-17. The number has increased from 6.47 crore in 2016-17 to 8.27 crore by end of 2017.
    • Liberalised presumptive income schemes for small businesses with income below Rs 2 crore, similar schemes for professionals with income below Rs 50 lakh.
    • Rs 90,000 crore additional income tax collection in 2016-17 and 2017-18.
    • Corporate tax reduced to 25 per cent for companies with turnover up to Rs 250 crore, move to boost MSME sector.   

    Airways

    The Budget proposes to expand the airport capacity more than five times to handle a billion trips a year under a new initiative - NABH Nirman. Under the Regional connectivity scheme of UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) initiated by the Government last year, 56 unserved airports and 31 unserved helipads would be connected.

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