Union finance minister Arun Jaitley presented the union budget 2017-18 in Lok Sabha today. This fourth consecutive budget tabled by BJP led NDA majorly focused on 10 key areas namely:
- Farming sector
- Rural population
- Health care for the underprivileged
- Financial sector for stronger institutions
- Speedy accountability
- Public services
- Prudent fiscal management
- Tax administration for the honest
(Source: The Hindu)
The budget evoked mixed responses from individuals, corporates and political fraternity itself. While the government partners and allies said the budget a game changer, opposition attacked the government by stating it anti-farmer and anti-poor. Corporate juggernauts have responded in positive. They praised the budget for being balanced and corporate friendly.
As the Government had decided earlier to merge the union rail budget with general budget, Jaitley read the main highlights of rail budget during his budget speech. He iterated that Railways will focus on passenger safety, capital works and cleanliness, among other issues.
Here are the major takeaways from the union budget 2017:
- NABARD fund increased to Rs. 40,000 crores.
- Government to set up mini labs in Krishi Vigyan Kendras for soil testing.
- A sum of Rs. 10 lakh crores allocated as credit to farmers. Backed with 60 days interest waiver.
- Govt to set up a dedicated micro irrigation fund with Rs 5,000 crore initial corpus.
- Irrigation corpus increased from Rs 20,000 crore to Rs 40,000 crore.
- Focus to bring 1 crore households out of poverty by 2019.
- Over Rs 3 lakh crore will be spent for rural India.
- Steps to be taken to ensure participation of women in MGNREGA up to 55%.
- To complete 1 crore houses for those without homes.
- To allocate Rs. 19,000 crores for Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana in 2017-18.
- To set up 100 India International centres across the country.
- To take steps to create 5000 PG seats per annum.
- 500 crores allocated for Mahila Shakthi Kendras.
- To launch a nationwide scheme for pregnant women, Rs. 6000 will be transferred.
- A sum of Rs. 1, 84,632 crores allocated for women and children.
- Two AIIMS to set up in Jharkhand and Gujarat.
- 52,393 crores allocated for Scheduled Castes.
- Aadhaar-based smartcards will be issued to senior citizens to monitor health.
- Holding period for long term capital gain lowered to 2 years
- Propose to reduce basic customs duty for LNG to 2.5% from 5%
- No transaction above Rs 3 lakh to be permitted in cash.
- Limit of cash donation by charitable trust reduced to Rs 2,000 from Rs 10,000.
- Existing rate of tax for individuals between Rs. 2.5- Rs 5 lakh reduced to 5% from 10%
- Tax payers in subsequent brackets will get benefit of Rs 12,500.
- 15% surcharge on individual income above Rs. 1 crore to remain.