Economy, India, Politics

Finance minister Arun Jaitley presents Union Budget 2017-18 in Lok Sabha

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is presenting the Union Budget 2017 in Parliament. This budget is also special as it is the first time that the Union and railway budgets have been merged. The merger brought an end to the 92-year-old tradition of having a separate railway budget.

The demonetization of high-value notes may play a key role in the expected announcement. Notably, the Analysts expected a hike in the tax exemption limit and revision in tax slabs to calm the chaos triggered by demonetization.

“Inflation has been controlled, low growth has been replaced with high growth, and a massive war against black money has been launched,” the Finance Minister said in his opening remarks.

There will be a sure recovery of the economy in the next fiscal, he added.  Here are key extracts from the speech:

  • Income between Rs 2.5 lakh – Rs 5 lakh to be taxed at 5 per cent. “If nominal rate of taxation is kept at a lower slab, more people will come into the tax net.”
  • All other categories of taxpayers in subsequent brackets will get benefit of Rs 12,500
  • Surcharge of 10 per cent to be levied on persons earning between Rs. 50 lakh to Rs. 1 crore
  • A person filing returns for the first time will not be subject to scrutiny
  • The SIT on black money has decided that no transaction above Rs. 3 lakh should be permitted in cash
  • “Amendment in RBI Act proposed to enable issuance of electoral bonds.”
  • “Tax to be levied for unoccupied houses a year after getting completion certificate. Capital Gains Tax holding period reduced from 3 years to 2 years for real estate.”
  • “Capital Gains tax exemption for people involved in land pooling mechanism for the creation of Andhra Pradesh’s capital city.”
  • “IT exemption for startups.”
  • “After demonetisation, from November 8 to December 30, deposits between Rs. 2 lakh and Rs. 80 lakh was made in 1.09 crore bank accounts.”
  • “One of our main priorities is to eliminate black money from the economy. We are committed to make our taxation rates reasonable.”
  • “The no. of individuals filing IT returns 1.74 core. 97 lakh registered companies have filed returns.”
  • “Total expenditure has been placed at Rs. 21,47,000 crore. The focus is now on revenue and capital expenditure. Capital expenditure will be 25.4 per cent.”
  • “For defence expenditure excluding pensions, I have provided Rs. 2,74,114 crore.”
  • “We have made a strong beginning in direct benefit transfer in LPG. Citizens in far-flung regions find it hard to obtain passports. We have decided to use head post offices as front offices for this.”
  • “A centralised defence travel system has now been set up for defence personnel to book tickets. We propose to introduce a system of registration and a two-tier system for examinations.”
  • “In the recent past there have been instances of big-time offenders, including economic offenders, fleeing the country. The government is considering the introduction of a law to confiscate the assets of such persons.”
  • 2017-18: Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana lending target at Rs 2.44 lakh crore
  • “Rs 10000 crore for recapitalisation of public sector banks. Additional funds to be provided if required.”
  • “Aadhaar-enabled payment system to be launched shortly for those without debit cards, mobile phones. 125 lakh people have used BHIM app so far. 2,500 crore digital transactions targeted.”
  • “Over 250 investment proposals for electronics manufacture has been received in the last two years. I am exponentially increasing the allocation and incentives.”
  • “Total allocation for infrastructure stands at Rs. 3,96,134 crore.”
  • “The Foreign Investment Promotion Board can be phased out. We propose to abolish the FIPB in 2017-18 and a road map for the same will be announced in a while. Further Foreign Direct Investment relaxations are under consideration and necessary announcements to be made in due course.”
  • Rs 64,000 crore will be the allocation for highways. “Selected airports in tier 2 cities to be developed in PPP mode. Railways to partner with logistics players for front end and back end solutions for select commodities. New metro rail policy to be announced with new modes of financing.”
  • “More than 1.5 lakh gram Panchayats to get high speed broadband internet.”
  • Rs 1,31,000 crore has been budgeted for Railways for capital expenditure in 2017-18, including Rs 51,000 crore from the government: Jaitley
  • 500 stations will be made disabled-friendly.
  • “I have 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.”
  • “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.”
  • Jharkhand and Gujarat to get two new AIIMS hospitals
  • The allocation for Scheduled Castes has been stepped up to Rs. 52,393 crore
  • “An innovation fund for secondary education will be created. In higher education, we will undertake reforms to the UGC. Colleges will be identified based on accreditation and ranking and given autonomous status.”
  • “Skill India Mission was launched in 2015 to maximize the potential of our youth. 100 India International Skill centres will be established across the country.”
  • “A special scheme for creating employment in the textile sector has already been launched. Similar schemes will be launched in the leather and footwear sectors.”
  • “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.”
  • “We will provide safe drinking water to 28,000 arsenic and fluoride contaminated areas over the next four years.”
  • “50,000 gram panchayats will be poverty-free by 2019. Our government has made a conscious effort to reorient MNGREGS. The target of 5 lakh ponds and 10 lakh compost pits for last year has been achieved. 2017-18 will have another 5 lakh ponds. Participation of women in MNREGS has increased to 55 per cent.”
  • “MGNREGS allocation is now Rs. 48,000 crore. This is the highest ever allocation for the scheme. Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana will have an allocation of Rs. 27,000 crore.”
  • “We are well on our way to achieving 100 per cent rural electrification by March 2018.”
  • “Sowing farmers should feel secure against natural calamities. Towards this, I propose the Fasal Bima Yojana.”
  • “Govt will provide a long term irrigation fund with a corpus of Rs. 40,000 crore. ENAM coverage will be expanded to 585 markets.”
  • “Dairy Processing Infrastructure Development Fund will be set up with NABARD with an initial corpus of Rs. 2,000 crore.”
  • Jaitley says that the Budget date has been advanced to enable the Parliament to avoid a vote-on-account and have one Finance Bill for the year 2017-18. “We have done away with plan and non-plan expenditure.”
  • “Our agenda for the next year is to transform, energise and clean India.”
  • “The target for agricultural credit has been fixed at a record level of Rs. 10 lakh crore.”
  • The Minister says this Budget will focus on ten major themes. 1.Farmers 2. Rural population 3. Youth 4. Poor and underprivileged health care 5. Infrastructure 6. Financial sector for stronger institutions 7. Speedy accountability 8. Public services 9. Prudent fiscal management 10. Tax administration for the honest
  • “Favourable price developments reflect prudent macroeconomic management. Current Account Deficit has gone down to 0.3 per cent of the GDP. Foreign Direct Investment has increased to Rs. 1.45 lakh crore.”
  • “Forex reserves are at $361 billion as on January 20, 2017. According to the IMF, India is expected to be one of the fastest growing economies of 2017. India has become the sixth largest manufacturing country in the world.”
  • “Demonetisation of high denomination bank notes was a continuation of efforts taken over the last two years.” Mr. Jaitley says that demonetisation seeks to create a new normal wherein the GDP would be bigger, cleaner and real.
  • “There has been a major change in the way the natural resources of the country have been allocated. In the last two years, there has been a change in the way the government has been run.”
  • “Govt has now been seen as a trusted custodian. We shall continue to see the fruits of growth. The world economy faces consecutive uncertainty after economic and political developments of the last one year.”
  • “As per current indications, growth is expected to recover in 2017. India stands out as a bright spot in the world economic landscape.”

 

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