Tit-Bit: The Union Budget 2018-19 was presented in the Parliament on Thursday by Union Finance minister. Jaitely’s fifth, this is the last budget of this NDA Government before 2019 general elections. Also, this is the first budget post big-ticket economic reforms such as GST, dynamic fuel pricing, and PSU bank recapitalization.
Central’s Gift to Silicon City
Following the state cabinet meeting, the central ministry has given a green signal for the 160-km rail network for Bengaluru in its union budget 2018. Finance minister Arun Jaitley said that this suburban rail network is a total of Rs.17,000 crore project which is intended to cater to the growth of the Bengaluru metropolis.
The Sub Urban rail project is said to be implemented within the core areas of the city and is expected to be implemented in a 50:50 ratio between center and state. Mr. Dyamannavar, Prajaa RAAG group (an advocacy group that has been pushing for suburban rail network for Bengaluru) said,
“ The Railways Pink Book, which may come in two days or so, will give more details as to how the finances will be. The Railways had stated that they hoped to monetize some of their lands to fund their share.”
Union Minister H.N Ananth Kumar tweeted:
Suburban network of ~160 KMs at an estimated cost of 17,000 crore is being planned to cater to growth of Bengaluru
My fight for #SubUrbanRail for Bengaluru these 21 years is closer to reality now.
Thanks @narendramodi ji @arunjaitley ji for this support#NewIndiaBudget pic.twitter.com/XlwrhR3vPf
— Ananthkumar (@AnanthKumar_BJP) February 1, 2018
Key Highlights of Union Budget 2018
- Budget guided by mission to strengthen agriculture, rural development, health, education, employment, MSME, and infrastructure sectors
- The government says that a series of structural reforms will propel India among the fastest growing economies in the world.Country firmly on course to achieve over 8 % growth as manufacturing, services, and exports back on good growth path.
- MSP for all unannounced Kharif crops will be one and half times of their production cost like the majority of rabi crops: Institutional Farm Credit raised to 11 lakh crore in 2018-19 from 8.5 lakh crore in 2014-15.
- 22,000 rural has to be developed and upgraded into Gramin Agricultural Markets to protect the interests of 86% small and marginal farmers.
- Loans to Women Self Help Groups will increase to Rs.75,000 crore in 2019 from 42,500 crores last year.
- Rs. 5.97 lakh crore allocation for infrastructure.g
- Relief to Senior Citizens proposed:
- Exemption of interest income on deposits with banks and post offices to be increased from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 50,000.
- TDS not required to be deducted under section 194A. Benefit also available for interest from all fixed deposit schemes and recurring deposit schemes.
- Hike in deduction limit for health insurance premium and/ or medical expenditure from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 50,000 under section 80D.
- Increase in deduction limit for medical expenses for certain critical illness from Rs. 60,000 (in case of senior citizens) and from Rs. 80,000 (in case of very senior citizens) to Rs. 1 lakh for all senior citizens, under section 80DDB.
- Proposed to extend Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana up to March 2020. Current investment limit proposed to be increased to Rs. 15 lakh from the existing limit of Rs. 7.5 lakh per senior citizen.
- Salaried tax-payers to get a standard deduction of ₹40,000 in lieu of transport allowance and “other medical expenses”.
- Free power connections to 4 crore homes under Saubhagya Yojana.
- Eight crore free gas connections for poor women through Ujjwala Yojana.
- Govt. to implement minimum support price for all crops; It is hiked to 1.5 times of production costs.
- The food subsidy has been increased for the from Rs 1.4 lakh crore in 2017-18 to Rs 1.69 lakh crore in 2018-19.
- Government plans to expand airport capacity by as much as five times and aims to take the trip count to 1 billion per year.
- An allocation of Rs 3,073 crore was done for Digital India scheme. As many as 5 lakh WiFi hotspots will be installed to give access to broadband services to 5 crore rural citizens.
Source: Hindu, TOI, and Business Line.