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The Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on 1 February 2017 presented the Union Budget 2017 in the Lok Sabha. In the independent India, this will be the 87th budget and the third of the Modi Sarkar.
The Budget 2017 is also unique in the sense that it is the first budget after introduction of three key changes to the budget process viz., merging of the Railway Budget with the General Budget, Doing away with the classification of plan and non plan expenditure and most importantly advancing the budget presentation date by one month.
The Budget 2017 has identified Underprivileged as one of the key drivers of the economy. Accordingly, Arun Jailtley announced following initiatives for the Underprivileged People.
• Around 14 lakh Angadvadi centres will be developed for skill development and employment of underprivileged people.
• The revision of Maternity Benefit Act has already been made for supporting the pregnant women at the workplace. A scheme for pregnant women has been launched to provide Rs 6000 to all the pregnant women.
• Women and child welfare allocation has been increased Rs 184362 crore.
• Affordable housing will also be assured for women and children.
• National Housing Bank will refinance the housing loans with lower interest rates.
• There will be appropriate Action Plan for leprosy, measles and IMR.
• Health Wellness Centres will be developed.
• Adequate availability of specialist doctors will be ensured.
• Structural transformation for framework of medical education.
• Drugs and Cosmetics Rules will be amended to attract investment in this sector.
• Payment of Wages Act, 1936 has also been amended for ease of doing business.
• Various schemes will be implemented for welfare of Schedule Class, Schedule Tribes.
• Fund allocation for SCs has been increased to Rs 52393 crore, which is the 35 per cent increase.
• Fund allocation for STs has been increased to Rs 4195 crore.
• For Senior Citizen, Aadhar based smart cards will be provided.
• For the benefit of Senior Citizens, LIC will provide guaranteed 8 per cent return on their premium.