Ahead of the presentation of the Union Budget 2017, President Pranab Mukherjee on 31 January 2017 addressed the Budget 2017 session of the Parliament.
This was the historic session of the Independent India which showcased the advancement of the budget cycle with the merger of general budget with rail budget for the first time.
In his speech, President spoke on various issues that engulfed the nation and its economy in the year 2016-17, be it the struggle of demonetisation and its fight against black money, Sab Ka Saath Sab Ka Vikaas Scheme, voluntarily giving up of LPG subsidy to help the poor or the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan.
Key Highlights of Speech
• This year witnessed a favourable monsoon which was supplemented by farmer-oriented schemes leading to the increase in the acreage and yield of most Kharif crops.
• Pradhan Mantri YUVA Yojana was launched for promoting entrepreneurship education and training amongst 7 lakh students.
• National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme was launched with a budget outlay of Rs 10000 crore.
• The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was introduced to amend Maternity Benefits Act, 1961 in order to support pregnant women at the workplace.
• Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan was launched to provide comprehensive ante-natal care to all pregnant women. While, the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme is yielding encouraging results.
• Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana is continuously expanding the ambit of risk-coverage, doubling of sum insured & facilitating lowest-ever premium.
• Mission Indradhanush is committed towards vaccinating every child everywhere against preventable diseases.
• Under Deen Dayal Upadhayay Gram Jyoti Yojana, around 11000 villages have been electrified in a record time.
• Moreover, there are 37 percent of the Ujjwala beneficiaries which belong to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
• Under UJALA (Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All) programme, over 20 crore LED bulbs have been distributed, resulting in savings of more than Rs 10000 crore in the electricity bills of consumers.
• Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is continuing its aim to ensure health and sanitation, particularly for the poor.
• Under Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana, over Rs 16000 crore have been made available to self-help groups (SHGs) in the current Financial Year.
• Over Rs 2 Lakh Crore has been provided through 5.6 crore loans which were sanctioned under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana.
• Payments Bank concept has been started in the country. After Airtel and PayTm, the Indian Postal Payment Bank has been started.
• Over 26 crore Jan Dhan accounts have been opened for the unbanked people in the year.
• Over 20 crore RUPAY debit cards have been issued to enable cashless payments.
• Over 1.2 crore consumers have voluntarily given up their LPG subsidy, which has helped the underprivileged in accessing LPG connections.
• 1.4 lakh villages, over 450 cities, 77 districts and 3 states have declared themselves Open Defecation Free.
• Pradhan Mantri Bharatiya Jan Aushadi Pariyojana was launched to ensure that the poor people have access to quality medicines at affordable prices.
• The corpus of NABARD fund in the year 2016-17 was doubled to Rs 41000 crore to ensure easy credit access to farmers.
• Nari Shakti has now become an integral part of the country. The Rio Olympics was one of the vital example of this where PV Sindhu, Sakshi Malik, Deepa Karmakar and others illustrated their strength.
• Implementation of the 7th Pay Commission has benefited 50 lakh employees and 35 lakh pensioners.
• Under the Forest Rights Act, around 16.5 lakh Individual Forest Rights titles were granted over an area of 55.4 lakh acres of forest land.
• The Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan is improving accessibility for the Divyang jan at public places.
• For the first time, Speech and Language Disability, and Specific Learning Disability have been included in The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.
• Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga was also launched for the execution of 2500 kilometres long Jagdishpur-Haldia-Bokaro-Dhamra Natural Gas Pipeline Project.
• For modernization of Railways, the highest ever capital outlay of Rs 1.21 lakh crore has been provided.
• India launched 8 operational missions covering meteorological, navigation, and earth observation and communication satellites.
• Under the Sagarmala programme on port-led development, a total of 199 projects with an outlay of over Rs 300000 crore have been identified for implementation in the next three years.
• The passing of Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016 have together resulted in a comprehensive policy backed initiative against black-money.
• The four-decade old demand of one-rank-one-pension (OROP) of Armed Forces veterans has been fulfilled.
• The Direct Benefit Transfer programme of subsidies through the Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile (JAM) Trinity has prevented leakages and helped save Rs 36000 crore.
• PAHAL is the world’s largest cash benefit transfer scheme that has saved over Rs 21000 crore in two years.
• For the concept of cooperative federalism through One nation-One tax, both Houses of Parliament passed the Goods and Services Tax Act.
When: 31 January 2017