Union Budget 2018: Financial Sector
The Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on 1 February 2018 presented the Union Budget 2018 in the parliament. In the independent India, this will be the 88th budget and the fifth of the Modi Government.
The government will explore use of blockchain technology proactively to boost digital economy. However, the government will not consider cryptocurrency as legal tender.
The Union Commerce Ministry will develop a National Logistics Portal as a single window program to boost the logistics sector. The Union government will recapitalise public sector banks to help them lend an additional Rs 5 lakh crore. Unit Trust of India, Oriental Insurance and National Insurance will be merged and then listed.
Union Budget 2018: Agriculture Sector
The Budget 2018 has identified Agriculture Sector as one of the key drivers of the economy. The government wants to assist farmers to earn 1.5 times the production cost, and the Minimum Selling Price (MSP) for the Kharif Crops has been set at 1.5 times the produce price.
The government would be setting up an Agri-Market Infrastructure Fund with a corpus of `2000 crore for developing and upgrading agricultural marketing infrastructure in the 22000 Grameen Agricultural Markets (GrAMs).
Government plans to launch ‘Operation Green’ with a corpus of Rs 500 crore. It will promote Farmer Producers Organizations (FPOs), agri-logistics, processing facilities and professional management.
Union Budget 2018: Health, MSME and Social Welfare
National Health Protection Scheme will be launched to cover 10 crore poor and vulnerable families. Under this, up to Rs 5 lakh will be provided to each family per year in secondary and tertiary care institutions. This scheme will have 50 crore beneficiaries. This scheme will generate lakhs of jobs, particularly for women.
Mass formalization of MSME sector is happening after demonetization and GST. Online loan sanctioning facility will be refurbished to speed up the complete process by banks. Rs 3 lakh crore is allocated as target for the Mudra Yojana for the year 2018-19. Additonal measures will be taken to boost the growth of venture capital funds and angel investors.
187 projects have been sanctioned under Namami Gange. Namami Ganga programme outlay has been increased with an all round development plan for villages and cities along the river Ganga.
Union Budget 2018: Infrastructure Sector
The government is planning to develop connectivity infrastructure in the border areas. While the construction on the Rohtang tunnel has been completed, the construction of Zojila pass tunnel is progressing well. The government has also proposed to construct a tunnel under the Sela pass.
Rs 1. 48 lakh crore have been allocated for the Indian Railways for the year 2018-19. 18000 km of railway line will be doubled to eliminate capacity constraints. The government would be laying special focus on safety. Hence, special attention would be paid to the maintenance of track infrastructure.
The regional connectivity scheme- UDAAN would be connecting 56 underserved airports and 36 underserved helipads in the country. The operation has already started in 16 such airports.
Union Budget 2018: Fiscal Expenditure & Taxation Reforms
The total expenditure of the Union government is Rs 21.57 lakh crore. The projected fiscal deficit of the FY 2018-19 is 3.3 per cent of the GDP.
In previous years, the growth rate of direct taxes have been significant. Till January 2018, growth rate of 18.7 per cent was recorded. Over 85 lakh new taxpayers filed their returns. The number of effective taxpayers increased from 6.47 lakh crore to 8.27 lakh crore in the previous financial year.
No changes in personal income tax slabs. Majorly, the personal income tax collection comes from the salaried class. Around 1.89 crore returns were filed in 2017 and Rs 1.44 lakh crore was paid as taxes.