The Union Budget for the year 2018-2019 was presented by the Indian Finance Minister in the Parliament in February 2018. This year’s budget primarily focused on the agricultural sector, rural development, health schemes, employment generation and overall economic development of the country.
The Union Budget 2018-2019 is the current government’s last full budget before the country elects new government in the coming general elections to be held in 2019. Also, it is the first budget after major economic reforms such as dynamic fuel pricing, goods and services tax (GST) and PSU bank recapitalisation and others have taken place in the country.
The key highlights of the Union Budget 2018 are listed below:
- Fiscal targets
- The GST revenue will be collected for 11 months.
- The tax collection will impact balance sheets by transferring Rs.21.57 lakh crore net GST against the predicted Rs.21.47 lakh.
- For the current year, a fiscal deficit of 3.3% of GDP has been set as a target while the previous year’s fiscal deficit has been revised to 3.5% of GDP.
- For agriculture sector
- Minimum support price (MSP) for all Kharif crops has been raised to 1.5 times the cost of production.
- A corpus fund of Rs.2,000 crore will be set up for the development of agricultural marketing infrastructure in 22,000 Gramin agricultural markets and 585 APMCs
- Institutional credit for the sector has been raised to Rs.11 lakh crore from Rs.10 lakh crore in 2017-18
- Under ‘Operation Greens’, Rs.500 crore has been allotted to address price volatility of perishable goods such as tomato, potato and onion
- Funds for food processing sector have been doubled to Rs.1,400 crore
- Kisan credit cards facility has been extended to fisheries and animal husbandry farmers along with the fund allocation of Rs.10,000 crore for infrastructure development in both the sectors
- For development of rural economy
- Gas connections for 8 crore poor women and free electricity for 4 crore households by allocating Rs.16,000 crore under PM Saubhagya Yojana scheme
- Target to build at least 2 crore toilets under Swachh Bharat Mission. Under ‘Housing for All by 2022’ scheme, 50 lakh houses will be constructed in urban areas, whereas 51 lakh affordable housing units will be built in rural areas under PM Awas Yojana (rural) scheme.
- Loan amount to women self-help groups has been increased to Rs.75,000 crore
- Health Education and Social Protection
- Under the National social assistance program, Rs.9,000 crore has been allocated
- Every block with over 20,000 tribal people and over 50% scheduled tribes (STs) will have a special Eklavya school
- About 10 crore people will get Rs.5 lakh health coverage for hospitalisation every year
- Rs.600 crore has been allocated to tuberculosis patients undergoing treatment
- Plan to set up at least one medical college for every three parliamentary constituencies
- About 5.22 crore families to get benefited from PM Jivan Bima Yojana
- Industry related
- The MSME sector will receive Rs.3,794 crore capital support and industry subsidy by 2022
- Under Mudra Yojana, Rs 4.6 lakh crore has been sanctioned
- Excise duty on unbranded diesel and petrol has been reduced by Rs.2
- The Indian Railways has been set with a total expenditure of Rs.1,48,528 crore.
- Mumbai rail network has been allotted Rs.11,000 crore whereas Bengaluru Metro got Rs.17,000 crore
- No change in personal income tax rates for salaried individuals
- Liberalisation of presumptive income schemes for small businesses and professionals with income below Rs.2 crore and Rs.50 lakh respectively
- For companies with turnover up to Rs.250 crore, corporate tax has been cut by 5%, from 30% to 25%
- Under EPF scheme, the Government will contribute 12% in wages of new employees in all sectors for the next 3 years. The contribution of women to EPF has been reduced to 8% for the initial three years.
- Customs duty on mobile phones, televisions have been increased
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