Unveiling the Union Budget 2018-19, the Modi government today kept the personal income tax slabs unchanged, while allowing a standard deduction of Rs 40,000.
The government kept medical reimbursement and other benefits unchanged, saying that the proposals will benefit 2.05 crore people.
Meanwhile, Defence budget witnessed a hike of 11.3 per cent. The allocation has been pegged at Rs 2.95 lakh crore this year up from Rs 2.74 lakh crore last year (excluding pensions).
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the government assumes the economy to grow at 7.2-7.5% in the second half of 2017-18.
In a major push to the Indian Railways, which has been reeling under the aftermath of a spate of accidents recently, the government today allocated a capital expenditure of Rs 1,48,528 crore for the division.
Also Read: Union Budget 2018 LIVE Updates: No change in Tax Slabs for salaried employees, standard deductions up to Rs 40,000; relief to senior citizens
Presenting the Union Budget 2018-19 in the Parliament, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that all trains will be provided with WiFi connectivity, CCTV and other state-of-the-art amenities.
He also announced that 12,000 wagons, 5160 coaches and 700 locomotives are being procured, adding that 4267 unmanned railway crossings will be eliminated in the next two years.
In order to improve the air travel services, the government announced that the UDAN (UDe Desh ka Aam Naagrik) scheme will connect 56 unserved airports and 31 unserved helipads.
“Airports Authority of India now has 124 airports, this will be expanded by five times. Aim of one billion trips a year,” said the finance minister.
In a slew of announcements for the agriculture sector, Jaitley said that the government proposes to raise institutional credit to Rs 11 lakh crore for the FY 2018-19.
The government also said it will increase the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of all crops to al least 1.5 times of the production cost.
The finance minister also said that the government is aiming at doubling the farmers' income by 2022 -- a poll promise by the BJP in 2014 general elections and 2017 UP elections.
For the healthcare sector, the government proposed to build two crore more toilets under the ‘Swachh Bharat’ Mission. It also announced medical reimbursement of Rs 5 lakh per year to 10 crore poor families of the nation.
Here are some other major announcements:
- In good news for the MSME sector, the government reduced the corporate tax to 25 per cent.
- Government sets 3.3% fiscal deficit target for next 2018-19.
- Propose to introduce tax on distributed income by equity oriented mutual funds at 10%
- For senior citizens, exemption of interest income on bank deposits raised to Rs 50,000
- Propose to extend 25% corporate tax rate to companies with revenue up to Rs 250 crore
- Propose 100% tax rebate for farmer producer companies having a turnover of Rs. 100 crore
- Projected fiscal deficit for 2018-19 is 3.3% of GDP
- Will take all steps to eliminate the use of Crypto-Currencies, will encourage Blockchain technology in payment systems: FM Jaitley
- 1 lakh Gram Panchayats connected to optic fibre completed; 5 lakh Wi-Fi spots to be created in rural areas
- UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam naagrik) scheme will connect 56 unserved airports and 31 unserved helipads
- All railways stations with more than 25,000 footfall to have escalators. All railways stations and trains to have Wi-Fi and CCTVs progressively
- AMRUT program to focus on water supply to all households in 500 cities. Water supply contracts for 494 projects worth 19,428 core awarded
- Allocation of Rs. 56,619 crore for SC welfare and Rs. 39,135 crore for ST welfare
- 24 new govt medical colleges and hospitals to be set up by upgrading existing district hospitals
- Govt to launch 'Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education by 2022
- Govt proposes to increase the target of providing free LPG connections to 8 crore to poor women: FM Jaitley
- Proposed to raise institutional credit for agriculture to Rs 11 Lakh Crore for 2018-19: FM Jaitley