Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Union Budget 2018-19 in Parliament yesterday. This budget, Jaitley’s fifth, is the last full budget of this NDA government before India goes to polls for the General Elections due to take place in 2019. Here is a list of sectoral highlights of Budget 2018-19:
Fiscal situation and targets
GST revenue will be collected for 11 months and that would impact balance sheets. Rs 21.57 lakh crore transferred in the form of net GST against the predicted Rs 21.47 lakh. Government aims for 2018-19’s fiscal deficit target of 3.3 per cent of GDP. Revised fiscal deficit for 2017-18 was Rs 5.95 lakh crore or 3.5 per cent of GDP.
Mass formalisation of Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises industry after GST and demonetisation. Union government will be allocating Rs 3,794 crore capital support and industry subsidy by 2022 for the MSME sector. Under Mudra Yojana, Jaitley set a target of Rs 3 lakh crore. The finance minister said Rs 4.6 lakh crore was sanctioned under Mudra Yojana. Consumers get relief with excise cut on fuel. Excise on unbranded diesel was cut by Rs 2 to Rs 6.33 per litre and the same deduction was given from unbranded petrol top Rs 4.48 per litre.
Agriculture and rural economy
In a major relief to farmers, minimum support price (MSP) for all upcoming Kharif crops has been raised to 1.5 times the cost of production. In case the market prices are lower than MSP, government would procure the produce or ensure farmers get right prices.
Agricultural market and infra fund of with corpus of Rs 2,000 will be created for 22,000 gramin agricultural markets and 585 APMCs. Cluster development model of agricultural commodities, emphasis to encourage for organic farming.
Allocation for Food Processing Ministry has been doubled. Operation Green will produce farmer producer organisation, logistics, warehousing etc allocation of Rs 500 crore. Export of agri commodity has been liberalised to meet India’s agricultural exports potential of $100 billion.
To boost bamboo sector and animal husbandry, kisan credit cards will now be extended to fisheries and animal husbandry farmers. A restructured national bamboo mission with corpus of Rs 1,290 crore will be set up. Rs 10,000 crore are allocated to set up two funds to promote fisheries and animal husbandry.
Health Education and Social Protection
Comprehensive social security program National social assistance program over Rs 9,000 crore. Health education in country to be treated without segmentation from KG till class 12. Aim to move from black board to digital board with push for digital technology and e-education.
By 2022, every block with over 20,000 tribals and over 50 per cent STs will have a special Eklavya school. As many as 10 crore people to get Rs 5 lakh health coverage for hospitalisation every year. Government aims to move towards universal health coverage. Allocation of Rs 600 crore has been proposed for tuberculosis patients who are undergoing treatment.
The total outlay for defence in budget 2018 is Rs 2.95 lakh crore, which is up from Rs 2.74 lakh crore last year. Union Government has expressed his interest to boost manufacturing in defence sector and asserted the need to strike a balance between foreign procurements to meet immediate needs and Make in India initiative for defence sector.
Customs duty on mobile phones, TVs hiked for providing fillip to Make in India initiative. Government also proposes 10 per cent social welfare surcharge on imports.
Budget for employees
Government pledges contribution of 12 per cent in wages of new employees in all sectors for the upcoming 3 years under EPF scheme. Women contribution to EPF slashed for initial three years to 8 per cent.
An allocation of Rs 3,073 crore was done for Digital India scheme. As many as 5 lakh WiFi hotspots will be snstalled to give access of broadband services to 5 crore rural citizens. An allocation of Rs 10,000 crore was proposed for the same.
Government will now explore the usage of Blockchain technology but it will also take steps to prohibit circulation of cryptocurrencies as they are not classified as legal tenders as of now.
Government plans to expand airport capacity by as much as five times and aims to take the trip count to 1 billion per year. An initial investment of Rs 60 has been set aside. Under UDAN scheme, 64 airports will be connected across the country to boost low cost flying.