Five takeaways from India's budget spending plans to boost growth

07 February, 2018, 01:23 | Author: Regina Lloyd
  • Budget 2018 Govt to provide Rs 5 lakh medical cover per year via flagship scheme

Budget 2018 may broaden Ujjwala to light up rural housing scheme too The National Democratic Alliance government's flagship cooking gas scheme is likely to be linked to the rural housing scheme in order to provide wider coverage. After an honest introspection, need was felt to prioritise the rural sector, said Arun Jaitley.

The National Health Protection Scheme will cover "poor and vulnerable families" for up to Rs 5 lakh a year per family for secondary and tertiary-care hospitalisation, finance minister Arun Jaitley said while presenting the general budget on Thursday.

Addressing claims that the Budget does not do enough for the middle class, Jaitley said: "There is not a single Budget of mine in which the middle class has not got some relief. Hope the measures they take will attract investors and help startups grow", he said. The government in the current financial year had met the target for disinvestment and earned a revenue of Rs 90,000 crores.

Jaitley also announced a "major" investment to fund research infrastructure in the country to the tune of 1 lakh crore over the next four years. Jaitley said the Government considers agriculture as an "enterprise" and wants to help farmers produce more from the same land parcel at lesser cost and, simultaneously, realise higher prices for their produce.

Seeking to allay the concerns about the funding of the scheme, Health Minister J P Nadda today said finances would not be a problem and added that the Centre was working out the nitty-gritties of the programme. The present budget aims to compensate for the losses that are being incurred due to various reasons, while the unproductive government companies don't have be a burden on the government, while they may be more productive in a different corporate setting.

The budget holds vast importance since it's the first after the GST was implemented in the country and the last just ahead of the next union elections take place in 2019.

The prevalent 3 per cent education cess will be replaced by a 4 per cent education and health cess. Budget 2018: What Standard deduction and tax on dividend mean for you While the finance minister introduced a standard deduction for all salaried employees, at the same time he raised the cess levied on income tax. With the budgets for the initiative doubled this year, it is set to be one of the key drivers of India's economic growth. It is expected to impact about 50 crore people.

He said all fiscal deficits have crossed the budget estimates, while there was nothing in the Budget to boost private investment. The new government will determine the full-year budget for 2019-20.

The minister started his speech by reading out the achievements made by the government, saying: "We" are now a $2.5 trillion economy, and we are firmly on path to achieve 8 per cent plus growth soon.

He also levied a 15 per cent duty on some of the parts and accessories of mobile phones and TV sets to promote creation of more jobs under the "Make in India" programme. India is expected to become the fifth largest economy very soon.


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