Union Budget 2018: Important budget’s announcement
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presents the Union Budget 2018 in Parliament on Thursday. Continuing with the trend from last year, the Railways Budget will be included in the General Budget. This is the last full Budget of the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi before the country goes to polls in 2019. It is also the first since the government effected major economic reforms, including the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
Union Budget 2018 LIVE updates
12.28 pm: On a side note, the markets are in the red this afternoon, with Sensex trading 35 points lower at 35,929, while the broader Nifty trades 27 points lower at 11,000.
12.27 pm: There’s been a 12.6% growth in direct taxes in 2017-18; 18.7% growth in indirect taxes in 2017-18, says Jaitley.
12.21 pm: 85.51 lakh new taxpayers filed returns, as against 66.26 lakhs in the previous year. The number has increased from 6.47 lakh crore to 8.27 lakh crore by end of 2017. Jaitley says govt pledges to undertake measures to ensure black money is contained. Demonetisation was received by honest taxpayers for this reasons, he says.
12.17 pm: The govt has proposed changes in salaries for the President, Vice-President and Members of Parliament. Emoluments of the President is revised to Rs 5 lakh per month, while for the VP is Rs 4 lakh per month. For MPs, the law will provide automatic revision of emoluments every 5 years, indexed to inflation.
12.15 pm: Fiscal deficit: Govt revised fiscal deficit for 2017-18 was Rs 5.95 lakh crore or 3.5% of GDP. Jaitley projects deficit of 3.3% of GDP for 2018-19.
12.14 pm: Jaitley says the government has identified 372 specific business reform actions to improve ease of doing business. The evaluation of performance under this programme to be based on user feedback, he adds.
12.11 pm: On Aadhaar, he says, it has given every citizen a unique ID. Soon, individual enterprises to have Unique ID too.
12.07 pm: Since the NDA govt assumed office, the government has modernised the Armed Forces, says Jaitley, including making the nation self-reliant under Make in India. The govt has opened the sector for FDI, he adds. The govt will bring out a new industry-friendly policy to boost domestic defence production.
12.04 pm: Govt proposes to set up 5 lakh WiFi hotspots; allocates Rs 10,000 crore for this under telecom infrastructure. Meanwhile, govt does not consider cryptocurrency as legal tender, says Jaitley. He adds that the govt will promote the use of Blockchain technology in various government activities.
Cryptocurrency is being used to fund illegitimate transactions
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12.00 pm: Under UDAN connectivity scheme, launched last year, operations have started at 16 airports across the country and will include many more in the upcoming year. The Airport Authority of India (AAI) has 154 airports now, and the government proposes increasing standards to accommodate 1 billion flights a year. Further, 56 unserved airports and 31 unserved helipads will be covered for usage by civilians soon.
People wearing Hawai Chappal will also be able to use Hawai Jahaj.
11.58 am: For Indian Railways, the government allocates capital expenditure of Rs 1,48,528 crore for 2018-19, announces Jaitley. All trains will soon have state-of-the-art facilities such as WiFi and CCTVs for instance.
11.53 am: Govt to develop 10 tourist destinations to attract more people to the country. Amenities will be enhanced under the Amrut programme, he says.
11.47 am: Jobs and employment: Jaitley lists what the government has done in the previous year. Govt to contribute 12% of EPF contribution for new employees in all sectors for three years, says Jaitley. He adds that contributions from women employees will be brought down from 12% to 8%.
11.45 am: The govt allocates Rs 3 lakh crore for lending under Mudra loans in the 2018-19. He says there were 10.38 crore Mudra loans given out in this fiscal, 70% of which went to women. Meanwhile, the government announces a programme to focus on water supply to all households in 500 cities. Contracts for 494 projects worth Rs 19,428 core will be awarded, says Jaitley.
11.42 am: Introduction of GST and demonetisation has created a large database on MSME’s, says Jaitley. Govt will soon announce measures to tackle non-performing assets (NPAs), adds Jaitley.
11.40 am: Govt sanctions over 180 projects for the cleaning of Ganga. The government has identified 115 districts along the Ganga to develop and aims at improving quality of life in these districts. The govt expects these to become a model of development.
11.35 am: For the healthcare sector, the government launches National Health Protection Scheme to cover 10 crore poor and vulnerable families, says Jaitley. This translates to 50 crore beneficiaries. The govt will provide upto Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospital. “Govt is progressing towards goal of universal health coverage,” adds Jaitley.
This will be the world’s largest health-protection scheme
11.30 am: For the education sector, the government proposes revitalising infrastructure, opening schools for the ST populations as well as promoting programmes for teachers, in order to improve quality education for students, says Jaitley.
11.27 am: The government will provide eight crore free gas connections to women under its Ujjwala scheme, and 4 crore electricity connections to the poor under Saubhagya Yojana, says Jaitley. The govt will also build 2 crore more toilets under Swachh Bharat Mission.
11.22 am: The govt will aid the governments of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab to curb air pollution, says Jaitley. The government will also subsidise removal of crop residue to tackle the problem of pollution due to crop burning in these states.
11.21 am: Meanwhile, here are some pictures of Congress leaders following the Budget announcements.