Highlights of Union Budget 2018

Union-Budget2

Fiscal Prudence

  • Under the new GST regime, the last date for filing of GST returns remains the 20th of the succeeding month.
  • This is expected to have a significantly impact balance sheets as indirect tax receipts will be only for 11 months (excluding the receipts for March).
  • Also, Rs 21.57 lakh crores were transferred in the form of net GST to finance the shortfalls of states against the predicted Rs 21.47 lakh.
  • Considering the upended government spending and the above mentioned fiscal constraints, the government wasn’t able to meet its fiscal target of 3.2%.
  • Notably, the 2018-19 targets has been set at 3.3% of GDP and the actual fiscal deficit for 2017-18 was calculated to be “Rs 5.95 lakh crore or 3.5% of GDP”.

Agriculture

  • The government’s resolve to double farmers’ income, and increase production was reasserted.
  • 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.
  • “Agricultural Market and Infra Fund” with a corpus of Rs 2,000 crore will be created for 22,000 gramin agricultural markets and 585 APMCs.
  • Also, Rs 11 lakh crore credits for the farm sector have been proposed and allocation for Food Processing Ministry has been doubled.
  • A restructured “National Bamboo Mission” with corpus of Rs 1,290 crore to boost bamboo cultivation has been provided for.
  • Emphasis has been given to organic farming and export of agro commodities has been liberalized to meet India’s agro exports potential of $100 billion.
  • kisan credit cards has been extended to animal husbandry and fisheries and Rs 10,000 crores has been allocated for these domains.
  • A favorable taxation treatment for farmer producer’sorganizations has been intended and agricultural products will now be in futures markets.
  • A special scheme to manage crop residue and contain winter smog in the northern plains around Delhi has also been proposed.

Rural Welfare

  • Deposit free gas connections will be provided to 8 crore poor women under the PM Ujjwala Scheme.
  • Rs 16,000 crore for PM Saubhagya Yojana was allocated for connecting 4 crore households with free electricity.
  • Also, under Housing for All by 2022 and PM Awas Yojana (rural), 51 lakh affordable housing units constructed in rural and 50 lakh in urban areas.
  • Allocation to National Livelihood Mission was set at Rs 5,750 crore and target for loans to women self-help group has been increased to Rs 75,000 crore.
  • Extra and non-budgetary resources of Rs 14.34 lakh crore has been estimated for housing, infrastructure and livelihood in rural areas.
  • Constructing at least 2 crore toilets under Swachh Bharat Mission has been targeted for 2018.

Financial Schemes

  •  60 crore bank accounts under PM Jan Dhan Yojana is envisioned which is currently 16 crores.
  • All the existing “Jan Dhan accounts”, are touted to be brought under micro insurance and pension plans of the government.
  • Notably, “PM Jivan Jothi Bima Yojana” is currently benefiting about 5.22 crore families.
  • It was stated that 1.26 crore bank accounts have already been opened under the “Sukanya Samriddhi Scheme” for the financial security of the girl child.
  • Rs 52,719 crore has been allocated for social inclusion of scheduled castes.

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