The 2017 Union Budget, presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on February 1, 2017, was broadly focused on 10 themes — the farming sector, the rural population, the youth, the poor and underprivileged health care, infrastructure, the financial sector for stronger institutions, speedy accountability, public services, prudent fiscal management and tax administration for the honest.
From this year, the Budget announcement is preponed to February 1 from the last working day of February. Budget preponement will give sufficient time to departments to implement government schemes.
Another change this time was from this year Railway Budget is merged with the General Budget.
Following are the highlights of Mr. Jaitley’s Budget speech:
The total Budget expenditure allocated for 2017-18 is Rs. 21.47 lakh crores.
- Pace of remonetisation has picked up; demonetisation effects will not spill over to next year.
- Merger of Railways Budget with General Budget brings focus on a multi-modal approach for development of railways, highways and inland water transport.
- India is seen as engine of global growth; IMF sees India to grow fastest in major economies.
- Income tax rate reduced from 10% to 5% for tax slab of Rs 250,000 to Rs 500,000.
- 10% surcharge on individual income above Rs 50 lakh and upto Rs 1 cr to make up for Rs 15,000 cr loss of due to cut in personal Income Tax rate .
- 15% surcharge on income above Rs 1 cr to continue.
- Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) review committee has recommended 60% debt to GDP ratio.
- Govt pegs fiscal deficit target at 3.2 per cent for 2017-18 and 3 per cent for next year.
- Agricultural sector is expected to grow at 4.1 per cent this fiscal.
- Target of agriculture credit fixed at Rs 10 lakh cr in 2017-18
- Committed to double farm income in 5 yrs.
- World Bank expects GDP growth rate at 7.6 pc in FY18 and 7.8 pc in FY19
- IMF estimates world GDP will grow by 3.4 per cent in 2017.
- Steps to be taken to ensure participation of women in MGNREGA up to 55%.
- Two new AIIMS to be set up Jharkhand and Gujarat
- Mini labs by qualified local entrepreneurs to be set up for soil testing in all 648 krishi vigyan kendras in the country.
- Head post offices to issue passports.
- For senior citizens, Aadhaar based health cards will be issued
- Model Shops and Establishment Bill to open up additional opportunities for employment of women
- Digi Gaon will be launched to promote tele-medicine and education
- Maximum amount of cash donation a political party can receive will be Rs 2000 from any one source as part of effort to clean political funding
- No transaction above Rs 3 lakh in cash will be allowed as suggested by Special investigation Team (SIT)
- DBT to LPG consumers, Chandigarh is kerosene-free, 84 government schemes are on the DBT platform.
- 1 cr households to be brought out of poverty under Antodya Scheme.
- 100% electrification of villages to be completed by May 2018.
- Next phase of skill strengthening for industrial value enhancement will be launched in 2017-18 at a cost of Rs2,200 crore.
- Online education platform called ‘SWAYAM’ launched. It is aimed at offering virtual education, this platform will offer up to 350 online courses.
- A programme called SANKALP (Skill Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion Programme) will be launched at a cost of Rs 4,000 crore. SANKALP will provide market relevant training to 3.5 crore youth.
- A Computer Emergency Response Team to strengthen security of the financial sector amid increasing incidents of cyber frauds.
- Government will support Gujarat to commemorate 100 years of Sabarmati ashram.
- Government will commemorate the 100 years of Champaran Satyagrah in Gujarat.
- Government will celebrate the 200 years completion of Paika Mutiny, known to be the first freedom struggle of India.
- Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) will be abolished. FIPB offers a single window clearance for applications on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in India that are under the approval route. But now its power has been systematically reduced under the current government.
- NABARD fund will be increased to Rs. 40,000 crore.
- A sum of Rs. 10 lakh crore is allocated as credit to farmers, with 60 days interest waiver.
- Irrigation corpus increased from Rs 20,000 crore to Rs 40,000 crore.
- Govt to set up dairy processing fund of Rs 8,000 crore over three years with initial corpus of Rs 2,000 crore
- Dedicated micro-irrigation fund to be created with a corpus of Rs 5000 crore
- The allocation for rural agri and allied sector in 2017-18 is record Rs 1,81,223 crore.
- More funds beyond Rs 10,000 cr for recapitalisation of banks will be provided if needed
- Govt doubles distribution target under Mudra Yojana to Rs 2.44 lakh crore for 2017-18
- National Housing Bank will refinance indiviual loans worth Rs 20,000 crore in 2017-18
- To construct one crore houses by 2019 for homeless, PM Awas Yojana allocation raised from Rs 15,000 cr to Rs 23,000 cr.
- 27,000 cr on to be spend on PM Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY); 1 cr houses to be completed by 2017-18 for houseless.
- Rs 500 cr allocated to set up Mahila Shakti Kendras; Allocation raised from Rs 1.56 lakh cr to Rs 1.84 lakh cr for women & child welfare.
- For transport sector, including railways, road and shipping, government provides Rs 2.41 lakh crore
- Allocation of Rs 10,000 cr for Bharat Net project for providing high-speed broadband in FY18
- Allocation for national highways stepped up to Rs 64,000 cr from Rs 57,676 cr
- Sports Ministry got a total of Rs 1943 crore in contrast to Rs 1592 crore earmarked last year, thus increasing the budget for sport by 40%.
- Rs 1,840.77 crore allocated to tourism ministry.
- Allocation under MNREGA increased to 48,000 crore from Rs 38,500 crore. This is highest ever allocation.
Infrastructure and railways:
- A total allocation of Rs. 39,61,354 crore has been made for infrastructure.
- Total allocation for Railways is Rs. 1,31,000 crore.
- No service charge on tickets booked through IRCTC.
- Raksha coach with a corpus of Rs. 1 lakh crore for five years (railway safety fund for passenger safety).
- Unmanned level crossings will be eliminated by 2020.
- 3,500 km of railway lines to be commissioned this year up from 2,800 km last year.
- SMS-based ”clean my coach service” is put in place.
- No service charge will be levied on tickets booked through the IRCTC website from April 1.
- Coach mitra facility will be introduced to register all coach related complaints.
- By 2019 all trains will have bio-toilets.
- Rs. 64,000 crore allocated for highways.
Highlights of the previous year:
- 36 pc increase in FDI flow; forex reserves at USD 361 billion in January enough to cover 12 months needs
- CAD declined from 1 pc last year to 0.3 pc in first half of current fiscal.
- Of 3.7 cr individuals who filed tax returns in 2015-16, 99 lakh showed income below exemption limit
- Revenue deficit reduced to 2.1 pc from 2.3 pc for 2016-17
- Sanitation coverage in villages has increased from 42 pc in Oct 2016 to 60 pc, a rise of 18 pc