Budget speech goes heavy on two pillars of governance: health and education

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presents budget 2018

GN Bureau | February 1, 2018


#Arun Jaitley   #Budget 2018  
Photo: Arun Kumar
Photo: Arun Kumar

  • Ahead of general elections next year, the government has rightly decided to focus on two crucial pillars of development, namely, health and education. Finance minister Arun Jaitley’s budget speech dwelled on the two at length. The FM announced the launch of a National Health Protection Scheme to cover 10 crore poor and vulnerable families, benefiting approximately 50 crore. He said this will be the “world's largest health protection scheme”, as it aims to provide Rs 5 lakh per family per year for medical reimbursement. He said the government is slowly but steadily progressing towards universal health coverage. Jaitley said the government has “decided to take healthcare protection to a new aspirational level”.
     
  • Budget will focus particularly on strengthening agriculture and rural economy.
     
  • Government committed to famers’ welfare. For decades, agriculture sector is production centric.  It will witness  paradigm shift through prime minister’s clarion of doubling framers income by 2022 as India will celebrate its 75th year of Independence.
     
  • Consider agriculture as an enterprise to increase the price of the agriculture produce.
     
  • MSP will be one and half times more than the innput cost of production.
     
  • For farmers to get exact MSP, Niti Aayog will work with ministries and states  to frame policy 22,000 rural hats will be converted to rural agriculture market.  An amount of Rs 2000 crore has been allocated for this.
     
  • Will apply cluster model for cultivation of horticulture crops to promote the specific produce of a particular region.
     
  • Promoting women self-help groups to take up organics framing.
     
  • Allocation of Rs 200 cr for small and cottage industries.
     
  • Operation Green to provide agri-logistic support  to onion and potato growers. Rs 500 crore allocated.
     
  • Relaunching national bamboo mission by allocating Rs 1290 crores.
     
  • Rs 10,000 cr approved for promoting fisheries, aquaculture and animal husbandryInstitutional credit increased from Rs 8.5 lakh cr to 11 lakh crores.
     
  • Rs 26,000 cr allocated under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY).
     
  •   The govt will set up state-of-the-art facilities in 42 mega food parks.

    Ambitious scheme for education

  • The budget 2018-19 announced an ambitious scheme, 'Revitalising of Infrastructure and Systems in Education' – RISE – to be launched with a total investment of Rs 1 lakh crore in next 4 years.

    Also, by 2022, every block with more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal people will have an 'Ekalavya' school at par with Navodaya Vidyalas.
     
  • Integrated B.Ed programme to be initiated for teachers, to improve quality of teachers.

    Employment
     
  • Govt to contribute 12% of EPF contribution for new employees in all sectors.
     
  • Women contribution of EPF reduced to 8% from 12%. This will provide higher disposable income to working women.

    Railways get Capex of Rs 1.48 lakh cr from govt

  • Government allocates capital expenditure of Rs 1.48 lakh cr for the railways, the highest ever to create and strengthen infrastructure.Large part of Capex is for capacity creation.
     
  • Safety First policy under Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK) is the government’s focus Safety to be strengthened.
     
  • 600 major stations to be redeveloped.
     
  • Maintenance of existing track to be done efficiently and to be expedited.
     
  • 5,000 passenger coaches and 12,000 wagons manufactured in 17-18.
     
  • The work of eastern and western DFC is in full swing.
     
  • 18,000 km of broad gauge tracks doubling to be done.
     
  • Carrying capacity is focus of the government in 18-19.
     
  • Optimal electrification of tracks.
     
  • Important trains to have WiFi and CCTVs.
     
  • 4,267 Unmanned Level Crossings to be eliminated within two years.
     
  • Fog Safe, Train Protection Warning System to tackle foggy weather.
     
  • All stations having over 25,000 footfall to have escalators.
     
  • Modern train sets are being designed at Integrated Coach Factory, Chennai. First train set to be out in 2018-19.
     
  • 160 kms of suburban train network involving cost of Rs 17,000 cr is planned for Bengaluru.
     
  • More double lines for Mumbai Suburban rail network.
     
  • Railway University and High Speed train training institute to train manpower for Bullet train be set up in Vadodara.
     
  • Development of commercial land around railway stations.

    Disinvestment and PSUs
     
  • Rs 80,000 crore disinvestment target for 2018-19, target for 2017-18 has been exceeded and will reach Rs 1 lakh crore.
     
  • Three government insurance companies to be merged into a single entity, and subsequently listed in the stock exchange, as part of the disinvestment programme.
     
  • Finance minister Arun Jaitley said that divestment target for 2017-18 of Rs 72,500 cr is already exceeded and would reach Rs 1 lakh crore by the end of the current fiscal.
     
  • 24 CPSEs to be divested.
     
  • Stakes of the government in Air India to be strategically divested.
     
  • 14 CPSEs to be listed including 2 insurance firms.
     
  • Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) will continue to have more ETF offers.
     
  • Recapatilisation of Public Sector Banks 

     

     


    Welfare Schemes

  • 8 crore free gas connections will be provided to women under the Ujjwala scheme.
     
  • 4 crore electricity connections will be given to the poor under Saubhagya Yojana.

    Swachch Bharat
     
  • The government will build 2 crore more toilets.

    Ganga

  • 47 projects out of 187 projects under Namami Gange are completed.
     
  • The government is focused on tackling the issues related to Ganga, with the outlay for the Namami Ganga programme being increased. This will give a push to the rural economy and is expected to lead to an all round development for villages, towns and cities that are located along the river bank.

    Taxes
  • 1.89 cr salaried individual filed their Income tax returns  and paid tax of 1.44 lakh crore.
  • 1.88 cr individual business tax payers filed their taxes.
  • Relief to salaried individual by proposing a standard reduction of Rs 40,000.



    Others

     
  • Rs 150 cr allocated to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. A national committee chaired by prime minister will include chief ministers and Gandhian thinkers from all walks of life.
     
  •  Revised fiscal deficit estimate for 2017-18 is 3.5% of GDP, fiscal deficit of 3.3% expected for 2018-19.
     
  • Govt. insurance companies to be merged into a single entity; disinvestment target for 2017-18 has been exceeded.
  • Digital India: Allocation for Digital India doubled to Rs 3073 crore.1 lakh Gram Panchayats connected to optic fibre completed; 5 lakhWi-Fi spots to be created in rural areas.
     
  • NITI AYOG will set up a programme on artificial intelligence and focus on research and development and its application.
     
  • Crypto currency: The governed doesn't consider crypt currency as legitimate currency. Will take measures to against its illegal use. It will, though, use block chain technology for safe financial transactions.
     

     

 

 

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