This year Union Finance Minister (FM) Arun Jaitley has presented last full fledged budget of the present government.Focus of this year’s budget is on highlighting populist policies of government rather than initiating major economic changes.A quick insight to this year’s budget is as follows
Under agriculture sector, government will set minimum support price of agricultural products at 1.5 times the market rate.FM also proposed a sum of Rs. 500 crores for ‘Operation Green’ on the lines of ‘Operation Flood’.To curb environmental problems like air pollution especially in Delhi-NCR,government has proposed subsidised machinery for in-situ management of crop residue in Punjab,Haryana,Uttar Pradesh and NCT Delhi.Under social security schemes , this year budget allocates money for protection program for all widow’s and orphaned children also government targets to provide all Indians with their own homes by 2022 and under ujjwala scheme to provide 8 crore rural women with free LPG connections.Government also decided to contribute 12 percent of EPF contribution for new employees in all sectors. Under education sector,FM proposes an integrated BEd programme for teachers, a specialised railway University to be set up at Vadodara and fellowships and other opportunities to bright students to tackle brain drain and two new schools will be set up for planning and agriculture.Under health sector government will launch health schemes to cover 10 crore poor families and Rs. 600 crore allocated to Tuberculosis patients undergoing treatment.For railways FM announced a capital expenditure of Rs.1,48,528 crores in financial year 2018-19.
Other important announcements in this year’s budget are,Government aims to bring 60 crore bank accounts under Jan Dhan Yojana.Government will focus on water supply to all households in 500 cities.5 lakh WiFi hotspots will be set up in rural areas to provide easy internet access.FM proposes a fiscal deficit of 3.3 percent of GDP in 2018-19.What seems a burden on pocket on middle income families is increase in prices of mobile phones and health and education cess increased to 4 percent.A commendable decision to curb corruption and illegal transaction is that,government make PAN mandatory for any entity entering into a financial transaction of Rs. 2.5 lakhs or more.