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Central Government Announces Budget for 2018-2019 - (01 Feb 2018)


The Central Government announced general budget for the year 2018-2019. On 1st February, 2018, the Finance Minister, Shri Arun Jaitley presented the Budget for 2018-2019 in Parliament. The main focus of the Government in this year’s budget is agriculture and rural economy, good health care to economically less privileged, taking care of senior citizens, infrastructure creation and working with the States to provide more resources for improving the quality of education in the whole country.

This year’s budget has decided to keep MSP for all unannounced kharif crops atleast one and half times of their production cost after declaring the same for the majority of rabi cops. After the establishment of Dairy Infrastructure Fund, government also decided to setting up a Fisheries and Aqua culture Infrastructure Development Fund (FAIDF) for fisheries sector and an Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF) for financing infrastructure requirement of animal husbandry sector with a total corpus of Rs.10,000 crore for the two new funds. Just like the programmes such as ‘‘Operation Flood’’ a new Scheme ‘‘Operation Greens’’ is announced with an outlay of Rs 500 Crore to tackle the challenge of price volatility of perishable commodities like tomato, onion and potato with the satisfaction of both the farmers and consumers.

The Government has announced that, the Centre will work with the state governments to facilitate farmers for installing solar water pumps to irrigate their fields. He also proposed to extend the facility of Kisan Credit Cards to fisheries and animal husbandry farmers to help them meet their working capital needs. The Government has also announced to set up five lakh wi-fi hotspots to provide net connectivity to five crore rural citizens to further Broadband access in villages. The Finance Minister allocated Rs. 10000 crore in 2018-2019 for creation and augmentation of Telecom infrastructure.

This year’s budget has also got more benefits for lower and middle class. The Government indicated that under Ujjwala Scheme, distribution of free LPG connections will be given to 8 crore poor women instead of the previous aim of 5 crore women and about 4 crore poor households will be provided with electricity connection under Saubahagya Yojana. The Budget further aims to achieve target of housing for All by 2022 by building more than one crore houses by 2019 in rural areas, apart from already constructed 6 crore toilets under Swachh Bharat Mission.

The main attraction of this year’s budget is the announcement of world’s largest government funded health care programme titled National Health Protection Scheme which aims to cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families (around 50 crore beneficiaries) which shall provide coverage upto Rupees 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization. The budget has also provided for allocation of additional Rs.600 crore to provide nutritional support to all TB patients at the rate of Rs. 500 per month for the duration of their treatment. The finance minister further announced that, the government will be setting up 24 new Government Medical Colleges and Hospitals by upgrading existing district hospitals in the country.

The Budget has further provided relief to salaried tax payers by allowing a Standard Deduction of Rs. 40,000 in place of the present exemption allowed for transport allowance and reimbursement of miscellaneous medical expenses. The transport allowance at enhanced rate is proposed to be continued for differently abled persons. The budget further proposes to continue medical reimbursement benefits in case of hospitalization etc. for all employees.

The budget also brings the relief to Senior Citizens in form of Exemption of interest income on deposits with banks and post offices which are proposed to be increased from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 50,000. Now, TDS shall not be required to be deducted under section 194A and the Benefit will also be available for interest from all fixed deposit schemes and recurring deposit schemes. The deduction limit is increased for health insurance premium and/ or medical expenditure from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 50,000 under section 80D and other benefits under critical illness have also been extended to senior citizens.


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