-Akash yadav
Finance Minister presents the Union BudgetFinance Minister Arun Jaitley. Photo: PTI

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tabled the Union Budget for 2017-18 in Parliament on Wednesday with the theme “Transform, Energise and clean India’’.

In a major step,  The Finance minister announced the reduction of the existing rate of taxation for individuals with income ranging between Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh to 5 per cent instead of 10 per cent and 10 per cent for those whose annual income is Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore. Additionally, the 15 per cent surcharge on Rs 1 crore or more remains unchanged.

Following are the highlights of Mr. Jaitley’s Budget speech:

Railway budget

  • A total allocation of Rs. 39,61,354 crore has been made for infrastructure and 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 (for passenger safety).

 For Youth

  • Will introduce a system of measuring annual learning outcomes and come out with an innovation fund for secondary education.
  • Skill India mission was launched to maximise potential. Will set up 100 India International centres across the country.
  • Will take steps to create 5000 PG seats per annum.
  • Two new AIIMS to be set up in Jharkhand and Gujarat.

For Farmers

  • A sum of Rs. 10 lakh crore is allocated as credit to farmers, with 60 days interest waiver.
  • NABARD fund will be increased to Rs. 40,000 crore.
  • A dedicated micro irrigation fund will be set up for NABARD with Rs 5,000 crore initial corpus.
  • Irrigation corpus increased from Rs 20,000 crore to Rs 40,000 crore.
  • Dairy processing infrastructure fund wlll be created with a corpus of Rs. 2000 crore.

For Rural population

  • 1 crore households to be brought out of poverty by 2019.
  • During 2017-18, 5 lakh farm ponds will be be taken up under the MGNREGA.
  • Over Rs 3 lakh crore will be spent for rural India. MGNREGA to double farmers’ income.
  • Will take steps to ensure participation of women in MGNREGA up to 55%.
  • The country well on way to achieve 100% rural electrification by March 2018.

For health care

  • 500 crore allocated for Mahila Shakthi Kendras.
  • Under a nationwide scheme for pregnant women, Rs. 6000 will be transferred to each person.
  • A sum of Rs. 1,84,632 crore allocated for women and children.
  • Elimination of tuberculosis by 2025 targeted.
  • Health sub centres, numbering 1.5 lakh, willl be transformed into health wellness centres.
  • Allocation for Scheduled Castes is Rs. 52,393

For Financial sector

  • FDI policy reforms – more than 90% of FDI inflows are now automated.
  • Shares of Railway PSE like IRCTC will be listed on stock exchanges.
  • Foreign Investment Promotion Board will be abolished.
  • Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana lending target fixed at Rs 2.44 lakh crore for 2017-18.
  • Digital India – BHIM app will unleash mobile phone revolution. The government will introduce two schemes to promote BHIM App – referral bonus for the users and cash back for the traders.
  • DBT to LPG consumers , Chandigarh is kerosene-free, 84 government schemes are on the DBT platform.
  • Easy online booking system for Army and other defence personnel.

For political parties

  • The maximum amount of cash donation for a political party will be Rs. 2,000 from any one source.
  • Political parties will be entitled to receive donations by cheque or digital mode from donors.
  • An amendment is being proposed to the RBI Act to enable issuance of electoral bonds .A donor can purchase these bonds from banks or post offices through cheque or digital transactions. They can be redeemed only by registered political parties.

For Defence sector

  • The defence sector gets an allocation of Rs. 2.74,114 crore.
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