Union Budget 2017 – Highlights Of This Year’s Annual Budget Of India
The Union Budget is a financial plan that provides the estimated income and expenditure for a fixed period of time. India’s annual Union Budget 2017 has been presented by the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for the fourth time in his political career. There are many salient features in this year’s Union Bnewsudget, although the verdict has been mixed from different quarters. The most important aspect of today’s budget is inclusion of allocations for Indian Railways. The tradition has been to present Railway budget separately by the concerned minister. However, the functional autonomy of the Railways is still intact as per reports.
The salient features of India’s Annual Budget presented in Parliament are listed below –
- Total Allocation For Infrastructure is fixed at 39.61 lakh crores.
- Highways get a total expenditure of Rs 64,000 crorers.
- High speed internet for 1.5 lakh village councils or gram panchayats.
- Increased focus on Inland water and coastal transportation facilities.
- Railway’s Capital and Development Expenditure is Rs 1,31,000 crores.
- Passenger safety corpus, known as Raksha Coach, of 1 lakh crore for 5 year period.
- IRCTC bookings have been made service-charge free.
- Bio-toilets and unmanned crossing facilities before the year 2020.
- New railway lines for the coming year have been increased to 3500 kms.
- Demonetization benefits include commendable growth in GDP and tax revenues.
- The next fiscal year will be insulated from the spillover effect of demonetization.
- The GDP calculations are going to be much more transparent, reliable, and accurate.
Agriculture And Rural Allocations –
- Agriculture credit target for the year 2017-18 has been fixed at Rs 10 lakh crore.
- The interest for the credit is waived off for 2 months or 60 days period.
- Irrigation has been allocated a corpus of Rs 40,000 crore.
- NABARD fund allocation is raised to Rs 40,000 crore with Rs 5,000 crore for micro irrigation projects.
- Technology driven agriculture with soil testing mini labs and soil cards.
- Growth in agriculture sector has been anticipated as 4.1% for this fiscal year.
Education And Youth –
- Centralised National Testing Agency separate from CBSE and other agencies for higher education.
- A system of annual learning outcomes for quantitative measurements of academic standards.
- Sufficient funds for secondary education, skills impartation, and foreign language learning.
- More accredited colleges and increase in PG seats on an annual basis.
Fiscal Facts –
- Total Expenditure is Rs 21.4 lakh crore.
- Fiscal deficit for the year 2017-18 has been set at 3.2 percent with 3 percent as the estimate for the following year.
- GDP growth for the coming two years i.e. 2018 and 2019 are 7.6% and 7.8% respectively as per International Agencies.
- Automated FDI inflows after policy reforms is around 90%.
- Increased use of technology in the form of computerized solutions for financial grievances and BHIM apps.
- Legislative changes to ensure effective punitive action against financial crimes.
- Making India more tax compliant and improve tax to GDP ratio.
- Progressive taxation without any changes in the income tax slab.
- Tax rate has been reduced from 10% to 5% for income range of Rs 2.5 lakh – Rs 5 lakh
- Uniform benefit of Rs 12,500/- per individual for higher income slabs.
Rural Poor, Housing And Healthcare –
- Women and child welfare allocations are approximately 700 crore.
- Rs 52,000 crore has been allocated for improving the conditions of Scheduled Castes.
- Emphasis on affordable housing and improvement of standards in health and medical education.
- 1,50,000 health sub-centres will be converted to Health Wellness Centers.
- Jharkhand and Gujarat states are allotted 1 AIIMS each.
- Increased bank liquidity to facilitate housing loans with lowered interest rates.
- Refinancing of individual loans of Rs 20,000 crores by National Housing Bank.