Published: Tue, February 06, 2018
Medicine | By Douglas Stevenson

India unveils pro-farmer budget with eye on polls

India unveils pro-farmer budget with eye on polls

In his budget address, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government will develop two defence industrial production corridors.

He announced no changes for personal income tax rates.

Presently, no tax is applicable on Rs 19,200 of transport allowance and medical expenditure of up to Rs 15,000.

Senior citizens will get higher exemptions on income from interest on bank and post office deposits, health insurance premium and critical illness expense.

What is it? The long-term capital gains (LTCG) tax imposed on transfer of listed shares, after holding it for a year or more.

Paul said the government will also open 1.5 lakh health and wellness centres which will provide free drugs and free diagnosis facilities. Finance Minister in his budget speed said that there will be 51 lakh houses built in rural areas by end of FY18-19. It is expected to impact about 50 crore people.

The government's new flagship National Health Protection Scheme, which aims to insure as much as 500 million people for up to 500,000 rupees a year of care, could benefit companies such as Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd., India's largest hospital company, as well as Fortis Healthcare Ltd.

Indian officials have said "the world's largest government funded health care program" would have a federal allocation of Rs20 billion in 2018-19, but added that more funds would be made available as the program is rolled out over the year.

But to fund these, he let go of the fiscal consolidation roadmap.

He also took a swipe at Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over his claim that he would raise money for the scheme in the future by calling it a "perfect jumla (gimmick)".

Jaitley is presenting his fifth annual budget to lawmakers in New Delhi.

"We are now a $ 2.5-trillion economy, and we are firmly on path to achieve 8 per cent plus growth soon", Jaitley said.

Revised fiscal deficit for 2017-18 was Rs 5.95 lakh crore or 3.5 per cent of GDP.

Jaitley said India's agri-exports potential is as high as U.S. $100 billion against current exports of USA $30 billion and to realize this potential, export of agri-commodities will be liberalized.

"From ease of doing business, our government has moved to ease of living for the poor and middle class", he said.

Package worth Rs 7100 crore for the textile sector.

Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce (BCIC) termed the Budget as an "Agriculture, Infrastructure and Rural Economy Boosting Budget" that would boost macroeconomics of the country despite stagnation in the global economy and overseas political uncertainties, with specific emphasis on the development of core sectors especially the infrastructure, agriculture, rural sectors for the next one year.

Rs 56,000 crore for SCs and Rs 39,000 crore for STs.

Gross market borrowing is seen at Rs 6.06 lakh crore and net borrowing at Rs 4.62 lakh crore in 2018.

The government proposes Rs9,975 crore for social security schemes for the next fiscal year and intends to spend Rs600 crore allocated for tuberculosis patients, at the rate Rs500 per month during the course of their treatment. For example, customs duty on mobile phones would be increased from 15 to 20 percent - certain imported components of mobile phones and television sets would be taxed at 15 percent. He laid out plans to merge three public sector insurance companies and list the new entity.

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