Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Union Budget of 2018 on February 1st, 2018. The finance minister also stated that India is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.
The main highlights of the budget were increasing MSP, decrease in corporate tax rate, allocation of Rs. 1200 crore to health care sector and others. “This year’s Budget will particularly focus on agriculture”, said Mr Jaitley. Keeping in mind the plight of the farmers of a nation which is highly dependent on its agriculture, many positive changes were done in the budget which was long overdue.
There was some positive news for the common folks as well, one of them being the increase in EPF contribution by the government. But then, not substantiating the rumours regarding income tax, no changes were made in the income tax slabs.
Here are some key points of the Union Budget 2018 :-
- There are no changes in income tax rate
- For transport, medical reimbursement for salaried tax payers, standard deduction of Rs 40,000 will be allowed
- Education cess has been increased from 3% to 4% which will lead to an additional revenue generation of Rs 11,000 crore
- The new employees of all sectors will have 12% of their income as EPF contribution by the Government for the next 3 years. Contribution to EPF of women employees reduced from 12% to 8% for the first 3 years.
- Finance Minister also said that there is a target to provide all Indians with their own homes by 2022
The MSP for Kharif Crops has been set at 1.5 times the produce price
- Eklavya Schools will be opened in every block with more than 50% Schedule Tribe population by 2022
Aayushman Bharat programme to be initiated, which will have 1.5 lakh centres set up to provide health facilities near homes. Rs 1,200 crore will be allocated for this programme.
- Flagship National Healthcare protection scheme, world’s largest government-funded healthcare programme, will have approximately 50 crore beneficiaries who will receive up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation.
- Mobile phones and televisions to become costly after an increase in customs duty for some products
- Co-operative societies to be allowed 100% tax deduction
- Airport capacity proposed to be increased to handle 1 billion trips every year
- Corporate tax on companies with a turnover of up to Rs 250 cr is to be decreased from 30% to 25%, which results in a revenue loss of Rs 7,000 cr for the government.
- PAN has been made compulsory for any entity entering into a financial transaction exceeding 2.5 lakh
There are a lot of promises initiating a lot of hopes in the eyes of the common rural and urban population. But promises alone cannot cover the fiscal deficit and uplift the living condition of the people, implementation of such promises is necessary. Not much can be said about the upcoming changes in the wake of the Union Budget, we’ll just have to wait and watch.