Union Budget 2018: Key takeaways and sector-wise highlights
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley delivered the current government’s fifth and last full financial budget (Budget 2018 for the fiscal year 2018-19) amid subdued economic growth, challenging fiscal situation and farm distress.
Here are the key highlights from the Union Budget 2018:
- Economy firmly on course to achieve high growth of 8%
- GDP growth at 6.3% in the second quarter of 2017-18 signals turnaround of the economy
- Growth in the second half likely to remain between 7.2% to 7.5%
Agriculture and Rural Economy
- MSP for all unannounced Kharif crops increased to 150%
- Institutional credit for agri-sector increased to Rs.10 lakh crore in 2017-18
- Fisheries, aquaculture and animal husbandry corpus at Rs.10,000 crore
- New scheme Operation Greens with an outlay of Rs 500 Crore
- Govt to develop and upgrade existing 22,000 rural haats
- Agri-Market Infrastructure Fund with a corpus of Rs.2000 crore
- Allocation for Ministry of Food Processing doubled to Rs.1400 crore
- Loans to Self Help Groups (SHG) of women to increase to Rs.75,000 crore by March 2019.
- Increased allocation of National Rural Livelihood Mission to Rs 5750 crore
- Under Ujjwala Scheme distribution of free LPG connections will be given to 8 crore poor women
- Housing for All by 2022 – more than one crore houses to be built by 2019 in rural areas
Education, Health, and Social Protection
- Estimated budgetary expenditure on health, education and social protection at Rs.1.38 lakh crore
- Ekalavya Model Residential School to be set up for tribal children
- Investments for research & infra in premier educational institutions at Rs.1 lakh crore in next 4 years
- Allocation on National Social Assistance Programme at Rs. 9975 crore
- NHPS to cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries)
- NHPS to provide coverage up to 5 lakh rupees per family per year for hospitalisation
- Rs 1200 crore for the National Health Policy, 2017 – additional Rs.600 crore for TB patients
- 24 new Government Medical Colleges and Hospitals
Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSMEs) and Employment
- Major thrust for Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSMEs) – allocation at Rs. 3794 crore
- Target of Rs.3 lakh crore for lending under MUDRA Yojana
- 70 lakh formal jobs to be created this year
- Govt to make 12% contribution of new employees in the EPF for all the sectors for 3 years
- Outlay of Rs.7148 crore for the textile sector
- Increase budgetary allocation on infrastructure for at Rs.5.97 lakh crore
- To develop 10 prominent tourist sites into Iconic Tourism destinations
- 35000 kms road construction in Phase-I at an estimated cost of Rs.5,35,000 crore
- Railways Capital Expenditure pegged at Rs.1,48,528 crore
- 4000 kilometers of electrified railway network slated for commissioning
- Work on Eastern and Western, dedicated freight corridors
- Over 3600 km of track renewal targeted in current fiscal
- Redevelopment of 600 major railway stations
- Mumbai’s local train network to have 90 kilometers of double line tracks at Rs.11,000 crore cost
- 150 km of additional suburban network planned for Mumbai
- Suburban network of 160 km at for Bengaluru metropolis
- To expand airport capacity more than five times to handle a billion trips a year
- Regional connectivity – 56 unserved airports and 31 unserved helipads to be connected
- To establish unified authority for regulating all financial services
- NITI Aayog to initiate a national program to direct efforts in artificial intelligence
- Department of Science & Technology to launch Mission on Cyber-Physical Systems
- Allocation doubled on Digital India programme to Rs 3073 crore
- To set up 5 lakh wifi hotspots to provide net-connectivity to five crore rural citizens
- Rs. 10000 crore for creation and augmentation of telecom infrastructure
- Development of two defence industrial production corridors.
- Allocation of Rs 2.95 lakh crore to defence sector.
- To revise emoluments to Rs.5 lakh for the President
- Rs 4 lakhs for the Vice President
- Rs.3.5 lakh per month to Governor
- Pay for Members of Parliament – law for automatic revision of emoluments every 5 years
- 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi- Rs.150 crore for commemoration programme
- Budget Revised Estimates for Expenditure at Rs.21.57 lakh crore
- Revised Fiscal Deficit estimates at 3.5% of GDP
- To bring down Central Government’s Debt to GDP ratio to 40%
Jaitley announces ‘world’s largest healthcare programme’
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced two new initiatives under the Ayushman Bharat Programme in the Union Budget 2018.
- Under the programme, Mr. Jaitley announced a new flagship National Health Protection Scheme, providing a health insurance cover of ₹5 lakh a family per annum.
- The scheme will cover 10 crore vulnerable families, with approximately 50 crore beneficiaries.
- Mr. Jaitley also announced the creation of health and wellness centres, which will “bring healthcare closer to home”.
- These centres, 1.5 lakh in number, will provide free essential drugs and diagnostic services. A sum of Rs. 1200 crore had been allocated for this.
Wi-Fi hotspots for rural areas proposed
The government has proposed to set up five lakh Wi-Fi hotspots which will provide broadband access to five crore rural citizens.
- Allocation of Rs 10,000 crore has been provided in 2018-19 for creation and augmentation of telecom infrastructure.
Rs 2.04 lakh crore to be allocated for 99 cities under Smart City programme
The Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, while presenting the Union Budget 2018-19, said that as many as 99 cities were selected under the ambitious Smart City Mission at an outlay of Rs 2.04 lakh crore.
- In the Smart City Mission that aims at 100 cities, 99 smart cities have been selected and will be allocated Rs 2.04 lakh crore, Jaitley informed Parliament.
- The Ministry has so far launched 99 smart cities in two years.
7th India Energy Congress begins
7th India Energy Congress has been kicked off in New Delhi on February 1, 2018.
- More than 400 experts will meet on February 1 and 2 to discuss and debate the energy transition being witnessed.
- The theme of the 7th edition of India Energy Congress is ‘Energy 4.0: Energy Transition Towards 2030’.
- The India Energy Congress is the flagship event of World Energy Council India (WEC India) and joint event of ministries of power, coal, new & renewable energy, petroleum & natural gas, external affairs and Department of Atomic Energy.