Saturday, 24 February, 2018

Budget 2018: Focused gaze on social, academic front

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced a Rs 5 lakh medical insurance cover for poor families terming the initiative as the world’s largest government-funded healthcare programme Budget 2018: Narendra Modi has taken middle class for granted and possibly antagonised most loyal vote bank
Elsie Buchanan | 07 February, 2018, 01:24

With agriculture being a key focus in this year's Union Budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has announced a number of schemes and measures that are expected to benefit the agriculture sector, and also help the Centre in realizing their mission to double farmers' income in the near future. Jose Thattil, CEO of Pune-based payment solutions startup Phi Commerce, says people from rural India will now be able to conduct cashless transactions using BHIM UPI, Aadhaar Pay and BharatQR.

The Union Budget 2018 failed to enthuse budding entrepreneurs from the "City of Startups" who feel the longstanding demand of extending the tax holiday and clarity on taxation on angel investments were not addressed.

The National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) announced by Jaitley in the budget aims to cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families in the country.

Terming it as the world's largest government funded healthcare programme, Jaitley said it would take healthcare protection to a new aspirational level.

To help millions of farmers, Jaitley raised prices for rice and other crops to at least 50 percent more than the cost of production. Now, I am feeling very happy the government has chose to announce to make the MSP for all notified crops in the upcoming kharif season at least 1.5 times of the input cost.

"There is nothing to indicate that farmers real income will rise".

The reduction in the corporate tax rate to 25 per cent for companies with a turnover under Rs 250 crore will give the much required impetus to the MSME sector.

Customs duty on mobile phones up from 15% to 20%

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Tampa family members relieved loved one safe after Amtrak crash
This is the second fatal Amtrak crash in a week and the third in the last few months. when an Amtrak train crashed there. However, passengers like Comerico said they received little medical assistance and were quickly shipped off into buses.


"The increase in the basic customs duty of auto parts, accessories and CKD components varying from 5% to 10%, clubbed with the new Social Welfare Surcharge at 10%, at a time when the auto industry is reviving, is unfortunate, and comes as a surprise". The Union Budget 2018-19, mainly focused on the poor, farmer and rural India, is an answer to those who have been accusing the Modi Government of being pro-rich, anti-poor, anti-farmer and ignoring rural India.

The Minority Affairs Ministry also got a raise of Rs 505 crore from Rs 4,197 crore in 2017-18 to Rs 4,700 for the next fiscal year.

"This will benefit the entire class of micro, small and medium enterprises which accounts for nearly 99% of companies filing their tax returns", the Finance Minister said.

On rural India, Jaitley said that the government has connected rural areas to roads and provided toilets inside the houses under the Swachh Bharat.

Foreign portfolio investors, however, remained buyers on the Indian bourses as they bought shares worth Rs 950 crore on Friday.

This was the BJP government's last full-year Budget ahead of the Lok Sabha elections scheduled for 2019.

Keeping the income tax rates and slabs unchanged, he introduced a Rs 40,000 Standard Deduction for salaried employees and pensioners in lieu of the present exemption in respect of transport and medical expenses. Having a dedicated affordable housing priority sector fund under the National Housing Bank (NHB) will open up new avenues for the developers planning to offer budget homes. "Adequate funds will be provided for smooth implementation of this programme".

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