Finance Minister Arun Jaitley arrived at Parliament on Thursday morning to present the last full-year Budget before the 2019 general elections. He started his speech by praising various initiatives taken by the NDA government for the welfare of people. He announced comprehensive healthcare schemes with maternal and child services, free essential drugs and diagnostics. He also said that the government is planning to construct 2 crore more toilets under Swachh Bharat Mission and also increase the target of providing free LPG connections to 8 crore poor women.

This was the first Budget by NDA government after economic reforms like Goods and Services Tax (GST) and was more focussed on farmers, rural poor and small businesses. “Our government has worked sincerely for various reforms without keeping the political angle in mind. My government is committed to the welfare of the fares. Agriculture is an enterprise and we are encouraging farmers to earn more,” Jaitley said.

Here are the highlights of NDA’s last full-year Budget before the 2019 general elections:

12.39 pm: Custom duty on mobile phones increased to 20% from 15%. Corporate Tax rate cut to 25% for companies with turnover of Rs 250 crore: Jaitley

12.36 pm: A standard deduction of Rs 40,000 in lieu of transport and medical reimbursements for salaried classes. No TDS on FD, Post Office interest to senior citizens of up to Rs 50,000. For senior citizens, exemption of interest income on bank deposits raised to Rs 50,000.

12.33 pm: Govt has made many positive changes in the personal income tax rates applicable to individuals in the last three years, therefore, I do not wish to make any changes to this, says Arun Jaitley

12.30 am: Taxpayer base has risen from 6.47 crore in 2014-15 to 8.27 crore in 2016-17. Also, 100% tax deduction for first five years to companies registered as farmer producer companies with a turnover of Rs 100 crore and above. Corporate tax reduced to 25% from 30% for companies with turnover under 250 crore.

12.25 pm: 85.5 lac taxpayers as compared to 66.2 last year and government plans to reward honest taxpayers, says Jaitley. Gold monetisation scheme is also being revamped so that people can open gold deposit accounts in a hassle-free manner.

12.21 pm: Bid for automatic revision of salary for MPs every 5 years indexed to inflation. Emoluments of the President to be revised to Rs 5 lakh per month & emoluments of the Vice-president to be revised to Rs 4 lakh per month: Arun Jaitley 

12. 20 pm: Cash payment at toll plaza is being done away with. The government will introduce a toll system based on Pay as You Use module. We will also bring out an industry-friendly defence production policy.

12.15 pm: Niti Aayog to establish a national programme to direct efforts towards Artificial Intelligence, including research and development of its applications. Govt has identified 372 specific business reform actions to improve ease of doing business; Evaluation of performance under this programme to be based on user feedback, says Arun Jaitley

12. 14 pm: Government insurance companies to be merged into a single entity, and subsequently listed in the stock exchange, as part of the disinvestment programme.

12. 11 pm: The govt does not consider cryptocurrency as legal tender and will make all efforts to eliminate it. Rs 80,000 crore disinvestment target for 2018-19, target for 2017-18 has been exceeded and will reach Rs 1 lakh crore. National Logistics Portal as a single online window to link all stakeholders, to be developed by Dept. of Commerce: FM

12.10 pm: The govt proposes to expand India’s airport capacity from what it is now to more than 5 times. Govt has approved 5,35,000 crore for ‘BharatMala’. To enhance National Corridor efficiency, about 53,000 kms of highways identified, says Jaitley. UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam naagrik) scheme will connect 56 unserved airports and 31 unserved helipads.

12.06 pm: Foundation stone of the bullet train was laid in September 2017. An institute is coming up in Vadodara to train the manpower required for the high speed railway projects. 5 lac wifi hotspots to 5 crore rural citizens. 56 unserved airports and 31 unserved helipads will be covered for usage by civilians. People wearing Hawai Chappal will also be able to use Hawai Jahaj: FM 

12.03 pm: All trains to be progressively provided with WiFI, CCTV and other state-of-the-art amenities. All railway stations with over 25,000 footfall will have escalators.  Mumbai railway system is being expanded to add 90km of double line track at Rs 11000 crore. 600 major railway stations to be redeveloped. Rs 17000 crore has been allotted to create and extent suburban Bangalore railway network, says FM Jaitley in Parliament.

11.50 am: 76% of loan accounts are of women and more than 50% belong to SC, ST and OBC. Target of Rs 3 lakh crore for lending under PM Mudra Yojna. 12% of wages to be contributed from govt side towards EPF. Women’s EPF contribution reduced to 8% for first 3 years of employment. no changes in employer contribution: FM Jaitley

11.48 am: Technology will be the biggest driver in improving quality of education. We propose to increase the digital intensity in education and move gradually from blackboard to digital board, says FM Arun Jaitley. 

11. 47 am: 115 aspiration districts identified taking various indices of development into consideration, quality of life to be improved in these districts. 16,713 crore allocation for Namami Gange Scheme. Mass formalization of MSME sector is happening after demonetisation and GST: FM Arun Jaitley

11.46 am: FM Arun Jaitley announces comprehensive healthcare scheme with maternal and child services, free essential drugs and diagnostics. He allocates Rs 12 crore for this flagship programme, Rs 600 crore nutritional support to TB patients and one govt medical college for every 3 parliamentary constituencies by upgrading 24 district-level colleges.

11.44 am: We have allocated Rs 1200 crore allocated for health wellness centres, Rs 5 lakh per family per year for 10 crore poor families, the world’s largest govt funded program. The government has also allocated 24 new govt medical colleges and hospitals.

11.30 am: Govt plans to construct 2 crore more toilets under Swachh Bharat Mission and increase the target of providing free LPG connections to 8 crore poor women, says Arun Jaitley. He said govt will launch ‘Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education by 2022.

11.27 am: Proposed to raise institutional credit for agriculture to Rs 11 Lakh crore for 2018-19, says Aru  Jaitley. Propose launch of a restructure national bamboo mission with Rs 1, 290 and Rs 10,000 crore has been allocated to fisheries and animal husbandry sector.

11.17 am: Air Pollution in Delhi NCR is a cause for concern, special scheme will be implemented to support governments of Haryana, Punjab, UP and Delhi NCR to address it and subsidize machinery for management of crop residue: Arun Jaitley 

11.15 am: “Our government has worked sincerely for various reforms without keeping the political angle in mind. My government is committed to the welfare of the fares. Agriculture is an enterprise and encouraging farmers to earn more, says Jaitley.

11. 14 am: More than 86% of our farmers are small and marginal. We will develop and upgrade rural Haats into Grameen agricultural markets. Our focus is also on productive and gainful on farm and non-farm employment for farmers and landless families: Arun Jaitley

11.12 am: Indian economy and society have shown remarkable resilience and is on course to achieve high growth of 8 %, says Arun Jaitley. Budget 2018 will also work with states to provide more resources to improve quality of education, he adds. 

11.07 am: Arun Jaitley begins his speech, says we are the seventh largest economy in the world. The Finance Minister believes India will grow at 7% next year. This year’s Budget will focus on farmer issues. Indian economy has performed very well since our government took over in may 2014. 

10.48 am: PM Narendra Modi and Union Ministers Sushma Swaraj, Smriti Irani and Ram Vilas Paswan have arrived at the Parliament ahead of Union Budget 2018. Finance minister Arun Jaitley will shortly start his speech.

10.21 am: Cabinet meeting begins inside Parliament ahead of Union Budget 2018. Meanwhile, copies of annual Budget are being checked by security inside Parliament premises.

10.15 am: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley arrives at the Parliament to present the last full-year Budget before the 2019 general elections. This year’s Budget is going to important and will focus on farmers, job creations and small businesses.

9.55 am: Arun Jaitley meets President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan before presenting the Union Budget 2018-19 in the Parliament.

9.40 am: Union Budget papers arrive in Parliament. The budget will be presented at 11 am by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

8. 21 am: Visuals from outside Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s residence in Delhi. He will be presenting the Union Budget 2018-19 in the Parliament today.


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