Normally, union budget is for all sorts of citizens of the country. This time the budget is slightly tilted towards the farmers and rural economy. This clearly shows the compulsion of the government in the election year. The government is being criticised for its insensitivity for farmers and weaker section of society. The main announcements for this sector are-
1. MSP for the agricultural produce at 1.5 Times the Cost. But the budget speech was silent on the methodology of calculation.
2. The government plans to build 17 lakh kilometers of rural roads, 51 lakh new rural houses and provide 1.75 crore new household electric connections besides boosting agricultural growth.
3. Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) to include 80 million poor families who will be given free cooking gas connections.
4. Government is planning to construct around 2 crore toilets.
5.Announcement of setting up a Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FAIDF) for fisheries sector and an Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF) for financing infrastructure requirement of animal husbandry sector. Total Corpus of these two new Funds would be Rs10,000 crore.
6.The announcement of National Health Protection Scheme announced will cover 10 crore poor and vulnerable families in the country, or about 50 crore beneficiaries, with a cover of 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation. The methodology and monetary provisions are to be worked out. Taking off may be at the end of 2018.
7.Announcement of standard deduction of Rs. 40,000 for the salaried individuals on the cost of the travel and medical expenditure that were earlier allowed to be deducted to arrive at the taxable income. The cess has been increased from 3% to 4%. Salaried class did not get any advantage from the announcement. The IT has increased for the taxpayers whose taxable income is more than 5 lakhs.
8. Senior citizens got exemption of interest income on deposits with banks and post offices. The government has proposed to increase the amount from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 50,000. The senior citizens entails rise in deduction limit for health insurance premium and medical expenditure from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 50,000 under section 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961. This would leave little taxable income for the senior citizens. The higher exemption has been introduced to keep pace with the soaring medical expenses. In case of certain critical illnesses, the senior citizens are allowed Rs. 60,000 exemption, while for the very senior citizens, the limit is Rs. 80,000. Both the upper limits have been hiked to Rs. 1,00,000, thus leaving higher income in the hands of senior citizens. But the majority of senior citizens in the rural area are not covered.
9. Disinvestment target of Rs.80,000 crore for 2018-19. Because of this, the government will be able to ensure fiscal consolidation and avoid surpassing the 3.3% target of fiscal deficit set for the next year, 2018-19.
10. It is proposed to set a target of Rs3 lakh crore for lending under MUDRA for 2018-19.
11. The emoluments of the President, the Vice President and the Governors were last revised with effect from 1st January, 2006. These emoluments are proposed to be revised to Rs5 lakh for the President, Rs4 lakhs for the Vice President and to Rs3.5 lakh per month for the Governors.
12. 4000 kilometers of electrification are targeted for commissioning during 2017-18.
13. An independent study conducted recently has shown that 70 lakhs formal jobs will be created this year. No clear mention of the survey and how these jobs would be created.
14. Cost of the following things will increase- Footwear, Vegetable, fruit juices, including orange and cranberry, Sunglasses, Perfumes and toilet waters,Coloured gemstones, Diamonds, Imitation jewelry, Smart waches/wearable devices, LCD/ LED TV panels, Cars and motorcycles, Mobile phones, Silver, Gold, Truck and Bus radial tyres, Silk Fabrics, Furniture,Lamps, pocket watches, clocks, Tricycles, scooters, pedal cars, wheeled toys, dolls' carriages, dolls, toys, puzzles of all kinds,Cigarette and other lighters, candles, Kites, Edible/vegetable oils such as olive oil, groundnut oil.
15. The things those will be cheaper are Raw cashew nuts, Solar tempered glass or solar tempered glass used for manufacture solar panels/modules, Raw materials, parts or accessories used in making cochlear implants, Select capital goods and electronics such as ball screws and linear motion guides