Budget 2018: Arun Jaitley goes all out to woo rural India

Arun Jaitley presents Union Budget 2018 in Parliament

"From the focus on the modernisation of signalling, use of fog safety devices to focus on better passenger amenities and safety, Rail Budget 2018 has laid out a road-map for Indian Railways of the future, " the FM said.

In his budget speech, Jaitley said the government will work to improve the price realisation of farm products.

He added that the Modi government wanted to double farmers' income by 2022 when India celebrates its 75th year of independence. "The government also proposed to set up 5 lakh wifi hotspots which will provide broadband access to 5 crore rural citizens", Jaitley said. The Budget also imposed a 10% tax on capital gains of over Rs 1 lakh without the benefit of indexing.

Mr Jaitley said the government has successfully implemented series of structural reforms as a result of which India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

In another move that may put additional burden on tax payers, the finance minister announced to increase the health and education cess on personal income tax and corporation tax from existing 3 per cent to 4 per cent.

"Conversely, rapid rise in the number of taxpayers, albeit from a low base, could contribute to revenue growth more significantly than we now expect", Moody's said.

According to Neeru Ahuja, Partner Deloitte India, on the taxation side, industry and individuals are "little disappointed that no significant tax relief has been provided in spite of increased compliance by taxpayers". Apart from the capital expenditure, Arun Jaitley also stated that the government will be constructing a tunnel at Sela Pass in Arunachal Pradesh. "Online loan sanctioning is to be revamped, and the government will soon announce measures for NPA resolution for MSMEs", he said.

Under the Ayushman Bharat, the government has also chose to fund Rs 1,200 crore for 1.5 lakh health wellness centres across the nation. "Protecting 10 crore families i.e about 40% of India's population with a health insurance cover of Rs. 5 lakh per family is a global first". There will 50 crore beneficiaries, he said. We are also coming up with a specialised railway university at Vadodara.

The Finance Minister expressed hope that economy will grow at 7.2 percent to 7.5 percent in the second half of 2017-18.

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