Tuesday, 23 October, 2018

Budget 2018: MS Swaminathan hails MSP hike

The amount for defence pension is an increase of 26.60 per cent over the allocation of Rs 85,740 crore last year Highlights: Budget 2018 focuses on rural economy ahead of elections
Johnnie Parks | 06 February, 2018, 18:37

Jaitley expressed confidence that the government would be able to implement the healthcare scheme and added that the 1 percent cess and the Long Term Capital Gains Tax, which were introduced in this year's Budget, will help in shoring up the funds. Mr Jaitley said it takes care of hospitalization, secondary and tertiary care.

He also categorically rejected suggestions that the budget has hugely disappointed the middle class, especially the salaried class. "We also started in a small way to include crops like pulses, oilseed, cotton a year ago under MSP, but could not buy from all the produce coming in the country. But I am sure as the GST experience moves on, I think, natural gas, real estate - these are areas which are to be brought in and then probably at some stage we will keep trying for petrol, diesel and potable alcohol", he said. This pushed fiscal deficit to 3.5% of the GDP as compared to the budgeted level of 3.2%. But Bakshi said funding was more likely this time because the economy is stronger - and, more important, elections are looming.

"And first such train-set will be commissioned during 2018-19", Jaitley said.

Union Finance Minister said for 20 years duties have been decreased, but an exception has been made this year.

"I have left a lot of leverage for additional measures in this Budget". The Union Budget 2018 also saw the inclusion of National Health Scheme, which will cover crores of Indian families.

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Jaitley said the volume of institutional credit for agriculture sector from year-to-year increased from Rs.8.5 lakh crore in 2014-15 to Rs.10 lakh crore in 2017-18 and he proposed to raise this to Rs.11 lakh crore for the year 2018-19.

Jaitley reckons these investments - ranging from constructing school buildings, rural roads, net connectivity and water supply systems, to giving free power connections to poor households - will end up creating employment of 321 crore person-days, 3.17 lakh km of rural roads, 51 lakh new rural houses, 1.88 crore toilets and provide 1.75 crore new household electric connections.

They said the scheme will have 60:40 ratio of expenses between Centre and the state and it will be paperless and cashless. The Finance Minister expressed hope that "slowly and gradually, this will improve the lifestyle of people living in rural areas". "The budget has unfortunately ignored the stressed and vilified real estate sector that is in desperate need of Government support through specifically targeted tax breaks that help make building affordable homes in India viable". "India is expected to become the fifth largest economy very soon", he said.

Interacting here with corporate leaders following his Thursday presentation in Parliament of his last full budget before the general elections due in early 2019, Jaitley said that a stressed agriculture sector was not in India's interest, indicating thereby that boosting rural demand is a key in helping Indian industry now burdened with massive leverage, while banks struggle with their accumulated bad loans.

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