Arun Jaitley's Budget 2018: What does it say for urban India?

by Susie Olson February 2, 2018, 0:29
Arun Jaitley's Budget 2018: What does it say for urban India?

Khandu further hailed the union budget for giving special impetus to Scheduled Tribe population by proposing to have "Ekalavya" school at par with Navodaya Vidyalayas in every block of the country with more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal people by 2022.

Overall, the budget has laid out a vision for higher economic growth along with social empowerment through a holistic approach to various sections of the economy. The scheme will benefit around 50 crore citizens of the nation or approximately around 10 crore families.

"Along easily of doing business, there is also a focus on ease of living".

Jaitley said fiscal deficit target will rise to 3.3% of gross domestic product for 2018-19, from an initial target of 3%.

"The budget for highways has been increased by about Rs 7,000 crore". Presenting the budget, FM Arun Jaitley announced world largest government-funded National Health Scheme which will provide a cover of Rs 5 lakh per family.

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Allocating Rs 5.97 lakh crore to improve India's infrastructure is a firm step towards bringing it at par to Asian levels. Similar to Micro Irrigation Fund (MIF) and Dairy Processing Infrastructure Development Fund (DPIDF) set up previous year, Jaitley announced the setting up of 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.

The salaried class despite contributing substantially to the tax kitty did not get any major relief from the Budget. Given an election-heavy calendar, allocations have risen for agriculture, healthcare and education sectors, experts felt. This implies that the budgetary provision for this sector in 2018-19 will be around Rs 2.36 lakh crore, 26 percent higher than a year ago.

Sinha hopes that just as the erstwhile long term capital gains were being protected by the government through its so-called "grandfathering" clause, gains from the sale of equity through initial public offerings of startups will also be protected and don't end up getting disadvantaged. "This is against the stated policy decision of NDA government not to make retrospective amendment in tax laws", he said.

Advani, who was present in Lok Sabha during Jaitley's speech, said the Budget also seeks to accelerate the rate of growth of the economy, so that India, which has already become the seventh largest economy in the world, rises higher to become the fifth largest within the next few years. Regarding the long term capital gains (LTCG) tax on equities which has been reinstated at 10 per cent of profits (above Rs 100,000), BofAML said, "Over a three-year investment period, this makes equity taxation worse than that on debt".

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