Union Budget 2016-17: Arun Jaitley's gram punch

Mar 01, 2016, 09:36 IST | A Correspondent

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the Union Budget is aimed at improving rural infrastructure and increasing rural income, as the biggest challenge to the economy is agrarian distress

New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the Union Budget is aimed at improving rural infrastructure and increasing rural income, as the biggest challenge to the economy is agrarian distress.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Illustration/Uday Mohite
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Illustration/Uday Mohite

He said the Budget for 2016-17 aims at taking forward economic reforms, increasing spending on infrastructure and giving a boost to overall development of the country. “It aims at improving infrastructure in rural areas and rural income increase. Today the biggest challenge to economy is rural distress and agrarian distress.

“The budget is aimed at taking forward economic reforms, increasing spending on infrastructure and take the country’s economy forward towards further development. The country’s development is on services, manufacturing and agriculture sector that was the aim. The budget is aimed at taking steps towards overall development of the country,” he said.

He said the budget aims at helping increase rural incomes, rural infrastructure and animal husbandry.

If there is more job creation in villages, it will help emerge multiple sources of income.

On not increasing the tax slab rates, he said there is an attempt to increase the tax base and simplify tax structure.

“Reforms in the economy cannot be brought about by changing the slabs and if tax payers stop giving taxes, the country will stop. There should be benefits to tax payers also and the tax base should also increase,” he said.

Jaitley said the steps taken by the government in the last 21 months collectively are themselves “very big” and this is the reason the country’s economy is growing despite the global slowdown.

On the passage of key reform bills like GST pending in Parliament, he said that the government is “making attempts” and he expects “the Congress party to help and cooperate in the passage of these key reform bills like the GST”.

Row before budget
Congress and Left members raised the issue of Privilege Motion against HRD Minister in connection with the row surrounding suicide by Dalit student Rohith Vemula.

As soon as Jaitley rose to speak, Opposition members raised the issue of notice of Privilege Motion given by them against Irani over her remarks made in Parliament last week. They wanted to know the status of their notices against Irani for “misleading” the House.

Despite Speaker Sumitra Mahajan saying that the matter is under her consideration, they kept raising the issue, prompting Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu to accuse them of indulging in “cheap politics” at a time when Budget was being introduced.

Your branded clothes just got pricier
Chandigarh: Prices of branded garments are set to go up by “2 to 5 per cent” with the Union government levying excise duty on ready-made products of Rs 1,000 or more in the Budget 2016-17.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, “I propose to change the excise duty on branded readymade garments and made up articles of textiles with a retail sale price of R1,000 and above from ‘Nil without input tax credit or 6 per cent/12.5 per cent with input tax credit’ to ‘2 per cent without input tax credit or 12.5 per cent with input tax credit’.”

Not so happy
The garment industry in Punjab described the levy as “most deplorable” step.

Condemning the government for bringing small and medium enterprises engaged in garment manufacturing under the ambit of indirect tax, industry questioned the rationale behind the move when the Centre was pushing for bringing Goods and Service Tax (GST) from next fiscal.

“Prices of ready made garments will go up in the range of 2 to 5 per cent depending upon the retail price of the product,” Ajit Lakra, Head Textile, Federation of Industry and Commercial Organisation said.

Sandeep Jain, Executive Director, Monte Carlo Fashion also dubbed the levy of excise duty as “negative move” for the garment industry. When the consumer sentiments are already low, the levy of excise duty will further hit the demand for items priced more than Rs 1,000,” he further said.

Cars get costlier
An Infrastructure Cess has been imposed at the rate of 1 per cent on small petrol, LPG, CNG cars, 2.5 per cent on diesel cars of certain capacity and 4 per cent on other higher engine capacity vehicles, SUVs and bigger sedans. However, three wheelers, electrically-operated vehicles, hybrid vehicles, hydrogen vehicles based on fuel cell technology would be exempt from the infrastructure levy.

Budget is pro-village, pro-poor, pro-farmers: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday said the Budget is pro-village, poor and farmers with focus on bringing about qualitative change in the country and alleviate poverty through a slew of time-bound programmes.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Commenting on the Budget 2016-17, he said special attention has been paid to agriculture, village infrastructure, healthcare, employment generation and Dalit entrepreneurship.

“This Budget is pro-village, pro-poor, pro-farmer. The main focus is to bringing about qualitative change in the country,” Modi said, adding, “There will be a big change in the lives of common people.”

He said the Budget has laid a roadmap to alleviate poverty in a time-bound manner. “Several steps have been taken for the farmers. The most important is Pradhan Mantri Krishi Yojana,” he said.

Noting that electricity and roads are crucial for villages, the Prime Minister said by 2019, all villages of thecountry will be connected by roads, while all of them will be electrified by 2018.

Rs 9,000 crore boost for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
New Delhi: The government today announced allocation of Rs 9,000 crore for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the country’s biggest drive to improve sanitation and cleanliness, especially in rural India.

“This (cleanliness) subject was very close to the heart of the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi. The government has allocated R9,000 crore for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan,” said Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

Launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 2, 2014 on Gandhi’s 145th birth anniversary, the mission is a national campaign, covering 4,041 statutory cities and towns.

Rs 50,000 discount for first homebuyers
Aiming to boost demand in realty sector, the government proposed an additional Rs 50,000 deduction on interest on loans for first homebuyers and tax incentives on development of affordable housing, besides exempting REITs from dividend distribution tax.

“For the first homebuyers I propose to give deduction for additional interest of Rs 50,000 per annum for loans up to Rs 35 lakh sanctioned during the next financial year, provided the value of the house does not exceed Rs 50 lakh”, said Arun Jaitley.

At present, Rs 2 lakh deduction is allowed for interest paid on home loans. In a relief to individual taxpayers, Jaitley also increased the tax deduction limit to Rs 60,000 per annum .

Rs 98,995 crore revenue from communication services
Government expects a revenue of Rs 98,994.93 crore from communication services in fiscal 2017 that includes proceeds from spectrum auction and other fees levied by the Department of Telecom (DoT).

The estimated receipts from communication services for next year is around double of the revised estimates for the current financial year at Rs 56,034.35 crore.

The government had earlier estimated a revenue of Rs 42,865.62 crore in 2015-16. “The arrears of the previous years and receipts from fresh auction are also included in the Budget Estimates 2016-17,” the Budget document said.

Rs 1,700 cr earmarked for Skill India
Laying out the objective of skilling one crore youth over the next three years, Arun Jaitley announced a raft of measures including setting up 1,500 multi-skill training institutes and National Board for Skill Development Certification.

Jaitley described “education, skills and job creation” to make India a knowledge-based and productive society as one of the ‘nine pillars’ that will transform the country. Jaitley earmarked a sum of Rs 1,700 crore for setting up 1,500 multi-skill training institutes.

“We have decided to set up National Board for Skill Development Certification in partnership with the industry and academia. We propose to further scale up Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna to skill one crore youth over the next three years,” Jaitley said.

Did you know?
Punjab is one of the biggest makers of readymade garments in the country.

Rs 220.44 cr
Amount allocated to the Personnel Ministry for 2016-17 to augment training facilities for bureaucrats

Number of pharmacies to be added under the Jan Aushadhi Yojana to provide generic drugs at affordable rates

Rs 1 lakh
New universal health Insurance scheme per family, with an additional R30,000 for senior citizens

>> No change in personal Income Tax slabs

>> 4-month compliance window for domestic black money holders

>> Relief for tax payers who earn below Rs 5 lakh 

>> Surcharge on super-rich with income of over Rs 1 cr raised to 15 per cent

>> House rent deduction raised from Rs 20,000 to Rs 60,000

>> Corporate Tax for new manufacturing units fixed at 25%

>> Clean energy cess increased from R200/ton to 400/ton on coal, lignite and peat

>> Forex reserves at highest at USD 350 billion

>> Highest ever allocation of Rs 38,500 cr for MGNREGA

>> Small retail shops may remain open for 7 days

>> 100% rural electrification by May 1, 2018

>> Govt to pay EPF contribution of 8.33% of new employees for first 3 years

>> Start-ups to get 100% tax exemption for 3 years 

>> Infrastructure outlay at Rs 2.21 lakh crore

>> Rs 35,984 crore earmarked for farmer welfare R86,500 crore to be spent on irrigation in 5 years

>> Rs 20,000 crore irrigation fund to be set up under NABARD

>> Rs 2,000 crore for LPG connection to poor; scheme for MPG connection for women

>> Stand Up India allocated Rs 500 crore

>> Roads and highways allocation at Rs 55,000 crore; NHAI can issue tax free bonds

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