Union Budget 2018: Arun Jaitley breaks tradition, delivers bilingual speech

Updated: Feb 02, 2018, 15:25 IST | A Correspondent

As this is the last full-fledged Budget of the PM Modi-led government and the first one after GST rollout, it is being said that Arun Jaitley departed from the 'language' tradition in order to connect with India's rural masses

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley before presenting the Budget in Delhi today. Pic/ AFP
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley before presenting the Budget in Delhi today. Pic/ AFP

In a first, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented a bilingual Budget today, as he spoke in both Hindi and English. As this is the last full-fledged Budget of the PM Modi-led government and the first one after GST rollout, it is being said that Jaitley departed from the 'language' tradition in order to connect with India's rural masses. Significantly, this is also Jaitley's fifth straight budget speech.

Security personnel check bags containing the general Budget documents, outside the Parliament House in New Delhi, this morning. Pic/AFPSecurity personnel check bags containing the general Budget documents, outside the Parliament House inNew Delhi, this morning. Pic/AFP

Announcing a host of new schemes, Jaitley said that India is expected to register a growth rate of 7.2-7.5 per cent in the second half of the current fiscal and is on way to becoming the fifth largest economy of the world.

He announced a health protection scheme which is expected to benefit 10 crore poor and vulnerable families. "This will be the world's biggest government funded health scheme" Jaitley said. In other announcements, he said the government to contribute 12 per cent of EPF contribution for new employees in all sectors. "Around 70 lakh formal jobs have been created this year," he said.

FM's speech highlights

>> Govt to launch flagship National Health Protection scheme to cover 10 crore poor and vulnerable people
>> Govt to provide free LPG connection to 8 crore women under Ujjwala scheme, up from earlier target of 5 crore
>> Customs duty on mobile phones to be hiked to 20 per cent from 15 per cent
>> Cooking gas being given free to poor under PMUY, 4 crore unconne­cted being provided electricity connection, stent prices slashed
>> Two new schools of planning and architecture to be set up; 18 more in IITs and NIITs
>> Govt to launch Prime Minister's Research Fellow Scheme which will identify 1000 B.Tech students to do Ph.D at IITs, etc
>> By 2022, every block with more than 50 per cent ST population will have Ekalvya schools at par with Navodaya Vidyalayas
>> Education to be treated holistically without segmentation from class nursery to 12th
>> UDAN scheme will connect 56 unserved airports

Fiscal deficit target missed
The fiscal deficit will overshoot to 3.5 per cent from the earlier esti­mate of 3.2 per cent in the current fiscal, ending March 31, the Fina­nce Minister said. The target has been fixed at 3.3 per cent for 2018-19. Fiscal deficit has a bear­ing on sovereign rating of the country.

'Smog' in the Budget
Jaitley mentioned the poor air quality in north India since Nove­mber 2017. "Air polluti­on in Delhi-NCR has been a cause of conce­rn. The govt has propo­sed subs­id­ised machinery for in-situ man­agement of crop residue in Punj­ab, Haryana, UP and NCR," he said.

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Highlights of the Union Budget 2018

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