Union Budget 2018: Key highlights from today's budget announcement

Updated: Feb 02, 2018, 15:20 IST | mid-day online correspondent

In his Union Budget speech Arun Jaitley leaves the personal income tax unchanged and allots health insurance premium Rs 50,000 for senior citizens

Arun Jaitley union budget 2018
Arun Jaitley

Arun Jaitley, who examined the final copy of the document on Wednesday evening in New Delhi, presented the Budget in Parliament at around 11 a.m on Thursday morning. As the presentation of the Union Budget 2018-19 culminates, here are some key takeaways from this year's allocation:

  • Minimum support price for kharif crops will now be 1.5 times the production cost
  • The government plans to set up an agricultural market fund with corpus of Rs 2,000 crore
  • Government proposes to launch Operation Green for which a sum of Rs 500 crore will be allocated
  • In the next 2 years, additional 2 crore toilets will be built under the Swachh Bharat Mission
  • The government announced an unprecedented Rs 5 lakh medical insurance cover per year for 10 crore families across the country
  • The government will contribute 12 percent EPF in wages of new employees in all sectors
  • The government intends to multiply India's 124 airports by five times
  • SEBI will consider mandating large corporates to meet 25 percent of debt needs from the market
  • For senior citizens, exemption of interest income on bank deposits raised to Rs 50,000
  • For 2018-19, the disinvestment target is set at Rs 80,000 crore
  • Proposed spending on rural infra is Rs 14.34 lakh crore
  • Customs duty on mobile phones increased from 15 to 20 percent 
  • Jaitley proposed to revise the emoluments of President to Rs 5 lakh per month, Rs 4 lakh for Vice President, Rs 3.5 lakh for Governor and inflation-linked revision of salary of MPs.
  • The revised fiscal deficit for 2017-18 is at Rs 5.95 lakh crore or 3.5 percent of GDP. Fiscal deficit at 3.3 percent of GDP for 2018-19
  • Corporate tax for 2018-19 has been cut to 25 percent for companies with revenue up to Rs 250 crore
  • The government decided to allow a standard deduction of Rs 40,000 for salaried taxpayers
  • Government proposes to increase the target of providing free LPG connections to 8 crore to poor women
  • Capital gains exceeding Rs 1 lakh to be taxed 10 percent without indexation benefit with certain cautions
  • Equity Oriented Mutual Funds will now face a dividend distribution tax of 10 percent 

Arun Jaitley is also expected to address the media at around 3.30 p.m. this afternoon. This will be the last full-fledged budget of the Narendra Modi-led government and the first post the rollout of the Goods and Services Tax

The budget session began on January 29, 2018, with President Ram Nath Kovind addressing a joint sitting of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha to mark the beginning of the Budget Session 2018. The Muslim Women's (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 related to triple talaq, the Codes of Wages Bill, 2017, Rights of Children to Free and Compulsory Education, 2017 were among the important bills that were tabled for discussion and passage.

Interestingly, this will be the last full-fledged budget of the Narendra Modi- led government and the first post the rollout of the GST. That being said, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has quickly emerged as the main concern among many including retailers, who expect a relaxation in the tax slabs across various product categories.

With a number of predictions on what this year's Union Budget will include, the Economic survey findings indicated certain areas that would be the focus of this year’s budget; mainly the agriculture sector, an area the survey showed needed a lot more support. Another area of concern that the survey found was unemployment, where India was a nation that provided the least amount of jobs for first-time workers.

By and large, people are hoping for the budget to include reforms for more affordable housing and an increase in tax rebate.

Watch this space for live updates on the Union Budget 2018

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A look at key highlights of Union Budget 2019

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