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New Delhi : Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs Arun Jaitley presented the General Budget 2017-18 in Parliament here on February 1, 2017. This is the first of its kind which included the Railway Budget. This year’s Union Budget also does not have Plan and Non-plan classification and  has been advanced by a month to the beginning of February.

Jaitley, in his Budget speech, said that the agenda is “Transform, Energise and Clean India” (TEC)- to transform the quality of governance for better quality of life. He said the approach is to spend more in rural areas, on infrastructure and poverty alleviation while maintaining fiscal prudence.

The total expenditure in Budget for 2017-18 has been placed at Rs 21.47 lakh crore.  Jaitley said that this is expected to have multiplier effects and lead to higher growth. The total resources being transferred to the States and the Union Territories with Legislatures is Rs. 4.11 lakh crore against Rs.3.60 lakh crore in 2016-17.Defence expenditure excluding pensions is to be Rs 2,74,114 crore. For the first time, a consolidated Outcome Budget covering all ministries and departments was present with the Union Budget.

Jaitley announced that the target for agricultural credit in 2017-18 has been fixed at a record level of Rs 10 lakh crores. A dedicated Micro Irrigation Fund with an initial corpus of Rs 5,000 crore with an objective to achieve the goal ‘per drop more crop’ besides the  Long Term Irrigation Fund with total corpus of  Rs 40,000 crores will be set, he added, according to a PIB release.

Jaitley announced that the government will now undertake `Mission Antyodaya’ to bring one crore households out of poverty and to make 50,000 gram panchayats poverty free by 2019, the year marking the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhiji.

“Under the reoriented MGNREGA to support our resolve to double farmers’ income, about 10 lakh farm ponds are expected to be completed by March 2017 against the targeted 5 lakh farm ponds. This will contribute greatly to drought proofing of gram panchayats. The budgetary provision of Rs.38,500 crores under MGNREGA in 2016-17 has been increased to Rs 48,000 crores in 2017-18, the highest ever allocation for MGNREGA,” the Finance Minster added.

The pace of construction of The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) has accelerated to reach 133 km roads per day in 2016-17 against an average of 73 km during the period 2011-2014. Jaitley said that the government is committed to complete the current target under PMGSY by 2019. A sum of Rs 19,000 crores in 2017-18 for this scheme and together with the contribution of States,  Rs. 27,000 crores is to be spent on PMGSY in 2017-18. Jaitley announced that Mahila Shakti Kendras will be set-up at village level with an allocation of Rs 500 crores in 14 lakh ICDS Anganwadi Centres.

He said by the end of 2017-18, high speed broadband connectivity on optical fibre will be available in more than 1,50,000 gram panchayats with wifi hot spots and access to digital services at low tariffs. “We are well on our way to achieving 100% village electrification by May 1, 2018,” he said. Two new All India Institutes of Medical Sciences will be set up in the States of Jharkhand and Gujarat. A Computer Emergency Response Team for Financial Sector (CERT-Fin) will be established.

” I propose to reduce the existing rate of taxation for individual assesses between income of  Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh to 5% from the present rate of 10%. This would reduce the tax liability of all persons below Rs 5 lakh income either to zero (with rebate) or 50% of their existing liability,” Jaitley said.

There would be zero tax liability for people getting income upto Rs 3 lakh p.a. and the tax liability will only be Rs 2,500 for people with income between Rs 3 lakh and Rs3.5 lakhs. If the limit of Rs 1.5 lakh under Section 80C for investment is used fully the tax would be zero for people with income of Rs 4.5 lakh. While the taxation liability of people with income up to Rs 5 lakh is being reduced to half, all the other categories of tax payers in the subsequent slabs will also get a uniform benefit of Rs 12,500 per person.





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