The key area of focus for Arun Jaitley for the Budget 2018 has been agriculture, healthcare, and railways. All three areas impact the common people most. The budget was expected to be a populist one considering the elections in 8 key states and the General Assembly Election next year.
The key highlights of the budget are given below.
- The budget objective with regards to the agricultural farmers have been to enable them generating higher income and producing more crops with fewer costs to produce more profit from their produce
- Government funding agricultural market is Rs.2, 000 crore for the next one year
- Kharif MSP is fixed at 1.5 times the price of the produce
- Fund allocation for the food processing sector has been Rs.1,400 crore, which is almost double the last year’s allocation
- For animal husbandry, aquaculture, and fisheries, the allocation is Rs.10,000 crore
- For Operation Green, Rs.500 crore is allocated
- Medical insurance cover of Rs.5 lakh per year for 10 crore families
- Promise for 1 medical college in every 3 parliamentary constituencies
- Railway capex of an unprecedented Rs.1.48 lakh crore
- 4,267 unmanned rail crossings to be eliminated by the government in 2 years
- Escalators for all stations having more than 25,000 footfalls
- Mumbai Suburban Railway networks to be infused with Rs.11,000 crores
- Bengaluru metro to be funded with an amount of Rs.17,000 crores
- Highlight of Union Budget 2018
The budget is being a very populist with focus on the eight states that will be going to election this year. In the process, the other states, especially the non-BJP states have been deprived somewhat. However, there are some positives in the form of:
- 5.35 lakh crores to be spent on Phase I of the Bharatmala project, which is network of roads and highways across the nation.
- Relief to the middle class as the income tax remains unchanged
- Excise on unbranded diesel cut by 2 rupees to 6.33 rupee/ltr
- Excise on unbranded petrol cut by 2 rupees to 4.48 rupee/ltr