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Highlights of Budget 2018-19

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented his fifth budget and the BJP led NDA government’s last full budget before the Lok Sabha polls to be held in 2019. The government is facing a challenging task to revive economic growth, boost employment and addressing agricultural distress. It is facing a daunting task to maintain a balance between pleasing voters with freebies and contain the fiscal deficit. Jaitley spoke in both English and Hindi and said the government is focused on rural economy, infrastructure, health, agriculture and welfare of senior citizens.

Here are the key points of the budget:

. No change in personal income tax rates for salaried class.

. Steps to be taken to prevent use of cryptocurrencies which are being used to fund illegitimate transactions.

. Long term capital gains over Rs 1 lakh to be taxed at the rate of 10 per cent without indexation.

. Gold monetisation scheme to be overhauled, enabling people to open gold deposit accounts without facing hardships.

. Standard deduction of Rs 40,000 in lieu of transport and medical reimbursements for salaried employees.

. Government to contribute 12 per cent of EPF contribution for new employees in all sectors.

. Women contribution to EPF reduced to 8 per cent for first 3 years.

. 100 per cent tax deduction for the first five years to companies registered as farmer producer companies with a turnover of Rs. 100 crore and above.

. Every business establishment to be allotted a unique ID on the lines of Aadhaar.

. Loan sanctioning procedure to SMEs will be reviewed.  All the information required for sanctioning loan to be seeded with GSTN and information to be obtained from GSTN portal.

. Custom duty on mobiles to be hiked from 15 per cent to 20 per cent and on some other mobile parts to 15 per cent, and some parts of TVs to 15 per cent.

. Education and health cess to be increased from 3 per cent to 4 per cent.

. Rs 1 lakh crore allocated to revitalisation and upgradation of education sector for promoting learning based outcomes and research.

. Integrated B.Ed programme to be initiated for teachers, to improve quality of teachers.

. Public sector insurance companies will be combined into a single entity and they will be listed on stock exchange.

. 56 unserved airports and 31 unserved helipads to be connected with UDAN –Ude Desh ka Aam naagrik – scheme.

. AMRUT programme to focus on water supply to all households in 500 cities. Water supply contracts for 494 projects worth 19,428 crore awarded.

. Incentives for Senior citizens: Exemptions in income of Rs 10,000 from Banks FD and post offices.

. Senior citizens to get Rs 50,000 per annum exemption for medical insurance under Sec 80D.

. Rs 7.5 lakh per senior citizen limit for investment in interest-bearing LIC schemes doubled to Rs 15 lakh.

. Central Board of Excise and Customs renamed as Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs.

. Agricultural market and infra fund of Rs 2000 crores fund will be set up to strengthen the market connectivity.

. A sum of Rs 500 crores will be allocated for Operation Green to be launched. It will promote agricultural products.

. Extension of facility of Kisan credit card to fisheries and for animal husbandry.

. 8 crores free gas connections to poor families under Ujjawala scheme and 4 crore electricity connections to the poor under Saubhagya Yojana.

. Aayushman Bharat programme: 1.5 lakh centres will be set up to provide health facilities closer to home. Rs 1,200 crores to be allocated for this programme.

. Bharatmala project: To develop 35,000 KM under phase 1 with an outlay of Rs 5.35 lakh crores.

. Govt to take additional measures to strengthen environment for venture capitalists and angel investors.

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