Union Budget 2017: Budget Highlights Part- I

Finance minister Arun Jaitley with his team on Wednesday.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley with his team on Wednesday.

The Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on 1 February 2017 presented the Union Budget 2017 in the Lok Sabha. In the independent India, this will be the 87th budget and the third of the Modi Sarkar.

The Budget 2017 is also unique in the sense that it is the first budget after introduction of three key changes to the budget process viz., merging of the Railway Budget with the General Budget, Doing away with the classification of plan and non plan expenditure and most importantly advancing the budget presentation date by one month.


The Union Budget identified following 10 areas to transform the economy

1. Rural Infrastructure | 2. Education, Skill & Employment | 3. Infrastructure | 4. Financial sector growth. | 5. Digital Economy. | 6. Public service delivery. | 7. Prudence fiscal management. | 8. Tax administration – Honoring the Honest. | 9. Indian farming sector. | 10. Growth and stability.

Here are the highlights:

FARMERS:

  • Farmer credit fixed at record level of Rs10 trillion; will ensure adequate flow to underserved areas
  • Soil health cards: Govt to set up mini-labs in Krishi Vignan Kendras
  • Long-term irrigation fund in Nabard–corpus at Rs40,000 crore
  • Model law on contract farming to be circulated
  • Dairy processing infra fuind with corpus of Rs8,000 crore
  • Dedicated micro-irrigation fund with Rs5,000 crore corpus

RURAL POPULATION:

  • Mission Antyodaya to bring 1 crore households of poverty
  • MGNREGA: Participation of women now at 55%
  • MGNREGA: Rs48,000 crore allocated
  • MGNREGA: using space technology in a big way
  • Prime Minister Gram Sadak Yojana: Rs19,000 crore allocated; along with states, Rs27,000 crore to be spent in FY18
  • Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana: Rs23,000 crore allocated
  • 100% village electrification by May 2018
  • Rural livelihood mission: Rs4,500 crore allocated

OPENING REMARKS:

  • Our govt was elected amidst huge expectations; underlying theme was good governance: Arun Jaitley
  • Massive war against black money has been launched
  • Govt now seen as a trusted custodian of public money: FM
  • Focus on energizing youth to reap benefits of growth
  • World economy faces considerable uncertainty: FM
  • Three major challenges for emerging economies: US Fed stance, uncertainty over commodity prices especially oil prices, signs of increasing retreat from globalization as protectionist fears build up
  • India stands out as a bright spot
  • Govt has continued with steady path of fiscal consolidation: FM
  • We are seen as an engine of global growth: FM
  • Two tectonic policy initiatives: GST implementation and demonetization
  • Demonetization was a continuation of series of measures taken in last two years; was a bold and decisive measure
  • Demonetization seeks to create a new normal where GDP would be cleaner and bigger
  • Drop in economic activity due to remonetization expected to have only a transient effect
  • Demonetization has strong potential to generate long-term benefits
  • Demonetization helps to transfer resources resources from tax evaders to govt
  • Firmly believe demonetization and GST will have epoch-making impact
  • Pace of remonetization will soon reach comfortable levels; effect of demonetization not expected to spill over into next year
  • Surplus liquidity in banking system will raise access to credit, leading to multiplier effect on economic activity: FM
  • Overall approach in budget to spend more in rural areas.

Budget 2017-18 contains 3 major reforms: advancement of date of presentation, merger of railway budget with general budget, done away with Plan and non-Plan expenditure.

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