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The finance minister on Monday presented to parliament the federal budget for the year  March 2010.

Following are the highlights from his speech:

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-"The first challenge is to return the GDP growth rate of 9 percent per annum at the earliest."

-The main growth driver in the current period is the private investment

- Govt to sell stakes in RITES, Manganese Ore

- Infrastructure investments to be 9% of GDP.

- Increase agriculture growth by 4% every year

- First challenge is to lead the economy back to the 7% GDP growth

- NHAI support up by 23%

- To hike private partnerhip in all PSU's

- Budget makes subvention of 1% as incentive to farmers

- NREGA Outlay increased by 144%

- IIFCL, banks can support projects worth Rs 1,00,000 crore

- Govt to support natural gas grid

- To initiate institutional measures to control fiscal deficit

- Govt to set up panel to advice on oil pricing

- Irrigation programme outlay increased 75% to 1,000 crore

- Local production of natural gas will be doubled

- Income tax return forms to be simplified

- Rs 3.25 lalk cross agiculture credit for current year

- Simple, exemption free tax structure in four years

- To modernise empployment exchanges through PPP mode

- To add handloom clusters in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu

- Nutrient based fertiliser subsidy being worked upon

- Government wants public shareholding in PSUs to go up

- NREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) has been an outstanding success

- Biometric smart cards issued to 18.6 lk families

- Govt to work closely with industry to address concerns

- NREGA's minimum wage set at Rs 100/day

- 46 lakh BPL families under new health insurance plan

- Banks, insurance cos are out of disinvestment plans

- Govt to launch  housing programmes for central paramilitary

- Paramiltary housing project to cost Rs 1,000 crore

- Farm loan waiver plan extended

- Govt to spend Rs 120 cr in FY 10 on unique ID project

- Commonwealth games allocation raised substantially

- New AMU campuses in West Bengal and Kerala

- Food security to provide wheat and rice at Rs 3/kg

-Indira Awaas Yajona outlay raised by 63%

- PM's Adarsh Gram Yajana starts with Rs 100 crore funding

- Bharat Nirman outlay incresed by 59%

- Plan expenditure is raised by 34%

- Govt to spend 1.42 lk crore on defence

- Interest payments are a third of expenditure plans

- Fiscal deficit seen at 6.8% in FY10

- Govt to move food security bill very soon

- PSU cos will remain under govt control

- Revenue Deficit seen at 4.8%

-Construction industry gets full exemption for concrete slabs

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PART B of the Budget 

- To release new direct tax code in 45 days

- To introduce GST by April, 2010

- GST will be dual in nature

- States and Federal Government to impose GST

- No changes in corporate taxes with a view to provide interim relief to small and micro enterprises

- To raise personal IT exemption to Rs15,000 for seniors 

- To raise severe disability limit

- Surcharge on paersonal  income tax scrapped

- FBT ( Fringe Benefit Tax) has been scrapped

- Tax Holidays for exporters extended to 2011

-Minimum Alternative Tax raised to 15% of book profits

- MAT Tax credit extended to 10 years from 7 years earlier

- National Pension scheme made exempt from STT

- National Pension scheme given tax exemptions

- Commodity transaction Tax ( CTT )  is abolished

- Political funding will get 100% tax deduction

-Tax holiday extended on commercial production of natural gas

- Manufacturing growth barely appears to be turning corner

-Maintaining overall excise, service , custom tax

- Customs duty on set top boxes is now 5%

- Customs duty on some bulk drugs halved to 5%

- 4% excise duty on cotton textiles restored

- 8% excise duty on manmade fibres restored

- Exempting branded jewellery from excise

- No new taxes on edible oil imports

- Exporters are exempted from service tax to transporters

- Some  law services brought under service tax 

- Individual law consulattion not to attract service tax

- Govt to extend service tax to goods moved by rail, post

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