Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday lowered the government’s fiscal deficit target for the current financial year in the annual budget and proposed a number of measures to boost the agriculture sector and enhance social security.
In his budget speech, Jaitley also imposed a long-term capital gains tax but left individual income tax rates unchanged.
Here are the highlights:
- Fiscal deficit for 2017/18 eased to 3.5% of GDP from 3.2% targeted earlier.
- Fiscal deficit target for 2018/19 at 3.3% of GDP.
- Sets disinvestment target of Rs 80,000 crore for 2018-19; FY18 goal of Rs 72,500 crore exceeded.
- To list 14 state-run companies; to merge National Insurance, United India Insurance and Oriental Insurance.
- Venture capital funds and angel investors: More steps in offing to strengthen Alternative Investment Fund industry.
- Salaried taxpayers: No change in personal income tax. Standard deduction of Rs 40,000 for transport, medical allowance.
- Long-term capital gains tax on equities at 10% on over Rs 1 lakh. Government expects Rs 20,000 crore as revenue from this tax.
- Short-term capital gains to be taxed at 15% now.
- MSME tax benefits: Corporate tax for companies with turnover of up to Rs 250 crore for 2016-17 cut to 25%.
- Senior citizens: Deduction under health insurance premium increased to Rs 50,000 for all and Rs 1 lakh for those with critical illnesses. Interest income exemption increased to Rs 50,000 from Rs 10,000.
- Launching flagship health protection scheme—Ayushman Bharat—for 10 crore families (50 crore beneficiaries). This will provide Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation.
- Benefits for farmers: Minimum support price for all rabi crops to be 150% of production cost. Institutional credit to farm sector raised to Rs 11 lakh crore.
- Proposal to set up an agricultural market fund of Rs 2,000 crore.
- Proposes to invest Rs 1 trillion to develop premium education infrastructure over next four years.
- Govt to establish a dedicated affordable housing fund
under National Housing Bank for priority sector lending.
- Allocates Rs 9,975 crore for social security schemes.
- Allocates Rs 2.04 lakh crore for 99 Smart Cities.
- Budget sets capex for railways at Rs
1.48 lakh crore.
- Budget sets Rs 5.97 trillion on infrastructure
and extra budgetary allocation.
- Increases custom duty on mobile phones from 15% to 20%.
- Government to take action to eliminate use of cryptocurrencies for illegal activities.
- Government to explore blockchain technology for ushering in a digital economy.
- NITI Aayog to establish a national programme for artificial intelligence.