Budget 2018: Union Budget 2018 date is nearing and expectations are quite high surrounding the announcements to be made by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on February 1. The Modi government’s fifth Union Budget assumes significance as it will be the last full budget before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The Budget 2018 will be the Modi government’s great opportunity to address a certain areas for the betterment of the country. A lot of analyses will be carried out on the things that will come out of FM Jaitley’s briefcase on February 1.
FM Jaitley’s Budget 2018 will also have political bearing as elections will be held in several key states, including Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh in 2018. A few days ago, FM Jaitley said that with an aim to push growth, the Modi government’s focus will be on infrastructure, rural spending and small and medium enterprises. Apart from this, the Modi government will also stress on job creation.
Here are top 5 concerns that might be addressed by Modi government in Budget 2018 on February 1
Income Tax exemption limit
In Budget 2018, the Modi government may consider hiking the tax exemption limit from present Rs 2.5 lakh per annum to Rs 3 lakh per annum. Many stakeholders, who put forth their proposal to Arun Jaitley during pre-Budget consultation meetings, made a case for hiking the exemption limit, some even to Rs 5 lakh per annum.
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It is certain that the agriculture will be the Modi government’s top priority in Budget 2018. Ahead of the Budget 2018, FM Jaitley had said the agriculture sector is the top priority for the government because the country’s economic growth is not ‘justifiable and equitable’ unless the benefits are ‘clear and evident’ in the farm sector. Therefore, the central government’s priority is to ensure the gains reach the farmers and the growth is visible even in the farm sector, he had said. As per latest Central Statistics Office (CSO) data, the country’s economic growth is expected to slow to a four-year low of 6.5 per cent in the 2017-18 fiscal, the lowest under the Modi-led government, mainly due to poor performance of agriculture and manufacturing sectors
In budget 2018, infrastructure will get attention from FM Jaitley. Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Garg recently had said that the central government is planning to dedicate a large part of budget towards capital expenditure on infrastructure and will push for foreign investments in the sector. FM Arun Jaitley, too, said that the focus of the government next year will be on the momentum of infrastructure creation. FM Jaitley also said that while highways and ports have shown satisfactory results, infrastructure development in railways needs to be hurried. “Railway station, quality of trains, proposed bullet train, all need to be strengthened”.
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PM Modi has time to time stressed for job growth. In Budget 2018 speech, FM Jaitley, the Narendra Modi government is likely to focus more on creating employment and employment-related funding. According to reports, the Modi government is likely to come up its first National Employment Policy (NEP) to address the crucial issue of job creation.
Corporate tax cut
One of the key focus areas in Budget 2018 will be Corporate tax cut. Notably, FM Jaitley, in his Budget 2015 speech, had proposed of cutting the corporate tax rate from 30% to 25% over a period of four years. In the Union Budget 2018, the pressure is on the Modi government to deliver on what was promised in Budget 2015. Since the US has passed the law to cut corporate tax from 35% to just 21%. Corporate India, which met Arun Jaitley, during the pre-budget consultation meeting, had also put forth this demand.