Union Budget 2017: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that his government has launched a massive war on black money. “Our government was elected amidst huge expectations. The expectations were on governance,” he said. “Our mission is to bring about a transformative shift in the economy. We have focused on targeted delivery, we have moved from informal to a formal economy. Inflation in double digits has been tackled, we are on a high growth path.”
FM Jaitley began his Budget 2017 speech by saying, “I raise on the occasion of this auspicious day of Basant Panchmi to present the Union Budget 2017-2018. Spring is a season of optimism,” he said.
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There was uncertainty over the presentation of the Union Budget 2017 today after Kerala MP E Ahamed passed away. The Opposition demanded that the presentation be delayed to February 2. Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan turned down the demand stating that presentation of the Budget is a constitutional duty.
Union Budget 2017 comes in the backdrop of the historic demonetisation drive that was carried out by the Narendra Modi government. There is huge pressure on the government and FM Jaitley to propel economic growth, at a time when demonetisation has slowed down the economy. The Economic Survey for 2017 predicted that GDP growth for FY18 would be in the range of 6.75-7.5%. India will still retain the tag of the world’s fastest growing economy, the Survey said. The Economic Survey by Arvind Subramanian has indicated for a need to give the economy a booster shot, especially in light of the global economic slowdown and rising oil prices. Budget 2017 is special also for the fact that this is the first time that the Railway Budget will be presented as a part of the Union Budget.
Examining the government’s recent demonetisation measure to combat black money, the Economic Survey for 2017 presented on Tuesday had said though India’s lower middle class and rural population may have been the worst hit by move, black money holders also suffered in the process. It also attempts to measure how much cash was being used as black money through the criterion called “soil rates”, to gauge how how dirty the notes were from repeated use.