Union Budget 2018: The fifth straight budget presented in Lok Sabha by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had plenty of surprises. From significant focus on women and rural India to little to cheer for the middle class, the budget appeared to try and pander to each section of society.
Union Budget 2018: The fifth straight budget presented in Lok Sabha by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had plenty of surprises. From significant focus on women and rural India to little to cheer for the middle class, the budget appeared to try and pander to each section of society. While modern-day essentials such as mobile phones and televisions will become costlier in the coming fiscal year with the government deciding to increase customs duty from 15% to 20%, rural and the backward classes that saw support from the Modi government. Many of Modi’s pet projects also saw getting some leg-up in the Union budget.
One of the major areas that received a boost is Narendra Modi’s UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam naagrik) scheme. Budget 2018 envisages the UDAN scheme to connect 56 unserved airports and 31 unserved helipads. Airports Authority of India now has 124 airports, this will be expanded five times, the FM said. The Narendra Modi government will aim for 1 billion trips a year.
In the budget 2018 presented today in the Lok Sabha, Prime Minister MUDRA Yojana received a bumper bonanza. Under this project, the government is planning to target Rs 3 lakh crore for lending. In the Budget 2017 had allocated Rs 2.44 lakh crore for Mudra.
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The healthcare sector was perhaps the biggest focus area in this budget. Arun Jaitley announced the ‘National Health Protection Scheme’ that seeks to cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable under its ambit. A minimum amount of Rs 5 lakh will be provided per year per family under this scheme for hospitalisation. With the number of people and the amount the government wishes to facilitate, this healthcare programme will be the largest government-funded programme in the world.
Women, particularly from the weaker sections, also saw significant focus in the Union budget 2018. Arun Jaitley said that the government has proposed to increase the target of providing free LPG connections to 8 crore to poor women under Ujjwala Scheme. The budget also catered to the needs of women by reducing their EPF contribution from 12% to 8% for first 3 years.
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Narendra Modi’s dream of Swachh Bharat also got a thumbs up in budget 2018. It was announced that more than 2 crore toilets will be built under Swachh Bharat Mission. Arun Jaitley said that so far the Modi government has constructed 6 crore toilets under Swachh Bharat Mission.
“Cleaning Of Ganga Is Of National Importance,” said Arun Jaitley while presenting the budget today. Jaitley said that the government has sanctioned 187 projects under the NAMAMI Ganga programme.
As for Digital India, this budget focussed on developing the villages of the country. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced to provide internet access to rural areas through 5 lakh WiFi hotspots that will be set up in rural areas to provide easy Internet access. This will help the government to promote the goal of digitizing India.