The Indian rupee plunged heavily on Thursday falling as much as 44 paise against the US dollar as Arun Jaitley tabled Union Budget 2018 which was the last full-year Budget by Modi-led NDA government before the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections. The domestic currency slumped 44 paise at 64.03 apiece US dollar at the interbank foreign exchange market on Thursday. The rupee opened 10 paise down at 63.69 against US dollar in the early morning trades on Thursday. During the day, the rupee touched a low of 63.9 vs the US dollar at around 12:45 pm in the mid-morning trades when Arun Jaitley was presenting the Budget the Parliament. The Reserve Bank of India fixed the reference rate of the rupee at 63.6113 against the US dollar on Thursday. Earlier yesterday, the rupee had ended 2 paise higher at 63.58 against the US dollar.
In a major development in Budget 2018, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley introduced a tax on LTCG (Long-Term Capital Gain) on equity investments of over Rs 1 lakh at 10%. Following which a knee-jerk reaction was observed in the Indian equities and amid the heavy sell-off pressure the S&P BSE Sensex plunged 463.28 points to hit an 8-day low of 35,501.74.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today fixed the fiscal deficit target for the fiscal year 2018-2019 at 3.3%, higher than previous year’s 3.2% target on account of shortfall in non-tax revenue due to deferment of spectrum auction. He also revised the fiscal deficit for the fiscal year for 2017-2018 upwards to 3.5% as against targeted 3.2%, which in absolute terms was about Rs 5.95 lakh crore. He said that the government will receive the GST revenue for 11 months, which will have the fiscal impact. He said that the revised estimate for FY18 is Rs 21.57 lakh crore as against estimated Rs 21.47 lakh crore.
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Meanwhile, Indian stock markets finished marginally lower on the Budget 2018 day, Thursday in a heavy volatile trading activity with stocks of pharma and PSU bank dropping the most. The benchmark Sensex extended yesterday’s losses to close slightly lower and Nifty index also saw a little decline but managed to end above 11,000-mark. BSE Sensex lost 58.36 points or 0.16% to conclude at 35,906.66 and NSE Nifty shed 10.8 points or 0.1% to settle at 11,016.9. During the day, the S&P BSE Sensex plunged 463.28 points to hit an 8-day low of 35,501.74 while Nifty washed away 148.9 points to hit an 8-day low at 10,878.8.