Union Budget 2017-18: 10 budget announcements that favour the common man

Union Budget 2017-18: 10 budget announcements that favour the common man
Picture Courtesy: AFP

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday announced the Union Budget 2017-18 amid a huge uproar from the opposition.

While experts continue to analyse the pros-cons of the current budget, there were some announcements that are bound to benefit a majority of the population.

Here are 10 announcements made by FM Jaitley that favour the common man:

Rural focus:

The government allocated a record Rs 48,000 crore towards the MNREGA fund in a bid to increase rural employment. In addition, it also announced plans to build over one crore houses in rural areas in the next one year, attain 100% electrification of villages by mid-2019 and make one crore households ‘poverty free’ in a year.

Rail safety & development:

The creation of safety fund ‘Rail Sanraksha Kosh’, with corpus of Rs. 1,00,000 crores over a five year period, will go a long way in ensuring passenger safety. In addition, a slew of development focused measures like withdrawal of service charge on tickets booked through IRCTC website, 3,500 km of new railway lines, removal of unmanned level crossings by 2020, making stations disabled friendly etc were also announced.

Tax relief:

By lowering the tax rate for those with income between Rs 2.5 lakh to 5 lakh the government has provided relief to millions of hardworking Indians, while encouraging more people to file their returns in the next fiscal year.

Boost to infrastructure:

The allocation of almost Rs 4 lakh crore towards infrastructure across railways, highways, metros etc will help narrow the gap between the country’s every growing needs and available infrastructure. The allocation was higher than what was allocated in previous years.

Push for digital:

The introduction of 10 lakh Point-of-Sale terminals by March 2017 and another 20 lakh Aadhaar-based swipe machines by 2020 will encourage more people to transact online, thereby helping achieve the goal of a less-cash economy.

Relief for small companies:

The government also provided some relief to small enterprises, with income less than Rs 50 crore, by lowering their tax rate from 30% to 25%. The reduced tax will also help them become more competitive in the global market.

Healthcare:

Transforming 1.5 lakh health sub-centres, creating addition 5000 post-graduate medical seats, setting up 2 new AIIMs and making amendments to the Drugs and Cosmetic rules to ensure availability of low cost medicine will aid the healthcare sector. An action plan to eliminate diseases like Kala Azar, Filariasis, Leprosy, Measles and Tuberculosis was also announced.

Political transparency:

By limiting cash donations to a maximum of Rs 2000 from one source, the government plans to bring more transparency in the political funding, which is largely done through anonymous donations.

Affordable housing:

By granting infrastructure status to affordable housing, the government has fulfilled a long time demand from the industry. The step is expected to reduce costs for developers and attract investors, thereby reducing the existing supply deficit. The lower fiscal deficit will also reduce interest rates, making housing more accessible to the masses.

Fight against corruption & black money:

By not allowing cash transactions above Rs 3 lakh, capping cash donations to political parties, promoting Aadhaar pay and other cashless payment options, the government showcased its commitment to weeding out black money and curbing corruption. The FM also spoke about introducing a new law to confiscate assets of offenders who escape the country.

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