It was not a budget with a focus on populism, in fact, a new normal as far as allocation on rural and infra development is concerned. The total amount for the budget 2017-18 was set at 21.47 lakh crore India Rupees, designed to be spent on farming sector, the rural population, the youth, the poor and underprivileged health care, infrastructure, the financial sector for stronger institutions, speedy accountability, public services, prudent fiscal management and tax administration for the honest.
Ever wondered why our finance minister holds a leather suitcase carrying budget announcement papers in it in this era of Digital India? Well, the answer is fundamental rather than technical.
The word “budget” is derived from old French word bougette, meaning purse. Hence, it’s a leather bag which our FM carries and poses outside the parliament before presenting the budget every year.
Let’s have a look at the important points of budget 2017-18 which Arun Jaitely mentioned:
- This is a policy based government, and we have been able to bring inflation from double digits to the single digit.
- India will have GDP estimated between 6.75% and 7.5 % in 2017-18
- The call of demonetization was a bold move. The move will help transfer resources from tax evaders to the government.
- First demonetization and then the strong and straightforward tax structure like GST will make our life simpler.
- My government intends to spend more in rural and infra sector will also maintaining the development of other sectors.
- Infra, digital economy and affordable housing are the focus in budget 2017.
- Under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, the pace of construction was 133 km/day in 2016-17 as against the average of 73 km/day in 2011-14.
- The highest ever allocation was made for MANREGA at INR 48000 crore.
- We aim to bring one crore families above the poverty line.
- INR 23000 crore was allocated to PM Awas Yojana, up from INR 15000 crore last year.
- 100% villages will be electrified by March 2018.
- National Housing Bank(NHB) will refinance loans worth Rs. 20000 crore.
- 100 India International Skill Centers will be established across the country.
- National Highway Fund increased to INR 64000 crore.
- Airports in Tier II cities will be developed with Public-Private Partnership.
- Four areas of priority for railways are: Passenger safety, capital works, cleanliness and finance.
- Transport sector was allocated INR 3,96,135 crore funding.
- Defence budget raised by 10% to INR 274000 crore.
- The nontaxable limit for middle-income group rose to INR 300000 and 5% tax from INR 300000 to 500000 from 10% earlier.
Seen in this light, this budget is indeed a very ‘balanced’ budget. It preserves the existing balance of power and leadership of development.