A slew of measures for the agriculture and rural sectors, a new health insurance scheme for the poor and some relief in income tax for the salaried class and senior citizens, were announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today in the last full budget before the general elections.
Presenting his fifth straight budget in the Lok Sabha, Jaitley raised the health and education cess, levied on all taxable income, to 4 per cent from current 3 per cent, and introduced a social welfare surcharge of 10 per cent to fund social welfare schemes.
He lowered the corporate tax for small, micro and medium enterprises with turnover of up to Rs 250 crore to 25 per cent from current 30 per cent, while reintroducing the tax on long term capital gains of over Rs 1 lakh made from the sale of shares. While keeping the income tax rates and slabs unchanged, Jaitley introduced a Rs 40,000 Standard Deduction for salaried employees and pensioners in lieu of transport and medical expenses.
Budget 2018: 10 Major takeaways
No change in Income Tax slabs
No change in personal income tax rates for salaried class. Tax payer base has risen from 6.47 crore in 2014-15 to 8.27 crore in 2016-17. More payers joining tax net but turnover not encouraging, said FM Jaitley.
Reduction in Corporate Tax
Companies with turnover of up to Rs 250 crore to be taxed at 25 percent making it quite easy for the big corporates and still that perception of government being soft on big corporate houses continues.
Revised fiscal deficit estimate for 2017-18 is 3.5% of GDP, fiscal deficit of 3.3% expected for 2018-19. As the government is approaching 2019 general elections lot will depend on India's economy and fiscal deficit.
Remuneration of elected officials
Revised emoluments for President - Rs 5 lakh, Vice President - Rs 4 lakh and Governors - Rs 3.5 lakh; Automatic revision of MPs' emoluments every five years, indexed to inflation
UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) scheme will connect 56 unserved airports and 31 unserved helipads making it government's top most priority to expand India's aviation sector and attract investment
Rs 1,48,528 crore capital expenditure for Indian Railways for 2018-19. 12,000 wagons, 5160 coaches and 700 locomotives being procured. All trains to be progressively provided with WiFi, CCTV, and other state-of-the-art amenities.
Road construction has scaled new heights, confident that 9000 km highway construction will be complete by 2017-18, said FM Arun Jaitley
2 crore toilets
Government plans to construct two crore more toilets under Swachh Bharat Mission. This decision comes on the back of government want to make India open defecation free and also to spread message of cleanliness and sanitation
Eight crore free gas connections to women under UJJWALA and 4 crore electricity connections to the poor under Saubhagya Yojana. Once again stressing on rural issues and also providing basic amenities to women in general
Imported electronics, including phones and TVs, will now get more expensive as government proposes to increase custom duty on mobiles from 15% to 20% and on some other mobile parts to 15%, and some parts of TVs to 15%.