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Union Budget 2018-19 Key Highlights : 10% LTCG tax introduced, No Personal income-tax Relief

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Union Budget 2018-19
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New Delhi, Feb 1: Finance minister Arun Jaitley today presented Union Budget 2018-19. He said Budget 2018-19 will focus on boosting agriculture and rural economy.

Taking a cue from last year, the Railways Budget will be included in the General Budget. This was Narendra Modi government’s last full budget before 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The Government chose to keep income tax slabs unchanged in Union Budget 2018-19.

In a boost for the healthcare sector, National Health Scheme launched to provide Rs 5 lakh cover for 10 crore families.

Here are the key points :

  • A Standard deduction of Rs 40,000 introduced in lieu of transport and medical reimbursements for salaried employees.
  • The exemption of interest income deposits with banks and post offices raised to Rs 50,000 for elderly people.
  • For senior citizens, the limit of deduction for health insurance premium and/ or medical expenditure from Rs. 30,000/- to Rs. 50,000/-, under section 80D.
  • Changes in custom duties: Customs duty on import of mobile phone parts will be increased to 20 percent from the existing 15 percent. Meanwhile, education cess has increased to 4 percent from 3 percent to collect additional Rs 11,000 crore.
  • Corporate Tax: Companies with turnover of Rs 250 crore to be taxed at 25 percent.
  • “The government has made many positive changes in the personal income tax rates applicable to individuals in the last three years, therefore, I do not wish to make any changes to this, FM stated.
  • In a setback for salaried class people, the government has made no Change in Income Slabs and proposed a Standard Deduction of Rs 40,000.
  • Revised fiscal deficit estimate for 2017-18 is 3.5 percent of GDP, fiscal deficit of 3.3 percent anticipated for 2018-19.
  • 12.6 percent growth in direct taxes in 2017-18; 18.7 percent growth in indirect taxes in 2017-18.
  • 100 percent tax deduction for the first five years to companies registered as farmer producer companies with a turnover of Rs 100 crore and above.
  • Pay hike 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.
  • The Finance Minister proposed to tax long-term capital gains on equities exceeding Rs 1 lakh at 10 percent.
  • UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) scheme will connect 56 unserved airports and 31 unserved helipads.
  • Rs 80,000 crore disinvestment target for 2018-19, a target for 2017-18 has been exceeded and will reach Rs 1 lakh crore.
  • Government insurance companies to be merged into a single entity, and subsequently listed in the stock exchange, as part of the disinvestment programme.
  • National Logistics Portal as a single online window to link all stakeholders, to be developed by Department of Commerce.
  • Foundation stone of the bullet train was laid in September 2017. An institute is coming up in Vadodara to train the manpower required for the high-speed railway projects.
  • 12,000 wagons, 5160 coaches and 700 locomotives being procured. There is significant achievements of physical targets by railways.
  • Road construction has scaled new heights, confident that 9000 km highway construction will be complete by 2017-18.
  • National Committee chaired by PM, including CMs, Gandhians and representatives from various walks of life for year-long commemoration of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • Rs 1,48,528 crore capital expenditure for Indian Railways for 2018-19.
  • All trains to be progressively provided with Wi-Fi, CCTV and other state-of-the-art amenities.
  • NITI Aayog will establish a National Programme to direct efforts in the area of Artificial Intelligence towards national development.
  • Five lakh Wi-Fi hotspots to be set up in rural areas to provide easy internet access.
  • Government to take all steps to eliminate use of cryptocurrencies which are being used to fund illegitimate transactions.
  • Individual enterprises too to have unique ID.
  • Government plans to construct two crore more toilets under Swachh Bharat Mission.
  • Rs 7,148 crore outlay for textile sector in 2018-19.
  • Hard work of farmers resulted in a record production of more than 275 million tonnes of foodgrain and about 300 million tonnes of horticultural produce.
  • Not only focussing on ‘Ease of Doing Business’ but also ‘Ease of Living’.
  • 70 lakh formal jobs have been created this year. Government will contribute 12 percent of the wages as EPF in all sectors for the next three years
  • Mass formalisation of MSME sector is happening post demonetisation and GST
  • Technology will be the biggest driver in improving quality of education. We propose to increase the digital intensity in education and move gradually from blackboard to digital board, the Finance Minister said.
  • The government will set up  24 new govt medical colleges and hospitals by upgrading existing district hospitals.
  • In a major boost for healthcare sector, the government launched National Health Scheme to provide Rs 5 lakh cover for 10 crore families.
  • Air Pollution in Delhi NCR is a cause for concern. A special scheme will be roll out to support governments of Haryana, Punjab, UP and Delhi NCT to address it and subsidize machinery for management of crop residue.
  • Scheme for revitalising school infrastructure, with an allocation of Rs 1 lakh crore over four years. Called RISE – Revitalizing Infrastructure in School Education.
  • For the education sector, Integrated B.Ed programme to be initiated for teachers to improve quality of teachers. Eklavya schools to be started for Scheduled Tribe population.
  • India is firmly on path to achieve 8 percent plus growth.
  • Propose to raise institutional credit for agriculture to Rs 11 lakh Crore for 2018-19.
  • Rs 14.34 lakh crore will be spent for rural infrastructure.
  • Eight crore free gas connections to women under UJJWALA and 4 crore electricity connections to the poor under Saubhagya Yojana.
  • Fishery and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund and Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Fund to be set up with corpus of Rs 10,000 crore
  • Restructured National Bamboo Mission to be launched with allocation of Rs 1,290 crore to promote sector in a holistic manner
  • The government allocates Rs 500 crore for Operation Green.
  • India’s Direct Benefit Transfer scheme is a global success story.
  • The Minimum Support Price (MSP) of all crops shall increase to at least 1.5 times that of the production cost.
  • The government will set up a fund of Rs 2,000 crore for developing agricultural markets.
  • Our focus is on productive and gainful on-farm and non-farm employment for farmers and landless families, says Jaitley, adding that agricultural produce has improved remarkably in 2017  due to the hard work and tireless efforts of farmers in the country.
  • Speaking on agriculture and rural economy: Jaitley said his government is committed to the welfare of farmers. He reiterates the centre’s clarion call to double farmers’ income by 2022.
  • Budget 2018 will work with states to provide more resources to improve quality of education.
  • Indian economy is on course to achieve high growth of 8 %. Economy to grow at 7.2-7.5% in second half of 2018-19.
  • He commenced saying the government has implemented a slew of fundamental structural reforms to help the economy.
  • The Session began with Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan address.  Followed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tabled the Budget.

As per the tradition, earlier in a day, Finance Minister met President Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan before tabling the Budget in the Parliament.

The government on Monday presented the Economic Survey 2017-18 in Parliament, in which it pegged India’s GDP growth at 7 and 7.5 in the upcoming financial year.

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Mamata fumes at suspension of MPs

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Mamata Banerjee

 West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday condemned the suspension of eight MPs who fought to protect the interests of farmers in Parliament, dubbing the move as “unfortunate”.

Banerjee also came down heavily on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government at the Centre protesting its “undemocratic norms and principles” of functioning.

“Suspension of the eight MPs who fought to protect farmers’ interests is unfortunate and reflective of this autocratic Government’s mindset that doesn’t respect democratic norms and principles,” Banerjee tweeted.

Eight opposition members, including Trinamool Congress’ Rajya Sabha leader Derek O’Brien, were suspended from the Rajya Sabha this morning for the rest of the session over unprecedented chaos in the Upper House during the passing of controversial farm bills on Sunday.

Besides O’Brien, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s Sanjay Singh, Congress’s Rajeev Satav and CPI-M’s KK Ragesh, were told they had displayed “unruly behaviour especially with the Chair and gross disorderly conduct”.

“We won’t bow down and we will fight this fascist Government in Parliament and on the streets,” the Trinamool supremo added in her tweet, accusing the BJP of killing democracy in the country.

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Trainee pilot killed in UP chopper crash

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Plane crash
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A rookie pilot was killed after a helicopter carrying 4 people crashed in Uttar Pradesh’s Azamgarh district on Monday. Police and local authorities are the spot and rescue operations are underway.

The incident took place in Sarai Meer in an agricultural field, according to details available, the aircraft crashed at nearly 11.20 a.m. One person died and another was injured in the crash, while two others jumped out of the aircraft with the help of parachutes.

The deceased has been identified as trainee pilot Konark Saran. Amethi District Magistrate Arun Kumar said that the aircraft had taken off from the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi, a pilot training institute located at Fursatganj Airfield of Amethi. The aircraft belonged to the academy.

Authorities are probing the cause of the crash. The police is trying to secure the debris of the crash.

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Steps taken by Delhi govt to provide aid to widows: HC

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Delhi High Court

 The Delhi High Court on Monday observed that the state government has taken adequate steps to provide financial assistance to widows through pensions and other schemes.

“Looking at the Delhi government’s affidavit, it appears that adequate steps have been taken by it to provide funds to the widows. We see no reason to further monitor this case,” said a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan.

The Department of Social Welfare had filed the affidavit in response to a petition by social activist Harpal Singh Rana through advocate Akhil Rana and Utkarsh Sharma, claiming that pensions to around 12,000 widows had been discontinued during the COVID-19 lockdown by the Ministry of Women and Child Development without any valid reason.

The AAP government said in the affidavit, filed through advocate Anjum Javed, that it is remitting monthly pensions to beneficiaries so that they did not face any financial hardship during the pandemic.

“… the Department of Social Welfare has not withheld or discontinued pensions in respect of any beneficiary on imaginary grounds,” the affidavit said.

“The whole process of filing applications for all pension schemes, that is, old-age and disability pensions as well as financial assistance under the Delhi Family Benefit Scheme of the Department is online only.”

It said the money given under the Head “Financial Assistance to Widows for Performing Marriages of their Daughters” has been increased to Rs 1 lakh from Rs 60,000.

Rana told the court in his petition that as per a Right to Information reply, pensions of around 12,000 widows had been discontinued by the Ministry.

Meanwhile, the Delhi government also told the court that the status of the online applications is sent by the portal on the mobile numbers of the applicants. In offline cases, the status (acceptance/rejection) is conveyed by district offices through anganwadi/ASHA workers and displayed on the e-district portal.

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