Union Budget 2018-19 tabled in Parliament

1 February 2018: On 1 February 2018, Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley presented the 2018-19 union budget. The highlights of the budget are as follows:

Tax

  • No changes in personal income tax slabs. All senior citizens will now be able to claim benefit of a deduction of ₹50,000 for any medical insurance.
  • For critical illnesses, the deduction has been increased to ₹1,00,000.

Social Spend

  • Power: Free power connections to 4 crore homes under Saubhagya Yojana.
  • Cooking Gas: Eight crore free gas connections for poor women through Ujjwala Yojana.
  • Housing: Under the Prime Minister Awas Yojana, 51 lakh houses will be constructed exclusively in rural areas.In urban areas, the assistance has been sanctioned to construct 37 lakh houses.
  • Health: New flagship National Health Protection Scheme, providing a health insurance cover of ₹5 lakh per family per year announced.

Women

  • The only major announcement for women is the reduction of their PF contribution to 8% for first three years of their employment against existing rate of 12% or 10% with no change in employers’ contribution. This would mean more take-home wages for new women employees at the cost of their social security.
  • No change in honorariums for Anganwadi, ASHA, MDM workers.
  • Nirbhaya Fund allocation not increased.

Agriculture

  • ₹2,000-crore fund for development of agri markets.
  • to implement minimum support price for all crops; It is hiked to 1.5 times of production costs.
  • The five-year tax holiday for Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) with turnover of Rs 100 crore.
  • to contribute 12% of wages of new employees for all sector.

Disinvestment

  • Disinvestment target for this year set at ₹80,000 crore.
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